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Mock 2.0: A new name at No. 1 – CFL.ca

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With the 2020 CFL Draft just a day away, CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson is back with his second and final mock draft.

In his first edition, Ferguson had the Calgary Stampeders taking offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell with the first overall selection. This time around, he’s changed things up and there’s a new No. 1 pick in town.

ROUND 1

1. CALGARY
JORDAN WILLIAMS
LB | EASTERN CAROLINA

While it might be unfair that he was the only CFL Combine athlete able to post eye-popping numbers in 2020 due to the timing of the CFL’s Ontario Regional Combine, there is no doubting Jordan Williams would have remained one of the true standouts of the Spring draft process.

When you draft with the top overall pick and make the decision to pick a player that should be readily available from day one, you don’t just want an average player or someone you could have taken with a later pick, you want the most game-changing player available and Williams is that in this class.

Alex Singleton was a revelation to the Stampeders defence thanks to his smarts and recognition at middle linebacker but he pails in comparison to the raw athleticism of Williams. If Williams is combined with 2019’s Most Outstanding Rookie Nate Holley, he could quickly gain chemistry and they could become the most dynamic Middle-Weak linebacker tandem in the CFL.

2. TORONTO
TOMAS JACK KURDYLA
OL | BUFFALO

I believe the Argos could skip right to the point and take receiver Dejon Brissett here, but if they go offensive line without a true natural day one starter replacement for Sean McEwen lost in free agency to the Stampeders, I could see the Argos going best available for a guard-to-gaurd swing protector with athleticism capable of becoming a tight end in six lineman sets.

I believe Jack-Kurdyla is this player as my other top-rated blocker Ketel Asse has more of a Shane Richards body type, whom the Argos took with the top spot in 2019’s draft.

3. BC
ISAAC ADEYEMI-BERGLUND
DL | SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA

This spot right here really is the swing vote of the CFL Draft’s first two hours on Thursday night. If Ed Hervey wants to take an edge rusher, he will have to choose between Adeyemi-Berglund and North Dakota’s Mason Bennett. I believe Adeyemi-Berglund’s drive and imposing build combined with his relentless pursuit of anyone crazy enough to attempt evading him is worthy of the spot.

Drafting an offensive lineman here makes sense for a team with protection issues from last season but Mike Reilly is in win-now mode and developing an already relatively young group with another rookie tossed in during injuries doesn’t seem like the plan.

4. EDMONTON
KETEL ASSE
OL | LAVAL

GM Brock Sunderland and his staff have done such a good job building national talent and depth that I could see the Esks using their second-straight 4th overall pick to capture even more talent to pair with Boateng and Betts. That group is already proficient and getting three top-end pass rushers on the field at once, or even in a healthy rotation is tough.

Ketel Asse has prototypical size and great footwork. His recognition and ability to react to rushers from any angle suggests he could play multiple positions in a moment of need and as we saw last year the Esks go as far as – a healthy – Trevor Harris can take them.

5. HAMILTON (VIA MTL) 
DEJON BRISSETT
REC | VIRGINIA

If the Argos don’t jump on Brissett at the two spot, I see him landing in Hamilton as a natural wide side receiver. Mike Jones is a very talented player who was given plenty of opportunity to get past drops and fighting the football with his top end speed, but the drop and subsequent tweak that removed Jones from the Grey Cup likely sealed his black and gold fate as he wasn’t re-signed in the first two months of free agency.

Hamilton could use this Manziel bonus pick to immediately get a top-end receiver with fairly local roots to learn the CFL game from Tommy Condell and potentially develop into more than a wide side pass catcher.

6. OTTAWA
COULTER WOODMANSEY
OL | GUELPH

At six-foot-five and 295 pounds, Woodmansey looks every bit the part of a first round offensive lineman and has tremendous fundamentals. He finishes every snap strong and rarely loses a one-on-one. 6th overall might be too big with the names to follow still available and Ottawa might not even want a lineman this year, but I liked his demeanour, finish, and availability enough to believe Woodmansey fits in here with another Ottawa pick coming quickly at 10th overall.

Why not add another layer of protection and insurance here for Nick Arbuckle with the pick used to swap for his rights.

