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chess

Chess Grandmaster Quits Abruptly During Game, Fueling Cheating Scandal

Chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen abruptly quit an online chess match against Grandmaster Hans Niemann Monday, sending shockwaves throughout the chess community. Commentators are speculating that Carlsen believes Niemann cheated during their previous match.

ncaa

More Plaintiffs Join Lawsuit v. NCAA Claiming Student Athletes Deserve Pay

Former Villanova University football player Ralph “Trey” Johnson sued the N.C.A.A. in November 2019, claiming that college athletes should be considered employees at the schools they play for under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The case has grown since then, with several former athletes joining as plaintiffs and seeking to form a class-action lawsuit.

This case is one of many blows the N.C.A.A. has taken to its current model of the relationship between athletes, their schools and the N.C.A.A.

In a statement, Johnson said that the lawsuit was “not about being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The case was also not restricted to a few select athletes with endorsement deals.

“We are simply asking the N.C.A.A. to pay its student-athletes the basic minimum wage as required by federal law. They pay the students who tear the tickets and sell popcorn at our games. The least that the N.C.A.A. can do for those who bring so much money to the N.C.A.A. and its schools would be to pay them the minimum wage.”

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In June 2021, the Supreme Court passed a unanimous decision in the case N.C.A.A. v. Alston to uphold a lower court’s ruling that the N.C.A.A. restrictions on “education-related benefits” for college athletes violated antitrust laws. These benefits included scholarships for graduate school, payment for academic tutoring and paid post-eligibility internships.

Though the Supreme Court case did not debate the issue of compensation, it was one of the first major blows to the N.C.A.A.’s status quo. Over the last two years, several states have passed legislation that challenged the N.C.A.A.’s rules prohibiting athletes from profiting off their NIL—name, image and likeness. Congress in both parties have proposed new legislation that would grant student athletes long-term medical care and a portion of the revenue they generate.

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The National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, released a memo stating that she considered college athletes employees under federal law. The memo states that Abruzzo would consider referring to the “employees as mere student-athletes,” violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. It was a sign that the N.L.R.B. would be willing to pursue claims against colleges, conferences and the N.C.A.A. on behalf of the students.

“The broad language of Section 2(3) of the Act, the policies underlying the N.L.R.A., Board law, and the common lawfully support the conclusion that certain Players at Academic Institutions are statutory employees, who have the right to act collectively to improve their terms and conditions of employment.”

The case is currently in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. If the case is ruled in favor of the athletes, it will counter the Seventh and Ninth circuit’s rulings. The conflicting rulings would increase the likelihood that the Supreme Court would step in to make a final decision.

In 2021, the N.C.A.A. made $1.15 billion in revenue and distributed the bulk of it to its 1,200 member schools.

49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo’s Return To The 49ers Could Mean Bad News For Trey Lance

The 49ers recently signed a new one-year contract over the course of the 2022 NFL season with Jimmy Garoppolo.

“The 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo agree to a restructured contract worth $6.5 million guaranteed,” the NFL tweeted recently. 

This could act as a benefit for the veteran quarterback, but it could have a different effect on Trey Lance.

Even though Garoppolo had already previously said his goodbyes to the team and fans in San Francisco, the team decided that it would be in the best interest of the team to create a new contract in order to keep him on the team. 

However for Lance, the addition of keeping Garoppolo on the team adds extra pressure due to him starting as Quarterback 1. 

Throughout the offseason, Lance has been struggling as he is heading into his first year on the 49ers as a lead offense player. 

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During training camp, Lance’s completion rate has been under 30% and during his preseason appearances, he completed a total of 11 out of 16 attempts for 141 yards and only scored one touchdown.

There is a lot of pressure when someone young takes over a starting position on a team. Luckily, there is a small chance that their coach will immediately pull Lance if he makes a bad decision on a play. 

Over the course of the 2021 season, both Lance and Garoppolo spoke out about lack of awkwardness between the both of them even though there is a natural hierarchy between the two. 

Garoppolo is familiar with leading a team in the NFL whereas Lance is still learning. 

