Tag Archives: pro

Think you knew sports in 2016? So why is Putin pictured?

The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years and LeBron James brought an NBA title to long suffering Cleveland. You know that, but how much do you really know about the year in sports? Here’s a quiz to find out:

Who was happiest that the Cubs broke their 108-year drought and won the World Series?

A. Steve Bartman, who can finally show his face in the windy city.

B. Co-workers of Cubs fans, who no longer have to listen to their long suffering tales of woe.

C. Owner Tom Ricketts, who celebrated by raising ticket prices by almost 20 percent.

How did the Russians get the idea to switch doping samples in the Sochi Olympics?

A. Got tired of seeing Norwegians win all the medals.

B. Figured hacking urine bottles was just as easy as hacking emails.

C. Vladimir Putin knew someone in doping control.

Why did Ryan Lochte appear on Dancing with the Stars.

A. Thought a win would get him the respectability his Olympic gold medals didn’t.

B. Heard the show was big in Rio.

C. Knew that dancing around the cameras was easier than dancing around the truth.

What did they do with the golf course built for the Olympics in Rio?

A. Now the home of the swankiest favela in the city.

B. New practice ground for the Brazilian polo team.

C. Home course for the annual Brazil/Ecuador matches.

Why was the NFL so eager to get a team back in Los Angeles?

A . Jack Nicholson needed something to do after finally giving up on the Lakers.

B. Thought the nation’s second largest metropolitan area deserved the NFL’s second worst team.

C. Roger Goodell thought it might help him break into acting.

Why did Peyton Manning retire?

A. Said Omaha so many times he decided to move there.

B. Decided future better served by singing annoying jingles in TV commercials.

C. Knew he would never again be able to throw for 141 yards in a Super Bowl.

Penn State and Michigan were left out of college football playoffs, causing much consternation among their fans. Why?

A. School administrators mistakenly thought graduation rates were the main criteria for deciding who plays.

B. The Magic 8 ball came up “No” when playoff committee members asked about including them.

C. Both schools wanted their students out partying New Year’s Eve instead of watching football games.

Why do Oakland fans secretly want the Raiders to move to Las Vegas?

A. Because the losses that happen there will stay there.

B. They won’t feel out of place walking around Vegas dressed in studded leather and masks.

C. Heard Siegfried and Roy could come up with some magic for the team.

What did Ronda Rousey do after her shocking knockout loss?

A. Threatened to beat up any reporter who asked her a question.

B. Became co-host of the Ellen Show.

What did Tiger Woods bring as an assistant captain to the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team?

A. Excellent cart driving skills.

B. Great tales to tell about the old days when he actually played in the event.

C. His Gulfstream jet to get out of town quickly.

What did Joey “Jaws” Chestnut do after regaining his title by eating 70 hot dogs and buns in the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest?

A. Took a victory lap around Coney Island in the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.

B. Put some mustard on a hot dog.

C. Quickly excused himself.

Las Vegas got a new hockey team, the city’s first pro franchise. Why did they name it the Vegas Golden Knights instead of the Las Vegas Golden Knights?

A. Afraid city’s image of being full of drunken carousers would offend NHL fans.

B. Didn’t want Canadians to be confused and travel to Las Vegas, New Mexico, to watch their teams play.

C. Actually thought locals called it Vegas.

Why did Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey decide not to play in the Sun Bowl

A. Needed the extra time to bone up for the NFL’s Wonderlic test.

B. Thought team should have been picked for TaxSlayer Bowl instead.

C. Was upset that player’s gift bag didn’t include the souvenir game ball given out by the Dollar General Bowl.

Hispanic woman fired for reporting harassment by pro-Trump co-workers

A Hispanic woman says her white co-workers at an Iowa claims office used images of Donald Trump to racially harass her for months after they learned she was angered by his description of Mexican immigrants as rapists, according to a civil rights lawsuit she filed against her company.

