- Meanwhile, MLB rejected the players' proposed 114-game plan with no counter offer as the two sides continue to be at odds.
Today's word count: 2,233 words (8 minutes).
Today's word count: 2,233 words (8 minutes).
Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Drew Brees is facing backlash for saying that he'll "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag" when asked about NFL players perhaps kneeling again during the national anthem following the death of George Floyd.
"[I]s everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. ... But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution."— Brees in an interview with Yahoo Finance
The response: Numerous athletes — including his own teammates — and media members publicly criticized Brees for perpetuating the idea that kneeling during the anthem was about anything other than racism and police brutality.
"People should not be throwing Drew Brees under the bus, and they definitely need to pump the brakes on labeling him a racist. ... They need to check his resume. I love my race. And I love New Orleans to death. But I know Drew Brees. And Drew is a good person."— Joe Horn
The NBA plans to send 22 teams to Disney World — the top 13 from the West and the top nine from the East — for an eight-game regular season beginning on July 31, followed by a postseason, per multiple reports.
What they're saying: A 22-team format that includes regular-season games is "worth several hundred million dollars more in revenue than the 16-team straight-to-playoffs plan," league sources told ESPN.
What's next: Commissioner Adam Silver will reportedly propose the 22-team plan at the NBA's board of governors meeting today. If approved, it would then have to get the green light from the players' association.
Go deeper: How Disney World could host the NBA (Axios)
As the four major American pro sports leagues navigate both the pandemic and nationwide protests, it felt prudent to learn more about the four commissioners in charge, Axios' Jeff Tracy writes. Fun fact: They're all from New York.
Path to commissioner: After writing countless letters to the NFL in hopes of landing any job they'd give him, Goodell was hired as an intern in the league office in 1982. He eventually became NFL EVP and COO in 2001, where he played a key role in launching the NFL Network in 2003.
Tenure as commissioner: Since taking over for Paul Tagliabue in 2006, Goodell has overseen a laundry list of scandals, including Spygate (2007), Bountygate (2009) and Deflategate (2015). But the two most consequential aspects of his tenure have been the ongoing fight for improved player safety (i.e. concussion protocol) and the league's response to kneeling protests.
"I don't necessarily agree with what [Colin Kaepernick] is doing. I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don't live in a perfect society. ... On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that."— Goodell in 2016
Path to commissioner: After graduating law school, Bettman joined Proskauer Rose, a New York law firm whose clients include all four major sports leagues (David Stern also worked there). By 1981, he'd been plucked away by the NBA, where he rose as high as third-in-command. In 1983, he helped create that league's soft salary cap, which is still used today.
"There's good Gary and bad Gary. A lot of the fans have known bad Gary because when they see him, he seems to have a large chip on his shoulder and can come across as arrogant. But in private, Gary can be a very charming individual, which I know will be a great surprise to most hockey fans."— Jonathon Gatehouse, Bettman's biographer, in 2012
Tenure as commissioner: After 75 years of NHL leadership falling under the purview of a president, the owners hired Bettman as the league's first commissioner in 1993, hoping his background in labor relations would help guide the league away from the unrest that had caused the first-ever NHL strike in 1992.
Boxing champion Kim Clavel, who left the ring to return to nursing during the coronavirus pandemic, will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the ESPYs on June 21.
We're ranking the all-time rosters for all 30 MLB teams. Note: Rosters based only on time spent with this specific team. Thoughts? Email me at email@example.com.
At last, we've reached the final "modern" franchise, as the top nine teams still to come were all established in the early-20th century or before. I'm sure I'll get plenty of flak for them being this high, but I just took one look at the lineup and became enamored of its sheer power.