7. SASKATCHEWAN
MATTLAND RILEY
OL | SASKATCHEWAN

Last year the Saskatchewan Roughriders drafted Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius with their first two picks. This year they pick here and not again – barring a trade – until 30th overall. In free agency, Saskatchewan lost former draft pick Dariusz Bladek and trade acquisition Philip Blake to Toronto. As a result, this pick screams ‘get something tangible’ to me.

Mattland Riley is a six-foot-three, 300-pounder from Melfort, Saskatchewan and should quickly be CFL ready across any interior three positions. He would fit with the theme of upgrading an aging offensive line to be ready for a starting role by next season, and many years beyond.

8. HAMILTON
MASON BENNETT
DL | NORTH DAKOTA

I toyed with the Bombers trading up here to nab the Vincent Massey product, but I just don’t know if Winnipeg GM Kyle Walters wants to spend the kind of capital it would require to come get Bennett. Bennett could immediately make Bombers fans forget about the loss of Jonathan Kongbo, whose stellar rookie season led to a quickly release and signing in San Francisco with the 49ers.

For the Ticats, if the receiver pick is taken care of at fifth overall they can roll Bennett in alongside Julian Howsare at the end opposite Ja’Gared Davis, Dylan Wynn and Ted Laurent and add a national rotation to an already diverse front seven substitution package. If Laurent comes off the field on 2nd and long, maybe Bennett could find a role as a stand up end in a pass rush role until he becomes an every down player when the opportunity presents itself.

9. TORONTO
MICHAEL HOECHT
DL | BROWN

Hoecht really feels like a Brent Johnson type to me. With Robbie Smith of Laurier enjoying a standout rookie season after being drafted ninth overall by the Double Blue last year, the Argos could invest further in this Ontario native who should be reliable for some time once he reaches the CFL following a look with the L.A. Rams of the NFL.

ROUND 2

1 (10). OTTAWA
ADAM AUCLAIR
DB/LB | LAVAL

Antoine Pruneau remains a talented CFL safety flying to the football for the REDBLACKS in the best and worst of times, but he isn’t getting any younger and I wonder what kinds of coverages and blitzes new Defensive Coordinator Mike Benevides could order up with a multiple skill set player like Adam Auclair at his disposal.

2 (11). TORONTO (CONDITIONAL TO SASKATCHEWAN)
BRENDAN O’LEARY-ORANGE
REC | NEVADA

If Toronto prioritizes line play, there should still be some excellent options available to Pinball and John Murphy at the 11th pick. O’Leary-Orange has been locked in recent days at a 4.45 second 40 yard dash with hands, route running and NCAA exposure. He’s not T.J. Jones but paired with Juwan Brescacin, the Argos would have a formidable big bodied tandem to give Matt Nichols or McLeod Bethel-Thompson options on second and long.

3 (12). BC
RYSEN JOHN
REC | SFU

With the top two receivers gone and an elite first round edge rusher secured, the Lions find another target for Mike Reilly here. John’s size and high-pointing ability ensures he won’t last until the Lions next pick at 23rd overall.

4 (13). EDMONTON
CARTER O’DONNELL
OL | ALBERTA

I doubt Carter O’Donnell gets to this point but getting a $25,000 signing bonus from the Indianapolis Colts gave me enough pause to slide him from the first to early second round with Edmonton being the natural fit.

Literally any team would be wise to take O’Donnell before this point and hope he arrives one day, but it makes the most sense for Calgary or Edmonton, who are likely to have the best shot at signing the Golden Bears standout in free agency down the road. With Asse taken in round one as a top end insurance policy, should O’Donnell stick down South, the risk in both value and position makes sense.

5 (14). MONTREAL
MARC-ANTOINE DEQUOY
DB | MONTREAL

I talked to Danny Maciocia last year at the U SPORTS East-West Bowl and he glowed about Marc-Antoine Dequoy. All he did since then is get faster, help win another Dunsmore for Maciocia and get an NFL contract.

It’s admittedly risky for the first pick of Maciocia’s Alouettes tenure to be on a player he might not see quickly, especially after Maciocia’s opening press conference was highlighted by his admission that there isn’t much draft capital passed on for him to work with, but this would send a strong message that if you are one of the best RSEQ players available the Alouettes aren’t just interested, they’re invested. That’s a theme Maciocia spoke of when hired and reinforced through February’s free agency dance.

