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The HBS: Escaping Hate

By: Mike Asti and George Gerbo

Tony Stewart

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The HBS: No Laughing Matter

By: Mike Asti and George Gerbo


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Why athletes shouldn’t take home town discounts

There’s been a lot of talk lately about NBA superstars and role players alike taking less money than they’re ostensibly worth “for the good of the team.” The collective bargaining agreement is structured to minimize a team’s ability to load up on big contracts, and it makes guys who don’t settle for less seem greedy. C’mon, you’re really going to take $8 million over there instead of $5 million over here? DON’T YOU WANT TO WIN?

Meanwhile, the owners are taking Scrooge McDuck baths in gold coins and bitching about only getting half of the league’s basketball related income.

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Mo’ne Davis Will Lose $100,000 Because Of NCAA Compensation Rule

After last week becoming the first girl ever to earn a pitching victory at the Little League World Series, Mo’ne Davis lasted only a couple of innings during her Philadelphia team’s 8-1 loss to Las Vegas on Wednesday. But she’s still pretty much the biggest thing in sports right now — her autographed baseball just sold for $510 on eBay.

As it is, Mo’ne spends a lot of time in Williamsport signing stuff — baseballs, caps, etc., for her new fans. But some of that stuff has ended up on eBay. And this the battle lines have been drawn. Some, like Little League Inc. CEO Steve Keener, think that’s not a great idea.

“I think it’s ridiculous. That’s absurd,” said Keener. “(But) I don’t know how you would ever control it.”

Others are OK with it. Brandon Steiner, owner of Steiner Sports, told USA Today that he was ready to pay Davis a $100,000 deal to sign memorabilia, but that he reconsidered because it could be against NCAA rules. Davis is even better at basketball than she is at baseball, and wants to one day play for UConn.

“I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that, those being the rules,” Steiner said. “But would I love to call her up and say, ‘Let’s go sign 1,000 baseballs right now, being that I love what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve done?’ A hundred percent.”

“I’d get my butt up to Williamsport and get something worked out with her parents and her and get some good product online.”

For the record, a federal judge recently ruled that an athlete can earn money from their name and likeness, but only up to $5,000, and even that would be deferred until their eligibility expires. No one’s really sure what that means for someone like Mo’ne, who at 13 is still five years away from college,

Anyway, you kind of get the feeling here that the whole Mo’Ne movement is getting out of hand. She just recently landed the cover of Sports Illustrated, which of course means the Sports Illustrate curse. And she did lose on Wednesday.

Her team, however, is still alive at Williamsport. Philadelphia meets the team from Chicago tonight at 7:30 (ET), with the winner moving on to play Las Vegas for the U.S. championship. That winner would meet either Mexico or Japan for international title.

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Kevin Durant To Become A Pro Sports Apparel Hawker Who Plays NBA Basketball On The Side

According to Darren Rovell, Thunder forward Kevin Durant has a massive sponsorship deal from Under Armour on the table that could be worth $285 million over 10 years, with incentives like a community center built in his mother’s name. Like a restricted free agent, Durant’s former sponsor, Nike, has the chance to match the offer and retain Durant, but either way — he’s getting paid.

With an annual salary between 26.5 million and $28.5 million, Durant will make substantially more money from hawking sports apparal for either company than he will playing basketball — the Thunder will pay him $18,995,624 this year and $20,158,622 in 2015-16. As Rovell puts in perfectly Rovellian terms: “in money alone, Durant would be more an employee of Under Armour than he is of the Thunder.”

This is an enormous investment for UA, not just because only 1 percent of its multi-billion dollar revenue comes from basketball shoe sales. UA will be banking on Durant’s star and brand to keep rising, even though Durant sold just $175 million worth of his signature Nike sneakers last year, compared to $300 million for LeBron James. Forbes recently estimated that LeBron makes about $20 million a year from his deal with Nike.

So here’s the question: Does Durant’s interest in signing with Maryland-based UA have anything to do with the rumors that he’s interested in playing for the Wizards in 2016? Durant reportedly likes that UA spends a lot of money on community development projects, and LeBron has made the concept of “coming home” an attractive, even noble endeavor.

Regardless of where Durant continues his NBA career, remember the next time you watch him play: This is just his hobby. His real job is attaching his name to pretty shoes and modeling them in public places. Not a bad gig.


Jerry Jones blames Seahawks for all the flags

If you’ve watched any NFL preseason game, it would be hard not to notice the abundance of penalty flags that have resulted from league’s new defensive holding changes and if you ask Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall or Dallas owner Jerry Jones, you have to look no further than the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks to find out why.

