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Volume 24 No. 181

Sunday, Aug. 20, 2:30pm ET

Weekend Rap .... Latest News .... United Front

Teammate Supports Michael Bennett While He Sits During Anthem

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett again "sat during the national anthem prior to Seattle’s preseason game against the Vikings on Friday night at CenturyLink Field." But this time he was "joined at least symbolically" by C Justin Britt, who "stood next to Bennett with his right hand on Bennett’s left shoulder," and CB Jeremy Lane "standing in front of Bennett with his back to the field." As the anthem ended, DEs Cliff Avril and Frank Clark "broke from the rest of the team -- standing with arms locked on the sidelines -- to then sit by Bennett on the bench." Britt said, "It was something me and my wife talked about and discussed, and we both wanted to show support to Mike" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/19).

Meanwhile, Raiders QB Derek Carr "placed his right hand" on DE Khalil Mack's shoulder as a "show of solidarity during the national anthem" yesterday. Carr said the players were not "protesting" anything with the action. Carr: "The only reason we did that is to unify people." Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch again "remained seated" during the anthem (ESPN.com, 8/20). Titans DE Jurrell Casey and LB Wesley Woodyard "raised their fists in the air" following the national anthem before the team's game against the Panthers yesterday (ESPN.com, 8/19).

NYPD Officers Rally To Support Of Colin Kaepernick's NFL Future

Dozens of current and retired NYPD officers "rallied" yesterday morning in support of free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick. The gathering in Brooklyn Bridge Park was "attended by about 80 officers who wore black T-shirts emblazoned with '#IMWITHKAP'" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/20). At the end of the rally, everyone "took a knee and raised their fist" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/19). Kaepernick "retweeted a number of photos taken at the rally" (SACBEE.com, 8/19). The NAACP chapter in Atlanta is "calling for football fans across the country to stop watching the NFL until a team is willing to sign" Kaepernick (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/19).

MLB Umpires Protest "Abusive" Player Treatment By Wearing Wristbands

MLB umpires yesterday during games wore white wristbands to protest "abusive player behavior" after Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler was "fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez." The World Umpires Association "announced the action, saying the union strongly objected" the response of the commissioner's office. Blue Jays 2B Darwin Barney said, "Whether you're a player, an umpire, a scorekeeper, there's two sides to everything. They are allowed to protest. Good for them" (AP, 8/19). But Tigers manager Brad Ausmus called the union's action "petty." Ausmus said, "There are often arguments between players and umpires, managers and umpires, coaches and umpires, and it's part of the game. To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/20).

ESPN's Jessica Mendoza Discusses Impact Of Little League Classic

ESPN's Jessica Mendoza discussed the impact tonight's Little League Classic can have baseball and said, "You think about the national TV audience, people tuning in that might not normally watch the Pirates and Cardinals in August but all of a sudden they're like, 'What, where are they? Oh they must be in Willamsport. Oh wow, I love little league, this is so cool!'" Mendoza, who is calling the game, said, "Whether it's an army base, whether it's little league kids, the point is baseball is everywhere." She added, "This is going to be not just a small crowd, but they're right there with them and having spent the day with them and interacting, and how cool it's going to look because all the kids are wearing their uniforms" ("The StewPod," SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/19).

Atlanta United Practices In Mercedez-Benz Stadium For First Time

Atlanta United yesterday trained in the new $1.5B Mercedes-Benz Stadium "for the first time." Players got their "first looks at the halo board that rings the inside of the retractable roof, the turf, the locker rooms, and everything that will help determine the team’s success starting Sept. 10." Atlanta United G Brad Guzan said, "There’s not many stadiums, if any, in fact I don’t think there are any around the world that can compare to this." The artificial turf, Fieldturf Revolution 360, also "passed the eye test as well as the feel test." There were 20,000 fans in attendance, and the stadium "reached its loudest" when Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank "walked onto and across the field" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/20).

BIG3 Semifinals Come To KeyArena; League Eyes Bigger Names In '18

The BIG3 semifinals are at KeyArena today, and as the season has progressed, players have become "more accustomed to the half-court style, fast pace, and skill level required to make the game attractive to fans." The league has been "so successful that it has enticed other retired players, and players near the end of their NBA careers, to consider playing next year." Trilogy co-captain Al Harrington said, "[BIG3 co-Founder] Ice Cube has put a great product out there." The hope for Ice Cube and the league is to "attract more frontline talent next year." The 50-point games, although TV friendly, are "too short considering there is a 4-point shot and free throws are 2 points each" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/20). Rashard Lewis, who used to play for the Sonics, "figures to be a crowd favorite" along with former Sonics player Gary Payton, who is a coach for the 3 Headed Monsters (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/20).

