Archive for June, 2020

NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag, Drivers Cut Ties With Beam Designs, MLS Tournament July 8th

NASCAR

NASCAR announced it is banning the display of the Confederate flag at all events (five years ago the organization requested fans not display the flag). The organization also removed a rule mandating that team members stand for the national anthem. Bubba Wallace, the only black driver on the circuit, praised the new rules while also debuting his new Black Lives Matter-themed car. Wallace told CNN, “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. I am 100% confident that a real NASCAR fan has the ability to enjoy a weekend in the infield just as much while flying an American flag as they do under the flag of a misguided, defeated nation that hasn’t existed for 155 years. If they can’t, then they’ve never loved NASCAR as much they have always claimed. They certainly have never loved it as much as I do.”

In related NASCAR news, drivers Jimmie Johnson, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Busch cut ties with Jason Beam of Beam Designs, a racing helmet designer, for comments on social media defending keeping the confederate flag.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer (MLS) announced the league will return to action on July 8th with matches played at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. Assuming all goes as planned, MLS will be the first of the major North American sports leagues to return to competition. The tournament will last 35 days with the games counting towards the regular season, which is slated to begin after the tournament concludes.

 

 

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NFL Allowing Players To Take Knee, U.S. Soccer Federation Changing Policy On Anthem, UFC’s Fight Island

FOOTBALL

According to reports, the NFL is close to announcing a decision allowing players to take a knee during the national anthem.  Two years ago the league released a statement with the intention to make players and personnel “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem”. The policy was never enacted due to very public complaints, but teams did have the ability to issue fines if someone didn’t show respect.

SOCCER

The U.S. Soccer Federation is having discussions on changing its current policy against kneeling or sitting during the national anthem. The current policy states, “All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.” This policy went into effect in 2017 after U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

UFC

Back in April, UFC President Dana White announced he would continue tournaments on “Fight Island“. The details of the fight island have been revealed. It’s called Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city of Abu Dhabi. The UFC will host its first major fight there on July 11th.

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Harris/Blitzer Interest In Mets, MLB’s Latest Proposal

BASEBALL

According to reports, Josh Harris and David Blitzer have an interest in buying the New York Mets. Harris is the principal owner of the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers, and Blitzer is the minority owner of both teams.  The report, while acknowledging its findings are in the early stages, also mentions that the Wilpons (current owners of the Mets) might be willing to part with their television network, SNY, allowing Harris and Blitzer to merge their other sports franchises into one “superregional” network.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) continue to try and hash out an agreement for a modified 2020 season. In the League’s latest proposal, the teams would have a 76-game regular season ending on September 27th with a postseason ending in late October. The proposal also specifies a 75% prorated salary which basically comes out to the same percentage the players have already rejected.

 

 

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Roger Goodell Records Message, 30 of 32 NFL Teams Make Statements, Nunes Dominates, McGregor Retiring Again

FOOTBALL

Last week an NFL employee Bryndon Minter was disappointed in the league for not responding to the protests so he organized a video featuring some of the NFL’s biggest stars urging the league to “listen to its players and assert that Black Lives Matter.” Commissioner Roger Goodell then recorded his own message on Twitter.

In the NFL, 30 of the 32 teams have made statements or promoted statements about George Floyd’s murder. Noticeably absent is the Washington Redskins (who did participate in #BlackoutTuesday) and the Cincinnati Bengals.

ULTIMATE FIGHTING

If you’re an Ultimate Fighting fan, it will come as no surprise that Amanda Nunes easily beat Felicia Spencer in the UFC 250. According to people in the know, Amanda pretty much dominates the sport.

In other Mixed Martial Arts News, Conor McGregor announced (for the third time since 2016) that he’s retiring and “bored of the game.”

