Michael Jordan Tells Jury He Values His Image ‘Preciously’

Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan testified Tuesday that his image is precious to him, which is why he filed a lawsuit against a grocery store chain that used it without permission.

“I have the final say-so on everything that involves my likeness and my name,” Jordan told jurors in Chicago. When his attorney asked him why he brought the case, Jordan said it was “to protect my likeness, my image … something I value very preciously.”

Dominick’s Finer Foods has acknowledged it wasn’t authorized to use Jordan’s image in a 2009 magazine ad. The jury will decide the fair market value of the infringement by the grocery chain, which has since gone out of business.

Frederick Sperling, Jordan’s attorney, has told jurors Jordan’s name was worth at least $480 million to Nike and that each commercial use of Jordan’s name is worth more than $10 million. A witness Monday testified Jordan made $100 million from his identity last year, even though he last played in the NBA in 2003.

Jordan stood with his hands behind his back and smiled at the jury when they left the courtroom. Jurors have been able to submit written questions to witnesses, which are reviewed by the judge and the attorneys out of hearing of jurors. Only one juror question was submitted for Jordan and there was laughter from the gallery when the judge said it was juror question “number 23” in the case (Jordan’s jersey number).

The juror wanted to know why Jordan had said he would never have entered into a deal with Dominick’s even if the chain had asked.

With jurors back in the courtroom Jordan said, “it didn’t fit the strategy we operated on in terms of signing and evaluating deals.”

The ad, which ran in a commemorative edition of Sports Illustrated, congratulated Jordan on his Hall of Fame induction and included a $2-off coupon above a photograph of a sizzling steak.

The edition didn’t sell as well as expected, according to a video deposition played in court by the defense. Damian Botteselle of Sports Illustrated’s parent company Time Warner, said fewer than 42,000 of the 149,000 printed copies were sold.

“It was not selling well across the board, which tells me it just wasn’t resonating with consumers,” Botteselle said.

Steven Mandell, a lawyer for Dominick’s, has suggested Jordan’s attorneys overvalued Jordan’s name. It might be worth $10 million in some contexts, he said, but not necessarily in a one-off ad.

Jordan, 52, displayed an amused discomfort with having to wear reading glasses while on the witness stand, jokingly saying “don’t look” when he put them on to read a page he was handed.

“No More” Super Bowl Ad Sparks Anti-Violence Discussion

The new ad has become a topic for discussion around the Super Bowl.

“I think anytime you talk about domestic violence it is going to have a meaningful effect, you want to eliminate that as part of society,” Sherman said.

Seattle linebacker Heath Farwell said the ad is key to better communication.

“Guys realizing this (is) an issue, and you know it’s not just football, it’s across this county, these are the issues we have to address and to get better at,” Farwell said.

Domestic violence has been a critical issue for the NFL for nearly a year since Ray Rice was arrested Feb. 15 over an altercation at an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino. The Baltimore running back initially was suspended two games, then indefinitely after video from inside an elevator surfaced showing him hitting his now wife, Janay.

An arbitrator threw out the indefinite suspension in December. He was released by the Ravens and has not signed with another team.

NFL players have been featured in ads from No More since October airing weekly.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said New England supports the league’s efforts against domestic violence. Belichick said it has been a priority for New England owner Robert Kraft since he was hired. The Patriots gave up their draft rights to defensive tackle Christian Peter a week after taking him in the fifth round in 1996 because of questions about his history with women

“So it’s always been that way for us, for our organization, and obviously we support everything in that area,” Belichick said. “But what the league decides to do relative to things like that, you know, it’s not really my pay grade.”

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, daughter of former NFL player Phillippi Sparks, said what the NFL has gone through with domestic violence has helped publicize where women can call for help or find a safe haven. Sparks said it’s great that people aren’t being silent about domestic violence anymore.

“So it’s unfortunate all the way around for whomever is involved in those sorts of things and for the teams having to deal with the media and all of those different things,” Sparks said. “But at the same time for other domestic violence victims to know they can speak up that’s all that’s important, that’s all that matters.”

In the ad, the 911 call is a reenactment inspired by true stories of women using the tactic of disguising their calls while reaching out for help. No actors are seen in the stark ad; video shows only a house where a hole has been smashed in a wall, with books and photos knocked to the floor.

The ad concludes with the phrase: “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen.” It had already more than 482,000 views on YouTube by Wednesday.

The ad will air Sunday just after the second quarter between Seattle and New England. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said it can only help by bringing more attention to the issue.

