Josh Hader’s family change shirts after pitcher’s racist tweets emerge mid-game

2 days ago

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader took responsibility for racist and homophobic tweets that resurfaced while he was pitching in the All-Star Game

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader took responsibility for racist and homophobic tweets that resurfaced while he was pitching in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

Hader was alerted to an online firestorm regarding the tweets when he came out of video games. He locked his account and after the game he said the posts were from seven years ago when he was 17 and “immature”. Some of the tweets use the n-word while another stated:” I dislike gay people “.

” There’s no excuse for what was said ,” Hader said.” I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said and what’s been going on. It doesn’t reflect any of my notions going on now .”

A.J. Perez (@ byajperez)

If you’re wondering why Brewers pitcher Josh Hader( @jhader17) only defined his Twitter account to private, this could be it: pic.twitter.com/ KGMw3 9nH49

July 18, 2018

On Wednesday, MLS said Hader would undergo sensitivity train.” During last night’s game we became aware of Mr Hader’s unacceptable social media comments in years past and have since been in communications with the Brewers considering our shared concerns ,” MLB said in a statement.” After video games, Mr Hader took the necessary step of carrying regret for his highly offensive and hurtful speech, which fails to represent the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it. The Office of the Commissioner will require sensitivity training for Mr Hader and participation in MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives .”

Asked on Tuesday night if he was worried about facing discipline, the 24 -year-old said he would live with it.” I’m ready for any consequences that happen for what happened seven years ago ,” Hader said.

Some of the tweets that surfaced were from 2011 and 2012. Hader said he did not ” vividly” remember the tweets.” I’m sure there’s some lyrics, some rap lyrics being tweeted ,” Hader said.” I truly don’t know exactly what’s all out there .”

As Hader’s tweets were going viral, some of Hader’s friends and family in attendance were given blank gear in the stands. They were wearing blank National League gear outside the clubhouse toward the end of video games. Hader said he had not spoken to family members and when asked if that would be a difficult conversation reacted:” I was young, immature and stupid. There’s no excuses for what was said or what happened .”

queer #FancyStats

Read more: www.theguardian.com

In their own words: Patriots describe Julian Edelman’s unbelievable catch

18 days ago

Houston (CNN)If wide receiver Julian Edelman hadn’t made that catch, the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history may never have happened, and the New England Patriots wouldn’t have been Super Bowl champions.

“It was one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “I don’t know how the hell he caught it.”
It’s a play that will be on highlight reels for years to come. It was 1st-and-10 from New England’s own 36, and the Patriots wide receiver, fighting off three Atlanta Falcons defenders — even going through the legs of one of them — somehow scooped up the ball before it hit the ground.
    Atlanta challenged the pass completion ruling, but Edelman felt like he had it.

    Read more: www.cnn.com

    Peru’s brilliant Copa America operate recollects 1975 and their finest hour

    20 days ago

    La Blanquirroja have already disposed of Brazil this month and a quarter-final meeting with Colombia brings back happy memories for the team

    The year was 1975 and the South American Championship had a new name: Copa Amrica. There would be no host nation and the matches would be played by 10 Conmebol nations between July and October across South America. Peru were experiencing their second golden era, and in retrospect its not outrageous to suggest that they had the best midfield in the world heading into the tournament. Led by the nations greatest ever player, Teofilo Nene Cubillas who practically devised the artistry of the misleading free-kick( sorry Dimitri Payet) the squad had a supporting cast of some magical playmakers, who have now been forgotten by many football historians.

    Hugo Cholo Sotil had just won La Liga with Johan Cruyff and Barcelona, and Csar The Left-Footed Poet it voices better in Spanish Cueto, was a human highlighting reel .~ ATAGEND Above talent, however, this was primarily a squad who implemented a quintessential Peruvian trait: garra, or heroism. Peru played with a carefree doctrine, assaulting from kick-off as if the latter are 3-0 down. That may seem like a familiar trait for many South American countries, but La Blanquirroja took it to another level: they simply did not care who the opposition was. In 1975 their garra helped them beat Brazil in semi-finals and Colombia in the final to lift the trophy for only the second time in their history.

    Peru defeat Brazil 3-1 in Belo Horizonte in the first leg of the semi-finals of Copa America in 1975

    Fast forward to this summers Copa where a controversial victory over Brazil again watches Peru face Colombia in Friday nights quarter-final and the similarities between this squad and the heroes from the 1970 s are striking , not so much in talent but in ideology. Since his appointment, Ricardo Gareca, Perus Argentinian manager, wanted to make one thing clear: irrespective of tactics and delivery, from a physical standpoint, leave everything on the field. As simple as such attitudes may seem, it can be a difficult theory to achieve if you dont have players with the right mindset( Leicester City being a perfect instance ). So for this tournament, Gareca decided to prioritize position and garra over reputation when picking his team. Garecas ultimate objectives is reaching the Football world cup, and with qualifiers resuming in September, the Centenario is the perfect audition to see who fits with his philosophy.

