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It's 2021 or never for Tokyo Olympics, says IOC's Dick Pound – CBC.ca

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It could be 2021 or never for the Tokyo Olympics.

Dick Pound, Canada’s longtime International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, said he doesn’t foresee being able to delay the Tokyo Games by another year.

“The Japanese have said we can keep the ball up in the air for a year, but not longer than a year,” Pound said in an interview with CBC Sports’ Scott Russell on Friday. “We really have to hope that we get this act together in time for 2021.”

Pound, 78, broached the idea of postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic a day before the change was made official on March 24. The Tokyo Olympics are now scheduled to run from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.

The Japanese Organizing Committee (JOC) is the best he’s seen, Pound said Friday, and was thus prepared for all the fallout caused by postponement. Now, the St. Catharines, Ont., native is hoping the rescheduled Olympics could become a flashbulb moment in a post-pandemic world.

“[The JOC] says, ‘It’s important to us and yes, we think we can do that.’ Then by all means yes, let’s give the kids a chance, let’s give the world a chance to weather this storm,” Pound said. “Come back and you can emerge from an existential threat to humanity with this huge gathering of the youth of the world.”

Global gathering

As most of the world enforces strict physical distancing guidelines, and as professional sports ponder how to hold events with as few as two athletes, the idea of 11,000 athletes around the globe congregating in one place seems nearly impossible.

But Pound says the universality of the Olympics is what makes the event so great.

“It’s a really intricate tapestry when you look at all the arrangement,” Pound said. “But that said, that’s the huge benefit of having an event that’s not just a series of world championships brought together in a television studio. It’s the people reacting with people that really matters.”

WATCH | Pound says universality of Olympics could shine through in 2021:

CBC Sports’ Scott Russell spoke with International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound about the power of the Olympics and why it’s important to still hold the 2020 Games. 4:00

Pound competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome as a swimmer, where he placed sixth in the 100-metre freestyle. He said it was his experience there — being able to meet people outside of his own sport and his own country — that sparked his lifelong Olympic passion.

And so he had a message for today’s athletes, now forced to wait another 12 months for their potentially life-altering experience.

“Hang in there. We’re trying to preserve that experience for you. It’s postponed a little but you’re resilient. If you’re an athlete, you learn a lot more from your setbacks than you do from your wins,” Pound said.

“Everybody in the world hopes that this event can be put back together a year later and the world will have a chance to see you in action. You’ll have a chance to do your best and everybody will feel good about the outcome.”

Financial cost of postponement

Beyond the athletes, the financial reverberations of Olympics’ postponement will be felt throughout the world.

“I think what we’re likely to find, somewhat to our horror, is that many of the [international sport federations] are so dependent on their share of the Olympic revenues that they really can’t carry on at the level they’re doing now, or would like to do, without making some changes,” Pound said.

The IOC will evaluate each sporting body to determine which may benefit most from revenue-sharing from the parent committee, he said.

There are also alternatives for the Olympics that the IOC is considering to cut costs, Pound said, though the idea of single-site Games — such as placing the Summer Olympics permanently in Greece — remains unlikely.

“It’s completely impractical and the Games are so universal now that they’re not Greek Games — they belong to the world,” he said. “And it’s very hard to say to all of the rest of the world, ‘Sorry, you’re just out of luck. Don’t even think about applying to be host.'”

Instead, some of the so-called frills of the Olympics, whose value may not match cost, are being examined. “It’s serious but not fatal,” Pound said of the financial fallout.

“From the perspective of the Olympic movement, there’s a potential loss of revenue and potential increase in the costs. But frankly, that’s worth it if we can get these Games on one year later than scheduled.”

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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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