#SportBits . . .Weekend WrapUp

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Happy Monday #SportBits readers! There is a lot of sports news to discuss so let’s get right to it.

There are now six New England Patriot players refusing to go to the White House for the Super Bowl celebration and perfunctory meeting with POTUS with pressure mounting on more to join.

Martellus Bennet started it all by saying before the Super Bowl that he wouldn’t go if the Patriots won. He reiterated those sentiments shortly after they defeated the Falcons.

The next day safety Devin McCourt joined Bennett saying he would not attend because he “doesn’t feel accepted in the White House.”

Soon Dont’a Hightower, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long said they would not attend either. Long, the only white player in the group went on to say there is a “pathetic sea of NFL white silence this year.”

Fans are ramping up pressure through social media urging team members to boycott and expressing support for those who won’t attend.

FYI: Tom Brady skipped the post-Super Bowl visit in 2015 while Barack Obama was president citing a “prior family commitment.” He was seen less than 24hrs later at an Apple store shopping for watches. Brady did attend all three times during George W Bush years.

More sports and politics to report with Steph Curry openly questioning Kevin Plank and his association with President Trump.

575ae5a51500002b00739e30Kevin Plank is the CEO of Under Amour and Steph Curry is their superstar client. Curry’s signing by Under Armor put them on the map in the sports apparel industry and was a huge coup over main rival Nike. Curry is probably the most popular endorser of Under Armor apparel. Even those grandpa-looking shoes were a bestseller.

But when Plank praised Trump as an “asset to the country,” Curry took to twitter .

Curry responded with “I agree with that description,” Curry said, “If you remove the ‘et’” from asset.”

Curry then followed up his tweet with daylong discussions with Under Armour reps and Kevin Plank himself who explained that his views were meant from a business perspective and not political. Plank tried to distance himself from Trump’s controversial policies and comments that have enraged women, Muslims, Mexicans, African-Americans and the poor and impoverished across the nation. Curry felt comfortable with the explanation.

To me, it was an positive example of how open and honest communication can solve problems and misunderstanding during this volatile time.

The same can not be said for the situation in New York where team President Phil Jackson has taken to the media to shame and humiliate his star player, Carmelo Anthony. Whether it’s in an online article stating that Anthony holds the ball too long, or his comparison via twitter of Anthony to a failed ex-NBA player – Jackson’s choice of communication and follow through is not the way to solve problems or misunderstandings – and doesn’t feel very zen-like to me.

More news from Knickland: Former Knick legend Charles Oakley got into a scuffle before the Clipper game last week and was escorted out of Madison Square Garden and arrested. Oakley was allegedly sparring with Knick Owner James Dolan over being left out of recent Knick activities. Dolan’s actions have backfired as fans have taken to social media in support of Oakley and have been chanting his name at home games.

PEOPLE ARE FEELING EMPOWERED TO SPEAK THEIR MINDS THESE DAYS AND I LIKE IT!

On to the NBA..where the OKC Thunder fans were speaking their minds Saturday night.

The big game that had everyone talking was the Golden State Warriors v. Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. It was the long-awaited return of Kevin Durant to OKC – a place he had spent all previous eight seasons before joining their biggest rivals, the Warriors.

Duran hired extra security for what was an emotionally charged and explosive scene at Chesapeake Energy Arena. He was booed as he entered the arena, as he was introduced and every time he touched the ball. His mom said later she was hurt by the treatment she and her son received on Saturday night.

“The most vicious things you could say, they said about my son tonight. It’s hurtful. We poured our heart into this place. Not just him. Our family. This is basketball. This is not whether or not you’re going to make it into heaven.” ~ Wanda Durant

But the game didn’t really live up to the hype as the Warriors defeated the Thunder 130-114. Durant scored 34 points and Russell Westbrook had 47 for the Thunder.

OK, TIME TO TUNE INTO COLLEGE HOOPS PEOPLE.

March Madness is right around the corner. The tournament begins March 14th and concludes the final four weekend, April 1 and April 3rd. Sixty-eight teams are chosen: 32 Division I conference champions and 36 at-large bids.

So, pick your team now and start following because in a couple weeks that’s all we’ll be talking about. #prepper

In women’s basketball, the No.1 UCONN women’s team looks to extend their winning streak to 100 v. No.6 South Carolina tonight in Storrs, CT. The Huskies last loss came early in the 2014-15 season against then No. 6 Stanford. THAT IS ONE HELLUVA STAT! I’m not a UCONN fan but I’m rooting for them to hit 100.

Lastly:

Jordan Spieth won at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am over the weekend. This was his 9th PGA tour title. Tiger Woods has pulled out of the Genesis Open in Los Angeles this week citing back spasms.

9bb6611d3ae470f21ae0b62f232ed5c4.jpgAt UFC208 in Brooklyn on Saturday, Germaine de Randamie defeated MMA fighter Holly Holm for the inaugural featherweight title. There was some controversy surrounding the fight when after the second round horn sounded, de Randamie continued to throw punches, landing what many considered the best strike of the night that seemed to wobble Holm as she walked back to her corner. Despite complaints, the ref did not warn de Randamie or take a point. de Randamie has agreed to a rematch because of the controversy.

That’s it for now. Check back on mcsportbits.com for more sports stories, scores and highlights and make sure to follow on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for breaking news!!

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#SportBits … Super Bowl 51 Recap

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Well, if I learned anything from watching Super Bowl 51 last night, it’s that no matter how bad something is going, things can ALWAYS turn around.

Seriously.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots couldn’t have played a worse first half in yesterday’s Super Bowl. He seemed rattled. He had constant pressure from the Falcons defense and his throws throws were way off target.

It was not the Tom Brady were accustomed to watching.

The Atlanta Falcons completely dominated the first half of play: causing a fumble, intercepting a Brady pass, and building a halftime score of 21-3.

I’m not sure what happened in the Patriot locker room at the half.

Maybe they were inspired by Lady Gaga’s electric halftime show. Or perhaps they said to themselves, “We are the effin NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – winners of FOUR Super Bowls.”

Or maybe it was Coach Bill Belichick telling them that 21 points were not enough to beat them.

The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history didn’t begin until the score reached 28-12. That’s when Falcons QB Matt Ryan was sacked on his own 25 yard line and fumbled the ball.

It was the first time the Falcons had turned the ball over in this postseason.

That was the spark that Tom Brady needed.

Following the turnover, Brady found Danny Amendola for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 5:56 left. And after the two-point conversion, it was an eight-point game.

Atlanta could score on their next possession and had to punt giving the Patriots time for one final drive to force overtime.

This is what Tom Brady lives for.

His push down the field included one of the best catches in Super Bowl history. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman managed to fight off three Atlanta defenders, going through the legs of one of them, to scoop up the ball before it hit the ground.

With :57 left the Patriots scored. The two-point conversion pass from Brady to Amendola tied it up and we were headed to overtime.

Next came the coin-toss – probably the biggest coin toss EVER for both of these teams.

The NFL rule states “both teams have the opportunity to possess the ball at least once in overtime unless the team that receives the overtime kickoff scores a touchdown on its first possession.”

That’s just what the Patriots did.

They marched down the field cutting up an exhausted Falcons defense and scored on a handoff to running back James White to win the game.

 

It was the first time a Super Bowl went to overtime.

Tom Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowl titles. He was named Super Bowl MVP for the fourth time, the most all time.

He threw for 466 yards — a Super Bowl record — and two touchdowns.

As Tom Brady said himself, “it was one helluva of a football game.”

And as long as you weren’t an Atlanta Falcons Fans, you had one helluva good time watching it.

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How will Trump’s immigration ban affect sports?

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Many in the sports world are trying to figure out how President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration will affect their respective sports.

The executive order blocks entry into the United States from seven predominantly Muslim Nations – Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan – for 90 days.

