WBEZ | Sports http://www.wbez.org/news/sports Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 2 Wild Cards, 2 home teams shut out: Cubs blank Pirates to advance http://www.wbez.org/news/2-wild-cards-2-home-teams-shut-out-cubs-blank-pirates-advance-113234 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ap_926858659682_custom-a6e5f96be8a3b9731474b1c831edc5aaff67250a-s1400.jpg" style="float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo hoists starting pitcher Jake Arrieta aloft after he finished a complete-game shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Arrieta struck out 11 while giving up four hits and no walks. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)" />Behind a complete-game shutout thrown by right-hander Jake Arrieta, the Chicago Cubs advanced to the Divisional Series on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, beating the Pirates 4-0.</p><p>Kyle Schwarber had a home run and three runs batted in for the Cubs and Dexter Fowler had three hits and scored three times. Chicago will open its series against St. Louis at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The Cardinals won 11 of the 19 games the divisional rivals played this season.</p><p>The win in the wild card game, a recent addition to the MLB postseason, lets the Cubs advance in the playoffs for the first time since 2003.</p><p>Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole gave up all four runs in his five innings for Pittsburgh, and while the bullpen was near perfect, the team&#39;s bats were ice cold. The Pirates, making their third straight appearance in the National League wild card game, struck out 11 times and didn&#39;t draw a single walk off Arrieta.</p><p>The loss capped two rough wild card games for home teams: On Tuesday night the Yankees were shut out against the Houston Astros, 3-0, in New York.</p><p>The Astros start their series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, following the 3:30 p.m. ET start of the Texas Rangers-Toronto Blue Jays series. Both will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/07/446741729/two-wild-cards-two-home-teams-shut-out-cubs-blank-pirates-to-advance">NPR&#39;s Two-Way</a></em></p></p> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 09:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/2-wild-cards-2-home-teams-shut-out-cubs-blank-pirates-advance-113234 The high price of being a Chicago Cubs fan http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-05/high-price-being-chicago-cubs-fan-113171 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/DanS.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>I was born in Chicago. We moved away when I was relatively young, but I&#39;ve&nbsp;always missed my home town, finding any excuse to keep my Chicago&nbsp;roots strong.&nbsp;I frequently accomplish that through&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpL0dL0dXwQ" target="_blank">eating shameful quantities of meat</a>,&nbsp;but most of the time it&#39;s through &mdash;&nbsp;God, help me &mdash;&nbsp;the Chicago Cubs.</p><p>If there are multiple levels of fandom,&nbsp;I fall firmly into the &quot;needs help&quot; category. I&#39;m that guy who gets wary looks when someone comes into my office for the first time and sees &quot;A Beautiful Mind&quot;-like collection of Cubs memorabilia.</p><p>This being Marketplace, I thought it&#39;d be a useful exercise to sum up all the money I&#39;ve spent &mdash; whether I had it or not at the time &mdash;&nbsp;on the Cubbies over the years.</p><p><strong>Thirty-five dollars</strong>&nbsp;is how much I spent on the frame for this rare 45 of the 1969 Chicago Cubs classic, &quot;Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cQyUhiV_Fdw?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></p><p>I know what you&#39;re thinking: &quot;That&#39;s pure gold!&quot;&nbsp;The Cubs&nbsp;were supposed to win it all that year. They didn&#39;t.</p><p>And then I have about 10 collectable pennants, about&nbsp;<strong>$100</strong>&nbsp;total,&nbsp;including one from&nbsp;1984 that celebrates the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It was supposed to happen that year too&nbsp;... it didn&#39;t.&nbsp;</p><p>My #23 Ryne Sandburg 1984 throwback jersey:&nbsp;<strong>$120</strong>.</p><p>My Cubs baseball card collection, around&nbsp;<strong>$200</strong>.&nbsp;</p><p>Let&#39;s pencil in&nbsp;<strong>$3,00</strong>0&nbsp;for various tickets to Cubs games, home at Wrigley Field, or away at whichever city I happened to be living in when they came to town.&nbsp;Beer and meat at&nbsp;those games felt like $4,000, but I guess it was really around&nbsp;<strong>$250</strong>.&nbsp;</p><p>And then there&#39;s all the Cubs bric-a-brac: mugs, pens, baseballs, T-shirts, hats, collectible this-and-thats. I&#39;ll estimate all that at around&nbsp;<strong>$750</strong>.</p><p>All told, that&#39;s about&nbsp;<strong>$4,500</strong>. Yeesh.</p><p>And now, here I stand, staring down the financial abyss of a potential championship run.</p><p><em>If</em>&nbsp;they beat the Pirates and advance to the National League Division Series to face the Cardinals,&nbsp;the hated Cardinals, I might just need to plan a trip to St. Louis.</p><p><em>If</em>&nbsp;they beat the Cardinals and advance to the National League Championship Series and play for the pennant, it&#39;s time to raid the savings account.&nbsp;</p><p>And good lord,<em>&nbsp;if</em>&nbsp;they make it to the World Series?&nbsp;</p><p>I&nbsp;<em>will&nbsp;</em>be in Chicago. I&nbsp;<em>will&nbsp;</em>be at Wrigley Field.</p><p>I have no idea yet how I&#39;d afford that.</p><p>Anyone out there want to buy a kidney?</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/your-money/high-price-being-chicago-cubs-fan" target="_blank">via Marketplace</a></em></p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-05/high-price-being-chicago-cubs-fan-113171 O'Bannon v. NCAA case ends in split decision http://www.wbez.org/news/obannon-v-ncaa-case-ends-split-decision-113132 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/NCAAhurdles_flickr-Phil Roeder 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>College sports are a big-money business. Top-tier coaches earn millions while television (and gaming) contracts are worth billions of dollars. But the athletes are restricted from earning a cut because they&rsquo;re amateurs.</p><p>A case that many thought might open the door to compensation for college athletes ended in a split decision Wednesday. A federal appeals court ruled that the NCAA cannot prevent member schools from offering scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance. However, it threw out a lower court&#39;s plan to compensate athletes $5000 or more per year in deferred payments. ESPN senior writer and legal analyst Lester Munson joins All Things Considered host Melba Lara to help unpack how Wednesday&#39;s decision may affect future compensation campaigns.</p></p> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 17:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/obannon-v-ncaa-case-ends-split-decision-113132 Why women's sports get so little attention http://www.wbez.org/news/why-womens-sports-get-so-little-attention-113118 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/wnba.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>You may not know that the WNBA finals begin this weekend. It&#39;s probably fair to say that if it were the NBA you would know.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More people pay attention to men&#39;s sports than women&#39;s sports, and one reason for that is inertia. Women are pretty new to big-time sports &mdash; and perhaps the media hasn&#39;t caught up with them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Also, there aren&#39;t that many women&#39;s team sports. Lots of people tune in to watch Serena Williams play tennis, and this summer, swimmer Katie Ledecky got a lot of attention &mdash; but they play individual sports.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/30/444523020/why-womens-sports-gets-so-little-attention?ft=nprml&amp;f=444523020" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></div></p> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 10:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-womens-sports-get-so-little-attention-113118 America's Cup qualifying races planned for Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/sports/americas-cup-qualifying-races-planned-chicago-112983 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/IMG_8332.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Next summer, Chicago will host the qualifying races of the America&rsquo;s Cup, the world&rsquo;s most prestigious sailing race.</p><p dir="ltr">In June 2016, America&rsquo;s Cup catamarans will cut through the waters of Lake Michigan at more than 50 miles an hour. A half-dozen teams will race for a chance to line up against defending champions Oracle Team USA in the 35th America&#39;s Cup race, set for 2017 in Bermuda.</p><p dir="ltr">Russell Coutts says it will be a unique event. He&rsquo;s won the America&rsquo;s Cup five times.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;For a lot of sports events, they may show a stadium,&rdquo; says Koots. &ldquo;But that stadium could be anywhere in the world. This is going to have these boats racing at high speed, on the water, right in front of the city backdrop, which is kind of an iconic backdrop.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Boats that are going over 50 miles an hour in the water is unreal,&rdquo; says Matt Cassidy, a sailor on Oracle Team USA. &ldquo;No one&rsquo;s ever seen anything like that, so if the public can come down and see it, it&rsquo;ll really open their eyes to how great sailing really is.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Races will be held off Navy Pier over two days, June 11-12. The pier will be setting up viewing areas, most of which will be free.</p><p>It&rsquo;s the first time in the 164-year history of the America&rsquo;s Cup it will be raced in fresh water. Organizers hope this test run can show that Chicago is capable of hosting the premier event in the America&rsquo;s Cup. The city made an unsuccessful bid last year to hold the championship event.</p></p> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sports/americas-cup-qualifying-races-planned-chicago-112983 Leagues embrace a big-payout evolution in fantasy sports http://www.wbez.org/news/leagues-embrace-big-payout-evolution-fantasy-sports-112975 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_97782590011_wide-4ebb099b335678f7d8c3c4e63adecbb231f06215-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&quot;On FanDuel I&#39;ve won over $62,000 &mdash; try FanDuel today.