It’s a culture and identity defining selection that goes far beyond the skillset and scheme fit.

6 (15). CALGARY
CAM LAWSON
DL | QUEEN’S

In 2014, Derek Wiggan of the Queen’s Gaels was up for grabs in the CFL Draft and Calgary picked up the powerful big man with the 34th pick. Wiggan was a safe, smart and stable pick capable of creating solid interior push to the quarterbacks face while rarely getting his hands in the wrong place or head on the wrong side of a blocker in the run game.

That is Cam Lawson.

7 (16). MONTREAL (VIA SASKATCHEWAN)
RESHAAN DAVIS
DL | OTTAWA

Davis came onto my radar in a big way after watching a three-sack performance against Guelph in a 12-10 victory for the Gee-Gees. At six-foot-four and 243 pounds, he would add to the nicely developing national edge rush group of Bo Banner (19th in 2018) and Nate Anderson (16th in 2019) in Montreal.

8 (17). HAMILTON
NOAH HALLETT
DB | MCMASTER

He looks and plays like former Ticats safety Craig Butler, who remains on Hamilton’s coaching staff. He was coached by current Ticats free safety and special teams ace Mike Daly. He played his college ball in Hamilton and he’s from just down the road in London.

The stars have aligned here if the Ticats want Hallett and they might be smart to take him before Winnipeg can get their first selection in at 18th overall as the Blue and Gold benefited from the massive special teams performance of Toronto Varsity Blues draftee Nick Hallett in 2019.

Nick is Noah’s brother and the two have been training together at home through the pandemic. In Noah, the Bombers could get Nick’s immediate special teams influence with a bigger upside on defence capable of possible becoming a starting safety in the coming years, but not if Hamilton has their say.

9 (18). WINNIPEG
ANDREW SEINET-SPAULDING
DL | MCGILL

I can’t understand why Andrew Seinet-Spaulding hasn’t gotten more love in this spring draft process. All he did was be named to the RSEQ all-star team in 2019 after leading the league in both tackles for loss (13.5) and quarterback sacks (7).

The six-foot, 292-pound native of Pierrefonds, QC had 27.5 tackles in eight games, was named an All-Canadian and became just the third McGill player in school history to win the J.P. Metras Trophy as most outstanding down lineman in Canadian collegiate football following in the footsteps of Randy Chevrier (2000) and current Super Bowl champion/world class doctor Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (2013).

8 (19). OTTAWA (TERRITORIAL)
NEVILLE GALLIMORE
DT | OKLAHOMA

19th overall for a guy they’ll likely never see? Yes.

Here’s the reasoning. Ottawa’s depth of talent for this territorial draft selection is not great. If Gallimore ever does play in Canada, the REDBLACKS can’t allow it to be in any colours other than their own and this territorial selection is really just a bonus pick to improve after a bad year, so why not play with house money and reward yourself should he ever come home?

Other players that could land here include Carleton RB Nate Carter, Towson LB Malik Tyne and Brown DL Micheal Hoecht (although he likely won’t make it past the 12th pick).

The alternative here is the REDBLACKS could defer the territorial pick to later rounds and draft a player from Ottawa they want, but not at a second round price tag. Again, the simple answer with value appears to be drafting the monster from Oklahoma who automatically becomes a younger, more agile Ted Laurent.

7 (20). TORONTO (TERRITORIAL)
KIAN SCHAFFER-BAKER
REC | GUELPH

For the Argos’ fourth pick of the first two rounds, they can buy some insurance on the national receiver position or potentially go with a depth lineman on either side of the ball, such as Laurier’s Samuel Acheampong, but I like Schaffer-Baker.

The Mississauga native is six-foot-four and 200 pounds and has dynamic ball tracking ability. If he doesn’t go here to Toronto, I don’t see him making it out of the third round for a team like Edmonton, Hamilton or BC.

ROUND 3

1 (21). CALGARY
NATHAN ROURKE
QB | OHIO

Jesse Palmer is the historical benchmark at 15th overall to the Alouettes and Michael O’Connor is the recent marker at 20th overall to the Argonauts last year. Rourke could go above both, but he’s more likely to go between them or just after.

Rourke’s NCAA pedigree is good, but it’s the delivery, solid build and smooth timing on delivery I like the most. Calgary acquired this pick in the Arbuckle trade with Ottawa. Use it to go get the next Andrew Buckley who might turn into much, much more for you down the road when Bo Levi Mitchell is done.

2 (22). MONTREAL
JACK CASSAR
LB | CARLETON

A tackling machine with a true middle linebacker build and mentality to support the depth chart around Canadian standout Hence Muamba, Cassar feels like one of the sneaky trendy picks of this years class who will make a difference immediately on special teams.

3 (23). BC
DYLAN GIFFEN
OL | WESTERN

You’re more likely to find a size comparable in the WWE for Giffen than the CFL. At six-foot-eight and well over three bills, Giffen’s size can lend to rolling out of his stance and difficulty changing direction, but once he gets his hands solidly on you the rep is over.

That’s exactly the type of eraser the Lions could have used last year through Mark’s Labour Day Weekend while battling injuries, poor play and endless line shuffling.

4 (24). EDMONTON
TRIVEL PINTO
REC | UBC

I’m not in the business of criticizing someones character for one dumb decision, which Pinto admits to have made when getting his draft year deferred for a drug violation. His yards after catch ability is amongst the best in this receiver class and his blocking skills have dramatically improved since his formative football days with the Metro Toronto Wildcats.

If Trivel goes into camp and silently works at his craft, the Esks might get the steal of the entire draft if he lasts into round three.

5 (25). MONTREAL
STAVROS KATSANTONIS
DB | UBC

From one draft year deferred Thunderbird to another, Katsantonis had a simple supplement error. Stavros has the best natural sense of ball locating in the 2020 CFL defensive back draft class.

7 (26). CALGARY
SAMUEL ACHEAMPONG
DL | WILFRID LAURIER

A 2019 OUA first team all-star, Acheampong possesses solid length at six-foot-five and 247 pounds and would be a good depth add to the earlier pick of Cam Lawson.

8 (27). HAMILTON
TYLER TERNOWSKI
REC | WATERLOO

A Hamilton native with endless amounts of on-field production, Ternowski is simply the most enjoyable route runner amongst draft eligible U SPORTS receivers and deserves the chance to prove his smaller frame won’t hold back the same production from re-appearing at the CFL level.

9 (28). TORONTO
KAYDEN JOHNSON
RB | YORK

A tall, athletic freak whose track background is worth a Google search to understand just how unique he is, Johnson is an immediate presence with the Argos special teams much in the same framework as former Queen’s LB Nelkas Kwemo. The idea of McMaster graduate Declan Cross standing alongside Kayden is about as imposing as it gets for national backfield tandems.

ROUND 4

1 (29). OTTAWA
BLESKA KAMBAMBA
DB | WESTERN

A playmaker anytime the ball comes near him, Bleska’s energy and quick drive put him in the discussion for top defensive player on a talented Mustangs squad.

2 (30). SASKATCHEWAN
NICHOLAS SUMMACH
OL | SASKATCHEWAN

Summach is a monster depth pick to pair with U SPORTS teammate Mattland Riley taken in the first round.

3 (31). CALGARY
NICHOLAS DHEILLY
DL | SASKATCHEWAN

Dheilly is a tweener body type who will either have to add some weight to survive as a defensive end and access his natural pass rushing skills or improve open field movement skills to validate assignment as a WIL linebacker and special teamer.

4 (32). EDMONTON
SHAYDON PHILIP
LB | ALBERTA

Philip is a big body depth add for an Esks team looking to find some answers at linebacker rotations and special teams contributors.

5 (33). MONTREAL
SAMUEL ROSSI
LB | MONTREAL

Maciocia. If you recruited them and they played well for you, wouldn’t you invest here in the fourth round?

5 (34). CALGARY
CHRIS GANGAROSSA
OL | WAGNER

A Fort Erie, Ont. native, Gangarossa stands at six-foot-six and helped lead Wagner RB Ryan Fulse to one of the best rushing seasons in school history.