Alexandra Avila’s co-workers at Sedgwick Claims Management Services — where they administered benefits for Wal-Mart employees — began calling her an “illegal immigrant” even though she’s a natural-born U.S. citizen, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Iowa district court. The suit claims her former co-workers placed a picture of an angry-looking Trump as Avila’s computer’s screensaver, signed her up to volunteer for his campaign and sent her racist memes, including one that read: “How’s Mr. Donald Trump going to deport all these illegals? Juan by Juan.”

The Republican presidential candidate’s promise to build a border wall to keep out Mexican immigrants has for months contributed to racial tensions nationwide. “Build a wall” chants have been used by high school students to taunt Latino opponents at sporting events in multiple states, including Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana. At Kent State University, Latinos marching in the Homecoming parade this month said they were taunted with the same chant.

Avila, a 32-year-old mother of one who worked at Sedgwick for three years, claims she faced similar heckling at her white-collar workplace in Coralville, Iowa, from the beginning of Trump’s campaign in June 2015 until after she was fired five months later.

“It’s been a weird political season where one candidate is taking public stances on things that, if the same words were said in the workplace, might constitute violations of our civil rights laws,” said Avila’s attorney, Paige Fiedler. “His candidacy has emboldened some people to feel like that doesn’t violate social norms anymore.”

Lesley Gudehus, spokeswoman for Memphis, Tennessee-based Sedgwick, declined comment on the lawsuit.

Avila, born in California to Mexican parents, told colleagues she was upset with Trump’s 2015 campaign launch when he said of Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Soon after, the lawsuit claims, colleagues removed the photo Avila had of her young daughter as her computer screensaver and replaced it with a picture of Trump yelling and pointing his finger. When Avila removed the photo, they kept switching it back to Trump, the suit alleges.

An email arrived from the Trump campaign last fall thanking her for the support and asking how she wanted to help, according to the suit. Avila also claims her colleagues sent offensive memes, including one showing a brown-skinned man that read: “Found Jesus — he stabbed me twice.”

When her department was voting on a potluck menu, one co-worker said Avila was ineligible because she was an “illegal immigrant,” drawing laughter from Avila’s boss, the lawsuit claims. Avila contends that after she complained about the harassment, the company accused her of falsifying timecards by claiming she worked minutes more time than she actually did.

Avila was fired last November and escorted out, with Sedgwick saying it would send her personal property later. When her belongings arrived from FedEx, Avila says they contained a handwritten note that called her “La Trumpa” and added: “Illegal immigrants can’t vote or work. Good luck finding a job.”

“Getting that box in the mail was a horrific experience,” Fiedler says.

After her firing, a co-worker sent her an invitation to a Trump rally on Facebook, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit, which names Sedgwick and two supervisors, alleges Avila suffered discrimination based on national origin and that the company failed to pay wages she earned.

 

Milwaukee Bucks ink 30-year lease for arena

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed a 30-year lease with the public entity that will own the team’s new arena.

The Bucks will pay at least $1 million annually to rent the arena from the Wisconsin Center District. Those lease payments will total $45 million over the term of the lease. The district board approved the terms of the lease agreement Wednesday.

Construction can now begin on the $524 million arena that will be located just north of the Bucks’ current home, the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Groundbreaking is set for June 18, with the arena expected to ready for the start of the 2018-19 season.

The arena will also host Marquette University basketball games, concerts and other events.

A new ownership group bought the Bucks from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl two years ago. The NBA had said that the team would need to build a new arena or run the risk of having the franchise moved.

“Personally I know we’re very proud to fulfill the commitments that we made to Sen. Kohl when we bought the team, to keep it in Milwaukee, to the people that are here,” co-owner Wesley Edens said before the Bucks’ season finale on Wednesday night against Indiana. “It’s an amazing day.”

The team will be responsible for operating, maintenance and capital repair expenses. The agreement called for the Bucks to deposit $60 million into a capital improvements fund for the arena during the term of the lease.

A public financing package approved last year covered $250 million toward arena construction, while current and former Bucks owners have already committed $250 million. The Bucks have agreed to pay for any cost overruns during construction.

