Loud silence. Sport this week.
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SHARING THE BEST IN SPORT

Global Edition

September 1-7, 2020

Loud silence

Silence can also be heard. Last Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks walked off court before their playoff match, triggering all other Wednesday, Thursday and Friday matches to be postponed by the NBA. This, after yet another video depicting police brutality against a black man emerged in the United States. (See – Jacob Blake: What we know about Wisconsin police shooting, BBC)

The NBA protests were also followed by WNBA, MLB, MLS, WTA, eSports and NHL player boycotts, which forced some matches to be postponed. Eventually all matches got rescheduled and some were played again, including the WTA Southern & Western Open semifinal that Naomi Osaka (JAP) had forfeited. She went on to win the semi and then forfeited the final to Victoria Azarenka (BLR), after an injury.

In basketball it was not so easy for players to go back to play, and apparently it involved the participation of All-time great Michael Jordan and former President Barack Obama (InsideHook) for them to go back to play. Players asked Jacob Blake’s father if they should proceed with the season (CNN), five minutes after the Milwaukee Bucks players walked off the court.

The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens took it further to just raising awareness and included a seven-point statement on Twitter, which includes calling for: Arresting and charging those responsible for Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake’s shootings, ending qualified immunity (See Lawfareblog), prohibiting racial profiling, demanding prison sentencing reform, encouraging people to vote, and encouraging people to be compliant when engaging police, among others. Exact demands and proposals might be exactly what is needed, beyond “just” protesting. Athletes are taking advantage of their platform and specific demands is a smart strategy.

It would appear as if within the sports industry there was an obvious consensus but an example contrary to that was that MLS’ Real Salt Lake’s team owner said felt “betrayed” (The Athletic) after his players protested. After backlash, he recognized he was wrong and will begin a process to sell the team (MLS). Dissension is important in civil society, but a sine qua non is respecting the rights of others to show empathy to their cause, particularly if it entails protecting basic human rights.

 

Five things to know from last week
  1. A messy end?  Lionel Messi (ARG) expressed his desire to leave Barcelona FC, which would mark the end of an era on the team. He expects to utilize a contract that would allow him to leave the team for free but the clause expired in July. The club hopes this would not to be possible, and it would require a $700M EUR release clause, making the transfer impossible under Financial Fair Play Regulations. CNN explains this mess.
  2. Motor Racing World. Andrea Locatelli (ITA) extended his World Supersport Championship win record with his sixth and seventh straight wins, by taking the races in Aragón. The FIA Rallycross and FIM Speedway World Championships saw wins to the local delight, as Niclas Grönholm (FIN) took the World RX of Finland 3 after Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) took the first one. In Speedway, Maciej Janowski (POL) finished second and first in Poland. Artem Laguta (RUS) took his first win. In the US, William Byron (USA) won his first NASCAR Cup race, where seven-time Champion Jimmie Johnson (USA) got eliminated off the playoffs after finding a crash in front. In IndyCar, Scott Dixon (NZL) and Josef Newgarden (USA) took the race wins at Gateway, where young Patricio O’Ward (MEX) was 3rd and 2nd.  In European Le Mans, United Autosport won yet again – watch (ELMS).
  3. Horse Racing World. Ahmet Çelik (TUR) won his sixth straight Turkish (Gazi) Derby, an impressive feat. Also impressive was jockey Diego De Gouveia (RSA), who took two Grade 1 wins in South Africa. In Australia, Behemoth -a $6,000 purchase- won the Memsie Stakes (G1). In the US, Manuel Franco (PUR) won the G1 Sword Dancer Stakes, riding Channel Maker, one week before he rides Tiz The Law at the Kentucky Derby, as the favorite.  The Jamaica Oaks (G1) had a very exciting finish, watch (Jamaica TV)
  4. Joint gold medals. The FIDE Online Chess Olympiad saw both Russia and India take gold after a global internet outage made two Indian players lose their final games on time. After protests from India, the FIDE President awarded both teams the Gold medal. The tournament had to include male, female and youth participants. Read the news from FIDE
  5. Online Para-Sport. The pandemic has not stopped the World Para Powerlifting athletes to continue competing, as the fourth Online World Cup was held, with athletes submitting their attempts on video. Vera Muratova (RUS) won for the third time after rival Amalia Pérez (MEX) failed on her three attempts. David Degtyarev (KAZ) won the men’s division for the second time. Both competitions featured unified divisions with a points system in place to calculate body weight and lift. Watch the broadcast of this innovative event (World Para Powerlifting)
GLOBAL PODIUM OF THE WEEK
Dallas Empire, Call of Duty League Champions. Photo: Dallas Empire

