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:
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 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.
From <a href=”https://twitter.com/TheSchoGoesOn53?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@TheSchoGoesOn53</a> ⤵ <a href=”https://t.co/vOlqS7oeLi”>pic.twitter.com/vOlqS7oeLi</a>
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.”
Source: – CBC.ca
Reports: NHL playoffs will take place in Toronto and Edmonton – Stanley Cup of Chowder
If the NHL playoffs end up happening, it looks like all of the action is going to be north of the border.
Sportsnet reported earlier this afternoon that Edmonton and Toronto have been selected as hub cities, with a formal announcement to come sometime soon.
Other reporters have since confirmed those reports.
An #NHL team executive confirms to The Post that Toronto and Edmonton were selected as hub cities.
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) July 1, 2020
The Sportsnet article linked above also makes note of the fact that Elliotte Friedman reported that (sensibly) the Eastern Conference teams will be in Toronto and the Western Conference teams will be in Edmonton.
It remains to be seen where the Final will be played.
If the reports are to be believed (and when there are this many “reports,” they’re rarely wrong), this appears to be a good sense decision by the NHL.
Frankly, large swaths of the United States are in the midst of disastrous COVID-19 spikes, and even the states that are seeing encouraging trends are still a cluster or two away from falling into the same state.
Canada appears to have a better handle on the virus, and the cities above have the amenities needed to support the league’s hub plan.
While some will cry foul/favoritism, with no fans, there’s really not going to be any home-ice advantage in these series. One could argue that the Leafs will be more comfortable in their own arena, but how much impact will that really have?
Presumably, the league will still require players from the home cities to stay in the hubs/clusters/pods/whatever like the rest of the teams, so it’s not like the Oilers players will get the luxury of sleeping in their own beds every night.
Overall, another step toward resumption by the league, again with the caveat that things are fluid.
Training camps could start in just a couple of weeks, and teams would likely end up heading to their hub cities before the end of the month.
Report: NFL to cut preseason in half – TSN
The NFL will cut its preseason in half and push back the start of exhibition play so teams have more time to train following an all virtual off-season made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t announced that the preseason will be cut from four games to two.
The pandemic forced teams to conduct their entire off-season programs via videoconference. So, teams will be gathering together for the first time when training camps open July 28.
Minus the usual minicamps, on-field practices and in-person weight training from April to June, players’ conditioning won’t be what it normally is. So, eliminating the first week of preseason games Aug. 13-16 will give them more time to ratchet up their football fitness.
Teams will now play exhibitions Aug. 20-24 and Aug. 27-31 during what were originally the second and third weeks of exhibition play with all 32 teams playing one home and one road game.
Most of those games will remain the same as originally scheduled although some matchups in that second slate will have to be changed so every team gets a game at home.
The exhibition finales on Sept. 3 were also scrapped, giving teams more time to get ready for the regular season, which opens Sept. 10 with Houston at Kansas City.
There are no changes to the regular season schedule.
The league continues to draw up protocols, not only for COVID-19 mitigation but for ramping up practices during the first few weeks of training camp.
The annual Hall of Fame Game pitting Pittsburgh and Dallas on Aug. 6 was recently scrapped as the induction ceremonies were pushed back to 2021.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Hubmonton! Edmonton and Toronto picked as NHL hub cities, multiple sources report – Edmonton Journal
This in from NHL insider John Shannon, talking to Reid Wilkins of CHED about the NHL’s selection of Toronto and Edmonton as playoff hub cities: “It looks like Edmonton and Toronto are the two hub cities.”
On Twitter Shannon said: “All indications pointing to a “Made in Canada” for the Hubs. Amongst other things, the increased virus cases in 36 states, have Edmonton and Toronto has the hub cities for the NHL.”
And from Mark Spector of Sportsnet: “EDM gets the Hub, an obvious decision that took too long to make. Lowest COVID by far. They’ll also get Oilers and West teams, my understanding, with East playing in TOR. Makes no sense for TV to have East teams out West.”
Denver hockey writer Adrian Dater: “Vegas losing out on being a hub, to Edmonton, a last-minute shocker. But the virus made too big of a comeback in Vegas it seems. Wow.”
And on the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, there’s also hopeful news:
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