Happy Anniversary Title IX

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On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX barring discrimination on the basis of sex for “any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”  Title IX opened doors for girls and women by banning sex discrimination in all federally funded school programs, including sports.

Forty-five years later, how have things changed? To begin with, the number of girls who participate in high school athletics has risen tenfold since its passing, from 300,000 nationwide in 1971 to over 3 million today. That’s encouraging because research shows that among C-level business women, 94 percent played sports and over half competed at the collegiate level.

The good news continues in a recent report released by the NCAA suggesting that progress has been made in a number of areas when it comes to participation, diversity, and equality among college athletes, their coaches and their athletic directors.

Unfortunately, the report also reveals that while spending has climbed to record levels for both genders there remains a stark gap in leadership between the sexes – and it’s not just in the sports world. Whether it’s education, corporate America, or Congress, women are sorely underrepresented in leadership roles. Women are CEOs of just 28 companies in the S&P 500. Only 31 percent of law school deans are women. Women make up approximately 51 percent of the American population, and there are 435 members of our House of Representatives. Eighty-three are women. That’s just 18 percent. And in sports, 88 percent of head coaches of women’s college teams are white, and nearly 57 percent of them are men. Those numbers are simply unacceptable.

The reports goes on to show that spending on men’s and women’s athletic programs is at a record-high, and that over the past decade spending has doubled across all three NCAA divisions with the greatest gap between the two found in Division I. Division I athletic departments spend on average about twice as much on their men’s programs than their women’s programs, though schools without football spend nearly the same on each (about $5 million).

Title IX has undoubtedly moved women in sports in a positive direction. Why is this so important? Because young women who are involved in sports are learning about teamwork, sportsmanship, physical fitness, confidence and winning and losing – all the important qualities needed to become a strong and successful leader. Boys have always been afforded this luxury but for most of the 20th-century, girls have not.

I am thankful for what Title IX has afforded me and my daughter and look forward to where it takes us in the future.

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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 … Memorial Day

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Happy Memorial Day #SportBits readers! I hope you are enjoying your long weekend. Today I am very thankful for all the women and men in the military who bravely serve this country. Their commitment affords my kids and me the freedoms we experience every day – and often take for granted. Thank you.

You know what else I’m thankful for? Sports! Following my teams and chatting about it on Twitter, at work, or with my family is fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to a great museum, or hitting up that killer Memorial Day Sale at Nordstrom’s, but knowing that I get to watch Game 7 tonight between #OKC and #GSW really makes my day. What about you? What’s making YOUR Memorial Day?

There were so many games, tournaments, and races to keep up with this weekend…I gave it my best-shot people….here we go.

NHL: The Stanley Cup Final is set. The Pittsburgh Penguins will battle the San Jose Sharks for the coveted trophy. The Sharks are in the finals for the first time in franchise history, while Sidney Crosby and the Penguins return for a 5th time. Game 1 is TONIGHT in Pittsburgh (8pm ET. on NBC) . There are many interesting storylines in this one…but I’m just excited to watch the fast and frantic pace that is expected in this series, along with the playoff beards that just keep-a-growin’.

NBA: Thank goodness for the Sharks because the Golden State Warriors have put the #NoCal fans in a tizzy. Over the weekend, the Warriors went to #OKC facing elimination in Game 6, and came out with an improbable win. Only 9 times in NBA history has a team come back from a 3-1 deficit. We’ll see if the Warriors can do it TONIGHT in Oakland for Game 7. Watch this game folks (9pm ET. TNT) – or if you have $29,000 – you can get a floor seat. If it’s anything like the last one, it might just be worth it!

Waiting in the wings from the East Conference is #KingJames and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Having beaten the Toronto Raptors in 6 games, the Cavs are hoping to bring the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to Cleveland, where no professional sports team has won a championship in nearly 52 years. #Ouch. James is back to the NBA Finals for a record 6th straight time. THAT’S impressive…but it won’t mean squat if he doesn’t win the title. Finals begin Thursday.

MLB: It was a great weekend for me because I was able to watch 2 Dodgers games on TV. Don’t get me started on the Dodger/TimeWarnerCable BS that we are STILL experiencing out here in Los Angeles. Just … don’t.

