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USWNT star, Reign legend Megan Rapinoe to host new HBO series

USWNT star, Reign legend Megan Rapinoe to host new HBO series

Megan Rapinoe’s world takeover continues.

When the U.S. women’s soccer star isn’t making statements with her epic post-goal celebrations, the OL Reign legend is using her time off the pitch to fight for activism, pay equity, and LQBT rights.

Now, Rapinoe is hosting a new series featuring some of the nation’s major political and cultural figures. 

Seeing America With Megan Rapinoe will feature the two-time U.S. World Cup winner in an “ongoing cultural conversation that has been taking place during this significant time in this country’s history.”

Rapinoe will be joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Netflix's Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.

In the trailer, the star-studded guest panel discusses the upcoming presidential election, the challenges we face as a nation, and how we can move forward together.

It is an honor to host a show with a critical conversation between some of America’s most innovative thought leaders. I am so thankful to HBO for providing such a powerful platform for this important dialogue. -- Megan Rapinoe

Rapinoe has long used her platform to advocate for change and justice. 

Recently, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow apologized to Rapinoe for how the federation responded to her decision to join Colin Kaepernick in protest of racial injustice when she kneeled during the national anthem ahead of USWNT games. She became the first white U.S. pro athlete to kneel during the anthem in 2016. 

Rapinoe joined Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at the virtual ESPYs in June, calling for an end to racism. She referenced Kaepernick’s ongoing fight for racial injustice. 

Colin Kaepernick never shied away. He knew that discomfort was essential to liberation, and that fighting the oppression against Black people is bigger than sports. So will it be uncomfortable? Yes. In speaking up, will we make mistakes? Yes. That cannot stop us from trying, and not just for a few days or for a few [Instagram] posts. -- Megan Rapinoe

Tune into Seeing America With Megan Rapinoe as the USWNT star once again uses her platform to shed light on important dialogue. The special will air on August 1 on HBO at 7:00 p.m. PT.

ATTN: Seattle Storm's Breanna Stewart is back and better than ever

ATTN: Seattle Storm's Breanna Stewart is back and better than ever

This is a public service announcement for the WNBA and sports world!

Breanna Stewart is putting everyone on notice.

The 2018 MVP and 2018 Champion, 2016 Rookie of the Year and Seattle Storm forward was seriously missed last season on the court after Stewart suffered a torn Achilles in mid-April 2019. She would miss the entire 2019 season rehabbing and recovering. 

The Storm felt the loss, as well, finishing last season sixth in the standings after claiming the championship the previous season.

Now, with ‘Stewie’ back in the lineup, alongside the best point guard in the game Sue Bird, the Storm are one of the favorites to win it all again in 2020.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Dave "Softy" Mahler].

Here is how Stewart has done through six games in the 2020 WNBA season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

- Game 1 vs. New York Liberty: 18 points, 8 rebounds

- Game 2 vs. Minnesota Lynx: 18 points, 10 rebounds

- Game 3 vs. Washington Mystics: 15 points, 10 rebounds

- Game 4 vs. Los Angeles Sparks: 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals

- Game 5 vs. Connecticut Sun: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 blocks

- Game 6 vs. Atlanta Dream: 27 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks

[RELATED: Breanna Stewart takes home WNBA Player of the Week honors]

In Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Dream, the Storm (5-1) needed every bit of Stewart on every square inch of the court. She is currently averaging 18.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists per game. Also, not to forget, Stewart is shooting 42.3% from 3-PT range, making that screen and roll with Bird a dangerous combination for opposing teams to guard.

The Storm next face the Phoenix Mercury (3-2) at 12 PM (PT) on Saturday, August 8 in Bradenton, Florida.

How Seattle Storm star Sue Bird helped WNBA players escalate protest of Sen. Kelly Loeffler 

How Seattle Storm star Sue Bird helped WNBA players escalate protest of Sen. Kelly Loeffler 

Ahead of the Seattle Storm’s Thursday night game vs. the Atlanta Dream, the Storm is making a statement. 