    From an international perspective, this squad is highly inexperienced. Seventeen of the 23 squad members play their club football in Perus Primera Divisin, and against Brazil, nine starters had fewer than 10 caps. This is a significant contrast with other teams, who have a large number of European-based players: even Haiti entered this tournament with more experience.

    Diario Depor (@ deporpe) June 15, 2016

    Buenos das! Esta es nuestra portada impresa del mircoles. https :// t.co/ GrXw0vyEhA pic.twitter.com/ hWRQ3GcFCu

    The work-rate from the young, energetic core has helped propel Peru so far, but the principal shining moments have come from two experienced players who bring as much quality to the squad as they do leadership. Before the tournament started Christian Cueva, the attacking midfielder who plays like he has three lungs , was highlighted as one to watch: his ability to change direction should be studied for research. But all eyes are on the dramatically skillful Paolo Guerrero, Copa Amricas resulting scorer in the last two tournaments. The captain has the fearlessness of Atahualpa, spearheading the line like a Peruvian Gerd Mller. His goal against Haiti cemented his place in history, as he surpassed Cubillas to become the nations all-time resulting scorer with 27.

    So with Brazil defeated arrives the the issues to: how will Peru do on Friday against the supremely athletic Colombia? Jos Pekerman is one of the smartest managers in world football, and controlling James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado will be no easy task. And David Ospina may play Robin to Peter Cechs Batman for Arsenal but for his country no one commands more presence than the 27 -year old stopper from Medellin. The ex-Atletico Nacional player has only confessed one goal in 180 minutes of play for his country.

    History, however, is on Perus side. In 2011 s Copa Amrica, the nations met in the quarter-finals and last year they were in the same group. Los Cafeteros failed to win either game. But that was then and this is now, and the romanticism that comes with the knockout stages paints a simple image: how we got here means nothing, everyone is blest with a clean slate.

    But Peruvians and I count myself among their number believe that we can progression: after all , not many people thought wed get this far in the first place. The appetite is surely there: while many games in this tournament have been played in half-empty stadia Fridays quarter-final is a sell-out, with more than 80,000 fans packed into the New Jerseys Metlife Stadium. More than a few of them will be dreaming of a repeat of 1975.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Olympic debut will stimulate surfing ‘legit, ‘ says US surfer Lakey Peterson

    29 days ago

    ( CNN) Surfer Lakey Peterson has a natural instinct for competitiveness — something which she is hoping to display at the Olympics in 2020.

    Now that surfing is an Olympic sport, the No. 1 female surfer’s goals are even bigger this year and she tells the announcement fired her up with new-found motivation.

    “I want to go to the Olympics even worse. I think it’s game changing for surfing, ” she says. “It definitely did light a little bit of a fire in me when I heard it was game on.”

    The age of Trump seems like a better time than ever for an XFL revival

    1 month, 14 days ago

    Calls for a safer, more regulated NFL have been concurrent with the rumored resurgence of Vince McMahons XFL. Which couldnt make more sense

    During an interception return in the third quarter of last week’s game between the Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers, Panthers cornerback Thomas Davis appeared to relish the rare opportunity to play the role of leading blocker. Davis find Packers broad receiver Davante Adams following the play unaware and launched his shoulder into Adams’s helmet. Davis was to be laid down onto the ground and suffered a concussion, forcing him from the game and potentially costing Adams his ability to participate in the rest of the season.

    Davis received a two-game suspension for the make, entailing he is done for the remainder of the regular season. But this collision and other violent, over-the-top hittings to the head like the one that left Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Savage shaking on the turf two Sundays ago have led some football pontificators to suggest the NFL needs to adopt a targeting regulation akin to the one currently on the NCAA volumes, which would allow referees to expel players for overly violent hits to a defenseless player’s head. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said on 6 December of a targeting rule,” I think it’s something that we have to consider .”

    Contrast this news with a rumor to surface of late: the XFL, Vince McMahon’s ill-fated wrestling inspired springtime football league, may be up for a reboot. According to Deadspin’s David Bixenspan, McMahon has created a new venture called Alpha Entertainment that will” explore investment possibilities across the athletics and amusement sceneries, including professional football .” Alpha has filed for trademarks on “URFL” and “UrFL”, and the other McMahon venture, VKM Ventures LLC, applied to trademark” For the Love of Football”, “UFL”, and” United Football League “. These applications have all been filed since September, resulting some to speculate the XFL revival whatever name it ends up with- could be a response to the disgruntlement some NFL fans have expressed in the wake of player protests against police brutality.

