Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Tests Positive for COVID-19 a 2nd time, Will Not Travel to Orlando with team

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

You ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go your way, and you find yourself asking, how can today possibly get any worse? And then low and behold, something else terrible happens and it immediately gets worse? That has been the last several months for our Brooklyn Nets.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who was hopeful to travel with the Nets to Orlando despite being infected with COVID-19 and showing symptoms, tested positive for a 2nd time on Monday, thus ending any hopes of returning to the hardwood once the season resumes. Dinwiddie updated fans and commended the Nets organization in several tweets earlier on Tuesday afternoon:

Dinwiddie is the 6th player on the Nets roster to have tested positive for COVID-19 since March and the 2nd Net in the last two weeks, as DeAndre Jordan also tested positive for the virus. Unlike Jordan, who immediately stated he would not be playing in Orlando, Dinwiddie’s goal was to rehab as much as he can and see where things stood before the team left to Orlando. Unfortunately, Dinwiddie fell short of his goal and will be watching what’s left of the Nets compete from the comfort of his home. The Brooklyn point guard did leave fans on a positive note by tweeting out the following:

With Dinwiddie officially out, the team has some tough roster decisions to make. Who will start at point guard? Which players will step up and attempt to match the production that was given to the Nets on a nightly basis from Dinwiddie, DeAndre, and Wilson Chandler? As NetsDaily pointed out, here is what the remaining roster looks like for Brooklyn:

It seems as though newcomer Tyler Johnson will get big minutes now, paired with the likes of Chiozza and Temple backing up Caris LeVert and Joe Harris. TLC will also be in that mix. Reserves such as Jeremiah Martin and Dzanan Musa could see an increase in playing time if there is any injury to the guards mentioned previously.

It will be interesting to watch how interim HC Jacque Vaughn handles this new roster and what lineups he decides to use in Orlando. There are several fans out there (myself included) that believe Vaughn is coaching for the Nets HC job next year, which could be a motivating factor for this team to perform well and exceed expectations. The Nets may not be the team they were when the season ended in March, but this team still has some fight left in them.

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WATCH: Yankees’ Miguel Andujar punishes Gerrit Cole with oppo-homer to start game

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees hosted their second intrasquad exhibition game on Tuesday night, with Gerrit Cole featuring on the mound.

Cole, who signed a nine-year, $324 million deal this off-season, started off the game by striking out Mike Tauchman on four straight pitches. He followed that up with a Miguel Andujar opposite-field home run.

The first pitch to Andujar was taken deep, as the young outfielder/third-baseman is finding his offensive groove once more.

Jordan Sullen “Writes” the Wrong in Society with Amazing Books

A love of reading is something every parent should foster in their children.  For NFL defensive back Jordan Sullen, he is making it all the more possible with his children’s books.  Sighting, the late, great iconic children’s author Dr. Seuss as his inspiration, these wonderful works are written in a rhyming scheme that flows so beautifully and effortlessly and make for a memorable read.   Sullen’s books are unlike any other as they are not only filled with fun stories but also have deeper, meaningful messages behind the well-written words.  He says his books aim to include lessons that haven’t been taught to kids, but really should be  

Having worked endlessly with his publishing company, Sullen put great care into learning what kids truly enjoy and take to when it comes to books.  He says he learned a great deal of what peaks kids’ interests from titles, to an abundance of eye catching colors, to a rhyme that runs smoothly, as well as the big gap in age range of the target audiences of books.  His first book Mally in the Middle tells of two extraterrestrial young boys named Jasper and Mally who embark on a fun adventure when they are transported to Earth and begin to enjoy all of the fun summertime brings.  The book is a fantastic read that evokes a sense of whim and magic for kids who need something refreshing during these hot days.  Inspired by his friend’s daughter’s beautiful hairstyle, Sullen’s next release was Flower, Flower, Give Her Power which chronicles the story of little Magnolia who lives with her single father and has to deal with some mishaps which ultimately turn into a lesson well-learned.  With this book, Sullen details, that he aimed to eradicate the despicably, negative, racial stereotypes of young, black, fathers bring incompentent by showing a dad who unconditionally loves his daughter and dedicates his life to raising her by himself.   Sullen’s stories are not just interesting reads, but teach young minds that we should always give it our very best in everything that we do and that it is perfectly fine to make blunders and that we should learn from them.  His latest book, set to release this upcoming August, so poignantly describes the issues beleaguering our world today.  The book titled  Numbers Don’t Lie aims to show young black kids that they should be proud of who they are because they are beautiful and strong in every sense of the word, while also promoting acceptance.  Characters have an array of outfits, facial expressions and shades of brown so that young kids can see themselves positively depicted.  It is not only important, but absolutely vital for young minds to see powerful, compelling, dynamic, tenacious black figures and Sullen embodies that not only in his characters, but through himself.      