The Storm, as well as many other WNBA players, wore black T-shirts with the words “Vote Warnock,” on them, in support of Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is challenging Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler for her Senate seat in Georgia. 

The Republican co-owner of the Atlanta Dream recently came under fire when she objected to the WNBA’s plan to spread the Black Lives Matter message on uniforms. 

She urged Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a letter to ditch plans for players to wear warmup jerseys reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.

Dream forward Elizabeth Williams told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that it was 11-time WNBA All-Star and three-time champion Sue Bird who came up with the idea as an alternative to discussing Loeffler’s recent statements. 

Then, “Vote Warnock” shirts were born.  

"This was a situation where given what was said in regards to the owner of Atlanta and how, basically, she came out against a lot of what the women in our league stand for, I think was emotionally tough for a lot of the women in our league to hear that," Bird told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. "But very quickly we started to realize that this was only happening for her political gain. This was something that she wanted. And the more noise we made, whether it was a tweet saying to get her out, that was just playing into her hands.

"I'm not some political strategist, but what I do know is that voting is important. And I think our league has always encouraged people to use their voices and to get out and vote.

"So, what a great way for us to get the word out about this man, and hopefully put him in the Senate. And, if he's in the Senate, you know who's not. And I'll just leave it at that."

The Atlanta Dream, Phoenix Mercury, LA Sparks, Minnesota Lynx and Las Vegas Aces are among teams donning the t-shirt to support Loeffler’s Democratic challenger.  

  

Despite calls from WNBA stars urging Commissioner Engelbert to oust Loeffler from the league, Engelbert said she will not require the senator to sell her stake in the Dream. 

The Storm (4-1) and Dream (2-3) will have another public show of defiance Thursday as the two teams tip off at 3:00 p.m. inside of the Wubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.  

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is taking over the XFL, what's next for Seattle Dragons

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is taking over the XFL, what's next for Seattle Dragons

Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?

WWE star and actor, Dwayne Johnson, has agreed to purchase the XFL for $15 million, saving the league after it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April. Johnson and his investors -- which include his business partner and ex-wife, Dany Garcia, along with RedBird Capital Partners -- plan to revive the league.

The Rock confirmed the acquisition in a post on Twitter Monday. 

With my trail blazing partner @DanyGarciaCo & Red Bird Capital, we have acquired the XFL. With gratitude & passion I’ve built a career with my own two hands and will apply these callouses to our @xfl2020 brand. Excited to create something special for the fans! #XFL #fullcircle.

Johnson, 48, played college football at the University of Miami before becoming a professional wrestler and one of Hollywood’s most-known actors. He also played football with the CFL Calgary Stampeders in 1995. 

The Vince McMahon-owned league shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, eventually leading to its bankruptcy decision. The filing came just days after XFL COO Jeffrey Pollack informed employees the league was suspending operations and all employees had been laid off.  

This was McMahon’s second attempt at developing a professional football league after the XFL folded in 2001 due to low viewership. 

While the resurrected league drew mixed reviews, the XFL’s Seattle Dragons dominated in attendance. They drew an XFL record with 29,172 fans in attendance at their home opener against the Tampa Bay Vipers and surged past 10,000 in season-ticket sales in February. 

Could Johnson breathe new fire and bring back Seattle's beloved Dragons? The Emerald City hopes so!

[RELATED: With the XFL suspending operations, we'll miss Seattle Dragons fans]

U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe is on a mission to make politics cool 

U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe is on a mission to make politics cool 

US women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe is calling for change.  

The OL Reign standout has fought for activism, equality and LQBT rights her entire career. Most notably, she became the first non-NFL athlete to take a knee during the national anthem.

Now, Rapinoe is looking to help people see politics in an engaging way. On her Tuesday night appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the two-time World Cup champion shared what viewers can expect from her new half-hour special, Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe.

