O’Connor handed flagbearer honour

first_img Press Association The Olympic Council of Ireland has recognised Seamus O’Connor’s impressive performances in snowboard events by selecting him as the Irish flag bearer for Sunday’s Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics closing ceremony. “At 16 years of age he finished 15th and 17th in his first Olympic Games. “He can develop into a star performer over the next four years at World Cup and Olympic competition. “Through his performances and support of other team members he has earned the right to carry the flag of his country and lead Team Ireland at the closing ceremony.” O’Connor, from San Diego, said: “When I received the flag bearer news I was beyond honoured. “These Olympics have given me several life changing moments and this is indeed another! I could not be more proud.” O’Connor will lead out fellow team members Sean Greenwood (skeleton), Conor Lyne and Florence Bell (alpine skeleton) and Jan Rossiter (cross country). center_img American-born O’Connor, who has an English father a Russian mother and Irish grandparents from Dublin and Drogheda, will lead Team Ireland into the Olympic Stadium for the ceremony which is due to start at 2014 local time (1614GMT). Irish team chef de mission Stephen Martin said “Seamus was one of only three snowboarders to compete in both the slope-style and half pipe disciplines, and had the best Team Ireland results in Sochi. last_img read more

Warnock adamant Bolasie will stay

first_img “It is news to me, that,” said Warnock of Parrish’s comments. “If my chairman says that I’ll agree with it. I did tell him I was making an effort now after the fine. “I can’t afford to keep giving my wife the same amount of money as the fine; it’s a double whammy for me.” Swansea boss Garry Monk avoided FA censure for his criticism of referees around the same time as Warnock was punished after accusing Stoke’s Victor Moses of “cheating” to claim a penalty. Warnock added: “I remember before I was charged my wife saying: ‘don’t you ever give an interview like Garry Monk’s just done – I will leave you’. “I said: ‘darling, he’s not been charged’. He’s obviously very clever and knows what to say. I’ll have to ask him his advice.” Parrish also suggested Palace could compete for a European place in future. Warnock’s focus is merely survival in a competitive top flight. “I don’t worry too much about Europe or anything else,” Warnock said. “It’s just getting enough points on board at first. I think 12 teams are just thinking of surviving. I don’t think it’s just the bottom three. “More so this year, because most teams this year can beat the top teams. It’s even more wide open.” Palace have not beaten Swansea in six meetings dating nearly six years and will be without Damien Delaney (calf) and Adrian Mariappa (knee). Warnock added: “Delaney’s not as bad as we thought. It’s only a mild strain, but he won’t be available on Saturday. “Mariappa’s going to miss a couple of weeks. He jarred his knee.” Press Association “He’s a great lad. Top clubs won’t know what he can do and what he can’t do. How can they come in for him? “I think he’s made to measure for Palace. That type of club, the stage, the fans. “It’s can he keep the consistency now? We’ve got three games in a week. “We need him to perform as he did against Liverpool in those games.” Palace had lost four of five league games prior to the defeat of Liverpool, which was their first win since a 2-0 triumph at home to Leicester on September 27. Warnock’s frustrations during the barren run boiled over following the defeat to Chelsea and he was fined £9,000 by the Football Association for criticising match officials. Palace co-chairman Steve Parrish this week said he had asked Warnock to bite his tongue in future. Warnock insisted his wife, who matches any financial penalties administered by the football authorities, is keeping him in check. Manager Neil Warnock has vowed Yannick Bolasie will be staying at Crystal Palace after his eye-catching performances this season. The enigmatic Congo winger dazzled in Palace’s 3-1 defeat of Liverpool last Sunday which saw Warnock’s men climb out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone ahead of this week’s trip to Swansea. “He won’t be going anywhere in January. No chance,” Warnock said. last_img read more

New Video from Secret Wedding of John Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessett

first_imgNever-before-seen video from John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s wedding pulls back the curtain on a love story that captivated the nation. JFK Jr.’s longtime friend, Billy Noonan, captured the footage, which is featured in TLC’s new documentary.In addition to the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, today also marks 20 years since John F Kennedy Junior, his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette died in a small plane crash. Kennedy was piloting when the plane crashed into the ocean off Marta’s Vineyard, Massachusettslast_img

