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NHL and Players Squabbling Over Money is a Really, Really Bad Look – Sports Illustrated



We’re in the middle of a devastating pandemic and the NHL and its players are having a very public battle over dollars. Both sides believe they’re right, but both come off looking terrible.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, more than 260,000 people have died in North America. On Thursday, a mind-boggling 1,962 people died in the United States alone. That’s 1,962 families that lost a loved one. The job losses have been staggering. Businesses are closing and people are facing a fearful and uncertain future. Twelve million Americans – 12 million! – face the possibility of losing their pandemic unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. According to modeling charts prepared by the Public Health Agency, Canada could face a worst-case scenario of 60,000 new cases a day by the end of December. Things are getting worse in the second wave and there is no immediate end in sight.

So of course the NHL would pick now to try to squeeze more money out of the players in exchange for giving them the privilege of playing hockey this season, right? It boggles the mind how tone-deaf the league can be sometimes. After doing such an outstanding job pulling off the playoffs and building up all sorts of good will, the league now looks petty. And what’s worse is it is dragging the players down into the mud and engaging them in a public relations war they are destined to lose. Because for whatever reason, a good portion of the paying public tends to paint the millionaire players as whiny and entitled, while giving the billionaire owners a free pass.

Right about now, you might be tempted to say, “A pox on both your houses.” And you’d be reasonable in saying that. Four months ago, the players collectively bargained a four-year extension in good faith with the owners and they did so girding themselves for what they thought would be the worst-case scenario. As it turns out, both the league and the players were probably kidding themselves in those projections and had an unrealistic view of the devastation the pandemic was going to cause to the business.

Now the NHL will argue that it has every right to ask for more concessions. Without going down a rabbit hole, everything has to do with Section 17 of the Standard Player’s Contract. In the memorandum of understanding between the two sides, the league essentially protected its rights to suspend operations this season without having to pay the players. So the players are very angry. And they should be. But is it Gary Bettman and the NHL they should be vilifying or their own union’s leadership?

But the point is it’s a bad look no matter which side is right. The players agreed to a 20 percent escrow on this year’s salaries, plus a 10 percent deferral. The owners came back with a request to have the players increase their deferral to 26 percent and escrow to 25 percent. That amounts to a 45 percent decline in take-home pay before taxes. (It’s not 51 because the deferral is on the salary amount after escrow has already been deducted.) Is it a request? Is it a demand? Or is it all a part of the negotiation process?

The NHLPA is counting on it being the third option. And that’s why you probably won’t hear a lot about this issue for the next little while. The NHLPA is basically sitting back and waiting to see what the NHL’s ‘real’ offer is. And while there might be some wiggle room on increasing the deferred payments, the players want absolutely no part of taking on more escrow. So if the NHL is intent on trying to get more from the players, this is going to take time, time that the league doesn’t have if it hopes to start the season by Jan. 1. If you want players in camp for Dec. 15, while giving players who didn’t play in the bubble last season a head start of a week to 10 days, you don’t have much time to get a deal done. And the further the two sides are apart, the longer it’s going to take to come to some kind of agreement.

The losses the league will incur are very, very real. Let’s say the league plays a 60-game schedule. With arenas full of fans, that would mean the league would be getting $3.65 billion in revenues in a perfect world (based on overall revenues of $5 billion pre-pandemic). It’s believed about 70 percent of the revenues in hockey come from the arenas, so that total gets knocked down to just over $1 billion for the season. The players will be making about $2 billion in salaries and associated costs are about $1.5 billion. That’s a shortfall of $2.5 billion, half of which the players will owe the owners. That’s going to take a long time to pay off. And do you know who will be paying it? Kids such as Shayne Wright and other young superstars who aren’t even in the league yet.


Now, let’s look at the players, specifically Kevin Rooney and Phil DeGiuseppe, who will make $700,000 this season playing for the New York Rangers. With a 25 percent escrow and a 26 percent, that goes down to $388,500. Take of 52 percent in taxes and that goes down to just over $186,000. That may still seem like a lot of money, but once you factor in the cost of living, it doesn’t sound near as appealing.

