Eagles get Trumped
The Philadelphia Eagles were scheduled to visit the White House today at 3 p.m. to celebrate their Super Bowl win.
The White House informed the Eagles that since less than 50 percent of the team was coming, that the invitation was no longer valid.
And we're betting — considering the narrative of today's NFL that most concerns the Trump White House — you can bet the reason for some players balking and the reason Trump gave for pulling the invite.
This is a not a good look, for either side.
Not for the President, who had multiple opportunities to pull the plug on this thing as opposed to the 11th hour with who knows how many Eagles fans already in route.
Not for the Eagles, who tried to handle it with as benign a statement as possible. But if the reports that a small collection — as small as around 20 percent of the players — was coming, then the Eagles also could have been out in front of this.
It's also a bad look for the league, which has in some ways tried to cater to Trump indirectly on the issue of kneeling during the anthem. One of the "compromises" the owners offered last month was that players could stay in the locker room during the anthem if they were not going to stand.
Trump fired his view that staying in the locker room is "as disrespectful to our country as kneeling."
And it's not a good look for Roger Goodall, who could have and should have handled this way before it has become this big of a talking point.
Next verse seems to be the same as the first.
Feeling the draft
We love the draft. You know this.
The MLB draft is easily the biggest crap shoot and the unknown about signings and whether kids will go back to school.
After Monday's first round was completed, I had several thoughts.
First, everyone says the MLB draft-entry process is the best set-up and should be the example the NBA especially should follow.
Is it the best, though? For those unaware here are those eligible for the MLB draft: Every player after their final high school season is eligible to be drafted. If that player does not like the team that picked him or the offer that team made, he can go to college. If he goes to a two-year school, he's eligible after the following season. If he goes to a four-year school, he must play for that school through his junior year.
If a player does leave school and plays in the independent minor leagues he's also available to be drafted. There have been a lot of players drafted multiple times —
Only one that I know of has been drafted in five consecutive years. That's Matt Harrington, who was the best pitcher in the country as a high schooler in 2000. He was picked No. 7 overall but wanted a signing bonus of more than $4 million. He sat out the season and was picked in round two the following season by the Padres and turned down a signing bonus of $1.2 million. He played in independent leagues and drafted in the 2002 draft in the 13th round by Tampa and the 24th round in 2003 by Cincinnati. He was picked in round 36 by the Yankees in 2004 but the Yankees did not offer him a contract because of arm injuries. (Side note: He went from turning down millions to, according to the internet, working at Costco.)
We're not suggesting that Harrington's impossible implosion means the whole system is fractured.
But is the MLB system better for the NBA and basketball players?
It could be better for the colleges, both major and two-year schools. A three-year commitment from basketball players would really help the connection to college basketball players and programs. Two-year schools would get a much better shot at some five-star talents who want to play one year.
For the players, though, there is not that clarity. Yes, high schoolers would be eligible, but how many of the high school kids developed into big-time stars. Kobe, LeBron, KG for sure. Not sure how many others though. Since only first-round deals are guaranteed, allowing second-round picks other options — whether they are signed with agents or not — is never a bad thing.
For the teams, however, their resistance to this is understandable.
Baseball can afford its players that amount of flexibility and even be OK with the roulette chances of hitting on even the earliest-round selections.
Simply put, the MLB draft has dozens of rounds and while All-Star catchers Buster Posey and Joe Mauer were high draft picks, Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza was picked in round 62.
Plus, the bottom third of the league would be staring at the very real possibility of the sign-ability of prospects and picks. If you are LeBron 2.0 and the Hawks pick you, are you excited or are you looking for a reboot?
Because the entirety of the NBA Finals likely was decided in the final 4-plus seconds of regulation of Game 1.
That's a reason the conversation of the Warriors-Cavs, Part IV has not moved beyond George Hill's missed free throw, J.R. Smith's rebound and decision to dribble out the clock when he did not remember the score.
The overtime loss wasted a 51-8-8 from LeBron James and certainly was the Cavs best chance to stake a claim in this series and make the Warriors sweat.
As much heat as Smith has gotten — and it's been staggering — a new wrinkle emerged Monday evening.