No celebrities or NFL players facing the camera, saying “No more.” This ad simply depicts a 911 call of a woman pretending to order a pizza while calling police with her attacker still in the house.

The Super Bowl commercial by No More, the group trying to end domestic violence and sexual assault, is a stark contrast to ads in recent months bringing attention to the issue that has become central for the NFL since Ray Rice was suspended for punching his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

Bears Stun Chiefs, Win 18-17 Thriller in Kansas City

Jay Cutler came up huge for the Chicago Bears Sunday, tossing a touchdown pass to Matt Forte with just 18 seconds remaining to give his team an 18-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Early in the second quarter, the Chiefs had their first long possession of the game, and it ultimately resulted in a touchdown. Smith made a huge play near midfield as he rushed for a first down, and later in the drive he found De’Anthony Thomas on a short completion. Thomas found the outside edge, rounded it, and ran the ball into the end zone to make it a 14-3 game.

The Bears picked up a couple of first downs on their opening possession thanks to some good footwork and throws from Jay Cutler, but they were forced to punt the ball away near midfield. The team’s defense came up big on the Chiefs’ first drive however, forcing a three and out as Shea McClellin broke up a pass to Jamaal Charles on a third and short play.

Unfortunately for the Bears, two costly penalties ended up resulting in a Chiefs touchdown. After a penalty on the punt return and a false start penalty, Cutler was sacked in the end zone by Jaye Howard, and after he fumbled the ball away, Ramik Wilson fell on it to give the Chiefs a 7-0 lead just six minutes into the game.

After the Bears got the ball back, they slowly churned their way down the field. Cutler picked up a first down on a beautiful rollout pass, and then Matt Forte did some excellent work as he caught a pass and weaved his way through traffic and across the first down line. The Bears drive ultimately did stall out deep in Chiefs territory, but Robbie Gould blasted through a field goal to make it a 7-3 game late in the first quarter.

On the field, the Bears did manage to tack on another three points, as Gould set a new team record for career points with a field goal to make it a 17-6 game.

In the fourth quarter, the Bears’ defense made a couple of key stops, and their offense eventually came through in a big way. Cutler found Cameron Meredith and Martellus Bennett for key first down conversions, and then he lofted a high pass over Marquess Wilson’s shoulder that the receiver was able to corral for a touchdown to make it 17-12 late in the game.

After the Bears forced a three and out, Cutler made a couple of incredible throws downfield for first downs, and with 18 seconds remaining, he made the play of the game. After he bobbled the snap from Hroniss Grasu, Cutler picked the ball up, found Forte in the end zone, and lofted a pass up that his running back came down with to give the Bears an 18-17 lead.

The Chiefs did get an opportunity for a field goal attempt thanks to a facemasking penalty from Reynolds, but it wasn’t enough as Santos’ 66-yard field goal attempt fell short, giving the Bears a 2-3 record on the season.

After Cutler and the Bears went three-and-out for the third consecutive time late in the half, the Chiefs notched three more points before the half. The Bears were able to keep Kansas City out of the end zone, but Cairo Santos notched a field goal to make it a 17-3 contest at halftime.

The early minutes of the third quarter didn’t see any points scored, but there were two significant injuries that occurred. First the Bears found themselves without McClellin after the linebacker was hit in the left leg by Jarvis Jenkins. He was quickly ruled out of the game for the Bears, and LaRoy Reynolds came in to replace him.

The Chiefs’ injury news was even worse however, as Charles left the game with a right knee injury. The team immediately ruled him out for the remainder of the contest, and according to reports he is being evaluated for a possible ACL injury.

Tuck and Stewart Lead UConn Back to The Title Game

“I don’t know what I can do to help them except keep reminding them all the time ‘this is your spot, you’ve owned this spot for the last three years’,” Auriemma said.

“Now there’s no guarantee you’re going to get it Tuesday night, but we’re not going in there Tuesday night hoping we win. Because these three (players) they’ve done more than that, it doesn’t mean we’re going to win, but I don’t have to help them with that mentality.”

The 29-point victory was the biggest margin of victory in women’s Final Four history, surpassing the 28-point win by Tennessee over Arkansas in 1998. It was UConn’s 74th consecutive victory, the second-longest winning streak in NCAA and school history.

Stewart wasn’t much of a factor for the Huskies in the opening 20 minutes. The three-time AP player of the year picked up two quick fouls and didn’t score her first points until she hit a turnaround jumper with 3 minutes left in the half. That basket came in the middle of a 15-2 run to close the opening 20 minutes.

She quashed any thoughts of an Oregon State rally, scoring 14 points in the second half for UConn (37-0). Just as they had done in the previous 73 games, the Huskies won by double digits.

