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Drew Brees faces backlash for saying he will 'never agree' with anthem protests

The Guardian

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did not back down from comments on Wednesday that he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States” when asked about the prospect of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem during the upcoming season.

Brees reiterated his opposition to the non-violent protest of police violence launched by Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 season in an interview with Yahoo Finance published on Wednesday, his first remarks since last week’s police killing of George Floyd.

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June 3rd 2020, 4:20 pm

Tottenham reveal unnamed player has tested positive for coronavirus

The Guardian

Tottenham have revealed that one of their players has tested positive for Covid-19 and will self-isolate for seven days, although he is not experiencing any symptoms of the virus. The London club want to keep his identity confidential. It is understood he is not a key first-team player.

The positive test was the only one from the Premier League’s fifth and latest round of screening, which took in 1,197 players and members of staff at the 20 clubs – representing another boost on the road to Project Restart.

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June 3rd 2020, 4:05 pm

'It's still ridiculous' – Van Persie's 2012-13 season at Manchester United

The Guardian

Jonny Evans and Anders Lindegaard pull back the curtain on how the Dutchman gave Sir Alex Ferguson his final title

This was Robin van Persie in the 2012-13 season: 26 goals, two hat-tricks and the Premier League golden boot. It was a campaign in which the Dutchman elevated new teammates and was the X factor in Manchester United’s 20th and most recent championship triumph.

Van Persie’s move from Arsenal in the summer of 2012 was the final masterstroke of Sir Alex Ferguson’s gilded 27-year tenure. The £24m purchase on 17 August had echoes of the Scot’s signing of Eric Cantona from Leeds United in November 1992 for £1m.

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June 3rd 2020, 3:34 pm

Relegation, repayments and pileups: six Premier League restart problems | David Hytner

The Guardian

As England’s top-tier clubs meet on Thursday to discuss the season’s resumption, here are some of the sticking points

This is the big one, the likely source of most friction. There is a strong will among the clubs to complete the season but what if factors beyond anybody’s control make that impossible? How to determine the final standings and, most contentiously, rule on relegation? A contingency plan must be put in place. The Premier League favours an unweighted points-per-game model but however it is decided, it will be a brutally hard way to go down – if it comes to it. There is a lobby for relegation to be scrapped, driven principally by the clubs in peril, but it is difficult to see how that could happen. The FA has made it clear that it is against voiding relegation, while the notion would be at odds with existing agreements with the Football League and broadcasters. 

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June 3rd 2020, 2:48 pm

NBA set to resume action on 31 July in Orlando after Covid-19 hiatus

The Guardian

The NBA is set to become the first major North American sports league to make a return to action, with play scheduled to resume on 31 July, according to multiple reports.

The NBA season was stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March but the league’s board of governors have approved a plan that will see the 22 teams still in playoff contention travel to Orlando to play eight regular-season games. The 16 teams that would qualify for the postseason if it started today will compete along with the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs from the Western Conference and the Washington Wizards from the Eastern Conference.

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June 3rd 2020, 1:00 pm

Milan's Asmir Begovic: 'When I first came back, nobody was in the streets' | Ewan Murray

The Guardian

It has been an interesting 12 months for the Bosnian goalkeeper since he was loaned out by Bournemouth, with spells at Qarabag and now San Siro

Asmir Begovic was in the midst of a year less ordinary long before a pandemic brought football to a shuddering halt. “Unorthodox?” he asks with a laugh. “A great couple of chapters in my book one day. That’s one of the reasons I love football, you just don’t know what is round the corner. As much as people want to plan, it’s such a reactive game. Things on a daily or weekly basis can change your future.”

Twelve months ago the goalkeeper had not featured in the closing stages of a Bournemouth season during which Premier League status was comfortably retained. If an exit from the Vitality Stadium seemed likely, nobody could have reasonably predicted what happened next.

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June 3rd 2020, 11:48 am

Premier League: the 10 most in-form players before lockdown

The Guardian

Harry Maguire, Mo Salah, Harvey Barnes and Sébastien Haller will be hoping to pick up where they left off

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

With a return date now in place and anticipation building, it is easy to forget just how the season was left off. Bruno Fernandes had made a fine start to life in England after his arrival from Sporting in January, yet others had dipped. Having looked back at the last six rounds of fixtures, here are the 10 players who were enjoying the best form before the league was suspended in March.

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June 3rd 2020, 9:47 am

'It was heartbreaking': the day Bob Marley played for Crystal Palace

The Guardian

40 years ago this week, Bob Marley played in Crystal Palace park, debuting Redemption Song and enchanting the crowd – but signs of his decline were already there

What turned out to be the last Garden Party in Crystal Palace, on 7 June 1980, had already been pretty memorable. Joe Jackson was booed off stage after swearing at the audience before several people fell into the lake when a branch broke off a tree. But like most in the crowd that day 40 years ago, a teenage Rob Baker had come to see one act: Bob Marley and the Wailers.

“For the last song, the sun came out,” says Baker, who travelled from his home in Salisbury to south London for the concert. “And he came back on stage to play Redemption Song with just an acoustic guitar. It was a very special moment because no one had heard it before.”

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June 3rd 2020, 9:47 am

Broncos coach Fangio labelled a 'joke' after saying there is no racism in NFL

The Guardian

The Denver Broncos head coach, Vic Fangio, has received backlash from players after saying he does not see racism as a problem in the NFL.

Fangio, who has coached in the league since 1986, was asked about racism in the NFL in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

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June 3rd 2020, 9:47 am

Bobby Joe Morrow, the 1956 Olympic sprint champion who lost his way | Andy Bull

The Guardian

The American, one of four men to win three sprint gold medals at an Olympic Games, is remembered as much for the infamy his business dealings provoked as his glorious running style

Four men have won the sprint triple at the Olympics and, chances are, you know three of them: Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt. Then there is Bobby Joe Morrow, who died last Sunday at the age of 84. When Morrow won the 100m, 200m, and the 4x100m at the Melbourne Games in 1956 he was, briefly, as famous as any of the other three. He was a guest on the Ed Sullivan show, same episode as Marcel Marceau, and Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, he made the cover of Life magazine and was even named by the US Chamber of Commerce as one of nine Great Living Americans, right alongside Cecil B DeMille and Norman Rockwell.

Sports Illustrated made him its sportsman of 1956, the same year Floyd Patterson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history and Mickey Mantle won the triple crown for the Yankees. Morrow was 21 years old, tall, handsome, and “the Beau Ideal of the US Olympic team”. He grew up on a farm in San Benito, way down in south-east Texas, his father was an elder in the Church of Christ, and the family were “prosperous, unostentatious, and deeply religious”. The way they told it, his only vice was ice cream. It made him something “a little larger than a fine sprinter”. He was the “sort of American which most of the world has had too little opportunity to know”.

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June 3rd 2020, 8:44 am

Anson Dorrance: 'We raise young women to not be competitive. What the heck is going on?' | Suzanne W

The Guardian

The most decorated coach of a single sport in the NCAA shares his coaching philosophy and how he helped turn the USA into a powerhouse of women’s football

“When I was hired the United States had never won a game in international competition. Five years later, we were world champions. The way we established the United States is the same way I established my collegiate programme,” says Anson Dorrance, head coach of the University of North Carolina women’s football team.

If you are reading this in the US, you will most likely have heard of Dorrance. Beyond the US, though, he is virtually anonymous. Yet he is one of the most successful American coaches of any sport, in any time. At 69 Dorrance is still going, 43 years after he took charge of the UNC men’s team and 41 after he helped to launch the women’s. He coached both for 13 years before switching solely to the women’s side, with whom he has won 22 division one titles. For context, the nearest to that record are Notre Dame and Stanford universities with three titles apiece. From 1986 he managed the US women’s national team for eight years, including to their first World Cup win in 1991.

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June 3rd 2020, 8:44 am

Neutral venue option assumes that football fans are inherently disorderly | Owen West

The Guardian

The vast majority of supporters are responsible community spirited people who, if asked to stay away, will do so

The Premier League is set to resume the 2019-20 season on 17 June, but all the remaining games will be played without fans. It will look and sound like nothing we have ever seen before. Of course, that’s the way it has to be in order to resume the national game in the middle of a pandemic. 