Having been into art, all of his life, Sullen put it off due to his busy, stellar career as an athlete, but when he decided to embark on his next chapter, he saw fit to hone his artistic side again putting intense thought and effort into the characters and their faces.  Sure, he says, he could have hired an illustrator, but he figured it would cost a great load of time and money and he would not know if someone else could adequately express what he truly wanted and aimed to do.  The amazing illustrations, which he does all by his incredibly talented self, really capture the attention of both kids and parents.  They so beautifully depict the fantastic story being told and are images that promote inclusiveness that is so deplorably lacking in the media, yet so desperately needed.  Parents should buy these books, available on all major platforms, as they are not only highly enjoyable and entertaining, but also purposeful and worthwhile at cultivating a sense of exemplary lessons all of our children (and parents) should be gleaning and enacting in their lives.    

Sullen is an absolute class act in every sense of the word.  When he heard about a devastating story about a young  13 year old girl Kashala Francis of Houston, Texas being so despicably, horrendously treated by her classmates, eventually losing her life, Sullen dedicated his book to her and Maleah Davis who was so deplorably murdered.  Sullen is the epitome of a leader and champion. Both Sullen and his wonderful wife Ariel, are a power couple-amazing role models who so consummately show young boys and girls how to use your platform to make a difference and create change.  Ariel is an entrepreneur who created Just Dance Studio and S2 The Brand, a clothing company that focuses on athletic wear, who shows young girls how to be powerful, strong, empowered women not just through her companies, but her actions, as she often partakes in charity and philanthropic work.  Sullen gives back in any way he can, whether it be donating 20 free hardback copies of Mally in the Middle to children, hosting a free session in which he discusses issues young athletes  are dealing with and how to reach a true level of success not just on the field, but off of it as well, hosting a free defensive back sports clinic, actively and fervently taking part in the Black Lives Matter Protests to shed light on the injustices plaguing our society and creating such a compelling message of change and so much more, Sullen has a pure heart of gold.  There truly are not enough good things to say about him.  He is a light in this world of darkness and a true gift.  His name may be “Sullen”, but he spreads nothing but pure joy! 

New York Giants: Jason Garrett A Major Upgrade At Offensive Coordinator In 2020

New York Giants, Jason Garrett

The New York Giants are entering the 2020 NFL season with a new coaching staff. Pat Shurmur was fired from the position after two disappointing seasons with Big Blue. His replacement, Joe Judge, has quickly won over the fanbase with a commanding introductory press conference and the hiring of an excellent and experienced coaching staff.

Joe Judge hired multiple former head coaches as assistants on his coaching staff. The biggest name of all was Jason Garrett, former the Dallas Cowboys head coach from 2010-2019. Garrett was hired to serve as the Giants’ new offensive coordinator, replacing Mike Shula who held the position since 2018.

Mike Shula was always an interesting hiring for the New York Giants. He was not the team’s first choice at offensive coordinator- that was Kevin Stefanski, who is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. However, once the Vikings denied permission for the Giants to interview Stefanski, the team shifted focus and went with Shula instead.

