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Bucs fan who gave back Tom Brady's 600th TD game ball may have lost $500K – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Tampa Bay Bucs fan who gave back Tom Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass game ball missed a chance to cash in. 

Sports memorabilia experts told Yahoo Sports the prized ball is worth as much as a fleet of luxury cars or even a new house.  

The ball could fetch “minimum $500,000” at auction, Ken Goldin, founder and executive chairman of Goldin Auctions, said. Chris Ivy of Heritage Auctions echoed that valuation. Ezra Levine, CEO of the sports memorabilia investment platform Collectible declared the ball worth “easily $500,000-plus” and probably “closer to $750,000.”

Brady became the first player in NFL history to throw 600 touchdown passes on Sunday in the first half of Tampa Bay’s 38-3 thrashing of the visiting Chicago Bears. Mike Evans caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brady to increase the Bucs’ lead to 21-0.

Either Evans was unaware of the significance of the touchdown, or he experienced a temporary brain cramp. Evans gave a fan wearing his No. 13 jersey the game ball and the team had to negotiate to get it back.

On the CBS broadcast, Tony Romo and Jim Nantz speculated that the Bucs must have offered “a million” or “a date with Gisele” Bundchen in exchange for the ball. Minutes later, CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson reported the asking price wasn’t nearly that steep.

Two Bucs beat writers tracked down the fan at his seat in the first row behind the end zone. Greg Auman of The Athletic and Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times reported the fan identified himself as Byron Kennedy, 29, a resident at Largo Medical Center in Largo, Florida.

TAMPA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears in the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

TAMPA, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears in the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Kennedy might be dismayed to learn that the game ball from Tom Brady’s first touchdown pass sold at auction in June for more than $428,000. Levine said the 600 TD game ball would go for more “given the historic accomplishment.” 

A Bucs spokesman did not immediately return an email from Yahoo Sports seeking confirmation of what the team offered the fan in exchange for the ball. If a Brady autograph and some other swag is all that he received, then Levine and Goldin say the fan may have given away a fortune.

“Unused signed jersey and autographed photo would be lacking by $497,500,” Goldin said.

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Women's Tennis Association suspends tournaments in China over concerns about player Peng Shuai – CBC.ca

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In the strongest public stand against China taken by a sports body, the head of the women’s professional tennis tour announced Wednesday that all Women’s Tennis Association tournaments there would be suspended because of concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former government official of sexual assault.

Peng dropped out of public view after raising the allegations about former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli in a Nov. 2 social media posting that was quickly taken down by Chinese authorities.

“Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way,” Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chairman and CEO Steve Simon wrote in a statement distributed by the tour.

“While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe, and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation.”

Simon has made repeated calls for what he termed Wednesday as a “full and transparent investigation — without censorship” into Peng’s accusations. He said the move to put a halt to the tour’s play in China, including Hong Kong, came “with the full support of the WTA board of directors.”

“In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault,” Simon said.

“Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022.”

China is supposed to be the site of several tennis tournaments next year, including the prestigious season-ending WTA Finals, which are scheduled to be held there until 2030.

The nation is a source of billions of dollars in income for various sports entities based elsewhere, from the WTA (whose headquarters are in St. Petersburg, Fla.) to the NBA (run out of New York) and the International Olympic Committee (Lausanne, Switzerland).

WTA on ‘right side of history’: Billie Jean King

“I applaud Steve Simon and the WTA leadership for taking a strong stand on defending human rights in China and around the world,” said tennis legend Billie Jean King.

“The WTA has chosen to be on the right side of history in defending the rights of our players. This is yet another reason why women’s tennis is the leader in women’s sports.”

The U.S. Tennis Association commended Simon and the WTA, tweeting a statement that read: “This type of leadership is courageous and what is needed to ensure the rights of all individuals are protected and all voices are heard.”

International Tennis Federation spokesperson Heather Bowler said the ITF Board would meet Thursday to discuss the matter.