&quot;</p><p>&quot;This is DraftKings. Welcome to the big-time. You can play when you want with the team you want. Just pick your contest, pick your team, and pick up your winnings.&quot;</p><p>These types of ads have been inescapable on NFL broadcasts so far this season. They are encouraging fans to play a type of fantasy sports game &mdash; and bet real money on their performance.</p><p>DraftKings and FanDuel each say they&#39;ve raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors and paid out millions in prize money to winners. That success has become apparent in the sheer saturation of ads on sports broadcasts, podcasts, websites and more.</p><p>The business has become so big that some professional sports leagues are getting a piece of the action.</p><div id="res441305302"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Devlin D'Zmura, a trending news manager at DraftKings, works on his laptop Sept. 9 at the company's offices in Boston." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/17/ap_312823411334-f8815489e3872944274c9000ac91ee600d3da457-s400-c85.jpg" style="width: 540px; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; height: 404px;" title="Devlin D'Zmura, a trending news manager at DraftKings, works on his laptop Sept. 9 at the company's offices in Boston. (Stephan Savoia/AP)" /></div><div><p>The websites want to change the way that fantasy sports traditionally have been played. About 50 million people in North America play fantasy sports games each year, but until recently they&#39;ve been low-level competitions among friends, neighbors and co-workers, often for little more than bragging rights.</p></div></div><p>Typically the games start with the pool of players in a professional league &mdash; the NFL or Major League Baseball, for instance &mdash; who are then drafted onto fantasy teams by a dozen or so fans playing against one another.</p><p>If your team&#39;s pro players &mdash; who typically play for many different teams in real life &mdash; do well in their games, then based on their stats, you do well in your fantasy game.</p><p>These sorts of games were played for decades using pens, paper and newspaper box scores, but the Internet made them much easier to organize and run, so most major sports sites got involved.</p><p>What companies like FanDuel and DraftKings have done is broken down what usually have been season-long competitions into many single-day contests &mdash; while pulling a lot more money into the games.</p><div id="res441305181">DraftKings, for instance, runs a contest every week with a $20 entry fee and a grand prize of $2 million.</div><p>&quot;It&#39;s just one of those things that, once you do it, and you&#39;re already into fantasy sports, you will get hooked immediately,&quot; says John Reidy, a sports fan from Denver. &quot;Because you get to pick something new every week &mdash; and I know that&#39;s what the commercials say, but it&#39;s really true.&quot;</p><p>For Monday Night Football, when the Minnesota Vikings played the San Francisco 49ers, Reidy had money on the line. But he wouldn&#39;t win or lose based on which team won, or by how the teams performed against the point spread.</p><p>Instead, it was about how players Reidy had drafted &mdash; including longtime Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, &quot;which I&#39;m not thrilled about,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/tags/349175960/adrian-peterson">don&#39;t really like him as a person</a>, but he&#39;s a great fantasy asset,&quot; he says &mdash; would perform versus the teams others in the competition had drafted.</p><p>Reidy was up a few points going into Monday&#39;s game, but the next-best team had 49ers running back Carlos Hyde, and could catch up if Hyde had a better game than Peterson.</p><p>Reidy: &quot;Annnnnnd I lost.&quot;</p><p>Former league MVP Peterson ran for just 31 yards, while Hyde, making his first NFL start,<a href="https://youtu.be/FbXkLCdxfP4"> got 168 yards and scored two touchdowns.</a></p><p>&quot;Very frustrating,&quot; Reidy says. &quot;But the beauty of it is that I can try again next week.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s the way these companies market themselves &mdash; instant cash, instant gratification, and a clean slate as soon as the day&#39;s or week&#39;s games are over.</p><p>It&#39;s been near-instant gratification for the companies involved too, says John Ourand with Sports Business Daily: DraftKings and FanDuel didn&#39;t even exist five years ago but so far this year have spent $500 million on TV ads.</p><p>Much of that money came from big-name investors.</p><p><img alt="FanDuel co-founder and CEO Nigel Eccles" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/17/21504221_h39349054-4b1257b990e96edebb5384559fed2aac9b9bf9ba-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: right;" title="FanDuel co-founder and CEO Nigel Eccles (Brendan McDermid/Reuters /Landov)" /></p><p>&quot;If you take a look at the list of investors in let&#39;s just say FanDuel, you have the NBA, Google Capital, you have Time-Warner, Turner Sports, NBC Sports, Comcast,&quot; Ourand says. &quot;DraftKings, if you take a look at the sponsorship deals that they&#39;ve signed with individual teams, it&#39;s Cowboys, Broncos, Patriots. And their investors are another who&#39;s who &mdash; MLB, the NHL ... Major League Soccer. ... You have big, blue-chip media companies and sports leagues that are investing in these two companies because they see a lot of potential in daily fantasy.