It also suspends the entry of all refugees for 120 days and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Over the weekend, sports officials sought to understand the implications of the President’s ban, and whether athletes from the prohibited nations could enter the U.S to compete, especially in the initial 90-day period.

The NBA has already contacted the U.S. Department of State in an effort to deduce how the ban might affect player travel.

“We have reached out to the State Department and are in the process of gathering information to understand how this executive order would apply to players in out league who are from one of the impacted countries” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the best best players from around the world.”

(Can I just mention how much I appreciate both the NBA and WNBA for their consistent fight for equality and inclusion and their willingness to stand up for civil rights and social issues?)

Here in Los Angeles, Laker forward Luol Deng finds himself at the center of this mess.

Deng was born in Sudan (now called South Sudan) and fled before the country split in 2011. As noted, Sudan is one of the countries whose inhabitants have been banned from entering the US for three months.

Deng managed to escape the country’s Civil War and travel to Egypt with his father, finally finding asylum in the United Kingdom.

But his is a dual citizen and his British passport do not guarantee re-entry into the US.

Under Trump’s executive order, dual citizens are at risk of being detained and deported upon their return.

Basically, no one knows what the hell is going on.

Meanwhile, the #LA2024 Bid Committee, led by Chairman Casey Wasserman, CEO Gene Sykes, and Mayor Eric Garcetti, is wondering what impact he ban will have on their effects to bring the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games to the city of Los Angeles.

Mayor Garcetti has been very vocal regarding his stance against Trump’s immigration orders. He has let it be known that Los Angeles will continue to accommodate all refugees.

“Los Angeles will always be a place of refuge, where the most vulnerable people fleeing war, or religious political oppression, can find a safe and welcoming home,” Garcetti said.

The International Olympic Committee will meet on September 13th in Lima, Peru, to choose the host city and this immigration ban has no doubt thrown a wrench into LA’s bid.

Richard Perkin, a member of the IOC who will be voting in September for the 2024 host city posted his concern via Twitter that the actions of the President may cause our city to lose out in the bidding.

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-5-06-55-pm

 

The stakes are high for athletes and the city of Los Angeles regarding Trump’s new regulation restricting access to America.

And the frustrating part is, we have no idea how this is going to play out or how we should prepare.

Stay tuned.

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#SportBits … Weekend WrapUp

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Happy Monday, #SportBits readers!

Here is your weekend sports wrap up.

In what felt more vintage than a 79’ Dead shirt, the Australian Open men’s and women’s final gave everyone the #goodfeels.

I can’t tell you how many texts and comments on my social media I received from people expressing how happy the finals made them feel. Four legends of tennis back in the championships.

I think after a month of crazy political upheaval and uncertainty, having these four familiar players in the finals felt reassuring and safe. I LOVE how sports can do that.

The Williams sisters met for the 28th time for the women’s championship.

Venus, at age 36, is at a stage in her career where she seems to be playing for the pure joy of it. She’s already made her mark. She’s got nothing more to prove.

She could have retired after she fell out of the top one hundred in 2012, or when she was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease. But she didn’t. She battled back. She had faith in herself and her game. #goodfeels

Sister Serena, at age 35, is playing for the numbers. She’s been tied with Steffi Graf at #22 Grand Slam totals which has been an annoying monkey on her back.

Their match was a competitive, awesome display of tennis. Serena won 6-4, 6-4 and not only breaks the tie with Graf, but regains the #1 ranking she lost to Angelique Kerber in September of last year.

I think the best part was their speeches afterward. #goodfeels galore.

On the men’s side, 35-year-old Roger Federer took on 30-year-old Rafael Nadal. These two have played each other 35 times. Sunday’s final was another epic showdown.

Roger, having missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, came back in Federer style by winning the championship in 5 sets. He was down a break in the 5th but somehow found the magic and extended his Grand Slam victories to 18.

Rafa also battled injuries last season with wrist problems. I think I wasn’t alone in wondering if he could return to his top form. He did.

Ultimately, I think his 5-hour semifinal win over Gregor Dimitrov on Thursday took too much out of him.

Never the less, it was a wonderful weekend of tennis, the likes of which we may never see again.

On the NFL Pro Bowl….

The AFC took this one, 20-13, over the NFC. The game was played in Orlando, Florida, instead of its usual Hawaiian destination.

The game wasn’t a TOTAL snooze fest, but it still was the Pro Bowl – where players are playing to NOT get hurt in a game that doesn’t matter one bit.

Maybe this one was a bit more interesting because it had so many newcomers. They weren’t tired of it yet. And the teams actually played some defense.

But if I’m being totally honest, I watched the SAG Awards instead.

I mean, did you SEE Winona Ryder’s face while her costar gave his speech after receiving “Best Drama Ensemble” ~> priceless!

 

The NHL All-Star Game happened here in Los Angeles over the weekend, and there was hockeyness all around the Staples Center.

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-11-35-32-amIt started with the NHL100 on Friday where the top 100 players in hockey were chosen, in no particular order.

On Saturday, there was the skills competition.

The League, in an effort to stay current and hip, had Snoop Dogg perform at the event. And Snoop being Snoop didn’t feel the need to censor his song “The Next Episode” so the FBombs dropped for all of Staples and TV Land to hear. I had to laugh.

Here is a recap of all the winners from the skills competition.

In Sunday’s main event, The Metropolitan captured the All-Star Game title by beating the Pacific 4-3 after toppling the Atlantic 10-6 in the first round of play. The Pacific beat the Central 10-3 in the first round.

There were lots of games in the NBA over the weekend. Here are your scores and highlights.

College hoops are starting to heat up as we inch our way towards March Madness. Here is the latest AP Poll – and scores from the weekend.

In case you hadn’t heard, #SuperBowl51 is next Sunday, February 5th from Houston, Texas. The city will turn into a small-scale Olympic Village in order to host the mass of football fans and media that are expected.

The New England Patriots are playing the Atlanta Falcons.

Here is a schedule of all the events taking place this week and a schedule for game day events.

Country star Luke Bryan will sing the National Anthem. The cast of Hamilton will be performing at the festivities, and Lady Gaga will be the halftime show. CAN’T WAIT!

Ok people, hopefully, this is enough sports info to get you out there and talking with your family, friends, and coworkers!

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more sports news, scores and highlights.

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#SportBits … Russia Accused of “Systemic Doping”

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has released the second part of their report into allegations against Russia of state-sponsored doping, particularly involving the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Lead investigator Richard McLaren alleges that systematic doping took place between 2011-2014, and that more than 1,000 Russian athletes from summer and winter sports were involved in or benefited from an organized conspiracy over the four-year period.

 

The report confirms the information released in the first report back in July of this year. But it expands its findings to include evidence of tampering with doping samples involving 12 Russian medalists in Sochi. That number includes athletes who won four gold medals.

As reported here last summer, it was the recommendation of WADA after the first report surfaced to ban the entire Russian Federation from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio. The International Olympic Committee officials rejected the outright ban, however, and instead required the international federations that govern each sport to decide which Russians should be allowed to compete.

This decision was widely criticized after roughly two-thirds of the Russian team ended up participating in Rio. With the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, pressure is mounting to react more harshly to this latest allegation.

The IOC has established two commissions to address the situation, especially the allegation of swapping dirty samples for clean ones at a Russian lab during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. No athletes were named in the report: however, their identities were provided to the respective international federations for possible disciplinary action.

This is a sad story with which to end what has been an exciting year in sports. I feel for all the athletes who worked hard and made sacrifices in order to pursue their goal of winning a medal in the Olympics, only to face an uneven playing field. I feel sorry for the fans and spectators who have been deceived, and I strongly believe that ANYONE, whether it be an official or an athlete, who took part in such a deliberate and dishonest manipulation of the system should be banned from all aspects of their respective sport FOR LIFE.

Three strikes and you’re out. #consequences

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The top 5 sports stories of 2016!