Related: Everton hopeful of staging Liverpool derby at Goodison Park

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June 3rd 2020, 7:29 am

'I never feel 100% safe': MLS footballer Nedum Onuoha says he fears US police

The Guardian

Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha, formerly of Manchester City and QPR, has said he never feels completely safe in the United States and has a “fear and distrust” of police in the country.

Speaking following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, Nigerian-born Onuoha said he was “always wary of how I behave and how it could be viewed by people who have power”.

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June 3rd 2020, 5:57 am

Jack Grealish: 'I am a footballer but I’m still human. We all make mistakes'

The Guardian

The Aston Villa captain opens up about his lockdown incident and how the club are set on staying up for the memory of Dean Smith’s father

The challenge facing Aston Villa is to emerge from the Premier League hiatus better than they were before it. Jack Grealish accepts that applies to him more than most. Over the past couple of months he has spent time, and money, trying to prove that he does not deserve to be defined by that serious mistake he made in late March.

You know the one. The photograph went everywhere. Less than 24 hours after he publicly urged people to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, he was pictured looking bewildered and dishevelled on a Birmingham street beside his damaged Range Rover, which had collided with parked cars to expose the fact that he broke lockdown to travel to a friend’s house. West Midlands Police’s investigation continues. The day after the incident Grealish acknowledged his hypocrisy on social media.

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June 3rd 2020, 4:56 am

The NFL and Trump both reek of hypocrisy over George Floyd's death

The Guardian

America’s richest league wants us to believe it will fight the racism endemic in US society. It wasn’t so keen when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling

On one hand we have the president of the United States urging governors to “dominate” those protesting against the heartless, brutal killing of George Floyd, while saying absolutely nothing about holding to account officers such as Daniel Pantaleo (the killing of Eric Garner)Betty Jo Shelby (the killing of Terence Crutcher)Darren Wilson (the killing of Mike Brown)Blane Salamoni (the killing of Alton Sterling); and Jeronimo Yanez (Philando Castile)

On the other hand, we have seen an abundance of organizations – from McDonald’s to Netflix to the NBA – issuing statements about the terrorism that runs rampant through police departments across America in the wake of Floyd’s death, while proclaiming that black lives do in fact matter.

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June 3rd 2020, 4:25 am

Some Premier League clubs to face three matches in seven days

The Guardian

The Premier League is close to presenting a provisional fixture list for the remainder of the season to its clubs, with the unlucky ones facing a sequence of three games in seven days.

The league’s football operations team are working to finalise a schedule that features full match rounds on six long weekends, beginning with Friday 19 June to Monday 22 June, and three midweek slots, incorporating games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The intention is for the midweek rounds to be 23-25 June, 7-9 July and 14-16 July.

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June 2nd 2020, 4:05 pm

'Quarantine our sad, sick game': how Heysel tragedy changed English football | Simon Burnton

The Guardian

English clubs’ ban from European competition, imposed 35 years ago on Tuesday, led to years of isolation until the 1990 World Cup helped to initiate change

In May 1985 the Sunday Times published a now-notorious editorial which alleged that British football was “in crisis: a slum sport played in slum stadiums and increasingly watched by slum people, who deter decent folk from turning up”. That deterrent was reaching peak effectiveness: in the following season top-flight attendances dropped to their lowest level since the first world war, and in the second tier to depths not seen since 1906-07.

If this was English football in the gutter, it had taken more than Heysel and a European football ban to drag it there. Indeed, that Sunday Times editorial was published 10 days before Liverpool and Juventus met in Brussels. Already that season had seen riots involving Luton and Millwall fans in March and the Bradford fire, which led to 56 deaths, on 11 May, among countless lesser known incidents caused by decaying infrastructure or fan violence.

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June 2nd 2020, 2:45 pm

Newcastle's DeAndre Yedlin feels US is an unsafe place for a young black man

The Guardian

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle’s USA defender, has shared his grandfather’s opinion that their country is not a safe place for a young black man.

As protests continue across the US in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis, the former Tottenham right-back displayed his own anger and despair on Twitter on Tuesday.

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June 2nd 2020, 2:45 pm

George Floyd's killing matters too much for corporate sport's on-brand insincerity | Jonathan Liew

The Guardian

Statements barely addressing an unarmed black man’s death are closer to obligation than any commitment to social justice

On Saturday, five days after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota, the NFL spoke out. It released a short statement by its commissioner, Roger Goodell, offering his condolences to the Floyd family, stating the “urgent need for action” without identifying what that action might be, addressing “systemic issues” without specifying what those issues were. The words “police”, “black” and “racism” were not mentioned. It was a word salad, reading like the cryptic statement of a surly 61-year-old teenager, fed through the yoghurt pot of a corporate communications department, and spat out on to the internet in a shareable meme format.

The NFL’s commitment to social justice may have come across a little more sincerely had the sport not so ruthlessly ostracised the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he made his on-field protests against police brutality in 2016 and 2017. As Joe Lockhart, the league’s former vice-president, admitted last week, the decision by NFL owners not to hire Kaepernick was an ideological choice. “No owner was willing to put the business at risk over this issue,” he said. And as Goodell himself put it at an owners’ meeting in Texas last December: “We’ve moved on.”

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June 2nd 2020, 2:45 pm

Skateboarder Sky Brown on serious fall: 'My helmet saved my life'

The Guardian

The British skateboarder Sky Brown said her helmet saved her life in a fall during training. The 11-year-old, who is targeting the Tokyo Games next year where the sport will make its Olympic debut, was taken to a California hospital by helicopter.

Brown, who was reportedly unresponsive on arrival with her father Stewart saying there were fears for her life, fractured her skull but is recovering and has posted a video on social media.

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June 2nd 2020, 9:31 am

Silverstone to host two August grands prix after F1 roars back in July

The Guardian

Formula One has confirmed its rescheduled calendar for the European leg of the 2020 season, with racing to begin in Austria on 5 July. After 10 race cancellations the sport has settled on a plan for eight meetings in Europe all held behind closed doors.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is included in the calendar for August but its confirmation remains subject to government coronavirus restrictions.

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June 2nd 2020, 9:01 am

My favourite game: a perfect view of another Liverpool v Newcastle classic | Gregg Bakowski

The Guardian

Hope of a ticket was fading when I was spirited into Anfield pretending to be a TV technician to watch a thriller

I have never been one for obsessing about what view I have of a match. Just being able to see the pitch is enough. If I cared deeply enough I would not have chosen to have a season ticket miles from the action at the back of the Kop but for me atmosphere and who I want to be with has always been more important than the vantage point.

So perhaps it’s strange that I should choose this game as my favourite as I was not on the Kop next to my dad or with any other official Liverpool fans when it kicked off. On 28 December 1998 I was six months from finally being offered a Liverpool season ticket, so how and where I watched games depended on whether I got lucky at the ticket office or by picking up a spare outside the ground.

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June 2nd 2020, 9:01 am

The soccer v football debate still lingers on in MLS

The Guardian

The game is not the behemoth in North America that it is in most of the rest of the world, so the league and its team have always had to tread carefully

Originally, there was not a single football club in Major League Soccer. Indeed, when the league was launched back in 1996 not one of its 10 founding members labelled itself “FC”. Now, 25 years later, 10 MLS clubs use the term, plus Inter Miami, or Club Internacional de Futbol Miami to give them their title. It will be 11 when Austin FC join MLS next year.

When MLS jokingly tweeted that “it’s called soccer. If anyone disagrees, reply to this” last month, more than a few people pointed out the disagreement within the league’s own ranks.

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June 2nd 2020, 5:45 am

Floyd Mayweather offers to cover funeral costs for George Floyd

The Guardian

Boxing great Floyd Mayweather has offered to cover the funeral expenses for George Floyd, the 46-year-old African American man whose death while in police custody in Minneapolis sparked protests across the United States.

The former five-division world champion’s promotional company, Mayweather Productions, confirmed on Twitter that he had made the offer, and several reports said the family have accepted.

