The WNBA Just Signed a Deal With CBS Sports That Will Nearly Double Its National TV Exposure

(NEW YORK) — The WNBA is nearly doubling its national TV exposure with a multiyear deal with CBS Sports.

CBS Sports Network will broadcast 40 WNBA games beginning next month when the season opens. The Minnesota Lynx vs. the Chicago Sky on May 25 will be the first game on the CBS Sports Network.

“Through our partnership with CBS Sports Network, the WNBA is joining an elite lineup of premium sports programming,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We thank CBS Sports for making such a meaningful commitment to women’s basketball and for providing another platform to showcase the world-class athletes of the WNBA.”

The league, which will begin its 23rd season on May 24, also has a deal with ESPN to show 16 regular-season telecasts, including three on ABC. Last year, the WNBA had a strong regular season with combined average viewership across ESPN2 and NBA TV up 31% over 2018.

All-Star Sue Bird and the defending WNBA Champion Seattle Storm will make six appearances on CBS Sports Network this season. That includes a WNBA Finals rematch against former league MVP Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics on June 14.

The TV channel will use local broadcast feeds for now, similar to what NBA TV does for WNBA games. NBA TV showed 49 games last year. The upcoming NBA TV schedule of WNBA games has not been finalized yet.

“We are truly excited to partner with the WNBA, bringing the country’s premier women’s sports league to CBS Sports Network. This partnership is one of the biggest and most impactful women’s sports programming arrangements ever at CBS Sports, offering national exposure of 40 games per year,” said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. “This agreement provides great live content throughout the summer in prime time and on weekends, and aligns two great brands in the WNBA and CBS Sports. We look forward to working with the WNBA for many years to come.”

CBS executive vice president of programming Dan Weinberg said the WNBA was exactly what CBS was looking for to bolster its schedule.

“We are looking to partner with established brands that are growing with dedicated fan bases,” he said in a phone interview. “The WNBA checks every one of those boxes. (Playing in the) spring-summer lends itself to our programming schedule. We are clearly and obviously talking about the best basketball players in the world at the highest level. Associating ourselves with WNBA, it’s a great powerful established brand with popularity across the country.”

The sides are still discussing expanding the coverage to include features and other WNBA programming.

“It’s going to be beyond highlights,” said David Denenberg, who is the Senior Vice President, Global Media Distribution and Business Affairs for NBA Entertainment. “Whether it’s features we develop or CBS develops, we want to do more.”

It’s unclear how the WNBA will decide which games will air on ESPN or CBS Sports Network going forward after this year. The league didn’t seem too concerned.

“Suffice it to say we have enough games we think we’ll put together a robust schedule for everyone,” Denenberg said. “We’ll announce the CBS schedule, ESPN schedule. I think we’re going to well serve all our partners.”

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

How Tiger Woods Completed One of the Greatest Comebacks in Sports

The most thrilling comeback in American sports history had to be completed at Augusta, at the Masters on a Sunday afternoon in April.

After all, the Augusta National Golf Club is where Tiger Woods, 22 years ago, first burst into our cultural consciousness, like no one we had never seen before: golf’s first black superstar, a player who everyone figured would rewrite his sport’s record book. He won by a dozen strokes that day in 1997, as a 21-year-old, and never looked back. By the time he was 32, Woods had won 14 major championships, even taking four in a row — the 2000-2001 Tiger Slam — during his astonishing prime. He gave a mass audience a reason to stay inside on Sundays, and watch men walk on grass and swing at a little white ball.

Then came the personal scandal about a decade ago, which the fed tabloids for months and destroyed his marriage. He returned to golf, but kept getting hurt. He had four back surgeries in three years, between 2014-2017. Woods fell out of the top 1,000 in the world golf rankings. He thought he may never play again. On Memorial Day Weekend in 2017, police found him asleep at the wheel, and arrested him. He had painkillers in his system, and was struggling with managing that pain. Wearing a Green Jacket less than two years later was unimaginable.

But here we are. It seemed Woods and one of his playing partners in the final group, Francesco Molinari, would go shot for shot down the stretch. But on the 15th hole Molinari, last year’s British Open champion, hit a shot in the water, essentially knocking him out of the tournament. Woods, wearing his signature Sunday red, with a mock turtle neck, birdied the par 5 and was now alone with the lead. Unlike his last Masters win in 2005, when he needed a miracle chip on the par 3 16th hole to pull it out, Woods stuck his tee shot on 16, giving him another birdie and more breathing room. Now, he could essentially soak in a coronation. Brooks Koepka — winner of three majors since 2017, and playing in the group ahead of Woods — could have cut Woods’ lead to a single stroke on 18, but he missed a make-able birdie putt. All Woods needed was a bogey 5 on 18 to clinch it.

Tiger had been crawling towards his moment. He contended in the last two majors, which enabled him to refresh his memory of how to win one: plod along, let the other guys make mistakes and stay calm.