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Happy Holidays, #SportBits readers!

With the year winding down, I thought I’d chime in with my top 5 sports stories of 2016.

5. The Death Of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali died last June at the age of 74. Many feel he was the most polarizing sports figure the world has ever known. Throughout his career, Ali was criticized for both his religious and political beliefs, his stance on social issues during the 1960s and ’70s, his rejection of his “slave” name Cassius Clay, and joining the Nation of Islam.

As a heavyweight fighter, he lost over three years of his career after being convicted of draft evasion, and still fought to a 55-2 record before losing three of his final four bouts after turning 36. His career highlights are too numerous to detail here, but, for many, the Thrilla in Manila and the Rumble in the Jungle are the best examples of the greatness of the fighter who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.

4. Ryan Lochte’s “Over-Exaggeration”

In August, soon after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio came to a close, Ryan Lochte admitted it was his fault that a fabricated story about a robbery caused an international scandal.

“I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that we wouldn’t be in this mess.” ~Ryan Lochte

The mess he is referring to is the tale of him and 3 teammates being robbed and pistol whipped at a gas station in Rio, which could have turned into a hugely embarrassing incident for the host city. It certainly was an embarrassing incident for Ryan Lochte, who was subsequently suspended from competition for 10 months.

3. Kaepernick Takes A Knee

San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick sat for the playing of the national anthem before the 49ers’ first three preseason games in protest of the rising number of African Americans shot and killed by police.

Several athletes from around the sports world soon joined in, and while there are many who disagree with his methods, many others believe in Kaepernick’s message and his right to protest. Who knows, this may be the start of more athletes speaking up about social and political issues.

2. Cleveland Wins The NBA Championship

The city of Cleveland had not won a championship in 52 years. LeBron James had returned to his hometown after winning two titles in Miami and was determined to end the drought. In 2015, the Cavaliers lost at home in six games to the Golden State Warriors. In 2016, they became the first NBA team to win a Championship after being down three games to one when James had the game of his life and the Cavs beat the Warriors 93-89.

1. Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

After 108 years of waiting, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series! The most cursed franchise finally became champions – but it wasn’t easy. With the game tied at the end of Game 7, a 17-minute rain delay stymied the Cleveland Indians’ momentum and the Cubs scored three runs and the curse was over.

 

Happy Holidays ~> #SportBits!

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Knicks open to trading Carmelo Anthony to Clippers

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Just two weeks ago Carmelo Anthony went public with his desire to remain a Knick and stay in New York. He made it very clear he had no interest in waiving his no-trade clause.

Well, a lot can happen in two weeks and it now seems a trade is imminent.

Knicks president Phil Jackson seems determined to find a new home and a deal that Anthony would accept before the February 23rd trade deadline.

According to several reports, the Clippers and Knicks are discussing a deal that would bring Anthony to Los Angeles.

But don’t panic Clipper fans – the deal does NOT include any of the big three: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan.

Big sigh of relief.

Talks of the Clipper trade come a day after Jackson offered up Anthony to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love. This would be a no-brainer for ‘Melo considering his close friendship to LeBron and his desire for a ring.

But the Cavs turned it down and will probably have to deal with an unhappy LeBron who tweeted several times this week that he needs management to find him a playmaker, stat.

E01628846nter the Clippers – another organization Anthony would agree to. He owns a home in Los Angeles and is close friends with Paul.

 

But he comes at a price for both organizations. Besides the no-movement clause, his five-year $124million contract signed in 2014 also has a 15% trade-bonus the Knicks would owe him.

Thankfully, Blake Griffin is off the table due to random rule in the Collective Bargaining agreement that states that a team cannot have two Designated Rookie extensions on the roster acquired via trade at one time.

I would imagine the Clippers want to keep DeAndre even though, in my opinion, his game is very one-dimensional these days, and his foul shooting is atrocious. But he’s probably the most physically gifted player in the league.

So that leaves 24-year-old guard Austin Rivers, who is averaging a career-high 11.9 points a game, veteran guard JJ Reddick, who becomes a free agent this summer, and super sixth man Jamal Crawford, who signed a three-year, $42 million deal last summer.

While I am a huge Carmelo fan, at 32 years old, he, like his pals Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul and LeBron, isn’t getting any younger. So I understand Jackson’s wanting to trade either Anthony or Derrick Rose to try and rebuild a younger team around their superstar Kristaps Porzinis.

What do you think? Should the Clippers try and deal for Carmelo? Leave a comment below.

And remember to follow me on twitter, instagram and Facebook for more sports news, score and highlights.

#SportBits… a little bit of info is all you need.

 

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Mary Coyne is #SportBits …

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by M. Mattison @ HerDaily.com

Mary Coyne learned early on that paying attention to sports would serve her well.

“I’m one of five girls and realized a great way to connect with my dad was to sit down and watch the game with him,” remembers Mary.

Her parents took Mary and her sisters to various sporting events – mostly those involving Syracuse University. She remembers many times, while sitting at the dinner table, her dad saying, “Who wants to go to the basketball game tonight?” and off they’d head to Manley Field House.

Whether it was regular season football games, Bowl games or the Big East basketball tournament in New York City, sports – as both a participant and spectator – were a huge part of her childhood.

img_1918-2-300x300Mary and her family at the Fiesta Bowl.

“Maybe because dad didn’t have any sons,” she says.  “We all – intentionally or otherwise – paid attention to sports; some of us more than others!”

So it’s not surprising that Mary, who has a Masters degree in TV & Film from Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications, has found her way to #SportBits – her sports brand that aims to provide those who don’t know a lot about what’s happening in the sports world get a little bit of information so they don’t feel left out.

Whether it’s a mom who wants to bond with her kids or spouse, or someone hoping to connect with a co-worker or client, bonding over sports can often lead to good things.

“There have been any number of times when my sports knowledge has helped me both personally and professionally. In an interview, business meeting, or social event, knowing just a little bit of info can go a long way. It’s not fun being left out of the conversation because you don’t know what the big game is,” explains Mary.

Mary and Caitlyn Jenner

When asked about her favorite interview, Mary doesn’t hesitate. “Caitlyn Jenner, without a doubt. I stalked her in the Chicago airport and she couldn’t have been nicer,” remembers Mary.

Mary loves talking sports, especially on social media. She says her Twitter account is like a virtual sports bar where she can connect with others on various sports topics.

“I love sitting down with a beer and hopping on Twitter while I watch a live sporting event,” says Mary.  “I’m part of a cyber sports community and it’s fun to chat it up and follow along with my Twitter friends.”

Currently, #SportBits runs weekly on HerDaily.com. She also is a contributor to FanSided.com, covering Los Angeles sports, and has a weekly sports segment on Jazzo’s World – an Internet radio program out of Philadelphia. You can follow #SportBits on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

#SportBitsa little bit of info is all you need.

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#SportBits … Concussions And The Female Athlete

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Concussions are still a much-discussed issue in sports, but the conversations tend to focus on football and hockey: men’s sports.

In reality however, the dangers of concussions are just as present in female athletes, even in non-contact sports.

Sports journalist Joanne Gerstner has written a book with renowned sports neurologistJeffrey S. Kutcher called “Back in the Game: Why Concussion Doesn’t Have to End Your Athletic Career.”

In the book, they attempt to move the conversation of concussions in sports from fear to knowledge. Yes, there is always a risk when you play sports, but if you’re armed with knowledge and you’re aware of protocol and safety measures, there is a way to “proceed safely and have fun.”

Gerstner and Kutcher also discuss the fact that female athletes are just as likely to get concussions as their male counterparts.

“Hmm, we all have brains, we can get concussions, but people don’t watch women’s sports like they watch men’s sports. The lawsuits have been directed more at men’s entities than women’s entities. It stands to reason they would associate concussions with a guy’s thing, but it’s really not.” ~ Joanne Gerstner

Because women have less neck strength, as well as hormonal changes throughout the month, they may be even more susceptible to concussions. Whether it’s cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer or basketball, the risk is there for women and parents need to be aware of it.

