Talking Points: Hat's off to Eddie Johnson

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We salute Eddie Johnson.

The Portland Timbers forward recently announced his retirement from soccer, citing the long-term risks of concussions. Johnson suffered three concussions in less than seven months. There were days when he couldn’t even leave a darkened room.

Still, soccer was Johnson’s livelihood and lifelong passion. Life without soccer won’t be easy. But it will be easier than living with Alzheimer’s or some other illness.

Thanks, Eddie, for using your head. Perhaps your example will help other athletes keep theirs.

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Seven games? That’s all?

David Stern talked about protecting NBA players. Then he announced a brutally soft penalty for Metta World Peace, aka Ron Artest, for his ugly elbow to the head of Oklahoma City’s James Harden.

Stern should have done what the NHL did when it suspended the Phoenix Coyotes Raffi Torres for 25 games following his hit to the head of Chicago’s Marian Hossa. Like World Peace, Torres is a repeat offender. Unlike David Stern, NHL discipline chief Brendan Shanahan (a former NHL player) sent a message that at least has a chance to deter cheap shots.

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Here at Talking Points, we’re often working when others are playing. Which is one reason we love (well, one of us, at least) the UEFA Champions League soccer tournament. It’s like playing the NFC and AFC title games on a weekday!

On Tuesday, we were treated to great drama as Chelsea upset F.C. Barcelona, despite playing more than half of the match down a man.

At 11:45 a.m. today, the other semifinal concludes with Bayern Munich visiting Real Madrid. We’re thrilled we don’t have a day job!