#SportBits … A White House Tradition In Jeopardy

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

There’s a longstanding tradition in this country of championship teams visiting the White House. But that tradition may be in jeopardy.

With more players opting out of the ceremonial visit, it’s almost become more of who doesn’t come, rather than who does.

According to Thomas Nuemann of ESPN, the tradition of sporting teams visiting the White House dates back to Aug. 30, 1865, when President Andrew Johnson welcomed the Brooklyn Atlantics and Washington Nationals amateur baseball clubs. John F. Kennedy was the first president to host the NBA champions, when the Boston Celtics visited in January 1963.

It is an honor, no doubt. But today, champions have to search their souls as to whether the honor is worth it.

UCONN women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and his lady Huskies have visited so many times that former President Obama joked Auriemma had his own room. Recently, Auriemma was asked if the Huskies win their 12th title this year, would his team attend the White House ceremony?

“The fact that in all the 11 championships I’ve never been asked this question says something about where we are as a country,” Auriemma said. “Forget the answer. The fact that I’ve never been asked means there’s something going on that isn’t normal.”

Well, he’s got that right.

It’s not unheard of for athletes to skip the customary visit. Many have opted out but avoided controversy by saying their decision was based on other factors such as family commitments or scheduling conflicts.

But not in today’s political climate, where, thanks to the power of social media, athletes have been very vocal about their views.

So, it’s not surprising that athletes are struggling with the possibility of a White house visit and speaking out as to why. Six players from the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots have said they are not going – five of whom say it’s because they do not feel welcome.

Mr. Auriemma said he is not sure what he’ll do if the team wins and his players object to a White House visit.

“What are you going to do as a coach?” he continued. “It’s not like I can look it up and go, ‘What did other people do?’ We’re in a world that very few of us could have conceived five years ago.”

Strange times indeed. Players are being praised on social media for speaking out while others are being pressured if they don’t.

If this trend of declining White House visits continues, it will be a PR problem for the leagues, teams, and the White House – so what should they do? Invite only a selected few (those who actually want to attend) to represent their team? This way, those who don’t want to go do not have to publicly “skip” the event.

Nope. I don’t like it. I want my sports figures to be socially active and speaking their minds. The PR folks will just have to figure it out.

What about you? What do you think?

#SportBits

Like what you see? Share!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

#SportBits . . .Weekend WrapUp

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

 

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!!

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

Like what you see? Share!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

#SportBits … Super Bowl 51 Recap

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

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.

Like what you see? Share!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

#SportBits … Weekend WrapUp

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

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.

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

 

Like what you see? Share!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail