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- How a Dream Likely Became Reality: An Initial Breakdown of Lionel Messi’s Unprecedented MLS Contract
For devoted soccer followers in the United States, this day always seemed to be, at best, an optimistic dream. And yet, in what will certainly go down as a monumental moment in the history of American soccer, this day has seemingly arrived. This past morning, Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player of the modern generation, has seemingly agreed a deal (though not yet official at the time of writing) to join MLS side Inter Miami after having left the employ of his previous club, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Messi, the seven-time Ballon D’or winner and captain of 2022 FIFA World Cup-winning Argentina, has not been devoid of suitors since news of his impending departure from PSG became public. To begin, multiple reports suggested the possibility of Messi’s return to Barcelona, the club with whom he established his status as a global soccer icon and from whom he only departed because of previous financial constraints suffered by the Spanish club. If Messi were not convinced by his former club’s efforts to secure his signature for a second spell in La Liga, it appeared increasingly likely that his next destination would be in Saudi Arabia, as the Argentine midfielder is a Saudi ambassador for tourism and was being touted as the centerpiece to the continued evolution of the domestic league in Saudi Arabia, a league which has now recruited the likes of N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s longtime rival for the throne of soccer’s greatest player within the modern era. Within the last month, it was even reported that Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal had offered Messi a contract worth approximately $400 million per year, and the league at large offered him a contract worth over €1 billion. Nevertheless, these rumors were ultimately supplanted by Messi’s decision to sign with MLS outfit Inter Miami. While the exact details of Messi’s contract have not yet been released, various aspects of the compensation Messi will receive have in fact been released. In light of these aspects, an understanding of the previous difficulties faced by Inter Miami in complying with league salary policies, along with the operative structure under which MLS operates, makes the realities of this prospective agreement all the more astounding. Most interestingly, Messi’s compensation package will not come entirely from Inter Miami. Rather, Apple, who recently obtained the broadcast rights to MLS matches for the next ten years, has offered Messi a share of its revenue from the MLS Season Pass subscriptions purchased by the viewers who wish to watch him play. Additionally, Adidas, the athletic brand for which Messi is a sponsor, has offered Messi an arrangement for a profit-sharing agreement, whereby Messi would receive a share of the increase in profits from Messi’s prospective move to Inter Miami. The fact that Apple and Adidas have assisted Inter Miami in offering additional compensation would be a crucially important factor in the success of this deal should it be made official. Frankly, given Inter Miami’s previous run-in with the MLS over financial breaches, the deal would likely be quite difficult without them. Around one year ago, the MLS announced sanctions against Inter Miami for violations of MLS’s salary budget and roster guidelines. According to the MLS, Inter Miami miscategorized former players Blaise Matuidi and Andrés Reyes by not labeling them as Designated Players, and they also underreported salary budget amounts from the contracts of three other players. These sanctions derived from a breach of the salary budget rules established by the MLS to cap each club’s spending on their roster at a uniform amount. If an MLS club has outspent its Salary Budget Charge, it must use either General Allocation Money (GAM) (money used to “buy down” a player’s salary so that the entire salary does not go toward the Salary Budget Charge) or Discretionary Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) (money that does not have to be used during the year but is available for a club to use toward building their roster) if they want to increase the amount they can spend on the roster. Additionally, it is important to note the operative structure under which MLS operates to understand why the league has so much power in regulating player transfers. In order to avoid lawsuits claiming antitrust violations, MLS was created as a single-entity system, in which all member clubs are classified not as individual organizations but as wholly-owned subsidiaries of the parent organization (the league). In that vein, while a club may be able to negotiate with a player for his signature, it is MLS, not the club, who signs the player to an employment contract and registers them with the league. In light of this background, Apple and Adidas’s involvement in this prospective deal is that much more beneficial from Inter Miami’s perspective, as it will very likely help to buy down Messi’s overall salary to comply with Salary Budget requirements. If these additional sources of compensation were not present in the deal, then perhaps Inter Miami would have a more difficult time in convincing MLS to approve this potentially historic agreement. Whether or not this deal becomes official has yet to be announced. Nevertheless, it appears increasingly likely by the minute, and should it be officially announced, it will be a contractual masterstroke from all parties involved. Involving third-party sources of compensation that will be triggered merely by Messi’s presence in the league is a brilliant way for Miami to counteract the hurdle of MLS Salary Budget rules, and it may just be the spark that the team itself desperately needs, as they currently sit in the bottom four of the Eastern Conference. Regardless, the prospect of arguably the greatest player of the modern generation continuing his career in the United States is so incredibly exciting, and with the World Cup coming to American soil in three years, it could not come at a better time. Bryce Goodwyn is a rising 2L at Regent University School of Law. He is a member of the Honors Program, and he also formed part of the recently established National Sports Legal and Business Society as the East Region Chair. He can be found on Twitter @BryceGoodwyn and on LinkedIn as Bryce Goodwyn.
