When a settlement is reached in the court of law, one side typically appears to emerge victorious. In the case of the NFL's agreement to pay thousands of former players $765 million after being accused of allegedly concealing what they knew about the long-term effects of head trauma, the consensus was that the NFL scored a major victory. Counsel for the plaintiffs, however, contend that a settlement was in the best interests of the players who are suffering the most. Still, some former players remain dismayed by the settlement, arguing that the amount players will receive from the NFL is minuscule for a league that generates nine billion dollars annually and that most will collect a very small amount of money. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel examines whether the NFL is truly being held accountable for its role in the concussion crisis, and whether or not the players were prudent to settle. He meets with Christopher Seeger, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, and former players Dorsey Levens and Kevin Turner, all in their first national TV interview since the settlement.
When the NBA's Seattle Supersonics left the Pacific Northwest for Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 season, there was a void on the Seattle sports scene. Recognizing an opportunity, Hollywood mega-mogul Joe Roth and comedian Drew Carey helped deliver an MLS franchise to the sports-hungry city. Now in their fifth season, the Seattle Sounders are among the league's elite teams, and recently signed Clint Dempsey, one of the best American soccer players in history. As the one U.S. soccer team consistently packing its stadium with tens of thousands of fans, they engage their passionate followers in a way unlike any other American sports franchise. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Jon Frankel travels to Seattle to witness the spectacle of a Sounders' game and to Los Angeles to talk to the Hollywood heavyweights who made it possible.
Diana Nyad had the sports world buzzing recently when she became the first person to swim the Straits of Florida, the 110-mile stretch from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Fla. Although the feat is considered one of the most challenging individual endurance tests ever completed, another nautical event competes for that title. The Vendee Globe is a 23,000-mile, single-handed sailboat race around the world that spans 80 days without stopping or touching land. Only about 100 people have ever completed the race, and half of the approximately 20 boats that start the race fail to finish each year. With conditions ranging from treacherous waters to icebergs, sailors have been lost at sea for days, and some lost forever. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg meets Alex Thomson, a brash 39-year-old Brit who is one of the best solo sailors in the world and a top Vendee Globe finisher earlier this year, to find out what drives someone to risk it all on the open waters.
While only eight to ten percent of minor league baseball players make a major league roster, Steve Delabar defied the odds after a lengthy stint as a career minor leaguer. For six seasons, the six-foot, four-inch right-handed relief pitcher never went beyond Single-A ball. Then, after suffering a seemingly career-ending elbow injury in 2009, he left the game and headed back to the classroom to work as a substitute teacher and finish his undergraduate degree. But Delabar's passion for baseball never left him, and after participating in the Velocity Program designed by former major league pitcher Tom House, he began throwing harder than ever before. In 2011, Delabar signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, and by September had finally realized his dream of playing in the major leagues.
REAL SPORTS correspondent Mary Carillo first met the Kentucky-born Delabar in 2012 as he prepared to compete to make the Mariners' opening day roster. He eventually made the team, and after a trade in July 2012 landed him with the Toronto Blue Jays, the 30-year-old succeeded in his role with the team and even won the Final Vote contest earlier this year, earning a spot on the American League All-Star team. Carillo reconnects with Delabar as he continues his remarkable comeback story.