High Five! Mickelson, Video Game Scandal, and a Snake Surprise

Took a small break this week along the Chesapeake Bay—you know, the usual vacation activities: playing guitar, strolling craft shops, pulling up a crab trap to find a VERY LARGE SNAKE. As sports go, it’s kind of hard to top snake-wrangling, but here’s this week’s High Five anyway…

A trophy fit for a British Open champ--or a British duchess in her 11th hour of labor.

A trophy fit for a British Open champ–or a British duchess in her 11th hour of labor.

1) Playing what he called the best round of his career, lefty golfer Phil Mickelson won his first “Claret Jug” and British Open Championship (on the 20th try) Sunday in Gullane, Scotland, zipping from behind past names like Tiger Woods and Ernie Els to a 5-under-par 66. The win was particularly satisfying after last month’s crushing runner-up finish at the U.S. Open—for the sixth time.

2) Adding more joy to Chicago fans still excited over the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win, Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is reportedly finally 100% cleared to play after missing last season with a torn ACL. Rose says he feels completely healthy and even coach Tom Thibodeau says he will play “normal minutes” during pre-season.

3) Houston rookie outfielder Brandon Barnes hit for the “cycle” Friday night against the Seattle Mariners, becoming only the second player to do so this year (Mike Trout, Anaheim Angels, May 21, also against Seattle). The cycle occurs when a hitter achieves a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game. (The triple, actually, tends to be the toughest of the four to nail.) Unfortunately, the Astros still lost, 10-7.

4) As national college football “media days” take place, a huge spotlight is on…video games. More specifically, how EA Sports use images of actual college sports stars to benefit themselves and the NCAA—but not the players, who, being considered amateur college student-athletes, are not allowed to receive compensation. That’s a very simplified version of the ongoing “O’Bannon Case,” a class-action suit centering around former UCLA hoops star Ed O’Bannon. Plenty more to come on this, but here’s a great Sports Illustrated story explaining the history.

5) It’s not just male players and coaches who are making headlines lately around alleged bad behavior. Oakland University (Rochester, Mich.) women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis was fired in June after multiple player allegations that she harassed them about their eating habits, sexual lives, and religious beliefs. Her firing also occurred the same day school president Gary Russi–her husband—announced his retirement.

Earlier this year, former Baylor basketball star Britney Griner, now an openly gay WNBA Phoenix Mercury rookie, opened up about Baylor coaching staff pressure to keep her sexuality under wraps. And in April, Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for verbally and physically attacking players. Bottom line, we may not know what goes on behind locker room doors, but we can teach our kids that no one, no matter how famous, has a right to tell them how to live their lives.

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