- (Anti) Trust Issues: PGA Tour-LIV Golf Merger
On Tuesday morning, the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV golf released a joint statement announcing a surprise merger between the warring professional golf leagues. The news shocked the world of professional golf with an unnamed PGA Tour player saying “No f---ing way” to ESPN when reached out to on Tuesday. As would be expected, the announcement also stated that it will be “followed by a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating parties.” However, the end of the mutually destructive litigation does not mean that all potential legal risks are gone. First, remember that the Department of Justice launched an investigation into the PGA Tour regarding possible Anti-Trust violations the Tour may have committed during the course of their “battle” against LIV Golf. While it is currently unclear exactly what that investigation uncovered, what is clear is that the PGA Tour did not appreciate the US government taking a look behind the curtain at how the Tour operates. This lack of appreciation within the PGA Tour can be seen within the shocking 180 degree approach the PGA Tour took in merging with LIV Golf, an entity that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said last summer was an “irrational threat” attempting to buy the sport of golf. To Monahan’s credit, he did show some foresight when he said, “if this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can’t compete… with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in attempt to buy the game of golf.” Whether it was the pressure from the Department of Justice or the seemingly infinite checkbook of a foreign monarchy, the PGA Tour and Commissioner Monahan clearly took the hint that it may be time for the Tour to cash out and expand the amount of seats at the dinner table of professional golf spoils. However, just because the PGA Tour is finally willing to cooperate with other leagues does not mean that the Department of Justice investigation will suddenly conclude. The Department of Justice’s Antitrust division will likely continue to investigate and then recommend a course of action, but until then, anyone would be remiss to declare the PGA Tour free of any wrongdoing. Second, while the joint press release clarified certain aspects of how the merger will be achieved and operate in the future, many of the details surrounding the merger have yet to be revealed, which leaves major regulatory questions looming over the deal. According to the press release, “Under the terms of the agreement, the Board of Directors of the new entity will oversee and direct all the new entity’s golf-related commercial operations, businesses and investments. The new entity will work to ensure a cohesive schedule of events that will be exciting for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders. PIF will initially be the exclusive investor in the new entity, alongside the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour. Going forward, PIF will have the exclusive right to further invest in the new entity, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested in the new entity, including into the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and DP World Tour. The PGA TOUR will appoint a majority of the Board and hold a majority voting interest in the combined entity.” Two of the more interesting points include the PIF possessing the exclusive right to further invest in the new entity, whereas the PGA Tour will seemingly control a majority of the board and hold a majority voting interest in the new entity, leaving everyone to wonder who will truly control and operate this new entity. More terms for this merger agreement or at least partial terms will likely begin to surface in the coming weeks, but the PGA Tour made it clear in the press release that they intend to remain as a 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization, a decision that many people will definitely question as a traditional 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization must not be organized for profit and this new entity has clearly been organized as a “for-profit entity” as per the press release. (If you are interested in learning more about the PGA Tour’s 501(c)(6) tax-exempt structure, check out the previous blog I wrote on the topic here.) Whether or not merging with LIV Golf was the right move for the PGA Tour and how the PGA Tour’s 501(c)(6) tax exempt structure will be affected going forward is unclear, but as Winston Churchill once said, “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It seems safe to say that Jay Monahan has been studying the history of professional golf and may have learned a lesson on how ego and arrogance can ruin multi-billion-dollar professional sports leagues. (P.S – this entire feud was pointless if the new entity isn’t named the “Super Golf League”) Benjamin Kaner is a 3L at New York Law School with a passion for sports and law. Benjamin is passionate about all sports but especially Golf, International Football, and Formula 1. Benjamin is interested in working with sports leagues and teams in the future. You can find Benjamin on Twitter and Instagram @BenKaner.  https://golf.com/news/jay-monahan-calls-liv-golf-irrational-threat/
- MLB Wins Court Case Against Diamond Sports Group
This has been a big week when it comes to broadcasts of MLB games. Marred in financial trouble, Diamond Sports Group decided it would not pay the rights fee to the San Diego Padres, triggering MLB to take control of the club’s broadcast rights. Diamond Sports Group, the Baltimore-based parent company of 19 Bally Sports channels, had already missed payments to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers this season. However, because the Padres and the company were joint owners of Bally Sports San Diego, the rights immediately flowed to the club and league when Diamond failed to pay up. Ironically, the news that MLB would take over broadcasting Padres games in lieu of Diamond came right before a significant bankruptcy court case determining the fate of Diamond’s contracts with the four clubs it skipped payments to. Diamond, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, argued it should be able to pay less than the original contract mandated due to changes in market dynamics in the era of cord-cutting and the decline of cable television. However, after a couple of tension-filled days in a Houston courtroom, Judge Christopher Lopez ruled in favor of MLB, stating that baseball games were an essential service and DSG was obligated to pay the full contract rate. This was a huge win for MLB and the D-backs, Guardians, Twins, and Rangers because taking less than full price while still relinquishing broadcasting rights to Diamond would’ve been detrimental to their respective bottom lines. However, just because these teams are entitled to payment doesn’t mean Diamond will come through with the money owed. Just as Diamond decided not to pay the Padres, the company will need to decide whether it will be able to keep the contracts or reject them. If they cannot pay up, there’s a strong likelihood more teams will be in the Padres' position soon. This story has massive ramifications that go beyond how fans consume baseball. Local television money is a major source of revenue for every MLB team. While the exact amount of money each team rakes in varies by market, there’s no doubt that the last thing teams want is to miss out on these payments. Yes, MLB does have a lucrative national TV deal, and smaller market teams benefit from revenue sharing. But outside of the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, and Cubs who either own or receive massive payments from their regional sports network, the decline of RSNs is a big development to