“I think we could probably all agree last year that the best quarterback to lead the 49ers was Jimmy Garoppolo. Now, they made the no-questions-asked Trey Lance is the starter, ‘We’re moving on.’ Now it’s not so clear cut that the number one quarterback is the number one quarterback, and the onus is certainly on Trey Lance to prove it every week,” said NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.

Even before the 49ers have found some controversy within the quarterback. 

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Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch (players in the NFL) have noticed that Lance is going to have some challenges in the upcoming season, but the 49ers have done all they can to make sure there is a replacement waiting in case he makes a mistake. 

In the end, if Lance ends up not being able to meet the expectations that is expected of him, Garoppolo will be called on to take over the position as quarterback. 

 

cowboys

Dallas Cowboys’ Tyron Smith Out Of Season Until At Least December Due To Knee Injury

Right before the opening of the season, the Dallas Cowboys will be starting without their Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. 

In Wednesday’s practice, Smith suffered an avulsion fracture to his knee and tore his left hamstring which will require surgery. Recent reports say that Smith won’t return to the field until the earliest possibly December, if he returns at all this season.

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Smith was on a running play during practice and fell to the ground as he went to make a block against the Cowboys’s linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

“The 31-year-old went down in practice with a non-contact injury but was able to walk off under his own power,” reported the NFL.

After the injury, Smith was found leaving the locker room after practice and to others, he didn’t appear to be limping from the recent injury that was sustained. The initial tests came back and indicated that the ACL in his knee was still intact. 

 

“He gave me a nice reassuring grunt like he usually does. That’s the one thing playing next to him for so long, I can decipher his grunts. I think he’s all right,” said Left guard Connor McGovern.

 

This isn’t the first time that the Cowboys have had to play without Smith’s presence on the field. 

Smith also missed 20 games over the past two seasons and hasn’t played in an entire season since 2015. 

Over the last couple of seasons, he has suffered from other knee, ankle, neck and elbow injuries. He missed 14 games over the 2020 season due to his neck injury and 6 games in the 2021 season due to an ankle injury and having some time on the COVID list. 

The Cowboys are now trying to evaluate potential free agents for the offensive tackle spot but are having trouble finding help within the position. Any and all efforts to find assistance has now intensified. 

The options that are available with the team’s current roster doesn’t come with much experience.

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Back in April, the Cowboys drafted left tackle Tyler Smith from Tulsa within the first round and rotated him between the left guard and left tackle position. Their intent was to have Smith start at left guard but have him prepared to slide into left tackle in case Tyron Smith suffered an injury at any point of the season.

Tyler Smith was originally planned to play left guard for this season but still hasn’t taken the job from McGovern. In the most recent training camps, he did some left tackle reps but still played mostly guard positions.

Tyler Smith is still the Cowboy’s plan for the long run in the position at left tackle. 

Golden State Warriors Launch Golden State Entertainment To Produce Documentaries, Music, And Events

The Golden State Warriors have announced the launch of Golden State Entertainment (GSE), a new affiliate company that will be used to create original content and tell compelling stories that are “rooted in and transcend the world of sports and entertainment,” according to the NBA

GSE announced that they will be producing documentaries, collaborating with recording artists on musical releases and new marketing/partnership opportunities, as well as hosting a slew of culturally relevant events that speak specifically to the Bay Area, as well as the world. 

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David Kelly is the Warriors Chief Legal Officer, and will now also be the Chief Business Officer of Golden State Entertainment.

“It is an honor to be a part of this new chapter in the Warriors story. Audiences demand compelling content that speaks to them on a visceral level,” said Kelly. 

“With the launch of Golden State Entertainment, we are excited to create content that celebrates the nuances of our experiences as athletes, artists, and members of diverse communities in ways that not only entertain, but hopefully create opportunities for learning and deep engagement.”

Kelly also discussed how GSE and Mandalay Sports Media are currently collaborating on a production of a feature-length documentary exploring the cultural legacy of prominent sports figures throughout the industry. 

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GSE is also currently collaborating with Frank Chi and the team behind the Academy Award-winning short film “Two Distant Strangers” for another upcoming documentary set to premiere this summer. 

In terms of music, GSE has already collaborated with KPop star BamBam on the new single “Wheels Up,” which will be released this Friday, April 22nd. BamBam already debuted the single during a live halftime performance at the Warriors regular season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 7th. 