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June 2nd 2020, 2:13 am

Serie C to conquerers of Europe: when star-studded Parma lived the dream | Nicky Bandini

The Guardian

Before being struck by scandal, this once lowly club enjoyed an electrifying rise – and it all began with the vision of one man

Everybody remembers how it ended. From 1990 to 2004, Parma competed as one of Italy’s foremost teams, qualifying for Europe in 14 consecutive seasons and winning four pieces of continental silverware. Then their parent company and chief sponsor, Parmalat, collapsed amid one of the most staggering financial fraud scandals the world has ever known.

Parma avoided instant oblivion. Technically the club did fold, but a subtly renamed version sprung up in its place, taking over the contracts, debts and – crucially – Serie A status of its predecessor.

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June 1st 2020, 4:39 pm

Jags' Thompson calls NFL statement on racism 'trash' and says he was told not to kneel

The Guardian

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Peyton Thompson has described the NFL’s statement on the death of George Floyd as “trash” and says he was told by his coaches not to kneel during the national anthem protests in 2016.

“The statement issued by the @nfl is complete trash,” Thompson wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I specifically remember [Jaguars executive vice-president] Tom Coughlin and [head coach] Doug Marone telling us we couldn’t kneel. Thank God we had an owner of minority [Shahid Khan] who weighed in and got us to kneel together! My job security was on the line if I supported my people.”

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June 1st 2020, 1:35 pm

Philippe Coutinho is interested in Premier League return, says agent

The Guardian

Philippe Coutinho is “definitely” interested in a return to the Premier League at some point, according to the Brazilian’s agent, Kia Joorabchian.

The 27-year-old left Liverpool in a £142m move to Barcelona in January 2018 but failed to live up to expectations at Camp Nou and joined Bayern Munich on a season-long loan last summer. The midfielder’s performances have been encouraging but the Bundesliga champions have reportedly decided against taking up the option to buy.

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June 1st 2020, 11:04 am

'My pay is not worth it': Jon Jones gives up UFC title after row with Dana White

The Guardian

Jon Jones tweeted on Sunday that he is giving up his UFC title because of a pay dispute.

“To the light-heavyweight title - veni, vidi, vici,” tweeted Jones, using the Latin phrase meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered,” attributed to Julius Caesar. Asked if was giving up his title, he tweeted “Yes.”

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June 1st 2020, 8:33 am

Lewis Hamilton attacks silence from F1 paddock over George Floyd killing

The Guardian

Lewis Hamilton has spoken out about the killing of George Floyd and offered a damning condemnation of the silence from others in Formula One, including his fellow drivers.

“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” he wrote on Instagram. “Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport.

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June 1st 2020, 8:03 am

Australia’s NRL fan cardboard cut-out scheme turns sour after use of Hitler and mass murderer Harold

The Guardian

What started out as a fun and inclusive initiative has turned sour after the NRL’s scheme to put cardboard cut-outs of fans in stadiums was hijacked.

Over the weekend a photograph of mass murderer Harold Shipman made an appearance in the stands, then a TV sketch featured an image of Adolf Hitler, prompting furious criticism from Australia’s Jewish community.

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June 1st 2020, 8:03 am

My favourite game: Damian Lillard's 37-foot buzzer beater sinks OKC

The Guardian

Portland Trail Blazers point guard capped a 50-point night with one of the greatest play-off shots in NBA history

Basketball should always be about the spectacle. Too often these days NBA commentators and fans descend into furtive debates about advanced analytics and statistics that reduce the game to a series of intellectualised metrics.

For me it is about those electric moments when skill and opportunity combine to create greatness. They are where you find the soul of the game, giving meaning to the “ball is life” mantra.

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June 1st 2020, 8:03 am

Major League Rugby announces LA Giltinis, second team named for a drink

The Guardian

Australian group launches another unusual venture in US league curtailed by coronavirus, after Colorado withdrawal

Major League Rugby last week announced a new team for 2021: the LA Giltinis.

Related: Austin Gilgronis: why would a US rugby club name itself after a cocktail?

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June 1st 2020, 2:09 am

Michael Jordan condemns George Floyd death and 'ingrained racism' of US

The Guardian

Michael Jordan has released a statement on the death of George Floyd, calling out “ingrained racism” in the United States.

“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” wrote Jordan in a statement posted by the Charlotte Hornets, the NBA team he owns. “I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”

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May 31st 2020, 6:04 pm

Marcus Thuram takes knee after scoring in powerful tribute to George Floyd

The Guardian

The Borussia Mönchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram has taken a knee after scoring in a Bundesliga match, as protests over the killing of George Floyd continue in the US and Europe.

Thuram’s gesture came during the first half of Sunday’s Bundesliga match with Union Berlin. The French striker scored and then moved away from his teammates to go down on one knee, a symbolic protest against police brutality that former NFL player Colin Kaepernick first used in 2016.

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May 31st 2020, 1:14 pm

Osaka and Gauff should not be discouraged from their protests | Tumaini Carayol

The Guardian

The two young stars’ criticisms of police brutality after George Floyd’s killing were brave in a culture uneasy with black athletes speaking out

A couple of weeks ago Naomi Osaka decided that it was time to eradicate her shyness once and for all. It was exhausting, she said, missing out on moments because she was too terrified to speak in the presence of people she admired. Her options for socialising limited in quarantine, she set up a series of interviews with players. Before long, fellow players Frances Tiafoe, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gaël Monfils and Iga Swiatek were her subjects. “I’m coming for every tennis reporter’s neck,” she said.

On Saturday afternoon Osaka’s new reporting skills were put to use on Instagram as a follower jumped into the comments section with criticism and accusations. After claiming that Osaka, who has already amassed a fortune after only a few years at the top, would “loot everything”, he ended with a lecture: “Martin Luther King would be disappointed in you people.” Osaka responded with sharp and concise questions: “You people? Who is you people? Just for clarification.”

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May 31st 2020, 11:14 am

Premier League's basement clubs set to oppose relegation by points-per-game

The Guardian

Premier League sides battling against relegation are expected to oppose the implementation of a points-per-game calculation if the Covid-19 pandemic forces the season to be suspended again after its proposed resumption on 17 June.

While the league is aiming to finalise plans around Project Restart on Thursday, one pressing issue is which three teams should be relegated if the season is halted for a second time. Clubs in the bottom six believe it would be unfair to use a mathematical formula to decide relegation, especially as some teams fighting for survival have more inviting run-ins than others.

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May 31st 2020, 10:43 am

Premier League restart will not be football as we know it | Paul WIlson

The Guardian

Crowdless, noiseless and possibly even passionless, the resumed season will not be a return to normality

Football and its followers can start to cheer up a bit now that there is a Premier League restart date to look forward to, though no one could be foolish enough to imagine normality will return on 17 June.

Cynics are already pointing out, for a start, that on that date the two outstanding games in hand are going to be played first, so that if anything goes wrong all the clubs in the Premier League will at least have played the same number of matches should curtailment of the season suddenly reappear as an option.

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May 31st 2020, 3:25 am

Schalke's Weston McKennie wears 'Justice for George Floyd' armband

The Guardian

The Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie took to the pitch for Saturday’s Bundesliga game with Werder Bremen wearing an armband reading “Justice for George”, the African-American whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police has led to protests across the United States.

After the match McKennie tweeted: “To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on to long feels good!!! We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard! #justiceforgeorgefloyd #saynotoracism.”

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May 30th 2020, 4:49 pm

Karolina Pliskova calls men 'super weak' for worrying about equal pay in tennis

The Guardian

The world No 3, Karolina Pliskova, has called male tennis players who complain about women claiming equal prize money “super weak”. The Czech player, who returns to action in the newly created LiveScore Cup in Prague next week, insists she does not crave equal pay but is not happy about men who speak out against it.

It is an issue that is sure to raise its head over the coming months following recent calls for a merger between the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours – something Pliskova supports. There is currently equal pay at the four grand slams but a big disparity during the rest of the year.

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May 30th 2020, 3:03 pm

Football is back and all it took was the spectre of financial catastrophe | Jonathan Liew

The Guardian

Project Restart has shrunk the sport to an elite pursuit within a sterile bubble, throwing up questions no one can answer

Well done, everyone: we did it. They said it wasn’t possible. They said it wasn’t safe. They said it would be tactless to start up one of the world’s most lucrative sports leagues while thousands are dying. They said it wouldn’t be a fair competition. They may still be right about all of this, of course. More on that in a moment.