 

 

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NBA Season Continues And Timeline For Next Year

BASKETBALL

It’s official. The NBA’s Board of Governors voted to approve a plan to continue the 2019/2020 regular season and proposed a timeline for the start of the 2020/2021 season. The plan includes a continuation of the regular season at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for the top nine teams from the Eastern Conference and the top 13 teams from the Western Conference. The other eight teams will not compete as they were already too far out of the playoff picture when the season suspended in March. According to ESPN, here are the tentative dates

  • Training camp: June 30
  • Travel to Orlando: July 7
  • Season restart: July 31
  • Draft lottery: Aug. 25
  • Season ends: Oct. 12 (last possible date)
  • Draft: Oct. 15
  • Free agency: Oct. 18
  • 2020-21 training camp: Nov. 10
  • 2020-21 opening night: Dec. 1

In other NBA news, commissioner Adam Silver spoke about his concern for older head coaches sitting on the bench and having close proximity to the players. He floated the idea of preventing “certain coaches” from being allowed on the bench “in order to protect them.” After getting pushback, he let up on the idea. Of the 22 teams invited to Orlando, three coaches are 65 or older (Spurs Gregg Popovich at 71, Rockets Mike D’Antoni at 68 and Pelicans Alvin Gentry at 65).

 

 

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Progress On NBA Season, MLB Hits Standstill, Dak Prescott Pledges $1Mill For Police Training And Education

BASKETBALL

There seems to be some progress in the NBA on restarting the season. According to reports, the NBA is proposing to send 22 teams (the top 13 from the Western Conference and the top 9 from the Eastern Conference) to Disney World for an eight-game regular season set to begin on July 31st. There is the possibility of a play-in tournament for the ninth seed, then playoffs. Commissioner Adam Silver will need approval from the NBA’s board of governors and then the Player’s Association.

BASEBALL

While the NHL and NBA seem to be making progress on getting their seasons back on track, Major League Baseball has appeared to hit a standstill. The players offered up a 114-game regular season with no additional salary cuts (they already agreed to a cut in March), but MLB rejected the proposal and did not offer a counter. MLB wants an 82-game regular-season schedule ending by September 27th to have time for a lucrative postseason before another potential coronavirus outbreak.

FOOTBALL

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott pledged $1 million to improve police training and address systemic racism through education and advocacy. He is the first NFL quarterback to make a contribution this large. Prescott wrote, “As a black multiracial American, I am disgusted and unsettled! As our communities take action, protesting and fighting for the justice of George Floyd and every black life, I am with you! . . . As I process the passing of my brother, I have come to realize we are not given a voice to pronounce how much we matter. It is our obligation to tell our neighbor how much they matter to us and take a stand for the greater good of each other.”

 

 

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Federer Tops List Of Highest Paid Athletes, MLS Return On June 24th, WNBA In Vegas Or Florida

TENNIS

According to Forbes magazine, tennis star Roger Federer landed at #1 in the list of the 100 highest-paid athletes with a $106 million in pre-tax earnings. Soccer phenoms Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi came in 2nd and 3rd. Federer (thanks to his deals with Credit Suisse, Mercedez-Benz, Uniqlo, and others) is the first tennis player in the 30-year history of the rankings to have made it to the top spot. Two women (Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams) made the list this year coming in at #29 and #33 respectively.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer announced a possible return on June 24th with a tournament at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

BASKETBALL

If the WNBA returns this year, they plan to hold games at one location. The MGM Resorts in Las Vegas and the IMG Academy in Florida have been floated as possible venues.

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Sports Leagues Making Statements, Floyd Mayweather Will Pay For George Floyd’s Funeral, MLB & MLBPA Make Progress, Iowa Resumes HS Sports

NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB

According to Axos’ Jeff Tracy, 74 of 123 teams (60%) in the big four of American sports leagues issued official statements via twitter about George Floyd’s murder and the protests in this country. For a list of the teams making statements, click here.

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather offered to pay for George Floyd’s funeral and memorial services in Floyd’s hometown of Houston as well as services in Minnesota and North Carolina.

BASEBALL

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association seem to be making progress in a negotiation about salaries that could potentially delay the start of the season. The owners want the players to take a significant pay cut based on fewer games in the season and no fans in the stands. The players already agreed to a prorated salary back in March and aren’t interested in giving back more. According to reports, the owners will now honor the prorated salaries

Iowa became the first state to resume high school sports. On Monday, the high school baseball and softball teams took to the field to practice for a supposed June 15th start to the season. There are a number of protocols in place to keep the players safe including discouraging high-fives and not eating sunflower seeds.

 

 

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The Nation Expresses Anger And Pain

The entire nation is focused on the horrendous death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for over 8 minutes. Many members of the sports world have come out with statements protesting police brutality and racism. Michael Jordan tweeted, “I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough. I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others. We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.”

 

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