Gold: Dallas Empire

(United States of America-based team, eSports)

Dallas Empire was not the best team throughout the the Call of Duty League regular season but they had a categorical victory by beating Atlanta FaZe twice on the playoffs en route to becoming World Champions with a 5-1 on the Finals. Cuevas-Castro, 19, became the first ever multi-First Person Shooter World Champion, having been Halo World Champion in 2018; he also won the regular season’s Most Valuable Player, as a rookie. Eubanks and Porter become the second and third players to win 3 COD World Championships. Porter won the Finals MVP and is now the most successful COD player ever (money-wise). The team is also now the most successful ever, money-wise. Dhaliwal is also 19.

Squad:
James “Clayster” Eubanks , Anthony “Shottzy” Cuevas-Castro , Cuyler “Huke” Garland , Ian “Crimsix” Porter (USA), Indervir “ILLeY” Dhaliwal (CAN)

Watch the Championship Final here (Call of Duty)

Lizzie Deignan wins La Course by Le Tour. Photo: La Course by Le Tour

Silver: Elizabeth Mary “Lizzie” Deignan 
(England, Road cycling)

Lizzie was impressive by winning two out of two UCI Women’s World Tour races held last week: the GP de Plouay – Lorient Agglomération Trophée WNT and La Course by Le Tour de France. She became the first 3-time female winner of the GP de Plouay after winning a two-rider rain sprint over Lizzy Banks (ENG). At La Course she also won in a final sprint, this time a six-rider sprint which had been initiated by current World Champion, Annemiek van Vleuten (NET), who finished fifth. Completing the podium were two other Dutch riders: Marianne Vos and Demi Vollering. Deignan take the WT maillot violet

Watch La Course Highlights (UCI)

Lewis Hamilton after winning the Belgian Grand Prix Pole. Photo: Facebook Lewis Hamilton

Bronze: Lewis Hamilton

(England, Auto Racing)

Lewis Hamilton broke the Spa-Francorchamps track record twice during qualifying, and beat the rest of the field by over half a second. With the pole -that was dedicated to late actor Chadwick Boseman- he extended his record to 93. He then went on to lead every single lap at the Belgian Grand Prix in order to establish a new record of most kilometers led in F1 races, and extended his podium finishes record to 157. With his 89th win, he is now two wins away of Michael Schumacher’s (GER) record.

Watch his record-breaking pole position lap (F1)

GLOBAL SPORTS AGENDA
 

Week Preview

 

The PGA Tour defines its season champion a week after the top 2 players in the world, Dustin Johnson (USA) and John Rahm (ESP), displayed movie-script putts on hole 72 and the sudden death play, respectively, won by Rahm. 

The Kentucky Derby will spearhead Group 1 horse races around the world. There will also be motor races around the world, notably the return of the FIA World Rally Championship, the start of the NASCAR Playoffs and the F1 Italian Grand Prix.

The Tour de France continues and Julian Alaphilippe makes a country dream of a local winner after taking stage 2, although Caleb Ewans (AUS) leads after taking Stage 3.

Triathlon returns to action with the Mixed Relay World Championship and the Hamburg Triathlon, part of the World Championship series.

North American sports continue several playoffs and regular season after a series of boycotts last week.


Aussie Rules Football:
AFL Season

Auto racing:
24H Series Europe (Hockenheim)
BOSS GP (Brno x2)
Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (Assen x2)
FIA Formula 1 (Italian GP)
FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas (Poland)
FIA World Rally Championship (Estonia)
FIA World Rallycross Championship (Exhibition – Denmark)
GT World Challenge powered by AWS (Nürburgring)
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (Road Atlanta)
NASCAR Cup (Darlington)
NHRA (Indianapolis x2)
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (Monza)

Baseball
Major League Baseball Regular Season
Nippon League
KBO

Basketball:
NBA Playoffs Conference Semifinals
WNBA regular season

Boxing:
interim World Boxing Council Female, World Boxing Federation Female, Women’s International Boxing Association World Middle Titles: Ema Kozin (SLO) vs Chris Namús (URU)
World Boxing Council Youth Female Welter Title, Women’s International Boxing Association World Welter Titles: Jessica Schadko (GER) vs Katelynn Phelan (IRL)
World Boxing Organisation World Super Feather Title: Jamel Herring (USA) vs Jonathan Oquendo (PUR)

Darts:
Unibet Premier League

eSports:
Arena of Valor (Garena Challenger Series Summer 2020, RoV Pro League 2020 Winter, Arena of Glory Winter 2020)
League of Legends (LCK Finals, LCD Finals, LEC Finals, LCK Regional Finals)
Hearthstone Gold Team Championship Season
SMITE Pro League/2020 Season/Phase 2
Starcraft II Gold Series Team Championship 2020 Fall Season
Global StarCraft II League Season 3
ESL Pro League Season 12: North America
ESL Pro League Season 12: Europe
Overwatch League Playoffs start

Golf:
PGA Tour Championship (Atlanta)

Horse Racing: 
Grande Premio Ipiranga, Grande Premio Barao de Piracicaba (Brazil)
Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes (England)
Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp (France)
Singapore Derby (Singapore)
Yavuz Sultan Selim (Turkey)
Longines Kentucky Oaks, La Troienne Stakes, Derby City Distaff Stakes, Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, Woodward Stakes, Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes, Del Mar Debutante Stakes, Spinaway Stakes, Runhappy Del Mar Futurity, Runhappy Hopeful Stakes  (USA)

Ice Hockey:
NHL Playoffs

Mixed Martial Arts:
UFC Fight Night: Alistair Overeem (NET) vs. Augusto Sakai (BRA)

Motorcycling:
FIM Motocross World Championship (Turkey x2)
FIM Superbike, Supersport, Supersport 300 World Championship (Aragón x2)

Road Cycling:
UCI World Tour Tirreno–Adriatico
Tour de France (WT)

Tennis:
US Open (USA)

Triathlon:
ITU Hamburg Wasser World Triathlon
ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships

   
 
SPORT’S BEST VALUES

Overcoming: Rising Phoenix

“Rising Phoenix” is available on Netflix. It tells the story behind the story in the Paralympic Games and nine Paralympic athletes, allowing us to access great personal insights from Bebe Vio (ITA), Ellie Cole (AUS), Jean-Baptiste Alaize (FRA), Matt Stutzman (USA), Jonnie Peacock (GBR), Cui Zhe (PRC), Ryley Batt (AUS), Ntando Mahlangu (RSA) and Tatyana McFadden (USA). Watch the trailer.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“It was unbelievable…We didn’t play. Then baseball didn’t play. Then the other NBA teams were not playing. … Soccer players were not going to play, so it’s huge. We have a big platform. People are looking at us, and we have to set the right example, and they’re going to follow.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo (GRE)
2019 and 2020 NBA All-Star Captain
Milwaukee Bucks player

For ESPN

 
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New York | México City, 2020.

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