&quot;</p><p>The windfalls from professional sports leagues and teams may seem unusual, given their long-standing opposition to legalized gambling. But the leagues know that fantasy players are more engaged than the average fan &mdash; and more willing to watch a game they otherwise might not care about, which means higher TV ratings.</p><p>And while players on FanDuel, DraftKings and other sites put up money for a chance to win a lot more, it&#39;s not considered betting &mdash; thanks to an exemption in a 2006 law regulating online gambling.</p><p>Nigel Eccles, CEO and co-founder of FanDuel, says it&#39;s a game of skill, not chance.</p><p>&quot;When Congress sat down to decide what was legal and illegal, they clearly made a distinction that fantasy sports was legal,&quot; he says.</p><p>Of course, back in 2006, fantasy sports were mostly just small-time games among friends. Today, they&#39;ve become a gigantic, still-growing industry &mdash; with a lot of money on the line.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/18/441297826/pro-leagues-embrace-a-big-payout-evolution-in-fantasy-sports?ft=nprml&amp;f=441297826"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 10:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/leagues-embrace-big-payout-evolution-fantasy-sports-112975 Chicago hosts Blind Sailing World Championships http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hosts-blind-sailing-world-championships-112915 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/edit4.jpg" title="Chicago is the backdrop for this year’s Blind Sailing World Championships. The competition pairs blind and sighted sailors to navigate a series of race courses. (WBEZ/Sean Kennedy)" />On a stormy day in Chicago, a dozen sailboats cut through the choppy waters of Lake Michigan. Their bright white sails light up the darkening sky, but its competitors are more focused on the sounds and feel of the water.</p><p>This weekend Chicago is home to the Blind Sailing World Championships. Organizers tried to fit in as many races as possible Friday to take advantage of strong, steady winds.</p><p>The competition, run out of Belmont Harbor and hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club, features 14 teams from four countries. Teams are composed of four sailors, two of whom are sighted but have limited roles. For example, a sighted tactician keeps the racers apprised of where the other boats are and what they&rsquo;re doing.</p><p>Vicki Sheen and Sharon Grennan are the visually impaired members of Team Great Britain, the defending champions.&nbsp;The competition is divided into three categories, depending on visual impairment. Competitors in Blind 1 have no vision whatsoever. Racers in Blind 2 and Blind 3 can see a limited amount or very short distances.</p><p>&ldquo;We completely rely on using our other senses,&quot; Sheen said. &quot;Using the feel of the wind on your face, or the back of your neck. You&rsquo;re very aware of the feel of the boat underneath you. You can feel from the helm when you&rsquo;ve got the boat powered up, you can feel that sweet slot when you just get that right point of sail on a beat.&rdquo;</p><p>On land, Sheen gets around with the help of a guide dog. In a boat, she&rsquo;s in control.</p><p>&ldquo;Once you&rsquo;re on the water, there&rsquo;s a massive sense of freedom,&rdquo; Sheen said.</p><p><em>Sean Kennedy is morning producer for WBEZ. Follow him on twitter at <a href="http://twitter.com/stkennedy" target="_blank">@stkennedy</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 17:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hosts-blind-sailing-world-championships-112915 Judge sides with Brady, NFL promises 'Deflategate' appeal http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-sides-brady-nfl-promises-deflategate-appeal-112820 <p><div>A judge let the air out of &quot;Deflategate&quot; Thursday, erasing New England quarterback Tom Brady&#39;s four-game suspension for a controversy the NFL claimed threatened football&#39;s integrity.&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/639445470230614018" target="_blank" title="A screenshot of the New England Patriots' official Twitter account captures the team's initial reaction to Thursday's ruling. Tom Brady is pictured cheering. (via Twitter)"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tweet.PNG" title="A screenshot of the New England Patriots' official Twitter account captures the team's initial reaction to Thursday's ruling. Tom Brady is pictured cheering. (via Twitter)" /></a></div></div></div><div>NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league will appeal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman criticized Goodell for dispensing &quot;his own brand of industrial justice.