“The WTA has remained steadfast and true to its values since the outset, and we understand their decision,” Bowler said. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Beijing is set to host the Winter Olympics beginning on Feb. 4, and IOC President Thomas Bach said on Nov. 21 that he spoke with Peng — a three-time Olympian — on a 30-minute video call. The IOC did not release video or a transcript of the exchange and said only that Bach reported Peng said she was well.

The organization said in a statement that Peng appeared to be “doing fine” and had requested privacy. The IOC did not explain how the call was arranged, although it has worked closely with the Chinese Olympic Committee and government officials to organize the upcoming Olympics.

Critics have suggested that Peng would not have called the IOC if she was truly free to speak.

The European Union said Tuesday it wants China to offer “verifiable proof” that Peng — a 35-year-old who used to be ranked No. 1 in doubles and won titles at Wimbledon and the French Open — is safe.

“Her recent public reappearance does not ease concerns about her safety and freedom,” an EU spokesperson said.

A number of Chinese businesspeople, activists and ordinary people have disappeared in recent years after criticizing ruling Communist Party figures or in crackdowns on corruption or pro-democracy and labour rights campaigns.

Gaoli is seen during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in March 2016. Chinese authorities have squelched virtually all online discussion of sexual assault accusations made against the former high-ranking government official by Peng. (Ng Han Guan/The Associated Press)

‘I will still speak out the truth’

In her since-removed post, Peng wrote, in part: “I know that to you, vice minister Zhang Gaoli, a person of high status and power, you’ve said you’re not afraid. With your intelligence, you certainly will deny it or you can even use it against me, you can dismiss it without a care. Even if I’m destroying myself, like throwing an egg against a rock, or a moth flying into a flame, I will still speak out the truth about us.”

Concerns about the censoring of her post and her subsequent disappearance from public view grew into a furor, turning #WhereIsPengShuai into a trending topic on social media and drawing support from tennis stars such as Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Martina Navratilova, and Canadian players including Genie Bouchard, Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil.

But news of the first MeToo case to reach the political realm in China has not been reported by the domestic media and online discussion of it has been highly censored.

“If powerful people can suppress the voices of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA was founded — equality for women — would suffer an immense setback,” Simon said.

“I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players.”

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10 things: Raptors should look for a floor-spacing centre to help VanVleet and Siakam – Sportsnet.ca

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Here are 10 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors‘ 98-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

One — The Raptors keep coming up short. As soon as they find a way to shore up their defence, they begin to struggle with their offence. That’s the sign of a team that just doesn’t have enough to compete at the moment. The Raptors really only have seven dependable players in the first place and three of them are out. It’s too much to ask of third-stringers to be even half-decent second unit reserves.

The results are frustrating, but it’s not unexpected in the slightest. This is now the youngest team in the league with Goran Dragic not on the scene, and they very much play like it. You can’t play as many inexperienced players as the Raptors do and expect consistent results. It’s going to take a lot of patience to follow this team while they battle injuries.

Two — Scoring looks impossible at times for the Raptors, especially against big frontcourts. The Grizzlies had the two beefiest players in the game with Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Raptors couldn’t overcome their size in the paint. Again, the Raptors have no spacing threat in the frontcourt which is an open invitation for opposing teams to camp out in the middle to cut off driving lanes, and so long as the defence can bottle up Fred VanVleet, it’s a wrap for the rest of the offence.

If Drake were to rap about the Raptors offence, the track would be titled “5 p.m. on Highway 401.” This is not something that will improve until the Raptors upgrade the frontcourt, which they have resisted for two consecutive off-seasons.

Three — Precious Achiuwa continues to swing wildly in his performances. Achiuwa was one of the biggest positives in the last meeting against Memphis, pouring in 17 points in the third quarter to spark the comeback. But he was an entirely different player tonight, struggling in every aspect of the game in 29 empty minutes before fouling out. In all fairness to Achiuwa, the Grizzlies extended Adams’ minutes since he had 50 pounds on the smaller defender, but Achiuwa was getting rag-dolled on every loose ball or play at the rim.

