The Sports Report: Melvin Gordon makes a serious demand

Melvin Gordon
(John Hart / Associated Press)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and I’m pretty sure the Earth has been ripped from its orbit and is hurtling toward the sun. That’s the only rational explanation for how hot it is.


I’m tired of leading this newsletter with basketball, so let’s switch to a topic that hasn’t been discussed much lately: the NFL.


Everything was going along swimmingly this offseason for the two local teams….. until Thursday brought bad news for the Chargers.

Running back Melvin Gordon wants a new contract, or he’s not reporting to training camp and he will demand a trade. He is scheduled to make $5.6 million this season, the final year of his current deal.

Gordon rushed 175 times for 885 yards and caught 50 passes for another 490 and scored 14 touchdowns last season in 12 games.

Gordon last month said running backs were “definitely devalued” and said he understood that injuries at the position were causing teams to rethink how much they wanted to invest in ball carriers.

“I know my value and I know what I bring to the team,” he said. “I’m sticking with that.”

Hey, let me try this tactic with my boss. I’m going to stop writing newsletters (hold your applause) unless I get $1,000,000 a year. What’s that? I’m fired? No, you misunderstood. I wasn’t demanding anything at all.

I’m all for athletes, or anyone else, getting what they deserve. But this trend of athletes demanding trades or not reporting if they don’t get what they want will reach at tipping point some time, and fans will turn on the athletes. That may not be fair, but it will happen, and hopefully all the players’ unions out there are keeping that in the back of their mind.


More reading

Former NFL star Albert Haynesworth: ‘I’m in dire need of a kidney


The players keep changing uniforms in the NBA. On Thursday, the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to trade former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, the Rockets’ first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and the two teams will swap picks in 2021 and 2025.

The deal reunites Westbrook and James Harden, who played three seasons together on the Thunder from 2009-12.

“We’re excited to have Russell Westbrook,” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said in a statement. “I would watch him play for Oklahoma City and he’s so athletic. At the same time this franchise just had the two years with the most wins it’s ever had in consecutive years and we wouldn’t have accomplished that without Chris Paul.

“Chris Paul is unbelievable and he’s gonna be sadly missed.”

Not missed all that much, apparently, or they wouldn’t have traded him.

Westbrook and Harden last played together on the Thunder at the end of the 2011-12 season when Oklahoma City fell to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.


More reading

Lakers’ Danny Green waited impatiently for Kawhi Leonard’s decision

Quinn Cook grew up a Lakers fan and now he’s a Laker


Sam Farmer is in England to cover Wimbledon. Here’s his report on Thursday’s matches:

“The opponents of Serena Williams and Simona Halep didn’t offer much resistance Thursday in their women’s semifinal matches.

“The foes won a combined seven games.

“That’s run-the-table tennis for Williams and Halep — in a Grand Slam semifinal, no less — and proof that it’s the two best players at the moment who will meet in Saturday’s final. Barbora Strycova and Elina Svitolina didn’t stand a chance.

“Halep routed Svitolina 6-1, 6-3, followed by Williams brushing aside Strycova 6-1, 6-2 in a breezy 59 minutes.

“Williams, who lost in last year’s final, has won 23 major championships and needs one more to match the all-time record set by Margaret Court.

“It’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25,” Williams said. “It’s really just about going out there and giving my best effort no matter what. No matter what I do, I will always have a great career.”


“Williams is the oldest woman in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam final, at 37 years and 290 days. Martina Navratilova set the record by reaching a slam final at 37 years, 258 days.

“Technology has really changed; that’s the only reason I’m able to compete,” Williams said. “I feel like if we had this technology 20 years ago, maybe Michael Jordan would still be playing basketball. I just feel like we know so much more about our bodies.

“Things I do different now than when I first was on tour, it’s lengthening my career. It’s not just me, it’s Roger [Federer], Tom Brady, Peyton [Manning] played forever. There are so many athletes now that are able to do better and play longer, even play some of their best way after their 30s.

“Those athletes, Tiger [Woods] obviously, what he did at the Masters, was on top of my mind. Those athletes are incredibly inspiring. That’s one thing that keeps me moving forward.”

Your favorite sports moment

What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Click here to tell me what it is and why, and I’ll start running them in future newsletters. And yes, if your favorite moment is about the Angels or Ducks or a team just outside of L.A., I’ll count that too. And the moment doesn’t have to have happened in L.A., just needs to involve an area team.

Our next one comes from Jack Walker of Santa Monica:

“I’m 80 year-old so I’ve seen a few special sports events over my life. My wife who has suffered through my addiction will verify that. I was 20 and already a big Dodger fan when I attended a game to honor Roy Campanella, who had been in a car accident and was paralyzed and in a wheel chair. I was up in the stands at the Coliseum as we were asked to hold up lights in the darkened stadium. I didn’t have a lighter since I didn’t smoke nor a flash light on my key chain, but I was brought to tears when I looked at all the winking lights all around me honoring this hero.”


Odds and ends

Dodgers gain three veterans to begin the second half against Red Sox…. Loss of Tyler Skaggs tough for Angels on the field as well as off in the second half…. David Ortiz is recovering from third surgery after shooting…. Sparks guard Chelsea Gray selected to third WNBA All-Star game…. City Section baseball all-stars show the right stuff in Chicago…. Galaxy defender Giancarlo Gonzalez enjoys a more balanced MLS…. Tour de France: Geraint Thomas moves up as Dylan Teuns wins Stage 6.

Other newsletters

We also have other newsletters you can subscribe to for free. They are emailed to you and we don’t sell your name to other companies, so no spam from us. They are:

Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.

Lakers newsletter, written by Tania Ganguli. Subscribe here.

Horse racing newsletter, written by John Cherwa. Subscribe here.


Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.

Today’s local major sports schedule

Dodgers at Boston, 4 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Seattle at Angels, 7 p.m., FSW, AM 830

Sparks at Indiana, 4 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet

San Jose at Galaxy, 8 p.m., Univision

LAFC at Houston, UniMas, 710 ESPN

Born on this date

1938: Former Dodger and Angel Ron Fairly

1943: NBA player Paul Silas

1962: Boxer Julio Cesar Chavez

Died on this date

1892: Alexander Cartwright (recognized as inventor of modern baseball), 72

2008: Baseball player Bobby Murcer, 68

And finally

Duke Snider takes on Henry Aaron in the original Home Run Derby. Watch it here.


That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.