But for now, football is back. Watch it. Drink it in. Lose yourself in a pure six-week football bender: 92 Premier League fixtures, spread across every day of the week and every conceivable time slot, all of it live on television, much of it free to air. Take that, null-and-voiders; dry your tears, PPG; up yours, Troy Deeney. Football is back and all it took was the spectre of financial catastrophe and the sight of Germany handling things far more adeptly.

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May 29th 2020, 7:29 pm

'Am I next?': Coco Gauff, Stephen Jackson join outcry over George Floyd killing

The Guardian

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson said he would not allow the police to “demean the character of George Floyd” at a rally in Minneapolis in remembrance of the handcuffed black man who died in police custody on Monday after being pinned to the ground and pleading that he could not breathe.

“I’m here because they’re not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin,” Jackson said to onlookers at the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda on Friday afternoon. “A lot of times, when police do things they know that’s wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up, and bring up your background to make it seem like the bullshit that they did was worthy. When was murder ever worthy?

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May 29th 2020, 5:33 pm

Roger Federer unseats Lionel Messi as world's highest-paid sportsperson

The Guardian

Roger Federer is the world’s highest-paid athlete for 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic knocked soccer’s Lionel Messi off top spot, according to the annual Forbes list released on Friday.

The Swiss tennis great, owner of a men’s record 20 grand slam singles titles, earned $106.3m in the last 12 months, including $100m via endorsements, to move up four places and become the first player from his sport to top the list in the 30 years the business magazine has published the rankings.

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May 29th 2020, 1:45 pm

College towns across US brace for worst as Covid-19 threatens football season

The Guardian

In 2019, Dante Lucchesi and his Champs Sports Grill in State College, Pennsylvania, were on a roll.

The 400-seat restaurant his father opened in 1986 was full every weekend when Penn State University’s powerhouse football team took the field.

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May 29th 2020, 12:44 pm

Dinara Safina: 'Being world No 1 is not fun, it is the opposite' | Tumaini Carayol

The Guardian

The Russian won 12 titles and Olympic silver, but she came to take everything in her career so seriously that the pressure suffocated her

The oldest Dinara Safina press conference archived on the internet dates back to 2003. Safina was 16 years old, ranked 63rd and she had just defeated Anna Kournikova, the most famous Russian player across the lands. As usual, many questions were about people other than Safina; about Kournikova, her mother, her superstar brother. Finally, somebody wondered what she actually wanted from her own career. “The sport life is so short,” she responded. “I just want to enjoy it and don’t get injured.”

Safina went on to achieve a career that most athletes could never envision. She won 12 titles, Olympic silver and reached No 1. She bullied top players with her brutal weight of shot, reaching three grand slam finals. Even though she never won Roland Garros, she is one of the best clay-court players of the 21st century.

Related: Andy Murray confirms plans for return next month at 'Battle of the Brits'

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May 29th 2020, 9:57 am

What, when, where? Questions answered on Premier League's return | Paul MacInnes

The Guardian

Television viewers can look forward to six weeks of wall-to-wall summer football coverage from 17 June onwards

The League has set a provisional date for return of 17 June. That’s a Wednesday, when two games would be played: Manchester City v Arsenal and Aston Villa v Sheffield United. They are the two fixtures left over from March. Once completed, all clubs will have played 29 games each. A full programme of fixtures would then follow at the weekend.

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May 29th 2020, 9:57 am

My favourite game: Britain upset the USA with 4x400m gold at Tokyo '91 | Stuart Goodwin

The Guardian

The gamble of mixing up the running order paid off when Kriss Akabusi overhauled the individual champion on the anchor leg

What’s the most underrated non-annual sporting event of all time? Here’s a contender: the 1991 World Athletics Championships, too often boiled down to Mike Powell v Carl Lewis in an astonishing long jump, and Liz McColgan reducing a 10,000m field to puddles amid harrowing heat and humidity in Tokyo.

Plus: the top six in the men’s 100m all went under 10 seconds. Marie-José Peréc and Michael Johnson stormed to their first global titles, while Finland’s Kimmo Kinnunen flashed in the pan furiously with a 90-metre javelin effort. It was a time, too, before relays became a vehicle to help performance directors meet medal targets. The men’s 4x400m, the final event at Japan’s National Stadium, had everything.

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May 29th 2020, 8:26 am

Police want any match where Liverpool can win title played at neutral venue

The Guardian

Police have set out the Premier League matches they would like to be played at neutral venues, which would include any Liverpool game where the title could be won.

The matches which have been requested to take place at neutral grounds are Manchester City v Liverpool, Manchester City v Newcastle, Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Liverpool and Everton v Liverpool. The police statement adds that “the game in which Liverpool could secure the league title” should also be moved but this may end up needing to be more than one match if the Jürgen Klopp’s side do not clinch it at the first attempt.

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May 29th 2020, 8:09 am

Serie A gets the go-ahead to resume in just over three weeks

The Guardian

Top-flight football has been given the go-ahead to resume in Italy from 20 June. Italy’s minister for sport, Vincenzo Spadafora, said that Serie A would be allowed to restart after a conference call involving the league, the players’ association and the Italian Football Federation.

“The meeting was very useful,” Spadafora said. “Now Italy is starting again and it is right that soccer starts again too.

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May 28th 2020, 6:19 pm

Boston Marathon canceled for first time in 124-year history due to Covid-19

The Guardian

The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history.

Organizers said Thursday that they instead will have a “virtual event” in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive their finisher’s medal. The race had originally been scheduled for 20 April before being postponed for five months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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May 28th 2020, 4:31 pm

Policy allowing transgender athletes to compete as girls found to violate US law

The Guardian

Connecticut’s policy allowing transgender girls to compete as girls in high school sports violates the civil rights of athletes who have always identified as female, the US Education Department has determined in a decision that could force the state to change course to keep federal funding and influence others to do the same.

A letter from the department’s civil rights office, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by the Associated Press, came in response to a complaint filed last year by several cisgender female track athletes who argued that two transgender female runners had an unfair physical advantage.

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May 28th 2020, 4:19 pm

Silverstone set to host back-to-back closed-door F1 races in August

The Guardian

The British Grand Prix is expected to be confirmed for August as part on the Formula One calendar next week. F1 is to shortly announce the opening eight European meetings of the season, of which Silverstone will host two back-to-back races behind closed doors, set for 2 and 9 August.

It is understood the calendar is ready to be confirmed subject to the government providing clarity on travel restrictions for the teams. The season is due to begin with two back-to-back races in Austria, the first on 5 July. Silverstone was to follow with two meetings but the 14-day quarantine on entry into the UK forced F1 to reschedule their plans.

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May 28th 2020, 3:00 pm

Premier League set to restart on 17 June with Man City v Arsenal, say reports

The Guardian

The Premier League is reportedly planning to resume on 17 June with two fixtures, as Aston Villa host Sheffield United and Manchester City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium.

Related: Lower-division clubs need urgent rescue package, says MP Damian Collins

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May 28th 2020, 11:28 am

'This season is not looking promising': Tensions rise between MLB and players

The Guardian

Baseball players appeared likely to propose more regular-season games this year while holding to their demand for full prorated salaries, people familiar with their deliberations told the Associated Press.

Washington pitcher Max Scherzer, among eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee, issued a statement late Wednesday night calling management’s proposal for more salary cuts a non-starter.

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May 28th 2020, 10:12 am

F1 teams set to face five years of budget cuts, 2020 Dutch GP is cancelled

The Guardian

Formula One teams must make significant cuts in each of the next five seasons after the FIA announced new budget caps.

The first-ever F1 budget cap will come into force next season, set at $145m (£117m), a significant reduction on the initial plan to set the limit at $175m. But the FIA did not stop there, announcing the budgets would be cut further to $140m in 2022, and $135m for 2023-2025. That will require major sacrifices from the leading teams, some of which are reported to have budgets in excess of $200m.

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May 28th 2020, 6:54 am

The NHL's bloated playoff proposal is a bid for normalcy that's anything but

The Guardian

Gary Bettman has announced plans to complete the NHL’s coronavirus-interrupted season with an expanded 24-team postseason, but one question persists: Why bother?