watch moving forward. Fans might not care if their teams are making a profit or not, but when their team is hypothetically unable to sign the star free agent they want over the winter, they might be a little more concerned. While the RSN downfall has many cons for teams, it isn’t all bad news. One of Rob Manfred’s top priorities currently is expanding the game’s reach. A big part of doing that is making the sport accessible to as many people as possible. MLB.tv is one of the league’s best products that enables fans to watch nearly every out-of-market game. On the flip side, because cable distributors pay high dollar for exclusive broadcasting rights for RSNs like Bally Sports, the in-market streaming on MLB.tv is often susceptible to local blackouts. However, with Diamond Sports potentially losing control of broadcasts, MLB could be on the precipice of being able to offer more in-market streaming opportunities. For example, the league is offering San Diegans the opportunity to stream Padres games locally for a little bit more than they would be paying for MLB.tv otherwise. We could see more of this in the future, especially if Diamond doesn’t pay up in Arizona, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Texas. While MLB won the court case, this story is far from over. MLB isn’t the NFL where national television money can satisfy each of its teams. Local television money is a big facet of not just MLB teams, but NBA and NHL teams too. As cable television has seen many changes over the past few years, RSNs are definitely feeling its effects. The economics of baseball have been in the news lately with the return from COVID-19 in 2020 and the arduous CBA negotiations last year. How MLB games are broadcasted and what revenues are available to teams is something every baseball fan should be monitoring in the short and long term. Brendan can be found on Twitter @_bbell5
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- Golfers who remained with PGA Tour over LIV Golf to reportedly receive equity in new merged league
< Back Golfers who remained with PGA Tour over LIV Golf to reportedly receive equity in new merged league Jun 10, 2023 The PGA Tour is starting to formulate a plan to “reward” golfers who remained loyal to the league over LIV Golf. PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne told ESPN on Friday that golfers who opted to stay with the Tour over LIV Golf will receive equity in the new golf league. How that works specifically has yet to be determined. The move comes just days after Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s surprise announcement about a merger of sorts between the Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf. Source: Yahoo Sports https://sports.yahoo.com/golfers-who-remained-with-pga-tour-over-liv-golf-to-reportedly-receive-equity-in-new-merged-league-003317367.html Previous Next
- Jets not interested in being on HBO's 'Hard Knocks,' but NFL could still force them
< Back Jets not interested in being on HBO's 'Hard Knocks,' but NFL could still force them Jun 10, 2023 Every football fan looks forward to Tuesday nights from mid-August to early September — that's when HBO's "Hard Knocks" goes behind the scenes at an NFL training camp. Throughout the entire offseason, the biggest story has easily been Aaron Rodgers' trade to the New York Jets, so who wouldn't want to see what their camp looks like? The Jets, however, want no part of being featured on the program. Source: Fox News https://www.foxnews.com/sports/jets-not-interested-hbos-hard-knocks-but-nfl-could-still-force-them Previous Next
Breaking News Jun 10, 2023 Crypto.Com Suspends US Institutional Exchange Amid SEC’s Crypto Crackdown Crypto.com, which holds a 20-year, $700 million Los Angeles arena naming rights deal signed in 2021, is suspending its institutional exchange service for U.S. customers on June 21. The company cited the “current market landscape” in its decision, which comes the same week as cryptocurrency firms Binance and Coinbase were sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on allegations that they violated securities laws. “We recently made a business decision to suspend the institutional offering of the Crypto.com Exchange in the U.S. as of 11:59 pm EDT June 21, 2023 due to limited demand from institutions in the U.S. in the current market landscape. Impacted institutional users were given advance notice to support a smooth transition,” Crypto.com said in a statement to Blockworks. Institutional investors are typically large accredited customers and companies. U.S. customers will still be able to use Crypto.com’s retail app which has more than 80 million users worldwide. Read More Jun 10, 2023 Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian to Own TGL’s Los Angeles Golf Team The first announced team in TGL, the startup golf league co-founded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, will be based in Los Angeles and include tennis legends Serena Williams and Venus Williams as owners alongside Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Los Angeles Golf Club (LAGC) will compete in the TGL’s inaugural season starting in January 2024. Ohanian and his wife, Serena Williams, also own Angel City FC, the NWSL club that plays home games at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles. LAGC is the first of six teams to form the TGL, part of Woods’ and MclIroy’s TMRW Sports endeavor backed by numerous star athletes, major sports executives, and music artists. The PGA Tour is notably partnering with TMRW Sports to launch TGL, which forms its first team just days after the shocking merger between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf. Each team in the TGL will consist of three PGA Tour golfers, with Woods and McIlroy being confirmed to play. Read More Jun 10, 2023 Jets not interested in being on HBO's 'Hard Knocks,' but NFL could still force them Every football fan looks forward to Tuesday nights from mid-August to early September — that's when HBO's "Hard Knocks" goes behind the scenes at an NFL training camp. Throughout the entire offseason, the biggest story has easily been Aaron Rodgers' trade to the New York Jets, so who wouldn't want to see what their camp looks like? The Jets, however, want no part of being featured on the program. Read More Jun 10, 2023 Athletics owners are failing on Las Vegas move. It's time for Rob Manfred to act It’s hard to tell whether the Oakland Athletics are a bigger farce on or off the field. On the field, the A’s are on pace to lose 127 games. No major league team in the entirety of the 20th century lost so many games in a single season. Off the field, the A’s soon could go 0 for 4 in potential host cities, striking out in the pursuit of a new ballpark in Oakland, Fremont, San Jose and maybe now in Las Vegas. The question is not where A’s owner John Fisher and team president Dave Kaval might look next. The question is why Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred would trust them to wrap up the Vegas deal, let alone let them look for another stadium deal, when Fisher and Kaval have proven they cannot get a deal done. Read More Jun 10, 2023 Golfers who remained with PGA Tour over LIV Golf to reportedly receive equity in new merged league The PGA Tour is starting to formulate a plan to “reward” golfers who remained loyal to the league over LIV Golf. PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne told ESPN on Friday that golfers who opted to stay with the Tour over LIV Golf will receive equity in the new golf league. How that works specifically has yet to be determined. The move comes just days after Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s surprise announcement about a merger of sorts between the Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf. Read