It’s not only awareness – it’s the importance of acting on a potential problem when faced with it. The courage for a young girl to say she doesn’t feel right, or that a teammate seems off is extremely important. It’s having the confidence to say “No” when asked to play by a coach or parent after being hurt.

Ultimately, it comes down to the athlete. Everyone is an individual and their bodies react differently. It’s important for parents and coaches to be knowledgeable on concussion protocol, and to listen to athletes who must be empowered to say, “I’m hurt and can’t play.”

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#SportBits … Columbia University Suspends Men’s Wrestling Season Over “Lewd Texts”

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What the heck is going on in our country? Have we all lost our minds!!???

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Columbia University has suspended its wrestling team while it investigates “racist, misogynistic and homophobic” text messages between team members.

This on the heels of Harvard, another Ivy League institution, canceling its men’s soccer season earlier this month when school officials found out that players had been making lewd rankings of women players for years.

The decision to suspend the Columbia wrestling team came after the student-run website, BWOG, published several text messages dating back to 2014 between teammates that contained jokes about rape and the use of racist, homophobic, and sexist slurs and comments.

The university released a statement saying the athletic department “has decided that Columbia wrestlers will not compete until we have a full understanding of the facts on which to base the official response to this disturbing matter.” But a university official also told the New York Times that the team was still practicing, leaving open the possibility the season would continue after the investigation concludes.

Over the weekend, Columbia students held protests on campus outside the fraternity house where several wrestlers are members. A Change.org petition calling for the expulsion of wrestlers had over 1000 supporters as of Tuesday evening.

Many students on campus were encouraged by the university’s quick response and investigation into the texts. The school’s statement called the language used “appalling” and said they were “at odds with the core values of the university, violate team guidelines and have no place in our community.”

This behavior and thought process goes beyond my #FrontalLobeTheory where young men and women do stupid things because their frontal lobe/reasonable-decision-making-part of their brain is not fully developed (ex. Jose Fernandez). I don’t understand how anyone could think that jokes about rape or hateful comments about race or sexual preferences are funny. But to then put it in writing for all to see – JUST PLAIN STUPID. Ignorance AND stupidity, not what you want or expect to see from today’s younger generation.

But we are living in a listicle society where we comment and rank everything, whether it be on Tinder, Buzzfeed, or Yelp, so I shouldn’t be so surprised … but I am … and I’m worried that our President-Elect has helped to normalize this behavior.

We’d better get our friggin’ act together, people.

#SportBitsa little bit of info is all you need.
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#SportBits … Venus and Serena Williams Return To Their Compton Roots

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Serena and Venus Williams grew up a few miles from my house.

In the thirty years I’ve lived in Southern California, I haven’t seen them spend much time here. They live and train in Florida, and travel the world as members of the WTA.

But the Williams sisters recently renewed their ties to the community that helped shape them as both women and professional tennis players when they returned to Compton, California last weekend to announce the planned opening of a trauma resource center in honor of their slain older sister.

Yetunde Price, the elder half-sister of Venus and Serena, was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2003. She was a 31-year-old registered nurse and co-owner of a beauty shop. She also was the mother of three young children. Price was killed in the early morning of September 14, 2003, in Compton, a Los Angles community known for its gang violence. Price was shot in the head as a passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend, who authorities believed was the intended victim.

Dealing with the tragedy was a difficult process for the Williams sisters. They credit their family for helping them get through it. But the sisters have since realized that not everyone has the strong support system needed to deal with tragedy.  Their goal with the Yetunde Price Resource Center is to offer help and guidance to those affected by gun violence and trauma in order to get the resources needed to heal and move on with their lives.

Sharoni Little is the center’s chief operating officer and says the center will serve 50 clients per month.

“This is going to be not just an exchange of information, but a sustained, deep relationship. It will be relational. There will be follow-up. There will be not just passing on a card or a flyer, but actually making those connections and relationships. And we obviously know it will grow because of the need.” ~ Sharoni Little

The Williams sisters understand the importance of families getting help when dealing with the aftermath of violent crimes.

“Basically, how does the family react? If her (Price’s)  kids didn’t have my mom and us, it could be really devastating. But we had such a great system that they’re doing pretty good. We just felt like people who didn’t have that opportunity to fall back on, what could they do? And that’s kind of how this resource center came about.” ~ Serena Williams

The Williams sisters have been involved in many charitable efforts from backing scholarships for young Americans to funding schools in Africa and Jamaica. But this one hits close to home and brings them back to their community with a strong and positive presence.

“We’re really appreciative to have this opportunity, and to have it in Compton, I think it brings everything full circle. We started here and we want to make sure people understand this is a great place to be.” ~Serena Williams

The Yetunde Price Resource Center is set to open in Compton early next month.

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#SportBits … NBA Coaches React To The Presidential Election

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Like many, I’m still processing the results of our Presidential election.

I realize this is an inexact comparison, but I feel like I did after 9-11: sad, mad, scared, and anxious over this feeling of the unknown. I have the same unsettling haunch that life will never be the same again. It sounds dramatic, but there has been a shift in our country, and I’m hoping that in the end, good will come of it after we realize there is much to learn about each other and ourselves.

While I choose to be hopeful and open-minded about this transition, it is hard for me to ignore and forget the hateful rhetoric that was used during the campaign.  Many people in the sports world feel the same.

In the NBA, a league that has never shied away from political activism, coaches and players have used their platforms to speak out on the divisive political campaign and the results that followed.

Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, didn’t hold back when it came to the President-Elect and the people who voted for him. He told reporters he was “disgusted” that voters were willing to brush aside Trump’s “xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic” language during his campaign. He went on to say:

“I live in that country where half of the people ignored all of that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me. It’s got nothing to do with the environment and Obamacare, and all of the other stuff. We live in a country that ignored all of those values that we would hold our kids accountable for. They’d be grounded for years if they acted and said the things that have been said in that campaign by Donald Trump.”

Like me, Popovich is having a hard time putting all the hateful rhetoric behind him.

“The fact that people can just gloss that over, start talking about the transition team, and we’re all going to be kumbaya now and try to make the country good without talking about any of those things.” ~ Gregg Popovich

Stan Van Gundy, the president and head coach of the Detroit Pistons used his First Amendment rights to speak freely about the election and Trump.

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Lastly, there was Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warrior, who commented on the “Jerry Springer” atmosphere of the campaign.

 

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It’s the fear of the unknown that has me so anxious. And on top of that, I can’t move on until we deal with the effects of the disparaging and dehumanizing rhetoric used during the campaign.

This campaign revealed the ugliness within our country and until we recognize and deal with that, the healing can’t really begin.

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#SportBits … Why Oh Why, Harvard Men’s Soccer Team?

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On the heels of our nation’s current conversations regarding gender equality and inclusion, comes a document out of Harvard University revealing sexist and crude remarks made by members of the men’s soccer team against their female counterparts.

The 2012 9-page “scouting report” included a short paragraph assessing incoming members of the women’s soccer team. The report also contained a photo (captured from the player’s social media accounts), a numerical value, and suggested sexual positions for each incoming female player. There was no mention of the women’s soccer abilities.

The male players also gave the women offensive nicknames. For example, one female player was named “Gumbi” because of her “gum to tooth ratio.” Sexual positions were suggested for each, including Cowgirl, Triple Lady, and Doggy Style.

The male players also noted various crude and sexual comments, such as:

‘She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position.’
~Harvard male soccer player

Another unidentified player wrote:

She seems to be very strong, tall and manly so, I gave her a 3 because I felt bad. Not much needs to be said on this one folks.’

And another:

‘Yeah… She wants c**k.’

