WNBA President Lisa Borders is stepping down after three seasons to become the first President & CEO of Time's Up, an organization that works for safe, fair and dignified work for women. NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Mark Tatum will oversee the WNBA on an interim basis, and a search for a new WNBA President will begin immediately (WNBA). Borders will stay with the WNBA through Nov. 1. She said that it was "fully her decision to leave" the WNBA, adding that she was "approached this summer by a former colleague now with Time's Up." The AP's Doug Feinberg notes Borders joined the league in '16 and was "instrumental in the WNBA growing in areas such as live streaming of games on Twitter and the availability of one-day daily fantasy." The league "appeared in a video game for the first time," and she "helped the San Antonio Stars move to Las Vegas, with their sale to MGM Resorts International." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "lauded Borders for her 'leadership and tireless commitment.'" Feinberg notes Borders is the "third executive to leave the league in six months." Jay Parry left as WNBA COO in April, while Ann Rodriguez, who replaced Parry as COO after serving as Senior VP/League Operations, left last month. Borders said, "The sky is absolutely not falling. It's a natural evolution in any business. In young businesses you have talent coming and going on a regular basis" (AP, 10/2).
FACE OF THE FRANCHISE: VANITY FAIR's Yohana Desta notes Borders "managed to keep the news" of her move to Time's Up a "secret from most of the outside world even as she quietly tied up loose ends" at the WNBA. Borders during her time at the WNBA "got used to serving as the organization's public face -- hosting press conferences and doing all manner of television, radio, print and online interviews" -- and she is "ready to do the same" at Time's Up. Borders said, "I expect it will be more intense. The iron is hot" (VANITYFAIR.com, 10/2).
TWITTER REAX: ESPN's Rebecca Lobo tweeted, "Lisa Borders was a terrific president. Time’s Up is lucky to have her." Fortune Associate Editor Emma Hinchcliffe: "Borders fought for women to get their equal due in basketball -- and she'll do the same as the first CEO of @TIMESUPNOW." Author and actor Amber Tamblyn: "So thrilled about Lisa Borders becoming our CEO and steering the @TIMESUPNOW ship. Honored to stand in solidarity with her." Pepperdine sports law professor Alicia Jessop notes the move comes "following the league’s most-watched season in four-years."
Panthers S Eric Reid yesterday said his collusion case against the NFL will continue "without a doubt" after signing with the team last week, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. The NFLPA in May "filed a grievance against the NFL on Reid's behalf" alleging that team owners and the league were influenced by President Trump and "colluded to prevent his employment because of his protests." Panthers GM Marty Hurney yesterday denied that Reid's grievance with the league was a factor in the team signing him, saying, "This was a football decision." Meanwhile, Reid said that he is still "considering other ways to protest social injustice outside of taking a knee during the national anthem." Reid: "I'm still evaluating the scope of our country, and I'll make that decision later." He said that the Panthers "didn't ask whether he would protest during the national anthem until after he signed" (ESPN.com, 10/1). Reid said of his protests, "Nothing will change unless you talk about it, so we'll continue to talk about it. We'll continue to hold America to the standard it says on paper that we're all created equal because it's not that way right now. But we're going to keep pushing towards that" (NFL.com, 10/1). In Charlotte, Jourdan Rodrigue notes Reid "wore an '#I'mWithKap' shirt in his introductory press conference to further emphasize his alliance" with Colin Kaepernick and their "shared protest of social injustice and police brutality" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/2).
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler notes Reid "ripped the Players Coalition," the NFL-funded activism group that "includes a number of current NFL players and addresses social-justice issues." Reid said, "The Players Coalition is an NFL-funded subversion group. That's why I removed myself from them and will keep moving forward with Colin." Reid also said, "My main goal is to empower my people. Colin Kaepernick and I have done numerous events in the community recently. ... Our goal is to use our platform to empower our people not only open the door for us, but to build our own building and have out own door." Fowler notes Reid is "both a football player and an activist." The Panthers are "concerned more about" the former than the latter, but they are "OK with the activism too, or they would have never signed him in the first place" after injuries depleted their secondary once again (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/2).