“Wheels Up” also features MAYZIN, an Oakland-based recording artist who recently signed a multi-album recording contract with GSE. This would also make MAYZIN the entertainment company’s lead artist. 

“Music has such a rich history in the Bay Area. Being the lead artist for Golden State Entertainment provides an opportunity to be a voice that reflects and is understood by the community.”

According to the NBA, “GSE is the entertainment and content vertical under the larger company umbrella that encompasses the six-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, Santa Cruz Warriors, Chase Center, the Golden Guardians and Warriors Gaming Squad.”

Football Player

Despite COVID And Vaccine Controversies, NFL Ratings Are Better Than Ever

Everything seemed to be pointing the wrong way for the NFL’s ratings heading into 2021. The previous year saw record-lows, and the league has been right in the middle of COVID-19 vaccine feuds. However, they’re managed to overcome the predictions and have soared to rating highs.

The FBI’s Lack Of Action Against Larry Nassar Allowed Him To Sexually Abuse 70 Girls

Between the the first complaints made to the FBI regarding Larry Nassar’s horrific abuse and the time it actually took for the agency to take action against him, Nassar was able to sexually abuse about 70 girls.

Covid Outbreaks Among Unvaccinated LA County Children Linked To School Sports

Health officials in Los Angeles County are reporting an increased spread of Covid-19 among unvaccinated children. As of right now, the officials are mainly connecting the increase to the start of school sports.

Barbara Ferrer, LA County’s Health Director, held a media briefing last week in which she called the initial increases in infections among unvaccinated children “somewhat sobering.” 

“While coronavirus case rates amongst almost all other age groups in the county declined in recent weeks, cases among unvaccinated children rose from 73 per 100,000 in May to 307 cases per 100,000 by August 14th.”

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“Though it’s still low, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate for unvaccinated children is also much higher than the virtually nonexistent hospitalizations among vaccinated children. We anticipate an upward trend in outbreaks as our schools have reopened, but we’re continuing to work hard to prevent, investigate, and manage them as they happen,” Ferrer said.

Between August 16th and August 22nd there were 3,186 new Covid cases reported at K-12 schools, according to the county health department. A large portion of those cases have come from the LA Unified School District, where children are required to be tested weekly. 

LA County has been reporting three Covid-19 outbreaks a week, and each outbreak impacts dozens of students. Ferrer claims that of the 14 school outbreaks the county saw this month about half could be directly tied to school sports. 

Between July 30th and August 20th there were nine different outbreaks among high school dance and cheerleading teams that involved 131 students. Ferrer says that these outbreaks were tied to multi-day indoor camps “which took place outside L.A. County and brought together students from different schools that each abided by different masking policies,” she added.

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that LA County cancel all high-risk sports and extracurricular activities, or hold them virtually. However, LA County is seeming to ignore that advice.

As of right now, LA County is relying on masking, quarantine, and testing policies in its schools among students and faculty. Ferrer did say that the county would be changing its guidance to require a negative Covid-19 test from all athletes and staff members within 72 hours of competition. 

“Masks are also required for all participants indoors, regardless of vaccination status. And the county has also been encouraging schools to move practices and games outdoors whenever feasible, and reduce capacity indoors. I do join with you in wishing that it was a lot simpler, and that rules didn’t need to change, but the virus has changed, and we all need some flexibility to adapt to this more dangerous variant,” Ferrer said.

At LAUSD, 6,500 students had to miss school during the first week due to Covid-19 outbreaks. If an unvaccinated student gets infected, the district’s current policy states that the student must quarantine for 10 days, or seven days if they test negative six days after exposure and have no symptoms.  

Currently, only children aged 12 and up can get vaccinated against COVID-19. L.A. County or other city sites make it easier for residents to get the shot without an appointment.

Paralympics Bar All Fans From Attendance Due To Covid-19 Concerns

Just as all fans were recently banned from the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, organizers for the Paralympics this year announced that all spectators will be barred from the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the Olympics some fans were able to spectate from outlying areas away from Tokyo, however, for the Paralympics organizers are planning on barring all fans with the exception of some children for a couple of events. Organizers are also telling the public not to come out to view any road events. 