6 (35). SASKATCHEWAN
TREY KELLOGG
REC | UBC

A depth add around last years priority picks McInnis and Lenius, Kellogg can flat out fly with a similar skill set to Kian Schaffer-Baker, who was taken 15 picks earlier.

7 (36). HAMILTON
MARC LIEGGHIO
K | WESTERN

Hamilton could prioritize Liegghio – or any other kicker for that matter – much earlier but if they are the only team with a true desperate need after fellow Mustangs alum Lirim Hajrullahu left for the L.A. Rams, perhaps they can wait to the fourth round to take this multifaceted foot leather destroyer.

8 (37). WINNIPEG
TRESHAUN ABRAHAMS-WEBSTER
DB | CALGARY

From Canada Prep to Calgary and now the Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers, I could see Winnipeg taking the five-foot-11, Vanier Cup Champion as a free safety prospect or solid special teams add.

ROUND 5

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
38OttawaColton KlassenREC/RBSaskatchewan
39WinnipegJesse LawsonOLCarleton
40BCTheren ChurchillOLRegina
41EdmontonLiam O’BrienFBSMU
42TorontoBrock GowanlockDLManitoba
43BCOludotun AketepeDBGuelph
44SaskatchewanMalik TyneLBTowson
45HamiltonBrian HarelimanaLBMontreal
46WinnipegJakub SzottOLMcMaster

ROUND 6

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
47OttawaDev LamourDBBuffalo
48TorontoTrey HumesRBWestern
49MontrealBailey FeltmateLBAcadia
50EdmontonNicolas OppongOLMount Allison
51MontrealBenjamin CarreDBMcGill
52CalgarySamuel LefebvreOLLaval
53SaskatchewanChase ClaypoolRECNotre Dame
54HamiltonGraydon CampbellDTWilliam & Mary
55 WinnipegMacho BockruRECManitoba

ROUND 7

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
56OttawaXander TachinskiRECMcMaster
57EdmontonSkye KingDLYork
58BCBrian HopeK/PSaint Mary’s
59EdmontonAaron ChabayloLBAlberta
60MontrealJ.J. MolsonKUCLA
61CalgaryOliver GrantOLAcadia
62SaskatchewanDion PellerinRBWaterloo
63HamiltonStephane TanguayOLSimon Fraser
64WinnipegRory KellyDBAcadia

ROUND 8

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
65OttawaKurtis GrayLBWaterloo
66TorontoNolan PuttDBMcMaster
67BCJohnathan Femi-ColeRBWestern
68EdmontonBrett EllermanRECWestern
69MontrealAdam SinagraQBCalgary
70CalgaryAlex SaltychevDBWestern
71SaskatchewanCordell HastingsRECAcadia
72HamiltonJonathan ZamoraOLSt. FX
73WinnipegMax BataarDLCalgary

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Hall of Famer Unseld dead at 74 – TSN

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Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Wes Unseld has died at the age of 74 after a bout of pneumonia, the Washington Wizards announced on Tuesday.

The Louisville native spent all 13 of his NBA seasons with the Baltimore/Washington Bullets franchise.

“He was the rock of our family – an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friends and teammates,” Unseld’s family said in a statement. “He was our hero and loved playing and working around the game of basketball for the cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C., cities he proudly wore on his chest for so many years.”

Unseld appeared in a Bullets/Wizards franchise record 984 games, averaging 10.8 points and 14.8 rebounds over his career.

Taken with the second pick of the 1968 NBA Draft out of Louisville, Unseld, a five-time All-Star, won both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in 1969.

“We all admired Wes as the pillar of this franchise for so long, but it was his work off the court that will truly leave an impactful legacy and live on through the many people he touched and influenced throughout his life of basketball and beyond,” Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said in a statement.

Upon his retirement, Unseld joined the organization’s front office, becoming the team’s vice-president in 1981. In 1988, Unseld became the Bullets head coach, resigning in 1994.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1988 and to the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.

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Poll: Canadians OK with being benched as NHL playoff venue – Sports – Castanet.net

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It looks like hockey fans will be able to cheer on their favourite NHL team this summer but Canadians have issued a collective shrug about whether the Stanley Cup is hoisted on their home ice.