    There is no doubt in my mind that McMahon would jump at an opportunity to capture the disgruntled flag-waving sect of NFL fandom. But to me, what induces the idea of the XFL appealing today is its active gala of football’s most violent moments. One XFL advertisement featured” passing drills” in which the receivers caught footballs shot out of a tank cannon, an obstacle course in which running backs ran over landmines, and the promise of one of the XFL’s signature rule changes: no fair catches, as the poor punt returner was slammed to the ground by a wrecking ball.

    Another XFL promotion promised” No indoor fields , no prima donna , no weakling. Here, the rules are fiercer, the clock is faster, and halftime is a break , not a vacation. This is football, the way it was meant to be played .” This commercial concludes with the same promise of no fair catches, as a punt returner is slammed to the turf , not this time by a wrecking ball, but by three opposing players who knock him clear into the air before driving him to the ground.

    ‘ No indoor fields , no prima donna , no wimps .’

    It should come as no surprise devoted its creator’s origins in professional wrestling, but the XFL was more than willing to sell the barbarism of the game. That used to be true of the NFL more recently than some would like to admit. The NFL has marketed video collections of its most important and most destructive reaches, titles ranging from 1968′ s “Bone Crushers” to 1991′ s” Thunder and Destruction “. The NFL was fully aware that many fans weren’t tuning in despite the violence, the latter are tuning in for it, and the league are glad to marketplace these explosive and dangerous hittings to keep these fans coming back to their TV sets every Sunday.

    It has been clear to the league for some time, though, that continuing to marketplace jarring reaches to the head to fans — including the youth football players who are one of the major target demographics for those working cinemas — is an untenable posture in the face of the concussion and CTE crisis. Thus have the Bone Crushers tapes been replaced by the epoch of Heads Up Football, and thus has the NFL gone from marketing these reaches as recently as two decades ago to suspending players over them in 2017.

    ” You used to see these tackles, and it was incredible to watch ,” then-presidential candidate Donald Trump said at a rally in Reno, Nevada last January.” Now they tackle–‘Oh, head-on-head crash, 15 yard’- the whole game is all screwed up. You say,’ Wow, what a tackle .’ Bing. Flag .” He finished up his rant on football by saying,” Football’s become soft. Football has become soft. Football has become soft like our country has become soft ,” drawing applause from the roughly 3,000 attendees.

    There is absolutely an audience for this kind of an attitude towards football and its violence. McMahon- who has given Trump a role on WWE displays in the past and whose spouse Linda is a part of Trump’s team as Administrator of the Small Business Administration- no doubt insures this. The first iteration of the XFL attained many mistakes, but there was enthusiasm for springtime football and the specific various kinds of environment the XFL was trying to create. Opening Day brought an environment of surprising exhilaration to XFL stadia, many of which didn’t even bother to open their upper decks believing they wouldn’t draw that kind of interest. Tom Veit, general manager of the Orlando Rage, recalls the frenzy at the Citrus Bowl.” We operated out of brew. The beer distributor operated out of beer and had to start shuttling beer in. I suppose the building holds 64,000. We had 36,000. At 36,000, we define the beer record. We’re pretty proud of that .”

    At the heart of the rise of Trumpism and the ideology of Stimulating America Great Again is this idea that America has run soft. Perhaps the Bush years, as the NFL ramped up the militarism in the wake of 9/11, weren’t the best time for a challenger to the NFL to seize upon its softness. What’s different now? The NFL is constantly under the microscope since the concussion crisis blew up. Even if new CTE findings don’t blow up the league’s$ 1bn concussion settlement, the league has to ask itself how to maintain its mass marketability and player pipeline as the risks and the effects of football become clearer and clearer. If the NFL had any desire to clamp down on hits to the head like the one that objective Adams’s day Sunday, it would have done it years ago. Their answer, from suspensions to the consideration of a targeting regulation, is all about protecting the NFL shield from litigation and a public relations nightmare.

