Good morning sports fans, it's Chris Bengel with you once again. It was definitely a little strange without any NBA games on the slate last night. However, absence does make the heart grow fonder. We're back in action tonight with the Los Angeles Clippers trying to even their series against the Phoenix Suns.
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Personally, I think I might need a few days before I'm ready to watch basketball again. As I explained yesterday morning, the Philadelphia 76ers really took the wind out of my sails (thanks Ben Simmons.) But hey, we've got a lot of great sports action on tap. The NHL playoffs are in full swing and the Tokyo Olympics are right around the corner. The world is beginning to feel somewhat normal again and I'm here for it.
Without further ado, let's take a gander at the latest news in the sports world.
📰 What you need to know
1. What the Supreme Court's decision means for the future of the NCAA
The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of collegiate athlete attempting to obtain unlimited benefits that are tied to education on Monday. The ruling could enhance college players' abilities to earn compensation, while simultaneously limiting the power of the NCAA.
Anyone who plays Division I basketball or football is eligible to receive such benefits, so you can say this was a massive decision by the court.
Now, the ruling doesn't allow schools to pay their athletes directly. But it does give schools the opportunity to provide almost anything else they want to athletes -- as long as it can somehow be related to a part of their education. Schools can offer things like internships, postgraduate scholarships and other items to lure prospective student athletes onto campus.
- "In essence, the NCAA version of amateurism is being redefined as this decision -- with NIL regulations to follow -- will allow athletes to be compensated beyond what the NCAA has fought to defend for decades, the idea that a scholarship ought to be enough."
- "If NIL rights are granted as expected, the NCAA will be stripped to its elements. Its center will be enforcement and the NCAA Tournament. Its oversight over athletes' ability to market themselves will be lessened."
- "The decision allows the NCAA Council to quickly adopt NIL legislation this week. The Council had been waiting until a Supreme Court decision to proceed. NIL rights would allow athletes to earn compensation for such outside endeavors as autographs, endorsements and commercials."
As Dodd noted, the next step is getting collegiate athletes paid for their items containing their likeness. Considering the amount of money that the NCAA makes off of these athletes, it should be a two-way street in my opinion. And seeing as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of players on Monday, it's likely the likeness debate may be over soon.
2. Carl Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay 🏈
Some NFL history was made off the field on Monday as Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player in the league's history to announce that he is gay. Nassib took to his Instagram account to make the announcement. In addition, the former Penn State standout revealed that he is donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, which is a crisis support service for LGBTQ youth.
Former St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam was the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL Draft back in 2014. However, he was released before he ever playing in a regular season NFL game.
Here are some very poignant quotes from Nassib regarding his decision to come out.
- "I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life. I've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for."
- "I'm a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I'm not really doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate."
- "I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. I only have a small window to achieve greatness in my sport and I owe it to my team, coaches, and Raider fans to be completely locked in and at my best for the upcoming season. I'm a private person, so I'd ask the media to give me some space as I navigate this exciting time in my life. Please do not take it personally if I decline an interview or am unable to answer your questions. Thank you everyone for your support. Happy Pride Month and Go Raiders."
This had to be a very empowering moment for Nassib and it's awesome to see the defensive lineman do this during Pride Month.
3. Potential Ben Simmons trade destinations 🏀
The 76ers entered the postseason as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and were expected to make a deep run. On Sunday, those dreams were dashed as the Atlanta Hawks beat them in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. One of the biggest reasons for Philadelphia's early playoff exit was the lackluster play from star forward Ben Simmons.
Over the course of the seven-game series, Simmons scored in double figures in just three games and shot just 32.7 percent from the free-throw line.
What's worse is that Simmons showcased almost no desire to be aggressive and shoot the basketball. As a result, it would appear that Simmons and the Sixers are headed for a divorce. Our NBA scribe Sam Quinn laid out some potential landing spots for Simmons and what the Sixers could ask for in return.
- Portland Trail Blazers: "This is going to be a staring contest. The first question Daryl Morey is going to ask Neil Olshey this offseason will likely be 'how much do I need to add to Ben Simmons to get Damian Lillard.' The answer, for now, is likely more than Morey has. Olshey will, in turn, ask how much he needs to add to CJ McCollum to get Simmons. The answer there isn't as clear and depends on Morey's patience. Simmons would fit with either. Lillard isn't available now. That might change if the Blazers disappoint again. Eventually, one of these two teams is going to blink."