The Dodgers traveled to New York to take on the World Series runner-up NY Mets, and this rivalry is officially ON. It began with the Mets accusing the Dodgers of cheating with lasers. The Mets contacted Major League Baseball about the possibility of the Dodgers using lasers to gain an unfair advantage in their defensive positioning. Next there was the Dodger debut of 19-year old lefty phenom pitcher Julio Urias. The Mets didn’t appreciate all the hype surrounding the kid, and made his first outing a rough one. Over the course of 2.2 innings, Urias allowed three earned runs and five hits while walking four batters and striking out three. He’s been sent back to his room Triple-A, Oklahoma City team and can not come out to play (in the majors) for a bit…

Oh, it doesn’t end there…things got really chippy on Saturday night. Mets Thor-esque pitcher Noah Syndergaard was given the quick boot for throwing a pitch behind Dodger Chase Utley. The 99-mph fastball appeared to be in retaliation for Utley’s leg-breaking slide to former Mets infielder Ruben Tejada in the NLDS last season. Twitter went nuts and Mets fans were M A D as many felt Thor should have been given a warning first.

In other baseball news, USA softball star Jennie Finch became the first woman to manage a professional baseball team on Sunday. Finch was a guest manager for the Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish. Her aggressive base running strategies helped lead the Bluefish to a 3-1 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Finch is now 1-0. #girlmode

Check here for MLB scores and highlights.

Soccer: The 100th anniversary of the oldest international soccer tournament kicks off this Friday at Levi’s Stadium Santa Clara, CA when the U.S. meets Columbia in the first round of the Copa America Centenario. The 16-team competition will be played in 10 U.S. cities over the next month. It’s a great test for the USNMT going into the summer Olympics…and who doesn’t want to win the 100th anniversary title? Here is a complete TV guide for upcoming matches. If you’re a soccer fan, you’re in for a treat.

In NCAA news: so many tournaments… lacrosse, baseball, softball, ultimate Frisbee .. too many to cover. Sorry folks. Check here for final scores and updates on what’s happening in college sports sports.

Tennis: It’s been a nightmare year in tennis so far, and the hits just keep on coming. A match-fixing scandal began the year at the Australian Open. Maria Sharapova is out of tournament play due to a drug suspension. Roger Federer skipped the French because of an undisclosed injury. Clay King Rafa Nadal withdrew on Friday because of a wrist injury. And on Sunday, home favorite 6th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired after pulling his groin. Add all this to the ongoing bickering over equal pay, and the announcement by several high profile players that they are skipping the Olympics. #noreliefinsight

Speaking of the Rio Olympics, more than 100 prominent physicians, bioethicists and scientists from around the world posted a letter Friday urging World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan to exert pressure on Olympic authorities to move the Olympics from Rio de Janeiro or delay the Games because of public health concerns over the Zika virus, according to the Washington Post. In the open letter posted Friday on Twitter and Facebook, the authors said evidence shows that “Brazil’s Zika strain has more serious medical consequences than researchers previously knew, that Rio de Janeiro is one of the hardest-hit areas of the epidemic, and that Rio’s mosquito-killing efforts are not meeting expectations.” #ongoing

Golf: Texas native Jordan Spieth won his first PGA tournament in his home state on Sunday. A sure cure for his Master’s meltdown blues, Spieth birdied the last three holes in front of family and friends to win the Dean and Deluca Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas. Spieth is the reigning U.S. Open champion and will try to defend that title at Oakmont in three weeks. #cantwait

The Russian doping scandal continues. According to the Associated Press, 8 more Russian athletes tested positive in the retests of doping samples from the 2012 Olympics. The IOC is using newer methods to test samples. Russia has already been banned from competing in track and field, including at the Rio Olympics, by the international track and field federation. The IOC said Friday that 23 athletes from five sports and six countries tested positive in retests of 265 samples from 2012.

A very sad story from the NFL: New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones was fatally shot after breaking down the door to a Dallas apartment early Saturday morning. Dejean-Jones was visiting his girlfriend for his daughter’s first birthday. According to police, the resident of the apartment, who had been asleep, retrieved a handgun and called out to Dejean-Jones but did not get an answer. Dejean-Jones kicked the bedroom door and the resident fired his gun through the door, striking and killing Dejean-Jones. It’s not clear at this time whether any substance played a part in this horrific tragedy.