    As such , now seems like a better period than ever for an XFL revival. As much as the NFL might be loath to admit it now, hits like the one Thomas Davis delivered on Davante Adams last Sunday are the reason many tune in every Sunday. The URFL, UrFL, XFL 2, or whatever it objective up being called won’t have the broad reach the NFL brings, but there are you all right might be a space in this marketplace to appeal to the same kind of people who cheered when Donald Trump decried football’s softness during his campaign. Those people have always formed a substantial piece of the NFL’s fanbase, and if the NFL can no longer cater to them, person like Vince McMahon will merrily step in and fill that void.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Andy Murray is struggling and anxious- it may be a good thing | Kevin Mitchell

    1 month, 20 days ago

    A fretting air of caution has returned to Andy Murrays game but the world No1 has often been at his best when fighting against the odds, and it is not too late to get things in order for the French Open

    It is easy, and dangerous, to underestimate the depth of Andy Murrays dilemma after another unexpected setback in his meander season: bundled out of the second round of the Italian Open he was defending for the first time. He is, after all, still No1 in the world.

    But check the descent. This time last year Murray, who had not long become a parent for the first time, was driving Novak Djokovic to distraction on Campo Centrale, ignoring a steady Sunday afternoon drizzle and uneven illuminated as he forged on to win one of nine titles that would garland his 2016 campaign. He had not lost a defined all week.

    It was the first sign of the confidence and soothe that would carry him through the summer to the final of the French Open, a second Wimbledon title, a second Olympic gold medal and, ultimately, the world No1 ranking that Djokovic had held for 122 weeks in a row.

    Murray rubber-stamped the achievement by beating the Serb in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London. He was the BBCs Sports Personality of the Year for a record third period. The Queen gave him a knighthood. If he had wanted them, he might have been given the keys to 10 Downing Street. Or perhaps Holyrood.

    Relief followed exultation. Ennui was not far behind. Paradoxically, the mountainous challenges that had driven him to heights of excellence in impossible situations, feeding his gift for perversity, had been momentarily taken away. It had been tough, but he had persisted week after week, without setbacks.

    By the time Murray reached Melbourne, one or two pieces of the machine had fallen off. The roaring aggression and unquenchable stamina, which helped him win 25 matches in a row at the end of last year, dissipated. He should never have lost to Mischa Zverev, the older, less gifted friend of Alex, who played way above his world ranking of 50 to set Murray out of the fourth round of the Australian Open.

    Murray had become worryingly passive, hindered by the return of an ingrained caution he had begun to manage under the guidance of Ivan Lendl, when the Czech joined his squad at the same tournament for the first time in 2012. He appeared to be over-thinking. Afterwards, as he fought to regain his aplomb, he would carry a piece of paper in his kitbag, and refer to its wisdom in moments of stress or doubt.

    Last year he lost nine matches. It is the middle of May and he has already lost seven, hardly disastrous but something plainly is not right. He needs another piece of paper, perhaps, because he is losing to players whom previously he would crush. Five of those who have got the better of him Zverev, Vasek Pospisil, Albert Ramos-Violas, Borna Coric and now the unpredictable Fabio Fognini have a blended world ranking of 291.

    As Murray headed out of the magical Foro Italico in the early hours of Wednesday morning, his thoughts more than likely flicked to home, where he would find personal warmth with his wife and child. Kim and Sophia have brought meaning and perspective to his life that fuelled that inner contentment that tapped into his core talent in 2016.

    Nevertheless, after 13 years on the Tour, he knows there are no ensures, and one quality Murray demands of himself and others is honesty. As he concurred when it was pointed out to him that he had scarcely twitched when a gettable drop-shot by Fognini implored to be put away: Definitely[ my] motion the last two weeks has not been good. Fabio did play some good drop shots but, like you say, I wasnt actually making a move or a step towards the ball. Thats not a good sign.

    Asked if being top dog after years scrapping in the junkyard affects his form or posture, he said: It really doesnt, to me. Im not lying.

    However, aggressive young opponents such as Coric and Dominic Thiem have out-hit him , not to mention Fognini who made 23 forehand winners, most of them unreachable. His second serve is not clicking. His court awareness is not at its electric best. And his contenders sense vulnerability. That is deadly in any athletic, from boxing, which he understands well, to tennis.

    Murray will be happier when Lendl lands at Heathrow on Sunday. They can then move to Paris and get down to work again. Murray receives sweat therapeutic. But he has just passed 30. Hard work get harder.

    It is not too late to right the ship for the French Open. Murray is not the only elite player searching for consistency. Djokovic, who last week sacked his coaching team after a decade of virtually non-stop success, is only now reaching the ball with his accustomed venom, and was too good for Aljaz Bedene on day three.

    None of them is safe but all of them can find a track back. That is why they have been so good for so long. There is nothing wrong with Murrays game that he cannot fix.

    His form is not good enough to win the French Open or keep his Wimbledon title. After the most glorious 12 months of their own lives, he has been hurled back to a familiar place of struggle and angst. It might be just what he needs.