Chris Christie No Longer A Candidate To Replace Mike Francesa

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie is "off the list of candidates to replace" Mike Francesa when he leaves WFAN in December. One new name that "recently surfaced as a possible candidate" is Gregg Hughes of "Opie and Anthony." Until last month, when he was terminated, Hughes was "working for SiriusXM." However, a source said that Hughes is "not a candidate for Francesa’s job" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/20).

Bucks All-Star To Miss EuroBasket; Greek Federation Alleges Conspiracy

Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo yesterday posted a message on social media in which he "expressed his regret that he would not be able to play for the Greek national team in the upcoming EuroBasket 2017, which begins on Aug. 31, due to a knee injury." However, the post "elicited an accusation from the Greek basketball federation alleging the Bucks and the NBA were involved in an 'organized and well-staged plan' to keep Antetokounmpo from playing for his national team." The accusation has "flatly and unequivocally been denied by both the Bucks and the NBA in a pair of statements" issued last night and this morning (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/20). The Greek federation said that more details would "soon become known." Federation General Secretary Takis Tsagronis said that a scan "revealed no problems with Antetokounmpo's knee" (AP, 8/19).

MLL Title Game Draws 7,500 As League Eyes Team In North Texas

MLL last night "took center stage" at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas "in front of 7,543 people" who watched the Ohio Machine defeat the Denver Outlaws 17-12 for the MLL championship. The game was an "opportunity for league officials to see how the sport would be received in Dallas." MLL Commissioner David Gross said that the league has been "eyeing North Texas." He has "called the The Star a perfect venue for lacrosse." Dallas could have a team as early as the '18 season opener in April, but "nothing has been made official yet" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/20).

Attendance Roundup: Solheim Cup Draws Estimated 25,000 Fans

The U.S. players at the Solheim Cup in Des Moines, Iowa, are "having a blast, imbued by the patriotism and energy of the event," which yesterday was played "in front of an estimated 25,000 fans" (ESPN.com, 8/20).

Elsewhere:

  • Sporting KC yesterday had their "100th straight sellout inside Children's Mercy Park" for their win over FC Dallas. The stadium "welcomed a crowd of 19,869 fans" (K.C. STAR, 8/20).
  • The Orioles yesterday in their game against the Angels "welcomed back members of the first team to play at Camden Yards as part of the ballpark's 25th anniversary celebration," in front of a "packed crowd of 43,929" (Baltimore SUN, 8/20).
  • The Raiders "drew a sellout crowd of 53,659" against the Rams in their first home preseason game (AP, 8/20).
  • The ATP/WTA Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati is "on pace to break attendance records," as "nearly 13,000 fans have filled the Linder Family Tennis Center for each session" (WLWT.com, 8/18).
  • Boxer Terence Crawford defeated Julius Indongo by knockout in the third round last night, "electrifying the crowd of 12,121" at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Omaha (ESPN.com, 8/19).
  • The NWSL Portland Thorns yesterday defeated the Houston Dash "in front of a season-high home crowd of 19,672" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/20).

FC Barcelona Paying Tribute To Terror Attack Victims In Season Opener

La Liga club FC Barcelona today opens their '17-18 season at home, but the mood at the game will be "somber for the sellout crowd of 99,354 at Camp Nou, as Spain observes a third day of national mourning following Thursday's terror attack that left 14 dead and more than 100 injured." The game will "begin with a minute of silence." The starting players will have the city's name "Barcelona" "in place of their names on the backs of the jerseys, and the front of the shirts will be embroidered with #TotsSomBarcelona (We are all Barcelona)." All players will "wear a black armband." Meanwhile, all 72 teams in the English soccer leagues are "also wearing black armbands this weekend in solidarity." In addition, FC Barcelona's archrival Real Madrid on Friday "tweeted a photo of their team holding a moment of silence at their training camp" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/20).

Last Chance To Take Part In SBD/SBJ's Game Changers Survey

On Sept. 14, SportsBusiness Journal/Daily will hold its fifth annual Game Changers conference, where we will explore the multiple ways in which women intersect with sports. That week, we are planning to unveil exclusive new research on gender hiring trends and career advancement. In tandem with Game Changers sponsor and research partner Turnkey Intelligence, we are asking executives in sports to complete a brief survey about topics relevant to working in our industry. We anticipate that this survey will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

Privacy Policy. All respondents to this survey can be assured that:

  • Individual responses will not be disclosed in any way to any party.
  • All data will be masked, aggregated and analyzed to ensure 100% anonymity.
  • All responses are 100% confidential, private and secure.