[RELATED: USWNT star, Reign legend Megan Rapinoe to host new HBO series]

"I’m sort of on this mission to make politics cool," Rapinoe said. "I feel like politics is always this thing, and it’s sort of meant to like this or packaged just like like, it’s not this cool thing. ‘It’s difficult to get involved in, just stay out of it.’ And then people are like ‘I don’t really want to get involved,’ and it’s like actually politics is engaging with you, whether you are engaging with it or not, all the time no matter what.

"Your whole life is political and especially if you’re a Black person or Black trans woman or a gay woman like myself or a gay female athlete, our lives are political in so many ways, so I’m trying to break it down for people and make it a little more relatable and then get people energized in the civic process, and getting involved in just being more active in their communities, also for themselves."

Rapinoe called the upcoming election the most the important election of her life. She noted the 100 million Americans that failed to vote in 2016. While voter turnout is discouraging among young people, Rapinoe believes those who watch Seeing America could be inspirited to get involved in the civic process. 

“When we all vote, it’s amazing,” Rapinoe said. “We should be trying to be getting as many people involved in voting as possible. It’s one of the greatest things about our country, we live in a democratic country, where everyone can participate and have their voice heard.”

Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, many are seeing Rapinoe's gesture of kneeling in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick in a new light. 

She began kneeling on Sept 4. 2016, just eight days after the 49ers quarterback gained notoriety for his silent protest. 

She believes the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to “the lies told to them.”

I think people are just starting to connect all of the different dots. We’ve seen what happened to Colin over all of these years and how much backlash he’s got. But all of these things coming to fruition literally what he’s talking about being played out for all of us to see in these videos. 

I guess my hope is that people are starting to connect the dots and realizing that we don’t have to live in a world like this, we don’t have to live in a world where we don’t have healthcare that’s adequate and our schools aren’t adequate. We’re one of the richest countries in the world. We can do better for ourselves and we can do better for the people that are living here. -- Megan Rapinoe 

Perhaps the most important message of her Tonight Show appearance came at the show’s conclusion, when Rapinoe called for justice for Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her home after Louisville, Kentucky police officers allegedly executed a search warrant of the wrong home. 

Wearing a shirt with the words “Say Her Name,” the 35-year-old said, “it’s a great time to arrest the cops. Breonna Taylor, Rest in Peace, you went too soon.”

The MLB should expand to Portland... so what's the hold-up?

The MLB should expand to Portland... so what's the hold-up?

Opening day for the MLB was on Wednesday this week which reminds us… Portland needs a team.

As the MLB’s 30 teams took the diamond for the first time this 2020 season, the MLB to PDX movement still lives on.

On the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast, hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon are joined by special guest Artie Wilson Jr. to discuss the MLB to PDX movement:

I think having a major league team in Portland would be tremendous for that city. I think the team would do well in Portland. I think Portland is a major league city… that has a tremendous following for teams and the people in Portland are very supportive of athletics.

Wilson is the son of former Negro league and Oregon State baseball player Artie Wilson. A 2012 inductee to the Birmington Borons Hall of Fame, Wilson played for the Birmingham Black Barons from 1942 to 1948. During that time, he was considered to be one of the league’s top shortstops. The Black Barons won the Negro American League championship in 1943, 1944 and 1948, advancing to but never winning the Negro League World Series.

Baseball runs in the Wilson family genes, and hopefully will soon run in the city of Portland.

On July 22, the Portland Diamond Project (leading the movement to bring Major League Baseball to Portland) announced their petition to bring the MLB to the Rose City had reached 60,000+ signatures.

Those who were actively campaigning for this petition included Frye, former Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey, Jessica Mendoza, Dale Murphy, Isaac Ropp, Jason Suke and many more.

Even Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Ciara have partnered with the Portland Diamond Project to further this movement. 

The support is there, and now the MLB needs to make it happen. So, what's the hold up?

According to an article in Forbes, dated back in May 2020, "The second six-month agreement between the Portland Diamond Project and the Port of Portland for the 'Terminal 2' site, just north of city’s Pearl District on the Willamette River expired on Wednesday. The group has paid a monthly fee of $37,500 to keep the exclusive agreement in place. The total cost is currently $450,000 for that right but is expected to increase.

