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Lions strike early, set tone in 2020 CFL Draft – CFL.ca

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TORONTO — In a year that’s been full of unique circumstances, the 2020 CFL Draft found a way to stand out, too.

With teams, league officials and players all working and watching from home, the BC Lions played a big part in making it a memorable night. They traded up from the third spot to get Calgary’s first overall pick and used it on linebacker Jordan Williams. The first-ever regional combine participant to go first overall, Williams became the first linebacker to kick off a draft since Winnipeg took <a href="https://www.cfl.ca/players/henoc-muamba/158169/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-ga-category="Clicks – Article" data-ga-action="article-player-link" data-ga-opt-label="Henoc Muamba“>Henoc Muamba in 2011. He’s also just the fifth linebacker to ever go first overall.

“I’m absolutely surprised. I didn’t know there were trades that happen. I thought the CFL was one through nine and that’s what you get,” Williams said about an hour after becoming a Lion.

“This is surreal. I can’t even quantify how I feel right now.”

“Watching him on film, he flies around. When he gets to the ball carrier he makes tackles,” Lions GM Ed Hervey said.

“When you see him he runs through tackles, he makes plays, his presence is felt. Running a 4.5 (second) 40, being as athletic as he is…watching his tape we felt he was the No. 1 overall pick. He brings a level of intensity and athleticism and we felt he was too good to pass up.

“We weren’t sure he’d be there at three, so we decided to take a shot. If we would have stayed at three we would have been fine but we felt like there was an opportunity to take a chance at it.”


MORE DRAFT COVERAGE

» Draft Tracker: See where each pick landed
»
BC Bound: Lions trade up to take Williams first overall
»
Revisiting the Mock Draft 
»
A team-by-team look at the 2020 Draft

The Lions used their second-round pick (15th overall) to take quarterback Nathan Rourke. The six-foot-two, 209-pound Oakville, Ont. native and Ohio University product became the highest drafted quarterback since Jesse Palmer, who also went 15th overall, in 2001. You’d have to go back 49 years to Bob Kraemer being taken seventh overall by Winnipeg in 1971.

“I’m really excited we were able to get him,” Lions head coach Rick Campbell said of Rourke.

“Regardless of nationality, he was a really good player at Ohio University. He’s so productive and a winner and he’s got really good feet, too.”

In three years with the Bobcats, Rourke led the team to bowl game wins each season. He finished his career there after a win at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in December with 7,457 passing yards and 2,639 rushing yards. That versatility impressed the Lions.

“I think that brings a different dynamic to the CFL,” Campbell said.

“I won’t make any proclamations, other than to say it’s a great opportunity for him to come up here and have a guy like <a href="https://www.cfl.ca/players/mike-reilly/131087/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-ga-category="Clicks – Article" data-ga-action="article-player-link" data-ga-opt-label="Mike Reilly to learn under. Most guys that come up here need time to not be thrown into the fire.”

Sticking with a theme of their off-season, the Toronto Argonauts went with a local player with the second overall pick, taking Mississauga, Ont.’s Dejon Brisset from the University of Virginia. The six-foot, 195-pound receiver had a quiet fifth year at Virginia, after a standout season with the Richmond Spiders in 2017. He pulled in 63 receptions for a team-leading 896 yards and seven touchdowns before he was injured three games into his senior season in 2018.

Dropping back to the third overall pick, Calgary got the guy they wanted, in Southeastern Louisiana defensive end Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund. The six-foot-two, 250-pound Dartmouth, N.S. native felt he had some good conversations with the Stamps over the last month abut was still surprised to find out he’d be making a move out West to Calgary.

“They didn’t really give me any indication,” Adeyemi-Berglund said of the Stamps’ interest. “Besides the fact that I had a good relationship with the coaches and the scouts, I thought I would be there. I’m happy with the way that things worked out.”

A second-team all-Southland Conference selection in 2019, Adeyemi-Berglund had 61 tackles including 16 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four pass breakups in 13 games at Southeastern Louisiana. The Stamps are getting a productive player and a consistently great student. The pre-med major was an all-academic team selection in 2018 and 2019 and made the conference commissioner’s fall academic honour roll in 2016 and 2017.