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Berman said Goodell went too far in affirming punishment of the Super Bowl winning quarterback. Brady has insisted he played no role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at last season&#39;s AFC championship game.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The suspension was &quot;premised upon several significant legal deficiencies&quot; including the failure to notify Brady of potential penalties, Berman wrote in his opinion, noting that an arbitrator&#39;s factual findings are generally not open to judicial challenge.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Because there was no notice of a four-game suspension in the circumstances presented here, Commissioner Goodell may be said to have &#39;dispensed his own brand of industrial justice,&#39;&quot; Berman wrote, partially citing wording from a previous case.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://nflcommunications.com/2015/09/03/statement-from-commissioner-goodell/" target="_blank">In a statement, Goodell said he will appeal the ruling</a> &quot;to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He called the need to secure the game&#39;s competitive fairness &quot;a paramount principle.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a statement, the union&#39;s executive director, DeMaurice Smith, said the ruling proves that the contract with the NFL doesn&#39;t grant Goodell &quot;the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We are happy for the victory of the rule of law for our players and our fans,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The judge said Brady had no notice of his possible suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate football and for not cooperating with an investigation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Brady also had no notice that his discipline would be the equivalent of the discipline imposed upon a player who used performance-enhancing drugs,&quot; Berman said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Brady was also denied equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes, and didn&#39;t have a chance to examine one of two lead investigators, the judge said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The written decision frees Brady to prepare for the Sept. 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_542048654980.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 781px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="This image of the first page of a court document released by the U.S. District Court Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, shows Judge Richard M. Berman's decision to overturn NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady. (U.S. District Court of New York via AP)" /></div><div>The ruling was a surprise to some legal experts who believed Berman was merely pressuring the league to settle when he criticized its handling of the investigation and discipline over the last eight months.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The league brought the scandal to Berman&#39;s Manhattan courtroom immediately once Goodell upheld Brady&#39;s four-game suspension, blasting the quarterback for arranging the destruction of his cell phone and its nearly 10,000 messages just before he was interviewed for the NFL probe. The union countersued, said Brady did nothing wrong and asked the judge to nullify the suspension.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While the league investigation found it was &quot;more probable than not&quot; that two Patriots ball handling employees deliberately released air from Patriots game balls at January&#39;s 45-7 New England victory over the Indianapolis Colts, it cited no direct evidence that Brady knew about or authorized it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Goodell, though, went beyond the initial investigation report, finding in late July as a result of testimony from Brady and others that the quarterback conspired with the ball handlers and tried to obstruct the league&#39;s probe, including by destroying his cell phone.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The commissioner said he concluded Brady &quot;knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards&quot; to ensure balls were deflated.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Berman attacked the league while questioning one of its lawyers at two hearings, citing a lack of proof against Brady and asking how Goodell settled on a four-game suspension instead of other discipline.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He warned the league that he had the authority to overturn its punishment of Brady if he found the NFL acted unfairly by refusing to deliver NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash as a witness even though he worked on the NFL investigation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Berman had repeatedly urged both sides to settle and tone down their rhetoric. At a hearing Monday attended by Brady and Goodell, the judge announced that both sides had &quot;tried quite hard&quot; to reach a deal in morning talks. But the case was left for him to decide.