Aaron Rodgers has found himself in the limelight for all the wrong reasons following news of his positive COVID-19 test last week.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback confirmed on the Pat McAfee Show that he is unvaccinated, and offered up an explanation for his decision.
In an attempt to settle discussions revolving around his vaccination status, the National Football League’s reigning MVP brought more heat to those conversations, and his image, having lost an endorsement with a Wisconsin health care company in the process.
On the latest episode of CBC Sports video series Bring It In, host Morgan Campbell is joined by panellists Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin to discuss the star quarterback’s rationale for abstaining from vaccination, including his application of a quote from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Touching on Rodgers’ quoting of Dr. King Jr. to aid his explanation, Zirin felt as though it was an act that exhibited a lack of education on the subject. In addition, Zirin says, Rodgers simply doesn’t like being criticized.
“The people who talk about woke mobs, and trying to force me to get a vaccine, and what about my bodily autonomy — they always seem to end on quoting Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.] … to use Dr. King [Jr.] as a way to troll, is so, not just educationally bankrupt, but there’s a moral bankruptcy to doing something like that,” Zirin said.
“Let’s be clear about something — once we get rid of all the blather, all the woke mob stuff, all the cliches, all the quoting Dr. King out of context, all you really have is a guy who lied … and he can’t stand being criticized, he can’t stand being called out for lying and he’s covering it up with all kinds of self-righteous, self-indulgent blather.”
WATCH | Bring It In panel discusses Aaron Rodgers’ explanation for vaccination status:
In Campbell’s point of view, based on his method of explanation, Rodgers attempted to outsmart the public.
“He really believes he’s some type of freedom fighter,” Campbell said. “The thing that came through about Aaron Rodgers in this rant that he had on the Pat McAfee Show explaining his immunization status, is he really does think he is smarter than the rest of us.
“Two things: one, if Aaron Rodgers’ choice to not get vaccinated is really about the fact that he is allergic to the vaccine, then he could just say that…. But he went out of his way to mislead people because, ‘Yeah, I’m immunized’ is the exact opposite of ‘No, I’m immunized and not vaccinated’ and he knew this.”
McPeak on the other hand, couldn’t understand why Rodgers felt the need to go through all this.
“Why do you need to go through this whole rigmarole and try to outsmart everyone and try to wordplay with everybody, when you’re trying to just tell us that you’re allergic to the vaccine?” McPeak questioned. “If that’s the case, just say it. Being allergic to the vaccine doesn’t make you weak.”
Tennis-Canada’s Andreescu to sit out Australian Open
Canada‘s Bianca Andreescu will not play in the Australian Open next month following a challenging spell brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, the former U.S. Open champion said on Monday.
Andreescu, 21, said time isolating in quarantined hotels took a toll on her mentally and physically and that she did not feel like herself while training and playing matches.
“I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders,” Andreescu, who also said her grandmother spent weeks in ICU due to a COVID-19 infection, wrote on Twitter.
“I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around and it took it’s toll on me.”
Andreescu became Canada‘s first Grand Slam singles champion with her 2019 U.S. Open triumph, when she beat Serena Williams in the final, but endured a run of injuries starting with a knee problem at that year’s WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
The hard-hitting Canadian withdrew from this year’s Tokyo Olympics, a decision she put down to all the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andreescu, who last competed on the WTA Tour in October at Indian Wells where her title defence ended in the third round against Anett Kontaveit, did not say when she would return.
“I want to give myself extra time to re-set, recover, and grow from this … and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself because I know by doing this I will come back stronger than ever,” said Andreescu.
“I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year but will take some additional time to reflect, train and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season.”
The Australian Open is set to begin on Jan. 17.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)
China’s winter sports industry hopes Olympic Games yield white gold
China’s snow sports industry is pinning its hopes on people like Shi Haoping, 32, who takes to the slopes to de-stress from his job as head of an online education company.
“This is such a physical activity, it relieves the pressure for me,” Shi said while taking a break from snowboarding at Thaiwoo Ski Resort in Zhangjiakou, not far from where several Winter Olympics events will be held in February.
(To see a picture package of China’s ski resorts, please open https://reut.rs/3os2F87 in a web browser.)
Shi was seated with his wife, Ding Yaohui, who works for a video production company, and their Shiba Inu dog, who had made the three-hour drive with them from Beijing. Music from an X Games snowboarding event thumped in the background.
“First we learned skiing,” Shi said. “Then last year we took up snowboarding, because it looks more trendy and cool.”
China hopes hosting the Games will springboard the country towards becoming a winter sports destination and will help deliver on a target set by President Xi Jinping to get 300 million Chinese involved in winter sports, with an aim to build a 1 trillion yuan ($157 billion) industry.
The stakes are high, and not just for China, as the global snow sports industry looks to rising incomes in the world’s most populous nation to offset what industry data shows to be stagnating participation in traditional ski markets.