Let’s end with the great underdog story from the Indianapolis 500! In what has to be one of the biggest upsets in the Formula-One sport, 24 year old California native Alexander Rossi won the 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” on Sunday. The 66-1 long shot used super speeds and a savvy fuel strategy to take the checkered flag, giving the Andretti family the biggest win of their storied careers. Columbian runner-up (for the 2nd time in 4 yrs) Carlos Munoz was not happy it all came down to fuel consumption – but a win is a win…#dealwithit. Rossi, on the other hand, had the best quote of the day: “The emotional roller-coaster of this race is ridiculous,” he said. “There were moments I was really stoked, really heartbroken, really stoked. I was like, ‘Wow, I’ll need to see a psychiatrist after this.” #pagingDr.Phil

That’s is for #SportBits this week. Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day. Fire up the BBQs and watch some of great games tonight. Don’t know about you…but I’m stoked! Check in with #SportBitsDaily for TV schedules and quick updates…and don’t forget twitter, Facebook and instagram. #socialmediaOVERLOAD

 

 

 

 

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#SportBitsDaily … Wednesday

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The OKC Thunder went postal and routed the defending champs for a second consecutive time in the NBA #WCF. The 118-94 win puts Golden State on the brink of elimination heading into Game 5 in Oakland on Thursday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins came out with a 5-2 win  in their elimination Game 6 last night in Tampa.  They force  Game 7 v. the Lightning to be played on Thursday in Pittsburgh. G A M E 7  – winner goes to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Serena Williams breezed through her first round match at the French Open 6-2, 6-0, and probably had a great night sleep after her two main threats to the title were ousted from the tourney. N.3 Angelique Kerber, who beat her at the Australian in January, lost to number 58th ranked  Kiki Bertens, and No.5 Victoria Azarenka, one of only two other women to beat Williams this year, bowed out in the first round due to a knee injury. #sweetdreamsSerena

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist won’t race at the Belmont Stakes due to illness, and the much anticipated rematch with Preakness winner Exaggerator, will not happen after all. #Dangittohell

It sounds like the Oakland Raiders are pretty serious about moving to Las Vegas. Owner Mark Davis says he’ll move his team if the city comes through with financing needed to relocate (how much is that??). Another concern is whether the city has a strong enough fan base to justify the move. The Raiders on the Strip?? I mean who’s not coming watch that!!

Well, it’s Under Armour’s world, and we’re just living in it! Yesterday, the company announced a $280million apparel deal with UCLA. This ranks as the largest shoe and apparel sponsorship in college sports history. FYI: the athletes are NOT part of the payout..in any way.  #UA wanted a bigger west coast presence…and they got it. #DressToExcess

Ok. That’s it. So now you know…

 

 

 

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#SportBits… Monday Recap … #jumpin

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Hello #SportBits reader! Thanks for stopping by. It tells me you DO want to know a little bit of what’s happening in the world of sports…for whatever reason. Now if you would just leave me some comments below, I could fine-tune this bad boy to make #SportBits even more enjoyable for YOU! #jumpin

It was a beautiful weekend here is Southern California…one of those weekends where it was really hard to be inside watching sports. But for you loyal readers, I made sure to catch the noteworthy contests.

First up in Maryland, we had the running of the 141st Preakness. After a decisive win at the Kentucky Derby, undefeated Nyquist hoped to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. It was a day of rain and fog, which many felt favored Nyquist’s main competitor, Exaggerator. Jockey Kent Desormeaux ran a beautiful race and guided Exaggerator to a 3-½-length victory over Cherry Wine on the sloppy track. Nyquist finished third. If you missed it, you will get a chance to watch these two compete again in three weeks at the Belmont Stakes. It will be their 6th time running against each other, with Nyquist up 4-1. #rivalry

At the Byron Nelson Golf Classic in Irving Texas, Spaniard Sergio Garcia made par on the first playoff hole on Sunday to beat Brooks Koepka for his ninth career PGA Tour victory, matching the late Seve Ballesteros for the most by a Spanish-born player. #vamonos

