Jul 17, 2020

Axios Sports

By Kendall Baker
Kendall Baker

👋 Happy Friday! Let's sports.

  • 🎧 Listen: On the latest episode of "Axios Re:Cap," Axios' Dan Primack interviews WashPost's Ben Golliver, one of 10 NBA reporters currently inside the bubble.

Today's word count: 1,715 words (6 minutes).

1 big thing: 🏈 15 ex-Redskins employees allege sexual harassment

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

15 former female employees say they were sexually harassed while working for the Redskins organization, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

  • Among those accused are longtime play-by-play announcer Larry Michael, former director of pro personnel Alex Santos and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann.
  • All three suddenly departed the organization within the past week after the the Post presented its findings to the team.

What they're saying: The allegations spanned from 2006 to 2019, and one employee said the sexual harassment and verbal abuse they faced was ignored — and sometimes condoned — by top team executives.

  • Michael, aka "The Voice of the Redskins," is accused of routinely speaking about female colleagues in a sexual and disparaging manner, including a college-aged intern in a comment that was caught on a "hot mic" in 2018.
  • Santos is accused by six former employees and two reporters of making inappropriate remarks about their bodies and making unwelcome overtures.
  • Mann exchanged inappropriate text messages with two female colleagues, and the Post obtained and shared some of those texts in the report.

Others named in the report are former president of business operations Dennis Greene and former COO Mitch Gershman, who, along with Michael, were considered part of owner Dan Snyder's "inner circle," according to the Post.

  • Greene, who resigned in 2018 after it was reported that he sold access to Redskins cheerleaders, is alleged to have encouraged female sales staff to wear revealing clothing and flirt with suite holders.
  • Gershman is accused of sexual harassment and verbal abuse by Emily Applegate, a former marketing coordinator with the team and the only woman who spoke on record. She left her job in 2015.

The backdrop: These allegations come on the heels of the organization's announcement Monday that it will retire its nickname and logo.

  • The team's three minority owners — Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Frederick W. Smith — are also reportedly seeking to sell their stakes and have hired the investment bank Moag & Company to vet buyers.

What's next: The team has hired D.C.-based law firm Wilkinson Walsh to "conduct a thorough independent review of this entire matter and help the team set new employee standards for the future."

2. 😷 Emmert: Data points in "wrong direction"
Courtesy: NCAA

The NCAA announced new guidelines on Thursday for colleges to follow as they navigate the return of fall sports, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh writes.

Details: The guidelines call for daily self-health checks, the use of face masks and social distancing when possible, testing strategies for all athletic activities, and testing and results within 72 hours of high contact risk sports.

"Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic."
— NCAA president Mark Emmert
Bonus: 💵 2019 NCAA revenue/expense reports
Reproduced from USA Today; Table: Axios Visuals

The finances for 227 NCAA Division-I schools (FY '19) were published in a massive report compiled by USA Today and Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Axios' Jeff Tracy writes.

  • Methodology: Total revenue includes ticket sales, contributions, rights and licensing, student fees, school funds and other sources. Total expenses include coaching and staff, scholarships, facilities and overhead, and other expenses.
  • Power 5 rankings: The SEC led the way with an average ranking of 16.5, followed by the Big Ten (19.8), Big 12 (32.1), ACC (32.5) and Pac-12 (39).
  • In a first for any conference, every public-school athletics department in the Big Ten had more than $100 million in operating expenses in the same year, notes USA Today's Steve Berkowitz.
4. ⚽️ NWSL Challenge Cup: QF preview
Bracket: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The NWSL Challenge Cup quarterfinals kickoff this afternoon at Zions Bank Stadium near Salt Lake City. By tomorrow night, the semifinals will be set, Jeff writes.

Weekend slate (all games on CBS All Access):

  • Today: No. 1 North Carolina Courage vs. No. 8 Portland Thorns (12:30pm ET); No. 4 Houston Dash vs. No. 5 Utah Royals (10pm ET).
  • Tomorrow: No. 2 Washington Spirit vs. No. 7 Sky Blue (12:30pm ET); No. 3 OL Reign vs. No. 6 Chicago Red Stars (10pm ET).

Semifinals and championship: The final four is moving venues, from the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium to the 20,000 seat Rio Tinto Stadium, home of Real Salt Lake (not that seating capacity matters right now). Both semis will be played next Wednesday, with the final set for next Sunday.

Catch up quick: When the tournament began three weeks ago without the Orlando Pride (COVID-19 outbreak), the group stage lost some drama, as all eight teams were assured a quarterfinal spot. Still, the fight for seeding was on.

