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Bundesliga resumes with 'new normal' – TSN

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BERLIN — No fans, no hugging, no spitting.

The Bundesliga will be very different when it resumes Saturday following a two-month suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

There will be no children to accompany players onto the field, no contact between rivals in the tunnel before games, no handshakes with the referee or match officials, substitutes will have to wear masks and sit apart, and even goals in the empty stadiums will be sombre affairs — players have been warned to keep their emotions in check.

Coaches will be permitted to remove their masks to shout instructions at their players – as long as they stay at least 1.5 metres (yards) away.

To compensate for the lack of atmosphere, Sky TV says it will offer viewers a new audio option with prerecorded fan chants, singing and reactions based on the games. Borussia Mönchengladbach will have artificial cutouts of real supporters in the stands for its remaining home matches.

Most fans don’t even want the league to resume — the latest polls from German broadcasters show a growing majority are against it — but soccer authorities were desperate to get back on track with several clubs, including Bundesliga club Schalke, already on the brink financially.

Chancellor Angela Merkel finally gave the go-ahead to restart the season on May 6 after taking note of Germany’s dropping rate in new infections for COVID-19, though she made it clear that soccer was low down on her list of priorities.

The last Bundesliga game was played on March 11 as the virus was beginning to take hold in Germany. Unaware, or perhaps indifferent to the danger, hundreds of Borussia Mönchengladbach fans gathered outside their closed stadium as their team defeated Cologne 2-1. Gladbach players even celebrated with supporters afterward in scenes that authorities are determined won’t be repeated.

“ We’re playing on probation,” league CEO Christian Seifert said.

Local authorities have the power to derail the clubs’ stated aim to finish the regular season by the end of June.

Second-division club Dynamo Dresden is undergoing 14 days of quarantine after two more players tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday, placing its participation in the league in doubt.

Efforts to restart the third division are being hampered because clubs like Carl Zeiss Jena, Magdeburg and Hallescher FC are not allowed to train. A spat has developed with the German soccer federation, which wanted the division to resume on May 26.

The country’s top clubs don’t face such issues.

With nine games of the season remaining, Bayern Munich plays at Union Berlin on Sunday with a four-point lead at the top of the standings.

Second-place Borussia Dortmund hosts Schalke for the Ruhr derby on Saturday. Third-place Leipzig, which is a point further behind, hosts Freiburg, and Gladbach, another point back, visits Frankfurt, also Saturday.

But there’s no guarantee that all nine remaining rounds will be played.

The league has put off a decision on what will happen if play is suspended again or the rest of the season is called off. The standings would most likely stand, with the top team named champion and the bottom two relegated.

Teams were preparing for the restart in quarantine conditions this week. Augsburg coach Heiko Herrlich was due to make his debut in charge against Wolfsburg on Saturday, but he will miss the game after breaking quarantine restrictions to buy toiletries. Herrlich will only return after twice testing negative for COVID-19.

More than 20,000 tests for the virus will be carried out on players, coaching staff and other team officials as part of the league’s hygiene plan to complete the season.

But that hasn’t stopped some from outlining concerns. Cologne midfielder Birger Verstraete criticized the club for its handing of three positive cases of the virus, and Union Berlin defender Neven Subotic said that it was a “precarious situation” for all the players.

“It is going to be impossible to come out of the league with positive remarks,” Subotic said in a BBC interview.

Karlsruher SC midfielder Marc Lorenz was even more critical, saying the league hadn’t considered players’ health “at all” in its rush to get back in action.

“The players will be exhausted after 60 minutes,” Lorenz told the Badische Neueste Nachrichten newspaper. “The five substitutions that were just decided won’t help there. Fatigue will come and then the serious injuries.”

The league is allowing five substitutions instead of the usual three to help teams following two months without play.

The second division is also resuming Saturday, albeit without quarantined last-place Dresden.

The Bundesliga is the first of the five major leagues in Europe to resume. The French league has been called off. Now the Premier League, Serie A and Spanish league will be watching closely to see how German authorities deal with the risk factors that could lead to another shutdown.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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Woods joins the conversation as athletes continue to speak out – TSN

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Athletes and notable names from the world of sports are speaking up as protests continue following the death of George Floyd last this week in Minneapolis.


Als RB Wilder leads CFLers message against racism and police brutality

Montreal Alouettes running back James Wilder Jr. posted a video to social media Tuesday of a number of CFL players sharing a message against systemic racism and police brutality.

“Called on some of my brothers all round the CFL to openly stand with me against Systemic Racism and Police Brutality. WITHOUT hesitation they STOOD!!! Now WE call on YOU to Proudly stand with us!!!! SILENCE IS VIOLENCE!!!!! #STANDTOGETHER

Among the CFLers to share the message were Adam Bighill, Henoc Muamba, Mike Reilly, Zach Collaros, Dacid Casarrubias, Bo Levi Mitchell, Shawn Lemon, Cody Fajardo, Dylan ynn, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Timothy Flanders, and Trevor Harris.

