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First Things First

Welcome to my baby and brain child, First Down Sportanista! Now I know you’re probably scratching your head a bit at the name, but it is a play on words because a fashionista is someone devoted to all things fashion and since I am a girl completely devoted to sports, it just seemed to work.

I will be posting on here twice a week with one post covering a current event in sports like rule changes, CBA announcements, surprising player trades, etc and occasionally posting a 30 for 30 Reaction or Hooked Till the Credits post.

Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the new content and if you want connect with me on Twitter you can find me at @KathrynSinde.

Let’s Get Personal (For Only a Second)

It’s a really hot minute since I’ve written a blog post. You know how it goes: life got in the way and then it had been so long that I now have anxiety about writing for this blog. I think part of it is because my job now has nothing to do with sports so I’m not really able to immerse myself for fully in sports and now with the coronavirus completely stopping any and all sports, I’m feeling a bit lost.

But I think it’s safe to say we’re all feeling some sort of lost right now. So I’m writing this post in a way to try and rid myself of anxiety over this blog and as a promise mostly to myself to get back to this. Sports is my passion and where I’m hoping my career eventually takes me, so I just gotta get back on the horse and write.

I’ve got some time now to figure out where I want to take this blog and what I want to post. So I hope that you’ll join on this journey as I get my groove back and maybe I can fill the void of no sports left in my heart. I can promise you that I will have a thorough review of Michael Jordan’s doc coming out this month (and I promise not to let my 90s Bulls loving heart shade my review).

We’re all going to get through this and until life goes back to normal we can all relive the good old days watching the replays of some great games across a lot of sports.

If you’ve made this far in the post, thanks for letting me get some stuff off my chest and if you’ve got some ideas on content you’d like to see just let me know via the comments on this post or you can reach me on twitter.

 

 

Club Dub is Closed for Business Today

The Chicago Bears thought they would get to have an international Club Dub party today in London, but the Oakland Raiders had other ideas. It was a wild game that saw the Raiders come out and score 17 unanswered points until the momentum shifted towards the Monsters of the Midway when Raider’s Josh Jackson completely missed QB Derek Carr’s attempt at a hand off and Khalil Mack recovered the fumble.

The victory seemed inevitable for the Bears when they successfully recovered a fumble on the one yard line and gained the lead at 21-17.

The Raiders were not about to let Khalil Mack take the win in their first meeting since the Raiders traded Mack to the Chicago Bears in 2018. They would claw their way back marching their way down the field to the score a touchdown and secure the lead at 24-21 with less than two minutes left in the game.

But given the drama that had transpired in the game thus far, the game was far from over.

Two minutes could’ve been enough time for the Chase Daniels to march his guys down the field, he’d done it before with key throws in the game that led the team to their 21 unanswered points. But the Raiders Gareon Conley had other plans and intercepted Daniels’ pass intended for Anthony Miller giving the Raiders the ball back.

So it should’ve been an easy task to end the game but the Raiders failed to get a first down and maintain possession of the ball and it looked like maybe Daniels was going to pull off the stunning last second victory. But the clock was against the Bears and the Raiders were ready to take their victory and ended the game in the only acceptable way: by sacking Chase Daniel.

This game was exactly what the National Football League wants when they send their teams over to London. It had multiple lead changes, spectacular ‘did you see that’ moments, and the drama of a guy going against the team that traded him away with no second thought.

Khalil Mack should’ve been able to shove a loss down the throats of his former team but the Oakland Raiders had a lot more riding on this victory. The Raiders have dealt with drama most of the pre-season and are desperate to rewrite their story.

Winning comes down to which team wants it more and this time the Raiders wanted the win more than the Chicago Bears.

 

University of St. Thomas Booted From League For Being too Good?

Can you imagine being fired from your job for being good? That’s essentially what happened to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota when they were “involuntarily” dismissed from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in May for “competitive reasons”.

