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Jul 2, 2021

Axios Sports

🇺🇸 Good morning! Have a great Fourth of July weekend! No newsletter Monday, so we'll see you back here on Tuesday morning.

Today's word count: 1,913 words (7 minutes).

Let's sports...

1 big thing: ⚾️ 2021 MLB All-Star starters

Source: Giphy

The MLB All-Star starters were announced Thursday night ahead of July 13th's game at Denver's Coors Field, Axios' Jeff Tracy writes.

  • Most AL votes: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • Most NL votes: Fernando Tatís Jr.

American League:

  • C Salvador Pérez, KC: 7x All-Star; 19 HR, 48 RBI, .814 OPS
  • 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR: 1x; 26 HR, 66 RBI, 1.108 OPS
  • 2B Marcus Semien, TOR: 1x; 20 HR, 21 2B, 52 RBI, .905 OPS, 10 SB
  • 3B Rafael Devers, BOS: 1x; 20 HR, 24 2B, 69 RBI, .941 OPS
  • SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS: 3x; 13 HR, 25 2B, 48 RBI, .941 OPS
  • OF Mike Trout, LAA: 9x; out with injury and will be replaced
  • OF Aaron Judge, NYY: 3x; 18 HR, 42 RBI, .904 OPS
  • OF Teoscar Hernández, TOR: 1x; 11 HR, 47 RBI, .835 OPS
  • DH Shohei Ohtani, LAA: 1x; 28 HR, 17 2B, 4 3B, 63 RBI, 11 SB, 1.045 OPS ... 60 IP, 3.60 ERA, 83 K 🤯
Coors Field. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

National League:

  • C Buster Posey, SF: 7x; 12 HR, 27 RBI, .979 OPS
  • 1B Freddie Freeman, ATL: 5x; 17 HR, 45 RBI, .836 OPS
  • 2B Adam Frazier, PIT: 1x; 24 2B, 4 HR, 4 3B, .861 OPS
  • 3B Nolan Arenado, STL: 6x; 16 HR, 24 2B, 52 RBI, .823 OPS
  • SS Fernando Tatís Jr., SD: 1x; 26 HR, 56 RBI, 1.082 OPS, 17 SB
  • OF Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL: 2x; 22 HR, 18 2B, 48 RBI, .992 OPS, 16 SB
  • OF Nick Castellanos, CIN: 1x; 16 HR, 27 2B, 53 RBI, 1.005 OPS
  • OF Jesse Winker, CIN: 1x; 19 HR, 48 RBI, .987 OPS

What's next: The remaining All-Stars will be announced on July 4, and each team's manager — Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash and L.A.'s Dave Roberts — will choose their starting pitcher from among those selected.

2. 🎓 NIL era: Athletes cash in on Day 1
Data: Axios Research; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

The first day of the NIL era got off to rip-roaring start. Deals were made, money was exchanged, and total chaos ensued as a century-old American institution crumbled and began anew.

What's happening: A lot. Here's a sampling of the news from Thursday.

  • NCAA Football: Electronic Arts is exploring the "possibility of including players" in its beloved college football video game that disappeared in 2014, a company rep tells Axios.
  • Barstool Athletes: Barstool Sports is offering the title of "Barstool Athlete" and free merchandise to athletes they want to sponsor. The idea came together at the last minute, but they've already signed a big name: Villanova star point guard Collin Gillespie.
  • Package deal: Arkansas WR Trey Knox and his dog "Blue" signed a deal with PetSmart.
  • Paid gigs: Marshall football player Will Ulmer can now earn money playing live country music shows — and no longer has to use the alias "Lucky Bill."
  • Now on Cameo: Iowa State QB Brock Purdy and RB Breece Hall joined Cameo, the personalized video service.

The state of play: 27 states have passed NIL laws and 16 are already in effect. The NCAA has instructed schools in states without NIL laws to craft their own rules.

  • Bill passed, effective July 1: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas
  • Bill passed, not yet effective: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri (awaiting governor signature), Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee
  • Awaiting governor signature: Missouri
  • Bill introduced: Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia
  • No bill introduced: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming
3. 🇺🇸 Track sensation tests positive for pot

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Sha'Carri Richardson, who was poised to be one of the faces of Team USA in Tokyo, could miss the Olympics after testing positive for marijuana.

