Ryan Howard Sues Al Jazeera

Morning headlines: Phillies' first baseman denies allegations he used PEDs.

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) runs the bases after hitting a two RBI home run during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) runs the bases after hitting a two RBI home run during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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

Ryan Howard says his home-run hitting isn’t fueled by drugs — so he’s suing Al Jazeera.

The suit was filed Tuesday in Washington D.C., and features (via CSN Philly) Howard’s steadfast denial he ever used Delta 2, a performance-enhancing drug — as well as a denial he ever received banned substances specifically from Charles Sly, who made the accusation in an Al Jazeera documentary. (Sly quickly recanted the accusation.) “Mr. Howard has never taken Delta 2, human growth hormone, or any other steroid or other performance-enhancing substance banned by the MLB,” his attorney writes in the suit. “And, contrary to what is implied in the program, Charles David Sly played no part in Mr. Howard’s fiftieth home run in 2006 or in any of his many other home runs.” Howard is suing for unspecified general and punitive damages.

The Mummers could be required to undergo sensitivity training. Really. 

The Inquirer reports that Mayor Jim Kenney has asked the city’s Human Relations Commission to “enact major changes” in Philly’s often-controversial New Year’s parade. (This year’s edition featured one group marching in brownface, another lampooned Caitlyn Jenner, and one Mummer was caught on video shouting gay slurs.) Items under consideration include pre-screening of acts, sensitivity training, and sanctions for groups that cross the line. Says HRC director Rue Landau: “The mayor is very concerned about the message that this sends to residents of Philadelphia and to the rest of the country about what is acceptable here.”

President Obama praised Pat Toomey on gun control Tuesday. Toomey didn’t exactly reciprocate. 

Although the president singled Toomey out for praise while announcing new gun control efforts, Politico reports that Toomey — up for re-election this year — isn’t quite ready to support the president. But he’s walking a thin line to do so: He supports background checks on gun purchases, but he doesn’t approve of the president’s unilateral decision to expand them. “I continue to support background checks for all commercial sales of firearms to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill,” Toomey told Politico. “While I am still awaiting further information about the executive order, the president has abused these actions in the past and exceeded the boundaries of the law. This should not be allowed under our constitutional framework.” He added: “Like other matters, the most appropriate way for handling firearm issues is when Congress and the president work together.”

The Philly school district is finally getting some state cash — $518 million. But it’s not enough.

That’s a relief after the district borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars to stay in business during the state’s (now half-resolved) budget impasse. But The Notebook reports that’s still less than half of what the district would’ve received, even under a conservative full-year funding plan: The governor is holding onto the rest of the allocation in an attempt to force legislative leaders back to the bargaining table to complete the rest of the work on the 2015 budget.

Did Neshaminy High basketball coach Jerry Devine head-butt a referee Tuesday night? ESPN video sure makes it look that way.

The incident happened during Neshaminy’s loss to Pennsbury. “The coach went crazy,” WBCB radio broadcaster Chris Ermer told ESPN. “He came out and made contact with the official and took him off his feet.” He added: “You can’t say he didn’t intend to make contact, but I don’t think he was trying to head-butt the ref.” (Judge for yourself: You can watch the video here. ) Devine was ejected from the game, which under state scholastic rules means he must serve a one-game suspension.

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