When he tapped in the winning putt, for his 15th career major, Woods screamed and flipped his club. He hugged his son Charlie, who wasn’t born the last time Woods won a major 11 years ago, and daughter Sam, who was about to turn one. Woods grew hoarse from all his yelling. He refused to hide his catharsis. Augusta’s proper “patrons” turned into actual sports fans, celebrating as if their team just won a Super Bowl. “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” the fans chanted, pushing up the volume to college football stadium decibel levels.

The 14-year gap between Tiger’s fourth and fifth Masters wins is the largest in golf history. The last time he won a major, Barack Obama and John McCain hadn’t even been officially nominated as presidential candidates. Woods’ chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors titles is officially back on. We once thought we’d be commemorate that historic moment — Woods passing Jack with 19 — circa 2011 or so.

In recent years, we could afford to forget that storyline. It was dormant, like Tiger’s game. He was almost done. Not anymore. Because Tiger Woods just won the Masters.

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

A Boxer Forcefully Kissed a Sports Reporter Live on Air. Now She Says He Also Groped Her

A female reporter who was kissed forcefully by a boxer after they finished an interview has said the athlete also grabbed her buttocks without her consent.

Vegas Sports Daily reporter Jennifer Ravalo interviewed boxer Kubrat Pulev on March 23 following a fight in Costa Mesa, Calif. At the end of the interview, Pulev leaned in and kissed Ravalo on the lips. Video footage of the kiss, which features Ravalo saying “thank you” to Pulev amid an uncomfortable laugh went viral. “Jesus Christ,” she says toward the end of the video.

On Monday, Pulev tweeted a statement in which he claimed that Ravalo is a friend of his and that “after the interview, I was so elated, I gave her a kiss.” He said he saw Ravalo later at a post-fight celebration. Pulev did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ravalo strongly denied Pulev’s claims in a press conference held Thursday with the high-profile attorney Gloria Allred. She said she met Pulev for the first time on March 22, when she asked him to do a pre-fight interview. They met again the next day for a post-fight interview, during which he grabbed her face, kissed her and later allegedly groped her backside.

“I was immediately shocked and embarrassed, and didn’t know how to respond,” she said. “Next, I walked to the table to put my items in my backpack. He grabbed both of my buttocks and squeezed with both of his hands. Then he walked away without saying anything to me and laughed.”

Ravalo said she attended an after-party later on the invitation of a friend. Pulev arrived at the party toward the end of the night, she said, where he asked her to take the kiss out of the interview.

“I did not remove it and instead posted it because I wanted people to see what he had done to me. I wanted him to be accountable,” she said during the press conference. “I didn’t want him to get away with it. What he did to me was disgusting. I felt humiliated. No woman should be treated this way. Mr. Pulev and I were not friends and we were not in a romantic relationship. He had no right to kiss me.”

Allred, who Ravalo hired to help her “impose consequences” on Pulev, has requested the California State Athletic Commission revoke the boxer’s license and investigate the incident. The commission will meet next in May, and Allred asked that it review Ravalo’s case and allow her to testify.

In a statement, the California State Athletic Commission said it takes the incident seriously.

“On Tuesday, Kubrat Pulev was notified that, before he will be licensed to fight in California again, he must appear in front of the commission and demonstrate that he conforms to this principle of respect,” the statement read.

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

How team sports change a child’s brain

Adult depression has long been associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, a brain region that plays an important role in memory and response to stress. Now, new research has linked participation in team sports to larger hippocampal volumes in children and less depression in boys ages 9 to 11.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

SPECIAL CHILDREN DEAL UPDATE:

The College Admissions Scandal Is Yet More Evidence of Collegiate Sports’ Inequality Problem

The college admissions bribery scandal has captivated the country — Hollywood stars from Desperate Housewives and Full House are involved! — and leaves ample room for outrage. Spots at elite selective institutions that could have gone to hardworking students and athletes who deserved them instead went to kids whose parents paid for fraudulent tests or bogus athletic profiles. Payments for cheating went to a sham charity, making the fraud tax-deductible for the alleged perpetrators.

But let’s not ignore the scandal’s connection to another noxious stink polluting college sports.

By selling out enormous stadiums, selling apparel and through corporate sponsorships and media rights deals — among other revenue sources — big-time football and basketball teams bring in millions for their schools. Often, these revenues support a school’s entire sports enterprise. Despite that cash spigot, NCAA rules mean these football and basketball players can’t earn compensation beyond the value of a scholarship and a cost of attendance stipend. Meanwhile, 55% of men’s basketball players at the so-called “Power 5” major conference schools (the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, SEC, and Pac-12) are black, according to NCAA data, while nearly half of the Power 5 football players are black. The performances of these unpaid players, many of whom come from low-income families, are often subsidizing sports like tennis, where 48% of the men’s players in the power conferences are white and just 12% are black, and other sports that are even more exclusively white, like men’s water polo (82%), women’s rowing (75%). Just 2% of men’s water polo players and women’s rowers at big conference schools are black.