The 2016 French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, kicked off at Roland Garros stadium this week. Sunday started with cloudy and soggy conditions, forcing play to stop. Rain continued to fall today/Monday, causing additional delays after only 10 of 32 scheduled matches were completed on Sunday. The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that plays on a clay court, and so weather conditions can have a huge impact. This year, top seed Serena Williams will be playing for her 4th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title, which would tie her with Steffi Graf. Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic will be playing for the only Grand Slam title missing from his impressive résumé. Check in HERE for scores and match schedules. And for more French Open analysis, see my article on HerDaily. #crosspromotion

The NBA playoffs continue. In the east, the Toronto Raptors won Game 3 at home on Friday, 99-84. Cleveland leads the series 2-1. Game 4 is tonight in Toronto, 8:30pm ET on ESPN.

In the West, the OKC Thunder clobbered the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 in Oklahoma City on Sunday night, 133-105. The Thunder leads the series 2-1. Game 4 at OKC, Tuesday, 9pm ET on TNT.

ICYMI: the NBA lottery took place last week and the Philadelphia 76ers won first pick. The LA Lakers got second and the Boston Celtics took third. The draft is June 23rd in New York, with LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram considered the top two picks.

The WNBA season is just underway, and the league is getting great PR from some of their NBA counterparts. Golden State Warrior Draymond Green said last week: “In the NBA there’s always a guy who is only around because he can jump. He doesn’t have a clue about the fundamentals. I learn more from the WNBA. They know how to dribble, how to pivot, how to use the shot fake.” And when Clipper star Blake Griffin guested on Broad City last month, he said the WNBA was, “So good. I literally steal moves from them all the time.” He then went on to say, “Some of the moves they do, I can’t even — like — I can’t even think of in my head. It’s just like the best version of basketball there is.”

The WNBA is where it’s at, people. Check it out. Here is a great place to start.

The NHL playoffs continue with the Western Conference series tied at 2 after a strong performance by the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Saturday. Game 5 v. the San Jose Sharks is tonight, in St. Louis, at 8pm ET on NBCSN.

In the #ECF, the Tampa Bay Lightning staged comebacks scoring two tying goals, the second of which forced overtime with 3:16 to go in regulation in what became a 4-3 overtime victory over the Penguins in Game 5. They lead the series 3-2 over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and can advance to the Stanley Cup Finals with a win in Game 6, Tuesday night in Tampa Bay.

In MLB news… a few interesting rule changes are in the works. At the owners meeting last week, the Competition Committee approved a change in the strike zone, which now starts below the knee. The change move the zone to the top of the hitter’s knee. Also, if a pitcher wants to walk a batter, he will soon be able to signal the umpire instead of having to throw the old-fashioned 4 pitches to a standing catcher. Both these changes could go into effect next season and are meant to pick up the pace of the game, which is a priority for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

A crappy thing happened at Petco Park on Saturday night, and the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is calling for an investigation. A mix-up occurred at the Padres v. Dodgers game, when a recording of a woman’s voice was played over 100 male chorus members who had taken the field to perform the national anthem. No attempt to stop the recording or usher the singers off the field was made, so the chorus stood there looking embarrassed and humiliated. Donald Trump Fans were heard yelling, “you sing like a girl” as they walked off afterwards. Padre officials said it was a mistake and have fired the person responsible for the error. I hope it was a mistake because that sh*t ain’t cool.

Here is a link to all the scores and current team standings.

In college sports, there are a bunch of tournaments happening, but I’m going focus on lacrosse and softball this week.

In the women’s lacrosse, the tournament final four is set: #1 Maryland will play #4 Syracuse, and #3 North Carolina takes on Penn State in the semifinals on Friday. The championship game will be 12pm ET on Sunday.

On the men’s side: #1 Maryland plays #5 Brown, and North Carolina takes on #7 Loyola (Md) on Saturday, with the championship game on Monday. College lax is fast past, exciting to watch and becoming more and more popular by the day. You should try and catch some if you get chance. Most games are televised on the ESPN networks.

In women’s softball, the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) is the final portion of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship. The tournament format consists of two four-team double-elimination brackets. The winners of each bracket then compete in a best-of-three series to determine the Division I WCWS National Champion.  The top 4 seeds this year are: Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Auburn. Teams are currently competing in the best-of-three Regional Series. Check here for teams, scores and schedules.

In other news…

Our old pal Johnny Manziel is in the news again. On Friday, Manziel got kicked out of a Las Vegas club for punching a patron in the face at an impromptu Drake concert. Now there is word the NFL is investigating the Cleveland QB’s role in a car crash that happened on the Sunset Strip last month. Manziel was a passenger in the rental car which was heavily damaged. The owner now claims Manziel refuses to pay for repairs – and he is PO’d. TMZ reports the car crash probe is part of a “larger Manziel investigation, which is ongoing.” #staytuned

Today is the deadline for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to appeal his deflate-gate case, and it’s looking like he is going to proceed. Lord have mercy, when will it end? I’m tired of it…You can read more about it here.

Ugh. According to documents obtained by ESPN’s Outside The Lines, a new congressional report is out implying that the NFL sought to “improperly influence” a major government study on connections between football and brain disease. The report says the NFL gave the National Institutes of Health a $30 million unrestricted gift in 2012, but later sought to pull $16 million in funding from that gift away from one researcher, and reroute it to researchers working on the league’s own brain injury committee. When the NIH declined to redirect the funding, the NFL “balked at paying for the study, despite having signed documents it would do so.” Taxpayers were then on the hook to pay for the study. Not cool NFL…not cool at all. The brain injury study begins next week in Boston.

The Olympic doping scandal continues. Over the weekend, Russian pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva accused anti-doping and Olympic bosses of discrimination against Russia and violating her human rights. Russia’s athletics team has been suspended from international competition since November, after the publication of an independent report into systemic doping in Russian athletics. A decision on whether to lift that ban in time for Rio will be made by the International Association of Athletics Federations on June 17.

L A S T L Y…. and let’s see if you made it to the end of this VERY long article… I want you to check out this video from last nights #OKCvGSW game and tell me if you think the kick in the crotch by Draymond Green on Steven Adams was intentional. He was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul which is being reviewed today. Opinions are falling on both sides. I have no question what I think. What do YOU think? #owie

Alrighty then…that’s it for #SportBits. Thanks for stopping by. Find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more news and scores and just plain fun.

 

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#SportBits…Monday News

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It’s Monday, and #SportBits is here to give you the 411 on what’s happening in fashion, entertainment and politics. Ha! Just seeing if you are paying attention. A lot is happening out there in the world of sports. I’m sure most of you know what’s going on, since you follow me on social media, but incase you don’t (and you may want to rethink that), here is this week’s sports roundup. #yeehaw

It’s PLAYOFF time in the NBA and NHL.

In the NBA, the top eight teams in each conference battle in their best of seven, first round seri. I could write a whole article about the matchups, the key players, and the schedule, but why should I when this article does it for me. I’m picking Golden State to win it all, because Superman Steph Curry will be the first to tell you that their record breaking 73-win season doesn’t mean SQUAT if they don’t win the Championship. #MAJORincentive. Plus, he’s Superman.

Ditto for the NHL. Their 4-round, best of seven series got underway last week, and HERE is what you need to know about THAT. It’s still early .. and I promise to go into more #SportBits detail as we get a little deeper in.

In baseball news, the Washington Nationals have a franchise-best 9-1 start. Bryce Harper looks to repeat last season’s MVP, and their off-season acquisitions are performing very well, so things are looking cherry-blossomy in DC. But man, it’s a loooong season, so does all this really mean anything? Who the heck knows. Time will tell.

In Tampa Bay, a female fan was struck by a foul ball and hospitalized over the weekend. The fan was sitting in the lower box seats next to the Tampa Bay’s dugout on the first base side, when she was struck in the seventh inning by a ball off the bat of Rays designated hitter Steven Souza Jr. The ball went through a small gap in the protective netting behind an area for photographers. Baseball games can be long and boring at times. But you have to pay attention because apparently, even the protective netting won’t always keep you safe.