More Jun 9, 2023 Greg Norman declares LIV Golf is going nowhere despite Rory McIlroy swipe Belligerent ’til the end, Greg Norman fights on. The LIV Golf chief executive has declared that the breakaway league is “not going anywhere” but will instead flourish because of the merger of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. Norman was not involved in the peace negotiations between Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the Public Investment Fund governor and chairperson of LIV, and three members of the PGA Tour board, including commissioner Jay Monahan. Indeed, it is believed the Australian was not privy to the talks at all and only discovered the bombshell news a few minutes before the announcement was released. And after both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods declared that a settlement could only be reached if Norman was out of the picture, it is difficult to envisage the two-time major winner holding any sort of dominant role in the new set-up. Read More Jun 9, 2023 North Carolina’s Sports Betting Approval Is A Big Bump For Sportsbooks Legislators in one of America’s largest and fastest-growing states have approved a bill to introduce sports wagering, providing yet another fertile market territory for gaming operators. The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation authorizing sports and horse-race wagering following prior approval by the state Senate — and reversing a defeat to anti-gambling advocates nearly a year ago. The bill now moves to Gov. Roy Cooper, who repeatedly has expressed support for the measure. If signed into law, the bill would allow betting as soon as January. Read More Jun 9, 2023 ‘SportsCenter’ Anchor Neil Everett Leaving ESPN After 23 Years Anchor Neil Everett is leaving ESPN, Front Office Sports has confirmed. The famous “SportsCenter” anchor confirmed he’s the latest on-air talent to leave during the Walt Disney Co.-mandated downsizing of ESPN’s on-air TV/radio talent. The 61-year-old Everett has been one of ESPN’s most popular anchors for 23 years. The Portland native will seek to increase his role with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. He also has several side projects in the works. “Bartender…last call,” Everett said in a statement to Front Office Sports. He added: “ESPN changed my life, but now it’s time for me to change my life. Time to write a new chapter.” Read More Jun 9, 2023 Toy gun or not, Adam Silver says basketball will take 'back seat' for Ja Morant NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday morning and presented a different angle to how the league could handle Ja Morant's latest incident. A lot of conversation has been focused on how many games Morant should be suspended, but Silver seems to believe that there is a better way to address the issues. The commissioner is suggesting a program to help Morant going forward. The Memphis Grizzlies star was suspended eight games for conduct detrimental to the league after a previous incident in which he brandished a gun on March 4 in a Denver-area nightclub. Silver believed at the time that an eight-game suspension was severe. Read More Jun 9, 2023 Big Ten football won't come with scheduled success for USC, UCLA in debut season USC and UCLA won’t be able to ease their way into the Big Ten. The football schedules for their debut 2024 season, announced by the conference Thursday, include a heavy sprinkling of traditional powers. USC will face Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin at a time when it presumably will no longer have Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams, gone to try his luck in the NFL. UCLA gets Michigan and Ohio State during a season in which it will also play at Louisiana State, ending all jokes about the ease of the Bruins’ recent schedules that included Football Championship Subdivision opponents. Read More Jun 8, 2023 Nationals game postponed, Giants OTAs cancelled due to ongoing poor air quality from Canadian wildfires Wednesday marked a flurry of cancelled and postponed athletic events on the East Coast as wildfires in Canada triggered air quality alerts. That trend continued when the Washington Nationals postponed their matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. The game, initially set for 1:05 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, won't take place until June 22. This comes as Washington D.C. area residents experience worse air quality than yesterday. Levels on Thursday triggered a "Code Purple" designation in some areas. Those are the most dangerous air conditions, marking a 201 to 300 air quality index. Surrounding areas are also seeing Code Red (unhealthy) and Code Maroon (hazardous) levels toward Baltimore. Read More Jun 8, 2023 Big 12 announces 'extension' into Mexico, including potential bowl game The Big 12 conference will soon have a presence in Mexico, and it could include a college football bowl game. The Big 12 announced Thursday morning that it has established "Big 12 Mexico" with confirmed men's and women's basketball games, as well as exhibitions in baseball and women's soccer, being held in Mexico. On top of that, the conference says it will "explore establishing a bowl game" that would be held in Monterrey beginning in 2026. The Big 12's first events in Mexico will feature matchups between Kansas and Houston in both men's and women's basketball. Those meetings are scheduled for December 2024 at Arena CDMX in Mexico City. From there, women's soccer and baseball teams will compete in exhibitions against local clubs. On the football side, Sports Illustrated reported last month that Estadio BBVA is the potential host stadium in Monterrey. The stadium, which is is home to C.F. Monterrey in La Liga MX, holds 53,000 fans and is already set to be a World Cup site in 2026. Read More Jun 8, 2023 Tom Brady is the NFL's secret weapon to help stop players from sports betting On the heels of yet another player sports betting investigation, the NFL appears to have found its version of McGruff the Crime Dog or Smokey Bear: None other than legendary and recently-retired quarterback Tom Brady. Brady reportedly starred in a recorded educational video for the league where he explains the NFL's gambling policy, according to 9News' Mike Klis. This video is reportedly being shown at the team’s rookie minicamps and training camps and sounds like one of the three ways the NFL notifies its players of what is and isn't allowed. The basic tenets of the policy are simply: Don't bet on anything NFL-related and don't place bets at team facilities. One can only imagine something similar to the iconic Rachael Leigh commercial from the 1990s where she smashes an egg with a frying pan to symbolize what happens to a human body on heroin. The 2023 season is still months away, but six players have already been suspended in the past year. Two others, including Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and an unnamed member of the Detroit Lions, could be as well. Four of those five players were also members of the Lions while the other, defensive end Shaka Toney, plays for the Washington Commanders. Read More Jun 8, 2023 Women's College World Series: Oklahoma extends record win streak to 52 games, 1 win from 3rd straight title Oklahoma softball is one win away from completing one of the greatest seasons in NCAA history. The Sooners extended their NCAA record win streak to 52 games with a 5-0 victory over Florida State in Game 1 of the best-of-three Women's College World Series championship series, putting them one win away from a third straight NCAA title. Only UCLA (1988-90) has accomplished a three-peat since the NCAA held its first softball tournament in 1982. Oklahoma will go for the clinch in Game 2 on Thursday in Oklahoma City (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Florida