NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a pre-Super Bowl XLIX NFL football news conference, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)PHOENIX (AP) — Domestic violence. Questionable discipline. Player safety. Confusing officiating. Deflated footballs.The disturbing headlines that began last February never slowed down for the NFL this season. The problems — most of them made worse by the ineffectual handling — mushroomed into an imperfect storm that hurt the league’s credibility and turned the lead-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl into a time for damage control, not celebration.“It never ceases,” said Orin Starn, a Duke professor who studies sports in society. “It was one crisis and PR challenge after another and I didn’t envy Roger Goodell at all.”At the commissioner’s contentious news conference Friday — Goodell fielded one question about whether he thought he should be fired and another about taking a pay cut — he was hit with a barrage of questions that spoke to the wide range of problems that punctured the league’s integrity, though not its popularity.“On the one hand, you’ve got a league that’s never been more profitable, never been more popular,” agent Leigh Steinberg said. “On the other hand, there was less-than-deft handling and anticipation of some major issues that have hit the third rail. They’ve transcended the hardcore football fans to become household issues.”It’s a tribute to America’s obsession with football that what feels like a trivial tale about flatter-than-normal footballs hasn’t abated as the week’s top story, even with a looming matchup between New England and Seattle. The Patriots were accused of providing under-inflated footballs for their AFC championship win, and an investigation will be concluded after the title game. That was the lead story on all three major-network news broadcasts one evening.Another story that won’t end: Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s refusal to play nice with the media and the NFL’s uncertainty about how, or whether, to enforce rules that compel players to do interviews.“I did 35 radio interviews this week,” Steinberg said. “That’s all anyone wanted to talk about.”But it’s issues such as Deflategate, the confusing rules and the competence of the NFL’s officials that could damage the league most.There’s a general assumption, Steinberg said, “that the contests are performed with equal rules, equal officiating and the games turn on coaching and players who play on the field.“Any suggestion that something else is happening, that there may be cheating or unfair enforcement, is an existential threat to the NFL,” he said.The domestic violence crisis that exploded when Ray Rice — the former Baltimore Ravens running back — punched his fiancée and Adrian Peterson — the Minnesota Vikings star — whipped his son with a tree branch has been treated mostly in general terms this week.Goodell used the words “domestic violence” only once during his nearly 50-minute news conference, instead referring to it more than once as part of a set of “complex issues.”Domestic violence accusations against players garnered as much attention for the NFL’s handling of them — most notably, Rice’s two-game suspension that was made indefinite when video of the punch surfaced, then overturned by an arbitrator — as the charges themselves.That doesn’t thrill people on the front lines in fighting domestic abuse, though they do give the NFL credit for pumping money into increasing awareness. The NFL is footing the bill for a 30-second public-service announcement during the Super Bowl (half-minute spots are selling for around $4.5 million) about domestic violence that will reach tens of millions.“I’d call it the first step of the NFL taking this conversation to the next level,” said Ruth Glenn, the executive director for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.Neither the domestic violence crisis, nor the ongoing murder trial of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, nor any other off-field issue deterred fans or sponsors — who foot much of the bill for a $9 billion business that Goodell hopes to grow by more than double over the next decade. NFL games accounted for 45 of the 50 most-watched shows from Labor Day to the end of 2014. The Super Bowl, as always, is a near lock to be among the most-watched programs of all time.It’s not guaranteed to last forever, said George Daly, a Georgetown professor of management who consulted the NFL decades ago.“All these things are risky,” Daly said. “If you look back to, say, 1950, the NFL title game brought in less money than the Rose Bowl. Things can change.”The health and safety of the league’s players poses another long-term threat. While the NFL used the week to tout a 25-percent decrease in concussions recorded this season, another study spelling out the dangers football presents to children made headlines, as well. So did an Associated Press report detailing flaws in about three-fifths of state youth concussion laws passed in all 50 states since 2009 at the urging of the league.News about overuse of painkillers, the league’s implementation of a human growth hormone testing program that isn’t as effective as it could be and the efficacy of the league’s penalties for marijuana also made headlines.All this comes against the backdrop of lawsuits. Most notably, the NFL is waiting for final resolution of a lawsuit by former players who accused the league of hiding what it knew about brain injuries so they would stay on the field. The proposed settlement is worth an estimated $1 billion.It’s money the league can afford.But this season exposed some unseemly chinks in the NFL’s armor —forcing leaders to rethink the way they do business. Already, they’ve revamped their investigative process, are considering changes among their officiating crews and announced they’ll hire a new chief medical officer.“They have to look and say, ‘What are the threats and what are the opportunities?’” Daly said. “From what I see, there are real threats out there.”___Follow Eddie Pells on Twitter at http://twitter.com/epels___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
By RUSSELL BENNETT ELLINBANK AND DISTRICT FOOTBALL LEAGUE PREVIEW – PRELIMINARY FINAL WEST DIVISION KOOWEERUP v GARFIELD Preliminary Final –…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
