Through the pens and pencils of children, England is fighting back against racism.
After Marcus Rashford and two other Black players missed penalty kicks in the final moments of the national soccer team’s European Championship loss to Italy, bigots defaced a mural of the Manchester United star and hurled racist abuse at the three on social media. Children in Manchester rose to Rashford’s defence, filling spaces on the wall with messages of support, encouragement and consolation.
“I hope you won’t be sad for to (sic) long because you are such a good person,” 9-year-old Dexter Rosier wrote. “I’m proud of you. You will always be a hero.”
The mural, which occupies a brick wall not far from where Rashford grew up, has become a symbol of England’s fight against the bigotry that has blighted the sport loved by people of all backgrounds. The struggle is playing out across the country as politicians and pundits, athletes and activists, react to the racist comments that surfaced post-defeat and undermined the sense of national unity created by England’s uplifting run to its first major soccer championship final since 1966.
The online abuse of the Black players underscores the problems created by one vision of what it means to be English, which is rooted in visions of the past glories of empire and colonialism and often surfaces during international sporting events, said Professor Bridget Byrne, director of the Center on the Dynamics of Ethnicity at Manchester University.
“The work of achieving racial justice in the U.K. is far from over, and that’s what this has revealed,” she said. “Whilst racism has become less socially acceptable to express openly, it is still very much a strand in British culture.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to condemn racism and blamed social media companies for not doing enough to stop the spread of hate on their platforms. He said he would use a meeting with company leaders Tuesday to reiterate the urgent need for action.
Critics said that Johnson and his government failed to tackle the issue at the start of the Euro 2020 tournament, when some fans booed the England team for kneeling symbolically at the start of games to highlight the problem of racism.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose department oversees police and domestic affairs, has come under particular scrutiny after she opposed what she called “gesture politics” and said fans had the right to boo. In an interview last month, Patel also criticized protests last summer by the U.K.’s Black Lives Matter movement, including one where a statue of a 17th century slave trader was toppled, as efforts to rewrite history.
On Monday, England player Tyrone Mings chastised Patel for playing politics after she called on the police to take action against those who subjected the soccer players to “vile racist abuse.”
“You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens,” Mings wrote on Twitter.
Marvin Sordell, a former professional soccer player who advises England’s Football Association on diversity, said the outpouring of disgust from politicians and pundits was depressingly familiar.
“We always see condemnation,” Sordell told the BBC. “It’s the same for a few days, then we kind of get back to normal and then another incident happens.…We kind of live in this cycle that continuously goes on. At some point, we have to break the cycle. At some point, it isn’t enough to just be outraged. We have to do something.”
Rashford, who grew up a few miles from Manchester United’s historic Old Trafford stadium, joined England’s national team at the age of 18 after scoring a barrage of goals for his hometown club. The son of a single mother who sometimes skipped meals to ensure her five children didn’t have to, he became a national icon last year when he led a campaign that forced the government to feed children who were missing out on free school meals while the pandemic closed schools.
In response to the abuse he received Sunday night and the outpouring of support from fans, Rashford, now 23, spoke of his teammates and the “brotherhood” created by their successes and failures this summer.
“I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in,” he wrote in a Twitter message that has been liked almost 1 million times. “But I will never apologize for who I am and where I came from.”
That is Manchester’s Withington neighbourhood, where local artists painted a two-story, black-and-white mural of Rashford after the success of his school meals campaign.
Abi Lee, assistant head teacher of the nearby St. Paul’s Church of England Primary School, said students were upset by the way Rashford and his teammates were treated, so she took them to the mural to show them how people are fighting racism.
“We wanted them to see that nothing can knock you if you keep fighting,″ Lee said.
Nicola Wellard said her children went to bed crying after England’s loss dashed hopes of a European championship this year. But they were more upset when they found out that racists had targeted local hero Rashford.
On Tuesday afternoon her son, 11-year-old Dougie, proudly pasted his own message on the mural.
“He only missed a penalty,” Dougie wrote. “He doesn’t deserve this.”