Offensively, Achiuwa missed every shot except for a lob dunk courtesy of VanVleet, and his 1-for-8 stat line is especially damming considering that he isn’t guarded a majority of the time. Achiuwa is missing the basics like angling his screens to free the ball handlers, and his cutting and movement aren’t clever enough to make himself open for the pass. The Raptors clearly valued him highly, going as far as spending $19 million on three games of Dragic, so they will continue to give Achiuwa chances.

Four — This was a rare off night for VanVleet. It’s not so much what he did wrong, as much as he wasn’t brilliant and playing above his level. The Grizzlies had an extra defender back to cut off his drives, while basketball’s equivalent of Wario in Dillon Brooks was hounding VanVleet all game, and when you also factor in Achiuwa being a total dud as a pick-and-roll partner, it was hardly a surprise to see VanVleet quieted.

That being said, he’s faced the same uphill battles all season and he has produced, so this showing does stand out. You have to wonder when exhaustion catches up to him, because he’s the league leader in minutes and the Raptors need him to play out of his mind to compete. How sustainable is that over the course of a season? VanVleet can’t even have one pedestrian game without the offence completely collapsing.

Five — Pascal Siakam’s production came down to his matchup. When he was matched against Jaren Jackson Jr., Siakam couldn’t get his shot off as he neither had the quickness advantage nor the edge in length. Jackson Jr. blocked him and forced Siakam into a handful of hopeless misses. But in the moments where Siakam had Brandon Clarke or Kyle Anderson on him, he immediately went to work in the post and was able to twist and twirl his way to the basket. At one point he had three straight baskets on Anderson after Jackson Jr. picked up his fifth foul, but the scoring dried up immediately after he returned.

On the flip side, Siakam was limited by foul trouble of his own, picking up his fourth foul early in the fourth, and his fifth immediately after checking back into the game. This was hardly a bad game for Siakam, as it’s becoming routine to see him produce, but just not at a level where he can take over the game, which leaves him as a B-level star. If those were the expectations for him, then he’s right where you want him to be. But if you want more, then that’s where frustrations begin.

Six — The Raptors should look for a floor-spacing centre to help VanVleet and Siakam. They are willing passers, and in both cases, they are most adept at making the kickout to open shooters. Siakam in particular can be very effective when he’s free to attack one-on-one, but most of the time he will see the centre rotating over in the paint. Of the players on the roster, the one who comes closest to filling that bill is Scottie Barnes, who is absolutely not a centre, nor is he spacing the floor much, but he is big enough to handle most post players, and the shot is coming around. Barnes is 10-of-21 from three over his last five games since Nick Nurse publicly gave him the green light to fire, and the Raptors have been increasingly open to Barnes playing as the de facto centre, particularly with the second unit.

Seven — Yuta Watanabe is the only bench player who is reliable at the moment. Watanabe’s defence is always sharp, and while he didn’t collect a steal or block, his impact was most evident in the 5-for-18 shooting performance of Brooks. Watanabe was the primary defender on Brooks despite coming off the bench, and he was effective in limiting him all night with how he pressured the ball and stayed in the play.

Offensively, the only expectation for Watanabe is that he knocks down open shots and that he mixes in a cutting layup or a putback, and the shot looked sharp Tuesday. He looked overextended when the Raptors were having him run around for his shot like Klay Thompson, but on standstill catch-and-shoot or even trailing jumpers, Watanabe is accurate. The fact that he was able to play 29 minutes is encouraging since he was previously capped at 14 minutes in his last showing in his return from a calf injury.

Eight — Nurse benched Svi Mykhailiuk in favour of Malachi Flynn. It’s a strange move in the sense that the two guards serve entirely different functions on offence, but Nurse presumably wanted the dual point guard look in hopes of freeing VanVleet as an off-ball option since he wasn’t able to create much against Brooks in pick-and-roll settings.

