Sixers’ Deaths Prompt NBA Action

Morning headlines: After deaths of Dawkins and Malone, health screenings for retired players.

Darryl Dawkins, left; Moses Malone, right.

Darryl Dawkins, left; Moses Malone, right.

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today.

The untimely deaths of former Sixers greats Moses Malone and Darryl Dawkins have shocked the NBA and its players union into action.

“The National Basketball Players Association is working on a program that would fund cardiac screening and supplemental health insurance for its retired players, an initiative expedited by the recent sudden deaths of legends Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone,” ESPN reports.

Health screenings for retired players is said to be imminent. “I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” union executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.” ( reported last week on the trend of NBA players dying from heart disease.)

City Controller Alan Butkovitz says Philly businesses suffered mightily during the pope’s visit. Here’s why his study is misleading.

“Butkovitz’s study has at least one major problem, though. His office surveyed only 108 companies located in the so-called “traffic box” — a relatively small area in Philadelphia where incoming traffic was banned during Pope Francis’ trip,” Philly Mag’s Holly Otterbein reports. But there are 12,000 businesses inside that box — and plenty of businesses outside the box that were also affected. Butkovitz’s study doesn’t take them into account.

“To be sure, plenty of businesses in Philadelphia, particularly those in the restaurant industry, suffered during the papal visit,” Otterbein writes. “So the anecdotes that Butkovitz collected from local businesses are important. But they’re just that: anecdotes.”

The Pennsylvania state budget is now 100 days overdue.

That’s reportedly one day short of the longest budget stalemate in state history. The staff at is using the occasion to post a tongue-in-cheek list of 100 reasons why the budget is so late. Among them: “It’s all an elaborate plan by Papa John’s to create a spike in late-night pizza sales around the Capitol,” and: “Neither Republicans nor Democratic leaders were taught how to share when they were young.”

But agencies dependent on state aid don’t think the situation is amusing. “Some vital programs are continuing to feel the pain, including private human services providers that work with orphaned or abused children, and charter schools,” the York Daily Record reports. “I don’t think a lot of the agencies will even make it to the end of the year,” said Bernadette M. Bianchi, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services.

Archbishop Chaput is beefing with the former president of Ireland over church teachings on homosexuality.

Philadelphia’s archbishop often plays an outsized role in the Catholic Church’s theological debates, and that tendency crosses international lines. This week, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese criticized the church’s history of teaching that homosexual acts are “disordered” — and Chaput responded, Tablet reports.

McAleese has “ a very narrow point of view that’s trying to control something she shouldn’t try to control, that is the faith of the Catholic Church,” Chaput said. McAleese’s response: “ I acknowledge I like many others wish to see my Church’s teaching on this subject change before it causes any more damage.”

Stephen Colbert had some fun at the expense of the Pennsylvania group that (mistakenly) predicted the end of the world would arrive this week.

Check it out on YouTube.

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.