The agreement also includes a non-relocation clause. Asked about a roughly $550 million penalty that the Bucks would pay if the team did move during the lease, Edens said, “I think it’s fair to say we’re not going anywhere … They built it with a financial penalty that is so punitive it would be not something you would consider, so it’s a firm commitment.”

CEO quits after sexist comments about women tennis pros

The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women’s pro tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men” resigned on March 21, ending his 29-year association with the event.

Tournament owner Larry Ellison said in a statement that Raymond Moore was quitting as chief executive officer and tournament director of the $7 million event featuring men’s and women’s players in the California desert. Moore informed Ellison of his decision when they spoke earlier in the day.

“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and tournament director effective immediately,” Ellison said. “I fully understand his decision.”

A tournament spokesman could offer no further details on Moore’s resignation, citing only Ellison’s statement.

CEO apologizes

Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women’s and men’s pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments Sunday.

The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa had been CEO of the tournament since 2012. He was involved with the event for 29 years as a former owner and managing partner before assuming his most recent post. He oversaw the operations of the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which Ellison also owns. Years ago, Moore and fellow ex-player Charlie Pasarell started PM Sports Management, which oversaw the tournament as it expanded.

“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” Moore said. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

He also referred to women’s players as “physically attractive and competitively attractive.” Moore later apologized, calling his comments “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.”

“I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole,” the statement said. “We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

Moore clearly had no intention to leave his post based on comments he made to reporters Sunday on the last day of the two-week tournament. Before the backlash over his controversial comments began, he was asked how long he planned to remain in charge.

“Firstly, I love what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy it,” Moore said. “Who knows who the face of the tournament will be down the road. But I don’t think that, oh, I’m going to stop next year or three years.”

Ellison, a billionaire and co-founder of Oracle Corp., credited Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Serena and Venus Williams, as well as other female athletes, for their leadership in treating women and men equally in sports.

“I’m proud to say that it is now a decade-long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men,” Ellison said in his statement.

Ellison thanked the “great women athletes” who fought so hard in pursuit of equal prize money in pro tennis.

“All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” he said.

Statement from the tennis tournament

“Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore,” said BNP Paribas Open Owner, Larry Ellison. “Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”

“Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally. Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved. I’m proud to say that it is now a decade long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men.”

“I would like to personally thank all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success. All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” concluded Ellison.

Robbie Rogers signs contract with Galaxy

Robbie Rogers has agreed to a multiyear contract extension with the LA Galaxy.

The Galaxy didn’t announce the terms of their deal with Rogers, the first openly gay player in MLS.

Rogers has excelled since moving to full-time defense this season, starting 15 games and contributing two assists as a left back.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena says the 27-year-old Rogers “has proven to be a dynamic player in our league and an integral part of our success.”

Rogers joined the Galaxy in May 2013, ending the former Columbus Crew star’s brief retirement after coming out as gay.

After a frustrating start with his new team, Rogers has become a valuable contributor to the Galaxy’s run at a fifth MLS title.

The Galaxy host Seattle next weekend in the Western Conference finals.

WNBA debuts Pride site, plans Pride game

Amid a surge of public opinion in favor of gay rights in the United States, the WNBA is launching a campaign to market the league to the LGBT community, becoming the first pro sports league to specifically recruit gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender fans to its games.

With the marketing campaign, the WNBA is capitalizing on what it has known for years: The community makes up a significant portion of its fan base. The difference now is that the league is talking about it publicly and making it a deliberate part of its marketing strategy.

The campaign, which began with the debut of a website, includes having teams participate in local Pride festivals and parades, working with advocacy groups to raise awareness of inclusion through grassroots events and advertising with lesbian media. A nationally televised Pride game will take place between Tulsa and Chicago on June 22. All 12 teams will also have some sort of pride initiative over the course of the season.

“For us it’s a celebration of diversity and inclusion and recognition of an audience that has been with us very passionately,” WNBA president Laurel Richie said.

It’s taken the league 18 years to take the step, though it had discussions about the possibility previously. Teams have done some promotion locally, sponsoring booths at gay pride events and hosting groups at games.

“We embrace all our fans and it’s a group that we know has been very, very supportive. I won’t characterize it as `Why did it take so long?’ For me it’s been we’ve been doing a lot of terrific initiatives. The piece that’s different this year is unifying it,” Richie said.

Before launching the campaign, the league took a close look at its fan base. It commissioned a study in 2012 that found that 25 percent of lesbians watch the league’s games on TV while 21 percent have attended a game.

Rick Welts, who was the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the NBA when the WNBA first started in 1997, said that when the league began executives figured the fan base would be a carryover from the NBA.

“We guessed very wrong on that,” said Welts, who is the president and COO of the Golden State Warriors and became the highest-ranking executive in men’s sports to publicly acknowledge he’s gay in 2011. “Maybe we should have known better. I think from its outset, the WNBA attracted a fan with different interests than our profile of an NBA fan.

“I remember sitting in a few meetings where we had really interesting thoughtful discussions of: Should we be proactive marketing to the LGBT community? What does that say if we do? We certainly didn’t want to position the league of being exclusionary to anyone. What were we saying if we did it more proactively? Society and sports culture is very different today than it was back then. Teams were trying to figure out the right thing to do.”

Brittney Griner, who is one of a handful of WNBA athletes who have publicly identified as lesbian, was happy the league was embracing the community. Griner, who was the No. 1 pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the draft in 2013, plans on wearing rainbow-colored shoes during the month of June in support of the initiative.

“We’ll pave the way and show its fine and there’s nothing wrong with it. More sports need to do it. It’s 2014, it’s about time,” said Griner, who served as grand marshal of the Phoenix Pride parade last season.

Rebecca Lobo, who played in the league for six seasons and has been a broadcaster for the last decade, has seen a change from when the league began in 1997.

“It’s culturally more acceptable now than it was when it first started,” she said. “The league has been around for so many years they can do these sort of things without worrying about what some people might think.”

It wasn’t always that way.

“For a long time they were happy to have those lesbians fill those seats in the stands, but not willing for a long time to embrace the fan base,” said Pat Griffin, professor emeritus in the social justice education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “I attribute that to the homophobia, fear that somehow acknowledging the fan base would encourage other fans not to go to games. What they’ve learned is that the fan doesn’t keep other people from going to games.”

On the Web …

http://www.wnba.com/pride/ 

Out gay athlete Jason Collins to sit in first lady’s viewing box at SOTU

When President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union on Jan. 28, out basketball player Jason Collins will be seated in the first lady’s box.

The announcements of those who will be seated in the box often provide clues as to what issues the president will address in the speech.

Collins had played 12 years with the NBA when he came out as gay last April, becoming the first male athlete in a major American team sport to come out while still actively playing.

Obama has said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, recognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect, according to a White House statement.

Collins was listed in the first announcement of those invited to the first lady’s box. Others include Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing;  Gary Bird, Moore, Okla., fire chief; Joey Hudy, an Intel intern; Kathy Hollowell-Makle, Washington, D.C. teacher of the year.

Former NFL players comes out, goes to work at LGBT center

A former NFL player has come out as being gay, joining a small but growing number of former athletes who are publicly acknowledging they are gays or lesbians.

Wade Davis, a cornerback who spent four preseasons with three NFL teams and also played in NFL Europe, said he didn’t tell his teammates he was gay because he feared the impact it would have in the locker room.

“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis said in an interview with Outsports.com. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family.”

Wade played in college at Weber State and spent the 2000 and 2002 preseasons with the Titans. Jevon Kearse and Samari Rolle were among his closest friends in Tennessee, and he would later be invited to Rolle’s wedding.

Kearse said he doesn’t think Davis being openly gay would have changed anything.

“I know there have been a lot more than just Wade,” Kearse told Outsports. “It’s just becoming more acceptable, which is a good thing so they can come out and not feel secluded.”

While there has yet to be an openly gay player in any of the four major American professional leagues, several players have come out after retiring, including former NBA forward John Amaechi, NFL lineman Esera Tuaolo and major leaguer Billy Bean. Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors, is openly gay.

Davis’ football career ended in 2003, after he got hurt in training camp. He is now a staff member at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, which serves, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

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