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ESPN agrees to air live baseball from South Korea after country successfully fights COVID-19 – Raw Story

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On Monday, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma struck down a requirement that absentee ballots be notarized, making it substantially easier to vote by mail ahead of an election threatened by fears of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision, which follows a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters, is a victory for voting rights activists.

The controversy centered on a voting law passed in 2002. The League of Women Voters asserted this law only required a signed affidavit under penalty of perjury, rather than requiring the ballot to be notarized by a third party, and contended that in the current environment, this restriction would substantially reduce turnout.

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Canadian Premier League moves forward on proposed strategy for a 2020 season – Canadian Premier League

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Toronto, ON – (June 5, 2020) – Today, the Canadian Premier League together with its owners, clubs and player leadership unanimously agreed on the structure and concept of a proposed strategy on the possibility of a 2020 CPL season.

The CPL feels an obligation on behalf of our players, teams, supporters and partners, to get back on the pitch and that can’t happen without the players input and support. The health and safety of all is the single most important issue and it is vital that appropriate health and safety protocols mandated by the local and Provincial officials are in place and agreed to by all stakeholders – players, clubs, owners, league and Canada Soccer, the CPL’s governing body.

“Our position since we began the journey of building the League from the ground up has been to work together,” said David Clanachan, Canadian Premier League Commissioner. “We started this process behind the scenes many weeks ago in consultation with our owners on the many details and protocols required to safely return to the field of play, and potential opportunities that may emerge.  This led to the next step of a collaborative discussion with the players this week.”

Clanachan continued, “It’s been gratifying and rewarding to see how much collective enthusiasm and co-operation there has been, and we have landed in an excellent and unanimous position with our clubs and club player leadership.”

“I and the rest of the squad are looking forward with excitement, energy and enthusiasm as we work towards a return to play. The CPL has gone to the extreme in ensuring player, staff, and club safety as we discuss a new format of play for the 2020 season,” said HFX Wanderers player Alex De Carolis. “We know this season has not turned out the way we expected but we are all excited for whatever format is presented. There will be no excuses or asterisk on this 2020 season, and we will be fully prepared for the opening kick-off. We want to compete for our fans and the city of Halifax as best we can!”

“As a player, I think the ultimate goal is to get back to playing as soon as possible but under the right conditions,” said Forge FC Captain, Kyle Bekker. “This unique situation has opened the door for us as players to have open and honest direct lines of communication with the league. We value being a part of this conversation and look forward to finding the best solution possible in getting back on the field.”

“Since the suspension of sanctioned soccer on 13 March, Canada Soccer has worked closely with all stakeholders including the Canadian Premier League and our Provincial and Territorial Member Associations to ensure the health and safety of all who participate in the game of soccer in Canada,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer’s General Secretary. “Through close collaboration with the Canadian Premier League and their clubs and the sharing of Canada Soccer’s Return to Soccer Guidelines, we are pleased that the league and its clubs have solidified their plan for Return to Soccer where the provincial and local governments have permitted a return to physical activities and look forward to a return to competition soccer through this initiative soon.”

The next step will be to engage with the fans and partners as the Canadian Premier League with its Clubs work collectively to find a solution for a 2020 CPL season.

-30-

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Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley says Donald Trump doesn't have 'a moral bone in his body' – The Globe and Mail

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In this Nov. 13, 2019, file photo, Toronto FC MLS soccer player Michael Bradley speaks to the media during an end of season availability in Toronto.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley pulled no punches Thursday, lamenting the “zero leadership” south of the border as the U.S. is ravaged by racial unrest.

The long-time U.S. skipper took square aim at President Donald Trump.

“We have a President who is completely empty. There isn’t a moral bone in his body,” Bradley told a news conference call.

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“There’s no leadership. There’s no leadership from the President, there’s no leadership from the Republican senators who have sat back and been totally complicit in everything he’s done for the last three and a half years.”

Bradley urged his fellow Americans to speak with their ballot in November, saying it was “impossible to overstate” the importance of the coming election.

“I just hope that people are able to go to the polls in November and think about more than just what is good for them, more than what is good for their own status, their own business, their own tax return. I hope that people can go to the polls and understand that in so many ways, the future of our country and the future of our democracy is at stake.

“We need as many people as possible to understand that at a real level, to think about what four more years with Trump as president, what that would mean, how terrible that would be for so many people.”

Referencing racial inequality and social injustice, Bradley added: “If we want any chance to start to fix those things, then Trump can’t be president, it’s as simple as that.”

The 32-year-old Bradley has run through the gamut of emotions while watching the violence and unrest unfold in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while three police officers restrained him — one with his knee on Floyd’s neck.