The dynamic of unpaid, often low-income black athletes in high-revenue sports generating revenues that finance opportunities for, generally speaking, white athletes with wealthier backgrounds in low-revenue sports like water polo is troubling enough. Add this scandal, in which wealthy and often white families were allegedly scamming athletic opportunities that may not exist without the labor of unpaid black athletes, and the case to rethink the system grows even stronger.

“This scandal is an example of corrupt, rich, mostly white parents benefitting off the work of, in many cases, poor black unpaid football and basketball players whose athletic talents actually qualified them for admission,” says Shaun R. Harper, a management professor and executive director of the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center. “This is an example of systemic racism.”

At Harper’s school, for example, USC associate athletics director Donna Heinel received more than $ 1.3 million in bribes to falsify the athletic backgrounds of more than two dozen students seeking admission to the school, according to a complaint filed in a federal court in Boston and unsealed March 12. Many of the students didn’t even play the sport for which they were “recruited.” According to the complaint, Heinel presented the daughter of one parent — Napa Valley vintner Agustin Huneeus, who was also charged in the scheme — as a competitive water polo player; her athletic profile contained a picture of someone else playing the sport. USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic allegedly received $ 250,000 in payments for his team to designate two students as recruits. USC has fired Heinel and Vavic. The indictment says that former USC women’s soccer coach Ali Khosroahin and assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke received about $ 350,000 for their private soccer club to designate the children of four Singer clients as USC soccer recruits, even though none of them played competitive soccer.

The controversy goes beyond any one school.

At the University of Texas, football and men’s basketball accounted for 90% of UT athletic revenues attributable to a team in 2017-18, according to federal data. Football alone produced $ 143,064,180, or 79%, of the $ 180,259,057 in revenue generated by UT’s teams, booking a $ 101.8 million profit. UT’s non-revenue sports — all of them besides football and basketball, and many of which field teams with a disproportionate number of white athletes — generated $ 15,928,952 in revenues and $ 33,412,294 in total expenses. That’s a $ 17.5 million shortfall.

Turns out that some of the athletic activity on the low-revenue side of Texas’ ledger may have been downright criminal. Texas men’s tennis coach Michael Center allegedly took more than $ 90,000 in bribes in exchange for designating a Silicon Valley high school student as a recruited student-athlete, even though the student did not play competitive tennis. The student’s application, according to the document, listed him as the manager of his high school basketball and football teams. In reality, he played a year of tennis as a freshman.

According to the complaint, Center met in June 2015 with William “Rick” Singer, a southern California college admissions counselor who has pled guilty to masterminding a sweeping scandal resulting in criminal charges against 50 people, including wealthy parents who paid off Singer to cheat on tests or pose their kids as college athletes, and college athletics coaches who took payments to facilitate the admission of these students to their schools. In essence, authorities say parents would direct payments to Singer through his sham charity, and Singer would take a cut to bribe crooked coaches. Students designated as athletic recruits often receive a leg-up over others in the college admissions process, even if their academic credentials trail that of other applicants. No students have been charged.

Singer, according to the document, handed Center $ 60,000 in cash in an Austin hotel parking lot. The supposed tennis player got a scholarship to UT that paid for his books. Once he got on campus, he ditched the tennis team and renounced his scholarship. But he still had his spot at UT. The university fired Center on Wednesday; he’s due in a Boston court on March 25.

Authorities intercepted Singer describing the bogus recruiting scam for high school students as a “side door” into the universities, with legit admission as the “front door,” and the “back door” being eight-figure plus donations to fund on-campus buildings and such.

“There’s no side door, give me a break,” says Harry Edwards, the famed sports sociologist and activist who helped organize the black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. “You provided a sewer line to the basement stairs. You have a situation where these coaches, on the backs of unpaid black labor, are bringing in rich white kids who have less legitimacy on campus than the black kids who are so often complained about because they’re quote ‘not interested in academics.’ That’s a travesty.”

Luckily, the sewer can be fixed. Administrators can start by making sure recruited athletes actually play the sport they’re purporting to be good at. “There’s no way any athletic compliance staff should have missed all of this,” says sports attorney Donald Jackson, an adjunct professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law who has represented athletes in NCAA eligibility cases.

The next step: investing athletic funds responsibly. “This is an opportunity for colleges and universities to look themselves in the mirror,” says Angela Reddock-Wright, an employment lawyer in Southern California who represents higher education clients. “Make sure the athletes making lots of money for the schools are taken care of” — rather than paying for phony water polo. Money that could be going to unpaid black players seems to have financed corrupt opportunities for rich white families. So now, more than ever, isn’t it time to just pay the players?

