What an awesome weekend it was with one of the sporting world’s greatest events in our very own backyard.
The U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club featured great entertainment and drama on a course that truly is a gem. Phil Mickelson finished as runner-up for a sixth time at the U.S. Open. Mickelson showed tremendous class throughout and was truly forthcoming in his post-tournament comments regarding his “heartbreak” of finishing second in another Open (see story).
Listening to Mickelson makes you wonder why more people in the sports world aren’t willing to tell the truth?
The Sixers played their last game of the 2012-13 regular season exactly two months ago. Their head coach stepped down one day later, and in early May, Sam Hinkie became the organization’s new president and general manager.
Since then the franchise has drifted into silence. The Sixers have conducted all their pre-draft workouts behind closed doors. If they have interviewed possible coaching candidates, they have done so in relative secrecy.
Hinkie believes the less he says about which prospects the Sixers like, the more he will be able to wheel and deal on draft night. He may be right, but giving fans nothing to talk about is a mistake.
The splash the Sixers made last summer when they traded for Andrew Bynum went so awry that it is hard not to view as one of the worst trades in NBA history. Couple that with a roster that lacks stardom outside of Jrue Holiday and seven free agents to replace or re-sign with $11 to $15 million, and it can be hard for even the most loyal Sixers fans to get excited about the direction of the team.
While team after team conducts coaching searches -- 11 other coaching changes have been made since the end of the regular season -- Doug Collins’ replacement remains an unknown. Brooklyn thought outside the box when it hired Jason Kidd last week and the Los Angeles Clippers are stealing headlines now by reportedly trying to trade for Boston’s Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett.
By the time July rolls around, the NBA draft will be complete. The Sixers will have used the 11th, 35th and 42nd overall picks or traded them away. A coach will likely be in place and free agency will be in season.
That will be a lot of news for a team that has spent the last two months being so quiet. For the Sixers, it’s been a little too quiet.
The Sixers on Friday issued an apology to Sevyn Streeter, the artist who was supposed to perform the national anthem before Wednesday night's home opener.
Streeter was replaced by the Sixers for wearing a shirt that said "We Matter."
The team released the following statement:
“We are sorry that this happened. After receiving feedback from our players, basketball operations staff and ownership group, we believe that the wrong decision was made, and Sevyn should have been welcomed to sing. We apologize to her, and in an effort to move the conversation forward, we have reached out to offer her an opportunity to return and perform at a game of her choice. We are waiting to hear back.”
Streeter turned to social media during the game to voice her displeasure. CBS3 did report Thursday that she had signed a contract that barred her from making a political statement during the performance.
The Sixers addressed their players in a team meeting to get their opinion on how they would like to the situation to be addressed.
“Collectively, we talked about it, everybody expressed their emotions about it,” Robert Covington said on Thursday. “We know that we want to take steps about it. We just don’t know exactly what steps we want to take. We talked about a lot of different things. That’s one thing that, as a team, we’re very aware of now that the whole incident’s happened. It’s not something we’re going to look over. It’s just a matter of time.”
Richard Harkaway, a urologist from North Philadelphia, has been identified as the Sixers fan who flashed a double middle finger to Thunder star Russell Westbrook during opening night on Wednesday night.
Harkaway on Thursday issued an apology for his actions and revealed a new detail about the confrontation with Westbrook.
"As a part-time comedian I realize that my words and actions are sometimes inappropriate," Harkaway said in a statement to Philly.com issued by a personal representative.
"In this instance, after standing up to boo and being provoked by Russell Westbrook calling attention to my being overweight, my action in response was clearly inexcusable and I am embarrassed. I sincerely apologize to my fellow Sixers fans, the Sixers organization, my colleagues and patients, and to Mr. Westbrook for my behavior."
The story gets a little weirder with the allegation that Westbrook poked fun as Harkaway's weight, but at least he apologized for his actions.
The incident, coinciding with the controversy over the national anthem, put a black eye on an otherwise fun night for the Sixers and their fans.