Toronto Argonauts receiver Juwan Brescacin also posted a message on social media, saying “we need to reach one common goal together which is equality.”

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Nick Arbuckle joined the conversation on Tuesday as well.

“An entire half of my family shares the same skin colour as George Floyd, who was murdered by the police in Minneapolis last week. My wife is Black and our beautiful newborn daughter, Aaliyah, is biracial,” part of the statement read. “Even with Aaliyah being biracial, which comes with its own challenges, she will undoubtedly be viewed as Black in America when it comes to the justice system, school applications, police interactions, and everything else where prejudice and racism exists.

“That’s one of the things that has made it most difficult to find the words to express during these times.”


Struble: Being silent doesn’t ignite change

Defenceman prospect Jayden Struble, selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, shared a powerful message on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Struble said he’s angry with how many black lives have been taken without any consequences.

“To start I wanna say that I’ve been angry for a while now. Angry that I keep seeing innocent black lives taken at such a rate that the news seems incomplete without another victim,” said Struble, who is African American. “I’m angry that time and time again this country lets us know that black lives are disposable without any consequence. Angry that the “every man is equal” slogan proves to be just a slogan in this country.”

The 18-year-old went on to support the protests in North America and criticized people who are referring to the rioters as “thugs.”

“First of all these people rioting are not thugs, they’re not criminals, they’re not lower than you,” he wrote. “They are people so broken down by years of systematic racism, and discrimination, in a country who stands for freedom and equality. They’re people who have watched brothers and sisters, friends, and/or other people of colour be beaten, killed, and belittled, asking for help and justice, without the slightest hint of support or change. Peaceful protests got us NOWHERE. So before you u label people thugs, think about where this country could be if people in power listened, helped and implemented change.”

Reach Struble’s full statement below.


Woods joins the conversation

Tiger Woods took to Twitter Monday night to speak out for the first time since Floyd’s death.

“I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement,” Woods said. “They train so diligently to understand how, when and where to use force. This shocking tragedy clearly crossed that line.”

Woods condemned the looting that has taken place in some areas, stating he learned from the Los Angeles riots in 1992 that “education is the best path forward.” 

“We can make our points without burning the very neighborhoods we live in,” Woods said. “I hope that through constructive, honest conversations we can build a safer, unified society.”


Griffin III: No brand is more valuable than human rights


Dumba: I will not be silent about any racial injustice in our society again

Veteran Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba joined the conversation on Tuesday.


Marner: Now is the time to listen with intent

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner and goalie Frederik Andersen was two of many professional athletes and organizations to participate in #BlackoutDay on Twitter on Tuesday.

“I’ve been searching for the right thing to say – but I realize that now is the time to listen with intent, understanding and learn how we can help,” wrote Marner.

Andersen added shortly later: “Humanity can be incredible, and people have the capacity for so much more. Let’s all fight racism and hate and unite with compassion, respect and love.”  


Stamkos makes a statement

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos took to Twitter Tuesday morning regarding the death of George Floyd and the ongoing protests in the United States.

“I have watched, I have listened and now I am ready to speak. Since the senseless killing of George Floyd, I have had a hard time trying to articulate a way of expressing how I truly fell. Am I scared? Do I feel a sense of guilt being a white man? Am I part of the problem if I remain silent,” Stamkos wrote. ” I have watched and listened to the peaceful gatherings of people in protest and I have nothing but compassion and respect for that. I have also watched the looting and the riots. I certainly don’t approve of those action, but as many of YOU have opened my eyes to, I see that these action may be coming from real pain and suffering. I can at least try to comprehend that.”  

The 30-year-old went on to say that he’ll continue to educate himself on the issue pf racism and encourages others to step up and speak up against it.

“I know that we don’t have all the answers right now, but I believe we can come together and continue this fight for change and a better tomorrow.”


Trouba Talks

New York Rangers defenceman Jacob Trouba says “as a privileged white male, it’s easy for me to live in this country,” and that even though it’s important to speak up when it comes to racial injustice, it’s “equally important to listen.”

“It’s been tough for me to find the words to say, so I haven’t. I’ve been listening. Educating myself. Letting others educate me before I speak. I thought I understood, but I didn’t. As a privileged white male, it’s easy for me to live in this country.

“I’ve always heard about the pain and fear of others but I don’t know if I ever truly sat with it and tried to imagine. I know that I will never know what it’s like. And now I know that as important as it is to speak up, it’s equally important to listen.

“Talk with your friends about racism, Black and White. Start conversations, self-reflect, listen, and engage. Black lives matter.”