Driving the news: Richardson, 21, won the 100 meters at the U.S. track & field trials two weeks ago, but her positive test invalidates her result.

  • She faces a 30-day suspension under the anti-doping rules of World Athletics, which would begin from the time her test was taken.
  • Richardson could return in time to race in the 4x100-meter relay in Tokyo on Aug. 6. The decision would be up to USA Track & Field.

Why it matters: The Texan, who is the second-fastest woman in the 100 meters this year (10.72 seconds), was aiming to become the first American woman to win gold in the event since Gail Devers in 1996.

  • "I am human," Richardson tweeted Thursday.
  • She'll appear on NBC's "Today Show" this morning.

Of note: Adult recreational use of marijuana is legal in 18 states plus Washington, D.C. That includes Oregon, which is where Richardson tested positive.

  • The four major U.S. sports leagues have softened their stances in recent years, reducing restrictions and punishments.
  • WADA classifies cannabis as a "Substance of Abuse," and it currently carries a four-year ban — unless an athlete can prove that their ingestion of the substance was unrelated to sports performance.

Go deeper: Major sports leagues are easing up on marijuana (Axios)

4. 🌍 Globetrotting: World in photos
Photo: Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

MILWAUKEE — Brook Lopez scored a playoff career-high 33 points to lead a balanced attack as the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Bucks beat the Trae Young-less Hawks, 123-112, to take a 3-2 series lead.

Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

LONDON — 39-year-old Roger Federer became the oldest man in 46 years to reach Wimbledon's third round, cruising past Richard Gasquet.

Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

CHATEAUROUX, France — After winning Stage 4 to start his unexpected comeback, Mark Cavendish won again on Thursday— in the same city where he posted the first of his 32 stage wins 13 years ago.

5. ⚽️ Euro 2020: Best players remaining
Data: UEFA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Euro 2020 quarterfinals begin this afternoon on ESPN, and by tomorrow evening the semifinals will be set, Jeff writes.

  • Today: Switzerland vs. Spain (12pm ET); Belgium vs. Italy (3pm)
  • Tomorrow: Czech Republic vs. Denmark (12pm); Ukraine vs. England (3pm)

The big picture: National teams don't have time to learn complex systems, which puts a greater onus on individual talent in these tournaments. Some players to watch this weekend:

  • Belgium: Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (questionable) are arguably the two best players in the field, and they've scored half of Belgium's eight goals.
  • Czech Republic: Bayer Leverkusen's Patrick Schick has scored four of his team's five goals, including the goal of the tournament.
  • Denmark: Chelsea's Andreas Christensen's defense has been so superb it inspired the tweet of the tournament.
  • England: Manchester City's Raheem Sterling — one of the fastest players in the world — has scored three of England's four goals.
  • Italy: 23-year-old Manuel Locatelli had a mediocre season with Serie A's Sassuolo, but his play this month has lit up his transfer market.
  • Spain: Barcelona's Pedro González López, known as Pedri, is the straw that stirs Spain's drink. The 18-year-old is one of just three Spaniards, including the keeper, to play every minute thus far.
  • Switzerland: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri's leadership and production have led the Swiss to their first international quarterfinal since the 1954 World Cup.
  • Ukraine: West Ham's Andriy Yarmolenko became the first Ukrainian to score at Euros since 2012, when now-coach Andriy Shevchenko netted two goals against Sweden.
6. 🎾⛳️ Keeping up with the Kordashians
Sebastian "Seb" Korda celebrates his first Wimbledon victory. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests a trio of characters is more satisfying than any other numbered grouping. The Korda siblings are living proof of its validity, Jeff writes.

  • Sebastian, 20, is the "best American prospect in a long, long time," says Andy Roddick, the last American man to win a Grand Slam (2003 U.S. Open). He'll put that to the test in just a few hours, facing England's Daniel Evans in Wimbledon's third round (10:30am ET).
  • Nelly, 22, is the No. 1 golfer in the world after capturing her first major at last weekend's Women's PGA Championship. Later this month, she'll lead Team USA in the Olympics.
  • Jessica, 28, is the No. 13-ranked golfer in the world and will join her sister in the quest for Olympic gold.
Jessica (L) and Nelly Korda. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The family: The Kordas moved to the U.S. full time in 2008 with their parents, Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtová — both Czech tennis pros. Dad won the 1998 Australian Open, while mom ranked as high as No. 45.