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&mdash;<a href="http://pro32.ap.org/article/judge-lets-brady-play-ruling-against-nfl-deflategate" target="_blank"> <em>via The Associated Press</em></a></div></p> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 11:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-sides-brady-nfl-promises-deflategate-appeal-112820 Board dismisses ruling to allow college athletes to unionize http://www.wbez.org/news/board-dismisses-ruling-allow-college-athletes-unionize-112669 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/NU NLRB Kain Colter.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The National Labor Relations Board on Monday threw out a historic ruling that gave Northwestern University football players the go-ahead to form the nation&#39;s first college athletes&#39; union, saying the prospect of union and nonunion teams could throw off the competitive balance in college football.</p><p>The decision dismissed a March 2014 decision by a regional NLRB director in Chicago who said that the football players are effectively school employees and entitled to organize. Monday&#39;s decision did not directly address the question of whether the players are employees.</p><p>&quot;Although we do not decide the issue here, we acknowledge that whether such individuals meet the board&#39;s test for employee status is a question that does not have an obvious answer,&quot; the NLRB said.</p><p>The labor dispute goes to the heart of American college sports, where universities and conferences reap billions of dollars, mostly through broadcast contracts, by relying on amateurs who are not paid. In other countries, college sports are small-time club affairs, while elite youth athletes often turn pro as teens.</p><p>The unanimous ruling by the five-member National Labor Relations Board concludes that letting Northwestern football players unionize could lead to different standards at different schools &mdash; from the amount of money players receive to the amount of time they can practice. That would, it says, create the competitive imbalances.</p><p>The ruling applies to private schools like Northwestern, which is a member of the powerful Big Ten Conference. Public universities do not fall under the agency&#39;s jurisdiction, though union activists have said they hope Northwestern&#39;s example inspires unionization campaigns by athletes at state schools.</p><p>Northwestern became the focal point of the labor fight in January 2014, when a handful of football players called the NCAA a &quot;dictatorship&quot; and announced plans to form the first U.S. labor union for college athletes. Quarterback Kain Colter detailed the College Athletes Players Association at a news conference, flanked by leaders of the United Steelworkers union that has lent its organizing expertise and presumably will help bankroll the court fight.</p><p>Regional NLRB Director Peter Sung Ohr issued a stunning decision three months later, saying Northwestern football players who receive scholarships fit the definition of employees under federal law and therefore should be able to unionize. A month later, football players cast secret ballots on whether to unionize. Those ballots were sealed during the appeal and will now be destroyed.</p><p>Former Northwestern receiver Kyle Prater said he voted against the union proposal, saying that he and his teammates were well treated during their college years.</p><p>But, Prater, who now plays for the New Orleans Saints, said he still feels there are &quot;some things as far as the NCAA that need to be more structured. And I think by what we did, our voice out there really helped get things going forward.&quot;</p><p>He spoke Saturday from the team&#39;s training camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.</p><p>Monday&#39;s seven-page ruling cites federal law and contends that unionized football players at Northwestern would not promote the &quot;uniformity&quot; and &quot;stability&quot; between workers and management that it says is the goal of U.S. labor relations law.</p><p>While NLRB decisions are sometimes split, the three Democrats and two Republicans on the board all agreed.</p><p>Under U.S. law, an employee is regarded as someone who, among other things, receives compensation for a service and is under the direct control of managers. In Northwestern&#39;s case, Ohr concluded coaches are equivalent to business managers and scholarships are a form of pay.</p><p>The ruling was welcome news for the NCAA, the dominant umbrella organization for U.S. college athletics. The NCAA has been under increasing scrutiny over its amateurism rules and has been in court fighting lawsuits from former athletes over everything from head injuries to revenue earned based on the use of their likenesses in video games.</p><p>The NCAA recently cleared the way for the five biggest conferences, including the Big Ten, to add player stipends to help athletes defray some of their expenses. Southeastern Conference schools, for example, will give some athletes $3,000 to $5,500 each on top of a scholarship that pays for tuition, room, board and books.</p><p>Northwestern, the Big Ten and the NCAA all argued against the unionization effort, saying that lumping college athletes into the same category as factory workers would transform amateur athletics for the worse. At one point, Northwestern administrators sent a document to players outlining potential pitfalls, noting that player strikes could lead to the spectacle of replacement players.