Wawrinka dethrones Djokovic as US Open champion

first_imgSTAN Wawrinka became the oldest US Open men’s champion in 46 years when he defeated world number one Novak Djokovic to claim a third Grand Slam title yesterday.Wawrinka, the 31-year-old third seed, triumphed 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 after almost four hours of high intensity tennis.He even held his nerve when the final threatened to erupt into controversy after Djokovic twice called medical timeouts in the fourth set.Wawrinka is the oldest winner of the men’s tournament since 35-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1970 and the first over 30 to take the title since Pete Sampras in 2002.It was the Swiss player’s first New York title, following his breakthrough 2014 Australian Open triumph and 2015 Roland Garros crown.On both those occasions, Djokovic had been the fall-guy, losing in Melbourne in the quarter-finals and ending as runner-up in Paris.Djokovic, the 2011 and 2015 champion, had been seeking a third Slam of the year and 13th major of his career.But the 29-year-old Serb finished runner-up in New York for the fourth time after paying a heavy price for converting just three of 17 break points.Wawrinka, who had to save a match point to beat unheralded Dan Evans in the third round, committed 51 unforced errors but crucially smashed 46 winners past his opponent.The final started against a sombre but defiant background with Broadway star Norm Lewis delivering a stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, a poignant performance on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.Djokovic, playing in his 21st Grand Slam final and seventh in New York, was quickest out of the blocks.He broke for 2-0 having won the first point of the game with two extreme, against-the-odds retrievals.Trailing 2-5, Wawrinka, who had spent the best part of nine hours more than Djokovic getting to the final, saved two set points.The Serb was made to pay for his wastefulness as the Swiss suddenly found his range, breaking back in the ninth game off a Djokovic double fault.But Djokovic glided untroubled through the tie-break as Wawrinka’s serve fell apart.Wawrinka is used to chasing lost causes against Djokovic, coming back from losing the first set to win their 2014 Australian Open quarter-final and again at Roland Garros last year.Calling on that expertise, he broke for 3-1 in the second set, recovered from handing the advantage back in the seventh to level the final when Djokovic unleashed a wild forehand on set point in the 10th.Frustrated, Djokovic demolished his racquet, collecting a code violation from umpire Ali Nili.Wawrinka saved three break points in the opening game of the third set, which featured a 28-shot exchange, broke in the second and saved another break point in the next for a 3-0 lead.But at the sixth time of asking in the set, Djokovic clawed his way back with a break for 2-3.Wawrinka, however, kept up the attack and on set point in the 12th game slotted a backhand deep and into the corner which Djokovic could only push wide.The world number one looked spent. He appeared to start cramping in the fourth set as he quickly slipped 0-3 down.Much to Wawrinka’s irritation, at 1-3 Djokovic called the trainer and took a medical timeout for treatment for blisters.Djokovic apologised, claiming he needed attention as he couldn’t stand.At 2-5, the trainer reappeared but Wawrinka saw the job through leaving Djokovic to finish a Slam runner-up for the ninth time.(Telegraph)last_img read more