University of St. Thomas has won six MIAC football championships since the start of the 2010 season and beat their opening opponent Hamline University 74-14. The MIAC had threatened to disband the league last year because the University of St. Thomas was just that good.

The university received an invitation to join the Summit League, a mid-major D-I league, but the NCAA doesn’t allow schools to make the jump from D-III to D-I. But still the university submitted a waiver and who knows maybe the NCAA will make an exception just this once.

I have mixed feelings about the university making the jump to D-1. On on the one hand if they are dominating in their current league why not let them flex their muscles against the D-1 schools. They could continue to dominate on the larger stage which could lead to these athletes getting more recognition and so on.

But then on the other hand, what if they’re only dominating because they’re in D-iii? What if once they get on the big stage of D-I they get dominated? They might not be able to compete with the big dogs. What if they make it on the big stage and a lot of guys get seriously hurt? Is that a risk the NCAA is willing to let the team make? It’s a double-edged sword and could be a lose-lose for the NCAA.

Either way it’s not fair to these kids that because they just happened to be a severely talented team they get kicked out of their league. They deserve the chance to play and hopefully they aren’t sidelined for too long.

Carli Lloyd NFL Kicking Backlash

USA Soccer star Carli Lloyd has seen some interest from National Football League teams to kick for them because she’s got a solid kick. Of course once Lloyd showed that she was actively thinking about taking up the offer to kick in the league, guys in the league had a problem with it. Most notably Jason Witten and Keenan Allen (at least in my opinion).

So why are these guys so against Lloyd kicking for the league? Jason Witten’s comment was dumb because he called out four guys on ESPN for agreeing that Lloyd could actually kick in the league basically implying that they only agreed for fear of the backlash, because there is no way that four guys could actually think that a girl could kick in the NFL right? In my opinion, Witten needs to shut up. He couldn’t cut in the booth so he un-retired and went back to his team and he just can’t wrap his brain around the fact that Lloyd could really do some damage on the field if she practiced. Plus given some of the kicking action in the league, Lloyd would actually be an improvement.

Then Keenan Allen wanted in on the dissent and reminded fans that Lloyd wouldn’t be able to handle it if her kick was block and she had to go on the defensive with those big strong guys coming at her. Does Allen not know that you can’t hit the kicker? Did he miss that day in Football 101? No he was just too busy trying to insert his tired “this is a man’s game woman can’t handle it” tired argument that every male tries to use when a female is involved.

I didn’t expect the guys of the NFL to jump for joy at the news that she was interested in kicking in the league. But I at least thought that they would refrain from using the same tired sexist argument.

I have no doubt that if Lloyd really put her all into getting ready, training like the other kickers in the league, that she could actually crush it. She’s not the winning mentality and knows how to kick one type of ball so really it would just require learning the different ball type and how to react to all the different aspects of being a professional kicker.

And honestly I’m hoping she does go through it and shove it down these dumb boys throats that she can handle it and be a rockstar at it.

Let LeBron Live

LeBron is headlining the news not because of his professional basketball career or any off season moves that might benefit him and his Los Angeles Lakers. Nope LeBron is trending in the news because he happened to cheer his son Bronny on during his AAU basketball game. Jason Whitlock actually went on air and said the LeBron was using the videos of his cheering to build a social media brand and making a circus of the game. I know it’s crazy, why can’t we let LeBron live?

Who cares if LeBron cheers on his son? He plays basketball for a living so he can appreciate when his son plays well. I’ve seen parents who have never played professional sports act WAY worse than James did. He’s allowed to support his kids without the whole world having an opinion.

We should be celebrating him for being a supportive father when there are tons of kids who don’t get that support. LeBron is the model for how to be as parent, always giving positive reinforcement and being there for these moments to help build their child up. Isn’t LeBron supposed to model behavior with his massive platform? Or is that only when it’s convenient for the argument?