On the mound: SP Yu Darvish (18.6)
ICYMI ... 30. Rays, 29. Royals, 28. Diamondbacks, 27. Blue Jays, 26. Angels, 25. Padres, 24. Rockies, 23. Brewers; 22. Nationals, 21. Mets, 20. Orioles, 19. Twins, 18. Astros, 17. Marlins, 16. White Sox, 15. Athletics, 14. Phillies, 13. Braves, 12. Pirates, 11. Mariners
Huge thanks to Tom Stone, whose book "Now Taking the Field: Baseball's All-Time Dream Teams for All 30 Franchises," provided the inspiration for these rosters.
93 years ago today, the U.S. beat Great Britain in the first Ryder Cup, 9½ - 2½, at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts.
How it works: Unlike most golf tournaments, the Ryder Cup is a team game played for pride rather than prize money, with various match play competitions across the biennial, three-day event.
Results: Though it began as a competition between the U.S. and Great Britain, the Ryder Cup eventually expanded to include participants from across Europe.
What's next: The 2020 Ryder Cup is still scheduled for September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. A final decision on its fate is expected by the end of June.
🎥 Watch: Top 10 Ryder Cup moments (YouTube)
❤️ George Floyd's lasting impact as a two-sport athlete in Houston (Jerry Bembry, The Undefeated)
"George was idolized by young boys living in the projects because he was the first guy that many of us witnessed get an athletic scholarship. He was one of my role models. He was one of us."
💦 Waterless world (Pat Forde, SI)
"Imagine the exact opposite of Kevin Costner's old post-apocalyptic summer bummer: A world on the brink ... and scarcely any water to be found. With pools closed by the coronavirus, that's precisely the reality faced by today's swimmers, Olympians on down. And like that box office bomb's mariner, they're getting creative in fixing their sitch."
⛳️ With precautions, golf is back. So are scoring squabbles. (Bill Pennington, NYT)
"The USGA amended rules on what counts as a holed shot to accommodate coronavirus health precautions. The change has lowered handicaps and started arguments in some circles."
The Red Bull 400 began on a ski hill in Austria in 2011, and has grown into a seasonal sport with upwards of 20 races each year across three continents, Jeff writes.
How it works: Competitors must climb a steep hill, up to a 37-degree incline, for 400 meters. They run for as long as they can, but are generally forced to put their hands on their knees or even crawl on all fours once the pitch reaches 30 degrees.
The state of play: The 2020 season was postponed due to COVID-19, but is scheduled to kick off on Aug. 1 in Slovakia.
🎮 Give it a shot ... There's a computer game version of the race online. My best time was 36 seconds. Bring it on.
Sam Crawford, who starred for the Reds and Tigers from 1899 to 1917, still holds the MLB record for most career triples (309).
Answer at the bottom.
Jennifer M. (Cleveland) writes:
"Curling? How'd you get into curling? I get that question all the time.
"My mom had back surgery in 2006 and watched a ton of curling at the Torino Olympics while recovering on the couch. She decided that one day her and my dad would become curlers, and when they started playing, I just had to join in. By the time I was 11, I was playing competitively.
"In 2019, I had already competed in three U18 National Championships when I heard about the Youth Olympic Games. These are just like the regular Olympics, except you have to be between 14 and 17 years old to qualify. So, it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
"We formed a team of two boys and two girls hailing from Ohio, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, and when we qualified to represent the U.S. at the Games, I wasn't sure it could get any better. Hearing our coach say 'Congratulations, you are Team USA' was pretty awesome.
"But it did get better when we headed to Lausanne, Switzerland, in January 2020 to take part in the 14-day competition. We didn't perform as well as we'd hoped, and didn't bring home a medal. But it turns out, that really didn't matter.
"The experience of being there, of walking out at the opening ceremony, wearing our flag on my back, and meeting so many new friends from all over the globe was unbelievable.
"It still amazes me to think about where this crazy sport has taken me in my 17 years. I look forward to the future and hopefully the chance to represent my country again at the Olympics one day!"
✍️ 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 "We'll miss you, Vince" Baker
Trivia answer: Dexter Fowler