“Hope is a necessity for normal life and the majorweapon against the suicide impulse.”– Karl A. MenningerThe past couple days, after the passing of Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, my newsfeed has been inundated with articles about the him in the period leading up to this death and reactions from his family, his band-mates and fans in the most excruciating detail. This forced me to reflect not just about the individual Bennington and his own ruminations about suicide, but also brought into focus for me, the unhealthy way that the media – social and traditional – tend to report on suicide.Right here at home in Guyana, we seem to excel at ticking off all of the boxes of what not to do when covering a story about someone who became desperate enough to take their own life. The papers seem to revel in peppering the word “suicide” in the pieces as often as possible in a conscious effort to make the report as sensational as possible. They really do love that “star-crossed lovers” angle.A while back I was reading about the “Werther Effect”. The “Werther effect” refers to the important role played by imitation of suicidal behaviours, when such stories are publicized or described in fact or fiction: otherwise called “Copycat Suicides.” Back in 1774, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the towering German literary figure, published his book, “The Sorrows of Young Werther.” “Werther Fever” spread throughout Europe after the book was published, with young men dressing up like Werther.And it went beyond dressing up. Reputedly, some of them committed suicide in a similar manner to the protagonist, giving rise to some of the earliest examples of copycat suicides. I certainly wouldn’t say that Goethe’s book or reports of suicides in the media cause persons to commit suicide; but when these suicides are so heavily covered, when so many details of their lives are published, it makes it easier for someone else to identify with that person.And if that reader is already in a state where they were vulnerable or predisposed to taking their life, hearing about someone with similar problems choosing to end their own life, may present suicide as an appropriate option. Many countries have national journalism codes regarding the coverage of suicide.In the absence of these, reporters are expected to follow the sort of guidelines of the World Health Organization and other public health bodies for coverage of suicide. They’re expected to use extreme restraint in covering these death: keep the word “suicide” out of the headline, don’t romanticize the death, and limit the number of stories. Instead of playing up the sensational aspects of the suicide, maybe there could be more focus on presenting non-suicide alternatives – the “Papageno Effect.” Eponymously named after a character from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”, Papageno, who was contemplating suicide until other characters showed him a different way to resolve his problems.Here and elsewhere we really should try to have that protective effect instead of glamorizing or romanticizing suicides. We really should be doing our best to emphasize the importance of mental health and the importance of having honest conversations about these very real issues.We need to move away from being a culture that labels persons suffering from mental illnesses as ‘mad people’ and call a psychiatric hospital ‘Berbice Madhouse’. Be observant, be supportive. Sometimes it might be something, sometimes it might be nothing, but there at least needs to be a conversation.
AUTOMAKERS: New models help GM, Honda and Nissan. Overall figures fall 3 percent. By Dee-Ann Durbin THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DETROIT – September brought new challenges for the U.S. auto industry, from a housing market slump to a strike against General Motors Corp., but in the end it came down to the same old story: The company with the freshest products wins. Ford also was hurt by a 62 percent reduction in sales to rental car companies. George Pipas, Ford’s top sales analyst, said Ford is on track to cut sales to daily rental fleets by more than its original goal of 30 percent this year, or 135,000 vehicles. All of the domestic automakers have been trying to cut back on rental sales, which can hurt brand image and profits. Pipas said Ford’s retail sales – or sales excluding those to rental and other fleets – were down by 15 percent. That was bad news for the automaker, which hasn’t seen a monthly sales increase since October 2006, according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank. But Pipas said Ford is meeting its goal of stabilizing U.S. market share, which has held steady at around 13 percent for most of 2007. The company also saw some success with its Lincoln brand, which saw sales spike 33 percent thanks to the MKZ crossover. Toyota posted a rare 4 percent decline but still outpaced Ford for the month and for the January-September period, continuing its drive to replace Ford as the nation’s No. 2 automaker in sales after GM. Toyota had sold 28,654 more vehicles than Ford as of Sept. 30. Toyota’s decline compared with September 2006 was led by its trucks, which were off 6 percent. Car sales were down 4 percent, the company reported, but it said the figures were compared with a best-ever September 2006. Toprak said Toyota can’t sustain the kinds of double-digit increases it had been seeing. “They’re suffering from their own success,” he said. GM’s sales were flat for the month. Car sales were down 4 percent while truck sales were up 4 percent on the strength of the Chevrolet Silverado and other new pickups. GM also got a boost from new crossovers like the Buick Enclave and the new Cadillac CTS sedan, which posted a 73 percent sales increase for the month. Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. sales rose more than 9 percent, with car sales up 7 percent and truck sales up 13 percent. The new Accord sedan and CR-V crossover vehicle fueled the increase, the company said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! General Motors, Honda and Nissan bucked the general weakness in the market with new vehicles that hit the showrooms running. By contrast, Ford Motor Co.’s sales plunged 21 percent, while Toyota Motor Corp. and Chrysler LLC also reported losses Tuesday. Overall sales were down 3 percent for the month, according to Autodata Corp. Jesse Toprak, the chief economist for the auto research site Edmunds.com, said the companies that did well in September had well-designed, attractively priced products while others didn’t spend enough on incentives to move their older products. Toprak said that was part of the problem for Ford. GM and Toyota have new pickups, and Chrysler spent an estimated $6,386 per vehicle on the Dodge Ram pickup. Ford failed to match that incentive level for its aging F-150, so sales fell 21 percent. “Ford is trying really hard to hold the line on incentive spending, and in some vehicle categories in very competitive market environments, that might be holding them back a little bit,” Toprak said.