Let LeBron live and cheer on his son. Bronny has BIG shoes to fill following his superstar dad in playing basketball. He’s going to be dealing with comparisons to his dad his whole life so let him have this moment with his dad happily cheering for him while he enjoys the game.

I like that LeBron was making a spectacle of himself cheering on his son. He’s allowed to be a proud parent and it warms my heart to see LeBron so happy watching his son. With all the bad things going on in this world I thank LeBron for giving me a few moments of happiness seeing his happiness.

Wild Case of the Missing Kelly Cup

In today’s edition of headlines I never thought I’d see, the Colorado Eagles formerly of the ECHL after winning the league’s Kelly Cup two years in a row have failed to give the Cup back to the league.

Both parties are at fault because the ECHL should’ve made more of an effort to get the trophy back. They’re explanation that the Eagles haven’t made any attempts at returning the trophy are lame because if the league wanted the trophy back that badly why didn’t they show up at the team’s offices and demand the trophy back? But instead of doing that they decided just to have another trophy made (kinda like a replica that would be the original).

The same goes for the Eagles, if they really wanted to rectify the situation they would’ve shown up at the league’s offices with the trophy. I’m leaning towards the thought process that since the Eagles won the Kelly Cup two years in a row before moving up to the big leagues they decided we’ve earned this so we’re keeping it.

The Eagles could’ve easily had a replica made of the trophy to keep for memories allowing the league to keep the original.

This whole thing just feels like a bitter breakup that the ECHL can’t get over and the Eagles are just possessive over the trophy wanting to feel like they still have power.

 

The Lakers Dumpster Fire Rages On

By now everyone and their uncle have seen the video of former Los Angeles Lakers President Magic Johnson out of nowhere resigning his position on ESPN right before game  time. After the shock of the move wore off that should have been the end of it, but a last week Johnson appeared on ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” and gave a bit more insight into what led to his abrupt move.

But why now?

Johnson decided that he was tired of dealing with the nonsense that was running a team and wanted to get back to enjoying the game of basketball (at least that’s how I saw the resignation) so why not just let the shock wear off and move on? What’s the point in bringing up all the drama that went on and open yourself up to the same criticism?

That criticism came earlier this morning when Baxter Holmes posted an article on ESPN.com detailing the failed attempt of the Lakers rebuild with Magic Johnson that the helm.

Johnson allegedly started off his time with the Lakers telling basketball operations staff members that he doesn’t accept mistakes or excuses that anyone that wasn’t on board would find themselves replaced, even pointing at his office where there was a stack of resumes waiting for Johnson. How he could ever believe that using that kind of tactic to motivate people is beyond me because that’s putting unnecessary pressure on the staff when they’re already trying to defy all the odds stacked against the struggling team.

Johnson just wanted to make sure his staff knew that he was the holding all the cards and was the all powerful manager of the team. Which hello never works, leaders who bully and intimate their team rarely go far, makes me like LeBron calling him out on his show “The Shop” even better.

The best part of this whole thing is when Johnson pulled the ultimate petty card by throwing shade at Rob Pelinka making him look like he was starting drama. It’s the ultimate deflection card because why bother taking responsibility for your mistakes when you can pass blame on someone else?

There also the whole mess that was dangling the young stars on the team to lure Anthony Davis to the team. Trades are common in professional sports but those guys won’t want to then play for the team that hard when they know they’re just going to be pawns to land a bigger star. (On the flip side they might want to get out of the Lakers organization and go play somewhere they have a chance to win sooner).

But the Magic Johnson debacle is just one part of the dumpster fire, the kindling we’ll call it. There’s also the mess of firing Luke Walton and then failing to land the either of the top two candidates before giving the job to Frank Vogel. From the article it seems like hiring Tyronn Lue almost happened but the talks broke down towards the end.

The pièce de résis​tance for me is that when the team landed LeBron James Johnson and Pelinka consulted no one in the organization and brought in veterans guards Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson, center JaVale McGee and forward Michael Beasley. How can you be in charge of the team and not go to the people who know their stuff before making deals. Some of the people in the organization actually learned of the deals through the media which is just mind boggling. Keeping secrets from those in the organization only fuels the fire of failure.