Next up will be Syracuse. The Orange will have a very tall task in front of them to stop UConn’s historic run. The Huskies have never lost in an NCAA title game and Syracuse has lost the past 23 meetings with them.

Tuck was a big reason why UConn was able to build its big lead. Oregon State had 6-foot-6 center Ruth Hamblin guarding her for most of the first half. The Beavers’ center was playing off her, daring Tuck to shoot from the outside. She had 10 of the Huskies first 15 points as UConn jumped out to a 15-6 advantage.

UConn led 32-24 after Jamie Weisner hit a 3-pointer with 5:33 left in the half. Then the Huskies took over.

Breanna Stewart said she wanted to win four titles in her time at UConn.

Oregon State’s season came to an end. The Beavers won their first conference tournament title, and reached the Final Four for the first time. Not bad for a program that was in disarray six years ago.

Then coach Scott Rueck came in and the Beavers have been on the rise since.

“Hats off to UConn. They played a phenomenal game tonight,” Rueck said.

“I thought they obviously shot the ball extremely well. With a team like that, you’ve got to kind of pick your poison. And that team made us pay, no matter what we did. And that’s why they are who they are. You know, offensively they really made us work and kept us off balance. And credit them.”

Sydney Wiese scored 13 points to lead Oregon State (32-5). Hamblin finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. She left with 1:25 left, getting a hug from Rueck.

Now, after a record rout, the Huskies are one victory away from a fourth consecutive national championship fulfilling Stewart’s goal. A feat never accomplished in women’s basketball.

Morgan Tuck scored 21 points and Stewart added 16 to help UConn beat Oregon State 80-51 on Sunday night in the women’s Final Four.

“I think it sunk in when we were going back to the locker room all excited,” Stewart said. “One game left and we’re exactly in the position we want to be in. Now it’s practice tomorrow. National championship game Tuesday.”

If UConn does win on Tuesday night coach Geno Auriemma will have an 11th national championship moving him past vaunted UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden for the most all time.

About the only negative for UConn was that freshman Katie Lou Samuelson broke the third metatarsal bone in her left foot in the first half. She missed practice Saturday because she was feeling under the weather. She started on Sunday, scoring seven points in the first half in 17 minutes. She didn’t come out of the locker room for the start of the second half, returning to the UConn bench early in the third quarter with a boot on her foot.

“I guess it happened on the very first possession we had when she drove it to the basket,” Auriemma said. “She said she felt something and didn’t really say anything. She continued to play on it.”

TIP-INS:

Oregon State: The Beavers 32 wins were the most in school history, shattering the previous record of 27 set last season. … They had won 22 of their past 23 games. … Oregon State finished the game with 18 baskets and 18 turnovers.

UConn: The Huskies’ biggest margin of victory in the Final Four before Sunday was a 27-point win over Stanford in 1995. … No team that hasn’t played UConn during the season or the year before has beaten them in the past decade.

TOP HELPER: Moriah Jefferson moved into first place on the school’s all-time assist list as she passed Diana Taurasi’s mark of 648. She had 10 points and seven assists.

“When I was on the floor, I completely forgot about it,” Jefferson said. “And then after, I was like, ‘Oh I got it.’ D is an amazing player and to have my name in any book that she’s in, it means a lot to me.”

Aaron Hernandez Trial: What to Know as Jury Selection Begins

Less than two years ago, Aaron Hernandez was one of the most exciting players to watch in the NFL, a talented tight end who had signed a $40 million contract extension with the New England Patriots. The once rising star grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, the son of a locally acclaimed high school tailback, and starred at the University of Florida before being drafted into the NFL.

Hernandez is accused of killing three men after nightclub disputes

Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player, was found shot multiple times in an industrial park in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, less than a mile from Hernandez’s home. Lloyd, 27, was dating a sister of Hernandez’s fiancee and had been out with Hernandez two nights earlier at the Rumor nightclub in Boston. Prosecutors say that following a fight that night, sparked by one of Lloyd’s cousins, an incensed Hernandez decided to kill him.

After Hernandez became a suspect in Lloyd’s killing, authorities got an anonymous tip that he had been involved in the deaths of two men a year earlier. Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado died in a drive-by shooting in Boston after leaving the Cure Lounge. Authorities say one of the men had accidentally bumped into Hernandez inside the club, spilling his drink.

Were there other Hernandez shooting victims?

Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

With his trial set to begin on Friday in the first of the killings, here are five things to know about the former All-American and the grisly crimes he is accused of committing.