MLB teams are still trying to get used to the new slide rule implemented this season. This issue rose to the forefront during the 2015 postseason when LA Dodger Chase Utley broke up a potential double play in Game 2 of the National League Division Series with a controversial slide that ended up injuring Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. In the past, runners were given wide latitude coming into second base as long as they were close enough to touch the bag. Under the new rule, a runner will have to make a “bona fide slide,” which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base – meaning the runner can’t just take out the 2nd baseman in order to mess up his flow. Players aren’t happy since they’re used to plowing down the second baseman if needed. But this is a good thing….because change is good…yada yada yada. #safetyfirst

Let’s talk some fashion and design. The Chicago Cubs have a new clubhouse, and I ain’t talking Mickey Mouse. Take a look:

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Bye bye traditional locker room-feel. Hello multiple flat-screen TVs, circular bar, and swanky lounge, strength and conditioning area. And let’s not leave out the futuristic training room and saltwater hyperbaric deprivation chamber. All they need now is a disco ball and D-Jay and Cub Nightclub will be ready for business.

Here are the MLB scores and highlights from the previous week. Give a glance…

It’s the off-season in football..college and pros..so why has there been so much football news lately? Can’t we go one day without some Johnny Manziel, blockbuster trade, new NCAA rules or scheduling story? Can’t the OTHER sports have their time in the spotlight? Man, I think football can be so selfish sometimes.

So we’ll move on to soccer, which of course is called FOOTBALL over in England, where the  English Premiere League  is played. We are coming to the end of the 9month League season. In the European League, each of 20 teams play each other twice. A team is given 3-points for a win and 1-pt for a tie (draw). If two or more teams have the same number of points at the end of the 38game season, there are factors used to separate them. It’s pretty straight forward…whichever team has the most points at the end, wins it all. There are no playoffs –  so this is the juicy part of the season. Here is an update on League leaders and remaining games.

In MLS, soccer commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league’s plans to expand from 20 to 24 teams by 2018, and to 28 teams by an unspecified timetable. Sacramento, Detroit, St. Louis and San Diego are all in the running.

For all MLS soccer scores and updates…check here.

In other news….

It was a great night in the NBA and the state of California last Wednesday. In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his last NBA game. It was an amazing ending to an amazing 20yr career. Up in Sacramento, The Golden State Warriors ended an amazing season with their 73rd win, surpassing the 1995-96 Bulls.

In women’s basketball, Loyola University Chicago announced Friday they will be investigating complaints made against women’s basketball coach Sheryl Swoopes following a mass exodus of players from the program. According to the Chicago Tribune, 10 of the team’s 12 returning players have transferred, or put in requests to be released from their scholarships – this, after 5 players transferred after last season. Sources say team members were not happy with Swoopes’ treatment of individual players. Swoopes, a four-time WNBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist, who was hired by Loyola in 2013 with very little coaching experience, is said to be cooperating fully.  Hmmmm….as Colonel Clink would say, “Veeeery interestink.”

And because I want to hit that #SportBitsFashion theme again, let’s check out a couple NBA stars and their “Game 1 Arena Arrival Outfits” or #G1AAO :

Russell Westbrook, from the Oklahoma City Thunder, made a bold choice going with the simple white T and wide-leg fisherman pants for his arrival. Gotta have some stones to rock this one…and he does…rock it that is.

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#KingJames sticks with the all-business attire. He’s focused (and reportedly off social media for the playoffs..thank goodness) and his outfit reflects that. #allbiz

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That’s it folks. As I write this, I have Pro Bowling on in the background. Clearly I need help. Please post any advice or comments below – or on facebook, twitter and instagram. Thanks for stopping by…see you next Monday. #SportBitsOut

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#SportBits….#QuickChat with Phil Jackson

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Hello #SportBits readers! How are you handling the #madness? It certainly was a great weekend of college basketball- both men and women’s. Bummed I have to wait until Thursday before it starts up again. We’ll get to the scores and highlights in a minute. But first, I want to pass along some interesting information and insight I got from NY Knick president and former Laker and Bulls coach, Phil Jackson. That’s him in the cover photo. It was the only shot where he’s smiling, so I had to use it! He came into the vintage watch store I work at with a couple beautiful timepieces to be repaired – one was a gift from Jerry Buss, given to him when he was kicked out of a game for defending Kobe. Naturally, I took the opportunity to chat him up. His son Charlie was with him, and it was fun quizzing them both on some #SportBits topics.