Ultimately the fans and the Lakers players deserve better. The players are busting their tails every night on the court to restore the team to its former glory and yet they’re playing for an organization that doesn’t value them. The same goes for the fans, without fans shelling out money to buy tickets and gear there is no team.

The Lakers organization needs to get their acts together because the greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlin, and James Worthy didn’t play their hardest to bring glory to the organization just to have it all burned away because of guys like Johnson and Pelinka who didn’t have the experience and had little ideas on how to be effective leaders that could rebuild the team to their former glory.

Hopefully this new chapter for the Lakers will be more successful and less dramatic than the last.

Why Hasn’t Tyreek Hill Been Banned?

Yesterday before the beginning of the 2019 National Football League Draft an 11 minute video was released featuring Kansas City Chiefs running back Tyreek Hill and his fiance Crystal Espinal. In the video tape Espinal can be heard asking Hill about their son’s broken arm and even discussing other times where Hill has been abusive. When pushed that their son is terrified of Hill, Hill replies that Espinal should be terrified of him too. Finally responding to this tape today the Chiefs have banned Hill from any involvement with the team.

This isn’t the first time that Hill has had allegations of abuse, he pleaded guilty to assaulting then girlfriend Espinal. But because that happened before he played in the NFL he will not be punished as a repeat offender. And the NFL will investigate the abuse of Hill’s son and then make their decision over his punishment.

But that’s not enough.

The audio of Hill admitting to hurting his son and honestly lack of concern that his son is terrified of him is just as bad as the Ray Rice video. Rice was ultimately kicked out the league and the same should be done for Hill. Hill shouldn’t be allowed to serve a suspension and then picked up by someone like Jerry Jones. He clearly has a history of troubling behavior and that should most definitely result in being banned.

It feels as if the Chiefs are slightly dragging their heels waiting to see what happens with Hill. But in my eyes there is no way that Hill can stay in the league. He clearly has issues and shouldn’t be allowed to play on the biggest stage when he’s clearly not capable of being a decent human being. Allowing Hill to even make any kind of comeback will just further the thinking that the league doesn’t care as long a guy has talent and can make them money.

According to the KCTV5 report that Espinal recorded this conversation as an insurance policy for herself, but she too should be held accountable for her actions. She admits on the tape that she “rode for Hill” with a detective and CPS workers which is horrible. How dare you as a parent ride for someone who is clearly hurting your son and has hurt you in the past? If Hill has to suffer the consequences for his malicious and disgusting behavior than so does Espinal.

It’s time stop thinking about the bottom line and think about the quality of talent you’re promoting in the league. Because if Hill somehow comes back I’m not sure I can support the NFL anymore because enough is enough.

The Bat Flip Problem

Yesterday the Chicago White Sox had the opportunity to sweep the Kansas City Royals. In the bottom of the fourth inning Tim Anderson hits a rocket 2 run home run and “flips” his bat. I put flips in quotes because really it’s an aggressive bat toss to as one guy on twitter pointed out to me was Anderson’s way of helping the bat boy do his job. The Royals pitcher Brad Keller wasn’t too happy, so the next time Anderson is up to bat Keller nails Anderson.

 

 

At the 1:17 mark you can see Anderson get hit with the pitch and the benches clear in the lamest fight.

Keller over-reacted with his hitting of Anderson because it’s not Anderson’s fault that Keller threw the perfect pitch for a home run. But Anderson over-reacted with his bat toss because like bro calm down. Great job you hit a 2 run homer, but there’s a time and place for that kind of thing. Case in point:

 

Now if Anderson hit the game winner, I’m all for the bat flip because hello your home run led the Sox to a sweep get down with your bad self. But as Anderson and Co would find out the Royals were going to come back and win the game.

