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Goodell Wants to Hear Directly from Brady in Appeal

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to reporters during the NFL's spring meetings in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to reporters during the NFL’s spring meetings in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday it’s his responsibility to hear directly from New England quarterback Tom Brady in his appeal of his four-game suspension in the deflated footballs case.

Goodell said he has not had time to study a request from the players’ union that he recuse himself from the appeal because he has been focused on the spring owners meetings that concluded Wednesday.

He said he would study the request when he returned to New York but added that unless there is a factor that he is unaware of he will likely hear the case.

“It’s my job here to make sure we’re doing everything to protect the integrity of the game, protect our policies, protect our procedures,” Goodell said. “We have a process that has been negotiated with the union that has been in place for decades. It’s my responsibility and it’s something that we’ve had in place for a long time.”

Goodell said no date has been set for the appeal.

The CBA reached in 2011 to end the lockout gave Goodell the right to hear the appeal; only the commissioner can punish players for conduct detrimental to the league. But the NFL Players Association claims if he delegates his authority to discipline players, it’s invalid, and if he handles it himself, he is no longer impartial.

When NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent suspended Brady for the first four games of the 2015 season, he cited Brady’s lack of cooperation in refusing to turn over his cellphone records as one of the reasons for the hefty punishment.

Goodell said he is open to seeing those records during the appeal and that could play a role in a possible reduction of the suspension for Brady’s role in the use of underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I look forward to hearing directly from Tom if there’s new information or information that can be helpful to us in getting this right,” Goodell said. “I want to hear directly from Tom in that.”

A four-time Super Bowl champion and the face of the most successful NFL franchise of this century, Brady was found in the investigation conducted by attorney Ted Wells — who was hired by the league — to be “at least generally aware” of a scheme to illegally deflate footballs used in the conference title game.

Goodell said it is difficult to suspend anyone but that the integrity of the league is paramount.

“I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady,” he said. “But the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis and they apply to everybody. They apply to every club, every individual coach and every player.”

Vincent also fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks, a first-rounder next year and a fourth in 2017.

New England owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday he will not appeal the team’s penalty and declined to comment further on the case Wednesday before leaving the meetings. Goodell said that decision will have no impact on Brady’s appeal.

“The decision that Robert made was his decision,” Goodell said. “I admire and respect Robert. We’ve had plenty of discussions over the last couple of weeks. This was his initiative, something he wanted to do and I certainly admire the step he took. We may disagree on things. It’s not unusual when that happens.”

Goodell also said there was discussion at these meetings about changing the procedures for how footballs are handled before games but expects some new rules to be in place for the upcoming season.

“It’s something important that the chain of custody and everything is watched really closely going forward,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said.

Irsay declined to comment on Kraft’s decision not to appeal or the punishments handed down by the league. He said the game Oct. 18 between the teams, which could be Brady’s first game back if the suspension is not reduced, will be a “huge, huge game.”

“We’ve enjoyed the rivalry,” Irsay said. “We’ve had some of the greatest games together. We really look forward to the game this year and hope there’s more than one.”

___

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Black History

IN MEMORIAM: Referee Jim Burch Got the Final Whistle in The Game

Jim Burch was also inducted into eight different halls of fame, including the CIAA John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame (February 2019). To recognize the hard work of student athletes who exemplify the qualities of academic excellence, involvement in public service, and love of athletic competition, Burch established the James T. Burch Scholarship.

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jim burch
Jim Burch

By Tamara Shiloh

Created in 1953, the Atlantic Coast Conference, an athletic conference headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., quickly rose to prominence. Within 13 years, the university and college teams in its membership had a number of victories to its credit. North Carolina State University won the first three championships, and the conference was getting heavy exposure outside of the region. Several ACC teams went to the Final Four of the NCAA’s basketball championships. In North Carolina, Duke University took four titles, Wake Forest University took two and University of North Carolina had one victory as did the University of Maryland.

Life inside the ACC could not have been better, except for one minor but not overlooked detail: there were no Black players or officials.

But Jim Burch (1926–2019), who began his officiating career with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1959, would become the first, signing on with the ACC in 1969. His debut, however, was delayed for a season because “he reportedly refused to cut his hair and sideburns.”

A Raleigh, N.C., native raised in Larchmont, N.Y., Burch was a 1949 graduate of North Carolina’s Fayetteville State University. There he was a two-sport athlete – football and baseball – having large dreams.

Burch “talked about sitting in the ‘colored’ section of Reynolds Coliseum watching games, telling his friends that he was going to be on that court someday,” ACC referee Jamie Luckie told ESPN in 2019 referring to the sports complex in Raleigh, N.C. “They said he was crazy, and sure enough, he was on that court one day.”

Burch never made a big deal out of the historic mark, although many would benefit from his humility. He would train and mentor hundreds of officials over the years. In fact, it was Burch who gave Luckie his start in refereeing.

Throughout his 60-year career, Burch officiated in the CIAA, ACC, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and Southern Conference. He also worked 14 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments and was an educator and administrator within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District.

