Home' The River Weekly News : RWN011516 Contents THE RIVER - JANUARY 15, 2016
NFL Doesn’t Want You To Watch This
Movie; See It And You’ll Know Why
by Ed Frank
We’re not in the business of reviewing movies, but
you can be certain that the National Football League
doesn’t want you to see the movie Concussion partic-
ularly after last weekend’s violent, out-of-control playoff game
between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
First to the award-winning movie Concussion starring Will
Smith, who portrays Dr. Bennet Omalu who first identified the
brain disorder known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy –
CTE – that has killed, disabled and led to the suicide of former
We’ve written about this disease in the past even as frequently
as a few weeks ago when the family of the late Frank Gifford announced his death was
linked to CTE.
Way back in 2002, Dr. Omalu, working in the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office
in Pittsburgh, examined the body of the Steelers Hall of Fame center Mike Webster
and found the brain disorder that resulted in his death.
He naively thought the NFL would welcome his findings. Instead, he was ridiculed
and maligned, even to the extent of demands that his published findings be retracted.
The power and the ruthlessness of the NFL against Dr. Omalu forced him out of
Pittsburgh all the while the league denied repeatedly that the head-to-head smashing in
football resulted in any brain injuries.
Fast-forward to today and yes, the NFL has backed off that shameful position of the
past and has instituted rules and procedures to curtail brain-jarring hits. And, yes, the
NFL has recognized Dr. Omalu’s study by working with medical research organizations
and offering compensation to hundreds of injured former players.
However, if you saw last Saturday’s Steelers-Bengals slugfest you’ve got to wonder
if anything has really changed.
In three meetings this season, these two teams were assessed 47 penalties and
in one of the games, seven players from both teams were leveled with $140,000
in fines. Perhaps all of this led to the violent crescendo in the last two minutes of
Saturday’s playoff game.
The turmoil all began when Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier forced a key fumble
late in the fourth quarter by blasting Bengals running back Giovani Bernard with a hit
that left him with a concussion.
Just before that hit, with just 1:36 minutes remaining, it appeared that the Bengals
had the opportunity to win their first playoff game since 1991, and end Bengals coach
Marvin Lewis’ 0-6 playoff record.
The Steelers took over after that key fumble and with injured quarterback Ben
Roethlisberger (who had left the game earlier following a questionable Bengals hit)
advanced his team to midfield with 22 seconds left on the clock and Cincinnati clinging
to a 16-15 advantage.
On the next play, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict leveled a brutal head-to-head
hit on the Steelers defenseless Antonio Brown who suffered a head injury, possibly a
While trainers were attending to Brown on the field, Bengals cornerback Adam
(Pacman) Jones got into a scuffle with the Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter.
Burfict’s and Jones’ two 15-yard penalties advanced Pittsburg to field goal range
where Chris Boswell connected on a chip-shot field goal to give the Steelers a win and
a deserved loss to Cincinnati.
So has anything really changed to curb the violence in the NFL? You’ve got to
Football fan or not, we recommend you see the movie Concussion, a brilliant por-
trayal of the darkest days of the National Football League
The NLF announced Tuesday morning that Bengals linebacker Burfict has been
suspended for the first three games of next season for the ugly hit on Steelers receiver
Antonio Brown. Bur fict was fined four previous times in the regular season for illegal
New Pilot Ground
Fort Myers Technical College is
offering a new Private Pilot Ground
School program focused on basic
aerodynamics, as well as communication
procedures. The college is now accept-
ing students for enrollment, with classes
beginning January 26.
Training toward becoming a certi-
fied pilot is done in two steps. The first
is obtaining the aeronautical knowledge
required to become a safe and compe-
tent pilot. Upon completion of the pilot
ground school, students can take the FAA
Private Pilot Knowledge Test, required by
the FAA for completion of flight training.
