👋 Good morning! While watching "Hard Knocks" last night, the only thing I could think about was how much Major League Baseball would benefit from a similar show.
Today's word count: 1,343 (5 minutes)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
For months, Raiders receiver Antonio Brown has insisted that he be allowed to wear his favorite helmet, the Schutt AiR Advantage, even though it no longer meets the NFL and NFLPA's safety standards.
Why it matters: The Brown saga has brought attention to the world of NFL helmets, where upstart companies like VICIS are disrupting an industry long dominated by major brands like Riddell and Schutt.
The backdrop: The NFL and NFLPA have been testing helmets since 2015, but they agreed for the first time last year to ban certain models from use.
How it works: "Traditional helmets have very rigid outer shells," VICIS founder Dave Marver tells Axios. "They're like cars were back in the 50s and 60s — if you got into a collision, the car wouldn't yield."
The big picture: Beyond the NFL, the helmet industry as a whole is undergoing massive change, with startups introducing new technology and tackling safety concerns with a sense of urgency that long-term incumbents — unchallenged for decades — haven't had.
The bottom line: "You have Riddell [and Schutt] for football, CCM and Bauer for hockey and Mizuno and Rawlings for baseball. Everyone has stayed in their own lane and, as a result, there's been very little disruption," Nick Esayian, CEO of LIGHT Helmets, tells Axios.
Participation in high school sports dropped in 2018-19 for the first time in 30 years, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
By the numbers: The 2018-19 total of 7,937,491 participants was a decline of 43,395 from the year prior, when the number of high school athletes reached a record high of 7,980,886.
Most popular sports (boys):
Most popular sports (girls):
Naomi Osaka. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images
Yesterday at the U.S. Open, Nick Kyrgios put on a show, 15-year-old Coco Gauff won her debut, Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal took care of business and Stefanos Tsitsipas said this to an umpire: "Because you're French probably, and you're all weirdos!"
The big picture: That's the side of tennis that we see — world-famous athletes competing on well-maintained courts. But what about the side that we don't see? What about the players far removed from the spotlight, who don't have teams or leagues to cover their expenses?
The bottom line: "Pro tennis can resemble a lopsided joust between the haves and the have-nots, with the best players traveling with entourages aboard private jets, and good chunk of the field trying to break through without going broke," writes WSJ's Jason Gay (subscription).
David Glass. Photo: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Kansas City Royals owner David Glass is negotiating a deal to sell the team to local businessman John Sherman for more than $1 billion, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.
By the numbers: "The valuations of baseball franchises have skyrocketed in recent years, though the price of the Royals is expected to fall short of the most recent sale, when Bruce Sherman (no relation to John) bought the Miami Marlins for $1.2 billion," writes Passan.
Go deeper: A new Royals owner could mark the dawn of a new era for Kansas City baseball (The Athletic)
Ansu Fati. Photo: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images
⚽️ La Liga: On Saturday, 16-year-old Ansu Fati became the youngest player to play for Barcelona's first team in 78 years. Fati was born in the small West African nation of Guinea-Bissau in 2002 (!) and moved to Spain when he was six. "I've been in football for 50 years and I've never seen anything like him," said his former coach.
⏱ Running: American Zach Bitter, 33, annihilated the 100-mile world record with a time of 11:19:13 (6:48 mile pace) on Saturday. But wait there's more … Bitter then ran for another 40 minutes to reset his own 12-hour distance world record at 104.8 miles.
🏀 Basketball: Jeremy Lin will reportedly sign a $3 million contract with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball League — the same team that Stephon Marbury won three championships with earlier this decade. Go deeper.
38 years ago today, the world record for running a mile changed hands for the third time in 10 days after British runner Sebastian Coe snatched the record back from fellow countryman Steve Ovett.
The big picture: The record wasn't broken again until Britain's Steve Cram ran a 3:46.32 in 1985. Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj (3:43.13) is the current record holder.
Go deeper: The spark of the rivalry at the 1980 Olympics (Oregon Live)
Answer at the bottom.
The 34th edition of the World Bog Snorkeling Championship was held this past weekend in Wales.
Details: Hundreds of costume-wearing competitors swam through a murky, water-filled trench without using swimming strokes and relying solely on their flippers to generate power.
"Bog snorkeling is utterly ridiculous and it's for everyone, all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes. The championships attract serious athletes but also lots of people in fancy dress who are there to make fun of themselves."— Organizer Bob Greenough, more commonly known as "Bob From The Bog"
Watch: Interviews with competitors (Twitter)
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Sports, man" Baker
Trivia answer: Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Derrick Henry (Alabama), Marcus Mariota (Oregon)