SGN – Sports Edition | July 1st, 2020
As we all continue to hold down the fort, here are some positive thoughts and moments from the sports world to get us through
Summer is officially here, and as your favorite outdoor restaurants, shopping centers, and most importantly, barber shops & hair salons open their doors, SGN will (still) be here to highlight the good our society tends to overlook. These are crazy times in our world today, and although a COVID-19 summer may not be what we all envisioned, let’s be optimistic for the return of sports and try make the most of it. The sun can still shine through this dark time, as evidenced by what transpired at NASCAR’s Talladega Speedway before the Geico 500.
Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only Black full-time driver, was joined by all 39 other drivers, their crews, and former NASCAR driver and legend Richard Petty, in a march down pit road as they pushed his No. 43 car to the front of the line in the moments before the race. This came a day after Wallace found a noose in his garage, which was later confirmed by the FBI to be a garage door pull rope similar fashioned in the shape of a noose. It had been there as early as last fall. NASCAR is in a battle between a small group of die-hard fans deeply rooted to old southern culture and a new uprising of awareness; we applaud the league for taking a stand for what is right.
BASEBALL IS BACK – the return of America’s pastime was officially approved earlier last week, as the MLB and MLBPA put aside contract differences and came to an agreement on a 60-game season that will begin either July 23rd or 24th. Players will come back to training camps today, a quick turnaround for those who are home and far from team facilities. Wondering who your favorite teams will be playing? The league completed a specific schedule that will see teams play 40 of their 60 regular season games against divisional opponents, and the latter third against interleague geographic counterparts. Besides being fired up we still get to see Red Sox vs. Yankees, does anyone else think the Astros are officially getting off the hook way too easy with all of this??
The regular season will conclude on September 27th, as originally scheduled, and will showcase a 10-team postseason in October as the league and union were not able to strike a deal on expanded playoffs.
Baseball. Is. Back. 👏
MLB training camps will open July 1 in preparation for a 60-game season. pic.twitter.com/mUygDEOGD5
— ESPN (@espn) June 24, 2020
The NBA officially announced it’s ‘seeding games’ schedule, beginning on July 30th as the Utah Jazz take on Zion’s New Orleans Pelicans, followed by the Battle for LA – as the Lakers and Clippers play in Disney primetime. The 22 remaining teams will play eight seeding games each between July 30-August 14th. The top seven teams in each conference advance to the playoffs. To qualify for the 8th seed, the team holding that spot at the end of all the seeding games must be at least four games in front of the 9th place team. If not, there is a play-in tournament for that last spot, where the 8th seed must win one game to advance and the 9th seed must win two games to claim the last playoff spot. Confused? This should help.
On the ice, the NHL has made the next step in its’ plan to return this summer, as the league narrowed down the list of potential ‘hub cities’ to just six. Chicago, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver remain in the running to host the 24-team playoffs. An early summer surge of COVID-19 in the U.S. brings rumors around an all-Canadian return. A decision on the hub cities should be made by the end of this week, with July 10th remaining the target-date for teams to return to training facilities.
For those who forgot horse-racing was a thing this summer, the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes took place. In what usually is the much-anticipated last leg of the Triple Crown, this year’s race went on without fans and was far from captivating, as heavy favorite (and fellow NY product) Tiz the Law won in convincing fashion. Racing fanatics will have to wait until September to place their bets on the next leg of the Triple Crown, as the Kentucky Derby is next up in the fall. Let’s see if Tiz the Law can maintain his dominance and add a spark to a sport that needs one this year.
— Belmont Stakes (@BelmontStakes) June 20, 2020
Overseas, the English Premier League kicked off earlier this month in a return to the most popular soccer league in the world. Clubs Aston Villa and Sheffield United took to the pitch for the re-start, and although they aren’t household names, they made it clear the Black Lives Matter movement would be a point of emphasis, as both teams took a knee at the opening whistle. In a statement made after by both clubs they hope the act would, “send a strong message of unity and amplify the many messages of support from Premier League players and the wider football family.”
Following in the EPL’s footsteps is WNBA star Angel McCoughtry of the Las Vegas Aces, who announced on Instagram she is starting a petition to get the WNBA to allow players to wear the first and last names of people killed or injured by police brutality on their jerseys in place of their names. In her Instagram post, Angel mocks up her jersey with Breonna Taylor’s name on it.
— Angel McCoughtry (@angel_35) June 28, 2020
In conjunction with packing on the ‘Quarantine 15,’ Detroit Lions offensive lineman Oday Aboushi is doing his part to make sure those in need are eating well. Aboushi donated 35,000 pounds of food to Harlem, a city that has been hit hard by the pandemic. Being a native of Brooklyn, Aboushi felt love from his city and those appreciative of his help during this difficult time.
The NBA and Players Union have been rumored to join together to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement by painting the popularized hashtag that has unified a movement on all three courts in Orlando when the league resumes this year. The WNBA also plans to follow suit.
The NBA is planning to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the court inside both sidelines in all three arenas it will use at the Walt Disney World Resort, league sources told @ramonashelburne and @ZachLowe_NBA. https://t.co/UVKiCMHnEy
— ESPN (@espn) June 29, 2020
That’s it for this run! Be sure to check back same time next week for more features, stories, and updates that fill the current sports void in our lives.