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ACLU's suit over Super Bowl 'clean zone' settled

ACLU's suit over Super Bowl 'clean zone' settled

NEW ORLEANS (AP) An agreement Monday has resolved a lawsuit over plans by the city of New Orleans to enforce a ``clean zone'' where the use of banners, signs and flags would be restricted during Super Bowl week.

The agreement, which must be approved by a federal judge, would allow the city to enforce some limits on commercial activity in the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods. The filing says the city can prohibit ``off-site and mobile advertising,'' such as signs attached to a vehicle or worn by a person.

However, American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana's Executive Director Marjorie Esman said the city has agreed not to restrict other forms of commercial or non-commercial speech in the ``clean zone.'' She said local businesses, for instance, will be free to hang signs advertising their wares.

The ACLU sued the city last Thursday on behalf of an activist and a street preacher. They claimed the ``clean zone'' limits, spelled out in a new city ordinance and a code enforcement guide, would trample on their free speech rights and limit their activities leading up to the title game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

``The city has essentially eliminated all of the problems with the original drafting'' of the ordinance and guide, Esman said of the settlement Monday.

Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt issued a temporary restraining order that said the city can only enforce the limits in an area near the Superdome, where the game will be played Feb. 3. The ACLU and city on Monday asked the judge to dissolve that order.

Esman says other Super Bowl host cities have enforced similar rules in recent years at the NFL's request, but they had never been challenged in court before.

The new measures took effect Monday and are scheduled to end on the evening of Feb. 5. The city said the settlement clarifies that the ``clean zone'' is not intended to affect non-commercial speech.

``The clean zone addresses issues such as certain types of signage, outdoor vending and erecting structures and tents that the city already permits,'' the city said in statement. ``It is an additional temporary designation that seeks to protect the quality of life for residents and assists businesses in thriving during the Super Bowl.''

The ordinance, passed last month, said that the content of any temporary signs approved by the city must consist of at least 60 percent Super Bowl or NFL branding. But the settlement bars the city from enforcing that provision.

The city, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas were named as defendants in the suit. The plaintiffs are Tara Jill Ciccarone, an Occupy NOLA member, and Troy Bohn, pastor of a religious congregation that regularly preaches on Bourbon Street.

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NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

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NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

NFL players took to Twitter on Saturday to send well-wishes to Andrew Luck after news broke that he is retiring from the NFL. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Luck was 'mentally worn out' after years of battling injuries. Luck confirmed the news in an emotional press conference on Saturday night.

"Andrew luck I understand you 100% brotha," wrote Dez Bryant. "... take your time ... I wish you the best."

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins reacted to the news with emojis.

Former player turned ESPN analyst Emmanuel Acho posted video of Colts fans booing Luck as he walked into the locker room. "Coach always said, 'the pats on the back eventually turn into stabs,'" he wrote.  

"That's bad to boo that man," added former Redskins player Chris Baker.

Former Ravens and current Carolina player Torrey Smith tweeted that anyone in the sport understands.

Jaguars long snapper Matt Overton wrote he was "shook."

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Andrew Luck watched one last game from the sideline Saturday.

Then he said goodbye to the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback heard boos as he walked away from the field, then walked to the podium and made the surprise decision official. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29.

"I am going to retire," he said. "This is not an easy decision. It's the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."

Luck said the repeated injuries, the lingering pain and continual rehab took away his love for the game.

Word first leaked about Luck's plans during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears when ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Luck felt mentally worn down and had met with team owner Jim Irsay to inform him of his decision.

Luck has most recently struggled to recover from a lower left leg injury.

Luck's former coach Chuck Pagano made his first return to Lucas Oil Stadium since he was fired as the Colts' head coach following the 2017 season. Luck did not play that season because he was recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder.

He returned last season and led the Colts back to the playoffs for the first time in four years, winning the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.

But in March, he suffered a strained left calf, was held out of all of the team's offseason workouts and returned on a limited basis for three practices at training camp in July. Lingering pain forced him back to the sideline and the Colts later determined that he had an injury near the back of his left ankle.

Coach Frank Reich had said he hoped to have an answer about Luck's availability for the Sept. 8 season opener after the third preseason game. This might not have been the one he wanted -- and certainly didn't expect.

Jacoby Brissett now inherits the starting job.