State managed to keep the Oklahoma run-scoring machine in check, for a while. All-ACC starter Mack Leonard began the game, which had its start interrupted by multiple weather delays, by holding the Sooners scoreless for three innings, but the dam broke in the fourth, an inning in which OU is now outscoring opponents 76-3. Read More Jun 8, 2023 Rory McIlroy: 'I still hate LIV – rebels have to pay price' If peace has indeed broken out in big-time golf then someone should tell Rory McIlroy, the world No 3 who says he feels like “a sacrificial lamb” because of the extraordinary climbdown. The day after the PGA Tour and DP World Tour dropped the bombshell that they had merged with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, McIlroy produced an explosive press conference in which he declared “I still hate LIV”. The Northern Irishman has highlighted in this last year of bitterness that he is prepared to jump in with his spikes where colleagues would not dare tiptoe and so it proved again, despite all the “hypocritical” assurances from the overlords that “this deal will unite the game”. The world No 3’s incendiary remarks summed up the reaction in the Tour’s locker room that saw a player meeting on Tuesday night descend into a slanging match, with one lesser-ranked golfer telling McIlroy to ‘f*** off’. Tensions were high and McIlroy only raised the mercury still higher. Read More Jun 6, 2023 Crypto Fallout Hits The NFLPA The ongoing decline of the crypto market has left more commercial wreckage in sports — as an affiliate of the NFL Players Association scrambles to recoup nearly $42 million. The union’s annual report recently filed with the U.S. Department of Labor detailed $41.8 million in accounts receivable through OneTeam Partners — a joint venture involving the NFLPA, several other pro athlete unions and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, among others — saying there remains “uncertainty” surrounding collection of the money. According to The Athletic, the unpaid funds look to be connected to sharply declining activity surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs), particularly those produced by Dapper Labs and DraftKings, both of whom have already sought to renegotiate licensing deals with the NFLPA. The unpaid funds represent roughly a fifth of the union’s annual commercial activity. Many individual crypto currencies have lost most of their value following a bull run in 2021. FTX’s collapse was the most notable, leading to an arena name change in Miami and multiple lawsuits. Read More Jun 6, 2023 Silver: Record Deal For Pistons Coach Reflects Market Realities NBA commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged that as far as coaching salaries are concerned, it’s open season. Speaking before Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday in Denver, Silver said Monty Williams’ six-year, $78.5 million contract with the Detroit Pistons reflected the league’s market reality: Coaches’ compensation isn’t collectively bargained and governed like it is for players. Williams’ deal — signed this week after the 2022 Coach of the Year was fired by Phoenix last month — is the largest ever for an NBA coach and reportedly could reach $100 million with options and incentives included. The pact immediately amplified concerns that smaller-market clubs could lose out in future bidding wars for top coaching talent. “We’re able to negotiate collectively with the players because they choose to negotiate as a union,” Silver said. “The coaches haven’t made that election … teams compete individually, and it’s where the marketplace takes us.” Read More Jun 6, 2023 LSU ends Caesars pact amid criticism of school's marketing practices BATON ROUGE — LSU is ending its controversial, seven-figure agreement allowing Caesars Entertainment to advertise sports betting across its main campus, according to officials at LSU and a sports marketing company involved in the deal. The agreement, struck in 2021, was supposed to last several more years, said Lauren Capone of Playfly Sports, a marketing company that helped arrange the deal. Capone said that talk of ending the deal began when a bill was filed in the Louisiana Legislature in March that would prohibit colleges and universities in the state from creating advertising agreements with gaming entities. The bill, by Sen. Gary Smith of Norco, passed the House on Tuesday. Another factor was that the American Gaming Association, an industry group, updated its responsible marketing code in March to prohibit gaming companies from having partnerships with universities to promote sports betting. Since then, several schools, including Michigan State and the University of Maryland, have said they would end similar advertising agreements with gaming companies. Read More Jun 6, 2023 PGA Tour Merges With Saudi Arabia-Back Rival LIV Golf The PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf are merging their operations into a single commercial entity, according to a press release from the PGA Tour. The newly formed entity — whose name is to be determined — will be collectively owned and for-profit. It will contain more focus on team golf and growing the game globally. The merger also features “a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating parties.” “After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA TOUR’s history, legacy, and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organization that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners, and fans.” “Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said. “We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to leverage PIF’s unparalleled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide.” Read More Jun 6, 2023 PGA Championship hero Michael Block falls just short of bid to qualify for U.S. Open Michael Block is safely in next year's PGA Championship. Sadly for the fan favorite, he came up just short of the upcoming U.S. Open. Block shot 135 over 36 holes at a U.S. Open qualifier at Toronto's Lambton Golf & Country Club on Monday. The score was good enough to finish 5-under par. But it was two shots off the pace needed to secure a spot at this month's U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club. The top three scores from the 27-man field secured a spot in the U.S. Open. Those spots go to Florida's Ryan Gerard (129), Sweden's Vincent Norrman (132) and Ohio's Ryan Armour (133). Block's 18-year-old son Dylan also attempted to qualify, but finished well off the pace at a separate qualifier closer to their Southern California home at the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles. Block initially planned to play at Hillcrest alongside his son, but opted to play in Toronto after receiving a sponsor's exemption into the RBC Canadian Open that starts Thursday. Monday's were the final of 13 U.S. Open qualifying tournaments. Ten of them were held Monday in various locations across the U.S. in addition to the Toronto qualifier. There will be no more chances to make the field for the tournament that tees off on June 15. Read More Jun 5, 2023 NBA Finals: Heat have now won more games in a single postseason than any other No. 8 seed The Miami Heat’s postseason run has been remarkable thus far. While we’re only two games into the NBA Finals, the Heat have now gone further than any other No. 8 seed in NBA history. The Heat picked up their 13th win this postseason Sunday night with a 111-108 win over the Denver Nuggets. That win at Ball Arena tied the Finals 1-1 ahead of Game 3 in Miami on Wednesday night. Read More Jun 5, 2023 Sports Media: MLB’s future with Diamond Sports looks bleak Watching last week’s Diamond Sports bankruptcy hearing, I was struck by the personal animus Major League Baseball and the RSN owner/operator have toward each other. After nearly four hours of testimony between MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Diamond Sports CEO David Preschlack, it is apparent the two sides don’t trust each other — so much so that it’s impossible to see how they will be able to bridge their divide. An MLB lawyer accused the RSN group of looking to “blackmail” MLB at the start of the hearing last Wednesday, an extraordinary accusation leveled against a business partner. Read More Jun 5, 2023 NFL Boosts Efforts To Prevent Cardiac Arrest Deaths Five months after the on-field collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, the NFL is expanding its efforts to prevent cardiac arrest fatalities among athletes. The league has increased membership of the The Smart Heart Sports Coalition — the group it formed in March to advocate for widespread adoption of policies to prevent sudden cardiac arrest among athletes — to 26 organizations. Major properties joining the coalition include the NWSL, WNBA, WTA, and USTA. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS have been coalition members with the NFL from the outset as the group works with lawmakers in pursuit of policy improvements, particularly those geared toward high school athletes. Read More Jun 5, 2023 Churchill Downs Suspends Race Operations Amid Safety Crisis Churchill Downs is suspending race operations at the famed racetrack for nearly a month, marking the most dramatic response yet to an ongoing crisis in which 12 horses have died there in the last two months. Live racing from June 7 until at least July 3 – representing the remainder of the Churchill Downs Spring Meet – will be moved to Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson, Ky., another Churchill Downs Inc.-owned facility. Scheduled races on Saturday and Sunday were still held at Churchill Downs. But the four-week suspension arrives as track officials and equine experts continue their search for the cause of the deaths. Read More Jun 5, 2023 Could Jon Gruden’s Work With Saints Impact NFL Lawsuit? Jon Gruden’s appearance at New Orleans Saints practices a couple weeks could factor into future legal arguments in his lawsuit against the NFL. In the latest filing by the NFL as part of its appeal related to Gruden’s lawsuit against the league, those emails allow NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to declare the exchanges to trigger the “conduct detrimental” language laid out in the NFL Constitution and Bylaws. And, in turn, the NFL argued that the case should be compelled to arbitration in the reply brief filed in Nevada State Supreme Court on Tuesday. Read More Jun 3, 2023 Why the NHL Is Trusting a Cable Channel with the Stanley Cup For Warner Bros. Discover Sports, the gravity set in when the most famous trophy in North American sports entered the room. At the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the tournament’s namesake award was escorted into TNT’s Atlanta studios. The “NHL on TNT” staffers took selfies and admired the 3-foot, 37-pound masterpiece of silver and nickel alloy. But once the stars in their eyes dimmed a bit, WBD Sports brass confronted the colossal significance of the next couple months. Read More Jun 3, 2023 Big 12 open to further expansion, commissioner Brett Yormark says The Big 12 is open to further expansion. As the conference’s spring meetings wrapped up in West Virginia on Friday, first-year commissioner Brett Yormark met with reporters via video conference and was clear that the Big 12 has interest in adding additional members to the league. “We have a plan,” Yormark said. “We have an appetite to be a national conference in our makeup from coast to coast. We love our current composition, love the four new schools that are coming in the next month. However, if the opportunity presents itself to create value, we will pursue it. It is a focus of ours.” Read More Jun 3, 2023 Stephen Strasburg Rumors: Nationals Don't 'Have Any Disability Insurance on' Contract The Washington Nationals haven't received any financial relief from Stephen Strasburg's contract despite the injury issues that have prevented him from pitching in a game since June 9, 2022. Per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post, the Nationals didn't take out any disability insurance on Strasburg's seven-year, $245 million contract signed in December 2019 because the "premiums would have been extremely high" even if the club and a company "could have agreed on a policy given Strasburg's age and extensive injury history." Dougherty, citing sources, reported there is "increasing doubt" within the Nationals' organization about whether Strasburg will ever be able to pitch again. Read More Jun 3, 2023 Ja Morant's looming punishment will be severe, but will it deter from another incident? DENVER — Even the Lakers and Celtics would have a hard time being overshadowed by what’s coming to Ja Morant. NBA commissioner Adam Silver tried his best to lawyer his way through the wording, but it was clear the verdict on Morant will be harsh and perhaps groundbreaking. Silver knew it would dominate the news cycle for more than a day and that these NBA Finals, or any other for that matter, didn’t deserve to be upstaged by such a black mark. Morant appeared to have another gun on an Instagram Live video weeks ago, leading to his suspension from the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s hard to say what Morant is actually being suspended from participating in at this time, but we do know what he’s suspended for: playing in your employer’s face. Read More Jun 3, 2023 Bears considering other locations for new stadium despite already paying $197.2 million for land The Chicago Bears said Friday they are thinking about abandoning their current plan to build a new stadium in nearby Arlington Heights and are considering looking at other locations. This comes despite the team already buying the Arlington Heights land for $197.2 million. The Bears are citing a property assessment they said is too high, so the area is "no longer our singular focus." Read More Jun 2, 2023 Crypto Fallout Hits The NFLPA The ongoing decline of the crypto market has left more commercial wreckage in sports — as an affiliate of the NFL Players Association scrambles to recoup nearly $42 million. The union’s annual report recently filed with the U.S. Department of Labor detailed $41.8 million in accounts receivable through OneTeam Partners — a joint venture involving the NFLPA, several other pro athlete unions and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, among others — saying there remains “uncertainty” surrounding collection of the money. According to The Athletic, the unpaid funds look to be connected to sharply declining activity surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs), particularly those produced by Dapper Labs and DraftKings, both of whom have already sought to renegotiate licensing deals with the NFLPA. Read More Jun 2, 2023 Gervonta Davis reportedly taken into custody after less than 1 month of 3-month house arrest Gervonta Davis is reportedly headed to jail, less than a month after appearing to avoid jail following a guilty plea in his hit-and-run case. Baltimore sheriff's deputies took the lightweight boxing star into custody following a court hearing Thursday, in which Judge Althea Handy ordered Davis to spend the remainder of his three-month house arrest sentence in jail, according to the Baltimore Banner. The exact reason behind the hearing remains unclear, but Davis' attorney described it as "impromptu" to the Banner. There is currently nothing official about the hearing on online court records. Read More Jun 2, 2023 Man files lawsuit against Angels, ex-outfielder Juan Lagares after being blinded by 'randomly hurled ball' A California man filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Angels and former outfielder Juan Lagares this week after Lagares allegedly hurled a ball into the stands at a game last summer that hit the man in the face and left him blind. David Mermelstein filed the lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday, according to the OCRegister. Mermelstein, 55, said he was struck in the face at Angel Stadium last June, and that the ball crushed his left eyeball and left him blind in that eye. Mermelstein was at the Angels’ game against the Kansas City Royals on June 22, 2022, with some friends. After Lagares caught the third out to end the sixth inning of the game, Mermelstein said he looked down to eat some peanuts. Lagares, the lawsuit reads, then turned and “randomly hurled the ball into the stands at high velocity.” Read More Jun 2, 2023 Chiefs' Travis Kelce signs with agency for off-field gigs: report It looks like Travis Kelce knows exactly what his plans are when he hangs up the football cleats. The Kansas City Chiefs superstar has reportedly signed with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) for off-field representation. Kelce dominates on the gridiron but has been a superstar off the field since winning Super Bowl LVII, the second of his career. Read More Jun 2, 2023 Tiger Woods' ex-girlfriend asks court to reconsider ruling, make legal battle public: report Erica Herman, the ex-girlfriend of Tiger Woods, has reportedly asked a court to reconsider its ruling that their legal battle must be resolved through private arbitration. A Florida judge ruled last month Herman must abide by the nondisclosure agreement she purportedly signed and resolve her lawsuits privately. An attorney for Herman filed the reconsideration request on Wednesday, according to USA Today. Read More Jun 1, 2023 Brian Davis Drops Lawsuit Over Washington Commanders Sale Less than two weeks after wannabe Washington Commanders owner Brian Davis sued Bank of America for $500 billion, Davis has dropped the litigation. The former Duke men’s basketball player’s attorney Jeffery Martin’s notice of voluntary dismissal was accepted by U.S. District Court Judge Deborah L. Boardman on Thursday. There are no indications in court records that there was any type of settlement. The move comes in the aftermath of a Friday hearing where Ava E. Lias-Booker, one of Bank of America’s attorneys, questioned the authenticity of the claims at the center of the case. “The documents we have in our possession raise considerable concerns about their genuineness,” Lias-Booker said. During the hearing Boardman also questioned whether Davis met the requirements needed to secure a temporary restraining order requested by Martin on Davis’ behalf. Read More Jun 1, 2023 Former MLB Senior Execs Team Up To Bring Pickleball to Big-League Ballparks A pair of former Major League Baseball senior executives are returning this summer to big-league ballparks – but with pickleball. Mike Dee, who previously held senior-level business roles with the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, and former MLB Advanced Media president and chief executive Bob Bowman are bringing their Pickeball4America to three MLB stadiums in July and August. The newly formed entity, operating with the consumer-facing brand Pickle4, will stage its Ballpark Series at Fenway Park in Boston on July 13-16, San Francisco’s Oracle Park on July 20-23, and Denver’s Coors Field on August 3-6. Rather than competing directly against other professional leagues in the fast-growing sport, Pickleball4America has developed a hybrid format for its events combining both amateur and professional play, tapping heavily into the recreational element that still represents pickleball’s foundation. The Ballpark Series will include multiple ways for amateur players to participate. Read More Jun 1, 2023 MLB managers should be challenging a lot more in 2023 NEW YORK — There have been other expensive teams in baseball history. There are even other expensive teams this year. But two teams in particular have come to represent a philosophical no-holds-barred approach to baseball. The way that Steve Cohen spends on the New York Mets and Peter Seidler spends on the San Diego Padres seems to indicate that the two billionaires abide by the financial approach of “you can’t take it with you” with respect to their fortunes. That’s in part because Seidler literally told The San Diego Union-Tribune: “I kind of like spending money … You can’t take it with you.” The implications are perhaps not as profound, but the same could be said about manager replay challenges. There’s no downside to “spending” the one allotted to each team per game — especially since you get to keep it if you’re correct and the call is overturned — and there’s certainly no value in leaving them unused. The benefit of challenges, of course, is strictly situational. But along with brains, brawn and dollar bills, they are one small bullet that every baseball team has at its disposal. So why are these two teams — who are ostensibly throwing everything they have at winning — so often leaving that bullet in the chamber? Read More Jun 1, 2023 Sources: Monty Williams, Pistons agree to long-term head-coaching deal The Detroit Pistons have come to terms on an agreement with Monty Williams to become their next head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The pact is sizable, with the Pistons coming to the table with a guaranteed $78.5 million, six-year contract, plus two additional team option years that could take it to $100 million, sources said. Pistons owner Tom Gores, as he was in the case of Dwane Casey in 2018, was heavily involved in the courtship of Williams after he hit the coaching market weeks ago. The Pistons were in discussions with Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee and Overtime Elite’s Kevin Ollie, and Lee had taken the pole position of the two. The Pistons initially made overtures to Williams, but Williams seemed unsure about coaching this season and looked to take the year off. The relationship between Pistons general manager Troy Weaver and Williams goes back to Williams’ time in Oklahoma City, and Gores kept in contact with Williams over the past few days, as Williams began to reconsider coaching next season. Read More Jun 1, 2023 Shannon Sharpe reportedly leaving Fox's 'Undisputed' after 7 years with Skip Bayless Skip Bayless is reportedly going to need a new partner. Pro Football Hall of Famer-turned-talking head Shannon Sharpe has reached a contract buyout agreement with Fox Sports to end his seven-year run alongside Bayless on Fox Sports 1's "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed," according to the New York Post's Ryan Glasspiegel. Sharpe's final show is reportedly expected to be after the NBA Finals end in June. He will also reportedly be taking his "Club Shay Shay" podcast with him from Fox Sports. The development ends what had been a successful partnership for Fox Sports since it poached Bayless from ESPN's "First Take' in 2016 and paired him with Sharpe, previously an NFL commentator for CBS. After years of Bayless verbally sparring with Stephen A. Smith on the highly successful ESPN2 show, Sharpe provided a different voice to counter Bayless in Fox's own morning debate show. Read More May 30, 2023 Cardinals' release of DeAndre Hopkins sets up divorce option with Kyler Murray in 2024 Late Friday night, an AFC general manager was offering his thoughts on potential landing spots for newly released wideout DeAndre Hopkins when he asked a question that could ultimately reshape the Arizona Cardinals. “What do you think they do with [Kyler] Murray?” On its face, it would seem like an odd question to ask about a 25-year-old quarterback who just signed a five-year, $230.5 million extension