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‘Utter nonsense’: Top US hosts defend freedom of press questions and insist tennis ace Naomi Osaka is not victim of media bullying – RT

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An accusation of bullying raised by Naomi Osaka’s agent after she sobbed at a press call has earned a baffled response in the US, with one host warning that the media could be censored into asking stars what they want to discuss.

Top American presenter Steven A Smith and his fellow hugely experienced anchor, Max Kellerman, hailed Osaka’s honesty and bravery for dealing with the pressure on her shoulders while confessing that they are perplexed by outraged claims made by her agent.

Stuart Duguid, world number two Osaka’s agent, called a reporter’s behavior “really appalling” after they posed a seemingly innocuous question about Osaka maintaining a high profile despite not enjoying media attention.

“I’m trying to figure out what the reporter did wrong,” pondered NBA expert Smith, speaking on a debate show on ESPN.




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American reporter branded a ‘bully’ as Naomi Osaka is reduced to tears in first press conference since French Open (VIDEO)



“For the agent to come out with a statement basically accusing the journalist of bullying her – I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’

“If folks are going to side with that, then essentially, if you are a journalist and that is what we classify as bullying, as a journalist, all you can say is, ‘What would you like to talk about?'”

Describing himself as being in exact agreement with Smith, former HBO Boxing pundit Kellerman praised Osaka’s likeability but conceded that he was equally confused by the claims.

“He did not seem to be attacking her,” said Smith’s co-host. “The idea that it was bullying – to me, from what I saw – is utter nonsense.

“It’s such nonsense that the agent’s statement either betrays a lack of comprehension or an intentionally dishonest point of view.

“She was interested in the question. The gist of it, the spirit of it was, ‘Hey, I understand you don’t really like these kinds of press conferences.’ He never said [what] the agent said.

“I thought she gave a thoughtful response. It struck a nerve with her, I’m sure, because I’m sure it dredged up… every time she tries to do something good, like sending out a social media message, she deals with backlash and increased scrutiny and increased pressure.

“Whatever it was, it dredged up emotion for her. Nothing there was untoward or out of line.”

Smith has applauded Osaka for donating her winnings from her next tournament to earthquake victims in her father’s homeland, Haiti.

“That’s not being distracted – that’s being thoughtful and courageous,” Smith remarked.

“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can’t catch a break,” Osaka wrote on her Twitter account.

“I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors’ blood is stron. We’ll keep rising.

The 23-year-old’s battle with the press continues, however.

“The biggest eye-opener was going to the Olympics and having other athletes come up to me and say they were really glad that I did what I did,” she said at the same press conference this week, discussing her withdrawal from the French Open in May upon being threatened with expulsion for refusing to fulfill her media obligations.

“I’m proud of what I did and I think that it was something that needed to be done.”




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From protests and crashes to diplomatic incidents and Covid, here are some of the Tokyo Olympics’ craziest, most memorable moments



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COVID-19: Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Arena among Ontario facilities to see major capacity limit increase – Global News

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The Ontario government has announced a major boost of maximum COVID-19-related capacity limits at major outdoor and indoor sporting venues, such as the Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.

“With public health and health-care indicators currently stable and proof of vaccination now in effect, we are able to recommend cautiously easing capacity limits in certain settings,” Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said in an update Friday afternoon, noting the increases will mostly be in places where vaccine proof is required.

“Increasing capacity limits does not mean we can let our guard down. We must remain cautious and humble in the face of this Delta variant.”

Read more:
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test will be needed to access Scotiabank Arena, BMO Field

Moore said the revised rules will take effect as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.

At indoor meeting and event spaces (convention and conference centres, banquet halls etc.), theatres, cinemas, concerts, sports events, racing venues and commercial TV and film shoots with audiences will be able to increase the number of people in attendance to up to 50 per cent of approved capacity or 10,000 people (whichever is less).

For outdoor event spaces where it is standing room only for patrons, up to 75 per cent of approved capacity or 15,000 people (whichever is less) will now be allowed.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario expands capacity limits for some indoor, outdoor settings'



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COVID-19: Ontario expands capacity limits for some indoor, outdoor settings


COVID-19: Ontario expands capacity limits for some indoor, outdoor settings

When it comes to outdoor event venues where people are seated, up to 75 per cent of approved capacity or 30,000 people (whichever is less) can now be accommodated.

Officials said seated outdoor venues can see higher numbers of people because mobility is less and therefore it reduces the risk of potential transmission of COVID-19.

The announcement came just a day after the Toronto Blue Jays announced the release of additional seats for the final six home games of the regular season, citing ongoing discussions with Premier Doug Ford’s office and Moore. The team said the increase would be in line with public health measures.

Read more:
Ontario enforcement agencies report few incidents in early days of COVID-19 vaccine certificates

In an update right after Moore’s announcement, the Jays announced the 500L section at the Rogers Centre would be reopening to visitors now that up to 30,000 fans will be permitted to attend.

The current capacity limit at the Rogers Centre under Ontario’s COVID-19 regulations is 15,000 fans. At Scotiabank Arena, the limit was capped at 1,000 fans. Both venues have vaccination policies in place.

When Moore was asked why he is recommending these changes now, he said the COVID-19 situation in Ontario has been stable for several weeks and the province needs to have a “balanced and proportionate public health response” to the pandemic.

Read more:
Ontario COVID-19 vaccine certificate program for many indoor public settings now in effect

“For the majority (of attendees), they will be protected through vaccination, they will be wearing masks, they will be screening and monitoring for any symptoms … and I do think that is a much safer environment that we can start to safely and cautiously open,” he said, calling the recent implementation of vaccine certificates a “game-changer.”