One of the surprising trends from this year’s draft was the lack of offensive linemen taken early. There were four taken in the first round, but none in the second, making for the lowest total o-lineman taken through two rounds since 2010.

Buffalo’s Tomas Jack-Kurdyla was the first o-lineman chosen on Thursday night, going fourth overall to the Edmonton Eskimos. He was followed up by Guelph’s Coulter Woodmansey at fifth overall. After the Ottawa REDBLACKS nabbed Laval defensive back Adam Auclair at sixth, the Saskatchewan Roughriders took Saskatchewan Huskies OL Mattland Riley seventh.

Having gotten one o-lineman in the first round, Hamilton used its second North Dakota defensive end Mason Bennett with the eighth pick. The Argos closed out the first round by taking Regina Rams offensive-lineman Theren Churchill at ninth.

NFL-BOUND CANADIANS GET SOME OPTIONS

At last week’s NFL draft, six Canadian players were either selected or signed post-draft deals. That drove their names further down the CFL draft, but five out of the six still heard their names called. After signing with the L.A. Rams, Brown DL Michael Hoecht went to Ottawa with the first pick in the second round. After Montreal Carabins DB Marc-Antoine Dequoy signed with the Green Bay Packers, his former head coach, Danny Maciocia, used his first pick as the Montreal Alouettes’ GM to take him 14th overall.

Calgary used its third-round pick (21st overall) on receiver Rysen John, who signed with the New York Giants and Montreal went one pick later and chose offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell with the 22nd pick, after the Red Deer product signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Saskatchewan took DL Neville Gallimore went 71st overall, just in case things don’t work out for the Ottawa native with the Dallas Cowboys, who took him 82nd overall.

The highest chosen NFL player out of the Canadian lot, Pittsburgh Steelers second-round pick Chase Claypool, went unselected by a CFL team.

ALS KEEP IT LOCAL

When he was hired as the Als’ GM in January, Maciocia said that drafting and/or recruiting and keeping Quebec-based players would be a focus of his. In his first draft, he chose three Carabins and two Concordia Stingers out of his 10 picks. Here’s a breakdown:

2nd Round:DB Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Montreal (14th)
2nd Round: DL Cameron Lawson, Queen’s (16th)
3rd Round: OL Carter O’Donnell, Alberta (22nd)
3rd Round: DL Marion Beniot, Montreal (25th)
4th Round: LB Brian Harleimana, Montreal (33rd)
6th Round: OL Andrew Becker, Regina (49th)
6th Round: LB Jersey Henry, Concordia (51st)
7th Round: SB Vincent Alessandrini, Concordia (60th)
8th Round: DL Brock Gowanlock, Manitoba (66th)
8th Round: RB Colton Klassen, Saskatchewan (69th)

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UFC star Jon Jones confronts vandals during George Floyd protest in Albuquerque – GIVEMESPORT

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UFC star Jon Jones took to the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday night to confront vandals at a Black Lives Matter protest.

Jones has made news in the UFC world recently by vacating the light heavyweight belt but turned his attentions to more pressing matters at the weekend.

The 32-year-old shared footage on his Instagram account that shows him approaching vandals who were spray painting the city.

The protests were sparked by the death of American George Floyd while in police custody last week.

The clip of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes shocked the world and has led to people challenging the injustice towards black people.

But Jones was eager for the protests to be peaceful and he was seen asking the vandals to hand over their spray cans.

He added a caption that read: “Is this s*** even about George Floyd anymore?!? Why the f*** are you punk ass teenagers destroying our cities!?? 

“As a young black man trust me I’m frustrated as well but this is not the way, we are starting to make a bad situation worse.

“If you really got love for your city (505), protect your s***. All you old heads need to speak up, call your young family members and tell them to come home tonight.”

Several sports stars have paid tribute to Floyd, with Bundesliga football players making gestures in support of the American at the weekend.

On Saturday, Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a ‘Justice for George armband’.

