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The Sports Report: Three former UCLA football players sue Jim Mora, school

Jim Mora
Former Bruins football coach Jim Mora.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Hello everyone. My name is Houston Mitchell and let’s get right to the news.

UCLA Football

Ben Bolch, on some potential hot water UCLA may find itself in:

“Three former UCLA football players are suing the school for injuries they suffered while playing under coach Jim Mora, each seeking in excess of $15 million in damages as a result of the way coaches and trainers allegedly mishandled their injuries.

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“In lawsuits filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court that name Mora, offensive line coach Adrian Klemm and associate trainer Anthony Venute — in addition to the UCLA regents and the NCAA — offensive linemen John Lopez and Poasi Moala allege that they suffered traumatic head injuries and continue to experience symptoms linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Another former Bruins offensive lineman, Zach Bateman, has sued the same defendants over severe injuries to both of his feet that he claims occurred and worsened because of negligent conduct. Bateman’s lawsuit alleges he was discouraged from seeking medical attention for his injuries and compelled to return to play before receiving treatment or allowing his injuries to heal.

“Each of these young men suffered serious, but significantly different injuries, while they were teammates at UCLA,” attorney Pamela Tahim Thakur, who is representing all three players, said in a statement. “While the lawsuits involve many of the same facts, each case is distinct in its own way. But what they all have in common is the pattern of brutality and intentional disregard for player health and safety by coach Mora and his staff at UCLA.”

“According to Lopez’s lawsuit, he attempted suicide in the fall of 2016 by overdosing on a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Lopez informed family members and friends that he had taken the medications, allowing them to contact a friend who took him to UCLA Medical Center to help save his life.

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“Lopez claims that his injuries have prevented him from finishing school and have caused emotional pain, suffering and distress. Citing a “reckless disregard for [Lopez’s] health and safety,” the lawsuit also alleges that the football staff didn’t do enough to protect Lopez before and after he suffered his injuries.

“UCLA’s athletic department denied the accusations in a statement released by the school.

“While we cannot comment on the specific details of a pending lawsuit, we want to make it clear that the health and safety of our student-athletes is UCLA’s top priority,” the statement read. “We strongly deny and will defend ourselves against the allegations made in the lawsuit. We handle every injury with the highest standard of care, and take potential head injuries very seriously.”

UCLA Softball

The adventures of the UCLA softball team in College World Series continue, as chronicled by Blake Richardson:

“UCLA sophomore Aaliyah Jordan approached the plate in her first at-bat of the Women’s College World Series with a plan — to hit the inside pitch.

“It did not come. Jordan struck out looking on a full count, but she stayed patient.

“In the sixth inning she got the inside pitch she longed for and drilled the ball well over the fence in right-center for a three-run home run. As the Bruins leaped from the dugout and gathered around home plate, Jordan thrust her hands into the air.

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“The play was part of a four-run sixth inning that secured No. 2 UCLA’s 7-2 win over No. 7 Minnesota on Thursday.

:As UCLA celebrates its centennial anniversary, now is an ideal time to assess the university’s relevance to humanity at large. Fortunately, that relevance is easily...

“Being able to throw punches back after they threw some punches … is what we do when we’re at our best,” UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “You know, our ability to have each others’ backs, our ability to have hitting be contagious.”

Entering the sixth inning, it looked like UCLA had a win all but secured. The Bruins had a 3-0 lead and redshirt junior Rachel Garcia had held Minnesota to one hit.

“UCLA (52-6) will play No. 6 Arizona (48-12) today in a winner’s bracket game. The Wildcats defeated No. 3 Washington 3-1 in eight innings in the first game Thursday. The Huskies (50-8) will play Minnesota (46-13) on Saturday.”

USC Football

USC may be on television that everyone can see more than the Dodgers this season. They released their TV schedule, and they will be on national TV a lot.

The Aug. 31 game against Fresno State will be on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. PT. On Sept. 7, they play Stanford at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN. On Sept. 14 they visit BYU and will play at 12:30 p.m. PT on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2. Then they play Utah on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. PT on FS1.

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Other games on national TV: Oct. 12, 4:30 p.m. PT vs. Notre Dame on NBC and Oct. 25, 6 p.m. PT vs. Colorado on ESPN2.

Stanley Cup Final

All times Pacific

at Boston 4, St. Louis 2

St. Louis 3, at Boston 2 (OT)

Saturday, 5 p.m., Boston at St. Louis, NBCSN

Monday, 5 p.m., Boston at St. Louis, NBC

Thursday, 5 p.m., St. Louis at Boston, NBC

*Sun., June 9, 5 p.m., Boston at St. Louis, NBC

*Wed. June 12, 5 p.m., St. Louis at Boston, NBC

*-if necessary

NBA Finals

All times Pacific

at Toronto 118, Golden State 109 (Read the game story here)

Sunday, Golden State at Toronto, 5 p.m., ABC

Wednesday, Toronto at Golden State, 6 p.m., ABC

Fri., June 7, Toronto at Golden State, 6 p.m., ABC

*Mon., June 10, Golden State at Toronto, 6 p.m., ABC

*Thur., June 13, Toronto at Golden State, 6 p.m., ABC

*Sun, June 16, Golden State at Toronto, 5 p.m., ABC

*-if necessary

Other newsletters

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Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.

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Odds and ends

The Dodgers defeat the New York Mets…. San Diego out as host of first World Beach Games…. Gov. Gavin Newsom backs bill to expand state board’s power to shut down horse racing…. Anthony Joshua prepares for Andy Ruiz but buzz is still about a Deontay Wilder fight…. A diverted flight and inclement weather didn’t keep Galaxy from win over Kansas City…. Ducks’ search for a coach moving into high gear…. Sparks and Ogwumike sisters looking for first win in home opener against the Sun…. Blues’ Oskar Sundqvist is suspended one game for illegal hit against Bruins’ Matt Grzelcyk…. The Angels defeat the Seattle Mariners…. The biggest save in St. Louis Blues history happened in 1983, courtesy of Harry Ornest.

Today’s local major sports schedule

(All times Pacific)

Philadelphia at Dodgers, 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

Angels at Seattle, 7 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1909: Yachtsman Thor Thorvaldsen

1920: Orioles and Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams

1942: NBA player Happy Hairston

1943: NFL player Joe Namath

1955: Golfer Laura Baugh

1957: Miracle on Ice goalie Jim Craig

1967: Baseball player Kenny Lofton

1972: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts

Died on this date

1955: Race car driver Bill Vukovich, 36

1970: NHL player Terry Sawchuk, 40

1983: Boxer Jack Dempsey, 86

And finally

The final minute of the “Miracle on Ice” game. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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