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

In Paris, Nike Women Debuts National Team Soccer Kits, High-Performance Sports Bras, Footwear and Apparel

Hundreds of influencers and media professionals — plus more than 40 top female athletes — from around the world gathered at the Palais Brongniart in Paris on Monday to witness the debut of Nike Women’s upcoming releases for the summer. The main attraction? A total of 14 national team kits that will …

Continue reading

Fashionista

BEST DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Trans athletes are making a travesty of women’s sports

The state of Connecticut has offered a dismaying picture of the future of female athletics, with two male-to-female transgender runners routinely outpacing the competition at the state track championships. The two biologically male students, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, finished first and second, respectively, in the 55-meter dash this year, crushing the competition. Miller set…
Opinion | New York Post

SPECIAL SHOE DISCOUNT:

Everyday Savings: Up to 40% Off on over 2,000 Styles at DSW! Shop Now!

Baseball Player Manny Machado Just Signed Sports’ Biggest-Ever Contract for a Free Agent

(SAN DIEGO) — All-Star infielder Manny Machado has agreed to a $ 300 million, 10-year deal with the rebuilding San Diego Padres, the biggest contract ever for a free agent, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced. Machado can opt out after five years and become a free agent again, the person said.

Machado’s deal, if completed, would be the second-largest in baseball history behind Giancarlo Stanton’s $ 325 million, 13-year deal signed with the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2015 season. Among free agents it tops Alex Rodriguez’s $ 275 million, 10-year contract with the New York Yankees from 2008-17.

Records may be broken soon. Free agent outfielder Bryce Harper could top Stanton’s deal in coming days or weeks.

Speaking at spring training in Peoria, Arizona, Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said: “We do not have a deal with any free agent player. We are continuing discussions, and that’s all we have to say.”

Teams draw a distinction between an agreement subject to a physical and a finalized deal.

However, general partner Peter Seidler, without confirming the deal, said: “Ron and I, we love the city of San Diego, we love sports in San Diego, we’re also well aware of the history. There’s never been a championship … We as an organization, we want to completely change that. We want our franchise to win year after year after year. And we’re going to do whatever we can rationally do to make that happen.”

The Padres haven’t had a winning season since 2010 and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006. They haven’t won a playoff series since the 1998 NLCS against Atlanta.

And they’ve had the city’s big league sports scene to themselves since the NFL’s Chargers moved to the Los Angeles area two seasons ago.

The Padres have been rebuilding mostly with prospects and draft picks, although they are making a stunning move early in spring training for the second straight year after reaching a $ 144 million, seven-year contract last February with first baseman Eric Hosmer.

Machado is expected to fill the team’s gaping need at third base. He began last year with Baltimore, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers after the All-Star break and struck out to end the World Series loss to Boston.

With the 26-year-old Machado on board, the next big move for the Padres is expected to be the promotion of shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the 20-year-old son of a former big leaguer and the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball.

A four-time All-Star, Machado hit .297 last year and set career bests with 37 homers and 107 RBIs. A four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, he has a .282 career average with 175 homers and 513 RBIs in seven big league seasons.

The Chicago White Sox were among the teams that pursued Machado.

“Still in a bit of disbelief. The one thing I can say — I just told Rick (general manager Han) this and I will tell Jerry (owner Reinsdorf) and our coaching staff and players — I feel we put our best foot forward. Jerry, in particular, really stepped up,” he said.

“If the acceptance of the offer that I’m seeing is true, then actually our offer had the opportunity for Manny to surpass that. But in the end we went after the guy and we didn’t get him. We’re disappointed but, hey, we are positioned . the reason why we were going after him in the first place is because we feel we are positioned to do some good things here going forward. We wanted to accelerate that to a large degree and that’s why we made the overture we did,” he said.

Machado also met with the Yankees, a team that had expressed concern over Machado’s remarks about hustling — not hustling, actually — during the playoffs.

After failing to run out a grounder in the NL Championship Series, Machado said: “Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ and run down the line and slide to first base.”

Machado tried to clarify his remarks after the season, saying, “looking back, it doesn’t come across how I meant it.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner took notice of Machado’s initial comments, labeling them “troubling.”

“If we’re interested in any player, to sit down with them face to face and ask him, ‘Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point? How do you justify it?’” Steinbrenner said in November.

“Because that ain’t going to sell where we play baseball,” he said.

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

This Olympic Champion’s Case Could Change Sports’ Gender Rules Forever

(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) — The longtime standoff between Olympic champion Caster Semenya and track and field’s governing body over issues of gender, hormones and performance in sports reached a pivotal phase on Monday as a key tribunal began hosting a planned five-day hearing in a case that could have massive repercussions throughout sports.