"While the agreement expired, Craig Cheek, the head of Portland Diamond Project said that the expectation is that it will be renewed and continue. As to why the continued due-diligence, Cheek said that "a robust traffic and transportation study to examine issues in the area is what the group wishes to deliver before committing investment in the property."

Cheek adds that the group is still working on the infrastructure of the ball park and how to make it more than just baseball, the transportation surrounding the area (because who wants to be stuck in hours of traffic once the game is over), as well as other measures have been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But stay patient PDX, our time will come.

Listen to the Talkin' Blazers Podcast here.

It's July 23, Seattle Mariner fans -- and you're tied for first place today!

It's July 23, Seattle Mariner fans -- and you're tied for first place today!

Yes, those two sweet words will be heard later today: “Play Ball!”

And for a good many of us, that doesn’t mean football, basketball or soccer. It’s baseball … and it’s finally here. It's opening day!

In a strange sort of way.

The sport has a habit, in the last few years, of shooting itself in the foot and it certainly did that this summer. It could have had the sports spotlight all to itself for at least a month by settling its silly labor dispute.

But enough of moaning about what could have happened, the good thing is that we will have some games to watch. The pandemic has robbed us of minor-league baseball and that’s a shame, but the big leagues are playing.

I’m not sure exactly what the limited schedule is going to do to this season but we’re making adjustments in all parts of our life because of COVID-19 and this is certainly not one of the important things we need to fret about.

But did I say strange? Yes. Consider:

  • Playing 60 games instead of 162 is a big advantage to less-talented teams. Flukes happen in all sports and a few mediocre teams will probably be able to put together a playoff-worthy 60-game run.

  • The mega-talented teams -- basically, as it’s been for most of my long life -- are the Dodgers and Yankees and they could pay a price for a short season. The more games teams -- and players -- play, the more opportunity there is for the laws of average to play out. A small sample size can mean crazy samples.

  • And speaking of that, there is a possibility of seeing someone hit .400. Not a great chance, but a whole heck of a lot better in 60 games than over 162.

  • Players will get sick with the virus, I'm afraid, just as they probably will in the NBA and NHL. The numbers say it’s bound to happen, but I think Major League Baseball is at the biggest risk of not being able to finish its season because it didn’t go to a bubble concept.

  • If there won’t be fans in the stands, there is no real reason to travel all over the country with your players risking contact with virus carriers. The sport should have put one league in Florida, one in Arizona and played in spring-training venues.

  • I’m not a big fan of putting a runner at second base to begin extra innings, as is going to be done. Long extra-inning games aren’t a big problem -- but pace of play is. And that’s what should be dealt with in these games. Let’s get in the box and on the mound and PLAY!

  • No spitting, which sounds great but I will have to see it to believe it. Well, actually, I don’t want to see it.

  • It has a chance to be a very wacky season, but consider this, fans of the Seattle Mariners: It’s July 23 and you are in the pennant race! In fact, you are tied for first place!

  • Well, you are also tied for last place, but who cares? Play Ball! 

Bethany Balcer’s stoppage time goal secures Reign’s first win of NWSL Challenge Cup

Bethany Balcer’s stoppage time goal secures Reign’s first win of NWSL Challenge Cup

It only took 15 shot attempts and three games for the OL Reign to record their first goal of the NWSL Challenge Cup, but on Wednesday, they finally found the back of the net. 

In stoppage time, NWSL 2019 Rookie of the Year Bethany Balcer scored on a header to give the Reign the 1-0 victory and their first win of the tournament. Balcer was ultimately named Budweiser Woman of the Match. 

The score came in the 91st minute when Yuka Momiki, who came off the bench in the 81st minute, found Balcer who nodded in the game-winning goal. 