MLB ended the ’18 regular season with a total attendance of 69.67 million after yesterday's two division tiebreakers, down 4.1% from last year and the fifth decline at the gate in the last six seasons. The figure is also the lowest since ’03, when the Nationals had not yet relocated from Montreal, and the first since that ’03 season to fall below 70 million. The Dodgers again led individual clubs in attendance, pacing the league for the sixth straight year with a franchise record total of 3.86 million including yesterday’s NL West tiebreaker against the Rockies. The Marlins ranked last with a total of 811,104, making them the first club since the ’04 Expos to finish a season below 1 million in home attendance. The defending champion Astros had the largest increase in the league with a 24% spike to 2.98 million, while the Marlins and Blue Jays each shed more than 750,000 in attendance from ’17. Twelve clubs topped 2.5 million in attendance, one fewer than last year. Seven clubs reached 3 million, same as in ’17, with the Rockies replacing the Blue Jays in that group this year to join the Dodgers, Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants and Angels. MLB’s attendance decrease roughly mirrors a 3.3% drop this year for Minor League Baseball, with both falls influenced in part by historically high numbers of rainouts and cold weather.
MLB TURNSTILE TRACKER
Notes: (a) The Cubs and Dodgers hosted tiebreaker games to determine division champions. (b) Includes a designated Padres home series vs. the Dodgers played at Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey, Mexico. (c) The Phillies hosted the Mets in the second iteration of the MLB Little League Classic at renovated Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa. The Pirates hosted the Cardinals in last season's inagural game. (d) Includes an A's home game vs. the White Sox celebrating the 50th anniversary of the team's inaugural game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that was completely free for all fans (46,028). (e) Includes a designated Twins home series vs. the Indians played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The UFC will "no longer announce a fighter has tested positive" for a banned substance until "after the case has been adjudicated," according to Kevin Iole of YAHOO SPORTS. No fighter will be "allowed to compete with a failed test, but it will be up to the fighter to determine whether or not to say why he/she is not fighting." UFC VP/Athlete Health & Performance Jeff Novitzky and Senior Exec VP and Chief Legal Officer Hunter Campbell discovered during research that a "third of all anti-doping cases that were adjudicated in the three years were found to be non-intentional use." There have been 62 cases in which there "was a positive test and then a final determination made," though 21 of them were "found to have been non-intentional violations." They were either the result of "ingesting a contaminated substance or food that was contaminated; or where the athlete was given a retroactive therapeutic-use exemption for medical reasons." Novitzky said that fairness and due process is "as important in the anti-doping program as its strength and comprehensiveness." Iole noted UFC fighter Sean O’Malley is an "example of the new policy." He was scheduled to fight at UFC 229 on Saturday, but was "pulled from the card and on Sept. 30, announced he had a failed drug test." The UFC under the old policy "would have released it." However, in this case, O’Malley chose to, which is the "athlete’s right, but the UFC won’t comment until it is adjudicated" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/1).
Grizzlies G Yuta Watanabe is poised to become "just the second Japanese player" to play in the NBA should be suit up for a game this season, according to Mark Giannotto of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The team signed Watanabe to a "two-way contract, meaning he could spend up to 45 days in the NBA this season" while playing the majority of his games in the G League. Watanabe said that the "possibility that he could wear a Grizzlies jersey took the attention Japanese media paid to [him] to 'another level.'" Almost 20 Japanese media members "requested credentials" to a Grizzlies open scrimmage at FedExForum this weekend. Giannotto noted Watanabe signing with the Grizzlies was "something of a perfect storm for the basketball community in Japan." Gonzaga F Rui Hachimura is projected as a "potential lottery pick" in the '19 NBA Draft, and he and Watanabe are "expected to lead the Japanese national team" in the '20 Tokyo Games. Despite baseball's popularity in Japan, these "confluence of events are drawing more eyeballs to the basketball court." Kyodo News Service's Wataru Serizawa noted the excitement around Watanabe and Hachimura is not at the level around Angels DH/P Shohei Ohtani but said, "It'll be a big thing when (Watanabe) actually makes it to the NBA. Right now, it's waiting to happen. Once he makes it, maybe more attention will come to the Grizzlies as a whole" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/30).