It was a tough week for a number of sports-related figures. Among them:
- ESPN and Rachel Nichols overshadowed the NBA Finals when a long-simmering story involving covertly recorded and shared racial remarks went full boil.
- USA Track & Field found itself heavily criticized after it declined to include superstar sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson on the 4×100 U.S. Olympic Relay team. Richardson had previously been disqualified from the individual 100-meter race due to a positive marijuana test, but she was technically still eligible for the relay race.
- Los Angeles Dodgers’ star pitcher Trevor Bauer has been suspended by MLB following unbelievably brutal rape allegations. MLB had to step in after the Dodgers inexplicably planned to continue playing him.
- John McEnroe was criticized for his tone-deaf remarks about the metal health of Wimbledon player Emma Raducana, an 18-year-old Londoner playing in the intense spotlight of her home country. McEnroe’s brand is tone-deaf, of course, so don’t expect any significant fall-out from this one.
There were also a few non-sports related ones as well:
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill managed one final self-inflected wound when journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones spurned it for Howard University after a months-long tenure battle that put the university and its values in the national spotlight. Making it an even bigger win for Howard, it also announced that well-known and widely respected author Ta-Nehisi Coates was also joining its faculty.
- ExxonMobil’s lobbyist broke the cardinal rule of lobbying, which is don’t make your client’s job tougher by becoming the story.
- Declan Kelly, the CEO of PR and Public Affairs firm Teneo was forced to resign after allegedly getting drunk and inappropriately touching women at a client event that included Meghan Markle and Prince Harry as honorary co-chairs.
So, who won the week? That’s easy – National Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde. The 14-year-old is the first African American to win the spelling bee, and if you weren’t completely charmed by her response to winning, I don’t even want to know you. And, it turns out, spelling is just one of her many talents.