Shula had some familiarity with Dave Gettleman from Carolina. He was a member of the Panthers’ coaching staff from 2011 to 2017. Shula’s offensive scheme helped quarterback Cam Newton reach MVP status en route to a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. In New York, though, Shula was not running his own scheme, rather, he was helping Pat Shurmur run his scheme.

A Different Coaching Philosophy

One of the biggest differences for the Giants in 2020 will be the fundamental change in coaching philosophy. Under the last two head coaches, McAdoo and Shurmur, the Giants’ offensive coordinators were far less involved on Sundays. Both Shurmur and McAdoo called plays for the Giants, quite unsuccessfully. Both offensive schemes were criticized for being predictable and inefficient.

Perhaps the most detrimental aspect of having the head coaches call plays was their lack of situational awareness. Quite often, both coaches would forget to call timeouts or call them at unfavorable moments. McAdoo and Shurmur had poor clock management skills that many attribute to the two coaches being too wrapped up in playcalling.

The Giants will not have that issue anymore as they welcome in a new philosophy. Now, the offensive coordinator will run the offense and call plays while the head coach oversees the entirety of the team. Luckily for New York, they secured one of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds in the league with Jason Garrett.

Jason Garrett As An Offensive Coordinator

During his long tenure with the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett always had one of the league’s top offenses:

“With Garret calling plays, the Cowboys passing offense was never ranked lower than 9th in yards per game or 11th in yards per play, including two top five finishes in both categories. The rushing offense was top ten in yards per play four times.” –via Giants.com

Now with an offensive coordinator dedicating his attention strictly towards the offense, the Giants could see more consistency out of its scoring unit.

UFC: Glover Teixeira – Thiago Santos to headline September 12th Fight Night

Anthony Smith, UFC

The UFC has finalized a big-time light heavyweight matchup to headline their September 12th card from the APEX. According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the UFC has finalized a fight between top contenders Glover Teixeira (31-7) and Thiago Santos (21-7).

Big fight for the UFC’s light heavyweight division

This is a big fight when it comes to pecking order in the light heavyweight division. Teixeira has seen a resurgence in his career since the beginning of 2019. Teixeira will be getting ready to turn 41 years old on fight night, but he’s rattled off four consecutive wins including a stoppage over top contender, Anthony Smith

Teixeira is trying to fight for one more chance at the UFC title. Teixeira’s one shot at the title came back in 2014 against Jon Jones. Since losing that fight, Teixeira has gone 9-4 in the UFC. A win over Santos would put him in prime position for one more chance at the title. However, winning is not going to be an easy task.

We have not seen Thiago Santos since he last fought against Jon Jones at UFC 239. Santos tore his ACL in the fight, and now he’s ready to return. Santos has looked like a completely different fighter since he moved up to 205 pounds. Prior to the Jones fight, Santos had won four fights in a row including knockouts over Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz.

A win for either man on September 12th could mean a shot at the light heavyweight title. The division is in flux right now while Jon Jones figures things out with the UFC. Dominick Reyes is likely to get the next shot or perhaps Jan Blachowicz. However, the winner of this fight in September will not be far behind.

New York Giants: David Tyree talks Super Bowl 42, Eli Manning, Golden Tate

New York Giants, David Tyree

David Tyree’s name hits home for New York Giants fans because of this:

Tyree’s helmet catch in the Giants’ Super Bowl 42 matchup with the New England Patriots was the heart of a game-winning drive, capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress with 0:35 remaining.

In an interview that will shown Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and rebroadcasted at 11:30 p.m. on the “MSG 150 at Home,” Tyree calls his mesmerizing catch the “monumental moment.”

“For me, it’s this moment that I call the monumental moment. It’s always something that I can go back to and celebrate with fans and teammates. And to be a part of history is pretty monumental. It’s amazing.”

Tyree appreciates the “journey and evolution” of his former quarterback.