“A team like Seattle, who basically played a style that would risk a holding penalty as opposed to not having an aggressive defender back there,” Jones said. “That got a lot of complaints, and you’re seeing it [called] during the preseason.”

If his theory is true, Seattle’s secondary won’t be the lockdown force they were last year. Guess we’ll have to wait until the start of the season to see if he’s right.


Brian Hoyer Is The Starter In Cleveland, But Not For Long

The Browns named Brian Hoyer their starter for Week 1. The battle between him and Johnny Manziel (and Connor Shaw, kind of, sort of… not really) was more like a series of skirmishes in which both sides play not to lose rather than to win. No one was particularly impressive, so let’s go with the known quantity rather than the relatively unknown.

It’s great for Hoyer, who will still have Manziel on his heels but gets a chance to prove himself after just two real games played last year. And in a sense, it’s good for Manziel, who would have been thrown directly into the fire against the Steelers, Saints and Ravens in the first three weeks had he gotten the nod.

But this much we know is true: Manziel was drafted to be the team’s quarterback of the future. You don’t take a guy in the first round of the draft unless you expect him to see the field at some point. Hoyer can either play like garbage or play like Aaron Rodgers, and unless he literally takes Browns to the Super Bowl, expect Manziel to take over at some point — at the latest, next season, when Hoyer has been flipped for draft picks.

More realistically, as many analysts have pointed out, Manziel could take over as early as Week 5. If the Browns go 0-3 heading into their bye, it’s not hard to imagine that Hoyer will have played a role in that — and teams love switching quarterbacks over a bye week. It won’t help that Hoyer will almost definitely be playing without Josh Gordon, a wide receiver capable of putting the entire team on his back on a slant route alone.

Hoyer’s an Ohio kid, and he’s playing QB for his hometown team, which is awesome. But from the moment the Browns drafted Manziel, his days were numbered. His best bet is to parlay this gig into another starting job somewhere else. Manziel’s time is coming, and it’s a matter of when, not if.


Atlanta Falcons To Sell Alcohol-Infused Cupcakes This Season

This one goes out to all of you closeted alcoholics out there who don’t want to be “that guy” at a football game. You know who I’m talking about. There’s always that one fan who is belligerent during the game, jumping up and down while screaming during big plays as he spills his beer on the innocent young child one row forward.

Well now, that fan can spill some vanilla frosting on the little kid instead of his overpriced domestic lager. Sports Illustrated reported today that the Atlanta Falcons will be selling alcohol-infused cupcakes at football games this season.

Confection company Delights by Dawn is selling their Toxycake creation at home games in a number of flavors, including Chocolate Cherry Bourbon, White Almond Amaretto, and Lemon Honey Jack.


Kobe Bryant Is Trying To Re-Write History, But He Can’t Fool The Internet

Kobe Bryant will likely pass Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list this season, but that’s not the only history the Black Mamba is looking to alter. Bryant reportedly made a comment about Andrew Wiggins — the Cleveland Cavalier who will reportedly become a Minnesota Timberwolf next week — that was half-compliment, half-revisionist take on his own journey from the Charlotte Hornets to the L.A. Lakers in 1996.

Here’s the quote:

Kobe Bryant: “Cleveland is making the same mistake that Charlotte made with me.”
The implication here is that the Cavs are giving up on a young, talented wing player with the potential for greatness in exchange for a proven commodity in Kevin Love. It’s an incredible compliment for Wiggins, but Kobe’s situation with Charlotte was a little different than the one playing out in Cleveland.

If you don’t remember how Bryant ended up a Laker, here’s a recap via a 2007 New York Times article:

In 1996, Bryant, a teenager exiting high school for the N.B.A., was not the first pick, but he exuded self-importance when he refused to play anywhere but Hollywood.

With the 13th selection, with a deal to trade Bryant to Los Angeles in pocket, Charlotte chose him. But there was a point where it looked as if the Lakers’ Vlade Divac would retire rather than take part in a trade that would send him to Charlotte for Bryant.

Couldn’t Bryant be a Hornet? Could he grow to love Southern sweet tea?

“That is an impossibility,” Bryant’s agent, Arn Tellem, said at the time. “There are no ifs. It would not happen. He is going to be a Laker, and that’s the only team he’s playing for.”

Bryant never wanted to play in Charlotte. Or in Sacramento, or Indiana, or anywhere else. The Hornets essentially chose for the Lakers in exchange for the rights to Divac (who was, coincidentally, a big, talented white guy, like Love). The Hornets never really had a choice. Meanwhile, Wiggins has said he wants to play for “whichever team wants me,” and it turns out the Wolves want Wiggins more than the Cavs.