Less than one-quarter of those who took part in a recent survey said it was very important that a Canadian city be host to some of the playoffs.

The web survey, conducted by polling firm Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, found 47 per cent thought it wasn’t important that the puck drop in a Canadian arena.

The NHL plans to resume its 2019-20 season, brought to a halt in March by the COVID-19 pandemic, with games played in two hub cities.

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto are among the 10 possible locations, but Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the country remains in place and could scuttle the prospect of hockey north of the 49th parallel.

The survey was conducted May 29 to 31 among 1,536 Canadians and 1,002 Americans, 18 or older, who were randomly recruited from an online panel.

The hockey question, limited to Canadian respondents, revealed 24 per cent felt it was very important for a Canadian city to play host, while 20 per cent said it was somewhat important.

Thirty-five per cent said it was not important at all, 12 per cent felt it was somewhat unimportant and nine per cent didn’t know.

The fact the NHL plans to bar spectators from the stands during playoff games due to COVID-19 “probably cooled off a few respondents,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

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FIFA calls on organizers not to sanction in-game gestures supporting George Floyd – CBC.ca

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FIFA urged soccer competition organizers on Monday to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players for solidarity with George Floyd during matches.

The recognition of the “depth of sentiment” over Floyd’s death came in a rare statement by FIFA telling the global game to show flexibility and not enforce laws of soccer it helps to set.

Players used weekend games in Germany to reveal messages demanding justice for Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after he pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck in Minneapolis.

Germany’s soccer federation announced earlier Monday that it was assessing whether to sanction the players for breaking laws of the game that prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment.

WATCH | German league players show support for George Floyd:

During Sunday’s Bundesliga action, Marcus Thuram takes a knee and Jadon Sancho unveils a shirt that says ‘Justice For George Floyd’. 0:40

“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,” the governing body said in a statement.

“The application of the laws of the game approved by the IFAB is left for the competitions’ organisers, which should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.”

FIFA controls half of the eight votes on the International Football Association Board, with the other four held by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A law change in 2014 — proposed by England — led to players being banned from revealing personal statements on undergarments.

England winger Jadon Sancho was booked while playing for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday for removing his jersey — a yellow-card offence — only so he could reveal a T-shirt with a “Justice for George Floyd” message.

WATCH | Canadian athletes speak against racism:

Canadian athletes have been speaking out against racism and for change, including tennis youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime, basketball legend Steve Nash, and Olympians Kia Nurse, Karina LeBlanc and Perdita Felicien 2:38

Borussia Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi displayed the same message on a T-shirt after scoring in the same game on Sunday but was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head.

Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck. Three other officers were also at the scene. Chauvin has been charged with murder and all four were fired.

In the Bundesliga on Saturday, American midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband over his Schalke jersey with the handwritten message “Justice for George,” and Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Mönchengladbach in another game.

On Monday, after the Deutscher Fussball-Bund said it was assessing the players’ actions, Cologne forward Anthony Modeste became the latest to make a gesture after scoring against Leipzig. He stood briefly with his right palm facing out and his left palm facing in to display the darker skin on the back of his hand.

Cologne said it was “a clear signal” against racism from Modeste.

WATCH | ESPN’s Howard Bryant reflects on Kaepernick’s preaceful protest:

ESPN senior writer Howard Bryant on the death of George Floyd and the resulting civil unrest. 4:19

DFB president Fritz Keller on Monday showed his respect and understanding for McKennie, Thuram, Sancho and Hakimi’s gestures.

“If people are discriminated against on the basis of their skin colour, it is unbearable. If they die because of their skin colour, then I am deeply distraught,” Keller said in a DFB statement. “The victims of racism need all of us to show solidarity.”

The expressions of protest are being investigated by the German soccer federation’s control body.

“As is the case internationally,” federation vice-president Rainer Koch said, “the game itself should remain free of political statements or messages of any kind.”

FIFA’s awareness of the depth of feeling over the racial inequalities highlighted by Floyd’s death comes amid ongoing criticism soccer is not doing enough to eradicate or punish racism.

“FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind and recently strengthened its own disciplinary rules with a view to helping to eradicate such behaviours,” the Zurich-based governing body said. “FIFA itself has promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organised under its own auspices.”

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