Sites, dates and times are to be determined, but the National Hockey League is planning to complete its coronavirus-interrupted 2019-20 season at some point this summer with its best aspect by far, the Stanley Cup playoffs.

OK, fine. So why is it even bothering?

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May 28th 2020, 6:54 am

Julien Faubert to Madrid: the surreal transfer tale inspiring a TV drama

The Guardian

Yvan Le Mée recalls how his client somehow switched West Ham for the Bernabéu, a move that landed the agent the nickname David Copperfield

There were only two days of the 2009 January transfer window remaining when Yvan Le Mée answered his phone. At the other end of the line was a representative from Real Madrid inquiring whether it would be possible to take his client Julien Faubert on loan from West Ham for the rest of the season.

Le Mée, already a veteran of what is known in Europe as the “mercato” having started as an agent representing Arsenal’s Gaël Clichy, could scarcely believe what he was hearing. Faubert, capped once by France in 2006, was an injury-prone winger who had made only eight appearances for West Ham since joining from Bordeaux in 2007 and was not the type of player who usually attracted the attention of one of Europe’s most famous clubs.

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May 27th 2020, 5:33 pm

Andy Murray hopes for June return as plans to restart tennis gather pace

The Guardian

Andy Murray will be hoping to compete in his first match since November when competitive tennis returns to Great Britain at the end of next month with a national tournament organised by his brother, Jamie.

Murray has not competed since his appearance in the Davis Cup Finals was followed by complications with his hip. He had returned to practice shortly before the tour was suspended because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Details of the event in June, including venue and dates, are still to be confirmed.

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May 27th 2020, 12:47 pm

Bayern end title race and reaffirm game's significance in strange times | Andy Brassell

The Guardian

Bundesliga title is heading to Munich again after a win at Dortmund so absorbing it was easy to forget the emptiness

As Joshua Kimmich roared his approval on the final whistle, hearts may well have sunk among newly assembled enthusiasts around the world and, likewise, in the Bundesliga’s marketing department. Bayern Munich’s Tuesday teatime win at Borussia Dortmund may have been narrow but it was also as significant as football can be in today’s strange world. 

Moving the defending champions seven points clear of their closest irritants with six games to go, there is really no way of looking at the aftermath that suggests the contest is still alive.

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May 27th 2020, 11:16 am

'We’re hunted': LeBron James among athletes expressing anger at George Floyd's death

The Guardian

Athletes including LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton and Colin Kaepernick have expressed their anger and grief over the death of George Floyd, the African American man who died after being pinned to the ground by police on Monday.

Floyd’s death sparked outrage across America after video of his death emerged. In the video a white police officer kneels on Floyd’s neck as the 46-year-old says he is unable to breathe, before he eventually stops moving.

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May 27th 2020, 11:04 am

Premier League clubs approve return of contact training

The Guardian

Premier League players are free to resume tackling in training after clubs voted to approve the implementation of stage two medical protocols at a shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday.

The outcome of the vote was unanimous among the top tier’s 20 clubs and had been anticipated as opposition to the league’s Project Restart falls away after weeks of negotiations.

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May 27th 2020, 9:10 am

Lauren: 'No one wanted to ref in training. Wenger hid. Pat Rice was the bravest'

The Guardian

Arsenal’s invincible right-back reveals how the warmth of Dein and Wenger led him to Highbury and the joy almost fighting Henry still brings him

The way he tells it, they messed up his wedding plans and all for nothing but Lauren did not mind. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. There are no regrets; there is just laughter, the Cameroon international cracking up so often it is a wonder he can put himself back together again.

In the summer of 1999 the man who would become invincible in London was supposed to be lying on a beach somewhere with his new wife, Monica; instead, he was in a meeting with a couple of men he could not really understand discussing a deal that did not get done.

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May 27th 2020, 9:10 am

The baseball team that deliberately locked their fans out of a game

The Guardian

The Charleston RiverDogs’ stunt in 2002 continued a family tradition of baseball innovation, but empty ballparks will not be a novelty much longer

On a hot July evening in Charleston, South Carolina, almost 2,000 baseball fans made their way to Joseph P Riley Jr Park, a pleasant if somewhat clumsily-named ball park on a bend in the Ashley river. Their local minor league team, the RiverDogs, were playing against the Columbus RedStixx. But on a beautiful night for baseball in 2002, the stadium gates were padlocked.

Not that the fans had expected any different. This was ‘Nobody Night’, an effort to set an unbeatable world record for baseball’s – and, come to think of it, any sport’s –lowest attendance. Fans happily reconvened at a nearby tailgate party, stocked with discounted beer and snacks. Some brought deckchairs and peered through gaps in the gates. “We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have truly terrible seats,” one local told the Associated Press.

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May 27th 2020, 5:38 am

Lilian Thuram: 'My classmates judged me because of my skin colour'

The Guardian

In a new book, the World Cup winner discusses growing up in France and the racism he encountered throughout his career

One man in France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad felt particularly affected by the sense of racial harmony that had descended on the country after that historic triumph. Ever since moving from Guadeloupe as a nine-year‑old, Lilian Thuram was confronted by discrimination. The attitudes he witnessed as a boy shocked him to such an extent that once his career ended, he decided to focus his energy on the fight against racism.

For those few happy weeks after the World Cup, Thuram was delighted to see people in France treated equally regardless of race. “The black-blanc-beur symbol we created was positive and I liked it,” he says of the “black, white, Arab” motto.

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May 27th 2020, 4:08 am

Bayern close on title after Kimmich chip floors Dortmund in Der Klassiker

The Guardian

Joshua Kimmich’s sublime chip gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 win at second-placed Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker as the Bundesliga leaders put one hand on the title. Kimmich’s perfectly weighted effort left Roman Bürki stranded in the 43rd minute as the champions landed a big win at an empty stadium that normally seats 80,000 fans.

Related: Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Bayern Munich: Bundesliga's Klassiker – as it happened

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May 26th 2020, 3:15 pm

New tape contradicts Michael Jordan's Dream Team claims in The Last Dance

The Guardian

Michael Jordan’s claim that he had no part in his rival Isiah Thomas being left off the USA’s Olympic ‘Dream Team’ have been contradicted by a new audio recording.

In the recent ESPN documentary on Jordan’s career, The Last Dance, the six-time NBA champion denied he had lobbied for Thomas to be omitted from the Dream Team, which went on to win gold at the 1992 Olympics.

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May 26th 2020, 12:56 pm

Miami Dolphins owner says there will 'definitely' be an NFL season in 2020

The Guardian

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross spoke confidently on Tuesday when asked to assess the likelihood of the 2020 NFL season being played as scheduled.

“I think there definitely will be a football season this year,” Ross said in an appearance on CNBC.

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May 26th 2020, 12:15 pm

Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: Der Klassiker – live!

The Guardian

Mats Hummels is fit to start, which is a big boost for Dortmund, but there’s a blow for little Englanders with the news that Jadon Sancho is only on the bench. In the absence of the injured Thiago, Bayern’s team is as expected.

Borussia Dortmund (3-4-2-1) Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji; Hakimi, Delaney, Dahoud, Guerreiro; Hazard, Brandt; Haaland.
Substitutes: Hitz, Sancho, Gotze, Balerdi, Morey, Can, Witsel, Schmelzer, Reyna.

Hello and welcome to live coverage of what Google Translate is calling The Classic. Yep, it’s time for Der Klassiker! Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich is a big one at any time – it’s got its own name and everything – but this meeting, a potential title decider, is the first mega match of football’s new era.

If Bayern win they will be seven points clear with six games to play, and within strutting distance of their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title. But if Dortmund win, the title race will be on with a vengeance – especially if RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen also close the gap by winning their midweek games.

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May 26th 2020, 11:56 am

Knicks Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing out of hospital after contracting Covid-19

The Guardian

Georgetown basketball coach and former NBA star Patrick Ewing has been released from hospital and is recovering from Covid-19 at home, his son said on Monday.

The 57-year-old Hall of Famer, who played for the Hoyas in college and the New York Knicks in the NBA, announced on Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated at a hospital.

