The NFL is now hiring

— NEW YORK — The NFL is bringing on some new talent.

The league plans to hire up to 17 full-time officials before next season, according to the NFL’s vice president of football ops, Troy Vincent.

Until now, the NFL has been the only major pro sports league without game officials that work full-time.

The news about the hires comes as both coaches and players have complained about missed or incorrect calls by refs. Still, the NFL’s part-time officials have an accuracy rate of over 97%.

“By this point in the season, everybody’s looking for a solution,” said Scott Green, who worked as an official for 23 years. “It happens every year, people are upset with calls so they say we should make [officials] full time.”

While the complaints are nothing new, this is the first time that the NFL has announced plans to hire full-time refs.

These new full-time hires will join existing crews of part-time officials as an eighth man on the field. Current part-time officials won’t have their status changed to full-time.

But before the NFL starts hiring, it needs official approval from the league’s Referees Association.

Green, who is a retired ref and the association’s executive director, said the union is fine with the NFL “using some full-time officials under certain circumstances including equitable compensation, benefits, clearly documented work duties and employee protections.”

Part-time officials currently make between $75,000 and $200,000 for the season.

However, Green noted that terms for the new hires have “yet to be discussed.”

According to Vincent, hiring full-time officials will make it possible for the NFL to train and work with them in the offseason. Officials are currently off from February after the Super Bowl until April when they have their health physicals.

Many current officials argue that they’re already working about 40 hours a week, even though it’s a part-time job.

Green also noted that the NFL schedule is unlike that of other pro sports leagues.

“If [teams] played every day during the week, it would make [being full time] more justified,” Green said. “But there’s only one crew working [the Thursday night game] and 116 officials that aren’t.”

Green worked over 350 games as a ref while running his government contracting firm. He’s not alone, many officials balance their NFL jobs with other work as attorneys, insurance agents and even teachers.

Green said during the season his schedule was “hectic,” as officiating for the NFL was a huge commitment.

“You stay pretty active keeping up with the games from the week before and prepping for your next game — early mornings and late nights,” he said.

“It’s a complete misnomer that we’re not full-time. Oh trust me we are.”

Plus, as Green notes, NBA and NHL referees and MLB umpires work full-time and people still complain about the calls they make.

Usain Bolt: How the world’s fastest man built a business empire

— Usain Bolt is more than a veteran Olympic star. He’s a brand — a track and field icon with an international following.

Bolt, who is Jamaican, has deals with Puma, Nissan, Hublot, Visa, Virgin Media and Japan’s All Nippon Airways. There’s also Optus, an Australian telecommunications company, and Enertor, which sells sports insoles.

Gatorade named a drink after him. Bolt, known as the fastest man in the world, has trademarked his name and his signature “Lightning Bolt” pose. He even has an emoji.

But in Rio, he’s competing in what he has said will be his last Olympics.

What’s next for Usain Bolt?

“He’s talked about playing for Manchester United, being a broadcaster and designing apparel à la Michael Jordan,” says Elizabeth Lindsey, a marketing expert at Wasserman.

Bolt holds the 100- and 200-meter world records, has been to four Olympics, and has seven gold medals to his name.

Jeff Kearney, the head of Gatorade’s sports marketing department, explained Bolt’s appeal.

“We have an incredible roster of great athletes across a number of sports, who resonate in many markets and are each unique in their own way,” Kearney said. “But Usain’s joyful personality paired with his overall dominance in a sport most people can relate to, results in an athlete who provides brands like Gatorade with true global reach.”

His vivacious and engaging demeanor is so appealing to U.S. brands that the Jamaican runner even stars in U.S.-based Olympic ads opposite members of Team USA.

Bolt “has been fantastic for the entertainment value” of the sport, says a USA Track & Field spokesman, in addition to what he’s done for the record books.

“American track & field fans love watching him as much as fans from other countries do.”

Bolt may know his worth, but he also gives back through his Jamaica-based foundation, which aims to help kids.

In 2015, Bolt gave $1.3 million to his former high school along with soccer and cricket gear. He’s provided the school with track and field equipment since he signed with Puma in 2002.

Bolt opened a multi-sport playing field in Jamaica, raised funds for pediatric cardiac surgeries and partnered with Samsung to provide photography workshops to students.

He even paid for a $4 million renovation to a local health center using the proceeds from a party he threw to celebrate breaking the 100-meter world record.

Bolt is still pursuing gold medals in the 200-meter race and the 4×100 meter team relay in Rio.

And he’s heading into retirement with a bang.

He has an online store where he sells sporting goods and Usain Bolt-branded gear and he recently announced the launch of his company, Champion Shave, which sells 6-blade razors at discounted prices.

Mega Millions jackpot jumps to $508 million

— The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to an estimated $508 million after Tuesday’s drawing failed to produce a winning ticket.

The jackpot is the seventh biggest of all time, including Powerball and Mega Millions prizes. It has a cash value of $357 million.

Tuesday night was the 34th consecutive drawing without a winner. The next drawing will be Friday at 11 p.m. ET.

The winning numbers on Tuesday were 29, 46, 53, 64 and 73. The “mega ball” was 10.

Mega Millions is played in 44 U.S. states, D.C., and the U.S. Virigin Islands, and tickets cost $1.

A winner can take the payout over a span of 29 years or take a more immediate but smaller, lump sum payment.

Mega Millions players have a 1 in 259 million chance of winning the top prize. To do so they must match all five of the white ball numbers and the number of the yellow mega ball.

The biggest Mega Millions prize to date was a $656 million jackpot in March 2012 that was split among three tickets.

Powerball — the other major multi-state lottery — has yielded the biggest jackpots this year. It paid out a $1.6 billion pot in January, and in May there was a $430 million prize.

At 1 in 292 million, the odds of winning Powerball are tougher than Mega Millions. Powerball tickets are also more expensive at $2 each.

Ikea recall: What consumers need to know

— Ikea is offering refunds as part of a recall of 29 million chests and dressers. The furniture is prone to tipping over and has been linked to the deaths of several children.

In a statement on Tuesday, the company said it would offer full and partial refunds, as well as free home installation of wall brackets.

The full and partial refunds will be issued once customers return the furniture. They can either bring their items back to the closest store or arrange for free pick-up.

The size of the refunds will depend upon the circumstances. Here’s the breakdown:

Full refund: If the chest of drawers was manufactured between January 1, 2002 and June 28, 2016.

Store credit for 50% of original price: If the item was manufactured before January 2002.

Store credit of $50: If the manufacturing date cannot be determined.

The recall includes Malm chests and dressers with 3, 4, 5 and 6 drawers, as well as children’s chests and dressers taller than 23.5 inches and adult pieces taller than 29.5 inches.

The dressers can topple if not properly anchored to the wall.

All of the recalled furniture was sold through June 2016.

For more information, visit Ikea’s website or call Ikea at (866) 856-4532.

“Every two weeks a child in the U.S. is killed in a tip-over related incident involving furniture or TVs,” CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement Tuesday.

Kaye urged consumers to respond to the recall quickly: “Do it now and you may save the life of a child.”

On Monday, Ikea issued a statement explaining that it was recalling the furniture “given the recent, tragic death” of a 2-year-old boy from Pennsylvania.

There have been five other deaths related to Ikea dressers since 1989.

Ikea started a repair program last July after two toddlers were killed. It issued replacement wall brackets but did not change the design of the furniture or take it off the market.


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