    Kyle
    Kyle Edmund was eventually overwhelmed by Juan Martn Del Potro in Rome. Photograph: Gareth Copley/ Getty Images

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Has José Mourinho already got third-season syndrome at Manchester United? | Jamie Jackson

    1 month, 27 days ago

    The Portugueses criticism of his players after defeat to Fenerbahce on Thursday provoked memories of his unravelling at both Chelsea and Real Madrid

    Jos Mourinho may have felt he had to give his Manchester United players a very public rollicking following Thursday nights debacle at Fenerbahce. To get to this point so early in his tenure, though, shows the crisis that threatens to engulf United unless results and performances are turned around quickly.

    In his 16th competitive fixture, Mourinho oversaw a 2-1 loss in a Europa League group game that was a quasi-disaster of disjointedness that featured his players losing the plot 69 seconds in when Moussa Sow opened the scoring.

    Mourinho decided he had no option but to question the teams commitment and effort: the base elements any professional footballer has to possess. It shows the slide Mourinho and his side are on. For any manager, the exposure of players the men on whom their own success or failure depends in the media is the nuclear option. Sir Alex Ferguson rarely did this during 27 years at the club.

    Yet afterwards the Portuguese compared Uniteds effort to that of a summer friendly. These are strong words which may be deserved but was this really the cutest play given footballers fragile egos and his own high-maintenance style?

    The problem Mourinho has is his track record of blowing up at clubs. Some may view his response at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium as evidence he is entering his own particular thirdseason syndrome two years early.

    Marcos
    Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind were singled out for criticism by their manager after Thursdays loss. Photograph: Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

    The term is shorthand for Mourinhos inability to last longer than that at any club, though it is an approximation as he did go into a fourth season in his first Chelsea incumbency. The point, though, remains: Mourinhos CV does not show a man who has brought stability in the previous seven tenures of a 16-year career. The concern for United and supporters is his mood music after only four months at the club. It is starting to strike the same note as last seasons doomed final months at Chelsea, at Real Madrid and towards the end of the first spell in west London.

    It means any justified criticism of his squad is viewed via that prism. Uh-oh, here he goes again, seasoned Mourinho watchers must think when hearing the latest rant against his United charges.

    His previous post ended last December when Chelsea sacked him for losing a dressing room filled with highend players. Cesc Fbregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard are among those who are thought to have tired of Mourinhos managerial antics. A dismal title defence and a string of defeats caused him to lambast the squad after losing to Leicester, saying they had betrayed his work. The net result: Roman Abramovich, the owner, chose his squad over Mourinho and the Portuguese left the club three days later.

    His disquiet had shown itself as early as August last year when, after a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, he said: Im not happy, I cannot say I had 11 players performing at the same time. Two or three of them their individual performance was far from good. I blame myself for not changing one of them. I kept him in the game for 90 minutes.

    Sound familiar? This was Mourinho after the 2-1 derby defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford on 10 September. Even our central defenders [Eric Bailly and Daley Blind], who were top-class until today, lost easy balls. What I told them at half-time was: For some of you, it looks like you are trying to do what I told you not to do. I made a couple of [selection] decisions because I thought the individual qualities of certain players would give me what I wanted. But I didnt get it.

    The two he was referring to were Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard, who started the match but were hauled off at half-time. In one post-game briefing after just the fourth league outing under him Mourinho managed to question directly four of his players. Luke Shaw was also hung out to dry in the next league match Septembers 3-1 defeat at Watford.

    At Real, Mourinho had fractious relations with Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Kak and Pepe. His first Chelsea stint soured in similar fashion, with Claude Makelele claiming there were problems between Mourinho and John Terry, though both captain and the club strongly denied this.

    At United, Shaws treatment in particular has not gone down well in the dressing room, while the managers attitude towards Bastian Schweinsteiger has also raised eyebrows. When he was appointed, Mourinho told the former Germany captain he should train with the youngsters. He may have had a good reason but to then reinstate Schweinsteiger to first-team sessions as he did this week sends a mixed message to his squad.

    Bafflement was the main impression given off by the side that went down to Fenerbahce. On too many matchdays, United seem befuddled and comatose: not the norm for a Mourinho team.

    That is until last year at Chelsea. The hope will be United are not at the start of a similar capitulation. Mourinho has stated he wishes to stay at Old Trafford until the end of his three-year deal, at least. Yet at the moment him seeing out that contract appears in the balance.