  • The North Carolina Courage (reigning champions) dominated, going 4-0 while allowing just one goal.
  • The Washington Spirit were the only other team to win more than one game, and their zero goal differential was also second to North Carolina's (+6).

Go deeper: NWSL quarterfinals preview (ESPN)

4. ⚡️ Catch up quick
Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
  • ⚽️ La Liga: Real Madrid clinched a record-extending 34th La Liga title with one game to spare by beating Villarreal 2-1 at home. Real have 86 points after 37 games, seven more than Barcelona, who lost 2-1 to Osasuna.
  • 🏀 College basketball: The National Association of Basketball Coaches has proposed permanently eliminating SAT and ACT requirements as part of the NCAA's initial eligibility process, calling them "longstanding forces of institutional racism."
Tony Finau. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
  • ⛳️ Golf: Tony Finau (-6) leads after one round at the Memorial Tournament, but the highlight of the day was Bryson "Bombs" DeChambeau hitting a drive 423 yards.
  • ⚾️ MLB: With fans prohibited from attending games, MLB will play crowd noise from its official video game, "MLB The Show," through ballpark sound systems this season.
5. 🏀 Ranking the NBA's all-time rosters (No. 12)
Expand chart
Player data: Basketball Reference; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

We're ranking the all-time rosters for all 30 NBA teams. Note: Rosters and stats based only on time spent with this specific team. Thoughts? Email me at jeff@axios.com.

12. Houston Rockets

If we could include all centers and past-their-prime superstars in the starting lineup, the Rockets would jump about five spots. Alas, we cannot, but Houston can still take solace in being perhaps the most opportunistic franchise ever, capitalizing on MJ's brief absence by winning back-to-back titles.

  • Year established: 1967 (as the San Diego Rockets)
  • All-time record: 2,265-2,015 (.529)
  • NBA Championships: 2
  • Hall of Famers (indicated by *): 9

Starters:

  • James Harden, G (29.6 pts, 6.0 reb, 7.7 ast, 26.7 PER/112.4 WS)
  • Tracy McGrady*, G (22.7 pts, 5.5 reb, 5.6 ast, 21.1 PER/33.2 WS)
  • Calvin Murphy*, G (17.9 pts, 2.1 reb, 4.4 ast, 18.0 PER/84.1 WS)
  • Otis Thorpe, F (15.8 pts, 9.7 reb, 2.6 ast, 16.0 PER/54.5 WS)
  • Hakeem Olajuwon*, C (22.5 pts, 11.4 reb, 3.2 blk, 23.9 PER/160.6 WS)

Sixth man: Moses Malone*, C (24.0 pts, 15.0 reb, 1.5 ast, 23.8 PER/70.0 WS)

Bench:

  • Yao Ming*, C (19.0 pts, 9.2 reb, 1.9 blk, 23.0 PER/65.9 WS)
  • Clyde Drexler*, G (19.0 pts, 6.1 reb, 5.4 ast, 20.2 PER/26.9 WS)
  • Charles Barkley*, F (16.5 pts, 12.2 reb, 3.9 ast, 22.2 PER/26.7 WS)
  • Elvin Hayes*, F/C (20.6 pts, 12.2 reb, 1.9 ast, 17.4 PER/40.8 WS)
  • Rudy Tomjanovich*, F (17.4 pts, 8.1 reb, 2.0 ast, 16.9 PER/70.4 WS)
  • Kenny Smith, G (12.6 pts, 1.9 reb, 5.3 ast, 15.8 PER/37.3 WS)

Notes:

  • Olajuwon is not only the all-time leader in blocks with 3,830 (nearly 600 more than anyone else), but he's also 10th all-time in steals (2,162).
  • Harden's 36.13 ppg last season is the highest total for anyone not named Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan.

ICYMI ... 30. Grizzlies, 29. Timberwolves, 28. Hornets, 27. Raptors, 26. Pelicans, 25. Pacers, 24. Clippers, 23. Mavericks, 22. Nets, 21. Cavaliers, 20. Bucks, 19. Hawks, 18. Wizards, 17. Suns, 16. Kings, 15. Magic, 14. Nuggets 13. Trail Blazers

Stats, explained: Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a measure of a player's per-minute productivity (20+ is elite); Win Shares (WS) attempts to divvy up individual credit for team success (6 per season is elite).

6. July 17, 1963: ⚾️ DeBusschere gets a hit
Photo: Sporting News via Getty Images

57 years ago today, Knicks legend Dave DeBusschere recorded his first and only ... MLB hit?

