Athletes have made it clear since the viral recording of George Floyd’s death that sports won’t be a distraction this time. Players are using their platform to continue pressing the issues of police brutality and social injustice despite the return of sports.
The Detroit Lions canceled football practice Tuesday, two days after a police officer shot 29 year-old Black man Jacob Blake at least seven times in the back on Sunday in Kenosha, Wis.
Players and coaches held signs that said, “The World Can’t Go On” and “We Won’t Be Silent.”
The team came together Tuesday morning and decided to cancel practice and highlight social issues. Players addressed the media outside on microphones.
What we’re seeing in sports is something we haven’t seen before. Players and coaches are bringing more awareness to social issues and making it clear that those problems take priority over sports.
The NBA is in the playoffs. Still, Chris Paul and LeBron James admitted that part of their focus is elsewhere.
Raptors star Fred VanVleet has a big series coming up against the Celtics, but he passionately displayed how he feels about the current social state. His team has considered all possible options, which include boycotting.
Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to leave, according to ESPN.
Messi, 33, is one of Barcelona’s greatest players of all time. He has played with the club since he was 17 years old and been a part of 10 La Liga championships.
Messi is under contract until 2021, so it’s not guaranteed that his wish will be granted. ESPN reported earlier this week that any club wanting him would have to pay a €700 million release clause, but Messi is looking into a loophole to void the release.
Getting a player of Messi’s caliber won’t come cheap. Along with the potential clause, he’ll likely be the highest-paid player in the world.
Manchester City is reportedly looking into the idea of adding the world-class striker. It’ll likely be more clubs coming along in the next few days.
Wherever Messi ends up, it’ll take a while to get used to. Messi was like Kobe Bryant with the Lakers or Derek Jeter with the Yankees. Now, he’ll be like Tom Brady heading to the Buccaneers or Brett Favre going to the Jets.
Usain Bolt celebrated his 34th birthday last week with a mask-free party that is believed to have been attended by other athletes, too. Jamaica’s health ministry announced the positive result, and now Bolt is asking everyone who’s been around him to self-quarantine.
“I’m having no symptoms so I am going to quarantine myself and wait on the confirmation, to see what is the protocol and how I should go about quarantining myself,” Bolt added. “Until then, I am saying anyone who has had contact with me should quarantine by themselves just to be safe, and just to take it easy.”
Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey and cricketer Chris Gayle are athletes believed to have been present at the party. Manchester City said Sterling would be tested before being allowed in its bubble. The England star tested negative earlier today.
Bolt’s decision to host a mask-free birthday party hasn’t been received well. Bolt said that he is asymptomatic.
Budda Baker has reset the market at safety. The Arizona Cardinals signed Baker to a four-year $59 million contract extension that makes him the highest-paid safety in NFL history.
Baker plays for a Cardinals team that hasn’t made the playoffs in his career, so some feel that he’s overlooked. One glimpse at his stats, and you’ll see why he’s getting the big bucks.
Baker has made two Pro Bowls in his three seasons, and he’s recorded 100-plus tackles in the last two. He led the NFL with 104 solo tackles in 2019.
One of the most glaring observations of Baker’s stats is his zero career interceptions. He isn’t exactly a ballhawk safety, but he’s still a playmaker. Baker is a jack of all trades. He lines up everywhere in the Cardinals’ defense. He has 18 career tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
Baker’s deal gives an idea of what could come for the next group of safeties. Jamal Adams, Harrison Smith, Anthony Harris, and Justin Simmons all could be looking to top Baker’s deal.
There are no max contracts in the NFL. Being the highest-paid player at a position has more to do with timing than being the best. Baker made good with his timing, and more safeties could be doing so soon.