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May 26th 2020, 10:12 am

My favourite game: Gerrard and Torres humiliate Manchester United

The Guardian

They fell just short of winning a league title, but on a glorious afternoon at Old Trafford Rafael Benítez’s Liverpool thrashed one of the finest sides Alex Ferguson ever assembled

It is a measure of Liverpool’s recent progress that the closest shot at a Premier League title under Rafael Benítez doesn’t feel that close any more.

Related: Football quiz: when Manchester United won the Champions League in 1999

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May 26th 2020, 10:12 am

Rafael Nadal the beacon of sport's old power despite new normal

The Guardian

Lockdown has revealed a lot about athletes but tennis’ king of clay will want to catapult us back in time come September

One of the most refreshing aspects of sporting lockdown, in the absence of watching athletes do things, has been watching athletes talking. Properly talking, I mean. Most of the time, what normally passes for athletes talking is actually just athletes making noises: contrived and arbitrated noises, synthetic to the point of worthlessness.

Here, sweaty athlete at your most distracted and dishevelled: please summarise your many as-yet unprocessed emotions in a pithy, uncontroversial 30-second soundbite to a live audience of millions in front of a bit of sponsored cardboard, before you’ve even had a chance to see your loved ones. What’s that? Great to get the win, you say? Illuminating stuff. Back to the studio.

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May 26th 2020, 7:57 am

Rainbow splash to electric green: the best (and worst) kits in MLS history

The Guardian

The league does not have the lengthy history of other competitions but it has delivered plenty of memorable uniforms

What makes a good soccer kit? For some, bold and brash is best. For others, clean and simple works. Some fans remember their favourite kits not on the basis of their design, but on what their team achieved wearing them. And yet there are some kits that rise to the surface as era-defining or iconic.

Major League Soccer might not have the long and storied history of other competitions, but it has had more than its fair share of memorable kits in 25 years of existence. Some weird, some wonderful. Some revered, some despised. The line between good and bad can be blurred sometimes, but there are 10 of the best kits in MLS history (and one of the worst).

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May 26th 2020, 6:26 am

Premier League edges closer to return with clubs to vote on training protocols

The Guardian

Players and managers will at last be able to examine the Premier League’s rules for a return to contact training on Tuesday, just 24 hours before they are put to a crucial vote.

On Sunday night government advice was updated to allow elite sports to move to “stage two” of a return to play. The advice is broad, setting the parameters within which sports can operate. The crucial details on how precisely to minimise risk must be devised by governing bodies.

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May 25th 2020, 3:18 pm

The Premier League must finally share wealth to save English football | David Conn

The Guardian

The argument for financial reform is at last beyond credible dispute as historic clubs face ruin owing to the Covid-19 crisis

Even before football was plunged into crisis by the Covid-19 pandemic, influential people in the game were discussing the need for the Premier League’s improbable fortunes to be shared more equally. As historic, stalwart lower-division and semi-professional clubs stare at ruin, and promised investment could drain from the grassroots, the argument is finally beyond credible dispute.

However the Premier League resolves its struggle to finish this season so that it can clutch the remainder of the TV money, it will still be a huge draw for broadcast billions when normal life finally returns. The pre-pandemic position, that the big clubs keep 93% of the current, 2019-22, £8.65bn TV deals, handing most of it to players in wages while trickling drops down for good works, does not look sustainable following the crisis.

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May 25th 2020, 9:16 am

Could Disney World really solve the NBA's coronavirus conundrum?

The Guardian

The NBA season has been suspended since March, but the league has been making a push to resume action, potentially in one unlikely location

While nobody knows anything for certain, all signs are pointing to the NBA at least attempting to resume its season – which was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic – possibly as soon as July. One of the biggest questions the league will have to answer is where the teams will actually play. It turns out the answer may involve the Magic Kingdom. Yes, the NBA has set its sights on Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, something which probably raises quite a few questions among sports fans.

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May 25th 2020, 9:16 am

Coronavirus strands English-born musher in Alaska after Iditarod win

The Guardian

Thomas Waerner won this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in March, but he is still waiting to return to his home in Norway.

Waerner and his 16 dogs have been stranded in Alaska by travel restrictions and flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.

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May 24th 2020, 11:07 pm

Elite athletes must be able to miss contact training, says report

The Guardian

Elite athletes must be given the ability to opt out of a return to contact training, according to new advice from the government that paves the way for the return of the Premier League.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published the second stage of its “return to training” guidance for elite athletes – the Covid-19 guidelines all sports must follow if they aim to return to competition behind closed doors, should circumstances allow, after 1 June.

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May 24th 2020, 7:36 pm

Tom Brady holes out from 100 yards, splits pants during $10m match with Tiger Woods

The Guardian

Tom Brady, an athlete acquainted with magnificent comebacks, pulled off a highlight-reel shot during a made-for-TV charity golf match featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Peyton Manning on Sunday.

Brady had struggled through the first few holes of the $10m match, in which he was paired with Mickelson, to the point where he was the butt of numerous jokes on Twitter. The six-time Super Bowl champion was playing badly enough that four-time major champion Brooks Koepka said he would donate $100,000 to Covid-19 relief if Brady managed to par any of the first nine holes. NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who was on the commentary team, also joined in the teasing.

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May 24th 2020, 7:36 pm

'It’s going to be very hard': pandemic leaves academy players in limbo | Ed Aarons

The Guardian

Many teenagers have been unable to find a new club and there are fears they could be lost to the game

Zubayr Boadi thought his big chance had finally arrived. Having spent two years on the fringes of the academy system, the 16-year-old defensive midfielder from south London who models his game on Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté was invited for a week’s trial at Derby in March in the hope of earning his first professional contract.

“It was a great experience for me,” says Boadi, who attended trials at the French clubs Le Havre and Amiens in February. Despite all three having indicated a desire to sign a player previously briefly on the books at Chelsea, Tottenham and Fulham, the coronavirus pandemic has meant his fledgling career has been put on hold.

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May 24th 2020, 5:20 pm

Joe Hart: 'All I want is to be a big part of a club ... hope burns through me'

The Guardian

Former England goalkeeper has started three games this season but he is still only 33 and feels he will have to move abroad to get back into the big time

More than 500 days have passed since Joe Hart last played in a Premier League game and so, on Zoom, he leans forward when I say that the hurt of not being picked must eat away at him. “Yeah, but I embrace that feeling,” he says intently. “I’m glad I feel like that because you need that fire in you. You almost need that arrogance to think: ‘Why am I not being picked?’ The reason that I’m at the top fighting, or have been at the top, is because that’s in me.” Hart is 33 and he has been playing professional football for more than 16 years.

He made his debut for Shrewsbury the day after he turned 17 and since then has won two Premier League titles with Manchester City, four Golden Gloves and 75 caps for England. After 12 years with City he played for Torino, West Ham and Burnley. But Hart has been in goal for Burnley only three times this season – a Carabao Cup defeat to Sunderland last August and two FA Cup ties, against Peterborough and Norwich, in January. He has been on the bench for all the other games.

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May 24th 2020, 3:32 pm

Mary Pierce: three passports, two grand slams, one overbearing father | Tumaini Carayol

The Guardian

The French-American-Canadian who won at Roland Garros 20 years ago could turn opponents into spectators, but despite her talent it was a pushy parent that often stole the show

Twenty years ago, Mary Pierce was being dragged across the court. As she chased Monica Seles’s blows from side-to-side during their 2000 French Open quarter-final match, one vicious drive volley flew straight towards her. Pierce instinctively leaped into the air and connected with the ball between her legs, which lobbed high over Seles’s head and landed perfectly inside the court. The shot has been replayed millions of times.

For most players, Pierce’s famous tweener would have been a great omen of things to come. But tennis fans had spent a decade as attuned to Pierce’s demeanour as the actual strokes. The question was always, after all she had been through, if she was relaxed and loose enough to ever fly. As the crowd roa red, the answer came: Pierce sprinted the width of the court in glee and a smile glossed her face. A few days later she had beaten the world No 3, Seles, the No 1, Martina Hingis, and Conchita Martínez, the No 5, and become the first French singles champion at Roland Garros since 1983.

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May 24th 2020, 2:50 pm

The Match: Tiger Woods & Peyton Manning v Phil Mickelson & Tom Brady – live!