</p><p>The specific goals of the players association, or CAPA, include guaranteeing coverage of sports-related medical expenses for current and former players, reducing head injuries.</p></p> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/board-dismisses-ruling-allow-college-athletes-unionize-112669 Little Village residents fight for fieldhouse http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/little-village-residents-fight-fieldhouse-112342 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Fieldhouse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-3a786971-6a9e-ed11-1a7a-ade17383bb92">When Froy Marchán was growing up in the working-class neighborhood of Little Village, public amenities were few and far in between.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Growing up I never had a park. We would just make teams and play on the cement,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">That changed back in December when the new <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/la-villita-park/">La Villita Park</a> was built next door to the Cook County Jail, only a 5-minute walk from Marchan&rsquo;s house. But despite the progress, he says the park is missing something &mdash; a fieldhouse with a pool.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I know for myself, I didn&rsquo;t learn how to swim until I was 18,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Viviana Moreno agrees that a fieldhouse would bring all sorts of needed programming to the area.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;An indoor pool on this side of the neighborhood, a gym, probably an indoor soccer field, a garden, a space for seniors, meeting rooms,&rdquo; said Moreno, an organizer with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). &ldquo;Just places where people can just gather without being considered loitering.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">LVEJO led the effort to build the current park.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The park is amazing and beautiful and it&rsquo;s being highly utilized by community members, but we still need access to a space during the winter, we still need more resources in the community,&rdquo; Moreno said.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/">On its website</a>, the Chicago Park District invites residents to check out the nearest fieldhouse two miles away at <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Piotrowski-Park/">Piotrowski Park</a>. But according to Marchan, that&rsquo;s not an option.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/2011.pdf">Gang lines have split the neighborhood</a> in such a way that, for decades, only kids living on the west side of Little Village could safely access Piotrowski Park. Marchan says he and his friends don&rsquo;t want to walk from the Latin Kings&rsquo; side into Two-Six territory.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not that easy to go and just have an enjoyable time at Piotrowski Park,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Some of them are afraid of the consequences that might come with being asked where you&rsquo;re from or running the risk of being hurt.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The next closest fieldhouse is in <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Douglas-Park/">Douglas Park</a>. But many youth don&rsquo;t want to cross the viaduct into North Lawndale for the same reasons. Plus, there can be racial tensions.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s one of the reasons 12th ward Alderman George Cardenas was a proud early backer of La Villita Park.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But now stage two comes in where we have to fight for the fieldhouse,&rdquo; Cardenas said. &ldquo;And I even told LVEJO: Get ready because I want to get the fieldhouse, but I need your support.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The alderman says he&rsquo;s determined to find the $16 million dollars for it. In the meantime, LVEJO is holding community meetings and collecting petition signatures.</p><p dir="ltr">A Park District spokeswoman said the size and design of a park determines the viability of a fieldhouse. In a written statement, she added: &ldquo;The Park District is committed to working with residents and elected officials to continually improve and enhance our parks. Should additional funding become available in the future, we would certainly consider adding a field house to this 22-acre park.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Organizers point to Ping Tom Park in Chinatown as a model. It&rsquo;s smaller than La Villita Park and equally narrow, but in 2013 they built an athletic fieldhouse for $15 million dollars that came from TIF and Park District sources.</p><p dir="ltr">Marchan says beyond the indoor programming a fieldhouse could help curb gang violence in his community.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Having that available to our youth and myself, I think it would mean the world.&rdquo;</p><p><br /><em>Jacqueline Serrato is a WBEZ Pritzker Journalism fellow. Follow her @HechaEnChicago.</em></p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/little-village-residents-fight-fieldhouse-112342