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U.S. Soccer no longer requires players to stand during the national anthem

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Following a long period of protests against racism in the United States, the
U.S. Soccer Federation has made a significant change in honour of freedom of speech and racial equality.

They released a statement on Thursday, officially announcing that players will not be required to stand while the national anthem is being played. The policy change will be effective for international friendlies, World Cup matches or any other time a United States soccer team suits up for a game. That means there will be no fines or penalties for players that decide to kneel or protest.

Here is the statement:

The U.S. Soccer Federation affirms Black Lives Matter, and we support the fight against racial injustices.

The U.S. Soccer Board of Directors voted yesterday afternoon to repeal Policy 604-1, which required our players to stand during the national anthem. The policy was put in place after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with the peaceful protest inspired by Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality, and the systematic oppression of Black people and people of color in America. It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.

We have not done enough to listen – especially to our players – to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country. We apologize to our players – especially our Black players – staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism. Sports are a powerful platform for good, and we have not used our platform as effectively as we should have. We can do more on these specific issues and we will.

It should be, and will be going forward, up to our players to determine how they can best use their platforms to fight all forms of racism, discrimination, and inequality. We are here for our players and are ready to support them in elevating their efforts to achieve social justice. We cannot change the past, but we can make a difference in the future. We are committed to this change effort, and we will be implementing supporting actions in the near future.

Basketball

Award-winning rapper J. Cole will be playing basketball in Canada this summer

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J-Cole wants to prove to everybody that he is more than just a rapper. He is also an aspiring basketball player and will get to play professionally north of the border.

The Grammy-winning artist has reportedly signed a contract to play for Canadian basketball team Scarborough Shooting Stars of the
Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL).

The 37-year old previously played basketball in Africa last May with
Patriots Basketball Club of the Basketball Africa League, but left after just three games due to “family obligations”.

The Shooting Stars will open their season against the Guelph Nighthawks on May 26.

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Hockey

WATCH: Lightning score in final seconds of regulation to take 2-0 series lead

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are unstoppable.

Fresh off a come-from-behind series win in round 1, the Lightning have picked up right where they left off in the second round against the Florida Panthers.

They cruised to a 4-1 win in Game 1, and appeared to be headed to overtime as the clock was running down in Game 2, but Lightning forward Ross Colton had other plans!

After corralling a beautiful no-look pass from behind-the-net by Nikita Kucherov, Colton fired it past Sergei Bobrovsky with 3.8 seconds remaining in the third period to secure the win.

The Lightning will head back home to Amalie Arena with a 2-0 series lead.

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Hockey

Predators sticking with John Hynes as head coach after successful season

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The Nashville Predators are rewarding their head coach with a brand new contract!

The team announced that they are keeping John Hynes as their bench boss, and have inked to a two-year extension.

“I think our coaches have done a fantastic job,” said general manager David Poile.

“John is a young coach who has a lot more experience than probably we give him credit for. He has not been dealt with a perfect hand. I’m responsible for that. John deserves this. We’re growing together. I am totally comfortable with John and our coaching staff to lead us to bigger and better things moving forward.”

Since replacing Peter Laviolette behind the bench on January 7, 2020. the 47-year-old has led the team to a combined 92-64-10 record and three consecutive postseason appearances over three seasons.

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