New Mom Alex Morgan Scores First FA WSL Goal
⚽️Soccer: U.S. women’s national team striker Alex Morgan is back in superstar form. Morgan scored her first FA WSL goal yesterday on a penalty, helping her Tottenham Hotspur notch their first win of the season 3–1. That’s what you call #momgoals.
- On this side of the pond, the MLS Cup is almost set. The Columbus Crew SC ended the New England Revolution’s underdog journey with a 1–0 win yesterday to take the Eastern Conference Final. The Seattle Sounders FC and Minnesota United FC face off tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET for the Western Conference spot.
🏒Hockey: The NBA will have to fill our winter-sports void for a little bit longer, because the NHL is still dragging their skates. The original New Year’s Day start to the season has been pushed to a more realistic January 15th, with the league now aiming for a 52 or 56-game season instead of the regular 82. Just get it in writing and start the Zambonis already!
📖Sports Illustrated: As we near the end of 2020 (finally!), Sports Illustrated has shaken up their annual “Sportsperson of the Year” by naming five athletes instead of just one. This year’s edition, called “The Activist Athlete,” announced tennis star Naomi Osaka, basketball players Breanna Stewart and LeBron James (for a record third time) and the NFL’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Patrick Mahomes as recipients.
- While we love the theme, winners and overall sentiment, we can’t help but question a major misstep in overlooking the many incredible Black women in the WNBA.
- Not to take anything away from Stewart, but the decision to limit the award to champions and pick a white athlete in a year powered by strong Black leaders like Natasha Cloud and Maya Moore (who opted out of their seasons to fight for justice), seems a bit tone-deaf to us.
Why We Like Laurent Duvernay-Tardif For “Sportsperson of the Year”
🏈Football: Let’s dig back into “Sportsperson of the Year” to talk about Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (LDT). The Super Bowl–winning guard gave up his season with the Kansas City Chiefs to put his McGill medical degree to good use, joining the frontline staff in his home province of Quebec during the pandemic.
- LDT is the first Canadian to win the accolade since NHLer Bob Bourne in 1987, and the first non-hockey playing Canadian ever. The man deserves his own Heritage Minute.
🏎Formula One: With world champ Lewis Hamilton out of yesterday’s Sakhir Grand Prix with COVID-19, the path to the podium was left wide open. And after a wild race, Canadian Lance Stroll took advantage, coming in third for the second time this season.
- The Racing Point driver (whose teammate Sergio Pérez won the race) is the first Canadian not named Villeneuve to stand on the podium, but he has yet to reach the top spot. Here’s hoping that elusive win comes in next Sunday’s season finale.
⚽️Soccer: We’ve asked it before and we’ll ask it again: should soccer be our national sport? Canadians seem to be pretty freaking good at it, with the likes of women’s national team star Janine Beckie and up-and-comer Jonathan David lighting it up in Europe this weekend.
⚽USWNT Settles Part of Ongoing Equal Pay Lawsuit
Remind me about the lawsuit?: Sure thing. In March 2019, the USWNT filed a gender discrimination suit against the USSF, seeking two things: equal pay and equal working conditions. On Tuesday, the two sides settled on the working conditions.
- The USSF will now “implement revised policies on four working conditions: charter flights, venue selection, professional support and hotel accommodations” to equalize the treatment of the men’s and women’s teams. Seems like a major win to us.
Awesome! Now what?: Now the harder part. A judge already ruled against the equal pay part of the suit earlier this year, on the reasoning that the USWNT actually earned more than the men’s team overall, which is true.
🏒Preview: 2021 NHL Season
...isn’t it?: Honestly, we have no idea. Yesterday, commissioner Gary Bettman said that the New Year’s Day start is still “a work in progress,” depending heavily on the advice of medical experts, but after the league’s Return To Play committee meeting, it was reported that Bettman doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry.
- You’d think he would be, as both sides — the team owners and the players’ association (NHLPA) — are pressuring him to get something going. Unfortunately, the league is in the middle of a financial stalemate right now, and while a dreaded lockout is off the table, a season suspension is definitely a possibility. How very 2020 that would be.
Ugh. Any good hockey news?: The World Juniors are still on. After two positive COVID-19 cases last week, Team Canada’s training camp still has another week in quarantine (brutal), but other participating teams have named their preliminary rosters and are starting training camps ahead of their travels to the Edmonton bubble. At least one of our holiday traditions is looking solid.
- And if the bad news from the NHL proves true and the season is delayed, it could mean even better news for the World Juniors: first overall 2020 draft pick Alexis Lafreniére would be eligible and available to play for Team Canada. The decision needs to be made by Sunday. Sounds like a Festivus miracle is in store!
🏆Bits & Bites: This Week in Sports
🎾Tennis: First it was the wildfires in 2020, now the pandemic in 2021...who’s taking a murder hornet infestation to threaten the 2022 Australian Open? The first tennis major of the year, usually set to start at the end of January, will likely be pushed back by three weeks to February 8th to better accommodate a mandatory two-week quarantine. We can wait.
- Speaking of next season, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is adopting a new naming system for their 2021 tournaments to better align with the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Just one more step towards the WTA-ATP merger we’ve all been waiting for.
🏈NFL: This one’s a head scratcher. Commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the NFL probably won’t proceed with bubble environments for the playoffs after all, saying, “We feel strongly our protocols are working.”
- Goodell said this yesterday, the same day that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens finally played their Thanksgiving game after it was postponed three times due to COVID-19 outbreaks. The league also announced that there were 156 positive cases among players and personnel in the last two weeks of November. The irony.
🏀NBA: Christmas came early for LeBron James. The almost 36-year-old superstar signed a two-year, $85 million extension with the NBA champion LA Lakers yesterday. The new contract will take him into 2023, which is the same year his son Bronny could enter the league.
- Russell Westbrook got his Christmas wish already, too. After asking for a trade from the Houston Rockets, where he spent one season, Russ is heading to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a first-round pick. He must’ve been on Santa’s nice list.
- For the rest of us, the NBA gave us something to look forward to...five somethings, actually. The tentative Christmas Day schedule was released this week with five games scheduled over 12 hours. Deck the