The two-time 800-meter gold medalist from South Africa came and went from the offices of the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday without addressing reporters after a marathon opening session, but her legal team and IAAF lawyers were still jockeying for position in the court of public opinion.

Both sides acknowledged that the ruling in the case — which isn’t expected until late March — could have huge implications, notably over where to draw the line between the genders and how to ensure fairness in top-tier competition.

Semenya’s lawyers issued a statement during the 10-hour session criticizing the IAAF’s release of a list of names of five experts that they planned to put forward to make their case. Her legal team said that maneuver violated the spirit of confidentiality over the proceedings “in an effort to influence public opinion.”

Her team of four lawyers said that it had received the three-judge panel’s OK to release the names of its own experts on Tuesday.

Insisting on the need for fairness, the IAAF defended “eligibility standards that ensure that athletes who identify as female but have testes, and testosterone levels in the male range, at least drop their testosterone levels into the female range in order to compete at the elite level in the female classification.”

The IAAF has proposed eligibility rules for athletes with hyperandrogenism, a medical condition in which women may have excessive levels of male hormones such as testosterone. Semenya wants to overturn those rules.

The scheduled five-day appeal case is among the longest ever heard by the sports court. CAS secretary-general Mathieu Reeb expressed hope for a decision by the three-judge panel by the end of March.

Neither of the delegations spoke on the way out of Monday’s proceedings.

“The core value for the IAAF is the empowerment of girls and women through athletics,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said as the day began. “The regulations that we are introducing are there to protect the sanctity of fair and open competition.”

A colleague then pulled Coe away from reporters and said he wouldn’t say more.

The IAAF wants to require women with naturally elevated testosterone to lower their levels by medication before being allowed to compete in world-class races from 400 meters to one mile.

Reeb said the case was “unusual and unprecedented” and said the decision “will be important.”

South African lawyer Norman Arendse, whose is helping present the case for Semenya, called it “a highly confidential process.”

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

Newspaper sports editor accused of sexually assaulting minor

COLUMBUS, Miss. — The sports editor of a Mississippi newspaper is accused of sexually assaulting a minor. The Commercial Dispatch reports 47-year-old employee Ronald Scott Walters was arrested Tuesday by Starkville police on an outstanding arrest warrant from Horn Lake. Horn Lake police Capt. Joseph Keene says the male victim and his parents reported a…
News | New York Post

EMPLOYMENT SEARCH UPDATE:

Lil’ Wayne Co-Founded Sports Agency Brings on Powerful Black Female Sports Agent In Acquisition

Nicole Lynn is in a very unique position. She is the first black female sports agent to represent top NFL agency, PlayersRep. In 2017, PlayersRep was acquired by Young Money APAA Sports Agency owned by world-renowned rapper, Lil’ Wayne. In an industry very dominated by male agents and players alike, Black Enterprise caught up with Lynn to find out how she has managed to navigate the murky waters and make it to the top.

Black Enterprise: What is it like being a black female sports agent in a male-dominated industry?

Nicole Lynn: There are over 800 certified NFLPA agents with only about 5% being women. Only a handful of those women are black, so it goes without being said that being a black woman in this industry is extremely challenging. There are so many random issues I face that my male counterparts will never understand. For example, I have to be extremely cautious about the outfits I choose. I have to find the fine line between being presentable and looking nice, but not too nice. You never want to look like you’re trying to stand out more than any other wife or mom in the room. The last thing you want to do is make a wife feel uncomfortable. So I battle with choosing a lipstick that isn’t too bright, heels that aren’t too high and a dress that isn’t too “dressy.” And to make matters worse, being a black woman who likes to change her hair frequently, I have to think of how potential clients will take it. Can I be the girl with Beyoncé weave? Will they be OK with my 3C natural hair with a twist out? Male agents never have to think about half of the potential issues black female agents silently battle.

Despite all of this, I know that I cannot let these personal challenges hinder my performance. Confidence is key in this industry. I always tell potential clients, “I can do a lot for you—get you the best deal, market the crap out of you, and work hard for your family, but there is one thing I can’t do, and that is changing the fact that I am a black woman. If you can accept that, we can make magic happen together!” I pray that my work always speaks for itself and shows that I am equally as knowledgeable, negotiate just as aggressively, and possess the tools necessary to help clients propel their career.

How did you enter into the industry?

I’ve always wanted to be a sports agent, but I didn’t quite know the name of the role. I just knew I wanted to help athletes be successful during and beyond their time in the league. With that in mind, every decision I made was extremely calculated with the same endgame in mind. I got a degree in business and then moved to New York City to work on Wall Street. My initial intention of getting into finance was to help athletes manage and retain their wealth.

While working on Wall Street I learned that the most influential person in an athlete’s life is their agent, not necessarily their financial adviser. The agent helps the athlete with the day to day needs of the athlete and helps them back the big life decision. After I determined I wanted to be a sports agent, I immediately applied to law school. I went to law school knowing I would later sit for the NFLPA agent exam. I worked at the NFLPA in Washington, D.C. before starting as an agent so I could learn everything I could about life after football.