The Guardian

Bryan will be here shortly, with the match due to start at 3pm ET/8pm BST. In the meantime, here’s a few details on today’s round from the Associated Press:

It’s the second edition of a match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the dominant players of their generation and rivals by name, but not necessarily by record. Woods has 82 career victories to 44 for Mickelson, leads 15-5 in major championships and 11-0 in winning PGA Tour player of the year.

Mickelson won their first made-for-TV match over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, a pay-per-view event that ran into technical problems and was free for all. Lefty won in a playoff under the lights for $9m in a winner-take-all match. He also has a 5-3-1 advantage over Woods in the nine times they have played in the final round on the PGA Tour, most recently in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2012 when Mickelson shot 64 to a 75 for Woods.

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May 24th 2020, 2:20 pm

Daniel Abt guilty of using a ringer to drive for him in Formula E esport race

The Guardian

The Audi Formula E driver Daniel Abt has been found guilty of using a ringer to drive for him in the Formula E esportchampionship. Abt has been disqualified from the race, fined €10,000 and as stripped of all his points after it was discovered he used a professional esport racer to compete in his place.

The race took place on Saturday as part of the Formula E Race at Home Challenge Series, a virtual championship taking place while real racing is on hold because of coronavirus. Abt had qualified in second place at the virtual Flughafen Tempelhof circuit in Berlin and finished in third behind Oliver Rowland and the former F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

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May 24th 2020, 1:20 pm

Coronavirus US live: Birx says Trump wears mask when not socially distancing

The Guardian

It’s a familiar internet thing – I don’t know if I can use the word meme here or not, because Richard Dawkins lost me on it years ago and I never caught up – to express comic bewilderment at the things 2020 has decided to throw at us: a pandemic, floods, murder hornets, celebrities singing Imagine in lockdown.

We’ve already had warnings about starving, cannibalistic rats, so perhaps new federal warnings about aggressive rats are actually only worth a side note. But, y’know, Winston Smith, Orwell, Room 101, worst fears, etc. So:

Richard Luscombe writes…

A (little) more detail on the revelations from Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, on Fox News Sunday that Donald Trump does indeed wear a mask when he’s not socially distancing. It turns out to be more of an assumption on her part, in place of any hard and fast evidence.

Related: Race, wealth and public spaces: US beaches are a new flashpoint of the lockdown

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May 24th 2020, 12:20 pm

Covid-19 has rocked women's sport but its future remains bright | Sean Ingle

The Guardian

Hope and determination abound in professional women’s sport despite the profound challenges brought by coronavirus

The images come from a different time and place: before the sporting world became submerged in sepia and nostalgia, before the great stasis began. Dina Asher-Smith running a bend so geometrically perfect it could have been drawn by a compass before rocketing to the first global sprint title won by a British woman. The MCG swollen with a record 86,174 crowd watching Australia’s cricketers win the Women’s T20 World Cup. England’s Lionesses attracting so many converts and casuals to their cause that unheard of numbers – 11.8m people, in fact – tune in for their World Cup semi-final against the USA.

In truth the most striking sporting photograph of the past 12 months – that of Megan Rapinoe with her arms wide and chin regally tilted in celebration – felt like a metaphor for women’s sport itself: standing tall, oozing attitude, ready to take the fight to all-comers. No wonder that throughout 2019 and early 2020 there was a sense of tectonic plates being shifted, and prejudices being shattered. But then came the Covid-19 pandemic. And with it a clawing fear that what had been made could be rapidly unmade.

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May 24th 2020, 10:32 am

Mainz v RB Leipzig: Bundesliga – live!

The Guardian

Some pre-match reading

Related: Haaland, Ronaldo, Streltsov and the miracle of simplicity | Jonathan Wilson

Related: Bundesliga roundup: Bayern beat Frankfurt while Dortmund keep pace

Mainz (3-4-2-1) Muller; Bruma, St. Juste, Niakhate; Baku, Kunde, Fernandes, Martin; Boetius, Quaison; Onisiwo.
Substitutes Dahmen, Latza, Oztunali, Mateta, Ji, Brosinski, Awoniyi, Barreiro, Hack.

Leipzig (3-1-4-2) Gulacsi; Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Laimer; Sabitzer, Kampl, Nkunku, Olmo; Werner, Poulsen.
Substitutes Mvogo, Angelino, Orban, Haidara, Adams, Lookman, Wolf, Schick, Mukiele.

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May 24th 2020, 9:02 am

Unnamed Bournemouth player self-isolates following positive Covid-19 test

The Guardian

Bournemouth have announced that one of the two positive Covid-19 tests from the Premier League’s second round of screening is a player from their squad. The club did not divulge his identity. He will now self-isolate for seven days.

Related: Two more Watford players isolate while UK quarantine rules may hit Uefa plans

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May 24th 2020, 7:15 am

Luke Chadwick: 'It's worth going through the torment if it helps others'

The Guardian

The former Manchester United winger on the fallout from discussing jokes about his appearance affecting his mental health

It says a lot about Luke Chadwick that he ended up feeling bad when he saw Nick Hancock apologising on BBC Breakfast for making fun of the former Manchester United winger’s looks on They Think It’s All Over all those years ago. “It made me feel a little bit guilty,” Chadwick says. “It looked so uncomfortable. Obviously people had given him stick and even though whatever happened years ago happened it wasn’t an eye for an eye. The apology is completely accepted but it’s not something I was searching for.”

There is no hint of bitterness about Chadwick during a conversation about his days at United, how his mental health suffered when he became a figure of fun on a popular quiz show and the importance of learning to love himself. While he is no longer the painfully shy teenager who once hid away from the world, revenge was not on his mind when he tweeted about the taunts this month and opened up about They Think It’s All Over in subsequent media appearances. The apologies from Hancock, the show’s former presenter, and Gary Lineker, a team captain, were nice, but Chadwick just wants people to know that it is good to talk.

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May 24th 2020, 4:25 am

Watford's Tom Cleverley optimistic as league's test news fuels return hopes

The Guardian

Watford’s Tom Cleverley has attempted to dispel the air of negativity around the club by insisting he would relish the opportunity of deciding survival or relegation on the pitch. The Premier League confirmed on a further two positive cases on Saturday, each from different clubs, from 996 players and staff screened in the latest coronavirus testing.

The pair of positive tests will now self-isolate for seven days. That represented a drop in positive tests from the first round of testing, announced on Tuesday and where six people from 748 were shown to have the virus.

A Premier League statement read: “The Premier League can today confirm that on Tuesday 19 May, Thursday 21 May and Friday 22 May, 996 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19. Of these, two have tested positive from two clubs. Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.

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May 24th 2020, 4:12 am

'A volcano that exploded': the '95 Ajax side that changed European football

The Guardian

Exactly 25 years on, Patrick Kluivert, Ronald de Boer and more recall Ajax’s famous Champions League triumph over Milan

Patrick Kluivert has, with the precision that accompanies an Ajax upbringing, just offered a photo-realistic description of the goal that changed European football. Twenty-five years have passed but no detail is spared: the gap into which he invited Frank Rijkaard’s pass; the ricochet that set him teetering as Zvonimir Boban slid in; the instinctive adjustment and extension of a toe that sent the ball rolling beyond Sebastiano Rossi. He knows it by heart but the feelings that came out eight minutes later can be explained more simply. “It was crazy, what happened after the final whistle,” he says. “Everybody was just out of their brains.”

It is, appropriately, a regression to teenage wonder. Kluivert did not know where to run as the bodies flew across the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna and nothing would be the same. Ajax’s victory over Milan in the 1995 Champions League final, earned by that single prod from the 18-year-old substitute, did not have heralded an era of domination from the Dutch side but its ramifications went further.

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May 24th 2020, 3:25 am

Michael Jordan was years ahead of his game. The Last Dance showed that he still is

The Guardian

The docuseries that enthralled millions isn’t just about sport, but the pursuit of perfection. And at its heart is a superstar who still retains his mystery

The Last Dance, the wildly popular documentary series co-produced by ESPN and Netflix about Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty, concluded last week with the same delirious public reception it came in on – a reminder that Jordan’s towering presence endures nearly two decades on from his playing days.