Working as an educator made Burch “an unbelievable teacher of the game in terms of what he wanted us to do on the floor, how he wanted us to deal with coaches, how he wanted us to communicate, and just his delivery and style was one where he could get it across to you, but he was a teacher. That never stopped,” Luckie said.

Burch continued to make monumental achievements as well as give back.

Many of those he trained moved into CIAA, ACC, Southern Conference, and NCAA championship careers. He was twice featured in the NCAA Champions Magazine, served on numerous civic boards, and was the first African American to serve on the Charlotte Housing Authority board.

Burch was also inducted into eight different halls of fame, including the CIAA John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame (February 2019).

To recognize the hard work of student athletes who exemplify the qualities of academic excellence, involvement in public service, and love of athletic competition, Burch established the James T. Burch Scholarship.

Before retiring in 2018, he served as the head coordinator of officials for the South Atlantic Conference and the CIAA.

Burch died at his home in North Carolina in 2019 at the age of 91.

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Bay Area

Skyline High Girls Volleyball Team Makes History

The team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match.

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The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team
The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team.

As the season comes to a close for the Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team, the members are celebrating that they went farther than any Skyline or OUSD/OAL volleyball team ever has. On the final day, November 19, the team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match. Skyline fell short 3 games to 1, coming in as runner-up. The photo above shows the team posing with their trophy after the match.

 

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Commentary

OPINION: Would You Pressure Your Kid’s Coach to Apologize for Winning by 106-0?

“Regarding Inglewood H.S. vs. Morningside H.S. Friday night 10/29 game, we at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the IUSD stamen read. “We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”

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Inglewood Football Coach Mil’Von James (Nick Koza/Photo)
Inglewood Football Coach Mil’Von James (Nick Koza/Photo)

By Kenneth Miller | Inglewood Today

Coaches push the athletes they train to put their all into mastering the mental and physical aspects of their sport, preparing them to edge out competitors and perform at the height of their abilities.

But there are real-life situations, it seems, when attaining excellence proves to be too much – or maybe just not good enough.

This seems to have been the case October 29 when an impressive shut-out victory for Inglewood High School in Los Angeles County ended up turning into a bitter crosstown game of guilt, blame and grievances. That day, Inglewood High football coach and former Cleveland Browns defensive back Mil’Von James led his team to a 106-0 victory over rivals Morningside High School.

Since that shellacking, education authorities have blasted James and Inglewood High for being too focused on winning that they failed to exhibit a spirit of compassion and sportsmanship.

The California Interscholastic Federation -Southern Section (CIFSS), the governing body of high school athletics in the state, released a scathing statement regarding the wide margin of the game’s final score.

“The CIF Southern Section expects that all athletic contests are to be conducted under the strictest code of good sportsmanship. “We expect coaches, players, officials, administrators and students to adhere to the Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship,” CIF-SS fired off in a statement.

“A score of 106-0 does not represent these ideals,” the statement continued. “The CIF-SS condemns, in the strongest terms, results such as these. It is our expectation that the Inglewood administration will work towards putting in place an action plan so that an event such as this does not repeat itself.”

James, 38, said it was not his intention to degrade or demoralize the Morningside High team.

“I apologized for the way things turned out,” James said even though, during the game, he benched his defensive starters after the second quarter and most of his other frontline players in the second half.

But Inglewood continued to run up the score on its hapless opponent.

Anyone who knows James personally would know – and can attest to the fact — that his intent was never to bring shame to the game that he loves.

Coaches like James who have played college and pro football understand the fierce competitiveness it requires for young people to succeed when pursuing careers as professional athletes. They train their students to be warriors, to dominate their opponents. Varsity sports is the highest level of competition in high school.

Today, the advancement of training techniques and year-round coaching and development increases the likelihood that schools with the resources will outperform schools with sports programs that are underfunded or under-supported.

Since he became coach at Inglewood High three seasons ago, James has taken the team from a losing streak to being nearly undefeated. During that time, the team has moved from CIF-SS Division 13 to Division 2.

Inglewood student athletes have advantages in coaching and preparation that Morningside and many other schools do not.

James was a star on the football squad at Fremont High School in Los Angeles where he graduated in 2003. In college, he first played for the UNLV Rebels where he led the nation in passes; before transferring to UCLA and playing for the Bruins from 2003-2005.

After brief stints in the NFL and the Canadian Football League on the roster for the Cleveland Browns and the Vancouver Lions respectively, James began coaching high school football.

He is the founder and director of one of most successful ‘7 on 7’ leagues in the nation, responsible for scores of future and current high school, collegiate and professional players.

Chances are, if you have observed any top football program in California, you have you witnessed his impact on young players, their development and their unmatched leadership skills – on the field and off it.

The Inglewood Unified School District also blasted James and Inglewood High.

“Regarding Inglewood H.S. vs. Morningside H.S. Friday night 10/29 game, we at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the IUSD stamen read. “We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”

High school sports, in many schools, is a training ground for college and pro athletes. Schools that have better resources will always have an edge.

It is unfortunate that this incident has placed a dark cloud over a high school sports program. Inglewood High’s football program should be celebrated for its league championship and undefeated record in a school district that is still in state receivership.

Kenneth Miller is the publisher of Inglewood Today.

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