Alexander Bradley, who authorities say was with him the night of the double homicide, accuses Hernandez of shooting him in the eye during another fight at a Florida strip club. Bradley has brought a civil suit against Hernandez. Hernandez, in legal papers, has invoked his right not to incriminate himself under the Fifth Amendment.

Two other men, Corey Smith and Justin Glass, were wounded in Florida in 2007 after a dispute in a nightclub with University of Florida football players. The men were also shot while their car was stopped at a red light nearby. After Hernandez was arrested for the Massachusetts murder, the Florida state attorney, Bill Cervone, said investigators were interested in talking to Hernandez, who was a tight end for the Florida Gators at the time. According to a 2007 Gainesville police report, Hernandez was in the area, but when police tried to interview him he asked for a lawyer. The case remains unsolved.

The judge in the Fall River case, Susan Garsh, has ruled that there can be no references to the murders in Boston, which prosecutors have suggested might have contributed to Hernandez’s motive for killing Lloyd, nor to the shooting of Bradley.

Football notables could be on witness list

Kraft released a letter in which Hernandez wrote about his alleged use of marijuana while at the University of Florida and agreed to take biweekly drug tests if he were drafted.

Of the charges, Kraft said, “If this stuff is true, then I’ve been duped and our whole organization has been duped.”

Other potential witnesses: Former Florida teammates Brandon Spikes, who is a former Patriot and now plays for the Buffalo Bills, and Mike Pouncey, a center for the Miami Dolphins. Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins could also be called.

No football gear in the courtroom

Those planning to attend the trial must leave their football jerseys at home. Thejudge has specifically banned clothing and buttons that display logos of the New England Patriots or other NFL teams or any football-related insignia. Anyone in football gear will be barred from entering the Fall River Justice Center.

Hernandez wore Number 81.

But jurors will be able to see Hernandez’s trophies when they visit his home. The judge ruled that prosecutors will not be able to cover a trophy case. One of Hernandez’s lawyers, James Sultan, had argued that the house should be shown the way it appeared at the time of Lloyd’s death.

Clues in the tattoos?

But his fall was fast. On June 28, 2013, Hernandez was arrested in the killing of his friend, Odin Llyod, a semipro football player. Later that day, the Patriots released him. Within a year, a Massachusetts grand jury had also charged him in a double homicide from 2012 in Boston, and authorities in Florida announced they wanted to talk to him about two earlier unsolved shootings.

Hernandez’s upper body is covered in tattoos, including the face of a lion on his right bicep with the words, “It’s about the fight in you;” 1989, the year of his birth, on the fingers of his left hand; and a phrase his father likes, “If it is to be it is up to me,” on his left forearm. An Associated Press article in June said that prosecutors were interested in Hernandez’s right forearm but would not specify which tattoos.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, could be called to testify in the trial, according to court documents. In an interview after Hernandez’s arrest, Belichick said he was disappointed and hurt.

“Having someone in your organization that’s involved in a murder investigation is a terrible thing,” he said.

UConn Beats Syracuse 82-51 for 4th Straight National Title

Breanna Stewart and UConn stand alone. Geno Auriemma, too, after another flawless season by the dominating Huskies.

Stewart said when she came to campus four years ago that she wanted to win four titles. She delivered on that promise by scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in her final college game.

“It’s unbelievable,” Stewart said. “That was our goal coming in here once we were freshman and to carry it out and win like this as seniors is unbelievable.”

The Huskies (38-0) have been nearly unbeatable since Stewart arrived. They lost four games her freshman year and only one since. The win over Syracuse was the 75th straight for UConn — all by double figures. Stewart and her fellow seniors went 24-0 in NCAA tourney games, too.

Stewart earned the most outstanding player of the Final Four all four years of her career. No other women’s player has won it more than twice and only Lew Alcindor did it three times on the men’s side.

“Not shocked by how good they are, not shocked by the things they did in the game. We were definitely prepared for it,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. “One of the things I told our kids is you have no reason to be scared when you’re prepared and we competed. We didn’t play scared.”

Stewart, Tuck and Jefferson left the game for good with 1:46 left. They shared an embrace together before hugging Auriemma. The trio then went down the bench hugging every member of the team.

“There’s three key ingredients that go into this kind of success, ‘One, two, three,'” Auriemma said afterward, pointing to his three seniors.

They also handled the Orange’s press with precision passing that led to easy layups. The Huskies were up 50-23 at the half and extended the lead to 33 early in third quarter before Syracuse scored 16 straight points to get within 60-43 with 2:02 left in the period that brought the Orange fans to their feet. Consecutive layups by Napheesa Collier restored the 20-plus point lead and UConn cruised from there.