Yes, the document is fours years old, but a line at the beginning of the report insinuates it is produced each year. And Daily.com reports that until recently, it was made available to the public and searchable on Google Groups.

Harvard’s men’s soccer coach Pieter S. Lehrer – who was hired in 2013 – is “shocked” and “disgusted” by the report, but hopes to use it as an opportunity to discuss with his players the current attitudes regarding equality and respect for women.

Harvard’s director of athletics, Robert L Scalise, told the Harvard’s newspaper, ‘It’s very disappointing and disturbing that people are doing this.’

Ya think?

In response, the Harvard women’s team had this to say:

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As women, we often face sexual abuse and harassment in society. We are objectified in the media and our current political campaign has the dialogue moving backwards. #womennotobjects

Why can’t we figure out a way to stop this from happening?

Empowering young girls and women is not only morally right, but economically smart. There are many athletes and athletic organizations working hard to do just that, but not enough is being done.

Sounds cliché, but I’m hoping that the Harvard men’s team – and the community as a whole – can take a hard look at itself to see where they might make changes to move the dialogue on women’s issues in a positive direction, and build a community where everyone can feel safe and proud.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What can we do to move forward with gender equality? Leave a comment below, and be sure to follow me on social media for more thoughtful discussions and of course, sports news.

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#SportBits … NBA Fashion

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OK. If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m a bit obsessed with sports. I love EVERYTHING about being a sports fan. I love watching my teams play, and talking about it afterwards. I love great comebacks, record-breaking performances, and some good ole trash talking. I REALLY love watching the national anthem performed (#geek)…and recently, I’ve become infatuated with the NBA fashion runway.

Fashion runway you ask? Yup. These athletes, who perform amazing feats on the court, have found a way to express themselves off the court, and show their fans a different side of their personality.

I call them #ArenaArrivalOutfits – which is pretty self-explanatory. What is he going to wear to the arena today?? Trust me, game day fashion is no joke. While broadcasting the player’s arrivals is not a new practice, social media has put these short walks through the arena tunnels out there for all to see, and of course, comment on. Players stroll down the cement runway tunnels in their couture and sunglasses with cameras glued to their sides. Fans (like me!!) check in with social media to see who is wearing what. And if you don’t think the players feel the pressure, you’re wrong.

“You stress over outfits for days,” Warriors’ Stephen Curry said in an interview, “and you wind up wearing it for 30 seconds when you walk from the parking lot to the locker room.”

But those 30 seconds are muy important. Whether it’s ESPN or TNT, networks are looking to fill pregame airtime, and the player’s entrances have become a must-see event.

My favorite? Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dude NEVER disappoints. Dresses with reckless abandon, just like he plays on the court. I love it!

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Some take the casual approach, like MVP Steph Curry:

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He even admits to watching clips of other players making their entrances.

“All the time,” Curry said. “You want to see what the other guys are doing.”

Others take the all-business approach, like LeBron:

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Come on…ya gotta love the fact he’s taking out his keys from his perfectly tailored suit to put in the plastic bin…and walking through a metal detector! I mean really, the Milan runways are SOOOOO boring.

I think all that is missing… is ME.. standing there with a microphone asking each and every one of them, “Who are you wearing tonight?”

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#SportBitsDaily … Tuesday

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Vintage Television

 

Today’s theme ….balls.

NBA:

The Golden State Warriors blew their chance to clinch the NBA title at home last night. The war of words between LeBron James and Klay Thompson that began Sunday, continued on the court, and King James came out on top. The Cavs needed the win, and behind a 41pt performance from James and Kyrie Irving, they did just that, 112-97. The series returns to Cleveland for Game 6 on Thursday…and with Draymond Green back in the lineup after his groin-grabbing suspension – it’ll be dramatic – and fun.

Golf:

Big balls for Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy …b0th confirming they WILL take part in the summer Olympics despite #Zika concerns .

MLB:

More groin news: Cleveland Indians third baseman Juan Uribe was carted off the field in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels after Mike Trout’s ground ball nailed him in the nuts. He is listed day to day with a testicular contusion. Wasn’t he wearing a cup, you ask?  Don’t they all wear cups? Well, apparently Cleveland trainers didn’t have one in his size. #biggerballs

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*Insert some witty #DonJuan hashtag here.

Yesterday’s MLB scores…here.

Hey…let’s hear it for the old guys:

Ok, 32yrs may not be old. But to pursue an NFL career at that age is…well… ballsy. 32-year old former NBA player Nate Robinson had a tryout Monday with the Seattle Seahawks, a league source confirmed. The 5-foot-9 Robinson had been playing basketball in Israel, but he has expressed interest in pursuing an NFL career.

“The biggest challenge is probably all the haters, everybody counting me out, somebody not really giving me the opportunity. That’s what I think the biggest challenge will be, getting somebody to give me that chance.”

Good luck Nate – I’m rooting for you!

Meanwhile, Ichiro Suzuki is 42 years old, and after a disappointing 2015 season with his longtime Mariners team, many thought he was done. But he hung in there and signed with the Marlins for 2016, and is having a helluva season so far. Suzuki has a .350 batting average and is just 23 career hits short of 3000.

ICYMI: 

Baylor interim president David Garland acknowledged Monday that a movement to bring back Art Briles as football coach in 2017 has gained momentum among a few key donors. #BEYONDballsy.  There are no words…except that my incoming high school senior WILL NOT be looking at Baylor this fall. #BaylorScandal #notrust #nofaith

Let’s end with a shout out to all the ladies of the WNBA …

Ok. That’s it. So now you know…

 

 

 

 

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#SportBits … Weekend Recap

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It is with a heavy heart I write my recap today, after the horrific massacre in Orlando, Florida. These tragic and senseless shootings continue to happen at an alarming rate. It’s sad, confusing, and maddening that we cannot figure out a way to battle this epidemic. Watching sports is a way for me to step out of the insanity for a little while. I’m reminded that these games are just that…GAMES…and they offer joy and reprieve during times where joy is hard to find…and I am thankful for that. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families today.

#SportBits

NBA:

The Golden State Warriors are 1 game away from winning their second consecutive NBA title. The can take it tonight at home – but they’ll have to do it without forward Draymond Green. Green was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul and suspended for 1 game for what the NBA said was a “retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin” of LeBron James on Friday. The flagrant 1 gave Green his fourth flagrant foul point of the playoffs, which carries an automatic suspension. He will be allowed to participate in postgame celebrations if the Warriors win (they will). Draymond has been caught swiping the groinage before…kinda weird.

Russell Westbrook and James Harden have removed their names from consideration for USA Basketball’s 2016 Rio Olympics team. They are the latest star athletes to opt out of the games this summer. While neither mentioned the Zika virus as the reason – that’s the reason. I don’t care what anyone says.

The LA Lakers announced that Magic Johnson is no longer a ceremonial (i.e. non paid) Vice President of the organization. Why? Because he’s often critical of the team on social media – sounding somewhat teenagery at times – and the Lakers want all to know that “his opinions, comments and social media posts are solely his, and do not represent or reflect those of Lakers ownership of management. Hopefully this will eliminate any confusion over this issue in the future.”

This was one of my favs:

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#teenagery

NHL:

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the Stanley Cup with a 3-1 Game 6 win over the San Jose Sharks. This is their 4th title in franchise history. Team Captain Sidney Crosby was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

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Gordy Howe, the Hall of Fame forward, also known as “Mr. Hockey” died on Friday. He was 88 yrs. old. Howe scored 975 goals in 2,186 games for four teams in two leagues—during a professional career that spanned 32 seasons from 1946 to 1980. In his final season, he scored 15 goals in 80 games for the Hartford Whalers.

MLB:

The 2016 MLB draft is over…. and here is what should know about that.

Here are the weekend scores and highlights.

