As we all continue to hold down the fort, here are some positive thoughts and moments from the sports world to get us through
With a continued focus on activism in sports, we kick this week’s SGN from across the pond, where the English Premier League returned to play yesterday after a 100-day hiatus. Headlined by Manchester v. Arsenal, the EPL has decided that for its’ first 12 matches of the restarted season, players will wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ as the name on the back of their jerseys. Additionally, a ‘Black Lives Matter’ badge will be featured on all jerseys for the rest of the season alongside a badge thanking NHS staff for their work during the coronavirus outbreak. The English Premier League will also support players who choose to take a knee before or during matches.
When professional sports in the U.S. gets up and running again, they should take a page out of the EPL’s book. You can watch the re-start of the most popular ‘football’ league on NBC sports networks’ – first few match weeks are now available here.
Jumping back state-side, the most noteworthy update comes from the PGA Tour, as professional golf returned this past weekend at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, TX for the Charles Schwab Challenge. If you didn’t tune in because you were hacking it up out there like myself – you missed Daniel Berger take home his third PGA Tour victory in a nail-biting playoff win over Collin Morikawa. Many players voiced their opinions on how strange it was playing without fans. None made it more comical than star Justin Thomas, who provided plenty of content in his first weekend back in the spotlight. Next up for the Tour? RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, SC starting today.
News swirling around the volatility of the NBA’s re-start has taken the headlines over the past week, as star players such as Kyrie Irving, Pat Beverley, and the king himself, LeBron James, continue to debate whether or not playing this season would hurt the greater cause of the BLM movement. Irving, in particular is against returning to play and his position is understandable. The minute NBA teams report for training camp, when media gets regular access for the first time in months, the narrative changes from social injustice to the action on the court. On the other side, LeBron James voiced his opinion that playing the remainder of the season will allow players a greater platform for the social injustice movement. Both have valid arguments, but let’s hope the latter prevails and players take the opportunity to use the game of basketball to promote change world-wide.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 13, 2020
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to be in the spotlight during the pandemic – this time in a more controversial fashion. The Governor announced late last week that he’s giving the greenlight for the US Open to take place in Queens this summer without fans. The major tennis event will take place beginning August 31st, potentially without some of its’ biggest stars. Roger Federer announced he is done for the year following knee surgery, and others such as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who are overseas, have major concerns with restrictions placed on the event. It will be interesting to see how things shape out here as we get into the dog days of August.
Former Clemson football stars DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson spoke out and petitioned against the University’s Honors Program, which was named after pro-slavery politician, John C. Calhoun. Days later the University responded by changing it to the ‘Clemson University Honors College.’ The decision was made by its’ Board of Trustees on the eve of a peaceful demonstration made by members of the Clemson football team. As a school with deep roots to ways of the old south, this was a monumental change and step in the right direction for other southern colleges and universities to re-brand themselves.
Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins spoke, and Clemson University listened; John C. Calhoun’s name will be removed from the school’s honors college https://t.co/UpbGnDQqmS
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 12, 2020
LeBron James is doing his part to ensure African American voters are more educated and ensured than ever – creating the More Than a Vote project. This new organization is aimed at not just increasing African American voter registration and turnout, but also voter education and voting rights protection. In a statement to the New York Times, LeBron makes clear his bigger purpose off the court, saying, “Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball, but the way I approached life as an African American man.” King James is continuing to make his mark to confirm this statement will reign true.
That’s it for this run! Be sure to check back same time next week for more features, stories, and updates that fill the current sports void in our lives.