The Latest: NHL to reopen facilities for voluntary workouts

first_imgThe NHL’s season remains “on pause,” but the Penguins will participate in the approved playoff format whenever the season resumes.___Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini says the reaction from Champions League opponent Valencia after he acknowledged testing positive for the coronavirus is “really very offensive.”Valencia expressed “surprise” and a top health official in the Spanish region said Gasperini “lacked responsibility” for traveling to Spain with symptoms of the virus. He recently told Italian media he felt sick the day before the March 10 match in Valencia.Gasperini tells Sky Italia, “I know that I respected the protocols. I was in quarantine like everyone else until training resumed. I never had a test. It was only in May when (the entire team) had blood tests that I realized that I had had the virus.” Associated Press Dr. Jeffrey Kovan, the school’s director of sports medicine, was also part of the video conference. He quickly said that one student-athlete had tested positive, his father died, and his mother and sister also tested positive. Kovan said the athlete was asymptomatic and retested negative a few weeks later.The school did not disclose the athlete’s identity or his sport.“We’ve had a couple others that have had symptoms, without testing positive that we know of,” Kovan said.Michigan State athletes can begin returning to campus June 15 in preparation for voluntary workouts. Football, basketball and volleyball players will be the first to undergo testing.After testing, athletes will be instructed to self-isolate for a week, and those testing positive will be quarantined for 10 days. On June 22, athletes who initially tested negative will be given a second round of testing. Athletes who receive a second negative test will be cleared to begin voluntary workouts. They will be split into small workout groups based on people they live with. Food is restricted to individual, prepackaged meals and individually wrapped utensils, and 10 feet of distancing is necessary while eating.Staff is to use appropriate personal protective equipment.___Michigan State says a student-athlete’s father died of COVID-19 and the athlete tested positive but remained asymptomatic.Athletic director Bill Beekman was part of a video conference with reporters Thursday to discuss the school’s plans to have athletes back on campus. When asked if any athlete or athletic department personnel had tested positive in the past three months, Beekman said nobody that he was aware of — but that he might not necessarily have all the information. The Latest: NHL to reopen facilities for voluntary workouts That June 3 deadline was set to come 10 days after the completion of the combine, but the NBA postponed the combine amid the coronavirus pandemic and has yet to announce a new date.In a statement, the NCAA said the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee worked with the National Association of Basketball Coaches on the new timeline and “believes this is the most equitable alternative available in these unprecedented circumstances.”“This provides the utmost flexibility to student-athletes testing the waters to make the most informed decision about their future during this uncertain time,” NCAA Senior Vice President for Basketball Dan Gavitt said in the statement.___The NBA G League has canceled the rest of its season. ___A fraudster has used data of Brazilian soccer star Neymar to request a government handout paid to informal workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.Day Crespo, a spokeswoman for the Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain striker, confirmed the information to The Associated Press after it was reported by local news website UOL. Crespo also said Neymar has already informed authorities about the incident. The handout is of about $170 a month. A representative of Brazil’s state-run bank Caixa Econômica Federal was not immediately available for comment. UOL said the request on Neymar’s behalf was accepted, but its status was changed to “under analysis” after its report was published. Fraudsters used data from other Brazilian celebrities to receive the government money in the Latin American country hit hardest by the coronavirus.___ Oklahoma State and Marshall have announced they’ve each had three athletes test positive.___The International Olympic Committee is in talks with insurers over compensation for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games.Olympic operations director Pierre Ducrey says there is “an open discussion” between the IOC and insurance brokers “to try and find the right level of compensation to help us bear the cost of having to wait another year.”The IOC pays for insurance against the cancellation of an Olympics but it is unclear if its policy covers a one-year postponement. “While canceling the remainder of our season weighs heavily on us, we recognize that it is the most appropriate action to take for our league,” NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said.The league suspended play March 12.___NASCAR is set to run its All-Star race on a Wednesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway and added one more weeknight Cup Series race as part of its latest revised schedule through July.NASCAR has revamped its schedule in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and announced even more changes on Thursday. “The event has a tremendous tradition and is critical to that beautiful resort region,” Romo said. “It’ll be fun to try to win again but the sense of community and charity fundraising will be most important.”NBC will televise the tournament.___Notre Dame says it will test all its football players for COVID-19, starting June 15, before they can begin using the school’s athletic facilities for voluntary workouts.The Fighting Irish players are expected to travel back to campus from June 8-17. Testing for football players and and employees will be conducted June 15-19. Players and employees will be tested for COVID-19 and antibodies for the coronavirus, which would signal previous exposure to the disease. NASCAR will keep its scheduled twinbill weekend later this month at Pocono Raceway. The track is still scheduled to hold a Truck Series and Cup Series race on June 27 and an Xfinity Series and Cup Series race on June 28. The compressed schedule because of the pandemic has forced NASCAR to run races from all three national series multiple days a week. NASCAR crammed five Cup races on the schedule from May 17 to May 31.The rest of the Cup schedule includes a July 5 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway, the All-Star race on July 15 at Charlotte, July 19 at Texas Motor Speedway and July 23 at Kansas Speedway. The new schedule wraps Aug. 2 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.The All-Star race is usually held in May and New Hampshire was bumped from its July date. Pocono, Indy and Kentucky stayed the same.NASCAR also scheduled five Truck races and six second-tier Xfinity races. The Cup Series races again Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.The schedule for the rest of the season will be released at a later date. Cancellation policies detailed in IOC accounts cost $14.4 million for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and $12.8 million for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.The IOC said last month it set aside $650 million to cover potential extra costs for the postponement.Costs for organizers in Japan are expected to run to billions of dollars.___Borussia Dortmund has defended a group of players who were accused of breaking Bundesliga hygiene rules while getting haircuts. Valencia said after the March 10 game that about 35% of its team had the virus.Gasperini adds, “Looking back, I think that was the period when I didn’t feel well. But I never had a fever or any sort of respiratory problems. When I left from Bergamo I felt fine. I had some problems that evening and the day after (the match).”Experts say the first leg on Feb. 19 in Milan was one of the biggest reasons why the virus was so deadly in Atalanta’s home city of Bergamo. The match has been dubbed “Game Zero” by Italian media.