In a TOTALLY DRAMATIC FINISH, UC Santa Barbara stunned Louisville with a walk-off home run to earn their first trip to the College World Series. FYI: Louisville was 47-0 this season when leading after 8 innings…and the FRESHMAN pinch hitter (Sam Cohen) had hit only 1 home run all year. I LOVE SPORTS!!!!

 

USCB will be playing Coastal Carolina, who clinched its first-ever trip to the College World Series Sunday night as the Chanticleers were able to earn a walk-off win over LSU in Baton Rouge. Can’t wait for the CWS – and here is what you need to know about it.

 

HORSE RACING:

There was no Triple Crown on the line; but the finish was still dramatic at the $1.5million Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Three-year-old gray colt, Creator, closed the race with a mad rush and caught Destin at the wire in the photo finish. Heavily favored Preakness winner Exaggerator wound up in 11th place. Creator co-owner and celebrity chef Bobby Flay is certainly cooking up celebratory feast for friends today.

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SOCCER/FOOTBALL:

Big sigh of relief for the #USMNT. After a 2-0 loss in their opener v Colombia, a 4-0 rout of Costa Rica put them back on track. On Saturday, the USA team beat Paraguay 1-0 on a Cliff Dempsey goal, which puts them in the Copa America quarterfinals.

#DUMBASSfanalert: English and Russian soccer fans hurled bottles and chairs, clashing with each other and French riot police in Marseille on Saturday ahead of their teams’ opening Euro 2016 match. One person suffered a heart attack while another England fan was knocked unconscious. There were also clashes in the stadium following England’s 1-1 draw with Russia, after Russia fans appeared to rush at England supporters. My suggestion would be to move the 9pm start to earlier in the day…leaving less time for fans to get hammered and act like IDIOTS before, during and after the game. #forfucksake

GOLF:

Canada’s Brooke Henderson claimed her first major title yesterday, beating world number one Lydia Ko in a sudden-death play-off at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

 

That’s its for now folks… enjoy the game tonight (9pm ET on ABC)…lots of drama surrounding it…should be a great one. Follow me on social media, HerDaily.com and right back here for daily sports news, scores and highlights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#SportBits … 12 Inspiring Quotes from Muhammad Ali

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We honor the greatest of all time today by becoming inspired by these Muhammad Ali quotes.

The late Muhammad Ali was not only a championship boxer, Olympic Gold medal winner, and civil rights activist, he was also a talented motivational speaker. Throughout his sparkling career, Ali was known for his humorous and positive outlook on life. There is no question his words helped inspire people all around the world.

Here are my 12 picks for the most memorable quotes spoken, and often shouted, by this incredible fighter and activist:

“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”
“Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned.”
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
“The will must be stronger than the skill.”
“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
“My principles are more important than the money or my title.”
“It’s a lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
“I don’t have to be what you want me to be.”

Ali died June 3rd from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. Funeral arrangements will take place Friday, June 10th, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., Ali’s birthplace.

Actor Will Smith and Lennox Lewis will join six other friends and family members as pallbearers carrying Ali’s coffin. Former President Bill Clinton will lead a group of seven persons who will deliver eulogies for the late boxing icon. Lonnie Ali, his wife of 29 years; his daughter, Maryum Ali; journalist Bryant Gumbel; actor/comedian Billy Crystal; King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey are all scheduled to deliver eulogies to help remember and celebrate the life of this great boxing champion, activist and motivational speaker.

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#SportBitsDaily … Friday

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Fifteen thousand people are expected to attend an interfaith service that will be held at the KFC Yum! Center at 2 p.m. today for boxing great Muhammad Ali. Former President Bill ClintonBilly CrystalBryant Gumbel, and Ali’s wife, Lonnie, will give eulogies. Also expected to speak is Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. The service is open to the public.

NHL:

After wild first period goal-fest in Game 5 in the #StanleyCupFinals, the San Jose Sharks held on to win in Pittsburgh, 4-2, to force a Game 6 in San Jose on Sunday.

Hockey legend Gordie Howe died this morning, the Detroit Red Wings have confirmed. He was 88. The Hall of Famer played on four Stanley Cup championship teams in Detroit during a 25-year stint that began in 1946. He retired from hockey for good when he was 52.

NBA:

After winning Game 3 on Wednesday by 30 pts. without Kevin Love, a game which they were going to win NO MATTER WHAT, word has it the Cavaliers are wondering if they even need the injured star forward in the lineup for Game 4, tonight. He’s got to pass the concussion test before he’s cleared, which will probably be something like riding a unicycle while explaining the Theory of Relativity. …in Mandarin.

MLB:

The Philadelphia Phillies had the No. 1 pick in the MLB draft yesterday and took this guy. Here is more draft news from Day 1.

Manny Muchado was suspended 4 games for taking a swing and a miss at pitcher Yordano Ventura , who got 9 games for nailing Muchado with a fastball.

NFL:

Yahoo Sports reported yesterday that Von Miller could sit out the entire 2016 season. His contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos have hit a snag over what part of the 6yr, $114million will be guaranteed.

#RIPdabbing … Cam Newton announced yesterday the dab is done. We can all go back to living our lives now.

TENNIS:

Rafa Nadal will skip Wimbledon this year because of his recurring wrist injury.

Finally…

Loving the spirit of 7 yr old cancer survivor and Cub fan Beckham Zobrist. Retinoblastoma took his eye, but it couldn’t take his Cub spirit. Check out his prosthetic:

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Ok. That’s it. So now you know…

 

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#SportBitsDaily … Thursday

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NBA:

Big sigh of relief… The Cleveland Cavaliers found their shooting arm, LeBron scored 32, and the Cavs walloped the Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals last night. From the start of the game the Cavs dominated, building a 20pt lead in the first quarter. Steph Curry had another off-night with 19pts and 6 turnovers. I just want a flippin’ game where both teams are playing well…this series has been a snoozefest. Through 3 games, the average margin of victory is 26pts. #dramafree

TENNIS:

Five time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova was suspended two years by the International Tennis Federation on Wednesday for doping, a ban she called “unfairly harsh.” She plans to appeal. In a statement on her Facebook page Sharapova said:

 “While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

A two-year ban, when everyone seems to agree that Sharapova didn’t know the substance, Meldonium, had been banned, seems a little harsh. Nike agrees…and they are sticking with her. Porsche is awaiting the appeal decision. Tag Heuer cut ties but MAY work with her again, and Avon said “see ya – wouldn’t want to be ya.”

MLB:

The MLB Draft starts tonight…is 40 rounds.. and lasts for of 3 days. You can watch on MLB Network and MLB.com. #yawn

A day after Yordano Ventura zinged a 99mph fastball at Manny Muchado – causing a bench-clearing brawl – the Kansas City Royals are reportedly reaching out to other teams to trade the controversial pitcher. Apparently Ventura’s attitude and immaturity seem to be the catalyst for the trade talk..that, and the series of on-field altercations he’s created over the last couple of season by hitting opposing batters. #thehell

Snoop Dogg threw out the first pitch at the Padre game yesterday. God love him…

 

Ok. That’s it. So now you know…

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#SportBitsDaily … Wednesday

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Vintage Television

 

COPA AMERICA:

In a make-or-break game for the #USMNT last night, Cliff Dempsey had a goal and two assists, and the U.S. rebounded from its opening loss with a convincing 4-0 victory over Costa Rica. The Americans are now in a position to advance to the knockout stage when playing Paraguay in its group finale on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

NBA:

Speaking of make-or-break games….the Cleveland Cavaliers MUST win Game 3 at home tonight. No team in history has come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Finals. Good news  for Cavs fans: the team is 7-0 at home this playoff season.

Hours after interviewing for an assistant-coaching job with the New York Knicks on Tuesday, former NBA center Sean Rooks  collapsed and died in a Philadelphia restaurant. Rooks had a 12-year NBA career, including stops with the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, New Orleans and Orlando Magic. He had been a player-development coach for the past two years with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Score one for #TeamNike. Projected No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Ben Simmons announced Tuesday that he has signed an endorsement deal with the company…why? Well, Simmons hired agent Rich Paul, who is a longtime friend of, and now agent for, LeBron James => #NikeGod ..and every shoe deal Paul has negotiated for his clients has been with Nike.

