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Redblacks beat Montreal, spoil Als’ chance to clinch playoff spot at home

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MONTREAL — Ottawa Redblacks interim head coach Bob Dyce hadn’t enjoyed being the one in the spotlight in the leadup to Thanksgiving Monday.

And so, after the Redblacks scored 17 points in the second half to beat Montreal 24-18 and spoil the Alouettes’ chance to clinch a CFL playoff spot at home, Dyce was pleased to see the attention shift to his team. He was also proud to have shared his first victory as interim coach with his wife, who flew from Winnipeg for the occasion.

“I felt there’s maybe a little too much attention given to me because this is all about the team,” Dyce said, holding the game ball. “But it’s nice to have (my wife) here because she supports me in everything, and so for her to be able to share this, that’s probably the most important thing to me.”

His players were just as proud to celebrate the win with him and gave the 56-year-old a sports drink shower in the locker room.

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“He’s coming in, stepping in with these guys and we want to do everything we can to help him be successful and he is doing the same for us. So playing for a guy like that, it’s easy,” said wide receiver Julian Hardy.

Ottawa’s defence played a large part in the win, limiting Montreal to field goals in three of four visits to the red zone in the first half.

The defence sealed the win late in the fourth quarter. Trevor Harris tried to throw a game-winning touchdown from the 20-yard line on third down with seconds left. Ottawa (4-11) forced a turnover on downs and the visitors left Percival Molson Stadium with a win.

Dyce said that his defence was front and centre in his halftime team talk.

“We had a turnover on punt return, we had a turnover offensively and the defense held them to three points each time,” Dyce explained. “I said, ‘In the first half we were down on special teams and on offence, but defence lifted us up. It’s halftime, now we gotta do our part offensively and on special teams to carry the defence.’

“But the defence just did it all for 60 minutes. And the offence and special teams did their part to contribute to a real team victory.”

In their first game under Dyce, the Redblacks snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to a 4-4 record on the road.

Caleb Evans had two rushing touchdowns from the one-yard line. Nick Arbuckle threw for 229 yards.

The Alouettes (7-8) will need to wait another week before clinching a playoff spot.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of guys in the locker room who are not extremely disappointed by our performance,” said general manager and interim coach Danny Maciocia. “It showed how much we need to show up and take nothing for granted. I don’t think we showed up today.”

Harris threw for 338 yards and one touchdown. The quarterback attributed the loss to a lack of execution.

“I just feel like there were a few opportunities we had today that we didn’t capitalize on,” Harris said.

In his long-awaited return after breaking his ankle in the season opener, William Stanback made a six-yard run on the first play of the game and finished the game with eight carries for 20 yards.

In their first visit to the red zone, the Alouettes were stopped in their tracks by the Redblacks’ defence. Montreal settled for a field goal with David Cote completing a 16-yard attempt.

Arbuckle responded on the next drive with a 40 yard bomb to Darvin Adams. Caleb Evans made a one-yard sneak on the first play of the second quarter to give Ottawa a 7-3 lead.

Adarius Pickett recovered a fumbled punt return by Ottawa’s Devonte Deadmon on the Redblacks’ 17-yard line. Montreal tried to make the visitors pay but Ottawa’s defence stood tall once against. The Alouettes didn’t pick up a single yard on the drive and Cote completed a 25-yard field goal.

Montreal found the end zone in their third attempt from the red zone. Harris found Eugene Lewis with a 15-yard touchdown pass but then hit the upright on the two-point conversion.

Cote added a late 14-yard field goal to give the Alouettes a 15-7 lead at halftime.

Redblacks kicker Lewis Ward completed two field goals in the third quarter, cutting his team’s deficit to two points.

Ottawa regained the lead at the start of the fourth quarter then Evans notched his second one-yard TD sneak. Arbuckle then found Justin Hardy for the two-point conversion bringing the Redblacks up 21-15.

The Alouettes scored their first points of the second half with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. After the offence failed to record a TD within six yards of the end zone, Cote kicked his fourth field goal of the game.

Ward placed a 25-yard attempt through the uprights with 1:08 left in the game to give Ottawa a 24-18 lead.