Pistons select Cade Cunningham with No. 1 overall pick in 2021 NBA Draft – Sportsnet.ca
The Detroit Pistons selected Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 30, 2021
Cunningham had been widely expected to be the first name called in New York, though Pistons general manager Troy Weaver wouldn’t reveal plans earlier this week and said the team would look at every scenario, including trades.
In the end, Detroit stuck with the 19-year-old mentioned as a potential top pick before ever stepping foot on the Oklahoma State campus.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound point guard from Arlington, Texas, lived up to expectations with his size and fluid game to become a first-team Associated Press All-American. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists with a game that allowed him to hit from 3-point range, score off the dribble or find teammates out of traps.
Cunningham — the first player in Oklahoma State history to be picked No. 1 overall — joins a Pistons franchise that has won 20 games for two straight seasons and hasn’t finished better than .500 for five straight years.
Cunningham was the headliner of a class that included scorers, playmakers and potentially elite defenders at the top. That group included Southern California freshman big man Evan Mobley, Gonzaga freshman point guard Jalen Suggs and Florida State freshman forward Scottie Barnes.
There are also a pair of preps-to-pros prospects in guard Jalen Green and forward Jonathan Kuminga, both of whom bypassed college basketball to play in the G League.
The draft is later than its traditional late-June slot for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the 2019-20 season. The 2021-22 season is scheduled to return to its normal schedule, with next year’s draft set for June again.
NBA Draft 2021: Toronto Raptors select Scottie Barnes with the 4th overall pick – RaptorsHQ
The Raptors have upended consensus in the 2021 NBA Draft, opting to select Florida State forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick. To say this was a complete shock is not entirely true — there was buzz the Raptors were at least somewhat intrigued by Barnes’ potential — but it also felt like Toronto would not take the gamble (e.g. it felt like Jalen Suggs at no. 4 was a lock).
Barnes joins the Raptors just before his 20th birthday. He’s listed at 6’9” and 227 pounds, which puts him in the small forward category, by my math. Barnes spent one season at Florida State during which he averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game across 24 contests. Admittedly, the numbers don’t exactly pop — Barnes only started seven games — but Toronto must love his potential.
Said potential is what our guy JD got at in his column here. Barnes has serious defensive skills, a player who can already guard almost every position via his strength, speed and know-how. The broadcast compared him to Draymond Green, which is not a bad place to be — particularly for a Raptors team that obviously values defensive ability and versatility. Like Green, Barnes has flashed an advanced play-making game for a forward, and he also has a limited offensive arsenal. Few are looking at Barnes, who shot 28 percent from three and 62 percent from the free-throw line, to be a lights-out gunner. Maybe he gets there in time, or maybe his skill-set is less dependent on his shot.
So then the risk: did the Raptors just get a player who can’t start for the current squad with OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam locked in at the small and power forward position? Could it be that Barnes only tracks as another second or third-ranked player on a championship calibre team? (If that; some are worried he’s the next Stanley Johnson.) In all, the question remains: will Toronto regret missing on Suggs?
Or do the Raptors have something else planned with regards to their roster construction? Right now it’s unclear, but we do know one thing for now: Toronto has selected Scottie Barnes in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Canada's women's eight rowing crew captures Olympic gold for 1st time in 29 years – CBC.ca
Canada’s women’s eight crew captured gold on the final day of Olympic rowing at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo on Friday, winning the event for the first time in 29 years.
New Zealand claimed silver, finishing ahead of bronze winners China.
The only other Olympic gold for Canada in women’s eight came at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, their first time reaching the Olympic podium. Canada’s crew enjoyed continued success with silver in 1996 and bronze in 2000.
Canada claimed silver in the women’s eight event at the 2012 London Olympics before missing the podium in Rio with a fifth place finish.
The men’s eight final wraps up the rowing competition at 9:25 p.m. ET.
More to come.
Bring on the cheers
Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.
WATCH l CBC Sports’ The Olympians feature on women’s eight rowing:
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