The nation reached another grim milestone this week in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic: Four million cases, with deaths surpassing 143-thousand here in the U.S. alone. California, Texas, Arizona and Florida are seeing the highest spike in infections.
And yet, somehow, the sports world got its groove back on this week, with the return of the NWSL, the MLB, the WNBA are gearing up to tip-off with the NBA, NHL and NFL drawing up their plans as well.
Let me just take this moment to give a shout-out to my New York Mets, who for the first time in team history are undefeated going into the fourth week of July. Yes, yes, I know about those other teams; we can add the asterisk later.
Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe, healthy and taking precautions to protect yourself and those you care about, as I take a moment to look back at the week that was, beginning with the start of 2020 women’s pro basketball.
Loser: British boxer ‘apologizes’ after getting sacked for homophobic and transphobic TikTok
Middleweight James Hawley’s promoter dropped him because of his bigoted TikTok video. But he says he’s the real victim here, saying he has gay friends and a cousin.
Winners: Are you ready for the WNBA?
Our friends at Swish Appeal have a preview of the 2020 WNBA season, which is finally here! While the players will be engaged in a bevy of off-court social justice activities, they’re amped for the on-court action: a 22-game season in one location that tipped off Saturday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Undecided? Elena Delle Donne reveals fears; Mystics GM says she will be paid even if she doesn’t play
In an emotional Players’ Tribune op-ed, Elena Delle Donne discusses how Lyme disease ravages her immune system and should prevent her from playing in a pandemic. Her coach said last weekend he didn’t expect her on the court.
Winner: Angel McCoughtry on Kelly Loeffler, MLK and Black Lives Matter
Out WNBA forward Angel McCoughtry is now with the Las Vegas Aces but is a longtime face of the Atlanta Dream. She talked with Swish Appeal’s Hard Screen podcast about the rich civil rights history the team’s name represents.
Someone will be the loser: NWSL Final this Sunday
After vanquishing the Chicago Sky, the women of the Chicago Red Stars meet the Houston Dash this Sunday in Sandy, Utah, to see who will take home the Challenge Cup. Against all odds. Houston plucked the Portland Thorns on Wednesday in the semi-final to advance. No fans will be in attendance, but the match will be televised on CBS on Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m. EDT. You can also watch the final on Fobu. Click here for details on a special free trial just for Outsports readers.
Loser: World Series champ Aubrey Huff gets called out for gross homophobic tweet
Huff frequently tweets hateful messages on his toxic Twitter feed.
Winner: Gay Olympic rower aims to fight injustice: ‘Sport is a vehicle to shine a light’
Emma Twigg of New Zealand says her sexuality has never been a focus of her rowing career but now she’s ready to advocate for LGBT athletes.
Winner: Gay swimmer Michael Gunning remains determined to represent Jamaica at the Olympics
Despite the pandemic postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Gunning maintains his focus on being a role model as a Black LGBTQ swimmer.
Winner: Once a college club gymnast, gay coach stresses being inclusive as CrossFit trainer
JR Jaquay remembers the isolation as boy growing up in Texas and feeling different. That led him to stressing inclusiveness in his coaching and training.
Winner: For trans college equestrian rider, barn was his safe space
“Horses don’t understand concepts such as sexual orientation, or gender identity,” says college equestrian rider Jay Robinson. “The only thing that a horse really cares about is how the person in the tack makes them feel.”
Winner: This is me, Paul Ruggeri on gymnastics, Team USA & being gay
Paul Ruggeri is finding his true self, out and proud in pursuit of a nursing career, after a life of gymnastics and Team USA.
Undecided: Idaho trans student athlete ban faces injunction hearing; Motions to be decided by August 10th
A request for an injunction and motions to dismiss the lawsuit against HB 500 were debated in a three-hour hearing Wednesday in federal court in Boise. The ACLU seeks to stall or stop Idaho’s controversial law that bans transgender students like Lindsay Hecox from competing with cisgender athletes.
Winners: These 109 people and organizations are opposed to Idaho’s trans athlete ban
Idaho’s HB500 is opposed by more than 100 civil rights organizations, companies and LGBTQ athletes.
Losers: World Rugby considers ban on transgender women athletes
Governing body report claims “greater risk” due to safety concerns.
Winner: Who’s on first? Assistant Coach Alyssa Nakken
“It’s not only great for Alyssa Nakken and the Giants, but also for women and other underrepresented communities.” Thanks to our friends at McCovey Chronicles for this story about the first woman coach in Major League Baseball to take the field.
Watch and be a winner: How to support an LGBTQ athlete coming out on your team
Five coaches from across sports discussed how to handle the situation when an LGBTQ athlete comes out on your team.
Watch and be a winner: How to tackle homophobic and transphobic language in sports
This event offered tips on how to address anti-LGBTQ language on your team or during a game.
Winner: LGBT reporter covering Washington NFL team says she was sexually harassed by former team exec
Rhiannon Walker says Washington’s former director of pro personnel made lewd remarks about her looks, and asked if she would be interested in dating.
Loser: Jeremy Roenick sues NBC claiming ‘anti-straight discrimination’
Ken Schultz high-sticks the former NHL star and broadcaster, who hopes to prove NBC discriminated against him for being straight when the network fired him for vulgar comments on a podcast.
That’s all for this week! I’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name I missed, or want to challenge my choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message me via any social media, or just plain email me at email@example.com Thanks!