DISCLAIMER: ‘Like Arsenal in the Champions League, this is just a joke’Arsene Wenger is set to sign a new contract extension to remain as Arsenal manager forever, as reward for the club’s remarkable consistency in recent seasons.The Gunners have qualified for the Champions League for the past 19 years under the Frenchman’s management and have never failed to be knocked out of the competition.After a turbulent period where the club was eliminated in quarter-finals, a semi-final and once came dangerously close to winning the trophy, Wenger managed to steady the ship.Now the Frenchman is now on the brink of achieving an unprecedented seventh straight last 16 exit.“People talk about Real Madrid as the benchmark in European football,”” said club spokesman Gunnersaurus. “But Arsene is on the brink of overtaking Madrid’s incredible Champions League record.“Madrid were only knocked out six seasons in a row at the last 16 stage (2005-2010), yet here we are about to eclipse that feat.”But some Arsenal fans have reacted angrily to the news Wenger’s contract will be extended.“Fam, blud, yer get me?” complained one irate Gooner on YouTube channel, Arsenal Fam TV.Wenger, however, maintains belief in his team. Speaking after Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat away to Bayern Munich, the Gunners boss said: “I believe we have character and mental strength in the team.“OK, the character is Mickey Mouse and the mental strength is that of a goldfish, but I believe in the second leg we will do all will can to achieve a pointless 2-1 win.“At the moment, everybody questions us, yet the fact is we are definitely closer to the final this year.“Last season it was in Italy, but this time it will be in Wales and I might even be able to get a ticket.“And no matter how embarrassing we are, you know we always finish above Spurs.” Arsene Wenger: Already planning ahead to next season’s last 16 exit 1
Solskjaer is keen to strengthen his Manchester United squad this summer Getty Lewandowski – the Bundesliga golden boot for the second year running – has reportedly stalled new contract talks at Bayern targets targets Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? United struggled for a regular source of goals this season, with Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford both failing to reach the 20 mark. Their top scorer all season was midfielder Paul Pogba, who netted 19 times in all competitions.And treble-winning former striker Cole – now an ambassador for the club – believes a new frontman will be high on United’s list.Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and former Celtic star Moussa Dembele have all been linked with a move to Old Trafford ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window.Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White, Cole said: “Manchester United have always been a club that will buy centre-forwards, that’s the tradition of the club. Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star REVEALED 2 Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland IN DEMAND 2 Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ LIVING THE DREAM Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father moving on LATEST TRANSFER GOSSIP Towards the end of the campaign, the manager issued a warning to his squad, telling the press: “There’s a chance you’ve seen the last of some players. We weren’t good enough… the table seldom lies.”The Norwegian has also been open about the type of players he will target this summer, saying he wants to ‘set the culture right’ at Old Trafford after a roller-coaster season on and off the pitch and, if gossip is to believed, inside the dressing room. “I can’t see that changing, because they’ve already spent big money on centre-forwards.“Will they add another one? Most probably they will, because to win the championship, to win anything you need to score goals and you need as many goals you can get in the team.“So it wouldn’t surprise me if they bought another centre forward.”Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Andy Cole IN FULL above LATEST Getty Manchester United legend Andy Cole expects the club to sign another top striker this summer.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted he will begin a huge rebuilding job at Old Trafford this summer after the Red Devils’ disappointing season.United missed out on Champions League football as they finished sixth in the Premier League table – a full 32 points behind champions Manchester City. TOP WORK Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January
Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Tottenham line up bid for West Ham star who was labelled a ‘monster’ by Mourinho Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? “I did not get any more games and wanted to go back to Germany because I felt very comfortable there.“But the coach has always encouraged me. He was the right coach for me in this situation.“I said I’d like to leave the club, but he really wanted me to do well at Tottenham. He gave me new self-confidence.“The talks went so well that at some point I pushed aside my thoughts of change.” LATEST TRANSFER NEWS moving on targets three-way race Chelsea confident of beating Man United and Liverpool to Sancho signing GOSSIP target However, he initially struggled to justify his price tag amid problems with the pace of the Premier League.“The Premier League is different,” Son told Goal.