We can talk about how Hunter Dozier missed the an opportunity for the best passive aggressive sucks to suck bat flip when he hits the game winning home-run in the 10th inning. I’m severely disappointed that Dozier didn’t capitalize on the moment but hey whatever I guess winning is the best move in this situation.

Now the reason why I’m even writing this post is because I saw on twitter some sports writers comparing the bat flip in baseball to National Hockey League players celebrating after every single goal and I agree with this sentiment. I’m all for a good quality bat flip just like I’m all for a quality goal celebration in hockey. Especially because bat flips don’t happen for every single hit, it’s for those dingers that fly outta the park so it’s a worthy celebration.

I would love to say that it’s like comparing apples to oranges since it’s two different sports. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they are similar because baseball games can be won or lost by one run and hockey games can be won or lost by one. It can take multiple chances to score that one run or hit in each sport, the list goes on and on. So while I want to be annoyed by Anderson’s actions yesterday I really can’t be, because he hit a real dinger deep into the stands and he was definitely feeling himself. He’s allowed to be excited.

It’s not really his fault that Keller is a sore loser and wanted to punish Anderson for his showboating. Now did that require a full bench clearing and lame fight? Nope. But hey tensions were running high so to each their own.

But again guys remember it’s only April and there’s lot of baseball left to play and most importantly if you are going to flip the bat: FLIP THE BAT. Don’t just aggressively toss it.

 

The Death of the Big Baller Brand?

It’s been a wild few days months for the Ball family. News broke the other day that trusted family friend and partial owner of the infamous Big Baller Brand Alan Foster allegedly stole $1.5 million dollars from Lakers’ Lonzo Ball’s business and personal accounts.

According to the ESPN article I read about this a few days ago, Lonzo’s business manager first noticed that the money was missing back in October when he was trying to do Ball’s taxes and Lonzo immediately reached out to his father who was overseas with his brothers at the time since the Foster is a trusted family friend. Which I understand because Big Papa is friends with Foster and Lonzo is in the middle of the Laker’s season Pops should’ve taken the time to look at what Lonzo was saying to him and talk to his friend. But of course, Big Papa was too busy overseas with Lonzo’s brothers to really look at everything that was happening. Which is why this news is just coming out now.

It should also be noted that Foster has a criminal history. Back in 2002, Foster was sentenced to more than seven years in prison having plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering. Foster met the Ball family in 2010 when his son was playing ball with Lonzo. Foster was also the driving force behind the creation of BBB even owning 16.3% of the company (which my friends is how he had access to the business and personal accounts).

Since I’m highly cynical, I don’t care if someone has been close with my family for years if I hit the jackpot like Lonzo did I’m ensuring that every single person that has contact with my money doesn’t have a criminal history that involves defrauding people out of money. Because Lonzo worked hard to get drafted and works hard on the court to earn his paycheck it’s important to make sure that shady people aren’t reaping the benefits of his hard work but this is just one of those lessons Lonzo had to learn the hard way.

So how does all of this play into the death of the F rated BBB? After this news broke rumblings of the Lakers wanting Lonzo to change his game shoes started showing up. It seems as if the Lakers want to see if maybe it was the BBB shoes Lonzo wears that is contributing to his nagging ankle injury that has kept him out of multiple games in recent seasons. Add that into the fact that the Better Business Bureau has given the BBB company an F rating because over 180 complaints about the company. All of this led Lonzo to releasing a statement that his time with the brand are over.

So now that Lonzo, the only big name attached to the brand, has walked away and given that Foster owns part of the company it seems as if the Big Baller Brand has seen it’s final days. Yes completely ridding his life of the brand will take some time seeing as Lonzo owns over 50% of the company, it’s clear from his social media that he wants nothing to do with the brand (and seems to be letting Nike know he’s open for business). It was an interesting ride while it lasted but it’s time to bid farewell to the Big Baller Brand.

Now if only Lonzo could find out where the $1.5 million dollars ended up.