Girardi fired, Embiid scolded, Eagles practiced

What had been shaping up to be a relatively sleepy week in Philly sports — aside from a surprise exit from Mike Missanelli — was quickly jolted from its slumber when the Phillies announced on Friday morning that they were relieving manager Joe Girardi of his duties following a 22-29 start to the season that has his team already a dozen games off the pace in the NL East.

While that’s likely to be the dominant topic of conversation at the beach and backyard barbecues alike, there was plenty of other content to consume this week, whether that’s the latest from Eagles OTAs or the Flyers’ head coaching search. The NBA and NHL drafts are also approaching — as is the MLB trade deadline, which from a Phillies’ perspective will likely be impacted by Girardi’s ouster.

Even though it just happened on Friday, we’ve got plenty below on that move, but we’ll start today’s look at the best Philly sports stories of the week with one you might’ve missed over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Here’s more from columnist Marcus Hayes on Sixers center Joel Embiid…

Just when the man-child was turning into a man, the child reappeared.

Joel Embiid diminished two years of consistent maturation Wednesday night when he intimated that he’d like to join former teammate Jimmy Butler in Miami. As the Heat were losing Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, he tweeted:

“Miami needs another star.” …

This isn’t leadership.

This is the opposite of leadership.

This is petty. This is silly. This is disruptive and, most of all, it’s disrespectful…

This tweet is all the things that Joel Embiid used to be: petty, silly, disrespectful.

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It is the things he seems to be becoming again. — Marcus Hayes

You can read the rest of Marcus’ column, here.

These are some of the most important stories from the last week or so that you might’ve missed.

  • It’s no surprise that we start this section talking about Girardi’s firing. David Murphy wrote that Joe Girardi won’t be the last victim of the Phillies’ ineptitude, and Marcus Hayes believes the move will be in vain if interim manager Rob Thomson can’t spark the team. Scott Lauber, meanwhile, wrote that firing Girardi hardly fixes all the Phillies’ problems. We also looked at some social media reaction and where Girardi’s tenure ranks among all the Phillies managers over the years.

  • Friday was supposed to belong to the Eagles, as they held their abbreviated OTAs at the NovaCare Complex with the team out on the field for what was a light practice. Jalen Hurts, among others, also spoke to the media after a dominant practice session and opened his session by speaking about the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, N.Y., and Tulsa, Okla.

  • In related Eagles news, Julian Lurie, son of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, was given a full-time role within the organization as his on-the-job training continues — with the expectation being that he’ll eventually take over for his father.

  • With the NHL combine underway in Buffalo, Olivia Reiner spoke to current and former Flyers about their craziest combine experiences, including one team that asked to look through a player’s phone. Giana Han took a look at the other side of the equation, speaking to Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr and assistant to the GM Danny Brière about what they’re looking for when they scout players at the combine.

  • As it turns out, the Sixers will have a first-round draft pick this year, after the Nets deferred the pick from the James Harden trade to 2023. Gina Mizell previously took a look at what Daryl Morey and Co. might do with the 23rd-overall pick.

  • Ahead of Mike Trout’s first game in Philly since 2014, Scott Lauber caught up with three-time MVP. Did you know he’s from Millville?

  • Union forward Alejandro Bedoya continued to speak out against gun violence in the wake of recent mass shootings around the country.

  • A pair of Villanova recruits are sticking with Kyle Neptune and the Wildcats program despite Jay Wright’s departure. And Temple’s leading scorer Khaliff Battle is returning for the Owls after withdrawing from the NBA draft.

  • Philly’s only world boxing champion, Stephen Fulton, fights Saturday night on Showtime. As a Muslim, he had to train while fasting for Ramadan but says “it wasn’t that bad at all.”

  • Camden High’s D.J. Wagner, the top basketball recruit in the country, took on LeBron James’ son Bronny in a recent AAU tournament and Josh Tolentino was there to take in the scene.

Before you head out to enjoy the beautiful weekend, we’ve got one more for you. And while this one might be a little long, it’s definitely worth your time.

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Today, our long read comes from Christian Red, who wrote about an alarming rise in suicide among women’s college athletes and spoke with mental health advocates about what can be done.

The two university officials took their seats on the dais, a giant gold “JMU” emblazoned on the black table skirt stretched out before them. Jeff Bourne and Timothy Miller spoke in subdued voices throughout the 30-plus-minute newsconference, both men offering the first public comments for a grieving campus six days after James Madison softball standout Lauren Bernett took her life…

Bernett was 20 when she died by suicide April 25. The McDonald, Pa., resident was a member of the National Honor Society and was the Dukes’ catcher and a key member of the 2021 Women’s College World Series team during her JMU freshman year. Bernett also had earned first- team all-conference honors this season, and, at the time of her death, she was named the Colonial Athletic Association player of the week.

The last series Bernett played in was against Drexel in Philadelphia, and she was 4-for-4 in an 11-4 Dukes victory on April 24, the day before she died.

During a two-month span earlier this year, Bernett was one of four female collegiate athletes in the United States to take their own lives. Stanford women’s soccer goalkeeper Katie Meyer, 22, died March 1; Wisconsin women’s cross-country runner Sarah Shulze, 21, died April 13; and Southern University cheerleader Arlana Miller, 19, died May 4…

With an ongoing pandemic and social media consuming people’s everyday lives, the challenges facing young students and student-athletes are daunting in 2022, even with the recent strides made in the field of mental health wellness. — Christian Red

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Be sure to check out the rest of Christian’s story, here.