  • Why it matters: DeBusschere is one of just 13 athletes to have played in both the NBA and MLB.
  • The other 12: Danny Ainge, Frank Baumholtz, Gene Conley, Chuck Connors, Johnny Gee, Dick Groat, Steve Hamilton, Mark Hendrickson, Cotton Nash, Ron Reed, Dick Ricketts and Howie Schultz.

Playing career: The Detroit native had a 13-year, Hall of Fame career with the Knicks and Pistons, but first came a two-year stint as a White Sox power pitcher.

  • He was far more than just a fill-in, throwing 102.1 innings in his career with a 2.90 ERA and even a complete game shutout of the Indians in August, 1963.

The hit: One fateful day in July, he cracked a second-inning single off Senators pitcher Bennie Daniels, giving him a lifetime batting average of .045 (1-for-22).

🎥 Watch: Knicks' legend Dave DeBusschere (YouTube)

7. 📚 Good reads
Giphy

⚽️ Pulisic's first Premier League season puts him in elite company (Bill Connelly, ESPN)

"Christian Pulisic, 21, is trending to be the best American in Premier League history, and the advanced stats tell an even more impressive story."

🏈 We've been waiting on the NCAA to do something (Dana O'Neil, The Athletic)

"They are wedding planners. That's it. Thanks to years of prepping the backstages of countless championship sites, the NCAA can supply the drink ware, plasticware ... and curtains for your big day. ... Otherwise, the organization in Indianapolis has no obvious purpose anymore."

⚾️ "New sort of family unit": MLB’s families navigate an unusual season (Emma Baccellieri, SI)

"MLB families have been forced to make unfamiliar choices to play during a pandemic: How do you minimize risk? Do you just live separately from your husband for the next few months?"
8. The Ocho: 🚨 WhirlyBall
Source: Eric Cosh (YouTube)

WhirlyBall is a cross between basketball, lacrosse and bumper cars, and looks like something you'd play at a middle school birthday party before eating ice cream cake and leaving with a goodie bag, Jeff writes.

How to play: Games are five-on-five, and the object is to score on your opponent's goal, which is essentially a rimless backboard with a small, circular net in the middle.

  • Rules: No leaving the Whirlybug (a lighter, slower version of a bumper car), no touching the ball with your hand (that's what your "scoop" is for) and no bumping from behind.
  • Scoring: Throw the ball into the net for anywhere from 2 to 5 points, depending on how far away you were when you threw it.

🎥 Watch: Highlights and explainer (YouTube)

9. 🏒 NHL trivia

Photo: Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Rogers Place in Edmonton, Canada (Western Conference host for restart) is the third-newest NHL arena (opened in 2016).

  • Question: What two arenas are newer?
  • Hint: Both in the U.S.
  • P.S.: Rogers Place was damaged by a summer storm that moved into the city late Thursday afternoon.

Answer at the bottom.

10. ❤️ Why we love sports
Jim Bunning during the 9th inning of his perfect game in 1964. Photo: Bettmann Collection/Getty Images

Bob B. (New Rochelle, N.Y.):

"When I was a young teenager in the early '60s, I adopted the expansion Mets as my favorite baseball team as a declaration of independence from my family of Yankee diehards.
"Living two hours away from NYC, I chose to get Sunday doubleheader tickets about twice a year to get the most bang for my Dad's hard-earned bucks.
"On Father's Day, June 21, 1964, the Mets hosted the Phillies for a twin bill on a scorcher of a Sunday. Little did I know I was about to witness history.
"In the first game, Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning tossed a perfect game, baseball's first in the regular season since 1922! The Mets nearly reached base in the fifth, but Phillies 2B Tony Taylor's spectacular diving play saved the perfect game.
"About 20 years later, Taylor was managing the minor-league Reading Phillies in a game in my hometown of New Britain, Connecticut.
"I was in attendance and called out to him, 'Great catch to save Bunning in '64!' He turned around, gave me a big smile and two thumbs up. Great memories."
Tony Taylor circa 1964. Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

💔 RIP, Tony: Taylor, who managed the Phillies after his playing career was over and was inducted into the team's Wall of Fame, died Thursday. He was 84.

✍️ Submit your story: Do you have a fondest sports memory? Or an example of sports having a positive impact on your life? If you'd like to share, simply reply to this email. We'll be telling your stories until they run out.

Kendall Baker

Enjoy the weekend,

Kendall "Remember when T-Mac scored 13 points in 33 seconds?" Baker

Trivia answer: Little Caesar's Arena in Detroit (2017), T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (2017)