___Seven Arkansas State athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating for 14 days.center_img “The intent is that if we keep our volume, our number of athletes together in a small set, and their strength coach works with just that group when they work out, and somebody in that group is positive, then we can isolate that individual group as opposed to the whole team,” Kovan said.Common areas like locker rooms and lounges will remain closed. Athletes will be given masks and required to wear them while in facilities, except during workouts.___A member of the Pittsburgh Penguins has tested positive for COVID-19.The team announced Thursday that an unidentified player has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The team says the player was not in Pittsburgh at the time of test and has been at his home since first experiencing symptoms. The club said the player is “recovering and feeling well” and those who have been in close contact with him have been notified. German newspaper Bild reports that some of the players were pictured without face masks during appointments at home with a celebrity barber. Forward Jadon Sancho was among the players.League rules during the coronavirus pandemic say players should minimize contact with people from outside their household. They have to wear masks for large parts of game days unless actually on the field.Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc says he spoke with the players about their behavior and adds that they only removed their face masks to pose briefly for pictures. Zorc adds that the 20-year-old Sancho is still “very young.”___The Italian soccer federation is launching a fund of nearly $25 million to help clubs and their members following the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Division I schools are not supposed to have fewer than six sports for male athletes. CMU announced last month it was dropping men’s track and field, citing university-wide budget cuts. That leaves the school with five men’s teams — baseball, basketball, cross country, football and wrestling.“This waiver has been granted for the 2020-21 and the 2021-22 academic years,” athletic director Michael Alford said in a statement. “We continue to research and determine the best course of action to return the department to full compliance. I want to thank the NCAA staff for making this an efficient process and for understanding the difficult decisions the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our department to make.”___The NCAA has set a new schedule for early entrants to the NBA draft to withdraw and return to school.The NCAA announced Thursday that it would give players until 10 days after the NBA scouting combine or Aug. 3, whichever comes earlier. This comes three weeks after the NCAA postponed its deadline, which was originally scheduled to fall on Wednesday. The Save Soccer Foundation will need definitive approval at a federation meeting on Monday.Federation president Gabriele Gravina says “it’s an initiative which doesn’t have precedents and represents a great assumption of responsibility which the (federation) is taking in favor of the whole soccer system.”The fund consists of 21,700,000 euros ($24,500,000). It will give up to 5 million euros ($5.6 million) to each of the two divisions below Serie A as well as the same amount to support clubs from the amateur soccer league.It will also give up to 3 million euros ($3.4 million) to soccer players and the same amount to coaches and their staff.The fund will also provide 700,000 euros ($800,000) to help women’s soccer clubs that are set to complete the season. Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said the seven athletes are from three sports, and all were asymptomatic Thursday. They learned of the positive results Wednesday night.The athletes who tested positive and are living off campus will self-isolate there or at home for 14 days. Those living on campus will self-isolate in their residence hall or at home for 14 days.Damphousse said contact tracing has begun, and anyone who has been exposed to any of the seven athletes will be required to quarantine for 14 days.“This is a day that we knew would come, not just at A-State, but for colleges and universities across America,” Damphousse said.An Arkansas State spokesman said he didn’t know how many athletes have been tested since they began returning to campus for voluntary workouts. The league announced its move to “Phase 2” of a potential return Thursday night. Earlier in the day, it unveiled the final details of the 24-team playoff format that will be used if play resumes and the Pittsburgh Penguins announced one of their players tested positive for the coronavirus.During this stage, players can skate or work out in groups of up to six at a time. Unlike training camps, which could begin sometime in July, these workouts are not mandatory for players, who can choose to skate in their current city even if they don’t play there.___The American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe plans to proceed without spectators.Featuring two-time defending champion Tony Romo, Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers and Charles Barkley, the 80-player event at Edgewood Tahoe is set for its original dates of July 10-12. All prize money will be donated to COVID-19 charities and regional causes. The phased approach will include quarantines for players returning before they get tested. Players who fly back will be expected to quarantine for seven days before they get tested and those who drive will be expected to quarantine for three days before being tested. Players will be housed at the Morris Inn, an on-campus hotel in South Bend.“We’re going to have positives. I think that’s to be expected,” Dr. Matt Leiszler, head physician for Notre Dame football. “That being said, we need to do a really good job of controlling those. The things that play into that are a really robust contact tracing system to ensure if we have a positive we’re going to move really quickly in coordination with the university to limit those other close contacts so we don’t end up with a cluster.”Leiszler said Notre Dame players will be tested again for COVID-19 after their initial test but did not specify when that second test would occur.___Central Michigan says it has received a waiver from the NCAA regarding the minimum Division I sports sponsorship requirements. June 4, 2020 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The National Hockey League is allowing team facilities to reopen and players to take part in voluntary on- and off-ice workouts beginning Monday. A day after announcing a deal with its players’ association to resume the season with a tournament in Florida, Major League Soccer says teams may resume training.MLS says each player and staff member must complete two tests for the coronavirus 24 hours apart, 72 hours ahead of the start of training. Every player also must have a test for antibodies and a physical.Once training starts, players, coaches and some staff must be tested for the virus every other day. An individual who tests positive would be isolated, tested again at least 24 houts later, and all close contacts would be tested. High-risk individuals must be cleared to participate by the team’s chief medical officer in consultation with the MLS medical staff.Testing for antibodies will take place every three months. Testing providers must be authorized by the FDA or Health Canada.Training rooms and gyms will be restricted to a maximum five people, and lockers should be spaced a minimum 10 feet apart. Doors should be left open. ___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