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International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons, organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa all met last week to finalize these decisions before announcing it to the public. 

The Paralympics begin on August 24th with about 4,400 athletes projected to participate. The Olympics this year had around 11,000 athletes, so the smaller scale should hopefully make it easier for organizers to manage health and safety procedures. 

The announcement also comes as Japan, and Tokyo specifically, sees a rise in Covid-19 case numbers. Parsons spoke at a news conference where he proclaimed that there was no room for complacency in the wake of the Olympics. 

“In light of the current case numbers in Tokyo and wider Japan, everyone attending these games must be vigilant.” 

New Covid-19 infections tripled in Tokyo throughout the 17-day period that the Olympics were occuring, however, local health expert’s haven’t directly linked the rise in cases to the Games themselves. Experts instead believe that the Olympic games caused a lot of the public to get distracted and put them into a false sense of security. 

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced this week that a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas will be extended until September 12th; the current state of emergency has been in place since July 12th and was initially meant to end later this month. 

“The surge in infections is reaching alarming record highs,” Suga said.

This past Friday Tokyo logged around 5,800 new cases, and on Sunday it logged about 4,300 more. This rise in infections has put an extreme strain on Japan’s healthcare system and its workers.

Dr. Haruo Ozaki, president of the Tokyo Medical Association, said in an interview that “a significant number of people are still unvaccinated, and characterized the virus situation for the Paralympics as worse than it was during the Olympics.”

About 37% of the Japanese population is thought to be fully vaccinated at this point. Ozaki said the decision to not have fans at the Paralympics was a “minimum necessity, holding the event in general is a political decision, but the judgement by the medical side is that it will be difficult. 

“The Olympics is a festival and might have affected the people in ways to loosen up and served as an indirect cause of rising cases.”

Olympics

Sydney McLaughlin Wins Gold In World Record Time For 400m Hurdles 

Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad of the United States and Femke Bol of the Netherlands delivered an amazing 400m hurdles race at the Olympic finals for the sport. In the final strides of the race McLaughlin overtook both her competitors to win in 51.46 seconds, breaking the world record for the best 400m flat time set in 1970, as well as beating her own personal record. 

“You need somebody who’s going to push you to be your best, and I think that’s what we do so well. It’s iron sharpening iron. Every time we step on the track it’s always something fast,” McLaughlin explained. 

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“I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go. I just thought: ‘Run your race.’ The race doesn’t really start till hurdle seven. I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had. I’m absolutely delighted.”

Muhammad finished just .12 seconds before McLaughlin: “I was coming at it fast and I could have gone right or left leg and I chose to go on my right leg. I had to shorten my strides but that is just how it goes.”

Bol took bronze with a time of 52.03, meaning for the second day in a row the top two finishers in the Olympic 400m hurdles final had destroyed the world record, and the recipients of the bronze medal have broken the records set just six weeks ago. 

The designers of the trach claim that it contains small pockets of air which help absorb shock while the athletes are running, and it can also create a trampoline effect which gives a 1-2% performance advantage.

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“It definitely feels fast. I can feel that energy return. A lot of people talk about the shoes, but I think it’s one of those tracks that gives you that energy right back and pushes you and propels you forward. Especially when you go into hurdle eight and feel that death. Today I didn’t feel like I was going into death,” Muhhammad explained. 

McLaughlin agreed: “It’s one of those tracks that gives you that energy right back and pushes you forward. Every time you step on the track there seems to be some sort of record broken and it’s really cool to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

Seb Coe, the president of World Athletics, responded to critics who were curious about if the track helped give the athletes an unfair advantage. 

“Of course there is a balance. We do need to make sure we’re not allowing designs or materials that really transform the sport into something we don’t recognize. But I also don’t want to strangle the innovation that the shoe companies or track manufacturers are bringing to the table.”

McLaughlin credits her coach Bobby Kersee and training alongside Allyson Felix as two of the main factors that helped her win. 

“It’s just about trusting your training, trusting your coach, and that will get you all the way round the track. We’ve practised the last 40m so many times, so it was nothing unfamiliar for me. I just knew I had to go and give it everything I had and dip at the line.”