The evening course combines industry-
standard technology and instructional
aids with the expertise and experience
of licensed and certified teaching profes-
sionals. Its syllabus allows students to see
the big picture of what it means to be a
pilot. Students will become familiar with
aircraft systems, flight instruments, regula-
tions, procedures and airport operations,
weather, weather services, aircraft per for-
mance, cross-country flight planning and
“Fort Myers Technical College has
recognized a growing need in Southwest
Florida for knowledgeable professionals
that are capable of meeting the aviation
industry needs,” said Bill McCormick,
The cost for the 84-hour course is
$262 and will take place for 14 weeks
on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9
p.m . For more information about pro-
grams at Fort Myers Technical College
or for enrollment information for the
pilot ground school and the course sup-
ply list, call 334-4544 or visit www.
Fort Myers Technical College is
located at 3800 Michigan Avenue, Fort
The Lee County Board of Port
Commissioners elected Frank
Mann as chair for 2016 during its
first meeting held on January 7. John E.
Manning was elected as vice chair.
The board, composed of the five Lee
County commissioners, meets bi-monthly
as the Board of Port Commissioners to
set policy and direct the operations of
Southwest Florida International Airport
and Page Field in Fort Myers. The other
commissioners include Brian Hamman,
Larry Kiker and Cecil L Pendergrass.
For more information, visit www.flyl-
To Be Held In Lee
Governor Rick Scott, Lee County
Sports Development and the
Florida Sports Foundation will
kick off the annual Florida Spring
Training season at the 2016 Governor’s
Baseball Dinner. The dinner will be
held Friday, February 19 at the Hyatt
Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa
in Bonita Springs/Fort Myers.
While Fort Myers and Lee County’s
history of hosting spring training baseball
dates back to 1925, this is the first time
the Governor’s Baseball Dinner has been
held in the area.
“The annual Governor’s Baseball
Dinner marks the beginning of another
exciting Spring Training Baseball season
in Florida,” Scott said. “Florida is proud
to be the home of fifteen spring training
teams, and we look forward to welcoming
the families and visitors that this season
will bring to our great state.”
Top executives from around the
Florida Grapefruit League are expected
to attend including Boston Red Sox
President of Baseball Operations Dave
Dombrowski and Manager John Farrell
along with Minnesota Twins Executive
Vice President and General Manager
Terry Ryan and Manager Paul Molitor.
Individual tickets are available for
purchase for $100 or a table of can be
purchased for $1,000. Visit www.flori-
dagrapefruitleague.com to purchase tick-
ets online or call the Lee County Sports
Development office at 533-5273.
“Lee County is honored to host the
Governor’s Baseball Dinner, an annual
spring training baseball tradition,” said
Jeff Mielke, executive director of Lee
County Sports Development. “Lee
County’s commitment to the Boston Red
Sox and Minnesota Twins continues to
be a priority. With recent construction
and renovations to JetBlue Park and the
CenturyLink Sports Complex, as well
as the commitment from the teams,
this community is dedicated to hosting
spring training baseball for many years to
The State of Florida is a frontrunner
in Spring Training Baseball dating back
to 1888 when the Washington Senators
came south to Jacksonville.
While the current teams, and the hosts
for the 2016 event, the Minnesota Twins
and Boston Red Sox, have been in Lee
County for three decades, the area has
been hosting Spring Training Baseball
since 1925. The Philadelphia Athletics,
Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates
and Kansas City Royals have previously
called Fort Myers, and historic Terry Park,
Over 250,000 fans attended Florida
Grapefruit League games last year in Fort
Myers and attendance totals are expected
to reach that mark again in 2016. In the
last 10 years, over 2.5 million baseball
fans have gone through the turnstiles at
Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink
Sports Complex, City of Palms Park and
Lee County Sports Development was
created in 2003 to meet the growing
demand for sports development in Lee
County, and is recognized by the Florida
Sports Foundation as one of the state’s
25 Regional Sports Commissions. The
Lee County Sports Development office
leads the recruitment and implementa-
tion of amateur and professional sports
events and activities in Lee County, with
the goal of providing economic impact to
Lee County. Through local partnerships
with Lee County Parks and Recreation
and others, the Lee County Sports
Development office provides services
designed to address the needs of local,
national and international sports entities
including housing, access to venues, event
management, transportation assistance,
event promotion, marketing and local
For more information, call 533-2221
or visit www.leeparks.org.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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