Opponent preview: What to know about Liberty

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ No. 22 Syracuse opens its season against Liberty on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia. The game will begin Liberty’s first season as a full-time Football Bowl Championship Series team.It’ll be the second consecutive season Syracuse begins its campaign on the road against a non-Power 5 school, as Carrier Dome renovations continue until the home opener on Sept. 14. The Orange enter this season ranked in the AP Poll for the first time since 1998, coming off a 10-3 campaign last season that finished with a Camping World Bowl victory.As new starters come into play on both sides for Week 1, here’s what to know about Liberty ahead of the matchup:All-time series: This is the first meeting between the two teams.The Liberty report: On Monday Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said, “We don’t have a clue what they’re going to do,” in reference to the Flames. That’s in part because of a coaching shift. Hugh Freeze, the former Ole Miss coach who resigned after a call to an escort service surfaced, begins his first year as the head coach this season. Freeze led Ole Miss to a 43-37 victory over Alabama in 2015 and the Rebels finished at 10-3 with the nation’s fourth-ranked offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBabers’ skepticism came from a previous uncertainty at quarterback. Senior Stephen Calvert is back this season after throwing for 3,068 yards, 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions last season. But Liberty also had dual threat quarterback Malik Willis, a transfer from Auburn, on the roster until his waiver was denied on Aug. 28.With Calvert as the projected starter on Sunday, senior receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden will likely find the ball, as he caught 71 passes for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.How Syracuse beats Liberty: Syracuse starts its season with a win by playing like an ACC team that’s facing a newly crowned FBS opponent. That means: Limited penalties, winning the turnover battle and not letting Liberty or their home crowd feel in the game at any point. The Orange started last year’s season opener against Western Michigan like this, but allowing 28 points in the third quarter helped the Broncos hang around and Syracuse brought its starters back in.If Syracuse’s new faces on the offensive line keep Tommy DeVito upright in his starting debut, the Orange should outscore Liberty regardless of what Freeze stews up.Player to watch: Jessie Lemonier, No. 11 defensive endThe younger brother of Corey Lemonier, a former All-SEC linebacker and third round NFL Draft pick, Jessie Lemonier tallied 10 sacks in 2018. No other Liberty player had more than 4.5. If the Flames are to take advantage of redshirt freshman Carlos Vettorello’s first career start at right tackle, it’ll likely begin with Lemonier, who finished tied with Kendall Coleman and Alton Robinson in sacks a season ago. Comments Published on August 28, 2019 at 11:05 pm Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44last_img read more

Player Registration period ends on January 20

first_imgRegistration of players for the 2015/2016 club season will end of January 20 in a statement released on the FA’s official website.The closure of registration will suggest the start date for the league could be imminent.In addition to this, clubs have up to December 23 to register players from other countries.Read the official FA statement below:“The Ghana Football Association wishes to remind all Premier and Division One League Clubs that Registration of Players for the 2015/16 season will officially end on Wednesday January 20, 2016.Clubs are hereby advised to adhere strictly with this deadline and note that there will be no extension. Meanwhile, Clubs are also reminded that the first window of the FIFA ITMS will officially close on Wednesday December 23, 2015.Clubs who are willing to register professional players from other countries can still be able to do so till the system closes on the deadline date.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