“I’m angry, I’m horrified, I’m sad and I’m determined to do anything and everything I can to try to be a part of the fix,” he said. “Because it has to end. And we all have to be part of that fix.”

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He acknowledged that while he has much to learn on the issues, politicians, policy-makers and businesses have to be held accountable.

Bradley has criticized Trump before. In January, 2017, he said he was “sad and embarrassed” by Trump’s travel ban aimed at citizens of predominantly Muslim countries.

The TFC captain, while happy to see the MLS labour impasse over, noted there had been “some real difficult moments along the way.” That included a threat of a lockout from the league.

Such tactics “did not sit well with the players,” he said.

He also said there had been a frustrating absence of dialogue right from the beginning of talks, which he acknowledged played out against an unprecedented global threat.

“This, at a certain point for me, was about what’s right and what’s wrong in the middle of the pandemic. And the way to treat people and the way that you look after people. I kept coming back to that idea. That we have all put so much into growing the game in North America, at all levels — ownership, league office, executives coaches, players, fans.

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“Everybody is important to what we’re trying to do. To try to dismiss any of the entities that I just named would be short-sighted and disrespectful because the game is about everybody.”

He said he would have loved to have seen everyone get on the same page early on and find a way “to cut through the [bull].”

“To just say, ‘This is where we are right now. Nobody has a playbook. Nobody has any answers, but how are we going to come out better and stronger from all of this?’ … I think conversations would have carried so much more weight and I think we would have been able to avoid so much of the way certain things played out.”

Bradley underwent ankle surgery in January to repair an injury suffered in the MLS Cup final loss in Seattle on Nov 10. His rehab over, he was part of a small group training session Thursday.

“I’m doing well,” he said. “I’m continuing to make progress. … At this point, physically, I feel really good. My ankle feels really good. And now it’s just about training. Getting back into real training in a way that now prepares me for games.”

Still, he said injuries are an issue in the league’s return to play given the time that has passed since the league suspended play March 12.

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“That is a big concern,” he said. “And it’s not a big concern only amongst players. I know that has been a real topic amongst coaches and sports science staff and medical staff.”

While teams will do everything possible to get the players ready, a compressed schedule at the Florida tournament that awaits teams won’t help injury fears, he said.

“That certainly is a big question. Maybe the biggest question when you get past the initial health and safety stuff of COVID, among players and coaches and technical staff,” he said.

“How are we going to give ourselves the best chance to win, but also do it in a way where guys are at their highest level both technically and physically.”

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MLBPA rejects league’s demand for additional salary concessions – Sportsnet.ca

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NEW YORK — Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games.

More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after the union’s offer was rejected by Major League Baseball.

“Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon. This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward.”

“Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions,” Clark added.

Players originally were set to earn about $4 billion in 2020 salaries, exclusive of guaranteed money such as signing bonuses, termination pay and option buyouts. The union’s plan would cut that to around $2.8 billion and management to approximately $1.2 billion-plus a $200 million bonus pool if the post-season is completed.

MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

Players countered Sunday with a plan for a 114-game regular season with no pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries they agreed to on March 26. That would leave each player with about 70 per cent of his original pay.

MLB rejected that Wednesday, when Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer informing him “we do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible.”

“Nonetheless, the commissioner is committed to playing baseball in 2020,” Halem said in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press. “He has started discussions with ownership about staging a shorter season without fans.”

Management officials have said they are considering a slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer. There has not been a schedule averaging fewer than 82 games per team since 1879.

“The overwhelming consensus of the board is that players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well,” Clark said in a statement. “The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.”

Baseball’s March 26 deal allows games if there are no government restrictions on playing in front of fans and no relevant travel limitations. The sides agreed to “discuss in good faith” the economic feasibility of playing in empty ballparks, which appears to be the likely option.

MLB says that without fans it would average a loss of $640,000 for each additional game played. The union disputes the teams’ financial figures.

Teams also worry about a second wave of the new coronavirus this fall and don’t want to play past October, fearing $787 million in broadcast revenue for the post-season could be lost. MLB proposed expanding the playoffs from 10 teams to 14, which would generate additional broadcast rights to sell, and players have offered to guarantee the larger playoffs for both 2020 and 2021.

While baseball has reverted to the economic bickering that led to eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the NBA announced plans Thursday to resume its regular season with 22 teams on July 31, the NHL is moving ahead with plans for an expanded Stanley Cup playoffs this summer and MLS is planning to have teams return with a tournament in July.

“In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, players want nothing more than to get back to work,” Clark said. “But we cannot do this alone.”

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