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Report: NBA facilities will begin to reopen May 1 – CityNews

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NBA players will be allowed to return to team training facilities starting Friday, provided that their local governments do not have a stay-at-home order prohibiting such movement still in place as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Any workouts that take place would be voluntary and be limited to individual sessions only, according to a person familiar with the league’s decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because the directives from the league were not released publicly.

Group practices would not be allowed yet, and teams will not yet be permitted to organize in-person workouts.

But as certain states and municipalities began loosening restrictions on personal movement, the NBA decided it was time to let players return to their practice courts – if only on a limited basis. Georgia and Oklahoma are among the states that have allowed some businesses to reopen and some cities in Florida are expected to loosen their stay-at-home policies in the coming days, even though health officials are warning that such moves are being made too quickly.

For those teams in cities where stay-at-home orders still make such a return impossible, the NBA said it would work to find “alternative arrangements,” the person with knowledge of the matter said.

In Ontario, home of the Toronto Raptors, all gatherings of five or more people are banned at the moment, with no exceptions currently in place for sporting activities and it is not immediately clear if an arrangement could be made to allow players to engage in solo practices should the NBA’s decision go into effect.

Toronto Mayor John Tory told 680 News preliminary discussions have been held as to what that would mean for the Raptors returning to the OVO Centre which is on the Exhibition fairgrounds.

“If you have a whole bunch of people suddenly in their practice facility or anywhere else, this goes against what we’re still trying to do,” said Tory. “If there are ways in which you can have very small numbers of people quite isolated from one another, then that’s something you could take a look at. …what we don’t want to see happen is to see our team put at a disadvantage.”

This move does not mean that a resumption of games is imminent. Still, the decision to let teams back into facilities is a significant step.

ESPN first reported details of the NBA’s decision.

In the NHL, suspended at about the same point of the season as the NBA, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said league officials “haven’t made any decisions yet.” Daly said only the NHL owes players and teams guidance before April 30 and will consider its next steps in that context.

Many NBA players have said they haven’t even had access to a basket since the league ordered teams to close their practice facilities on March 19. All-Star Jimmy Butler sent baskets to his Miami Heat teammates earlier this month, but some other players around the league said they haven’t even touched a basketball during the shutdown.

If they’re so inclined, that can now change. There remains no indicator about when a full-fledged return to organized team workouts will resume, however.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said on several occasions that the league does not anticipate being able to decide until sometime in May – at the earliest – if a resumption of the season is possible.

The NBA suspended the season March 11. It ordered teams to shutter their facilities eight days later, saying at the time it was doing so “in light of the rapidly-developing coronavirus situation, and consistent with evolving advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the virus.”

Files from Sportsnet were used in this report

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A spy and an armbar: The night ‘India’ welcomed Amanda Nunes to MMA – MMA Fighting

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“Let me rewind the tape here… There’s a drawer we open and memories come back.”

The first and only woman to win multiple UFC belts, Amanda Nunes, returns to the octagon Saturday night at UFC 250 to once again defend her throne when she takes on Felicia Spencer in Las Vegas. Like many other MMA stars, however, her career actually started with a defeat — and the woman responsible for it had a few tricks up her sleeve.

A mixed martial arts pioneer in Brazil, Ana Maria “India” received a call from Prime MMA promoter Luiz Fernando Menezes with an offer to be part of the company’s second show on March 8, 2008. It was scheduled for International Women’s Day, and he wanted women competing on it.

India was training under experienced boxing coach Luiz Carlos Dorea in Salvador and had previous experience in MMA, while Nunes, a 19-year-old protege under Edson Carvalho, was looking to make her debut in a cage. India was coming off a long layoff due to a knee injury and decided to collect as much as information as possible about her upcoming foe.

“I had six knee surgeries throughout my career and I was coming off one of them, just five months before the fight, and I never heard of Amanda before,” Ana Maria says. “A friend of mine trained at Edson Carvalho’s gym and I asked him if he could to the gym and film her a little bit so I could check her out [laughs].”

The experienced fighter received some inside information about Nunes, and only heard great things about her.

“Ana, this girl trains really hard,” the “spy” allegedly told Nunes’ opponent. “She sleeps in the gym and watches fights on computer all day everyday.”

“He told me she was really tough on the feet, with her background in karate, and very good on the ground,” Ana Maria says. “Since I was coming off the knee surgery and one leg was two inches shorter than the other one, I didn’t want to waste any time on the feet. I shouldn’t even be fighting, but I’m a fighter and we always think we can pull it off.”