GOLF:

Tiger Woods announced yesterday he would miss the US Open and the Quicken Loan Invitational due to his continuing rehab on his surgically repaired back. The 14-time major champion hasn’t played a competitive round on the PGA Tour since finishing in a tie for 10th in the Wyndham Championship last August. I’m thinking that just like the Bernie Sander campaign – it might be time for Tiger to throw in the towel – and start designing courses.

NFL:

Rookie Mistakes: (paging D’Angelo Russell)… Minnesota Vikings’ top draft pick Laquon Treadwell is feeling the wrath of his new fan base. Dude was snapped wearing an Oakland Raiders hat, and when that pic hit snapchat? Ooooooh, fans let him have it. I get it…. cause I’ll tell you right now, if some #Cuse freshman showed up on campus wearing a Duke hat? #doneski

abda0723cbf91f87f2e4310a90e1659f.jpgLaquon Treadwell

The NFL twitter account was hacked and the culprits falsely tweeted out that ‘ding dong the commissioners dead’.  Roger Goodell took it all in stride, tweeting out his own response. We can’t get rid of him that easily folks.

The drama filled off-season for the SuperBowl champs continues…The NFL said yesterday they are investigating a shooting incident involving Bronco Aqib Talib. What we know for sure is Talib must have had quite a buzz going early Sunday morning when he to accidentally shot himself in the leg. What is unclear is whether it happened at a park while he was hanging with some friends, as he told police – OR – if it happened at a nightclub where an unknown suspect shot two people in a disturbance around the same time. Does Talib actually have a permit to carry a gun? Will he de disciplined by the team? Dunno…but the NFL is investigating it all.

MLB:

I mean really…no one likes getting hit by a 99 MPH fastball… Baltimore Royals starter Yordano Ventura hit Orioles shortstop Manny Machado with a wicked pitch.. and a big ole bench clearing brawl ensued. Both guys were ejected.

 

Ok. That’s it. So now you know…

 

 

 

 

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#SportBitsDaily … Tuesday

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NHL:

The Pittsburgh Penguins moved within a game of winning the Stanley Cup yesterday by defeating the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, in San Jose. They now lead the series 3-1. There have been 4 games so far, and the Sharks have not held the lead in regulation in one of them. Not good…because you definitely play differently when you have the lead. Game 5 is Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

COPA AMERICA:

The #USMNT take on Costa Rica today…and it’s an effin must-win for the men’s team.

NBA:

In the NBA Finals, The Golden State Warriors have won both games at Oracle, effectively keeping home court advantage. They now lead the series 2-0 heading to Cleveland for Game 3 Wednesday night. I’m a little worried for #KingJames… it’s looking and feeling like #TeamUnderArmour might be taking his crown, again.

Yesterday Steph Curry announced he would NOT play for the Olympic team this summer so he can rest his knee and ankle for the 2016-17 NBA season. He and Ayesha seem to be in baby making mode, so I’m thinking Zika played a role in this decision. #justsayin

MMA:

Professional mixed martial artist Kimbo Slice died Monday at age 42 of undisclosed causes. Slice, (AKA Kevin Ferguson) was never really embraced by the MMA world as it went mainstream, but due to his immense popularity, his third professional fight in May 2008, aired on CBS, making it the first MMA fight on prime-time network television. #RIPSlice

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.49.23 PMKimbo Slice

The MMA reporter that was banned on Sunday from covering the MMA  has now been reinstated … but not before spilling some juicy beans on his employers. #oopsiedaisy. Ariel Helwani was banned for scooping the UFC on a story, and the UFC didn’t like it…so they kicked him out. Not too smart for a sport that is working hard to become more mainstream. My fav ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols put it best:

“Those of you spending your dollars on UFC should be concerned. I’m not pretending sportswriters are producing the Pentagon Papers here. But sport is a central part of American life … if you create a system where the only people who are allowed to cover a sport are people who do or say exactly what the league wants them to, then you don’t have a media who can question things when they go off the rails. And as we’ve seen … they do sometimes.”

NFL:

Aaron Rogers, QB for the Green Bay Packers, is cuttin’ the cheese. In an attempt to get healthier with the hopes of extending his career, the Wisconsin team leader will be going  vegan …eliminating all dairy and crappy food from his diet. #goudaluck

Ok. That’s it. So now you know…

 

 

 

 

 

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#SportBits … Monday recap

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As I’m sure you know by now, Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued legendary boxer, who proclaimed himself “The Greatest,” died Friday, June 3rd after being admitted to a Phoenix-area medical facility for respiratory complications. He was 74 years old. Ali battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years, which had slowly robbed him of both his verbal artistry and physical aptitude. I could spend the whole article writing about the Louisville Lip, and what his legacy means, but I already did that over on HerDaily.com … Instead, I’ll let Ali speak for himself. Here is an except from his 2013 autobiography, The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey:

 “I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous, and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him, and who helped as many people as he could. As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what. As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love. And if all that’s too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.”

 

#SportBits …

NBA: In the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors C R U S H E D the Cleveland Cavaliers, 100-77, in Game 2 in Oakland last night. The Warriors lead the series 2-0 heading to Cleveland for Game 3, Wednesday. Warriors’ Draymond Green scored 28 points and Cleveland lost star forward Kevin Love to “concussion protocol.” Here’s hoping LeBron and Co. can GET IT TOGETHER and take care of business at home. I’m not counting him out yet…but … #laststand

TENNIS: I bet Andy Murray is feeling a bit like the Cavs because no matter what he does, he can not beat Novak Djokovic at the Slams. World No. 1 Djokovic beat Murray in four sets at the French Open and became the first man in nearly a half-century to win four consecutive Grand Slam Tournaments. In his 12th appearance and fourth final, the Joker finally captured the one title that has eluded him. Next up: Wimbledon.

On the women’s side, World No. 1 Serena Williams was upset by Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, 7-5 6-4 in the women’s final on Saturday. Muguruza won her first career Grand Slam while denying Williams the opportunity of tying Steffi Graf’s record of 22 majors.

NHL: The Stanley Cup Final continues tonight in San Jose. The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the series 2-1. In a nutshell, the Penguins need to capitalize on their speed, and the Sharks need to take more shots! All the while, the beards keep growing…

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.37.21 AMJoe Thornton

MLB: Check here for weekend scores and highlights. In the meantime:

  • Giant pitcher Madison Bumgarner REALLY wants to participate in the Home Run Derby at the All Star game. After watching the show he put on at battling practice Sunday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, I can see why. But it ain’t gonna happen…Giant manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t want ANYTHING happening to that arm…or legs…or hands..or … #riskybusiness
  • The LA Dodgers cut ties with  Carl Crawford and must eat the remaining $34.6 million left on the under-achieving outfielder’s contract. That is one expensive meal. #stomachache
  • Those sneaky Dodgers…after being accused last week of using lasers to mark spots on the outfield for defensive purposes, they hoped to supply some sweet music to umpire Joe West’s ears on Sunday. West, the longtime umpire who has two country albums to his credit, was behind the plate for Sunday’s game between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. Dodger players used his songs as walk-up music for their first at-bats. Hilarious…and what’s even better? It was Chase Utley’s idea. #sneakiest

MMA: I had a ticket dropped in my lap last night to see the Zac Brown Band at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. Didn’t know one song, but man, he was good. Twenty-four hours earlier, the Forum hosted UFC 199 where 37-year-old Michael “The Count” Bisping shocked the MMA world by knocking out defending champ Luke Rockhold in the first round. Even more exciting was the announcement that a welterweight rematch between UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will headline UFC 202 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 20. #BookItDano

Copa America: After losing their opening match, 2-0, to Columbia, the #USMST travels to Soldier Field in Chicago to take on Costa Rica on Tuesday. Check here for all results, matchups, and upcoming schedule.