“We’re going out with a bang, we’re going out with a bang, that’s it, no more. We knew what we’re supposed to do,” Stewart said.
To win her fourth championship, Stewart had to beat her hometown team. Fourth-seeded Syracuse (30-8) had the best season in school history, advancing to its first NCAA championship game. They hadn’t made it out of the first weekend of the tournament until this year.

“I’m really happy for Breanna Stewart, who came to one of my camps. She’s a great player,” Hillsman said. “When you have a player that great coming from Syracuse, that doesn’t happen that often.”

These two teams hadn’t played since the Orange left the Big East for the ACC after the 2013 season. Syracuse has now lost 24 straight against UConn, a skid that dates to 1996.

UConn won an unprecedented fourth straight national championship Tuesday night, capping another perfect season by routing Syracuse 82-51. Until now, only the UCLA men’s team had won four in a row in Division I, rolling to seven consecutive championships under John Wooden from 1967-73. With Tuesday’s victory, Auriemma passed the Wizard of Westwood with his 11th national title.

Auriemma has never lost in 11 title appearances. While the names may change, the results are always the same: UConn is still there holding that trophy in the end. This one gave the Hall of Fame coach a sixth undefeated season.

Cornelia Fondren scored 16 points to lead Syracuse.

UNBEATENS

UPDATEDSyria Frees American After 4 Yrs: State Dept.

With Lubbock Christian and Thomas More finishing off their undefeated seasons Monday night in the Division II and III title games, this marks the third year that all three champions didn’t have a loss. It also happened in 1995 and 2014 — and UConn won the D-I titles those years, too. Lubbock Christian and Thomas More players held the flag during the national anthem before the game.

TIP-INS

Arrests Provide New Links Between Paris, Brussels Attacks

Syracuse: The Orange had been stellar in the tournament from behind the 3-point line. They came into the game after making 48 3-pointers, averaging nearly 10 a game, and were shooting 33.6 percent from behind the arc. In the title game, they were just 2 for 19.

UConn: The Huskies were also undefeated in 1995, 2002, 2009, 2010 and 2014. … Auriemma has 109 NCAA Tournament victories, only trailing Pat Summitt (112) for most in the history of the sport. … The Huskies won three straight titles from 2002-04. … Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson had a boot on her left foot after breaking the third metatarsal in the national semifinals. Gabby Williams started in her place.

What those 11 championships mean to me is how many great players I’ve had the opportunity to coach,” Auriemma said. “How many great people have come through the program. It doesn’t matter whose name is above, or whose name I’m under. As long as I have those players in my memory, I’m good.”

The three-time AP Player of the Year has said it is up to others to decide her place in women’s college basketball lore. There is no denying she is the most accomplished player ever, winning more titles than fellow UConn greats Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore, who watched from the stands at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Like the other great UConn teams, this version had a killer instinct. The Huskies scored the first nine points of the game. Stewart had 10 points in the first 6 minutes as UConn built a 23-6 lead. When the Orange made a little run to cut its deficit to 25-13, Moriah Jefferson hit a 3-pointer off a nifty play just before the first-quarter buzzer. UConn’s big three of Stewart, Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, who have helped the Huskies to an NCAA record 151 wins over their four years, combined for 26 of the 28 points in the period.

Bears Draft WR Kevin White With Seventh Overall Pick

The Chicago Bears made an attempt to move up the draft board on Thursday night, but when that push didn’t come to fruition, they went ahead and drafted the best player on the board as they selected wide receiver Kevin White out of West Virginia.

“We’re really jacked about this,” Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said of the pick. “This is a dynamic playmaker for our offense. I love the fire and energy he plays with.”

White, a junior college transfer that ended up with the Mountaineers, had a stellar 2014 season, hauling in 109 catches for 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was a standout at the NFL Combine as well, running a stellar 4.35 40-yard dash and did 23 repetitions in the bench press.

“I had a good feeling — a gut instinct,” White told reporters after the selection. “I said it one time to the media but I didn’t want to jinx it, but I had a good feeling. I’m glad my intuition was right. I’m glad an honored to be here.”

When the Bears traded Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets, the team found itself needing a wide receiver, and in White they’ve opted for a guy who will give them a speedy option on the outside to take pressure off Alshon Jeffery in the vertical passing game.

“There are some people who wait for the ball,” Pace said. “He’ll go up and attack the ball. This is a competitive, strong player.”

Pace said if he could pick just one word to describe White it would be competitive.

The Bears said late Thursday that White will wear jersey number 13.