Flynn does provide more ball-handling, but where he came up short was on his shotmaking. Flynn had so many open chances that were semi-contested at best, but he couldn’t knock them down until his seventh attempt. What’s really confounding about Flynn is that he looks the part as a decent shooter in terms of his form and the consistency is there in warmups, but it doesn’t translate over to the games. It’s almost as if he’s paranoid, either that he’s afraid to be yanked if he misses, or that he’s going to get his shot blocked since he’s short. Either way, confidence is lacking.

Nine — Chris Boucher got one shift in the second half after being skipped in the rotation for a second game. Boucher played seven minutes starting at the end of the third quarter, checking in to replace Siakam who battled foul trouble, and he did look noticeably more active which is what Nurse wanted. Boucher got free for a dunk on an inbound play to beat the clock, and popped free for a lob.

There’s no doubt that he can score if he’s going full speed, even if his throw-in-style jumper isn’t dropping, and it mostly comes down to his determination in attacking the basket. Even though he hasn’t performed up to standards, and even though Nurse has benched him a handful of times, there will still be chances for Boucher to regain his spot in the rotation because of the Raptors’ injuries.

Ten — Isaac Bonga isn’t ready offensively but he holds his own on defence. His ability to read the game allows him to use his length and quickness to good effect as a help defender, and he’s not shabby in guarding the ball just because he’s so long. The Raptors used a zone defence for extended stretches in the second quarter and Bonga didn’t look out of place in his assignments. Offensively, however, Bonga needs to be more prepared.

On one play, he didn’t have his feet set when the kickout pass reached his hands, so he fired up a missed jumper with both feet straddling the three-point line. The next trip down, Bonga did catch it behind the arc at the exact same spot on the left wing, but didn’t opt to take the shot and drove instead into traffic. The path for Bonga to find minutes would be to copy what Watanabe does.

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Hockey Canada's selection camp roster – TSN

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December has arrived and that means the start of the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship is just weeks away.

On Wednesday, Hockey Canada released its list of invitees for next week’s World Juniors selection camp as Canada attempts to construct a roster that will strike gold after settling for silver last year, losing 2-0 to the United States in the gold-medal final.

The selection camp takes place in Calgary from Dec. 9-13.

The list is highlighted by returning players in forward Cole Perfetti and defenceman Kaiden Guhle as well as the most recent first overall pick and two other potential stars that could go No. 1 in upcoming NHL drafts.

Perfetti, selected 10th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 2020, scored two goals and added four assists over seven games at last year’s tournament inside the bubble in Edmonton. The 19-year-old native of Whitby, Ont., is pointless over two games with the Jets this season, but has six goals and eight assists over 15 games in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose.

Guhle, 19, netted two goals and added an assist over seven games for Canada last season. The Edmonton native, selected 16th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2020, has two goals and 12 assists over 17 games with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL this season.

The Buffalo Sabres selected Mississauga’s Owen Power first overall this summer and the 19-year-old highly touted defenceman will be in Calgary for the selection camp. Power has three goals and 20 assists over 16 games with the University of Michigan in 2021-22.

Kingston Frontenacs superstar centre Shane Wright is expected to go first overall in the 2022 Draft and will look to showcase his talents at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship. The 17-year-old native of Burlington, Ont., is in his second season of OHL play and has netted nine goals with 13 assists over 19 games in 2021-22. Wright tallied 39 goals and 27 assists during the 2019-20 season before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Too much competition for Bedard to crack Canada’s roster?

While Connor Bedard is having a great season with Regina, Bob McKenzie explains why even though he’ll be at camp, there might be too much competition this year for some of the youngsters to crack Canada’s roster.

A lot can change ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft, but many believe forward Connor Bedard has a very good chance of going first overall. The 16-year-old made history last year when he became the first player in WHL history to be given exceptional status. Bedard, out of North Vancouver, scored 12 goals and 16 assists over just 15 games in his first season with the Regina Pats in 2020-21 and has 11 goals with six assists over 21 games in the current campaign.

Wright and Bedard could join Power as No. 1 picks over the next two years and all three could be on Team Canada this holiday season.