    It can all change, of course. The solution, as always in football, is simple: start winning consistently and playing well. Do this and harmony returns. Then having to choose whether to bawl out players in front of the microphones is removed.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal story heading for a final, unhappy paragraph | Richard Williams

    2 months, 11 days ago

    Arsne Wenger watched Arsenal defeated on the opening day against Liverpool and it proved the Frenchman and his side have lost the tough approach that brought them league titles

    It is rare that a good novel fails to extol its promise on its opening page. Which is why the crowd at the Emirates Stadium were so distraught at the final whistling last Sunday. As opening pages of a new football season go, this one could be endlessly parsed for meaning and omen, but with only one conclusion: the insipid nature of Arsenals football in recent seasons seems likely to continue, along with a regular drowning of illusory optimism in an ocean of disappointment.

    Here was the football equivalent of the post-modern classic that begins: You are about to begin reading Italo Calvinos new novel, If on a Winters Night a Traveller The message from Arsne Wengers Arsenal was that their followers were about to begin a new season of watching Arsne Wengers Arsenal, with all that has come to mean since they last won the league 12 years ago.

    On a glorious early August afternoon in north London, the first line of Samuel Becketts Murphy seemed even more appropriate: The sunlight shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. Writing in 1938, a year in which Arsenal won the league title under the largely hands-off management of the former journalist George Allison, Beckett might have foreseen the passive approach Wenger would take to the summer transfer window, failing to correct his teams long-established deficiencies with a series of half-hearted bids for unsuitable targets.

    Afterwards the Frenchman merely 90 minutes into the new campaign, but already ashen-faced offered the conventional excuses. The squad was short, he told. Short in numbers, short of fitness. There were absences through injury, including Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere, and through other significant players Mesut zil, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny being granted widened holidays after reaching the later stages of the European Championship.

    After the convulsive 4-3 defeat by Liverpool, Wenger could justify the extended break for those players by pointing to the hamstring injury suffered during the match by Aaron Ramsey, who had returned to action after appearing in the quarter-final of the Euro and will now be unavailable until September. No one can say, of course, whether another weeks remainder would inevitably have prevented the Welshmans injury, but the sight of Koscielny sitting in the stands seemed to confirm a pervasive softness in the clubs mentality.

    When Gary Neville claimed that the absent centre-back would not have been able to prevent the goal with which Adam Lallana gave Liverpool the leading and shattered Arsenals composure, he was wrong: even a half-fit Koscielny would not have been able permitted the passageway of indecisive defending that instantly preceded it.

    It seemed symbolic that Wenger should announce Mertesackers elevation to the club captaincy, in succession to the departed Mikel Arteta, a couple of weeks after the German centre-back suffered a knee trauma that will probably keep him out for four months.

    No doubt Mertesacker will fill the role admirably, but of more immediate important is leadership on the pitch during the vital going weeks. There is something to be said for the approach of Bill Shankly, who reacted to the absence of injured players by carrying on as if they did not exist, concentrating his energy entirely on organising his available forces, an attitude Jos Mourinho was reported to share.

    Life sometimes seems to be too easy for Wengers current generation, whose reaction to adversity or even momentary letdown has never seemed to be that of the kind of bred-in-the-bone winners cherished by certain other managers.

    All too often the reaction from Giroud to a header over the bar from a good posture or from Ramsey to a close-range shoot skewed wide is a telegenic astonishment, the hands created to the face, eyes wide and mouth open in a theatrical expression of dismay with simply a clue of rueful laughter that suggests the influence of a malign and quixotic fate rather than mundane technological failings.

    At the end of Sundays defeat, a smiling Santi Cazorla could be seen sharing a hug with Philippe Coutinho, whose two goals had done such damage caused to Arsenal. The Spaniard seems to be a cheerful fellow as well as a fine footballer, but it would surely have been wise to postpone the expressions of fraternal warmth.

    Like letting Theo Walcott take the penalty he had just won, with all too predictable outcomes, it offered evidence of the managers failure to prioritise the kind of mental strength and leadership once represented by Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira.

    It is surely time to stop offering him the ritual thanks for his modernising influence on English footballs daily habits and to hold him to account instead for what Arsenal have become since his patron, David Dein, stepped down from the board nine years ago.

    Deins departure removed the only voice capable of asking constructive the issue of the approach of a administrator who let Gilberto Silva and Lassana Diarra go from central midfield while spotting neither Paul Pogba nor NGolo Kant fellow Frenchmen, at that as potential replacements, and whose faith in a succession of young forwards Carlos Vela, Marouane Chamakh, Jrmie Aliadire, Ryo Miyaichi, Yaya Sanogo, Nacer Barazite, Park Chu-young demonstrated unfounded.

    The knack of maximising the talents of players discarded by other big clubs Vieira by Milan, Dennis Bergkamp by Internazionale, Thierry Henry by Juventus also seems to have deserted him. Alexis Snchez and zil are extremely fine footballers, but in Arsenals colourings they are doing little on a consistent basis to attain Barcelona and Real Madrid regret opting for upgrades.

