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Published: Thursday, April 12, 2018 @ 3:09 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2018 @ 3:09 PM
UTICA, N.Y. — Tony Stewart and the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. have agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family against the former NASCAR champion for his role in the death of their son on a dirt track in New York more than three years ago.
Minor stipulations remain to be settled and details of the agreement were not divulged at Thursday's hearing in federal court before Judge David N. Hurd. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages and a jury trial had been set to begin May 7, but Hurd said the case would be dismissed once procedures regarding Ward's estate were finalized.
Ward's mother, Pamela Ward, made it clear she was not satisfied.
"I wanted to have a trial so he (Stewart) could be held accountable," Pamela Ward said, adding that the cost of a trial would have been beyond the family's means. "That was my goal."
Stewart and the Wards declined comment afterward as they walked through a light rain to their cars.
The 20-year-old Ward was killed Aug. 9, 2014, during a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in western New York, 30 miles southeast of Rochester.
Ward spun and crashed after contact with Stewart's car. He climbed out of the open-wheel car while the race was under caution and began walking down the dimly lit track in an apparent attempt to confront Stewart. One car appeared to swerve to avoid Ward, but he was struck by the back right tire of Stewart's car and died of blunt force trauma.
A grand jury heard testimony from more than two dozen witnesses, including accident reconstruction experts and drivers, and looked at photographs and video of the race. Two videos were viewed and enhanced, frames were isolated and viewed at different speeds and finally overlaid with grids and data, and showed Stewart had done nothing wrong.
The panel decided against bringing criminal charges against Stewart.
Authorities also determined that Ward was under the influence of marijuana the night he died and the levels were enough to impair judgment.
Ward's family said Stewart caused the fatal collision by improperly maneuvering toward the young driver after the race was placed under caution. Hurd ruled in December that the Ward family could move ahead with their claims against Stewart. Hurd concluded it was inappropriate at that stage of the case to draw factual conclusions from competing evidence in Ward's death, dismissed Stewart's counterclaim and said the case was best left to a jury.
The 46-year-old Stewart spent three weeks in seclusion at his Indiana home after Ward's death and described those weeks as the darkest of his life. He was emotionally drained when he returned to Cup competition and retired after the 2016 season to focus on his NASCAR racing team, which he co-owns with Gene Haas.
Stewart won Cup championships in 2002, 2005 and 2011 and an IndyCar title in 1997. He won two Brickyard 400s at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his home state.
Stewart has 48 Cup victories and is a lock for NASCAR's Hall of Fame. Nicknamed "Smoke," he was one of the most proficient drivers in racing, winning in every kind of series, from sprint cars to a dominant stretch in NASCAR where he reeled off at least one win in 15 straight seasons.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:18 PM
When Preston Brown walked through the Bengals locker room for the first time after signing a one-year, $5 million contract, he noticed his number — 52 — already was assigned to Brandon Bell.
“I’ll have a talk with him and see what we can work out,” Brown said.
But that conversation never happened.
“When I showed up last week (for the start of voluntary offseason workouts), I already had it,” Brown said.
Bell was just as surprised was Brown, but he said he understood.
“It’s a veteran thing,” Bell said. “I get it. They say we’re still rookies. I don’t mind it too much. It is what it is.”
›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft
Bell wore 11 in college so he didn’t have an attachment to 52. This year he will wear 51, which belonged to Kevin Minter last year.
Even though Bell didn’t have a say in the swap, Brown said he still plans to thank him.
“I’m going to have to take him out to dinner or something,” Brown said.
“I’ll take him up on that offer,” Bell said. “A nice steak would be great.”
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:12 PM
— The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be winging it during the latter stages of the NFL draft.
The NFL announced Monday that the Bucs will have a parrot deliver its fourth-round selection from the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium to an announcer during Saturday’s televised Day 3 draft show.
The parrot, a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa, is based at the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Hudson, Florida.
The bird is not the first animal to participate in an NFL draft. Last year, an orangutan aided in the Colts announcing their fourth-round selection of offensive lineman Zach Banner, the NFL reported on its website.
Reaction on the Buccaneers’ upcoming pick ranged from humor to squawks of surprise. One website, JoeBucsFan, posted a video of The Three Stooges’ 1936 comedy short, “Disorder in the Court,” where a parrot is figured prominently in the climactic court scene.
Undoubtedly, some fans will post the iconic parrot sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
Regardless, the Bucs will be giving the NFL the bird on Saturday.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:05 AM
— Former NFL kicker Jay Feely said he was trying to be funny when he posed in a Twitter photo standing between his daughter and her prom date holding a pistol, but in the wake of the Parkland shootings in February, social media posters did not appreciate the joke, WFLA reported.
Feely, who played in the NFL from 2001 to 2014 and is an analyst for CBS Sports, apologized Sunday.
In the photo, Feely has his left arm around his daughter and a pistol in his right hand at his side. Next to Feely is his daughter’s prom date, who is smirking.
"Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom," Feely wrote, using the hashtag "#BadBoys."
The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking.— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) April 22, 2018
I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue
The reaction from some on social media was swift and critical.
“Oh yay -- American dads have kicked off the season of 'let’s pretend I’m going to shoot my daughter’s date for impugning her chastity' pics," tweeted Shannon Watts, who is the founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action.
“The Stoneman Douglas shooting was 2 months ago,” author Geraldine DeRuiter posted on Twitter. “But sure, let's make jokes about murdering high schoolers.”
The backlash was vocal enough for Feely to issue an apology Sunday on Twitter.
“The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking," he wrote. "I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue."
Oh yay - American dads have kicked off the season of “let’s pretend I’m going to shoot my daughter’s date for for impugning her chastity” pics. https://t.co/JRkhQTmKRV— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) April 22, 2018
The Stoneman Douglas shooting was 2 months ago.— Geraldine (@everywhereist) April 22, 2018
But sure, let's make jokes about murdering high schoolers. https://t.co/Km3j9G4Ffn
Some Twitter users defended Feely’s post, noting that he was referencing the movie “Bad Boys 2.”
“He’s referencing a scene in the movie #BadBoys2,” Twitter user Mike McLeod wrote. “The kid knows it’s a joke -- it’s not pointed at anyone and barely in the picture. I’m sure there’s a picture with his daughter and just the date also. This isn’t anything to blow out of proportion.
He’s referencing a scene in the movie #BadBoys2— Mike McLeod (@CMichaelMcLeod) April 22, 2018
The kid knows it’s a joke— it’s not pointed at anyone and barely in the picture. I’m sure there’s a picture with his daughter and just the date also. This isn’t anything to blow out of proportion. https://t.co/OWWQGxhKpF
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 1:25 PM
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon said he does have any insight as to where his former Oklahoma teammate, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, will get drafted this week.
But there’s one place Mixon is rooting against.
“Hell no I don’t want to play Baker twice,” he said when asked if he hopes Cleveland takes Mayfield.
›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft