August 7th, 2020
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Buys the XFL
On August 3rd, the news broke that The Rock and a group of investors had bought the XFL from Vince McMahon. This sale happened just hours before the defunct league was supposed to go on auction and was sold to the group of buyers for $15 million. This looked to be a good sale on the surface, but then the XFL’s creditors objected to the sales citing that the relationship between The Rock and Vince McMahon’s previous professional wrestling relationship had led to this low sale price. It was later reported that this issue with the creditors has been resolved, and the sale will most likely move on.
This is really exciting to me because the XFL was an extremely fun television product and league that provided good but not great football play to fans. I love that it might be making a comeback within a few years. If it keeps the same model that it had before the season was cut short, I think that the XFL has a great chance to succeed where a few different alternative football leagues have failed.
Matt Dumba and NHL Activism
On August 1st, Matt Dumba spoke before the first game of the NHL’s bubble experience. He declared that black lives matter and his words have rippled throughout hockey, but they are not what started the discourse. In the months following George Floyd’s death, among many others, and the protests which began waking the rest of the nation up to horrors, many players of color created the Hockey Diversity Alliance to help shed light on the problems within the NHL. Eric Trump tweeted words of encouragement to NHL players for standing during the anthem in an exhibition game in July. Many fans responded by posting photos of them kneeling. Matt Dumba kneeled during the national anthem last Saturday and other players have begun to kneel as well. This seems to be the start of a conversation the NHL, a league where 97% of players are white, needs to have.
MLB COVID-19 Update
If you were hoping for good news regarding baseball, look away now. As of August 7th at 11am, 34 people from the Marlins and Cardinals have been reported as having COVID-19 since the shortened season began, with 25 of them being players. One member of the Phillies organization was confirmed to have COVID-19, but was not on-field personnel. Marlins and Phillies games have been postponed since the outbreak was occurring during the Marlins-Phillies series. The Cardinals’ series against the Brewers and Tigers are postponed as well. In response to these failings, the MLB has dished out stricter regulations and threatened prohibiting individuals from continuing with the season. With these numbers in only the first two weeks of baseball, I doubt we’ll make it to the end of the season.
Jonathan Issac of the Orlando Magic tore his ACL. Issac has been in the news recently because he was the first player/coach to stand for the national anthem. He wasn’t the only one, but he was the first. Sneak Peek – more about Issac’s and other’s decisions to stand will be talked about on this week’s What’s the Midweek Matter. Issac’s jersey sales actually skyrocketed due to his decision and only trails LeBron James on the league’s website. As you can probably imagine, the people who support standing for the anthem bought his jersey. On the other hand, people have been saying that Issac tearing his ACL is karma for him standing. In no world should you be happy that someone got injured. Once again, read the article on Wednesday for more! Anyhow, Issac’s injury is a huge blow because he is one of their best defenders and can match up against the likes of Giannis. How far can the Magic go without their rising young talent?
With it now being early August, this is the time of year that the football season really starts to get underway with training camps beginning. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has been headstrong and pushed through to have teams continue on the normal timeline for their camps with many major changes to try and stay safe while doing so. Namely, they have a new 20 day “ramp-up” period where the first 4 days are COVID-19 testing. The next two days are for physicals before the teams can even start working with their players. As a result of these new precautions, many players have been prevented from staying at their team facilities with positive Coronavirus tests with the Bills perhaps being the most affected team, who had to send all of their rookies home due to many positive cases among the rookie class.
In NFL news that is not specific to training camps, many players chose in the past couple of weeks to opt-out of the NFL season. While most of the players that have opted-out of playing this season are not household names, some of the bigger names include C.J. Mosley, Damien Williams, Nate Solder, Michael Pierce, Patrick Chung, Dont’a Hightower, and many more. In addition, on Wednesday 08/05/20, Tre’davious White, one of the best players in the NFL, has said he’s considering opting out. Update: White will be playing this season.
Of the players that have not opted-out of the season, two receivers have made headlines recently. The first of these is Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns who “feel[s] like the [NFL] season shouldn’t happen” and also specifically called out the NFL owners for having an attitude that they own the players and thus don’t view the players as people. In addition, despite recently saying that he is retiring from the NFL for a second time before quickly expressing that he still wants to play, Antonio Brown, who is currently a free agent, has been suspended for 8 games this season.
What we showed the lights on
We officially released our website and content on Wednesday, July 29th! You may have caught the “What’s the Midweek Matter” about the NBA bubble by Sam then, or even this week’s installment ranking the bubble team’s championship chances by Sam and Mishal. “Enter Your Week With Eli” on Monday, August 3rd was about the Washington Football Team’s name change. We also released our first podcast on July 31st! This one dove deep into the effects of the MLB’s exploitation of Dominican youths with Muf, Monty, and Eli. Also make sure to read Monty’s Podcast Summary to get his shortened take on the subject, and read the update on why the age rule exists for foreign players.
What’s coming up?
In the next two weeks there will be two “Enter Your Week With Eli” blog posts on August 10th and 17th, two “What’s the Midweek Matter” blog posts on August 12th and 19th, and a podcast with a special guest on August 14th. This podcast will be on the recent string of protests, how they connect to previous protests in sports, and what their effects will be long term. Make sure to stay tuned for another “State of Sports” on August 21st, where we’ll recap what happened since this post and tease what’s coming next!