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Antonio Brown Loses Endorsement Deal with Nike

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Former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will no longer be endorsed by Nike, a company spokesman told the Boston Globe on Thursday.

“Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete,” a spokesperson said, without giving a specific reason.


Brown has dominated headlines throughout the early part of the 2019 NFL season.

Most notably, he has been accused of sexual assault and rape in a federal lawsuit by former trainer Britney Tayor, allegations that might have led to prosecution in Allegheny County if not for an expired statute of limitations.

Brown could still face criminal charges in his native Florida after the claims brought by Taylor as well as discipline from the NFL. The league has spoken to Taylor in a reportedly 10-hour meeting and is expected to make a decision in its investigation after meeting with Brown.

Brown also recently lost an endorsement deal with helmet manufacturer Xenith, a deal that came after a month-long standoff between Brown and the NFL about his former helmet model being phased out of compliance by the league.

The dollar figure Brown stands to lose in his endorsement contracts is unknown. He’s set to make $10.6 million this season with the Patriots, down from the $14.6 he would have made if he had stayed with the Oakland Raiders.

NFL

Federal Judge Orders NFL, Class Counsel to Address Racial Concerns Brought by former Steelers in Concussion Settlement

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The federal judge who overseas the NFL’s concussion settlement program is sending class counsel Seeger Weiss and the league back to negotiations resolve to the racial concerns in the raised by former players.

Judge Anita Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Steelers Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport, telling the two sides to “address the concerns relating to the race-norming issue.”

Henry and Davenport have accused the league of discriminating against Black players who have filed dementia-related claims. The lawsuit alleged that the NFL used separate criteria for judging mental degradation in black and white athletes, making it more likely for white players to receive benefits.

Brody dismissed their lawsuit as “an improper attack on the Settlement Agreement,” but added that “the Court, however, remains concerned” about the reservations they raised. The NFL and Weiss will now appear before Magistrate Judge David Strawbridge to reach a new agreement on the concerns.

Davenport, played with the Steelers from 2006-08 and also spent time with the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts in a seven-year NFL career. Henry spent eight seasons in Pittsburgh from 1993-2000 after being drafted in the fourth round out of Mississippi State and played in Super Bowl XXX with the team.

The NFL originally settled with its former players in 2013 and agreed to pay out over $750 million to players that suffer neurological conditions from playing professional football. The settlement has been regarded as controversial overall, and there have been several attempts from players to re-litigate portions of it.

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Maia Chaka Becomes First Black Female Official in NFL History

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NFL

Maia Chaka has been added as an NFL’s game official for the 2021 season, making her the first Black female referee in league history.

Chaka previously served as an official at the college level in both the Pac-12 and Confederate USA.

Chaka was also selected to the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014, which “identifies top collegiate officiating talent to expose them to some of the same experiences as NFL officials, working to determine if they have the ability to succeed as an NFL official.”

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in a league statement. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

When not officiating, Chaka is a health and physical education teacher from Virginia Beach. She graduated from Norfolk State University with a bachelor’s in education in 2006.

“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication and perseverance – including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program – have earned her a position as an NFL official,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent Sr. said. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”

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Ryan Switzer Asks for Prayers for COVID-19 Positive Son

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Former Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer asked for prayers for his 9-month-old son Christian Saturday morning. Switzer’s son has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.

In Switzer’s tweet, he asked everyone to say a prayer for the little guy. Thousands of fans have interacted with the tweet, with many voicing their prayers and well wishes.

The 26-year-old receiver signed a 1-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in January after spending time on their practice squad last season. Switzer was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He then spent both 2018 and 2019 in Pittsburgh before being released by the Steelers before the 2020 season.

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