one season ago. Even with Murray suffering a season-ending ACL tear in December, the logical path for a quarterback with his talent would seem typical: get Murray healthy; get him back on the field; get back to the plan that made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The only complication to that logic is that plans can change quickly in this league — especially when the general manager who selected Murray (Steve Keim) and the head coach plucked specifically to develop the quarterback (Kliff Kingsbury) are both gone. Now you can add Murray’s No. 1 wideout to that mix, with Hopkins getting his release on Friday. When it comes to Murray’s most powerful advocates in Arizona’s building, the herd has thinned considerably. Hence, a general manager in the AFC wondering if Murray might be the next big divorce in Arizona. Read More May 30, 2023 What a sweat: Bettor finally cashes a $25K bet on Heat to win series vs. Celtics Bettors who took the Miami Heat to win the Eastern Conference probably felt like they actually played a seven-game series by the time the Heat won that bet. It took a long time and a lot of ups and downs for the Heat to finally cash the series tickets. Imagine having a six-figure win riding on the outcome. Before the Eastern Conference finals started, a large bet came in on the Heat at BetMGM. It was a $25,000 bet at 4-to-1 odds. Here's the roller coaster for that $25,000 bettor and everyone else who backed the Heat in the series: The Heat won the first two games in Boston, both as big underdogs. In Game 2 they had a big rally at the end, fueled by Jimmy Butler after Celtics forward Grant Williams riled him up. Even after that start, the Heat were no lock to win the series. The Celtics were favored in Game 3. But the +400 tickets were aging very well. •The Heat won Game 3 and everyone heard the stat repeatedly: NBA teams up 3-0 in a series were 150-0 in those series, including the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals. You won't have too many 4-to-1 bets that have a 150-for-150 history. Read More May 30, 2023 French Open: Sloane Stephens says racism against athletes has 'only gotten worse' Sloane Stephens is headed to the second round of the French Open after beating No. 16 Karolína Plíšková in an upset victory on Monday (6-0, 6-4). She spoke bluntly in response to a question about racism after the win. "Yes, it's obviously been a problem my entire career," she said. "It has never stopped. If anything, it's only gotten worse." A reporter mentioned a software meant to protect athletes from hate speech on social media. Stephens, 30, said she's heard of it and hasn't used it. From the the 2017 US Open champion and 2018 French Open finalist's perspective, it's to be expected. "It's something I have had to deal with," she said, "and something I will continue to deal with, I'm sure. That's that." While she's confident the issue will continue, she expressed concern about how things have changed. Read More May 30, 2023 Cameron Norrie reopens Novak Djokovic row: You have to turn up on time British No 1 Cameron Norrie has opened up about his ill-tempered meeting with Novak Djokovic in Rome a fortnight ago, describing the Serbian’s late arrival on court as something “I’ve never seen from any player.” At their fourth-round meeting in Rome on May 16, Djokovic opted for extra time on the physio’s bench after tweaking something in practice, and thus arrived more than 10 minutes after the scheduled 11am start. To frustrate Norrie further, Djokovic never apologised for the delay. Telegraph Sport understands that Djokovic received a fine for his tardiness, and that Norrie was furious at the time about what he perceived as a lack of respect. This fed into an edgy encounter which saw Norrie strike Djokovic on the back of the ankle with a full-blooded overhead smash. After the match – which Norrie lost by a 6-3, 6-4 scoreline – Djokovic complained about his opponent’s behaviour, saying: “He’s allowed to take a medical timeout.” Read More May 30, 2023 Liam Hendriks makes emotional return for White Sox months after cancer battle Just a few months after he revealed his cancer diagnosis, Liam Hendriks returned to the mound on Monday night in Chicago. The White Sox closer made his season debut in their 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in what was an incredible, emotional scene at Guaranteed Rate Field. Hendriks, who announced in January that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, took the mound in the eighth inning to a massive standing ovation. Hendriks then threw a strike on his very first pitch. That ball was instantly taken out of the rotation for him. Hendriks pitched just one inning. He allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. Read More May 29, 2023 Josef Newgarden passes Marcus Ericsson on final lap to win Indianapolis 500 The milk is on Josef Newgarden. The Team Penske driver sped past Marcus Ericsson on the final lap of the Indianapolis 500 to win the race for the first time in his career. After a third red flag, Ericsson lined up and got off to a big lead as he took the white flag. But Newgarden was on his tail and made a shrewd move to pass Ericsson and held him off the rest of the way. It was his best finish since he took third in 2016. Read More May 29, 2023 Manfred: A’s Relocation Vote Could Happen In Mid-June Major League Baseball is poised to vote on the relocation of the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas as soon as mid-June, said league commissioner Rob Manfred. If such a vote happens at owners’ meetings slated for June 13-15 in New York, it would certify the league’s first franchise move since the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005. Manfred, however, cautioned much still needs to be done before a vote happens. Read More May 29, 2023 White Sox closer Liam Hendriks to be activated after beating stage 4 cancer It took about half a year for Liam Hendriks to go from battling a serious form of cancer to returning to the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox announced Sunday that Hendriks will be activated Monday after spending the first two months of the season on the injured list battling stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hendriks, who first announced his diagnosis in early January, confirmed the news himself with an Instagram post showing the big date. Read More May 29, 2023 NBA opens investigation of longtime ref Eric Lewis over alleged burner account, per reports Longtime NBA referee Eric Lewis allegedly used a burner account to defend himself against strangers on the internet. Now he'll reportedly have to defend himself against the NBA. The league has opened an investigation into Lewis over the alleged burner account, which has since been deleted, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein and ESPN. The account in question went by the name "Blair Cuttliff" and the handle "@CuttliffBlair." Fans started to notice the account's proclivity for defending Lewis and other NBA officials on Thursday, with one account compiling a video showing a sample of the tweets. Read More May 29, 2023 NFL rumors: Jimmy Garoppolo failed Raiders physical leads to contract waiver Jimmy Garoppolo's fresh start with the Las Vegas Raiders isn't going as planned. The former 49ers quarterback reportedly faces an uncertain future in the Silver and Black stemming from the foot injury he suffered in Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, which could keep him from seeing any sort of Raiders paycheck. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported late Saturday night he had obtained a copy of Garoppolo's contract with Las Vegas -- which the signal-caller signed in March shortly after his introductory Raiders press conference was delayed. Read More