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Horace Grant speaks out about how he was depicted in ‘The Last Dance’ – Sportsnet.ca

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After making waves among NBA fans and the sports world at large as the majority of professional sports remain shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ is causing a stir among some depicted in the documentary series as well.

Horace Grant — who won three championships alongside Michael Jordan during his time in Chicago, and was featured numerous times in the series — offered up a harsh critique of the documentary Tuesday in an interview with David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 Chicago’s Kap & Co. program.

Tops among Grant’s issues with ‘The Last Dance’ was how he was depicted, particularly in the section that suggested Grant was the source of Sam Smith’s book The Jordan Rules, which caused controversy in the early-’90s for its unflattering depiction of Jordan.

Said Grant about Jordan’s claim that it was he who leaked much of the info to Smith for the book:

“As I stated to everybody, that is a downright, outright, completely lie. Lie, lie, lie,” Grant told Kaplan. “If MJ had a grudge with me, let’s settle it like men. Let’s talk about it, or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [the book]. Sam and I have always been great friends. We’re still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there.

“The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter, that he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess — why would MJ just point me out? It’s only a grudge, man. I’m telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary, when, if you say something about him, he’s going to cut you off — he’s going to try to destroy your character.”

Grant also took umbrage with the notion that ‘The Last Dance’ depicts a wholly truthful account of Jordan’s tenure with the Bulls, given Jordan’s own involvement with the series’ production — a critique others have made recently as well.

“When that so-called documentary is about one person, basically, and he has the last word on what’s going to be put out there, what’s going to be put out there is not a documentary,” Grant said. “It’s his narrative of what happened in the Last, quote-unquote, Dance. That’s not a documentary. Because a whole bunch of things was cut out, edited out. That’s why I call it a ‘so-called documentary.’”

Earlier in the interview, Grant pointed specifically to the treatment of Jordan’s trash-talking to teammates in discussing his thoughts on the truthfulness of the series.

“We know — who was there as teammates — that about 90 per cent of it was, I don’t know if I can say it on air, but B.S. in terms of the realness of it,” Grant told Kaplan. “…It wasn’t real. Because a lot of things he said to some of his teammates, that his teammates went back at him. But all of that was kind of edited out of the documentary, if you want to call it a documentary.”

The former NBA All-Star also criticized the series’ depiction of Scottie Pippen, when asked by Kaplan if Pippen was portrayed unfairly — most notably in regards to its handling of Pippen’s decision to sit out the final seconds of a playoff game in ’94.

“I have never seen a quote-unquote ‘No. 2 guy’ as decorated as Scottie Pippen portrayed so badly. In terms of the migraine, in terms of the 1.[8] seconds, [being called] selfish. I have never seen this in all of my life,” Grant said. “Pip was out there in Game 6, could barely walk, getting knocked down on his back, trying to do whatever he could to help that team. My point is, why was that 1.[8] seconds in the documentary, so-called documentary, about Pip? MJ wasn’t even on the team. Why was that in there?

“We handled that that year really well as a team. Pip knows that he was wrong for doing it. We went after the game, Bill Cartwright stood up and said what he had to say, and then we handled it. It was over. It was over. We go on to take the Knicks to seven games. It was over. Why bring that up? That’s my question to everybody out there who’s listening.”

Grant parted ways with the Bulls in 1994, joining the Shaquille O’Neal-Penny Hardaway Magic as a free agent and reaching the NBA Finals with Orlando in ’95. He also spent time with the Seattle SuperSonics and the Los Angeles Lakers, winning his fourth title with the latter franchise in 2001 alongside O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Asked if he and Jordan still speak, Grant said they haven’t communicated since a text message conversation roughly three years ago, but that he’d pay his respects to his former teammate if he saw him today.

“The craziest thing is that for one of my charities, he sent me an autographed pair of shoes. I don’t understand it — if he has some difference with me, he could’ve texted me, he could’ve called me, the whole nine yards. But if I see him today, we would hopefully pay our respects to each other, because we went through three championships together,” Grant said.

“But if not, believe me, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”

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NFL stars send passionate video message to league about racial inequality – CBC.ca

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Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas are among more than a dozen NFL stars who united to send a passionate video message to the league about racial inequality.

The 70-second video was released on social media platforms Thursday night and includes Odell Beckham Jr., Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins, among others.

Thomas, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver who has led the league in receptions the past two seasons, opens the video with the statement: “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered.” The players then take turns asking the question, “What if I was George Floyd?”

The players then name several of the black men and women who have recently been killed, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner.

“I AM George Floyd,” Hopkins says.