    Wengers past decade has furthermore demonstrated that, in football at least, good husbandry can be an overrated virtue. Arsenal constructed a 60,000 seat home at a cost of 390 m. But where once they had a proper football ground, vibrant with history and designed to allow the fans passion to influence the mood of a match , now they have an elegant bowl where the feelings are easily disengaged and the most familiar one is dissatisfaction.

    No manager currently working in the Premier League has more control over his surrounding than Wenger. Last Sunday it was his only job to put out a team capable of making a persuading start to the season on their own ground. Now, a week subsequently, he goes to the home of Leicester, the underdogs who decisively beat them to last seasons title with a chance to set things right.

    As the pages turn ever more quickly, the concluding chapter of his time in north London is approaching the final paragraph and it grows harder to believe in a happy ending.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Tiemoue Bakayoko: a deft midfield monster who could become a superstar at Chelsea

    2 months, 12 days ago

    Tiemou Bakayoko made an inauspicious start at Monaco, with his attitude questioned, but under Claude Makeleles guidance he has developed into a player of spectacular potential

    There was a period not so long ago when Chelsea could have looked at Monacos midfield and congratulated themselves on their foresight, since Tiemou Bakayoko was being maintained out of the French clubs starting lineup by another youngster who was on Chelseas volumes and still is.

    Mario Pasalic, a Germany-born Croatia international six months older than Bakayoko, has belonged to Chelsea since joining from Hajduk Split 3 years ago but has yet to contest a single game for them. Instead, like most of the speculative investments in Chelseas vast player portfolio, he has been rented out to others via a series of loan moves, including one the season before last to Monaco, where for the first several months of the campaign he was regularly selected ahead of the player on whom Chelsea have just splurged a fee that could rise to 39.7 m.

    That is not to tell Chelsea would have been better advised to put more trust in Pasalic, who may leave Stamford Bridge for good this summer. Rather the point is to underline that it is never easy to know how young players are going to develop. At 22 Pasalic is a handy player who did well again on loan at Milan last season and looks likely to have a fine career. Bakayoko, meanwhile, has become more than that, a deft monster who can stomp or glide through topclass midfields and could be heading for superstar status. That evolution owes much to Bakayokos somewhat tardy waken and the influence of a former Chelsea midfielder, Claude Makelele.

    Back when Pasalic was get picked ahead of him, Bakayoko seemed to be at risk of being written off at Monaco. The club, who are among Europes shrewdest recruiters and developers, bought the player as a 19 -year-old from Rennes for around 6m in 2014 but a year later the manager, Leonardo Jardim, had become exasperated by the midfielders failure to progress. That feeling began to form pretty fast after the players infamous debut in August 2014, when Jardim amazingly selected Bakayoko to start against Lorient ahead of the club captain, Jrmy Toulalan, merely to repeal the vote of confidence after 32 minutes and haul off the floundering, furious teenager.

    It was more than two months before Bakayoko started another match and, thereafter, the rest of his season was marred by trauma, inconsistency and a relationship between player and manager that Bakayoko admitted was a little broken. Bakayoko felt he was being treated unfairly while the manager believed the player was not helping himself, occasionally turning up late for meetings and not always training with full intensity.

    Bakayoko, who was rejected by Frances prestigious Clairefontaine academy at 14 partly because local schools report indicated he was hard work, but who recovered to build great strides at Rennes, was going through another awkward stage. That pattern continued into the next season, when Pasalic, rather than Bakayoko, tended to play in the position vacated by Geoffrey Kondogbia, sold to Internazionale.

    Timou
    Timou Bakayoko, in action for Monaco against Juventus, can stomp or glide through top-class midfields. Photo: Franck Fife/ AFP/ Getty Images

    In January 2016 Monaco appointed Makelele as technical director and the former midfielder made nurturing Bakayoko one of his missions. That was the right influence at the right time because Bakayoko had realised he needed to focus more and had got into contact with one of his former mentors at Rennes, Yannick Menu, to ask for advice. If Menu was the gentle guidebook, Makelele was merciless. He needs confidence but in order to be consistent in his performances he also sometimes needs to be straightened out, jolted, Menu subsequently explained. He can slip into a convenience zone very quickly because Tiemou is a peaceful person , not a rager.