It feels really good. It feels like it’s been a long time coming. Our first two games, we didn’t really feel like we showed who we are, so it felt good to get the win. -- Balcer told OLReign.com

It was also a special moment for coach Farid Benstiti, who secured his first win since becoming the Reign’s head coach in January.

It was a game like we wanted it to be. The pressure was good and positive for us. We had a lot of pressure to do well. The pressure on the players must be positive. Even if you have to get a result, you have to be calm to be good and to listen to what we wanted, what we expected them to do. That’s the great thing. We expected that. The timing was good for everything. We were humble. We were passionate and we wanted our substitutes to come on the field fresh. It looks like a movie. They are happy because the result is positive.” -- Farid Benstiti

The preliminary round concludes on Monday, July 13, when the Reign and Portland Thorns clash at 9:30 a.m. PT. The Thorns are coming off a 1-1 draw vs. Washington Spirit and remain winless in the 2020 Challenge Cup. 

[RELATED: Despite Lindsey Horan's best efforts Portland Thorns FC draws once again]

Seattle Mariners 2020 schedule released-- Five things you need to know

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IMAGN

Seattle Mariners 2020 schedule released-- Five things you need to know

Major League Baseball is one step closer to coming back! 

After the MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) agreed to a 60-game season in late June, the framework led to Monday’s schedule announcement. 

The reigning World Series champion Nationals will host the New York Yankees on July 23 to kick off MLB’s mid-pandemic shortened 2020 season that will be held over 67 days.

Players have already reported for "spring" training on July 1. 

For the Seattle Mariners, they’ll begin play on July 24th against the Houston Astros. 

Seattle will play 40 games in their division, the AL West, and 20 games vs. the NL West. The Mariners regular season is expected to conclude on September 27th. 

Here are other things to know about the 2020 MLB season.

  1. Roster— Teams will begin with a 30 man roster for the first two weeks of the season. It will be paired down to 28 players for the next two weeks, and then 26 players for the remaining of the season. Players not invited to participate for the remainder of the season will still be paid.
  2. Universal DH— The MLB institute a universal DH, meaning pitchers will no longer be hitters. A designated runner will be placed on second base at the start of every half-inning during extra innings.
  3. Pitching in— Pitchers must face a minimum of three batters, unless an injury occurs. This will speed up the game and will add more strategy. There are also no rules or restrictions on position players pitching in 2020.
  4. Trade deadline in August— It’s not a long season, but still one of the best parts of the season will happen. Instead of falling on July 31, the trade deadline will occur a month later on August 31, the theoretical midpoint of the season.
  5. Inactive list COVID-19 edition— The MLB will have a COVID-19-specific inactive list that players will be placed on if and when they test positive or show symptoms. There will be no set amount of time for the player to sit out, unlike the injured list, which requires hitters to miss at least 10 days.

Play ball!

WNBA: 5% of players test positive for COVID-19 ahead of bubble season

WNBA: 5% of players test positive for COVID-19 ahead of bubble season

As the WNBA gears up for its shortened season in Florida, the league announced Monday that 137 players have been tested for COVID-19 over the past week and only seven tested positive. 

The WNBA began mandatory testing on June 28 as teams prepare to head to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

The league released the following statement detailing the recent tests and plans moving forward: 

In tests conducted of 137 WNBA players between June 28-July 5, seven players have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until she satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician.

Players and staff from 11 of the 12 WNBA teams will arrive at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida today. The Indiana Fever will delay their travel by at least five days in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements.

The exact players who tested positive weren't released. But, as noted, the Indiana Fever will delay its travel to the Sunshine State after two players tested positive. The Fever won’t hop on a flight to Bradenton for at least five days. The WNBA’s seven tests account for approximately 5.1 percent of the league. 

Former Oregon State standout and Los Angeles Sparks guard Sydney Weise was the first WNBA player to test positive for the coronavirus in March. She detailed her experience on the Talkin' Beavers podcast with host Ron Callan. 

The WNBA will return to action in late July with a 22-game season all played at IMG Academy.