An insider’s view of the contentious MLB-MiLB dispute, from ex-pitcher, lawyer Garrett Broshuis

first_imgThe current contentious dispute between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball became public in October, when Baseball America reported that MLB had offered a plan to eliminate as many as 42 minor-league teams after the 2020 minor-league season, when the Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and MiLB expires. In November, the New York Times released the list of those 42 teams that would be cut, and that sparked much more interest. Suddenly, we knew what towns could potentially lose teams, which communities — some significant to the sport’s history — could be without baseball. That made it much more real.  And when the baseball world’s attention moved to San Diego for the annual Winter Meetings, things escalated quickly.MORE: Five way-too-early bold predictions for the 2020 MLB seasonCommissioner Rob Manfred was asked about the dispute during his press conference, and after stressing that negotiations were in an early stage when the list of 42 teams/cities was leaked, he followed up with this ominous quote.”When people publicly attack a long-time partner after they’ve committed to confidentiality in the negotiating process,” Manfred said on Dec. 11, “usually people don’t feel so good about that.”Yikes, eh? Manfred and baseball’s powers-that-be were not happy that their plan was now public, likely because it was being almost universally condemned. And from there, things really got out of hand fast. On Dec. 13, MiLB released a detailed response, going point-by-point over each issue and accusing MLB of “repeatedly and inaccurately” portraying MiLB’s position in public.How’d MLB respond, almost immediately? By threatening to sever ties with MiLB completely after the current agreement expires.”If the National Association has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”Yep. The dispute has jumped up a notch since San Diego’s meetings.Politicians have gotten involved, of course. Threatening to first eliminate minor-league baseball from 42 communities — and then threatening to end everything and start over — was certain to attract a bit of attention. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been the loudest voice. He’s met with Manfred, and in mid-December he also met with people representing minor-league baseball in Burlington, Iowa. It’s not a coincidence that’s one of the towns on the list of 42 teams to be eliminated. One of the people Sanders met with was Garrett Broshuis​, a lawyer at Korein Tillery out of St. Louis and former minor-league pitcher who has been leading the charge to force MLB to pay its minor-league players a living wage. We’ve written about Broshuis’ quest often at Sporting News, so we caught up with him again after his meeting with Sanders to get a grip on what’s happening with this dispute. First, though, an update on Broshuis​’ case, from the firm’s press release. In Senne v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, a lawsuit brought in 2014 by players represented by Korein Tillery, minor league players seek to remedy the low salaries by using state and federal wage-and-hour laws. Major League Baseball responded by lobbying Congress for an exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which Congress provided in March 2018. Named the Save America’s Pastime Act, the exemption was included on page 1,967 of an omnibus spending bill. The case, however, continues to proceed. In August 2019, the players won an important appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed them to proceed as a class action under the wage laws of several states. The players asked the Court to certify a class to adjudicate their minimum wage and overtime claims for work performed in California, Arizona, and Florida. The Ninth Circuit agreed. As a result, approximately 15,000 current and former minor-league players will have their minimum-wage and overtime claims heard on the merits. Korein Tillery and its co-counsel, Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, will represent the class of players. And now, SN’s conversation with Brosius, with a few questions from a phone interview in November. (Answers below edited for clarity.)SPORTING NEWS: A lot has changed since we started talking about these issues years ago. Wanted to see how you feel things have shifted from your perspective, especially in the past couple months. BROSHUIS: One thing that’s certainly changed is Major League Baseball has said they’re serious about increasing salaries now. We’ve been fighting for that for over five years now, and we don’t know what it’s going to look like, or if it’s going to come to fruition, but we certainly hope it does come to fruition because it’s long overdue. Thousands of other ballplayers hope so, as well. SN: Does this latest development, the threatened elimination of 42 minor-league teams, impact what you’re trying to do? BROSHUIS: I really do hope they’re serious about raising salaries, and I hope it’s a meaningful raise and not just a small raise. You take the Blue Jays, for instance, and even though they increased salaries by 50 percent last year, which is commendable, they took that first step on their own. That still means the salaries are below the poverty line for a lot of guys. And it still doesn’t do anything about spring training, when guys are working 60 or 70 hours per week and not getting paid at all.But even if you’re serious about raising minor-league salaries, you shouldn’t have to cut minor-league teams in order to do that. We aren’t talking about huge sums of money, with minor-league players suddenly getting rich. We’re just talking about a decent, livable wage in accordance with the same laws that McDonald’s and Walmart comply with. Surely Major League Baseball could find a way to do that without cutting 25 percent of its minor-league teams, and by extension, 25 percent of its minor-league players. SN: I’ll admit, it was jarring to hear the commissioner say at the Winter Meetings in San Diego that minor-league players “deserve to be paid fairly” after what’s happened the past few years. Do you feel like the salary thing might be a pawn in what baseball is trying to do, to reduce the number of minor-league teams? BROSHUIS: I hope they’re serious about (raising salaries), but you have to look