  • The three siblings are as tight-knit as they come, talking every day in a group chat they adorably refer to as "The Trio."
  • "We're all there for each other," said Jess in a recent Golf Digest interview. "Even if it's a simple, 'No matter what, I'm always proud of you.'"

Go deeper: The best prospect in American men's tennis (New Yorker)

7. ⚡️ Lightning round

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

🏈 NFL fines WFT: The NFL has fined the Washington Football Team $10 million following its investigation into the team's workplace culture. Owner Dan Snyder will remove himself from day-to-day duties through at least mid-October, ceding control to his wife, Tanya.

⚽️ USA 4, Mexico 0: Christen Press scored twice and the USWNT ran its unbeaten streak to 43 games with a 4-0 win over Mexico in a rain-soaked friendly in East Hartford, Connecticut.

📬 If you're into stamps ... Yogi Berra is the first baseball player in nine years to appear on a USPS stamp — and could be the last one for a while.

8. 📆 July 2, 1921: Boxing launches radio

Photo: Bettmann Archives/Getty Images

100 years ago today, American superstar Jack Dempsey knocked out Frenchman Georges Carpentier in Jersey City, New Jersey, en route to his third heavyweight title defense in as many years.

Why it matters: This was not only boxing's first million-dollar match — it was also the first sporting event broadcast via radio, reaching 200,000 listeners across 125,000 square miles.

The backdrop: Radios were rare in the early 1900s, and during WWI the government rescinded civilian licenses. But post-war, amateur interest was piqued.

  • At first, they were only viable for point-to-point communication. But in 1919, an engineer at Westinghouse Electric had the idea to play music for anyone with a receiver to hear.
  • A year later, Westinghouse launched Pittsburgh's KDKA, which was granted the country's first commercial broadcasting license so it could air the results of the presidential election (Harding vs. Cox).
  • RCA, a Westinghouse competitor, wanted to give people a good reason to buy their radios, so they got to work on figuring out how to broadcast the highly-anticipated heavyweight bout.
Photo: LMPC via Getty Images

How it worked: The stadium didn't have structures high enough to attach the antenna, so an RCA employee transmitted remotely from a nearby train station, which had recently erected a clock tower.

  • During the fight, one person relayed the action via phone to a clerk at the station, who then typed up the play-by-play for the announcer to read out over the airwaves.
  • Listening parties formed across the northeast, from small get-togethers in private homes to thousand-person gatherings in public venues.
  • (Not-so) fun fact: The tubes on this proto-radio transmitter were so bright that the announcer was partially blinded for days after sitting so close to them.

What came next: KDKA broadcast the first baseball game a month later — an 8-5 Pirates win over the Phillies.

🎥 Watch: Full Dempsey-Carpentier fight (YouTube)

9. 🥇 Olympics trivia

Hello, Montreal. Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Montreal, site of tonight's Stanley Cup Final Game 3, is one of just five North American cities to host a Summer Olympics.

  • Question: Can you name the other four?
  • Hint: They're not all in the U.S.

Answer at the bottom.

10. ⛳️ Good read: A life-changing diagnosis
Billy Mayfair. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When veteran golfer Billy Mayfair revealed he had Autism Spectrum Disorder, golf writer Joel Beall sought to learn more. He didn't expect his own life to change in the process.

Mayfair said he's sharing his struggle to be a force of good, and whatever the motivations were for doing so, the story's power to help others was never in doubt. Just turns out one of those "others" was me.

Keep reading.

Enjoy the weekend,

Kendall "England blew a 13 colony lead" Baker

Trivia answer: St. Louis (1904), Los Angeles (1932 and 1984), Mexico City (1968), Atlanta (1996)

🙏 Thanks for reading. Don't forget to refer friends (axios.com/referral) and follow us on Twitter: @thekendallbaker and @jeffreytracy.