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Here’s what you need to know right now from the world of sports:
Some people in sports are worth listening to right now
After watching yesterday’s frightening, previously unimaginable and yet sadly predictable events unfold at the U.S. Capitol, it’s hard to care as deeply about sports today.
But a few people from the NBA (the only league with games last night) had some interesting and thoughtful things to say about what happened, so I thought I’d share these:
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr: “A legitimate election is suddenly questioned by millions of people, including many of the people who are leading our country in government, because we’ve decided to, over the last few years, allow lies to be told. So this is who we are. You reap what you sow.”
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green: “Through social media and all these different tools we have at our fingertips today, we’re more aware. But nothing’s changed. We’re still the same America that it’s been. It’s no different. I’ve seen a lot of [statements] of “shoot [the protestors] like [Black people] would’ve been shot.” Nah, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. Stop shooting us. That’s more the battle cry than necessarily shoot them like we would’ve been shot. Just stop shooting us.”
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry: “The fact that people were able to rush in and take over a federal building … if they were people of colour, it would have been a whole different situation.”
This also seems like a good time to re-mention that legendary athletes Bobby Orr, Jack Nicklaus and Brett Favre publicly and enthusiastically supported Donald Trump’s re-election bid in the fall.
Prior to election day, Orr took out a full-page newspaper ad in which he called Trump “the kind of teammate I want” and claimed Trump “has delivered for all the American people, regardless of race, gender, or station in life.” Favre tweeted that he was voting for Trump because he believed the President best represented Favre’s “principles” of “freedom of speech & religion, 2nd [Amendment rights], hard working tax paying citizens, police & military.”
Nicklaus, though, seemed the most detached from reality. He tweeted that Trump had shown “a resolve and a determination to do the right thing for our country” and had “delivered on his promises.” And this gem: “His love for America and its citizens, and putting his country first, has come through loud and clear.”
Dick Pound thinks Olympic athletes should get priority access to the vaccine. Speaking of questionable statements by old guys, the longtime IOC member said “I don’t think there would be any kind of a public outcry” if Canadians set to compete in this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo (the vast majority of them young and extraordinarily healthy) were allowed to jump the queue. Pound argued that taking “300 or 400 vaccines out of several million” is worth it “to have Canada represented at an international event of this stature, character and level” and that it’s “the most realistic way of [the Tokyo Games] going ahead.” Read more about Pound’s comments and how the CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee responded to them here.
Calgary’s winter sports bubble could be growing. A few weeks ago, Curling Canada announced it will host the Scotties, the Brier, the men’s world championship and some other events in a quarantined environment at Canada Olympic Park. Now, Calgary is bidding to hold the 2021 world championships for freestyle skiing and snowboarding there too in late February and early March. Some World Cup competitions are also part of the pitch. Various authorities still need to sign off, but the events would bring in around 500 athletes from around the world. The world championships were originally scheduled for China before being cancelled because of the pandemic. Read more about Calgary’s plan in this story by CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux.
One of baseball’s best players got traded. Cleveland sent four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets along with pitcher Carlos Carrasco for a package of young players. Lindor, 27, has averaged 29 homers and 21 steals in his six big-league seasons and has won two Gold Gloves. But he can become a free agent after the 2021 season and Cleveland doesn’t want to pay him. New Mets owner Steven Cohen will be happy to do so as he looks to put his stamp on the moribund franchise. Read more about the trade here.
The Raptors lost again. Last night’s 123-115 defeat at Phoenix dropped Toronto to 1-6 on the season. That’s only a half game ahead of 1-7 Detroit, which has the worst record in the league. One silver lining: struggling Pascal Siakam had his best game of the season, scoring 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds. It’s still early, but it’s looking more and more like the Raptors just don’t have it this year. If they decide to look to the future, the options include trading Kyle Lowry and/or — splashiest of all — acquiring James Harden. CBC Sports’ Myles Dichter lays out the pros and cons of those paths and of staying the course in this piece.
Coming up on CBC Sports
Skeleton: After declining to send athletes to Europe for the first few World Cup stops of the season, the Canadian team is jumping in for the first races of 2021 on Friday in Germany. Two Canadians are entered in the men’s event at 4 a.m. ET, and two in the women’s at 8:30 a.m. ET. Watch them live here.
Cross-country skiing: The women’s Tour de Ski continues with a 10-km mass start race in Italy. Watch live Friday at 9:35 a.m. ET here.
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