In 2015, after passing both the Texas Bar and NFLPA exam, I started calling around to different sports agencies. Almost none returned my calls. I finally got one to answer, Ken Sarnoff. He basically told me that being a sports agent is hard and that I should rethink my plans. He even challenged me to get him a meeting with a certain NFL prospect with little faith that I would actually succeed. If you know me, then you know that I don’t give up. I called Ken back a couple hours later like “hey he’s available tomorrow, you got an opening?” From that point on, Ken understood that I had what it took to be in this industry. He hired me a week later and I joined the top 10 sports agency PlayersRep.

Two years later, Young Money APAA Sports, owned by Lil Wayne, acquired PlayersRep and we’ve been in a whirlwind since. Like how crazy is it to have Lil Wayne as your boss?! Even I couldn’t have dreamt this up! Being a sports agent is hard, to say the very least. You invest a significant amount of time and resources only to get a lot more no’s than yeses.’ However, the feeling you get when you’re able to get your client on the team of their dreams or negotiate the endorsement deal of a lifetime, it is all worth it. I love my crazy job!

Lil Wayne

Nicole Lynn and NFL client (Image: Nicole Lynn)

What do you think that you bring to the table that your male counterparts do not?

I don’t want to take anything away from the men that work in this business. There are a lot of very good male sports agents that truly care about their clients. However, I think one of the differences between me and my male counterparts is that I focus on more than just the NFL contract. I tap into the human element and the emotional aspect of the relationship with my client. I am a sports agent, but also a life coach, a financial adviser, a travel agent, a therapist, a friend, a sister, and a keeper of peace for my clients. I wear a lot of hats. Many men in this business refuse to wear those hats. I also focus from day one on life after sports. I want to make sure that my client’s transition out of the league is seamless. From the moment I sign a client, I am already having hard conversations about what is next? What is their plan when playing football is over? And I help them in executing this plan by pushing them to finish their degree, to do externships in the offseason, and to retain their wealth. I truly care about the long-term future of my clients.

 

In Case You Missed It: 

 

 

The post Lil’ Wayne Co-Founded Sports Agency Brings on Powerful Black Female Sports Agent In Acquisition appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

How Netflix’s High Flying Bird Upends the Conventions of the Sports Movie

There’s no game-winning miracle dunk in High Flying Bird, a new basketball film from Steven Soderbergh that arrived on Netflix on Friday. There’s no training montage, rousing halftime speech or pint-sized surprise hero, either.

Instead, the film is driven by backroom machinations, Sorkin-esque walk-and-talks and tense face-offs over cups of tea.

But while the film mostly lacks basketball, it is more true to the state of modern professional basketball than most other films about the sport—and it strikingly captures the current power struggle of black athletes as they battle with owners for player autonomy, free speech and billions of dollars in revenue.

The film follows the fictional agent Ray Burke (André Holland) in the midst of the contentious 2011 NBA lockout. He works to outmaneuver a cutthroat team owner (Kyle MacLachlan) in lockout negotiations, expand the mindset of a downtrodden, debt-ridden rookie (Melvin Gregg) and team up with a steely player’s union executive (Sonja Sohn) to alter the economic structure of the league.

The stakes may initially appear lower than other Soderbergh films—like drug trade in Traffic or corporate corruption in Erin Brockovich. But the heart of the movie’s conflict lies in the control and commodification of black bodies. One character compares the NBA draft to a slave auction; another recounts the NBA’s white-only origins, describing the league’s integration in 1950 as a “game on top of a game”: a system used by wealthy white owners used to control players’ movements, image rights and earnings.

The fierce and dense screenplay was written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who won an Oscar in 2016 for co-writing Moonlight. Like that film, High Flying Bird champions characters who search for radical ways to survive and transcend unjust systems. McCraney explained a driving factor behind both films in an interview with GQ this month: “On one hand, the American dream is being carroted in front of us, but on the other, the stick of oppression is beating us.”

McCraney, Soderbergh and Holland (who co-produced the film) situate the film within a lineage of black protest. It takes its name from the Richie Havens version of a folk song that poignantly calls for freedom. And Ray treats the sociologist Harry Edwards’ 1969 book The Revolt of the Black Athlete as a sacred text. In that book, Edwards outlines the systematic discrimination faced by black athletes and recounts his efforts to create a black boycott of the 1968 Olympics, which led to a Black Power salute in Mexico City. “They tell the world that the Games are free of discrimination, a wonderful example of fair play to everyone,” he writes. “Meanwhile, neglect kills off your people faster than you can sprint.”

