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Welcome to Leading Off, a look at the week ahead in sports where we’ll let you know what to look out for this week, recap the weekend, and point you toward interesting sports stories to read. Let us know in the comments if we missed anything or if you want to let us know what you’re watching for and reading.
The Week Ahead
Women’s soccer heads to playoffs. The National Women’s Soccer League playoffs begin Saturday, when the top-seeded Western New York Flash host Sky Blue FC and FC Kansas City hosts the Portland Thorns. A few of America’s biggest women’s soccer stars will be there: the league’s leading goal scorer, Lauren Holiday (who you may remember as Lauren Cheney), stars for Kansas City, while America’s all-time leading goal scorer, Abby Wambach, leads the Flash. Portland’s roster includes U.S. National Team star Alex Morgan and top Canadian player Christine Sinclair, and American national teamer Carli Lloyd led Sky Blue FC in scoring.
Nine For IX: Speaking of women’s soccer, the next film in ESPN’s Nine for IX series, ’99ers, examines the 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team that won the World Cup in a penalty shootout. It airs Tuesday on ESPN at 8 p.m.
A-Rod saga continues. The ever-embattled Alex Rodriguez reportedly filed a grievance against the Yankees for obscuring his hip injury during last year’s playoffs. Then he got beaned by Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster. Then he sparked a Yankees rally by hitting a towering home run off of Dempster. Then, as Sunday’s game was still going, ESPN reported that he tried to wire $50,000 to Biogenesis “doctor” Tony Bosch in a possible attempt to help cover up baseball’s investigation. Given the pace of A-Rod news, it’ll keep coming for the rest of the season, like it or not.
From The Weekend
The South African government indicted Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius on murder charges in the February shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Fox Sports 1 launched its bid to challenge ESPN as the nation’s top sports network Saturday. Thanks to Ultimate Fighting, it got off to a solid ratings start.
NBC Sports debuted its weekend coverage of English Premier League soccer, showing every match either on television or through online live streaming.
The Detroit Pistons decided not to sign center Jason Collins, who became the first active NBA player to come out as gay this spring.
Major League Baseball suspended Miguel Tejada for 105 games for testing positive for amphetamines.
You Should Read…
Take a look at the NCAA rule that might keep former Marine Steven Rhodes from playing football for Middle Tennessee State this fall, from the (Murfreesboro) Daily News Journal’s Adam Sparks.
The Wall Street Journal’s John Bacon examines how Penn State football survived the first year of NCAA sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
PBS and Outside The Lines raise questions about Elliot Pellman, the former New York Jets team doctor and head of the NFL’s concussion committee who also served as former commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s personal doctor.
Sports On Earth’s Chuck Culpepper on a moment that defined the quirky career of Marion Bartoli, who retired from professional tennis this weekend, just more than a month after she won at Wimbledon.