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Victoria to remain host of Olympic basketball qualifying tournament – TSN

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VICTORIA — Canada’s men’s basketball team will still get a chance to qualify at home for an Olympic berth.

FIBA announced Thursday that four Olympic qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo Games, including one in Victoria, will be held between June 29 and July 4, 2021.

Victoria was originally scheduled to hold a last-chance qualifying tournament June 23-28, but was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic that also pushed the 2020 Olympics back a year.

Canada, Greece and China will make up Group A in Victoria, while Uruguay, Czech Republic and Turkey will make up in Group B.

The tournament winner will lock down an Olympic berth.

Croatia, Lithuania and Serbia will host the other tournaments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020.

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Report: NBA presents players with 22-team restart plan – TSN

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The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league’s board of governors on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

The teams that will be going to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play eight games to determine playoff seeding starting around July 31 before the post-season begins, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly.

The plan, once approved, would have 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams going to Disney and the cutoff being that teams must be within six games of a playoff spot at this point. Playoffs would start in August, and the NBA Finals will likely stretch into October, the person said.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics already have clinched playoff spots — and, if only eight games are left, that would mean the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets would theoretically have clinched spots as well.

The Dallas Mavericks would be virtually assured of clinching a West spot, holding a seven-game lead over eighth-place Memphis. So that would mean the Grizzlies, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix all would be in the running for the No. 8 seed out West. In the East, Washington is six games behind No. 7 Brooklyn and 5-1/2 games behind No. 8 Orlando — so within range of triggering a play-in series.

“I’m all in from the state’s perspective,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Central Florida on Wednesday. “I don’t think you could find a better place than Orlando to do this. I think it’s very exciting.”

DeSantis met by phone with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum on Tuesday. The governor also said the state helped with the plans to make a golf match last month featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — one that raised $20 million for coronavirus relief — happen. And Major League Soccer announced Wednesday a plan to restart its season in Orlando.

“Orlando really could be the epicenter of the comeback of professional sports,” DeSantis said.

For an NBA play-in series to happen to determine the No. 8 seed on either playoff bracket, the ninth-place team would have to be within four games of eighth place once the eight-game schedule of lead-in games is completed. If a play-in series occurs, it would basically be a best-of-two — where the No. 9 seed would have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot.

There would also be some jostling for playoff positioning happening in the eight-game restart. In the East, Toronto and Boston are separated by three games for the No. 2 spot and Miami, Indiana and Philadelphia are separated by two games for the No. 4 spot. Out West, the Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City and Houston are all within four games of one another in the race for the No. 2 seed on that bracket.

There are still some elements of the restart plan that could be changed, and other matters are still being negotiated — such as how much of a percentage of their salaries that players will lose because some regular season games will be cancelled. If 15% of the regular season is not played, which would be the current estimate based on the proposal, players would have to give up roughly $610 million in salary for this season.

It’s also unclear what will happen to the eight teams that would not be vying for a post-season berth under the proposed format — Charlotte, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Golden State. If the 2020-21 NBA season doesn’t start until December at the earliest, which would seem to be a very real possibility, those teams could go about nine months without playing games and some have expressed concerns over what that will mean for player development.

The NBA suspended its season March 11, becoming the first of the U.S. major pro leagues to do so after it became known that Utah’s All-Star centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The list of NBA players who were known to test positive eventually grew to 10 — not all were identified — and Commissioner Adam Silver said that the actual total was even higher.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by Disney, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners.

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Sidney Crosby: ‘What happened to George Floyd cannot be ignored’ – Sportsnet.ca

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As the hockey world continues to move through a period of reflection in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has released a statement condemning racial injustice.

“What happened to George Floyd cannot be ignored,” Crosby said via a statement released by his Sidney Crosby Foundation.

“Racism that exists today in all forms is not acceptable. While I am not able to relate to the discrimination that Black and minority communities face daily, I will listen and educate myself on how I can help make a difference.

“Together, we will find solutions through necessary dialogue and a collective effort.”

The hockey world has seen a number of players speak up in the wake of Floyd’s death and the widespread protests against police brutality.

In late May, San Jose Sharks star Evander Kane called on prominent white NHLers to use their platforms to help bring about change, mentioning Crosby by name among those he hoped to see engage in the discussion.

“We’ve been outraged for hundreds of years and nothing’s changed. It’s time for guys like Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby, those type of figures, to speak up about what is right and, clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong,” Kane said on ESPN’s First Take at the time.

“Because that is the only way we’re going to actually create that unified anger to create that necessary change.”

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Crosby releases statement as athletes continue to speak out – TSN

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Athletes and notable names from the world of sports are speaking up as protests continue following the death of George Floyd last this week in Minneapolis.


Crosby releases statement

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby released a statement on social media through his foundation Wednesday, condemning racism and vowing to listen and educate himself to help make a difference.

“What happened to George Floyd cannot be ignored. Racism that exists today in all forms is not acceptable. While I am not able to relate to the discrimination that black and minority communities face daily, I will listen and educate myself on how I can help make a difference.

“Together, we will find solutions through necessary dialogue and a collective effort.”


Weber, Gallagher from Canadiens speak out

Montreal Canadiens defenceman and captain Shea Weber and forward Brendan Gallagher both posted messages Wednesday speaking out against racial injustice.

Weber: “Sport is a unifying force. It brings people together. We now need to be unified in this fight and work together. I don’t have the solutions and can’t speak from experience or tell someone who has dealt with racism how they should feel. But we can all listen.”

Gallagher: “There’s a large group of people begging to be heard. We need to listen.”


Capitals’ Holtby, Wilson join the conversation

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and  forward Tom Wilson both released statements condemning racial injustice on Wednesday.

Holtby’s statement was posted to Twitter with the message, “I couldn’t find the words to say. And still haven’t But I had to try. #BlackLivesMatter

Wilson said he is “committing to learn, to listen and to support going forward.”

Wilson also said he would be making contributions to the East of the River Mutual Aid Fund and the Fort Dupont Cannons Hockey Program, the oldest minority hockey program in the country.


Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan shares message

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan shared a message on the Jaguars website Wednesday, detailing his experiences as a Muslin-American and speaking out against racial injustice.

“No families should have to worry about their child losing their life just because of the color of their skin. Yet, they do. That should never happen in what should be, and I still believe is, the greatest nation on the planet.

“I know change is possible, and here’s one reason why: While I am often described as “self-made,” the truth is I benefitted tremendously from hundreds of good and generous people early on, from all walks of life, who supported me unconditionally and contributed mightily to my realization of the American Dream.

“My overarching goal, or mission, is to do my part to level the playing field so everyone has the same access and opportunity to achieve the American Dream, without fear or compromise.

“We must have the answer today, and we will work with players, staff and more to arrive at a timely response. Because this moment, while agonizingly similar in many ways, is unlike any other in our history for underserved people and communities in the United States. We cannot attack the virus of racism with indifference or periodic attention. We cannot expect an easy cure or give up when the quest becomes inconvenient or uncomfortable.”

Read the full message here.


Statement form Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball released the following statement on Wednesday with the caption, “We want to be better, we need to be better, and this is our promise to do the work.”

We offer our condolences to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all the families that have lost loved ones due to senseless killing and injustice.

To be clear, our game has zero tolerance for racism and racial injustice.

The reality that the Black community lives in fear or anxiety over racial discrimination, prejudice or violence is unacceptable.

Addressing this issue requires action both within our sport and society. MLB is committed to engaging our communities to invoke change. We will take the necessary time, effort and collaboration to address symptoms of systemic racism, prejudice and injustice, but will be equally as focused on the root of the problem.

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