India’s strategy was to take Nunes to the ground as quick as possible, but “The Lioness” started off with a leg kick followed by a combo of punches. Nunes was “fiery, she wanted to take your head off, but often got too emotional,” Ana Maria recalls.

She took advantage of Nunes’s aggression, pulling guard and snapping a tight armbar that forced the tap.

“35 seconds,” Ana Maria recalls. “A kick, three punches, I shot for a takedown, she sprawled, I pulled guard and got the armbar. We could see how hungry she was back then, her will to fight… You could see she was good.”

Nunes eventually joined Academia Champion in Salvador and trained with India, but saw a chance to move overseas as a way to improve as a mixed martial artist.

Amanda Nunes
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

“She always told me she would go to the United States and only come back with the belt in her hands,” Ana Maria says. “She was the one to beat Ronda (Rousey). She said she would beat Cris (Cyborg) one day. She slept with a computer by her bed to watch videos of their fights. She was always very focused and determined.”

Their careers went different directions. Nunes eventually signed with Strikeforce and then joined the UFC, where she climbed to the top in two different weight classes — and beat both Rousey and Cyborg by first-round knockout.

Ana Maria became a popular name in Brazil after being on the cast of a Survivor-esque reality TV competition in 2009, but never made it to the big leagues in the sport. India often wonders if she was just born in the wrong era, where women simply didn’t get the same opportunity as men.

“I’ve asked myself a lot,” she says. “People didn’t understand why I was fighting, they said there was no event for women. I said it would be big one day and they called me crazy. PRIDE was the biggest promotion in the world, then Dana White said there would never be women fighting in the UFC, and I’ve always said they had nowhere to run.

“I wanted to fight, and I believed it would be big. I didn’t have someone to look up to, but I was doing it because I thought it was cool. If it wasn’t for me, Vanessa Porto, Michelle Tavares and others, these girls wouldn’t have the space they have today. That’s why I won’t complain. Someone has to be first, someone has to open the way for others.”

At 41 with a record of seven wins and five defeats (she says two victories are missing from online databases), India is open to the idea of taking a farewell bout if the terms are good. In 2018, back when she was training at Demian Maia’s team in Sao Paulo, Ana Maria says she received a “laughable” offer to fight for the first time since 2014.

“If there’s someone out there willing to pay, I’ll fight,” Ana Maria says. “I’ve had arguments with promoters for treating us like clowns. They set the circus up with a bunch of clowns. Everyone gets paid except for the fighters. It’s absurd. What’s the point of being part of a show if I’m getting paid nothing?”

Even if she doesn’t get her shot at a proper goodbye to the sport she helped build, Ana Maria India knows she was one of the pillars to get it where it is today.

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Donald Trump says Drew Brees shouldn't have backed off flag comments – CBC.ca

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President Donald Trump on Friday criticized Drew Brees’ decision to publicly apologize and walk back his comments about “disrespecting the flag.”

The New Orleans Saints quarterback apologized Thursday for comments he made one day earlier that he described as “insensitive and completely missed the mark.” He said Wednesday that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country” while reiterating his objection to NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.

Numerous black athletes, including NBA star LeBron James, expressed outrage at Brees. Several of Brees’ New Orleans teammates were among the NFL players who were irate.

Trump, though, said on his Twitter account that he doesn’t think Brees needed to issue an apology.

“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high. …

“We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag — NO KNEELING!”

Brees posted an open-letter reply to Trump on his Instagram account on Friday night.

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag,” Brees wrote. “It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.

“We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.

“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?

“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”

Trump’s comments came hours before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell apologized and said that the league was wrong for not listening to players and their concerns about social justice and racism.

Social injustice has been a major source of tension in the NFL since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before games during the 2016 season to bring attention to police brutality. Kaepernick hasn’t played in an NFL game since that year.

The NFL’s relationship with black players is under scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A group of players requested the NFL take strong action on Thursday in a video directed at Goodell and other NFL officials.

Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes in an incident caught on cell phones. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting both a second-degree murder and a second-degree manslaughter.

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Goodell says NFL was wrong for not listening to players – CTV News

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NEW YORK —
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was wrong for not listening to players fighting for racial equality and encouraged them to peacefully protest.

One day after 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and several of his peers released a video demanding the league condemn racism, Goodell made his strongest statement on the issues many players passionately support.

George Floyd’s death has ignited nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality, issues former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began speaking out against in 2016 when he started taking a knee during the national anthem.

“It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country,” Goodell said in a video released Friday. “First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the families who have endured police brutality. 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. 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. 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.”

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