The anticipation surrounding the ambitious 10-part docuseries, which was initially set to air in June on the off nights of this year’s NBA finals, had been growing since the release of a glossy extended trailer at Christmas showing never-before-seen footage and a star-studded roster of interviewees replete with A-list celebrities, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and a who’s who of basketball luminaries.

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May 24th 2020, 3:25 am

Haaland, Ronaldo, Streltsov and the miracle of simplicity | Jonathan Wilson

The Guardian

Erling Braut Haaland’s ability to make the game look so easy is reminiscent of the Brazilian and Russian prodigies, whose cautionary tales show talent should not be taken for granted

Of course it was Erling Braut Haaland who scored the first Bundesliga goal after the resumption. Who else could it have been? Nobody else in the modern game seems to play with such a disregard for complication. Nobody else seems to treat the basic problem of getting the ball from his foot to the back of the net with the brusque clarity of Alexander contemplating the Gordian Knot. Nobody else seems such an embodiment of tomorrow.

Related: World watches with relief as Bundesliga makes a safe return – for now

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May 23rd 2020, 4:08 pm

F1 teams agree to introduce budget cap from 2021 onwards

The Guardian

Formula One teams have agreed to impose a new budget cap from 2021. After lengthy negotiations, F1 will be decreasing spending on a sliding scale over several years. The cap will be set at $145m (£119m) in 2021, dropping to $140m in 2022, then $135m for 2023–25. A further review will then take place to establish the ceiling for 2026 and beyond.

The cap is seen as a vital component of ensuring the sport remains sustainable in future and in pursuit of levelling the playing field across the grid, which is currently skewed by major spending differentials. F1 and the FIA have been pursuing a spending cut for some time but the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic pushed the sport to go further than expected.

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May 23rd 2020, 2:51 pm

Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt: Bundesliga – live!

The Guardian

These are the final scores in the early games, including excellent away wins for Dortmund, Bremen and Leverkusen:

Related: Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund: Bundesliga – live!

Bayern Munich want more than just three points today. They would like a bit of the old revenge for their humiliation at the Commerzbank-Arena in November, when they were plugged 5-1 by today’s opponents Eintracht Frankfurt. It was Bayern’s biggest defeat for a decade and led, inevitably, to the sacking of Niko Kovac.

Frankfurt were a point behind Bayern after that match. Sixteen games later, there are 30 points between the sides. While Bayern have been relentless under their new manager Hansi Flick, Frankfurt are in danger of sleepwalking into a relegation battle.

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May 23rd 2020, 11:51 am

Coronavirus US live: Trump urges reopening as death toll nears 100,000

The Guardian

A Missouri hair stylist may have exposed 91 customers and coworkers to coronavirus, public health officials said, after the governor allowed businesses, including salons, to reopen on 4 May.

The hair stylist who later tested positive for Covid-19 had been working at a hair salon in Springfield, the state capital, on eight different days,while experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

Because the stylist and the customers had worn face coverings, health officials said on Friday, they hoped the interactions would lead to “no additional cases”. The people potentially exposed would be contacted and offered testing, officials said.

Trump is at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, the pool confirms. Again, White House coronavirus taskforce member Dr Deborah Birx said yesterday playing golf is OK as states seek to reopen, as long as social distancing is observed.

But Trump’s decision to play (if indeed he tees off) for the first time since early March is sure to cause controversy.

Related: Rick Reilly: ‘Donald Trump will cheat you on the golf course and then buy you lunch’ | Donald McRae

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May 23rd 2020, 11:31 am

Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund: Bundesliga – live!

The Guardian

Wolfsburg: Casteels, Steffen, Weghorst, Mehmedi, Roussillon, Mbabu, Pongracic, Schlager, Brooks, Arnold, Ginczek.
Subs: Pervan, Brekalo, Klaus, Horn, Marmoush, Knoche, Tisserand, Victor, Justvan.

Borussia Dortmund: Burki, Akanji, Hummels, Piszczek, Hakimi, Guerreiro, Delaney, Dahoud, Brandt, Hazard, Haaland.
Subs: Hitz, Reyna, Sancho, Can, Morey, Balerdi, Schmelzer, Gotse, Raschl.

Anticipation is already building ahead of Der Klassiker on Tuesday evening, for the showdown that could decide the outcome of this season’s Bundesliga. You feel the sap rising too, right? Only thing is, we might be getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. You’d expect leaders Bayern Munich to see off Eintracht Frankfurt at home later today, but second-placed Borussia Dortmund are no shoo-in at Wolfsburg ... and while nothing’s ever certain, anything less than three points for BVB this afternoon would most likely leave them further behind Bayern than the four points they are already, and significantly reduce the jeopardy for the reigning champs midweek.

The good news for Dortmund: they’re coming off the back of a fine performance in the Revierderby last Saturday, Erling Haaland and Raphael Guerreiro the stars of a 4-0 shellacking of Schalke. They’ve won eight of their nine league matches this calendar year. They beat Wolfsburg 3-0 in the reverse fixture. And they’re currently on a four-game winning run at the Volkswagen Arena. Like the back of David Puddy’s jacket, all signs point to yes!

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May 23rd 2020, 8:48 am

Hollow promises of equality are to blame if Women's Super League is cancelled | Suzanne Wrack

The Guardian

If the FA and Premier League were truly invested in women’s football, it may not have come to this for the WSL and Championship

Two months after the Football Association informed clubs in the Women’s Super League and Championship that it would not be offering any specific Covid-19 financial support, making curtailment almost a foregone conclusion, that last resort is finally being discussed. And in one way it feels overdue. But should we be looking at cancellation at all?

In Germany this Friday, two weeks after the resumption of the men’s Bundesliga, and in the same week the fate of the WSL and Championship will likely be confirmed, the Frauen-Bundesliga season will resume.

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May 23rd 2020, 7:19 am

The Last Dance is spectacular but leaves the real Michael Jordan up in the air | Barney Ronay

The Guardian

Though closer to hagiography than documentary, Jordan’s Netflix series offers a lavish and beautiful courtside seat

That thing you like? It’s actually rubbish. Here’s why. No wait, come back! This isn’t that. Although, as it happens, there has been a background drip of this kind of thing around The Last Dance, the blockbusting Netflix series documenting the incredible untold story of Michael Jordan winning at basketball while people tell him he’s great and he pretends to be nice.

Come back again! Just a joke! But this has been a real-world subplot to the success of The Last Dance, a public response that has veered between unconditional reverence, to a kind of culture-wars inventory of the personal politics of the film’s star. As the final episodes aired this week there was a minor chorus of Chicago Bulls teammates dismayed at their own portrayal as extras, plot devices in the Jordan Supremacy.

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May 23rd 2020, 3:27 am

Dedryck Boyata seals Union bust as Hertha Berlin breeze to 4-0 derby win

The Guardian

Hertha Berlin celebrated their second successive win since the resumption of the Bundesliga after a dominant performance after half-time gave them a 4-0 home derby victory over neighbours Union Berlin.

Related: Hertha Berlin 4-0 Union Berlin: Bundesliga – as it happened

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May 22nd 2020, 5:00 pm

Mauricio Pochettino: 'I'm so happy José is at Tottenham, replacing me'

The Guardian

The former Spurs manager formally severed ties with the club this week and dreams of ‘the perfect club, the perfect project’

Mauricio Pochettino finesses a full lockdown beard as he Zooms in from his north London home, whites and greys vying for prominence, but everything else is reassuringly familiar, as though he were still sitting behind that long desk at Tottenham’s training base, elevated on stage, answering questions at his weekly press briefing.

There is the warmth and big-heartedness, the mischief, the machismo, the patented ability to blow his own trumpet in a matter-of-fact kind of way. There is the emotion, the extravagant rambling, the flirting with potential suitors. And, of course, there are the anecdotes, the ones that hook and enthral.

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May 22nd 2020, 5:00 pm

Naomi Osaka tops Serena Williams as world's highest-earning female athlete

The Guardian

Naomi Osaka has been a grand slam champion and No 1 in the WTA rankings – and now she’s No 1 on another list: top-earning female athlete.

According to a story posted on Forbes.com on Friday, the 22-year-old player earned $37.4m over the past 12 months from endorsements and prize money, eclipsing Serena Williams in that span.

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May 22nd 2020, 5:00 pm
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