This was a nice sentiment from an NBA legend. But don’t think we forgot how your situation played out, Kobe — and be glad you and your agent pulled that move in a social media-less era, pre-The Decision, when you would have been run out of town on a rail for refusing to play for anyone but the Lakers.


Hey Dallas Cowboys, The Taiwanese Animators Got Jokes

The Dallas Cowboys are a shitshow right now. Working backwards from today, it’s been a huge practice brawl with the Raiders, a positive test for MDMA by cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and some bizarre suggestive photos of owner Jerry Jones (with an even weirder backstory). Honestly, if Jason Garrett called for a press conference at AT&T Stadium and held a literal show where the media had to watch players shit, it wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing that’s happened in Big D this week. It’s gotten that bad.


Rory McIlroy says dumping his girlfriend help him become a better golfer

There has been a lot of speculation that Rory McIlroy’s break up with Caroline Wozniacki has helped his golf game. He ended the engagement after the wedding invitations went out. It sounds a bit crude but the facts are there to support that claim.

Now Rory has basically admitted that being a free man has helped his game out a lot:

I think what happened has been for the better in terms of my golf.

I’ve put a bit more time into it and it has refocused me. I mean, what else do I have to do now? I go to the golf course, I go to the gym and it’s just my life at the minute.

I worked pretty hard before but the past couple of months I’ve really just buried myself in my game. It obviously works pretty well, so I am going to keep doing it.

As talented as Rory is, this is horrible news for the rest of the tour. Since the break up, Rory has won two majors, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and made a comeback as the #1 player in the world. Sometimes you have to drop the extra baggage you are carrying around to realize your potential.


Yes, Ex-Lions QB Scott Mitchell Will Be On ‘The Biggest Loser’ This Season

I’ve never watched “The Biggest Loser”, but apparently the NBC show is popular because it’s been on the air for 10 years, and has spawned versions in 25 other countries. Among those are Hungary (naturally), Poland (where it’s called “What Do You Have To Lose?) and Spain (simply “The Scale”).

If they’ve had other celebrity contestants, I’m unaware. But here we have former Detroit Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell, who will be on season 16 (the show went two-series-per-year in 2008), entitled “The Biggest Loser: Glory Days”. Apparently this one will feature 20 former athletes “who have let themselves go”, and they’ll compete to see who can lose the biggest percentage of body weight. Because, America. The new season begins Sept. 11.

Another former Lion, lineman Damien Woody (388 pounds), will also be on the show.

Mitchell amassed more than 10,000 passing yards and threw for 79 touchdowns in five seasons in Detroit — he also played for the Dolphins, Ravens and Bengals before retiring in 2002. His bio listed him at 241 pounds during his best year with the Lions, 1995, when he threw for 4,338 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Now? According to NBC, he’s going into The Biggest Loser at 366 pounds.


From his NBC bio: “(Mitchell’s) biggest motivation for going on the show was seeing his dad die of obesity-related causes early this year and knowing he could be headed down the same path if he doesn’t change his life. Now 46 years old and 366 pounds, Mitchell has sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Weight has been an issue since age 35 due to a busy life and poor diet. With five kids ranging in age from 11 to 21, he wants to be there for his family and is ready to embrace a healthy lifestyle. When he loses the weight, he says he wants to look amazing in clothes and be physically active.”

A noble goal and we hope he gets where he wants to be. And this being America, it shall be televised, with commercials, as a large corporation hopes to make some money from it.

Being a former pro athlete, Mitchell surely knows that diet and exercise are the key here, and one does not necessarily need TV cameras present to provide motivation. But, the winner this season does collect $250,000, so what the hell.


D-Wade’s ex-wife wants judge removed for being a Heat fan

Dwyane Wade’s ex-wife is back at the courtroom antics again. It seems there will be no end to Siohvaughn Funches endless battling with her ex-husband. The latest of Funches’ accusations is that she says that the Miami judge who has been deemed the enforcer of the her and Wade’s divorce settlement is too star-struck with the NBA star is be able to be impartial.

Funches is asking that Judge George Sarduy step down from the case immediately amongst her allegations of buddying up with Wade.

Lisa Marie Macci, Funches’ lawyer, argued that the judge introduced his wife to Wade after a recent hearing and had college students led by the daughter of a friend sit in special seats so that they could gawk at Wade.

Judge Sarduy has already denied the request last week, but this isn’t Funches’ first go around at trying to remove a judge. Another judge had already removed himself from the ongoing battle between Funches and Wade.


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