Another camera angle — we'll call it the ZaZaPruder Film — shows LeBron on the bench two seats from Smith and James asked if the Cavs did have timeouts remaining?
The answer was yes, so it was clear that James did not know that. And maybe that happens and the prudent play is to not call a timeout unless you are sure you have one. (Smith's gaffe will never fade, but ask Chris Webber which is worse, since we see Webber's 1993 NCAA title game timeout every March.)
But most importantly, a lot of the blame that has landed on Smith's tattooed shoulders should find its way to the Cavs coaching staff.
First, of all the dudes in suits over there making a huge amount of coin, one of them has to be the TO guy right?
Second, when Smith started going the wrong way, why did Tyrann Lue not use a timeout?
There was a clear meltdown. And the dejection of James and Smith and the rest of the Cavs right before the start of the Game 1 overtime was not overly shocking, considering everyone in the building — fans and players — and everyone watching at home knew what was coming.
And what it meant for the rest of the series, unfortunately.
This and that
— Speaking of the MLB draft, Oklahoma quarterback/outfielder Kyler Murray was picked No. 9 overall. He is in line for a slotted signing bonus of $4.7 million. Murray, who is projected to replace Baker Mayfield at quarterback for the Sooners, told reporters Mondaynight that he was going to play the 2018 baseball season. (He may want to call Harrington and see if he has any regrets about his decisions along the way.)
— The Washington Capitals won Game 4 over Las Vegas and have a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.
— Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are reportedly attending the start of the Pats minicamp.
— In the ripple effects of the J.R. Smith fallout, a pretty curious report with details about the Peyton Manning HGH accusations made by Al Jazeera. Thoughts?
— In a doubleheader in Detroit on Monday, Yankees slugger Aaron Judged struck out eight times. Yes, eight times. That's one fewer than Ferris Bueller's absences. Judge became the first MLB player to fan eight times in a single day. For some comparison, Judged whiffed eight times Monday; during all 56 games of his famous hitting streak in 1941, Joe DiMaggio struck out five times. In the month of June, Judge has struck out 13 times; in his 20-year MLB career, Tony Gwynn averaged fewer than 22 Ks per season Put another way: Judge had two three-strikeout games Monday; Gwynn had one three-strikeout game in his 20-year career.
— Dwight Clark, the former 49ers receiver, died Monday of ALS. He was 61. Mini-Rushmore of the most famous NFL plays of all-time would likely start with the Immaculate Reception. From there Clark's The Catch that became an all-timer SI Cover and was a springboard for the 49res to become the team of the 1980s has to be high on the list.
— CM Newton died Monday. He as 88. He was one of the backbone administrators as the SEC went from a regional league to the most powerful conference in college sports.
— Here's a recap of the start of the Elite 11 quarterback competition for the top QB prospects in the 2019 college football recruiting cycle. One of the crazy things that jumped out at us is for all the recent success for Georgia, Alabama and even Florida in terms of recruiting highly regarded prep quarterbacks, the only two of the Elite 11 currently pledged or even viewed as leaning toward SEC schools are Bo Nix (the No. 1 dual-threat QB prospect who has been committed to Auburn for a while) and Ryan Hilinski (a tall California kid who is committed to South Carolina).
— Final NBA note: Isaiah Thomas and Isiah Thomas played a pseudo game show on Jimmy Kimmel live on Monday night. Isaiah Thomas was struggled and offered this about his former team: "I'm like the Cavs. I'm going to get swept."
It's a true of false Tuesday.
True or false, in less than a year the tradition of inviting major sports champions to the White House will be stopped.
True or false, the MLB draft process is better than the NBA's draft process.
True or false, you would be shocked if Peyton Manning actually used PEDs.
True or false, Sam Darnold, who turns 21 today, will be the best rookie quarterback next season.
You know the drill. Answer some, leave some.
As for today, June 5, let's review:
Mark Mark is 47 today. That dude has come a long way since being an underwear model.
On this day in 2004, Ronald Reagan died. Conway Twitty died 25 years ago today.
Robert Kraft is 77 today. Kenny G is 62.
Rushmore of best and most famous non-singing solo musicians. Go.