NOTE: Alouettes centre Sean Jamieson suffered an injury and left the game, helped by two teammates, late in the second quarter. Wide receiver Reggie White Jr. also left the game in the first half. Maciocia said that both players will both undergo diagnostic testing for knee injuries … Returner Devonte Deadmon (lower-body injury), running back William Powell (upper-body injury) and wide receiver Jealon Acklin (concussion protocol) all left the game for the Redblacks. Dyce did not offer any updates on the injuries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 10, 2022.

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James questions media disparity in coverage of Irving tweet, Jerry Jones photo

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James has questions about the disparity of media scrutiny he believes is being applied to a 1957 photo of Jerry Jones and the recent controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving.

The photo of Jones, captured by an Associated Press photographer, shows him standing among a group of white students at North Little Rock High School in Arkansas on Sept. 9, 1957. The group was blocking six Black students who were attempting to desegregate the school and news reports said that moments after the image was taken, the students were shoved down a flight of stairs.

The photo accompanied a Washington Post story last month that was about Jones’ legacy as owner of the Dallas Cowboys, including how the team has never had a Black head coach.

James has spoken often about the Cowboys — he was a fan of the team for years before saying in October on Instagram Live that he has switched allegiances — but said Wednesday that he found it interesting that he wasn’t asked about the Jones photo.

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“When I watched Kyrie talk, and he says, ‘I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things they’ve been through,’ and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America,” James said after the Los Angeles Lakers’ game on Wednesday night. “And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, someone with power and with a platform, when we do something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage. It’s on the bottom ticker. It’s asked about every single day.

“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, the photo, and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it. It seems like it’s just been buried under, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK. We just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”

Irving was suspended for an eventual eight games by the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season after the guard — a former teammate of James’ with the Cleveland Cavaliers — tweeted a link to a film containing antisemitic material.

James was asked by reporters about that last month, and he made clear that he thought Irving made a significant mistake.

“There’s no place in this world for it,” James said in November. “Nobody can benefit from that and I believe what Kyrie did caused some harm to a lot of people. … We as humans, none of us are perfect. But I hope he understands how what he did and the actions that he took were just harmful to a lot of people.”

Jones told reporters last week that he was at that school entrance as “a curious kid.” He was 14 at the time.

“That was, gosh, 65 years ago, and (I was a) curious kid,” Jones said. “I didn’t know at the time the monumental event really that was going on. And I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that.”

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Canada coach John Herdman disputes Croatian counterpart’s account of skipped post-match handshake

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Canada head coach John Herdman during a World Cup match against Croatia, at the Khalifa International Stadium, in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 27.The Associated Press

Canada coach John Herdman is disputing his Croatian counterpart’s account of why there was no handshake after their World Cup game.

Herdman had antagonized the Croatian camp with a heated postgame message to his players after Canada’s opening 1-0 loss to Belgium at the soccer showcase. Asked in a pitch-side interview what he had said in a postgame huddle to his players, Herdman replied: “I told them they belong here and we’re going to go and eff – Croatia. That’s as simple as it gets.”

That prompted a stern lecture from Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic on the need for respect. And after Croatia beat the Canadians 4-1 Sunday, Dalic was asked if he had a chance to shake hands with Herdman following the final whistle.

“I did not see the other head coach after the match,” he said through an interpreter. “When I lose I always congratulate the winner. He was not there and that’s his way of doing things. He’s obviously mad. He is a good coach. He is a high-quality professional. But it will take some time for him to learn some things.”

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Herdman, whose postgame news conference preceded Dalic’s on Sunday, disputed that account Wednesday when asked about it.

“Look, we shook hands before the game. So that happened,” he said. “At the end of the game, the usual process – no different than [with Belgium coach] Roberto Martinez. You shake hands with the coach, then you go shake hands with the referee.

“When I turned round, [Dalic] was already off down the touchline, which is his right to do. He’s celebrating. He’s just beaten Canada. It was a big celebration for him. He was off and I couldn’t get to shake his hand. I went into the field, shook the ref’s hand, shook players’ hands. And didn’t get to see him.

“That moment’s gone. We’re into process now – team huddle, see your fans, flash interviews, calm yourself down so you don’t say anything and move on.”

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