“I do not want to compare this with the Bundesliga, because the Bundesliga has great quality, but in the Premier League everything goes faster and is much more physical.“At the beginning I played and also scored some goals. Unfortunately, I injured myself and it was difficult to find a connection to the team again. Heung-min Son admits his difficult start to life at Tottenham left him desperate to return to Germany, before Mauricio Pochettino persuaded him to stay.The South Korea international became the most expensive Asian player of all time when he joined Spurs for £22million from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015. Man United ‘miss out’ on Minamino, West Ham scout Flamengo strikers, Auba wants out Son has become one of Tottenham’s star players LATEST 1 Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father AFP or licensors LIVING THE DREAM TOP WORK Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer
“We have a very hard-working coaching team, he will look into everything and different strategies. “Obviously there have been a few soft tries but there’s nothing wrong with the system, it’s just guys making sure they are making those smart decisions under pressure. “Obviously at 33-3 up before 60 minutes, we were really positive. But then that last 15 minutes, with the yellow card, they got a lot of possession. For us it hits home that if you don’t get things right, teams will expose you. “A few decisions in defence, perhaps a bit of energy lacking, meant it was a disappointing last ten minutes certainly but we are aware of where our standards need to be to avoid that happening in other games.” The next test of Scotland’s hopes of success in the Six Nations comes on Saturday when Ireland come to Murrayfield off the back of an opening weekend 32-20 defeat to England. Blair said that he didn’t think a loss at home was going to affect the Irish players this weekend.“I don’t think it’s going to be any different because they lost,” he said. “Ireland are a quality team, one of the top teams in the world. “Joe Schmidt is an incredibly intelligent coach along with Andy Farrell as well. We expect a big showing from them, not just because they lost their game, it’s something we would have been expecting anyway. We know we need to be right at the top of our game to give them a game.” Scotland assistant coach Mike Blair has said that there’s no need for serious concern about the team’s defensive system despite a late slump against Italy on Saturday.The national team were on course for a bonus point win before Simon Berghan was sin-binned and Italy scored three tries in the final ten minutes.Blair conceded that the 33-20 scoreline meant there was real room for improvement but he didn’t feel that the system had to be torn up. “There’s not a concern,” Blair said. “Matt Taylor does a fantastic job with the guys, he leaves no stone unturned.
14 October 2013 South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was on Saturday evening named sub-Saharan Africa’s Finance Minister of the Year by Emerging Markets, a website that provides news and analysis on international economics and global financial markets. “The prudent fiscal policy led by Pravin Gordhan, who became finance minister in 2009 at the height of the global economic crisis, has been praised by analysts, especially since South Africa is more exposed than other emerging markets to dangers stemming from an eventual pullback of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve,” read the citation by Emerging Markets. In his acceptance speech in Washington, DC, where he has been attending the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gordhan thanked Emerging Markets for its recognition of South Africa and its economic team, which has kept the South African economy on track during a very difficult time. “Together with our Nigerian and other colleagues, we hope to make Africa a much greater economy.” Gordhan was critical of the sudden change in the narrative on emerging markets, which until the second quarter of this year were praised for managing their economies very well, contributing more than 50% to global economic growth, and for lifting large numbers of people above the poverty line. “Three months later, we are apparently fragile and we are terrible managers of our economies. We, the emerging markets, are here to stay. We live in an interconnected world, and more importantly, we live in an interdependent world. There is no decoupling from you, the advanced economies, and there is no decoupling from us, the emerging markets,” Gordhan said. In his address at the 28th International Monetary and Financial Committee meeting, Gordhan warned that while stronger economic activity in advanced economies would have a positive impact on global growth, it would also have negative spill-over effects on emerging market and developing countries. “Going forward, downside risks remain elevated. In the euro area, recent indicators point towards a re-emergence from the recession, but with its weak banks and high sovereign debt, the euro area remains fragile and vulnerable to sharp shifts in sentiment,” Gordhan said. “The United States has seen several quarters of relatively strong economic activity, and this had a positive impact on global growth. At the same time, however, uncertainty regarding the unwinding of unconventional monetary policies and the threat of potentially devastating budgetary challenges continue to pose serious risks to the global economy.” Source: SAnews.gov.za