We started out with a little tourney talk and it turns out that, like me, they both have Kansas winning it all. #greatminds

Next came a quick question on the state of the Knicks head coaching position. Former Laker and Knicks head coach Derek Fisher was let go in February, and veteran assistant (and former Laker) Kurt Rambis was named interim coach. According to an ESPN.com article, Jackson took some blame for Fisher’s performance. He said he could have done a better job mentoring him. I asked PJ (that’s what Charlie calls him) if Rambis was his permanent pick, and if there was any truth to the rumors he might step back into the coaching arena and coach some Knick home games? “At this point, I haven’t made any decisions,” Jackson said. The Knicks are 5-11 under Rambis and near the bottom of the Eastern division. I mentioned my theory on Kobe’s coaching aspirations, as it seems he’s doing a lot it from the bench this season. I jokingly suggested to Phil he might want to hire him for the job. He smiled and said, “No comment.”

Next was my standard question on concussions in sports. I asked Coach if he knew then, what we know now, would Charlie be able to play football as a kid? He looked at Charlie and said, “Well, ask him about that.” Charlie told me he was NOT allowed to play football growing up. “My mom saw too many injuries in the game and didn’t want us getting hurt,” Charlie said. “We weren’t allowed to play.” I asked him if he was bitter about that and he responded, “Not at all. I’ve got two young boys and I’m not sure what I’ll do when they get old enough to play. Hopefully, they will have figured out proper safety measures by then.”

The last topic I touched on was the Adam LaRoche controversy. If you haven’t heard, Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche retired from baseball last week because the team president asked him to “dial back” his son’s time in the clubhouse and on the field. LaRoche walked away from $13 million dollars remaining in his contract to put #familyfirst. Charlie Jackson answered this one too. He explained that growing up in Chicago while his dad coached the Bulls, and here in Los Angeles with the Lakers, he was rarely allowed in the locker room. “Kids and wives were not on the team planes or in the same hotels even. That’s not the atmosphere Dad wanted. It was business. But I think things are a little different now. It’s a different generation.” Phil agreed. “I’ve got to think there is some kind of compromise here,” Charlie said. I agreed with them both. Surely, there must be a better way to work this one out. Lots of support coming on both sides of the issue, and I’m hoping there can be an amicable resolution before the boycotts begin. The whole thing is ridiculous if you ask me. Kids in the workplace…yes or no?

That was all the time I had with Phil. I was surprised he let me snap a picture (photocred: Charlie). I thanked him and asked permission to post. I then told him it was his friend Jeannie Buss who I REALLY wanted to interview, and asked him to put in a good word. #workit

On to the #madness… It was a fun weekend of hoops filled with some wicked upsets and bracket busters (HELLO Middle Tennessee State (men’s side),  U of Albany in the women’s); a phenomenal half court buzzer beater, tip-ins and those Cinderella teams no one expected to advance. So much happened over the four days, it’s just too much to cover here. If you want to get all the details, check this article. Here are a few of my take-aways from the men’s side:
• The Sweet 16 round is made up teams mostly from the power conferences. Other than Gonzaga, the mid-majors melted away.
• The biggest upset of the weekend had to be No. 2 seed Michigan State falling to Middle Tennessee State in the first round. It killed my bracket.
• The ACC conference is the big winner with 6 teams heading to the Sweet 16.
• There are zero African American coaches in the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. #S16sowhite

Here is a look at the bracket going in to the second weekend. How have your teams done?

In the women’s tournament, the two big stories are Syracuse advancing to its first Sweet 16 in program history, and powerhouse Tennesee advancing after a hugely disappointing regular season. Other teams moving on: No. 5 Mississippi State, No. 1 South Carolina, No. 3 Ohio State. Check here for the full bracket. If you haven’t watched any of the women’s games, you should check them out. They are just as entertaining and exciting as the men’s games.

In the NBA there were a few noteworthy games over the weekend.