“I think what I appreciate is the journey and evolution of Eli Manning. When you’re drafted #1 overall, the expectations are extremely high. When you think about the legacy attached to the name and the many shoes he had to walk into, especially coming into New York City. And what I appreciate is that it wasn’t all roses when he first stepped into New York. But he just worked. He was consistent, he was full of integrity and he was full of character. He was the best teammate I think any of us ever played with throughout our years. He never spoke ill of his teammates. He was very true to himself and he improved and matured into a Hall of Fame quarterback.”

The Giants selected Tyree in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Syracuse University. Across five seasons with the Giants he totaled 54 receptions, 650 yards and four touchdowns. In Super Bowl 42, he totaled three receptions, 43 yards and a touchdown.

Fast forward to 2020, and the Giants wide receiving corps is headlined by veterans Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard and soon-to-be second-year player Darius Slayton.

Tyree thinks Tate, 31, has “more in the tank.”

“I love Golden Tate. I’ll just say that right now. He’s definitely got more in the tank.”

Tate finished 2019 with 49 receptions, 676 yards and six touchdowns across 11 games. He was suspended the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Tate is entering the second season of a four-year, $37.5 million contract with the Giants.

New York Giants: Victor Cruz expects Daniel Jones to become a ‘leader’

New York Giants, Victor Cruz

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones turned some heads in his rookie season. Across 13 games, 12 of which were starts, he threw for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 61.9 percent of his passes and posting an 87.7 quarterback rating. Jones also ran for 279 yards and two touchdowns.

The Giants are going into their first full season with Jones under center, as Eli Manning announced his retirement in January.

In an interview with NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano, former Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said that he thinks Jones can become a “leader” in his sophomore season (quotes via Giants.com’s Matt Citak).

“Just continuing to build on the leadership qualities he already has,” Cruz said when asked what comes next in Jones’ development. “I think obviously, coming in on another year without Eli Manning being there, he can actually feel like the leader, be himself and start to bring these guys under his leadership. I think that’s the biggest thing he has to fulfill this year.”

“Yes, the stuff on the field will kind of take care of itself. He’ll make the plays, he’ll make the decisions that he needs to make, I think, in order to be successful… Daniel Jones, this will be the year where he starts to build his own leadership with his guys.”

As Citak mentions, Manning said back in May that he thinks his departure will help Jones this season.

“I think it will be easier this year for him to kind of step up as that leader,” Manning said. “Last year was probably awkward for him, me being there, me being in meeting rooms and just kind of the whole dynamic. Me being gone and, hey, he is the quarterback, he is the guy, for him to have that control and the authority over receivers and offensive line.”

The New York Giants selected Jones with the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Duke University.

UFC: Cody Stamann – Jimmie Rivera added to July 15th card

The UFC is adding a big-time matchup on very short notice to their second Fight Island card. MMA Junkie is reporting that UFC bantamweight contenders, Cody Stamann (19-2-1) and Jimmie Rivera (22-4) will be clashing on Fight Island.

It was reported last night that the UFC had lost it’s co-main event of their July 15th card as Pedro Munhoz tested positive for COVID-19. The UFC started exploring options for Frankie Edgar with the Munhoz fight being scrapped. One of the fighters that spoke up about taking the fight against Edgar on short notice was Cody Stamann.

UFC’s July 15th card added a good one

Once Stamann volunteered to fight Edgar, the wheels started spinning for the UFC. There became increasing interest in getting Stamann on the card. The Edgar fight didn’t materialize, but the UFC had another opponent for Stamann.

Jimmie Rivera hasn’t fought in over a year, but he’s still considered one of the better bantamweights in the world. Yes, he’s 1-3 in his last four fights, but those three losses came against the top three bantamweights in the UFC rankings. There is no doubting that Rivera is one of the best in the world at 135 pounds.

From a rankings perspective, this fight is perfect for the UFC. Stamann is currently ranked 10th while Rivera is ranked 9th. Stamann is coming off of a very emotional win last month after losing his little brother tragically. He never looked better in that fight, and he’s looking to capitalize on the momentum. With both men being bigger bantamweights, they have agreed to fight at 145 pounds due to the short notice.

Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko could be forced to miss playoffs per RTP guidelines

New York Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko has returned to New York and is in the process of self-quarantine as have all players who return from overseas.

Due to his underlying health conditions, he is a Type 1 diabetic and has celiac disease, he could be deemed “unfit to play” per the “NHL Phased Return to Sports Protocol” announced on Monday.

The NHL and NHLPA announced an agreement on Monday to set the guidelines for Phase 3 and Phase 4 to proceed beginning July 13. The 20-page document detailed every aspect of how the NHL will work with the teams, players, staff, hotel workers, chefs, and visiting family members during training camp as well as when clubs travel to their hub cities at the end of July.

The health of everyone involved was of the utmost importance but also may have a factor in the availability of players before Phase 3 begins.

Section F – Pre-Participation Medical Examination (PPME) has a clause at the end of the section that appears to take the final decision of whether a player is fit to play or not out of his hands. The wording of the final paragraph says,

Players who, after consultation with the Club doctor who conducted the PPME, and the Club’s infectious disease expert, are determined to be at substantial risk of developing a serious illness as a result of exposure to the novel coronavirus shall be deemed to be unfit to play and shall not be permitted to participate either in Phase 3 or Phase 4. A Player may initiate a Second Opinion concerning his fitness to play status pursuant to Paragraph 5 of his Standard Player’s Contract.

Looks like the two sides are possibly trying to avoid a situation where a player with known health (underlying) factors could be told to sit out the playoffs in order to prevent a serious medical situation if they or players around them contract COVID-19.

NHL.com writer Dan Rosen spoke about Kakko’s health when he Tweeted a quote for Rangers president John Davidson on May 28.

“JD said on a Zoom call today that they’ll listen to the medical staff to determine if it’s safe for Kaapo Kakko to play. He has Type 1 diabetes. I’m told that doesn’t put him at risk for infection, it puts him at a higher risk for complications if he is infected.”

The statement verified that players are not at a higher risk of getting the virus with health risks, but if a player should contract the virus, it will be tougher for him to fight it off.

Section F may be a way of teams protecting themselves and their players from serious health conditions. It’s hard to think the NHL and Rangers teams doctors would shut Kakko down now.  Training camp is six days away from beginning at the team’s training facility in Tarrytown, NY.

That leaves six more days of waiting to see if the Rangers will have the second overall draft pick in last year’s NHL Draft playing in the Qualifying Round against the Carolina Hurricanes on Aug. 1.

UFC: Gilbert Burns on if Masvidal wins at UFC 251: “It’s gonna be a circus”

We are just a few days away from the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island. There has been so much going on over the past few days that it’s felt like a UFC circus.

Top contender, Gilbert Burns (19-3), was removed from his UFC title fight after testing positive for COVID-19. Original number one contender, Jorge Masvidal (35-13), stepped up to replace Burns. Burns was interviewed by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto where he was asked about all of the events over the past week.

“I heard Masvidal jumped in, and to be honest, I’m happy with that… That’s the fight that everyone wanted.” Burns said to Okamoto. Burns was asked about his feelings on the fight and future opportunities to which he responded, “If Masvidal wins, things are going to get crazy in the division. It’s gonna be a circus…” Burns said with a smile.

UFC’s welterweight picture & Gilbert Burns’ future

After watching the full interview, you cannot walk away not being a fan of Gilbert Burns. Most people would be completely devastated still after losing this opportunity. However, Burns continues to smile just wanting to get back into the cage.

Burns does have a good point about the UFC‘s welterweight division. If Masvidal is able to win on Saturday, the division is going to get turned on it’s head. Masvidal is not going to fight the next guy in-line, but instead, he’s going to look for the fight with the most dollar signs.

If Usman is able to retain his UFC welterweight title, Burns might get the next shot. However, there is always the possibility that the UFC runs the fight back with Masvidal giving Gambred a full training camp. If you’re a contender in the division like Burns, you should be pulling for Usman to win on Saturday. If Jorge Masvidal is able to claim the UFC title, you might see someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor get the next shot at the welterweight title.