Take 5: Bell, Beadle and Basketball

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs upfield in first half action against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Steelers won, 20-17. (Sam Riche/TNS)

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs upfield in first half action against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Steelers won, 20-17. (Sam Riche/TNS)

By The Pitt News Staff

If you were so busy with move-in and syllabus week that you missed out on the biggest news from the sports world, don’t worry — we have your back. From catsuits to contract holdouts, The Pitt News staff takes a look at the spiciest storylines from the past week.

For whom the $14.5 million Bell tolls

With the start of the NFL season just 10 days away, Steelers All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell remains in a contract holdout with the organization and has not shown up for any organized team activities. The two sides’ disagreement stems from the fact that Bell feels he should be paid a ridiculous $17 million per year as an “elite offensive weapon,” rather than a typical running back. Pittsburgh reportedly offered Bell a generous contract of $70 million over five years, which would have been the largest multi-year contract of any NFL running back.

Now, Bell will play 2018 under a still-generous $14.5 million — if and when he shows up to play at all. Most predict that Bell will play in week one, as he did last year after a similar holdout, but it’s possible that Bell will miss up to eight games.

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It’s one thing to bet on yourself and make a positive change for the market, but it’s another thing to be flat-out greedy. Yes, Bell is a great player. But as a Steelers fan, I believe his antics are beginning to outweigh his on-field impact. Plus, the Steelers have a perfectly capable backup running back in James Conner ready to hold the fort in Bell’s absence.

At this point, it’s unknown if Bell will return by week one or if we’ll have to wait half the season to see him in action. And at this point, I really don’t care.  

— Trent Leonard, Sports Editor

“Get Up” trending down

Wednesday, Aug. 29, marked ESPN anchor Michelle Beadle’s last day on the network’s morning primetime show “Get Up.” This shouldn’t be much of a shock to viewers since “Get Up” has been a complete disaster since debuting April 2, drawing low viewership and criticism of the hosts’ poor chemistry. It was originally pitched as ESPN’s new updated morning show with Mike Greenberg as the headline anchor alongside Beadle and former NBA player Jalen Rose.

Some may think that Beadle’s reassignment to ESPN’s new NBA postgame show is a demotion after her comments about not watching football at all this season following the Urban Meyer controversy at Ohio State, but it is far from that. According to several sources, including the Chicago Tribune, Beadle only took the “Get Up” job because former ESPN President John Skipper offered her $5 million to do the show.

Additionally, Rose will now only be on “Get Up” on days he doesn’t have responsibilities on another show, “NBA Countdown.” Mike Greenberg will continue to host along with a rotating panel of guest co-hosts. The show also got cut back from three hours to two. “Get Up” is officially a failure and just adds to the continued downfall of ESPN.

— Colin Martin, Staff Writer

Thanks for the (not so great) memories

With only about a month left in the season, the Pirates finally made the move that fans had been hoping for since May. The team designated infielder Sean Rodriguez for assignment yesterday, meaning that he is done playing for Pittsburgh after four years and two stints with the team. Rodriguez had memorable moments with the Pirates, such as punching a gatorade cooler during the 2015 NL Wild Card loss to the Chicago Cubs, and also hitting a walk-off home run in the first game back with the team in his second stint.

But this season was a complete disaster for the man who the fans call “Serpico.” In 173 plate appearances, Rodriguez struck out 60 times and managed only 25 hits, leading to a .167 average and a .277 on base percentage.

It’s good that the Pirates have finally let go of someone who shouldn’t have been around this season for much longer than a month. But it’s puzzling that manager Clint Hurdle held on to him for as long as he did, and he has offered no good excuse as to why.

I wish I had more positive things to say about Rodriguez, but his play was so poor this year that he held the team back in many games. I’ll always remember the great moments of Sean-Rod, but this year all but ruined his legacy as a Pirate — not just for me, but for the entire fan base.

— Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer

Diggins not diggin’ the wage gap

A couple days ago, WNBA star Skylar Diggins made headlines for speaking out against unequal pay among athletes in the NBA and WNBA.

I’ll admit — my first reaction was one of skepticism. After all, there’s far more revenue in the NBA, whether through jersey sales, ticket sales or viewership. It’s unfortunate, but simply impractical for women in the WNBA to make the same wages as their NBA counterparts.

But after looking past the headline and reading Diggins’ actual remarks, I began to see she had a very legitimate case. She points out that NBA players earn about 50 percent of the revenue, whereas women earn a percentage in the twenties, and that NBA players receive a share of their jersey sales while WNBA players do not.

Diggins goes on to discuss other discrepancies such as media coverage and travel, but her primary point is this — it makes sense for WNBA athletes to earn the same pay, at least on a ratio basis, as players in the NBA. It won’t be equal, as NBA revenue still overshadows that of the WNBA, but at least it will be fair.

— Trent Leonard, Sports Editor

Cat’s out of the bag (and back on the court)

Since when did a world-class tennis player also have to deal with being a fashion offender?

Serena Williams made her return to the courts in May at the French Open after taking a few months off as a new mom. She wore a black catsuit-like outfit and took to Twitter with her look, posting an uplifting statement that encouraged confidence. Although many of her fans were all for it, French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli recently criticized Williams’ outfit and now looks to impose a dress code on players.

Let’s just say the president of the French Tennis Federation had no reason to be offended in any way. As a new mom, the reasons for Williams’ outfits were obvious. A tight outfit like the one she wore prevents blood clots — a problem that may occur during and after pregnancy. But, at the same time, she wore it to make a statement. She was a new mom returning to the intense atmosphere of professional sports, and wanted to inspire other mothers.

Williams’ outfit this week at the U.S. Open made an even stronger statement. Practically wearing the opposite of a catsuit, she played in a tutu. She’s leading a social conversation about women’s empowerment by allowing her direct conflict with the French Open to diffuse, and instead bringing a larger issue to the stage. And who better than a strong, powerful and established woman to take the lead?

— Joanna Li, Assistant Sports Editor