U.S. Soccer no longer requires players to stand during the national anthem
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.
Juan Mata becomes latest Manchester United player to leave club in June
Another one bites the dust
Just a day after Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard announced their departures, Manchester United announce that veteran midfielder Juan Mata will also leave the club when his current contract expires in June.
Mata released a video statement on the field at Old Trafford to confirm the news.
“I wanted to say thank you very much to all of you for your support over the years and especially during the difficult times that we lived together. I will never forget you, thank you very much. All the best, from the bottom of my heart and goodbye.” said Mata.
The 34-year old had been with Man U since January 14. Over a span of nine seasons with the Premier League powerhouse, he recorded 51 goals and played in 285 combined games over various forms of competition.
The news comes as Manchester United is set to close a very disappointing Premier League season where they are 6th in the standings with a 16-10-12 record through 38 games.
Nationals have “made it clear” they are not trading Juan Soto
Washington Nationals fans can breathe a sigh of relief…for now.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo squashed recent rumours suggesting Juan Soto’s time in the Nation’s capital could be coming to an end, saying during an interview with a local radio station that the team will not be trading their superstar slugger under any circumstances.
“We are not trading Juan Soto…We have made it clear to his agent and to the player. … These journalists have to fill a blank sheet of paper every day. It’s a good thing to get some attention on a story. But we have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto.” said Rizzo.
“We’ve spoken to his agent many, many times (and) recently sat with him when he was in Washington, D.C. Made it clear to him that we are not interested in trading him, and I guess the rest of the world just doesn’t believe it.”
Lets face it: the Nationals are in rebuild mode and Soto’s contract expires in a few years. He reported turned down a massive 13-year, $350-million contract extension over the summer, and is in the prime of his career. Adding this all up, you would think the Nationals would at least explore the idea of trading him and getting a kings ransom for him in order to set themselves up nicely for their next contention window.
But if you believe in Rizzo’s words, the team feels they still have a chance at convincing him to stay and believe he will be able to still contribute in a big way once they get good again.
The 23-year old has amassed .294/.426/.539 slash line to go along with 107 homers and 328 RBI in just four-plus seasons in the majors. He has also won two Silver Slugger Awards, an NL batting title, a World Series title, and was recently a runner-up for NL MVP in 2021.
Should Cale Makar’s goal have counted? A closer look at the controversial rule that allowed it to happen
In case you missed it, the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers exploded for 14 goals in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final last night.
Colorado ended up winning the game 8-6 and taking a 1-0 series lead, but it didn’t happen without controversy.
One of the goals still being talked about was Cale Makar’s late first period goal that appeared to be an easy offside goal but was surprisingly not overturned after being reviewed by the head office in New York.
A lot of fans were left wondering why it was a good goal when another attacking player CLEARLY crossed the blue line before the puck. In most scenarios this would be the case, but according to rule 83.3, this was one of the exceptions. The video below explains it:
Do you agree with the call? If you do, do you think the league should make changes to this controversial rule? Will be interesting to see how this plays out.