“We’ll monitor these caps over the coming weeks to make sure this process remains safe. I’m confident that we can do this safely, and slowly, and cautiously because we all need balance. We’ve made sacrifices over the last year and a half and so have these businesses, and I think this will allow them to open safely and not be sources of infection or outbreak.”

As for how long vaccine certificates will be needed to access many indoor public settings, Moore suggested the program could be in place until the winter.

He went on to say as part of the provincial government’s gradual approach to reopening, it will assess other settings where capacity limits could be eased. He also pointed to early modelling on cases that suggested there could be a sharp rise of cases after Christmas.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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NBA denies Canadian Andrew Wiggins of religious exemption to skip COVID-19 vaccine – CBC.ca

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The NBA has denied Canadian Andrew Wiggins’s request for a vaccination exemption, leaving the Golden State Warriors swingman ineligible to play home games until he meets San Francisco’s vaccination requirement.

The ruling was announced Friday, hours after the New York Knicks said their entire roster is vaccinated, making all their players eligible to play in their home games.

Because of local coronavirus regulations in New York and San Francisco, the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Warriors are required to be vaccinated to play in their home arenas unless exemptions for medical or religious reasons apply.

Wiggins, from Vaughan, Ont., sought an exemption from the league for religious reasons.

“The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’s request for religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all participants age 12 and older at large indoor events,” the league said in a statement.

“Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfils the city’s vaccination requirements.”

NBA says unvaccinated players can play

Unvaccinated players are allowed to play this season, though the NBA has said that they will have to be tested daily on practice and travel days, and at least once — possibly more — on game days. Fully vaccinated players will not be subject to daily testing.

However, the Knicks, Nets and Warriors face stricter rules because of their local regulations, which the NBA has told teams do not apply to visiting clubs.

WATCH | ‘Bring It In’ panel discusses vaccine passports’ effect on sports:

Discussing mandatory vaccine passports as fans return to stadiums | Bring It In

24 days ago

With fans returning to stadiums across Canada, host Morgan Campbell discusses the enforcement of mandatory vaccination in stadiums across the country with panellists Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin. 7:44

The Knicks are the first of those teams to say they have met the mandate.

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said earlier this week that a couple players wouldn’t yet be eligible, but he was confident everyone would be able to participate by the time the regular season begins on Oct. 19.

Local mandate not yet in effect

Wiggins still has time, as San Francisco’s mandate doesn’t take effect until the middle of next month. Training camps open Tuesday.

The NBA has struck agreements this off-season to have virtually all parties involved in games — referees, coaches, stat-crew workers and anyone else who will be in close proximity to players on or off the court in NBA arenas — vaccinated in order to participate.

The one exception: The players themselves, with the National Basketball Players Association rebuking all efforts from the NBA to mandate that they be vaccinated. About 85 per cent of players were vaccinated at the end of last season. The league-wide figure is believed to have increased since.

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2020 Ryder Cup pairings: U.S. runs it back, Rory McIlroy out for Saturday foursomes – Golf Channel

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After his team dug itself a 6-2 hole on Friday at the Ryder Cup, European captain Padraig Harrington had some decisions to make when deciding on his pairings for Saturday morning’s foursomes session.

One pressing question was whether he’d sit Rory McIlroy for the first time in McIlroy’s cup career. McIlroy had played in every session since making his debut in 2010 (26 for 26), but he’d dropped both his team-play matches on Friday at Whistling Straits while failing to reach the 16th hole in either one.

Ultimately, Harrington decided that his visiting side’s best chance at a comeback was to sit McIlroy on Saturday morning.

“We have plenty of options on our team,” Harrington said. “Spoiled for choice in many ways, and yeah … I’m very comfortable again with the team I’ve put out tomorrow. Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team.”

McIlroy and Poulter, who lost in foursomes on Friday morning, will both be benched, while Harrington will mix things up slightly elsewhere, splitting Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland, and pairing them with Tyrrell Hatton and Bernd Wiesberger, respectively. Two of Europe’s foursomes pairings are intact: Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, and Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.


Match scoring for the 43rd Ryder Cup


Meanwhile, on the American side, captain Steve Stricker is going back to the well, keeping all four of his previous foursomes teams. All but Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth won on Friday morning, though Thomas helped lead a four-ball rally alongside Patrick Cantlay on Friday afternoon as the U.S. duo tied Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood.

Cantlay reunites with Xander Schauffele, who is 2-0. Dustin Johnson, also 2-0, reunites with Collin Morikawa.

“We had one other group that we were thinking about putting out, but it went so well this morning that I figured why mess things up and change things up at all,” Stricker said. “We changed the order a little bit is all, but we kept the same pairings.”

The U.S. leads by four points, its largest advantage after Day 1 since 1975. History is on the Americans’ side, too, as just once in five previous instances since 1979 (the year that the Great Britain and Ireland side was expanded to include continental Europe) has a team coughed up a lead of more than three points after the opening day.

Here are the matchups and starting times for Saturday morning’s foursomes session:

8:05 a.m. ET: Koepka/Berger vs. Rahm/Garcia
8:21 a.m.: Johnson/Morikawa vs. Casey/Hatton
8:37 a.m.: Thomas/Spieth vs. Hovland/Wiesberger
8:53 a.m.: Schauffele/Cantlay vs. Westwood/Fitzpatrick

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