Adams follows with: “I AM Breonna Taylor.”

The video closes with the players insisting they “will not be silenced.” They also demand the NFL state that it condemns “racism and the systemic oppression of black people…. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting…. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

‘We were wrong,’ says NFL commissioner  

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league made mistakes in not listening to players, in a video on Friday denouncing racism in the United States amid widespread protests over police brutality against black people.

“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” said Goodell. “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

The NFL has been locked in an ongoing debate with players over kneeling protests during the national anthem before the start of games, a practice popularized by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

WATCH | NFL Commissioner admits league mistake for not listening to players: 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league was wrong for not listening to players fighting for racial equality and encourages them to peacefully protest. 0:49

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the league in 2017, claiming collusion as no teams signed him after he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL and Kaepernick settled in 2019.

“Protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” said Goodell. “I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve.”

The NFL sent the video out just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his call for an end to kneeling protests during the national anthem.

Jaguars lead march against racial injustice

The Jacksonville Jaguars protested against inequality and police brutality on Friday, marching from their stadium to the steps of the sheriff’s department.

“Today, we say, ‘No more,'” wide receiver Chris Conley said. “Today, we see a nation that can’t await change, a city that won’t sit still or be quiet.”

The march included Joshua Dobbs, Brandon Linder and Josh Lambo of the Jaguars along with family members. Coach Doug Marrone, general manager Dave Caldwell and assistant coach Terry Robiskie also walked in what the team called an attempt to “raise awareness for racial injustices against the black community,” with many wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts.

The Jaguars started their march at 9:04 a.m. local time to signify the local 904 area code.

The protest came two days after owner Shad Khan spoke against racism in a letter on the team website. He promised then the franchise would work toward a “timely response.” Former Jaguars receiver Ernest Wilford, now an officer at the department, joined them on the steps at the sheriff’s office.

Conley spoke at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He said he cried when he saw the video of the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was jogging when killed Feb. 23 in Georgia.

Marrone said the Jaguars are working on actions they believe can make a difference. He also challenged the white community to step back, listen and learn.

“Let’s not make the same mistakes we’ve made,” Marrone said. “We need to stand together white and black to make this movement work.”

With the NFL allowing only coaches to return to their offices Friday and players still working remotely because of the pandemic, several Jaguars could not take part in the march.

The team posted videos from a handful of players, including quarterback Gardner Minshew, linebacker Joe Schobert and defensive end Aaron Lynch. Schobert encouraged people to register to vote.

The Jaguars’ protest is the latest involving professional athletes since the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis.

Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry marched in a protest Wednesday along with his wife and four teammates from the Golden State Warriors, including Klay Thompson. Shaq Thompson, and four other Carolina Panthers walked in a protest march Monday in Charlotte, with Thompson helping lead the way.

Broncos plan Saturday march in Denver

On Saturday, several Denver Broncos and coaches plan to march to the Colorado capitol, the site of daily demonstrations. Safety Kareem Jackson organized the gathering after saying Tuesday that players need to do more than tweet and talk because they all see what’s going on.

“I think it’s huge for us to be heard,” Jackson said Tuesday on a video call, “and it’s huge for us to be out in the community so everyone can see us and know that we stand behind them.”

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Saints’ Drew Brees responds to Trump: It was ‘never’ about the flag – Sportsnet.ca

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A day after he apologized for his comments about NFLers engaging in peaceful protest, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is defending his newfound stance to the president of the United States.

Earlier on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Brees for walking back his statements about kneeling during the national anthem.

“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honouring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high… We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag — NO KNEELING!” Trump tweeted.

Brees — who faced backlash from teammates, other athletes and fans for saying he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States” — acknowledged in an Instagram post Friday night that he has learned the protests initiated by Colin Kaepernick in the NFL and taken up by other players was never about the stars and stripes.

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week,” Brees wrote.

“We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial and prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”

View this post on Instagram

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:10pm PDT

Issues of police brutality and systemic racism have returned to the forefront of discussions around the NFL in light of the widespread protests over the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

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Trump: Brees 'should not have taken back his original stance' on flag – theScore

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United States President Donald Trump weighed in Friday on the controversy sparked by Drew Brees‘ comments about players potentially kneeling during the national anthem.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback said on Wednesday he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag” by protesting during the anthem. Brees’ statement drew the ire of players across the league, including several of his teammates, who reiterated that the protests are against police brutality and racial injustice, not the American flag.

Following the backlash, Brees apologized twice on Thursday.

The president tweeted Friday that Brees “should not have taken back his original stance.”

Trump was vehemently against players kneeling during the national anthem when protests took place in the NFL back in 2016.

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