Other notable players invited to selection camp include 2021 top-10 picks in Mason McTavish (third overall to the Anaheim Ducks), Kent Johnson (fifth overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets) and Dylan Guenther (ninth overall to the Arizona Coyotes).

The 18-year-old McTavish scored two goals and added an assist earlier this season with the Ducks before he was sent back down to the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. Johnson and Guenther have yet to play in the NHL.

Canada will play two selection camp games on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12.

The World Juniors run from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer.

GOALTENDERS        
Brett Brochu 5’11” 175 London (OHL) 2022 Draft
Sebastian Cossa 6’7” 203 Edmonton (WHL) DET 2021 (1/15)
Dylan Garand 6’1” 179 Kamloops (WHL) NYR 2020 (4/103)
DEFENCE        
Lukas Cormier 5’10” 176 Charlottetown (LHJMQ) VGK 2020 (3/68)
Kaiden Guhle 6’3” 203 Prince Albert (WHL) MTL 2020 (1/16)
Daemon Hunt 6’1” 198 Moose Jaw (WHL) MIN 2020 (3/65)
Vincent Iorio 6’3” 204 Brandon (WHL) WSH 2021 (2/55)
Carson Lambos 6’1” 195 Winnipeg (WHL) MIN 2021 (1/26)
Ryan O’Rourke 6’1” 172 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) MIN 2020 (2/39)
Owen Power 6’5” 214 Michigan (NCAA) BUF 2021 (1/1)
Donovan Sebrango 6’1” 200 Grand Rapids (AHL) DET 2020 (3/63)
Ronan Seeley 6’1” 192 Everett (WHL) CAR 2020 (7/208)
Jack Thompson 6’0” 181 Sudbury (OHL) TBL 2020 (3/93)
Olen Zellweger 5’10” 175 Everett (WHL) ANA 2021 (2/34)
FORWARDS        
Connor Bedard 5’9” 180 Regina (WHL) 2023 Draft
Xavier Bourgault 6’0” 172 Shawinigan (LHJMQ) EDM 2021 (1/22)
Mavrik Bourque 5’11” 185 Shawinigan (LHJMQ) DAL 2020 (1/30)
Will Cuylle 6’3” 210 Windsor (OHL) NYR 2020 (2/60)
Zach Dean 6’0” 178 Gatineau (LHJMQ) VGK 2021 (1/30)
Elliot Desnoyers 5’11” 172 Halifax (LHJMQ) PHI 2020 (5/135)
William Dufour 6’3” 205 Saint John (LHJMQ) NYI 2020 (5/152)
Luke Evangelista 6’0” 175 London (OHL) NSH 2020 (2/42)
Jack Finley 6’6” 223 Spokane (WHL) TBL 2020 (2/57)
Ridly Greig 5’11” 164 Brandon (WHL) OTT 2020 (1/28)
Dylan Guenther 6’2” 181 Edmonton (WHL) ARI 2021 (1/9)
Kent Johnson 6’1” 165 Michigan (NCAA) CBJ 2021 (1/5)
Hendrix Lapierre 6’0” 181 Acadie-Bathurst (LHJMQ) WSH 2020 (1/22)
Mason McTavish 6’2” 207 Peterborough (OHL) ANA 2021 (1/3)
Jake Neighbours 6’0” 197 Edmonton (WHL) STL 2020 (1/26)
Cole Perfetti 5’11” 177 Manitoba (AHL) WPG 2020 (1/10)
Joshua Roy 5’11” 186 Sherbrooke (LHJMQ) MTL 2021 (5/150)
Justin Sourdif 5’11” 182 Vancouver (WHL) FLA 2020 (3/87)
Logan Stankoven 5’8” 170 Kamloops (WHL) DAL 2021 (2/47)
Ryan Tverberg 5’11” 175 Connecticut (NCAA) TOR 2020 (7/213)
Shane Wright 6’1” 187 Kingston (OHL) 2022 Draft

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