Edwards himself appears in High Flying Bird, forging a direct link between a time when black superstars like Bill Russell had to sleep in separate hotels and a new era of protest. Edwards now serves as Colin Kaepernick’s advisor and works with many sports teams; he remains vocal about what he terms the “social, physiological and cultural scaffolding that allows individual bias and prejudice to find affirmation in discriminatory actions.”

In the same way that Edwards worked to debunk the rosy vision of sports presented by the Olympics, McCraney and Soderbergh use High Flying Bird to rebel against the utopian construct of sports movies. Films like White Men Can’t Jump, Glory Road and The Blind Side propagate the idea that sports can drive equality; that class and race tensions vanish while on the hardwood or gridiron through a shared determination and perseverance.

High Flying Bird, in contrast, is far more cynical. “The league is a business,” Ray reprimands Erick. “Business. We are in business.” While Michael Jordan won his freedom through a buzzer beater in Space Jam, High Flying Bird quashes the notion that on-court victory even matters. The film’s NBA isn’t a conduit for greatness but rather a cold, unfeeling corporation in which MacLachlan’s snot-rocketing executive profits off of black men scraping against each other in a zero-sum game. High Flying Bird could be called an anti-Sports Movie: its goal is not to uplift, but rather to provoke, mobilize and envision a future in which the players themselves own the league. And in contrast to the sweeping cinematography of other sports films, High Flying Bird was shot on an iPhone.

In real life, the 2011 lockout ended in relative defeat for the players’ union, as NBA owners forced players to accept a reduction in their share of revenue. But since then, players have taken steps to increase both their income and agency, drastically changing the landscape of the league.

LeBron James, in particular, has been revolutionary in how he wields power over his own career. He has encouraged other players to follow his lead in claiming autonomy, and he condemned a double standard that shackles devoted superstars to teams while allowing owners to trade them when it suits their business strategy. (On Wednesday, he took to Instagram to criticize the way in which Harrison Barnes was unceremoniously shipped off for a trade during a game.) This season has seen several stars—including Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis—use their leverage to forge their own career paths rather than stay beholden to team owners.

These efforts have been aided by the rise of social media and other online outlets that allow players to control their own public image and speak out on political and social causes. James famously tangled with Donald Trump on Twitter, while Kevin Love opened a dialogue about mental health issues on The Players’ Tribune, a media platform founded by Derek Jeter.

Meanwhile, a massive $ 24-billion TV deal, combined with a favorable 2017 bargaining agreement negotiated by Michele Roberts, the leader of the N.B.A.’s players union, landed huge payday opportunities for young stars, 45 percent raises for players on minimum contracts and higher minimum salaries for veterans.

In High Flying Bird, Ray aims even higher, dreaming of a radical player-owned league in which games are streamed straight to YouTube or Netflix. Such a drastic shift seems unlikely any time soon. Until then, activists, filmmakers, and the players will continue to work to challenge power structures and shake the perception that athletes are not looked at as “super animals,” as Edwards wrote in 1969, but treated with full humanity.

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

There’s a mystery bidder for Meredith’s Sports Illustrated

Former Milwaukee Bucks star Junior Bridgeman has competition from a mystery player in the bidding for Sports Illustrated. “Right now, there is a bit of a horse race underway,” said Meredith Executive Chairman Steve Lacy during his appearance at the American Magazine Conference. He asserts that there are two parties vying to buy it but…
Media | New York Post

SPECIAL DISCOUNT DEAL:

How are people betting on sports like the Super Bowl?

Now that all the fuss about the Super Bowl is over, there’s one thing left to report. According to an online company called LendEDU, 60 percent of the nearly 900 people responding to a survey said they had never wagered on sports before it became legalized. And the average bet was $ 3,911, but the median…
Business | New York Post

SPECIAL SHOE DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Where you can get food deals on Super Bowl Sunday, because sports!

Where you can get food deals on Super Bowl Sunday, because sports!


Where you can get food deals on Super Bowl Sunday, because sports!

Super Bowl Sunday may be mostly about football (ICYMI, the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots are squaring off this year), but the game day snacks are also incredibly, if not equally, important. The dips, the buffalo wings, the cheese—it’s basically a day dedicated to non-stop eating, punctuated with occasional angry gestures and cheers directed at the TV. If you’re hosting a viewing party this year and don’t feel like whipping up a full-blown feast, don’t worry. Plenty of restaurant chains and fast food joints are offering deals for the big game.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Remember how we said that Americans will be expected to eat 1.38 billion wings during Super Bowl weekend? (Casual.) That number might just increase if Buffalo Wild Wings has anything to say about it. If the game goes into overtime, you can get a free snack-sized order of wings on February 18th, according to a statement. Score.

Burger King

If you order Burger King on DoorDash, you won’t get charged with a delivery fee through February 4th. Fun fact: for orders of $ 10 or more, enter the promo code “MYSTERYBOX” and you’ll also get a surprise box delivered separately, to be opened during the Super Bowl.