The results of this survey will be presented exclusively in a future issue of SportsBusiness Journal. You may access the survey by clicking here, or by entering the following URL into your browser: https://sbjsbd.turnkeysurveyor.com/se/705E3F2703509AD5.

Speed Reads....

China's government is "moving to curb domestic companies' investments abroad in property, sports, entertainment and other fields, following a series of high-profile, multibillion-dollar acquisitions by Chinese firms" (AP, 8/19).

Sources said that the Clippers "have offered" Thunder Assistant GM & Team Counsel Michael Winger their GM position (ESPN.com, 8/20).

Brad Keselowski Racing will "cease operations at the end" of the '17 season (MOTORSPORT.com, 8/17).

The Timbers Army supporters group "unveiled multiple banners" ahead of Friday's Timbers-Red Bulls game, "rejecting comments" made by President Trump earlier this week about violence in Charlottesville (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/19).

Polo Ralph Lauren runs a full-page ad in the N.Y. TIMES featuring Justin Thomas after his PGA Championship win. Meanwhile, Quail Hollow runs a full-page ad in the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER thanking "spectators, volunteers and partners" for their support in helping the course host the PGA Championship last week (THE DAILY).

Quick Hits....

"(I’m) gonna try to do good things in the world. I’m not gonna waste my time screaming at a neo-Nazi who’s gonna hate me no matter what, and I’m not gonna waste my time worried about these statues that they’ve got all over the country" -- TNT's Charles Barkley, discussing the removal of confederate statues (WASHINGTON POST, 8/19).

"He may go about things wrong, he may have a big mouth. But I bought three pairs. Why did I buy three pairs? That man has a vision of his own" -- rapper Jay-Z, on Big Baller Brand Founder LaVar Ball (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/19).

"If we can find something that’s going to make you better or help you to maximize your potential, we’re willing to do it. I think you’re going to see that even more across the board in all sports here" -- Univ. of Pittsburgh Associate AD/Football Administration Chris LaSala, on the school's decision to keep the football team in a hotel close to its training facility during training camp instead of on campus (POST-GAZETTE.com, 8/19).

"Had he ever known how it would be looked at years later, I have to believe he would have made a move just in order to prevent the stigma of the Red Sox being the last team to field an African-American ballplayer. It’s not the legacy anyone would want to have. It seems he was ill-served by his lieutenants" -- biographer Bill Nowlin, on the legacy left by former Red Sox Owner Thomas Yawkey (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/20).

Weekend Hot Reads....

The N.Y. TIMES goes with the header, "Thousands Of Players, Hundreds Of Events And Little Reward." At best, the ITF's Futures Tour is a "proving ground for elite prospects, a costly but potentially rewarding journey to fame." At worst, it is a "cynical charade of mediocre athletes playacting as tennis pros, vulnerable to corruption." 

The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL writes under the header, "26 Years Later, UW Still Without Varsity Baseball." When the Univ. of Wisconsin "dropped varsity baseball" in '91, there "were valid reasons." The athletic department faced a $2.1M budget shortfall, spending was "outpacing revenue and the financial outlook was bleak." The climate has "changed dramatically," but the school "remains the only Big Ten school without baseball."

Elsewhere:

Twitter Me This....

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Sunday Comic....

A sneak preview of SportsBusiness Journal's weekly editorial cartoon:

Today's Back Pages....

The Weekend Rap offers today's back page sports covers from some of North America's major metropolitan tabloids:

 N.Y. Post  N.Y. Daily News Newsday   Boston HeraldChicago Sun-Times

Hit The Ground Running: The Week Ahead

THE DAILY’s Week Ahead: Aug. 21-27

TUESDAY

• EA’s “Madden NFL 18” releases

THURSDAY
• PGA Tour The Northern Trust begins (Glen Oaks Club, N.Y.) (Beginning of FedExCup Playoffs)
• LPGA Canadian Pacific Women’s Open (Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, Ontario)

FRIDAY
• Codemasters’ “F1 2017” releases
• AIBA World Championships begin (Hamburg, Germany)

SATURDAY
• ATP Winston-Salem Open concludes (N.C.)
• WTA Connecticut Open concludes (New Haven)
• Verizon IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, Ill.)
• Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match (T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas)
• Big3 Championship (MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas)

SUNDAY

• F1 Pirelli Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps circuit)
• NASCAR Xfinity Series Johnsonville 180 (Road America, Wis.)

If you know of any events that should be in our calendar, send them to us at mmiceli@sportsbusinessdaily.com.