at it from a historical perspective. It was just March of 2018 where they succeeded in getting an exemption from minimum-wage laws passed after spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress. So, I hope they are serious about raising salaries, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to cut teams.There are some things that are real concerns for players. For instance, when they talk about playing conditions. Some of those fields don’t have the best playing conditions, and they actually are unsafe at times. That needs to be addressed. And there are issues with scheduling. Currently, the rules between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball only require one day off every 30 days. So if the league schedules a day off on Day 28, then waits another 27 days to have a day off, you’ve played pretty much two months straight with only a day off. So something needs to be done about that, too. That just wears out the players. Some of the alignment that’s occurred with teams moving, that is a real thing. You have leagues that are too spread out, and sometimes you have teams like the Nationals that are stuck with a Triple-A partner in Fresno that, geographically, doesn’t make sense. So some realignment does make sense. Those are real issues that need to be addressed from the players’ perspective. But, again, it seems like you could address those things, I would hope, without cutting 25 percent of your teams. I think there are other reasons behind this, other than just stadium upgrades and paying players more. I think there’s more to it than that. SN: What was your first thought when you looked at that list of the 42 teams?BROSHUIS: What jumped out to me was that I played in a number of these towns, both as a member of a visiting team and the home team. The first place I played was in Salem, Ore., and I’m very fond of that area. The Northwest is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and to think that it would be deprived of baseball, for the most part, it’s surprising. For a lot of those towns, the closest major-league team is Seattle, and that’s a really far drive for those fans. A team like that, a league like that is an introduction and professional baseball, for better or worse, what professional baseball is all about. SN: I saw that Senator Sanders took a little batting practice after your meeting, so I’ll ask you this: Can Bernie Sanders hit a curveball?  BROSHUIS: (laughs) They didn’t trust me throwing to him, so I wouldn’t know. It looked like he was trying to work gap-to-gap pretty good, though. He rolled over the first couple to the third baseman, but then he started showing some gap-to-gap power. I was impressed for a guy in his 70s. SN: Aside from his gap-to-gap power, what was your takeaway from your meeting and how seriously he’s taking this issue? BROSHUIS: He was very prepared. Like he is with a lot of things, he is very passionate about it, too. This is something that’s personal to him. He was the mayor in Burlington, Vt., when they got their minor-league team, and that’s one of the teams on the chopping block. He’s also a lifelong baseball fan, and when he says he’s outraged, you really do feel he’s outraged over it.There have been a lot of politicians who say they’re outraged over the plan to cut 42 minor-league baseball teams, but he’s the first one to take it a step further to say, “You’re right you need to pay minor-league players more, and there’s no excuse for not doing that in the past, and you shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cutting teams when you have the ability to pay those players a decent wage right now. You don’t need to be cutting minor-league teams in order to do it.” It’s great for him to support the players. SN: Realistically, how do you think this influx of political interest helps or hurts what you guys have been trying to do?BROSHUIS: From the perspective of the minor-league owners, there’s a reason they went public with it. There are things Congress can do that gives Congress a lot of leverage. That antitrust exemption is obviously very dear to Major League Baseball. They are the only sport that has that type of exemption, and a lot of what they do is modeled over having that exemption. Looking at it from the minor-league standpoint, the current minor-league wages would be illegal under antitrust laws, if not for the antitrust exemption they have. The only reason they can collude on (minor-league) salaries at this point, without having to go through a union, is because they have that antitrust exemption.That’s one thing, but there’s also the Save America’s Pastime Act that they passed a year-and-a-half ago, that Congress gifted that to them in the middle of the night in an omnibus spending bill. If Congress wanted to take that away from MLB, that gives a very powerful lever to Congress as well. So we certainly welcome politicians speaking out about this. To date, most politicians have been indifferent, at best, about the issues of minor-league players, and have far too often sided with ownership on this. We welcome the chance to speak to any other members of Congress on this, and educate them from the perspective of the players, because that perspective has been ignored for far too long. SN: I feel like I’ve heard that threat, “take away the antitrust exemption,” since I was a little kid. Is this a big enough issue to make that a realistic option? Could this be something like Al Capone’s taxes?  BROSHUIS: It depends on how hard the two sides dig in. Now, both sides are taking pretty extreme positions, and they’re doing everything publicly, and they’re at each other’s throats. And if they dig in and they’re entrenched, and neither side will give ground and they can’t reach an agreement, then, yeah, I think there is a serious threat that Congress will get involved.I don’t think that will happen. They have 10 months to work this out. I think the most likely thing that will happen is that cooler heads are going to prevail, and they’ll sit down and hammer out a deal that works for both sides, and then this whole threat of Congressional investigation will go away. But right now, they are entrenched. The rhetoric is pretty high, when you’re saying you would just deal without the entire minor-league system and blow the whole thing up. Both sides need to take it down a notch.last_img read more