In other soccer news, a federal district court in Chicago ruled in favor of the U.S. Soccer Federation, saying the women’s national team is subject to a contract that prevents players from striking. The previous agreement expired in 2012,but, according to U.S. Soccer, it was modified and extended to last from 2013 to 2016. The modification included a no-strike clause. U.S. Soccer brought a lawsuit against the players’ union after the union’s lawyer denied that there was a valid contract and the federation saw that as a threat to strike.  Basically, now that they can’t strike, their bargaining chip is gone in their battle for equal pay.

I’m going to end with more Muhammad Ali. One of the things I remember most as a kid watching Ali was his wacky and unlikely friendship with sportscaster Howard Cosell. To this day, I don’t think I’ve seen another relationship like it in the world of sports and sports media. Take a look:

 

Have a great week everyone. Remember to check in with me on social media for scores and highlights during the week, and with #SportBitsDaily for daily news, scores and TV schedules.

 

 

 

 

 

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#SportBits … Muhammad Ali

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Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued legendary boxer, who proclaimed himself “The Greatest,” died Friday, June 3rd after being admitted to a Phoenix-area medical facility for respiratory complications. He was 74 years old. Ali battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years, which had slowly robbed him of both his verbal artistry and physical aptitude.

“Float like a butterfly … sting like a bee”

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on Jan. 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali started boxing when he was 12. He went to the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where he won a gold medal as a light heavyweight. He turned professional soon afterwards, and won his first heavyweight title by defeating Sonny Liston in 1964. After the 6th round knockout Ali proclaimed, “ I am the greatest. I am the greatest. I am king of the world.”

As Ali’s fame rose, so did his awareness of American racism. He quickly became a voice for social justice and change. He shunned agents and boxing promoters, and instead sought guidance from the Nation of Islam. After securing his first heavyweight title over Liston, Ali formally changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.

Ali’s amazing career was interrupted when he was convicted of draft evasion for refusing induction into the US Army during the Vietnam War. In 1971, after the four-year appeal process, which Ali spent lecturing on college campus’ about American Civil Rights, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction.

Ali soon returned to the ring and one of boxing and sports greatest rivalries was born. At a sold out Madison Square Garden in 1971, Ali fought and lost to Joe Frazier in a 15-round dual dubbed “The Fight of the Century.” It was Ali’s first defeat as a pro. They fought again in 1974 where Ali won in a unanimous decision.

Ali took the title later that year from George Foreman in a fight in Zaire dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle.” Employing a new fighting tactic called “rope-a-dope,” Ali knocked out Foreman in the eighth round.

The third fight in the Ali-Frazier trilogy followed in 1975, at the “Thrilla in Manila.” It is regarded as one of the best boxing matches of all time. Ali won in a technical knockout in the 15th round.

Ali successfully defended his title until 1978, when he was beaten by a young Leon Spinks, but he quickly won it back. He retired in 1979, when he was 37, but returned in 1980 for a title match against Larry Holmes, which he lost. Ali lost again, to Trevor Berbick, the following year. Finally, Ali retired for good.

Muhammad Ali was not only known for his skill in the ring, but his way with words outside it. Many saw his outrageous speeches and interviews as bragging and disrespectful to the sport. I say if you can back it up, then it ain’t bragging. And Muhammad Ali always backed it up. Whether he was speaking out on racism, or declaring his greatness, Ali was fearless, and consistently followed through on his promises and convictions. He was one of the most colorful figures the world has ever seen…and he will be missed.

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#SportBitsDaily … Friday

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NBA: The bench came up HUGE last night for the  Golden State Warriors to help give them the win over Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors won by 14, 104-89, because their bench, lead by Shaun Livingston’s 20 points, outscored the Cavs 45-10. Super star Warrior duo Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had 20 points combined, their fewest all season. LeBron James kicked off his sixth straight finals with 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Game 2 is Sunday in Oakland, 8pm ET. on ABC.

Comedy break: Jimmy Kimmel Live –  Mean Tweets – NBA Edition

 

FRENCH OPEN: Semi Finals happening RIGHT now on tennis channel & NBC.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic v. Dominic Thiem

No. 2 Andy Murray v. No. 3 Stan Wawrinka

No. 1 Serena Williams will play No. 4 Garbine Muguruza in the FINALS tomorrow, 9am ET on NBC.

RIO OLYMPICS:

Cyclist Tejay van Garderen is the first American athlete to back out of the Games due to concerns about the Zika virus.  It’s time to consider moving the Olympics. Seriously. Either move it to another location, or move it to 2017 to give time to fix all that is wrong in Rio. But it’s all about the Benjamins, right? And NBC and all their sponsors would have a hissy if it didn’t go off as planned…. #greediness

But take note greedy networks and sponsors…karma can be a bitch sometimes….just watch what happens to the sneaky ketchup in this one …who likes ketchup on their hotdogs anyway?

Ok. That’s it. So now you know…

 

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6 Fun Facts about the Stanley Cup..

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After a long and exciting playoff run, the 2016 Stanley Cup Final has begun. The Pittsburgh Penguins are battling the San Jose Sharks. The best-of-seven series began Monday night in Pittsburgh. The Penguins took Game 1, 3-2. This matchup is rich with interesting storylines, but today #SportBits gives you some history on the Stanley Cup itself. Here are 6 fun facts you may not know:

1. Who the heck is Stanley?
Lord Stanley of Preston was Governor General of Canada in 1892. He purchased the decorative cup in London and donated it to award Canada’s top amateur hockey club after he and his family became obsessed with the sport at Montreal’s 1889 Winter Carnival.

2. There are actually 3 cups.
• Stanley’s original Cup from 1892, was known as the “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup”, and is now on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

• In 1963, NHL president Clarence Campbell felt the original Cup had become too brittle to give to championship teams, so the “Presentation Cup” was created and is the well-known trophy awarded today.

• The Final Cup is a replica of the Presentation Cup. It was created in 1993 by Montreal silversmith Louise St. Jacques to be used as a stand-in at the Hall of Fame when the Presentation Cup isn’t available.

• But it is one of a kind. Unlike other major league sports trophies, a new Cup isn’t made every year. Instead, after each championship, the names of the players, coaches, management, and staff of the winning team are added to the Cup (including 12 women).

3. The NHL has official engravers put each name on the Cup.
• In its 97-year history, there have been only FOUR official engravers. Watch this 1 ¾ minute video…it explains it pretty well.

4. There are some SERIOUS superstitions surrounding Stanley.
• Various players (and fans too) are wary of the Cup if they haven’t won it yet, and steer clear of touching it so they don’t jinx their team’s chances of winning. Personally, I’m not a believer. Here I am touching Stanley the summer after the Boston Bruins won it in 2011. The very next year, MY team, the LA Kings, won.

DSCN0274

 

5. Stanley has a chaperone – as he should.
• The Cup is always accompanied by at least one representative of the Hockey Hall of Fame, dubbed the “Keeper of the Cup.” The current Keeper, Philip Pritchard, has held the position since 1991 and even maintains a Twitter account to update followers on where the Cup goes from day-to-day.

6. Lord Stanley gets around.
• The NHL allots each championship team 100 off-season days with the Cup (accompanied by the Keeper, of course) to do with it as they wish. Some players have gotten pretty creative with their time. Here’s video I took when Stanley visited my hometown after the LA Kings won it AGAIN in 2014. #woooohooo

OK folks. I’ve reached my 500-word allotment. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Stanley a bit better. Make sure to check out the finals. It’s a great match up between two great teams. And make sure to follow me on social media for scores and updates during the #StanleyCupFinal.

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