So yes, this is a very real discussion about money. But guess what? Everybody is having a difficult time right now. So if the NHL and players are looking for sympathy as they have this very public dispute, they’re not bound to find many among people trying to get through one of the most monumental challenges this generation has faced.

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Fuller makes history as first woman to appear in Power 5 football game – TSN



COLUMBIA, Mo. — Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller became the first woman to participate in a Power Five conference football game when she kicked off to start the second half against Missouri on Saturday.

Fuller kicked off the turf with a holder rather than using a tee, and she sent a low kick to the 35-yard line where it was pounced on by Missouri’s Mason Pack. Fuller didn’t get any opportunities in the first half as the Tigers opened a 21-0 lead over the Commodores.

Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on the Vanderbilt soccer team, joined the football team this week after helping the Commodores win the Southeastern Conference Tournament last weekend. COVID-19 protocols and restrictions left Vandy football coach Derek Mason with a limited number of specialists available against Missouri. Mason reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose for some help.

Fuller agreed to give football a try and practiced with the winless Commodores before making the trip to Missouri. She wore “Play Like A Girl” on the back of her helmet.

No woman had appeared in an SEC football game or for any Power Five team. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score with two extra points for Willamette in NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997.

Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003.

April Goss was the second with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.

“Let’s make history,” she wrote Friday on Twitter with a photo of herself wearing a football jersey with a soccer ball between her feet while holding a football in her hands.

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Heavy blows, heavier breathing: Tyson, Jones Jr. exhibition ends in 8-round draw –



Mike Tyson showed glimpses of his destructive prime Saturday night during the 54-year-old boxing icon’s return to the ring for a lively exhibition bout with 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr.

Both fighters had impressive moments during a fight that was unofficially ruled a draw by the WBC judges at ringside. Tyson and Jones fought eight two-minute rounds, and both emerged smiling and apparently healthy from a highly unusual event at Staples Center.

“This is better than fighting for championships,” Tyson said of the heavyweight exhibition, which raised money for various charities. “We’re humanitarians now. We can do something good for the world. We’ve got to do this again.”

The former heavyweight champion of the world’s return to the ring after a 15-year absence attracted international attention, and Iron Mike did his best to show the form that made him a legend to a generation of boxing fans. Tyson tagged Jones with body shots and a handful of head punches during a bout that was required to be a fairly safe glorious sparring session by the California State Athletic Commission.

“The body shots definitely took a toll,” said Jones, the former four-division world champion widely considered the most skilled boxer of his generation. “It’s something to take the punches that Mike throws. I’m cool with a draw. Maybe we can do it again.”

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Jones walked to the ring with gloves and trunks honouring Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, while Tyson wore his signature all-black trunks. After the traditional pre-fight pomp and an introduction by Michael Buffer, the 50-something champions both came out throwing punches that evoked echoes of their glorious primes.

They also tied up frequently on the inside, and their occasionally laboured breathing could be heard on the microphones in the empty arena.

Hip hop performances also featured in empty arena

Hip hop star Snoop Dogg’s witty television commentary was among the loudest noises inside Staples, and he had a handful of zingers. “This is like two of my uncles fighting at the barbecue,” he exclaimed.

Tyson and Jones were the headliners in the most improbable pay-per-view boxing event in years, engineered by social networking app Triller and featuring fights interspersed with hip hop performances in an empty arena.

The event was derided as an anti-sporting spectacle by some critics, yet both Tyson and Jones appeared to handle themselves capably and safely. Fans were clearly enamoured, with the show getting enormous traction on social media.

“I hit you with some good shots, and you took it,” Tyson said. “I respect that.”

In the co-main event, YouTube star Jake Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson, stopped in the second round of Robinson’s pro boxing debut. Paul, in his second pro fight, recorded three knockdowns against Robinson, the three-time NBA Slam Dunk contest champion, before an overhand right put Robinson flat on his face and apparently unconscious.