Chargers coach Lynn discusses racial injustice: ‘I don’t want to just put [a statement] out there because it’s the right thing to do. I want change.’

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn shared his thoughts on George Floyd’s death and the ongoing protests, and racial injustice to LZ Granderson of the Los Angeles Times Tuesday, saying he’s ‘pissed off’ and wanted to do more than put out a statement.

“I’ve read some good statements,” Lynn told the LA Times. “I read Brian Flores from the Dolphins and I agree 100% with him. I read Doc Rivers’ statement and those guys spoke from the heart. I think statements are needed to bring awareness to the situation. But I want to do something too. I don’t want to just put [a statement] out there because it’s the right thing to do. I want change.”

“I haven’t done anything to make this a better place for my son. I remember having the talk with him when he was 16 about how to handle police and then at age 30 I called him up and just had the talk with him again because I’m so scared. I want to do something but to be honest with you, I don’t know what that is.”

“How do we effect that type of change? Where’s the accountability for that kind of [expletive]? That’s where I’m at right now. I’m angry, I’m pissed off and I don’t want to just put out a pretty statement.”


MLB memo on addressing injustice

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued an internal memo to all MLB employees on Monday concerning the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the subsequent protests around the United States. Manfred said baseball wants to be part of the solution.

 “Addressing injustice requires action. Together we must bring about change. Baseball wants to be part of the solution,” the memo read.

A number of teams released statements Tuesday morning including the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets .

“Racism and silence in the face of it cannot be tolerated,” the Brewers statement read. The Brewers also said they are committed to working with their community to effect meaningful and lasting change.

“We stand with our state, our city, and community. We hope to be a part of positive change in our society,” the Mets statement read.

Former Toronto Blue Jays and current New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman retweeted the Mets’ statement with the caption BLACK LIVES MATTER.


American international RB Yedlin shares emotional message on Twitter

American international and Newcastle United RB DeAndre Yedlin shared an emotional message on Twitter Tuesday after the death of George Floyd.

Yedlin, who has represented the United States in international soccer, said his heart goes out in solidarity to George Floyd and his family, and “all of the countless number of victims that have had their lives taken at the hands of meaningless police brutality.”

 


Monty Williams validates Suns players’ feelings amid civil unrest 

Monty Williams validates Suns players’ feelings amid civil unrest

Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams provides insight into the conversation he had with Suns players to express his support for their feelings about injustice.

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Infantino: Don’t punish Bundesliga players for George Floyd support – Sportsnet.ca

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino stepped into the debate about Bundesliga players who protested during matches against the death of George Floyd, saying Tuesday that they should be applauded and not punished.

Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho was booked for taking off his jersey during a Bundesliga match so he could display a T-shirt emblazoned with “Justice for George Floyd.”

Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie carried the same messages on their body at the weekend in a technical breach of the game’s laws that led to the Germany soccer federation saying it was considering a disciplinary case despite expressing pride in their actions.

Floyd, a black man and former community college basketball player, died after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and stopped pleading for air. His death has sparked protests across the United States and in other countries.

“For the avoidance of doubt,” Infantino said, “in a FIFA competition the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve an applause and not a punishment.”

Infantino’s comments were published in a statement by FIFA and were set to feature in a letter to all 211 member associations. The statement also urged leagues to apply “common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.”

The laws of the game prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment.

European football’s governing body will also overlook that rule to allow Floyd tributes in continental competitions it oversees.

“Football is a sport which encourages tolerance, inclusion and justice,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said. “These are the same values being espoused by those showing solidarity to George Floyd.”

UEFA is hoping to resume the Champions League and Europa League in August after being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If a player in our competitions were to display a message or act symbolically to ask for equality for human beings,” Ceferin said, “the circumstances around the event should be taken into account in line with UEFA’s zero tolerance against racism.”

The English Football Association has already said it will adopt the stance urged by FIFA. The Premier League is due to resume on June 17 and clubs have been showing solidarity with Floyd.

Players from Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle have been pictured this week in training taking a knee as part of anti-racism gestures.

“Where any behaviours or gestures on the pitch that may constitute a breach of the laws of the game have to be assessed, they would be reviewed on a case by case basis with a common sense approach and understanding of their context,” the FA said earlier in a statement when asked about players’ tributes to Floyd.

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NBA Projects 2020 Finals To Be Completed By October 12th – RealGM.com

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The NBA has created a timeline for its 22-team format with games resuming on July 31st in Orlando.

The proposed model would run through October 12th for a potential Game 7 of The Finals. The NFL also has a Monday Night Football Game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers scheduled for Monday October 12th

The NBA’s Board of Governors will meet on Thursday with a vote likely to finalize a plan to restart the season. The league continues to work through details of the plan with the NBPA.

The 20-21 NBA regular season is expected to start in late December.

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