And on Sunday, both Marcus Thuram and Jadon Sancho honoured Floyd after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

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MLS players boycott training in apparent labour impasse – TSN

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Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecap players boycotted training Monday in an apparent labour impasse between the MLS and the MLS Players Association.

It appears players in “multiple markets” also stayed home amidst reports they faced a threatened lockout by the league.

The training sessions are voluntary but players had been taking advantage of them, with Toronto, Atlanta, Inter Miami and Sporting Kansas City among those slated to progress from individual to small group training sessions Monday.

“Players made a CHOICE to focus their time and energy on an important decision which includes the threat of a lockout instead of volunteering to attend on-field training for a tournament we already agreed to attend,” tweeted Minnesota United midfielder Ethan Finlay, a member of the MLSPA’s executive board. “Refuse is not the word I would use.”

With the season on hold since March 12 due to the pandemic, the two sides have been bargaining about concessions and pay.

On Sunday night, the Players Association announced its membership had approved a package for the 2020 season included player salary reductions and additional concessions. It did not provide specifics although the proposal included participating in a summer tournament in Orlando.

“While a difficult vote in incredibly challenging times, it was taken collectively to ensure that players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so,” the PA said in a statement. “The package has been formally submitted to the league for a decision by the owners.”

The league declined comment Sunday night but reports soon emerged that it wanted more concessions.

Complicating matters is the fact that while the league and PA agreed on a new collectively bargaining agreement in February, it has yet to be ratified.

The players’ proposal included adding a year to the CBA.

The labour negotiations come against a backdrop of unrest in the U.S. in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“I can’t sleep some of these nights!,” tweeted Mark-Anthony Kaye, a Canadian international who plays for Los Angeles FC. “My mind just races and goes on and on at the amount of possible scenarios in where I lose my life or I’m harmed by a police officer who took an oath to protect us. The police force has lost its credibility, the CHANGE needs to start internally!”

The league released a statement Monday saying the “entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless murder of George Floyd.

“We stand united with the black community throughout our country and share in the pain, anger and frustration. We hear you. We see you. We support you. We are committed to use our voices and the platform of our league, our clubs and our players to continue to champion equality and social justice.”

Prior to the league release, Toronto defender Justin Morrow wondered what was taking so long.

“How long must we wait to hear from you regarding what’s going on across the country?” he tweeted. “Can’t you see that your players are speaking up and it matters to them? Your silence is deafening. Please support us.”

The MLSPA issued its statement Sunday.

“Like our players, we are deeply sickened by the continued inequality and violence around the country. We stand with all of those who have been subjected to unfair and unequal treatment because of the colour of their skin. We must commit as a society to end this horrible cycle.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

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Dykstra's libel suit dismissed: Reputation 'so tarnished that it cannot be further injured' – theScore

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Lenny Dykstra’s defamation and libel lawsuit against former New York Mets teammate Ron Darling was dismissed Friday by New York Supreme Court Judge Robert D. Kalish, according to ESPN.

Dykstra’s “reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured,” the ruling stated.

The lawsuit stemmed from Darling’s 2019 memoir, “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game.” In the book, Darling wrote that Dykstra directed racist taunts toward Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd during the 1986 World Series.

Darling petitioned to have the lawsuit dismissed by citing Dykstra’s past legal problems as well as comments made in Dykstra’s autobiography, “House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge.” Judge Kalish cited these documents as a contributing factor to the dismissal.

“Based on the papers submitted on this motion, prior to the publication of the book, Dykstra was infamous for being, among other things, racist, misogynist, and anti-gay, as well as a sexual predator, a drug abuser, a thief, and an embezzler. Further, Dykstra had a reputation – largely due to his autobiography – of being willing to do anything to benefit himself and his team, including using steroids and blackmailing umpires,” Kalish wrote.

The 57-year-old Dykstra played 12 major-league seasons between the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. He’s made headlines in his post-playing career for various legal issues, including a 2018 arrest for drug possession and uttering terroristic threats. He served six-and-a-half months in prison after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, and money laundering in 2012.

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