“The Last Dance” has run its course.
NBA players past and present tuned in Sunday night for Episodes 9 and 10, the final two entries in the documentary series on the Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan era.
Episode 9 explored Chicago’s triumph over the Utah Jazz for the 1997 title, including the revelation that Jordan didn’t have the flu during his infamous “Flu Game” – it was actually food poisoning from a pizza he ate in Utah.
The penultimate episode also touched on Steve Kerr’s upbringing, including the tragic death of his father Malcolm in 1984. It then revisited Kerr’s game-winner against the Jazz in Game 6 of the 1997 Finals, which secured Chicago’s fifth NBA championship since 1991.
A hugely popular moment in Episode 10 reminded viewers of when Dennis Rodman ditched the Bulls in the middle of the ’98 Finals to make an appearance with World Championship Wrestling.
Naturally, Episode 10 culminated with Jordan’s historic Game 6 winner over Bryon Russell, which earned Chicago its sixth NBA title and second three-peat of the decade.
Once the finale ended, players praised the 10-part documentary and Jordan’s legacy with the franchise.
NFL’s Roger Goodell says ‘we were wrong,’ encourages players to protest – Sportsnet.ca
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league was wrong for not listening to players and is encouraging them to speak out and peacefully protest amid demonstrations across the U.S. over systemic racism in response to the death of George Floyd.
In a video posted to social media Friday, the NFL appears to be trying to make amends for the league’s handling of kneeling protests during the national anthem, led by Colin Kaepernick.
“We the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of 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. We the National Football League believe Black lives matter,” Goodell said in the video.
The league also shared a video put out Thursday night in which more than 15 NFL stars said they were asserting their right to peacefully protest and asked the NFL to “admit wrong” in silencing its players.
The league appeared to be responding to its players’ request with Friday’s video.
“I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without Black players, there would be no National Football League and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of Black players coaches, fans and staff,” Goodell said.
“We are listening, I am listening and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.”
Kaepernick sparked a wave of demonstrations across the league in 2016 after he kneeled during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality and racial inequality. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since that season and settled a collusion case with the league last year, saying he was blacklisted because of the protests.
The NFL initially released a statement five days after Floyd’s death that did not mention player protests or racism.
Toronto FC captain says Donald Trump doesn't have 'a moral bone in his body' – CTV News
Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley pulled no punches Thursday, lamenting the “zero leadership” south of the border as the U.S. is ravaged by racial unrest.
The longtime U.S. skipper took square aim at president Donald Trump.
“We have a president who is completely empty. There isn’t a moral bone in his body,” Bradley told a media conference call.
“There’s no leadership. There’s no leadership from the president, there’s no leadership from the Republican senators who have sat back and been totally complicit in everything he’s done for the last 3 1/2 years.”
Bradley urged his fellow Americans to speak with their ballot in November, saying it was “impossible to overstate” the importance of the coming election.
“I just hope that people are able to go to the polls in November and think about more than just what is good for them, more than what is good for their own status, their own business, their own tax return. I hope that people can go to the polls and understand that in so many ways, the future of our country and the future of our democracy is at stake.
“We need as many people as possible to understand that at a real level, to think about what four more years with Trump as president, what that would mean, how terrible that would be for so many people.”
Referencing racial inequality and social injustice, Bradley added: “If we want any chance to start to fix those things, then Trump can’t be president, it’s as simple as that.”
The 32-year-old Bradley has run through the gamut of emotions while watching the violence and unrest unfold in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while three police officers restrained him — one with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
“I’m angry, I’m horrified, I’m sad and I’m determined to do anything and everything I can to try to be a part of the fix,” he said. “Because it has to end. And we all have to be part of that fix.”
He acknowledged that while he has much to learn on the issues, politicians, policy-makers and businesses have to be held accountable.
Bradley has criticized Trump before. In January 2017, he said he was “sad and embarrassed” by Trump’s travel ban aimed at citizens of predominantly Muslim countries.
The TFC captain, while happy to see the MLS labour impasse over, noted there had been “some real difficult moments along the way.” That included a threat of a lockout from the league.
Such tactics “did not sit well with the players,” he said.
He also said there had been a frustrating absence of dialogue right from the beginning of talks, which he acknowledged played out against an unprecedented global threat.
“This, at a certain point for me, was about what’s right and what’s wrong in the middle of the pandemic. And the way to treat people and the way that you look after people. I kept coming back to that idea. That we have all put so much into growing the game in North America, at all levels — ownership, league office, executives coaches, players, fans.
“Everybody is important to what we’re trying to do. To try to dismiss any of the entities that I just named would be short-sighted and disrespectful because the game is about everybody.”
He said he would have loved to have seen everyone get on the same page early on and find a way “to cut through the (bull).”
“To just say ‘This is where we are right now. Nobody has a playbook. Nobody has any answers but how are we going to come out better and stronger from all of this? … I think conversations would have carried so much more weight and I think we would have been able to avoid so much of the way certain things played out.”
Bradley underwent ankle surgery in January to repair an injury suffered in the MLS Cup final loss in Seattle on Nov 10. His rehab over, he was part of a small group training session Thursday.
“I’m doing well,” he said. “I’m continuing to make progress … At this point physically I feel really good. My ankle feels really good. And now it’s just about training. Getting back into real training in a way that now prepares me for games.”
Still, he said injuries are an issue in the league’s return to play given the time that has passed since the league suspended play March 12.
“That is a big concern,” he said. “And it’s not a big concern only amongst players. I know that has been a real topic amongst coaches and sports science staff and medical staff.”
While teams will do everything possible to get the players ready, a compressed schedule at the Florida tournament that awaits teams won’t help injury fears, he said.
“That certainly is a big question. Maybe the biggest question when you get past the initial health and safety stuff of COVID, among players and coaches and technical staff,” he said.
“How are we going to give ourselves the best chance to win, but also do it in a way where guys are at their highest level both technically and physically”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020.
NFL stars ask league to ‘admit wrong’ in silencing on-field protests – Sportsnet.ca
More than 15 NFL stars say they are asserting their right to peacefully protest and are asking the league to “admit wrong” in silencing its players from peacefully protesting.
In a video posted on Twitter by New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, players addressed the recent death of George Floyd, which has prompted protests across the world regarding racial injustices.
— Saquon Barkley (@saquon) June 5, 2020
Some players posed a hypothetical: “What if I was George Floyd?”
They proceeded to answer, “I am George Floyd,” followed by similar “I am” statements recognizing other African Americans who’ve died unjustly in recent years: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, Michael Brown Jr., Samuel DuBose, Frank Smart, Phillip White and Jordan Baker.
“We will not be silenced,” the players said in the video. “We assert our right to peacefully protest. It shouldn’t take this long to admit.”
Then, the players asked the NFL to “condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” “admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting” and to state that black lives matter.
In 2016, Colin Kaepernick sparked a wave of demonstrations across the league after he kneeled during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality and racial inequality. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since that season and settled a collusion case saying he was blacklisted because of the protests with the league last year.
The NFL released a statement five days after Floyd’s death that makes no mention of player protests. It also does not mention racism.
But the league’s statement closes this way: “We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
NFL’s Roger Goodell says ‘we were wrong,’ encourages players to protest – Sportsnet.ca
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