Tyson who posted a 50-6 career record with two no-contests, won his first heavyweight championship belt in 1986, and he was the undisputed world champion from 1987-90. He spent three years in prison after he was convicted of rape in 1992; upon his release, he regained pieces of the heavyweight crown in 1996.

Tyson retired from boxing in 2005, saying he longer had “the fighting guts or the heart” after he quit in a dismal loss to journeyman Peter McBride. Finally free of his sport’s relentless pressure, Tyson gradually straightened out his life, kicking a self-described drug addiction and eventually succeeding in acting, stage performance, charity work and even marijuana cultivation while settling into comfortable family life in Las Vegas with his third wife and their children.

The idea of a boxing comeback seemed preposterous, but Tyson started toward this unlikely fight when he started doing 15 daily minutes on a treadmill a few years ago at his wife’s urging in a bid to lose 100 pounds. The workouts soon became multi-hour affairs encompassing biking, running and finally punching as he regained a measure of his athletic prime through discipline and a vegan diet.

Tyson posted a video of himself hitting pads on social media early in the coronavirus pandemic, and the overwhelming public response led to several lucrative offers for a ring comeback. With the chance to make money for himself and for charity, Tyson eventually agreed — but he had to find an opponent.

Jones first entered the spotlight when he won a silver medal as a light middleweight in the 1988 Sumnmer Olympics in Seoul. He went on to hold the world middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight championships during a career that saw him start 49-1 before he ended up at 66-9.

Jones fought steadily into his late 40s, but thought he was done with the sport after winning his last bout in 2018. He couldn’t resist the chance to take on Tyson after the greats never met during their first professional careers because Tyson was a heavyweight and Jones mostly was a light heavyweight (178 pounds).

Tyson and Jones negotiated with the California commission over the limitations of their bout, eventually arriving at eight two-minute rounds of hard sparring with only ceremonial judging and no official winner. The WBC still stepped in to award a ceremonial “Frontline Battle Belt” to both fighters.

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Reaction Recap: Mike Tyson–Roy Jones Jr. bout finishes as a draw –



In what was ultimately a sporting event as bizarre as the year it capped off, boxing legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. returned to the ring in a battle of 50-year-old former champions Saturday night.

After eight two-minute rounds at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, and some impressive displays from both veteran fighters, the bout was ruled a draw by the WBC’s unofficial judges, Christy Martin, Vinny Pazienza and Chad Dawson.

“This is better than fighting for championships,” Tyson said after the heavyweight tilt, the goal of which was to raise money for charity. “We’re humanitarians now. We can do something good for the world. We’ve got to do this again.”

While Jones’ return to the ring was his first since 2018, it was Tyson’s first time back in 15 years. But the man who established himself as one of the most dominant heavyweights in the game back in his prime showed glimpses of the form that made him an undisputed champion decades ago.

“The body shots definitely took a toll,” said Jones post-fight about Tyson’s attack. “It’s something to take the punches that Mike throws. I’m cool with a draw. Maybe we can do it again.”

While the event divided boxing fans between those who saw it as little more than a spectacle and others who were more than willing to indulge for a chance to see two of the sport’s best make their return, chatter about the card on social media — from YouTuber Jake Paul’s knockout win over former NBA guard Nate Robinson to Tyson and Jones’ main-event meeting — made clear the undeniable interest in the event regardless.

The spectacle certainly didn’t disappoint, either, with California legend Snoop Dogg emerging as one of the true winners on the night, his commentary throughout — not short on witty one-liners — drawing rave reviews from the social media crowd.

By the night’s end, the meeting of the two former champs under the lights finished amicably.

“I hit you with some good shots, and you took it,” Tyson told Jones post-fight. “I respect that.”

Re-live all the action below via the Twitterverse’s round-by-round reaction to the fight, from the opening bell to the last:


First Half (Rounds 1-4)

Second Half (Rounds 4-8)

— With files from The Associated Press

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