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This 26-Year-Old Football Player Left The NFL To Focus On His Ph.D.

John Urschel announces retirement following release of CTE study. 

John Urschel is trading in the NFL for a Ph.D. After just three seasons in the league, the 26-year-old offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, abruptly retired Thursday (July 27) to continue pursuing his doctorate in mathematics at the Michigan Institute of Technology.

The announcement came two days after the release of a new study on the damaging effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disorder brought on by repeated head trauma.

The study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, found CTE in 110 out of 111 brains of deceased NFL players. According to the Baltimore Sun, sources close to Urschel confirmed that the results of the study influenced his retirement decision.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one for me,” Urschel said in a statement making no mention of the CTE study. “I’m excited to start working on my doctorate in mathematics full time at MIT.”

“I’m looking forward to the chance to take courses that are only offered in the fall semester, while spending time with my fiancee and preparing myself for the new challenges that will come with fatherhood,” he continued. “We’re expecting our first child in December."

The Canadian math genius, who was drafted to the NFL in 2014, earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics from Pennsylvania State University.

The MIT doctoral candidate has done research in spectral graph theory, computational finance, matrix algebra, mathematical physics, and more. Urschel also worked on nearly a dozen mathematical research papers, many of which have been published.

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Kawhi Leonard Donates One Million Backpacks To Students In Los Angeles

Kawhi Leonard partnered with the L.A. Clippers and Baby2Baby, to give away one million backpacks to students in multiple school districts around Los Angeles. The charitable undertaking, announced Tuesday (Aug. 20), is the largest in Los Angeles Unified School District history and is aimed at reducing some of the finical stress faced by low-income families during the school year, NBA.com reports.

“My goal this year is to make a meaningful contribution both on and off the court,” said Leonard who is a native of Morenoa Valley, California and recently joined the Clippers after winning a championship with the Toronto Raptors. “This felt like the right way to get started. It was important to me to make this announcement in my hometown of Moreno Valley at my former Elementary School, but the benefits this program will have across all of Los Angeles makes today even more special.”

The backpacks will be donated to every student in Moreno Valley Unified, Inglewood Unified and Los Angeles Unified School districts.

In 2018, approximately 80% of LAUSD's K-12 students came from low income families, were homeless, or in foster care. Over the last eight years, Baby2Baby has dispersed more than 70 million basic necessities to children at underserved schools, homeless shelters, foster care, hospital and those affected by natural disasters.

“There are a lot of families throughout the L.A. region working hard every day to earn everything in their lives. This program is our effort to extend a hand to make heading back to school a little easier,” added Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations for the Clippers. “Our deepest appreciation goes out to Kawhi Leonard and Baby2Baby’s incredible network of ambassadors who walk the walk when it comes to using their platforms and voices to provide real solutions to impact the everyday lives of the people around us.”

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Stephen Curry To Sponsor Golf Team At Howard University

While the regular NBA season is on vacation until the late fall, Stephen Curry is still keeping his mindset in sports mode with this latest news. According to The Washington Post, the three-time NBA champion announced a sponsorship that’ll establish a Division I golf team at Howard University. It’s the first of its kind for the HBCU.

“It’s a big opportunity for us to expose students to a game that oftentimes is played as business deals are decided and a game that generations of families can play together,” the Washington, D.C.-based university's President Wayne A.I. Frederick said. There will be a men’s and women’s golf team, which was partly inspired by a conversation Curry had with a student during the screening of Emanuel at the university in January. “To hear somebody as passionate about the game as I was, all the while still pursuing their education at Howard…impacted me,” Curry said.

The father-of-three established an endowed fund that’ll allocate a seven-figure contribution to preserving the golf teams. The donation will be spread out over six years. “No matter where you come from or what socioeconomic background you had, we all were that kid once upon a time that was just excited about finding out who they were as a person through athletics,” Curry said.

Students recruited for the team will also have to complete a volunteer program with Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. foundation. The golf team’s formation can span a year from enlisting a coach to filling its roster. Washington D.C.’s Langston Golf Course, which is known as the city's historically black-owned golf course, might serve as practice grounds for the student-athletes.

“I was blessed at a young age that we could afford to play,” Curry said. “I just think about how many kids, especially from underserved communities, have the talent to play but just don’t have the funds or the resources.” Howard University's administration believe the school's Division II golf team ended its run in the 1970s.

[email protected] is here and we are ready for the #HowardUGolf festivities. With his support, today we kick off the first-ever NCAA Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Golf Program at a Howard University. @HowardAD_KD @HUPrez17 pic.twitter.com/2FN8ZLZ7cQ

— Howard University (@HowardU) August 19, 2019

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Eric Reid Blasts JAY-Z's NFL Deal: "When Has JAY Z Ever Taken A Knee?"

JAY-Z's recent partnership with the NFL has been met with a lot of raised eyebrows and condemnation.

The rap mogul vocally supported Colin Kaepernick's peaceful protest against police brutality and reportedly went as far as to talk Travis Scott out of performing during last year's halftime Superbowl. So when it was announced Roc Nation would help manage the league's entertainment and social justice leg, many didn't understand why.

The criticism only grew after the 4:44 artist alleged to have spoken to Kaepernick about his new business venture, only for his longtime girlfriend Nessa to refute the claims on social media.

TMZ  then reported JAY Z will have majority ownership in an NFL team, which now puts more pressure on him to be a change agent and not just a figurehead.

Eric Reid on Jay Z kneeling statement: “When has Jay Z ever taken a knee? For you get paid to go into a NFL conference and say we are past kneeling is asinine.” pic.twitter.com/BO9RCLUHek

— Ashley Holder (@AshNoelleTV) August 17, 2019

Carolina Panther's safety Eric Reid spoke with reporters about JAY-Z's newest venture and called it "despicable."

"When has JAY-Z ever taken a knee? Yes, he’s done a lot of great work," Reid said. "A lot of great social justice work, but for you to get paid to go into an NFL press conference and say that we’re past kneeling? Again, asinine. Players Coalition 2.0. He got paid to take the bullets that he’s taking now because we’re not having it.”

To Reid and many others, JAY-Z looks hypocritical.

“JAY-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin, wore his jersey, told people not to perform at the Super Bowl because of the treatment that the NFL did to Colin. Now he’s going to be a part-owner and it’s kind of despicable.”

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