Dickey’s BBQ

For game day, you can get $ 5 off any of their packs (picnic, family, or XL)—perfect if you’re hosting a lot of BBQ fans.

El Pollo Loco

If you purchase any of El Pollo Loco’s family meals on Sunday, you’ll get a free order of fire-grilled chicken nachos (tortilla chips, queso blanco, citrus-marinated chicken, and guacamole).

Hardee’s

Hardee’s deal is contingent on a “pick 6” (an interception returned for a touchdown) occurring during the big game—so cross your fingers. Because if it does happen, you’ll be able to grab a free sausage biscuit for breakfast on Friday, February 8th at participating locations (served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.).

Panda Express

To get a deal at Panda Express for the Super Bowl, simply enter the code “TOUCHDOWN” and you can pick from $ 10 off one family feast or $ 25 off two family feasts, according to the site.

Papa John’s

The pizza chain is offering five different Super Bowl deals on their site, ranging from “Game plan” (five large one-topping pizzas for $ 42.50) to “Fan feast” (five large one-topping pizzas, three bread sides and three desserts). Check out more deals on the site.

PDQ

Buy-one-get-one chicken tenders? Yes, please. Depending on your location, you can get the deal on their 25-tender and/or 50-tender platters. You can find out more on their site.

Pizza Hut

Order from “Pizza Hut Hut” (notice the temporary name change) on game day to get a large 2-topping pizza for $ 7.99.

This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

This article originally appeared on Foodandwine.com

The post Where you can get food deals on Super Bowl Sunday, because sports! appeared first on HelloGiggles.

HelloGiggles

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

South Korea’s Rights Commission Will Investigate Allegations of Rampant Sexual Abuse in Sports

(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korea’s human rights commission plans to interview possibly thousands of adult and child athletes about a culture of abuse in sports after a wave of female athletes came forward to say they had been raped or assaulted by their coaches.

The yearlong investigation will cover 50 sports and include children competing for elementary, middle and high schools, Park Hong-geun, an official from the National Human Rights Commission, said Wednesday.

He said the commission aims to interview all minor and adult athletes competing for scholastic and corporate league teams in speedskating and judo, which have been marred with sexual abuse allegations. The investigation, pushed by dozens of government officials and civilian experts, could start as early as next week and could extend beyond a year if needed. It will be the commission’s largest-ever inquiry into sports.

“Education processes will be a key part of the investigation because there are situations where athletes find it hard to disclose what they have been through or even recognize they had been abused or sexually harassed,” Park said. “We will have to discuss with the schools and teams to figure out how to proceed with the investigation in each sport, but we plan to build it mostly around face-to-face interviews.”

South Korean competitive sports in recent weeks have been hit by a growing #MeToo movement, which highlights deep-rooted problems over a brutal training culture and highly hierarchical relationships between coaches and athletes.

It began with two-time Olympic short-track speedskating champion Shim Suk-hee accusing her former coach of repeatedly raping her since she was 17. The coach, Cho Jae-beom, was the national team coach shortly before the Pyeongchang Olympics last year and is now serving a 10-month prison term for physically assaulting athletes, including Shim. Cho’s lawyers said he denies sexually assaulting Shim.

A group representing speed skating athletes said Monday there were at least five more female skaters saying they were sexually abused by their male coaches, but did not reveal their names because of privacy concerns. Encouraged by Shim, female athletes in judo, taekwondo, soccer and wrestling have also accused their male coaches of sexual harassment or assault since.

Experts say abusive treatment of female athletes has long been a problem in South Korea’s elite sports, which are predominantly run by men. Athletes often skip school to compete in athletic events and must live in dormitories, giving coaches often-overbearing control and leaving athletes undereducated and more vulnerable. South Korea has long associated national pride with achievement in the Olympics and other international sporting events, leaving problems overlooked as long as the athletes succeed.

After a previous inquiry into school sports, the human rights commission in 2010 recommended safeguards to the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee, including instructions and proposals for preventing abuse and providing better education. Choi Young-ae, the commission’s chairwoman, criticized the KOC for ignoring the guideline for years, which she said worsened the abuse facing athletes today.

“Physical and sexual violence in (South Korean) sports does not happen incidentally, but is generated consistently under a structure,” she said in a news conference on Wednesday. “A culture that puts medals and other awards over everything else has been exonerating violent behaviors and such violence has been closely associated with the sexual violence that occurs.”

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

Fox exits bidding for YES and other local sports networks

Fox rocked the sports world Friday by removing itself from the auction of Disney’s 22 regional sports TV networks, including the group’s “crown jewel” YES Network. The sale of the RSNs — a regulatory condition of Disney’s $ 71 billion deal to take over Fox’s entertainment assets — was slated to enter its second round by…
Media | New York Post

SPECIAL DISCOUNT DEAL: