The One Where Sports & Politics Meet

Fun Fact of the Day: Yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 6-3. It was the Nats RHP Stephen Strasburg’s first loss of the season, bringing his record to 13-1. The last pitcher to start 14-0 was Roger Clemens in 1986.


Today's Rundown

NBA

Liberty and basketball for all. The NBA is moving next year’s All-Star game from Charlotte, North Carolina because of the state’s controversial House Bill 2 (“HB2”)—that’s the law that wants you to bring your birth certificate with you to the bathroom. The NBA said that the All Star festivities are supposed to be a celebration for the entire NBA community and its fans. The move is expected to cost the city of Charlotte $100M. Other basketball losses.  Earlier this week SUNY Albany pulled out of a game with Duke scheduled for next season, because a N.Y. executive order bans all publicly-funded, nonessential travel to North Carolina. In response, Duke’s famed coach K called HB2 “embarrassing.”

 

NFL

I’m really, really, really sorry.  RB Ray Rice is still looking for a team to pick him up after he was dropped by the Baltimore Ravens back in 2013. What’s that? You don’t remember Ray Rice? Yes, you do. He’s the one that knocked out his fiancé (now wife) and dragged her unconscious body into an elevator. Now, he says he’s changed and he’s looking for a second chance. To show how serious he is, he said he would donate his entire 2016 salary to domestic violence charities.

Watt’s wrong?  We’re just under 50 days out from football season (Hooray!), but one familiar face could be missing during week 1. Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt is still recovering from back surgery. At the end of last season, he suffered injuries to his back, hand, torso, groin, legs… basically any body part you can name. But because he’s a big tough guy, Watt played through the injuries and still finished the season with 17.5 sacks and won defensive player of the year. Here’s to hoping he recovers in time!

 

WNBA

Making a statement. After the racially charged violence of the past several weeks, 3 different WNBA teams wore black warm-up T-shirts with social messages. Now the WNBA is fining each of the teams $5,000 and the players $500 for violating the league’s uniform policy.  


Spotlight on CTE

Reports of CTE have been making the headlines again, so we thought it was time to take a look at the disease and the controversy surrounding it.

What is it, again?  CTE is a degenerative brain disease that comes from repeated brain trauma. It can cause all sorts of scary side effects like memory loss, aggression, depression, and suicide. It’s been discovered in boxers, soccer players, and –you guessed it – football players

Why’s it in the headlines again?  Just yesterday, former Baltimore Ravens OT Eugene Monroe released a statement saying that he’s retiring from football after playing only 7 seasons; he is only 29 years old. In his statement, he specifically called out CTE as the major reason he’s giving up the sport he loves. And he’s not the only one. Just this year, former Detroit Lions WR Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch made headlines when they both called it quits at the age of 30.  

Who will play football?  With all the health risks, there is a fear that middle and upper class parents will stop sending their kids to football practice. Even famous football icons like Mike Ditka and Drew Brees have said that they wouldn’t let their kids play the game. Instead, only people from lower socio-economic classes will risk playing football for the possibility of a big payout.

Is there a way to fix this? Not yet, but there are a few ideas. This season, the Ivy League football teams are going to start protecting their big brains by eliminating tackling from their practices. Others think that we shouldn’t allow kids to play tackle football until they reach high school and their bodies are more developed. In the meantime, most people agree that the NFL needs to do more research on CTE. But they still have a long way to go, considering they only just admitted that there is a connection between playing football and CTE at all.


Hot Read

NASCAR 

Sprint Cup Series.  Watch Jeff Gordon come out of retirement!  He’s replacing Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who had to withdraw because of concussion symptoms. Sunday 3pm ET o NBCSN

 

CYCLING

The Tour de France.  The insane 21-stage and 2,200 mile race concludes this weekend. Chris Froome is in the lead and just coasting. Find out if he can defend his crown.