LeBron and the Cavaliers were pummeled by Dwayne Wade and the Heat on Saturday, 122-101. Down 20 at the half, the Cavs fell behind by as much as 30 in the 3rd quarter. Let’s keep an eye on LeBron’s twitter and instagram feeds this week to see if he’s posts anymore cryptic messages. His latest instagram had everyone in a tizzy once again.

San Antonio held Steph Curry to 14 points and defeated the Golden State Warriors 87-79 to stay perfect at home this season.

One night after dominating the 76ers in Philadelphia, the OKC Thunder were back in action on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers and came out with a 115-111 win. Kevin Durant had 33 points while Russell Westbrook put in14. Paul George of the Pacers had 45 in the losing effort.

In what could be a first round matchup in the playoffs, the Los Angeles Clippers came up short against the Grizzlies 113-103 in Memphis. Former Clipper Zack Randolph has his way with his former team, scoring a triple double (28pts/11 rebounds/10 assists). On Sunday, the Clippers fell 109-105 to the New Orlean Pelicans. It’s panic time in Clipperland.

Check here for all NBA scores.

NHL News:

Last Monday, the NFL made news when the league’s vice president of health and safety, Jeff Miller, acknowledged a link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The NHL did NOT follow suit however. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said:

“Well, first of all, I don’t feel that it’s either necessary or appropriate for me to comment on what the NFL says or does,” Bettman said. “Secondly, I think it’s fairly clear that playing hockey isn’t the same as football. And as we’ve said all along, we’re not going to get into a public debate on this.”

Good luck with that Mr. Commissioner. Currently, over 100 NHL players are involved in lawsuits claiming the league did not do enough to educate or protect them from the long-tem effects of concussions. The League says players could have done research and figured out the connection on their own. #whatheWHAT? Looks like a resolution is nowhere in sight.

Last week, the League leading Washington Capitols became the first team to clinch a playoff sport with their overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes. On Sunday, they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins who extended their win streak to 6.

On Saturday, LA Kings goalie Jonathan Quick helped his team win its fourth in a row and clinch a playoff berth in the West. They beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 at the Staples Center.

Anaheim Ducks beat the Winnipeg Jets in OT.

Check here for all NHL scores.

In college hockey, the 16 teams were announced on Sunday for the Division-1 NCAA Frozen Four Tournament. If you’ve never watched college hockey, you should check it out. It’s very fast paced and exciting. Here is a look at the bracket. Games start March 25th with the Frozen Four meeting in Tampa on April 7th. Championship game is April 9th, 8pm ET on ESPN.

On the women’s side, Boston College was attempting to cap off only the second undefeated season in NCAA history against the Minnesota Gophers in the championship game on Sunday. The Gophers came up with the upset winning 3-1 in Durham, NH.

In tennis, the BNP Paribas at Indian Wells came to a close, but not without some major controversy. Event CEO Raymond Moore spoke at a press conference before the women’s final on Sunday, and made some remarks that we’re outright sexist. Moore claimed that both the Women’s Tennis Association and its players ride on the coattails of men, used the term “lady player,” and commented on the physical attractiveness of a couple of the tour’s best young athletes. He quickly tweeted a hasty apology but I’m thinking his days are numbered.

Meanwhile, in the women’s final, No. 13 seed Victoria Azarenka dominated the early stages of the match before holding off a second-set fightback to defeat Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4 . Serena commented on the controversy after the match and she didn’t mince words.

On the men’s side Novak Djokovic dominated Milos Raonic 6-2 6-0 to cliam his 5th Indian Wells title. After the match he added to the controversy by stating men should be given more prize money because they bring in more TV viewers. Guess Novak was unaware that at last years US Open, the women’s final sold out before the men’s. #Joker

I’m going to end with my #HOLYCRAP moment of the week. F1 racecar driver Fernando Alonso should definitely play the lottery after walking away from this one. Check it out.

That’s it for #SportBits. I’ll be following the Knick head coaching story closely because something tells me this decision is going to make or break Phil Jackson’s tenure with the team. And hey, if you’re ever down in the South Bay, stop by MB Watch Repair and Vintage Watches. We’re always talking food, sports and of course, classic watches! Follow me on social media for more news and updates. See you back here next Monday. #out

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