- Toronto Raptors: "The 2019 Milwaukee Bucks launched themselves into the title picture by surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo with shooting and defense. Could a similar blueprint revive Simmons? It might be worth a try for the Raptors, who could recapture the success from their 2020 season by adding Simmons: excellent defense and transition offense make up for a poor half-court attack. Pascal Siakam regressed meaningfully last season and clashed with head coach Nick Nurse. Perhaps there's a swap there."
- Chicago Bulls: "There was surely a window in which Philadelphia could have traded Simmons for Zach LaVine. The 76ers might have even been able to acquire LaVine without giving Simmons up. It's unclear how open that window is now, with LaVine having reached All-Star status and Simmons trending downward. Chicago traded multiple first-round picks to get Nikola Vucevic seemingly in an effort to placate LaVine, who is now only a year away from free agency. Vucevic's versatile offensive game would pair just as well with Simmons."
As a 76ers fan, the pipe dream is Lillard, but the Trail Blazers haven't made him available in trade talks just yet. Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal would also be a nice consolation prize. Regardless, I'm pretty confident that Simmons won't be on the Sixers roster when the 2021-22 NBA season opens in the fall. With his inept approach on the offensive end, Philadelphia needs to make sure that they acquire someone who can shoot in a trade for Simmons.
4. Make or break players for each NFL team 🏈
NFL players will be reporting to training camp in a month and that means that the 2021 season is right around the corner. With the offseason in the books, many players have switched addresses and will be looking to make an impact with their new teams.
With that in mind, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora detailed players and coaches that could make or break their respective team during the 2021 season.
Here's a look at some intriguing ones -- all of whom happen to be QBs.
- Indianapolis Colts - Carson Wentz: "Was last year the beginning of the end of his days as a possible MVP candidate, or a blip of sorts? Is he another Band-Aid option for Indy post-Andrew Luck, or will he be there for his prime?"
- Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow: "How quickly will he play after surgery cut his rookie season off too soon? Will there be a lengthy process to get back to where he was? Will they protect him better and put him in better position to succeed?"
- Chicago Bears - Justin Fields: "How long will those in power wait to play their best quarterback? It's clear this won't be a fair fight at camp, and with jobs at stake at some point they turn it over to the rookie hoping he can keep them around. It's telegraphed for weeks."
Personally, I'm extremely interested in how the 2021 rookie class does this season as many could have substantial playing time.
Obviously, Trevor Lawrence will be starting for the Jacksonville Jaguars right off the bat and Zach Wilson will be the New York Jets starting signal caller. However, Fields has a more complicated path as head coach Matt Nagy doesn't anticipate the Ohio State product starting in Week 1. If Fields sees the field early on, it certainly could be the difference between the Bears making the playoffs or missing them completely.
📝 Odds & Ends
- Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. revealed that he won't be participating in the 2021 Home Run Derby. Guerrero is currently tied with Los Angeles Angels slugger Shohei Ohtani for the MLB home run lead with 23
- In a recent interview, Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson said he wanted to finish his NFL career with another team, but the Detroit Lions blocked him from doing so
- USA Basketball announced the women's Olympic team for the Tokyo Olympics, which will begin on July 23. Among the WNBA stars that will played for the United States are Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles
📺 What to watch tonight
⚾ Red Sox vs. Rays, 7:10 p.m. | TB -115 | TV: MLB.TV
🏒 Canadiens vs. Golden Knights, 9 p.m. I VGK -245 I TV: NBCSN
🏀 Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns, 9 p.m. I PHO -215 I TV: ESPN
🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet
Over the weekend, a young Cincinnati Reds fan was in attendance when the Reds faced off against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The young fan, a six-year old girl named Abigail, was in the house to cheer on her favorite player, which happened to be Reds first baseman Joey Votto. However, Votto was ejected in the first inning after getting into an argument with the umpire.
Abigail was upset that she wouldn't get to see Votto play and a photo was posted on social media of her crying. The Reds quickly sprung into action and gave her a signed baseball from Votto. To make the situation even better, the Reds gave the family tickets to Sunday's game. Abigail eventually got to meet Votto and pose for a photo with her favorite player