I AM BOLT: Behind-the-scenes view of the superstar

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP):Usain Bolt is now a movie star. He refuses to say he’s an actor.Such a distinction is important for the Jamaican sprinting great and nine-time Olympic champion. Until his competitive career ends next year, Bolt will continue playing only one role – that of the world’s fastest man, someone who beat the odds to acquire immense fame and fortune on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in global sport.As such, it’s not a made-for-Hollywood version of himself that takes centre stage in the documentary I Am Bolt, which is being released on Monday. As the title wants viewers to believe, the Bolt who is in the film is the very same one that his friends, family, and other members of his close-knit inner sanctum have seen for as long as they’ve known him.”I wasn’t an actor,” Bolt said. “I wasn’t trying to push a different person forward.”This is Bolt, a behind-the-scenes view of the superstar, which took about two years to make and has him holding the camera at times. The idea in large part surrounds Bolt’s quest for the so-called triple-triple – three gold medals in three events at three consecutive Olympics, something no sprinter in the history of the sport had ever accomplished.He pulled it off, to little surprise, at the Rio Games.And then he could finally exhale, knowing this film would have the perfect ending.”Oh my God! You have no idea the pressure that I was under,” Bolt said in a recent interview with The Associated Press as the production was winding down. “But I live for these moments. I love the pressure. And I have all the confidence in myself and my coach and the team I have that it would come true for me. The pressure was there, but the confidence was always there which made it much easier.”Bolt agreed to make the film after realising that he would be able to convince both his fans and his detractors that what they see on the track – a free-spirited showman who tries to be stoic and serious only when absolutely necessary – is what they would get if they tagged along with him on a typical day.He shows off some of the spoils of his life, whether it’s the party scene, or travelling, or enjoying luxury. He also shows how all that is possible, with 5:30 a.m. workouts that he groans through and the rigours of what’s needed to keep an elite athlete in top physical condition.”I live a simple life, you know what I mean?” Bolt said. “One of the things that made me really want to do this was people always saying: ‘Aw, this is not really who he is. He’s not always laughing. It’s not always fun for him.’ This is who I am. I really wanted to show people this is who I am. I like to have fun. I like to chill. I like to go out. That’s just a part of me. The part that people don’t see, that’s the part I want to show people behind the scenes, the hard work.”NOTHING TO PROVEThere are also some moments where that megawatt smile isn’t present. Yes, even Usain Bolt can have a tough day.”You have to ask yourself, why am I doing this? I’ve done everything. I’ve done it many times,” Bolt said. “I have nothing else to prove.”Not now, he doesn’t.The triple-triple was the capper to a storied Olympic career. He’s the world-record-holder in the 100- and 200-metre dashes and anchored the fastest 4×100-metres relay in world history as well. But without those three golds from Rio de Janeiro, Bolt would have felt somewhat unfulfilled.”I wanted to be one of the greatest,” Bolt said. “I wanted to be among the greats. Without this Olympics, I would be great, yes. But I don’t think I would be in the bracket of Muhammad Ali, PelÈ and the great footballers. That’s what I want.”Bolt’s plan is for the world championships next year in London to be his final meet.From there, who knows.He’s already well setup as a businessman, with endorsement deals around the globe and other investments such as a restaurant not far from Jamaica’s National Stadium in Kingston, an eatery where a two-lane track is stencilled on the floor around the bar. He’ll consider dabbling in other sports, and he has a clear desire to play football. He might coach. He will not be a politician.And he’s already been approached about acting. For the record, Bolt says the actor who could play him best is Denzel Washington, and he counts 2 Guns as one of his favourite movies.”People always say it was Training Day,” Bolt said. “But I loved 2 Guns because it was different.”He wanted this movie to be different as well.”I tried to talk about what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking,” Bolt said. “That’s what I really try to portray. I never try to be unoriginal.”last_img read more