    Bakayoko, encouraged by Menu and challenged by Makelele, to work together to get the best out of himself: no longer could his attitude in educate be questioned and he enrolled in boxing class and began to follow a strict diet. He added muscle to his tall frame and consistency to his game. He suffered fewer traumata, became cursedly difficult to shunt off the ball and loped with it dangerously from box to box. Quickly he became essential to Monaco. When he overwhelmed Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta in central midfield as Monaco beat Paris Saint-Germain early last season, it was a powerful indication of the campaign that was to come from player and squad, a beautiful step towards the fulfilment of extraordinary potential.

    That victory against PSG was also especially satisfying for a Paris-born player “whos been” failed a trial at his hometown club at the age of 11 but likes to wear the No14 as a tribute to the arrondissement in which he grew up in Frances capital city. His mothers are Ivorian and, if Didier Deschamps had not awarded him his first senior cap in March, Bakayoko might have ended up playing internationally for the same country as the player he has always said he would like to resemble, Yaya Tour.

    There are similarities between the styles of the two players but Bakayoko will need to start scoring regularly before any comparing becomes tolerable. But then Tour took a little time earlier in his career to be seen as an unstoppable attacking force and, indeed, once endured a patchy season at Monaco. Bakayokos role at Monaco even during his marvellous last season made him the least assaulting midfielder in an exceptionally offence-oriented side. Bakayoko, one feelings, can get even better. He could prove a spectacular addition to Chelsea if he is encouraged to add goals to his game for the purposes of the relentless prodding of Antonio Conte.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Kevin Durant spurns Trump as squads vow to fund Confederate statue removal

    2 months, 13 days ago

    Kevin Durant is the latest athletics starring to disassociate himself from Donald Trump

    Kevin Durant is the latest sports starring to disassociate himself from Donald Trump.

    The NBA finals MVP said he will not join his team-mates should the Golden State Warriors visit the White House to celebrate their championship win earlier this year. Nah, I wont do that, Durant told ESPN. I dont respect whos in office right now.

    On Tuesday, the NBAs biggest superstar, LeBron James, took a swipe at Trump, describing him as a so-called chairwoman who has constructed abhor fashionable. This week Trump has been sharply denouncedfor defending some of the far-right marchers involved in the recent violence in Charlottesville, telling: Not all of those people were neo-Nazis , not all of those people were white supremacists.

    On Saturday, a woman was killed after a vehicle was intentionally driven into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville.

    Teams traditionally visit the White House after a championship victory, although the Warriors have yet to receive a formal invitation. There have been rumors Golden State will boycott the ceremony. The teams coach-and-four, Steve Kerr, has been critical of Trump in the past.

    I dont agree with what[ Trump] agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that, said Durant, who added he did not speak for his squad. Thats only me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, theyll all agree with me.

    Durant said he has no doubt that Trump is having a negative effect on race relations in the US. Hes definitely driving it, Durant told. I feel ever since hes got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and its not a coincidence. When[ Barack] Obama was in office, things were appearing up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.

    So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it merely felt like we took a turning for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have person in office that doesnt care about all people, then we wont go anywhere as a country. In my views, until we get him out of here, we wont insure any progress.

    The violence in Charlottesville came after white supremacists gathered to protest the removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee. On Thursday, Trump condemned the removal of such beautiful statues and monuments. Some professional sports team disagree: on Thursday, Tampa, Floridas teams the Lightning( NHL ), the Rays( MLB) and the Buccaneers( NFL) said they would help fund the removal of a Confederate statue that stands in front of the local courthouse.

    Tampa Bay Lightning (@ TBLightning)

    A joint statement from us, @raysbaseball,& @tbbuccaneers regarding the movement to remove the Confederate monument from downtown Tampa. pic.twitter.com/ U87JQsYXO4

    August 17, 2017

    Also on Thursday, another squad built steps to break with its past. The Boston Red Sox principal owner, John henry, said the team would lead efforts to rename Yawkey Way, on which Fenway Park stands. The street is named for Tom Yawkey, owned of the team from 1933 until his death in 1976. During his tenure, Yawkey earned a reputation for represent one of the most racist figures in baseball. His beliefs were the main reason why the Red Sox were the last of the pre-expansion MLB clubs to accept black players. They did not have an African American player until calling up Pumpsie Green in 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson violated major league baseballs color line.

    The Red Sox dont control the naming or renaming of streets, Henry told the Boston Herald in an email. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can particularly in our African American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully.

    Professional sports in the US have insured a number of protests over the past year. Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett are among the NFL players to have sat out the national anthem in protest at racial injustice in the US. Durant paid tribute to their efforts on Thursday. As far as whats going on in our country, for one as canadian athletes, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3[ Chris Paul ], Dwyane Wade for starting that dialogue last year. Russell Westbrook also said something … A lot of guys with platforms have drove the conversation in a good direction. And whats going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Powered by WP Robot