China wants to build a thriving winter sports ecosystem, from success on the slopes – some of its best Olympic medal hopes are in the freestyle ski and snowboard events – to world-class resorts and the manufacture of equipment to service them.
The country has more than 700 ski areas but the industry is highly fragmented and most are tiny. Only about 20 would be considered destination resorts, including Thaiwoo and the nearby Genting Resort Secret Garden, which will host the Olympic freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions.
With snowfall scarce in many parts of China, including the winter sports hub of Zhangjiakou, the necessity of water for snowmaking https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/making-snow-stick-wind-challenges-winter-games-slope-makers-2021-11-29 limits intensive resort development.
Industry insiders say the longer-term challenge is to ensure the full experience is enjoyable – from the renting of gear to the quality and standards of teaching, and the après-ski social activities – so more beginners want to spend the time and money to become regulars.
Justin Downes, president of Axis Leisure and an adviser to the Games organisers, said the Chinese ski industry is unrecognisable from when he arrived in 2007.
Even so, he added, it takes years to build a ski culture and the infrastructure around Chinese ski areas, many in farming and mining areas, has yet to be developed.
“If you go to a ski resort in Switzerland or in Canada, you’re walking into a community of people that have been there for generations,” the Canadian said.
Skiing and the Games are transforming parts of Zhangjiakou’s once-impoverished Chongli district. Chongli was connected two years ago with Beijing by a high-speed train that takes less than an hour.
Before COVID-19 jolted the industry, skier visits in China doubled from 10.3 million in 2014, the year before Beijing was awarded the Games, to a peak of 20.9 million in 2019.
On a five-year average, China ranks eighth globally in skier visits, according to the 2021 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism by industry expert Laurent Vanat, with the United States, Austria and France making up the top three.
China’s government is all in. Last month, a ministry said it was “urgent” to promote production standards for equipment such as snow makers, snow grooming machines and all-terrain snow vehicles, an industry dominated by European and American manufacturers.
Chinese private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, whose founder Zhang Lei is an avid snowboarder, owns half of the Chinese business of Vermont-based Burton Snowboards, the industry pioneer.
Three years ago, Chinese athletic wear giant Anta Sports, a sponsor of the Beijing Games, led a group that paid 4.6 billion euros for Finland’s Amer Sports, whose portfolio includes venerable European ski equipment brands Atomic and Salomon, as well as high-end Canadian outerwear brand Arc’teryx.
‘I HAVE MONEY’
On a recent early season day at Thaiwoo, which has a Western-style resort village with a brewpub and shops for global brands such as Bogner and Patagonia as well as Chinese snowboard maker Nobaday, the crowd was well-attired.
Unlike in the United States and Europe, where skiers are predominant, China’s snow sports market skews towards boarders like Anthony Zhang, 31, who works in finance and was decked out in 15,000 yuan worth of gear including a baby-blue snowsuit and pink snowboard for his first time on genuine slopes.
“It’s very expensive. It’s not just equipment – it’s a big expense to hire a trainer. I take classes in an indoor simulator in Beijing, and each class costs several hundred yuan,” he said.
The expense is not a deterrent, however.
“I have money,” Zhang said, laughing.
$1 = 6.37 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Tony Munroe; Editing by Karishma Singh and Gerry Doyle)
Jets’ Pionk suspended two games for kneeing Maple Leafs’ Sandin – Sportsnet.ca
The NHL’s department of player safety made the announcement after having a hearing with Pionk on Monday.
The incident occurred with 14:15 remaining in the third period Sunday when Winnipeg hosted Toronto. As Sandin received a pass in the Jets’ zone and proceeded to take a shot on net, Pionk attempted to line up a body check, but misjudged Sandin’s position, causing him to extend his leg and create knee-on-knee contact with the Maple Leafs defenceman.
“We acknowledge Pionk’s argument that this is an attempted full-body check, but this play cannot be classified as merely a collision between two players, where one or both move reflexively or defensively at the last moment to avoid contact,” said the department of player safety in a video explaining the punishment.
“If he wants to deliver this hit, the onus is on Pionk to take an angle of approach that ensures he’s in good position to make a legal, full-body check. Instead, having taken an angle which has him lined up outside of Sandin’s path, Pionk turns his right leg and extends his knee, jutting it forward to avoid missing the check entirely. This results in forceful, dangerous and direct knee-on-knee contact.”
Watch the full video breakdown here:
Sandin was helped off the ice and appeared as though he could not put weight on his right leg after the play. Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said he had no update on Sandin’s condition on Sunday night.
Pionk, who has never been suspended or fined before this event, will forfeit $58,750 in salary.
Just two minutes after the incident, Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza retaliated with a knee of his own — targetting Pionk and catching him near the head as he slid on the ice to make a play.
Spezza is at risk of also receiving a suspension and will have a hearing with the department of player safety via Zoom on Tuesday afternoon.
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