Tag Archives: Sports

1 year ago, sports around the world changed overnight

This is a column by Morgan Campbell, who writes opinion for CBC Sports. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

On the last Saturday in February, Joseph Parker and Junior Fa engaged in a fairly hard-fought, fairly high-stakes, but otherwise unremarkable heavyweight boxing match.

Parker, a two-time world title challenger seeking a third shot at a major belt, pressed the action, belting Fa’s body and scoring points for activity, if not accuracy. And Fa, six-foot-five and previously undefeated, rattled Parker when he connected, but almost never followed up. Instead he employed hit-and-hug tactics reminiscent of former heavyweight champ John Ruiz, whose style was about as spicy as a tub of vanilla ice cream.

What stood out about Parker’s 12-round decision win was the atmosphere. A loud-cheering crowd in an indoor arena sold out and filled to its normal capacity. There were no seating pods to ensure social distancing, no face masks and no virtual fans. These were all real people, shouting at full volume, even though we know close-quarters yelling is an efficient way to spread an airborne virus.

The fight card seemed to have come to us from the pre-COVID past — except the event happened in real time, in New Zealand, where aggressive countermeasures since the dawn of the pandemic have slowed COVID-19 transmission to a trickle.

A contrarian might point out that the day after Parker-Fa, a new COVID-19 case in Auckland prompted a week-long lockdown in New Zealand’s biggest city, but that’s the point. Early, aggressive intervention continues to pay off, and New Zealanders have resumed somewhat normal sports lives. Down there, the single-day case count has never broken 90, and they’re averaging four new cases per day this week. With numbers that low, boxing, Rugby Union and Netball can all unfold before live audiences without fear of any single game becoming a superspreader event.

WATCH | There was so much we didn’t know a year ago:

In the blink of an eye, everything in the sports world changed, culminating in the mayhem that ensued on March 11, 2020. 5:14

A year after the World Health Organization officially declared a COVID-19 pandemic, those snapshots from New Zealand feel like glimpses into an alternate reality. It’s a look at what might have been if we in North America had taken this pandemic more seriously instead of politicizing everything from masks, to vaccines, to settling for takeout from restaurants until it’s safe to gather indoors in big numbers again.

Instead, the pro sports industry continues to push to return to the old normal before medical science and shared responsibility to fellow citizens can bring this virus under control.

A year ago this week, a positive COVID-19 test from Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert served notice that pro sports weren’t immune to this new disease, which had only been identified late in 2019. The league suspended play March 11, when 245 new cases were identified nationwide. A day later, when teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive, the U.S. recorded 405 new cases.

Nearly 12 months later, the league held its all-star game, with around 1,500 fans in person, in Atlanta on Sunday, a day more than 40,000 Americans tested positive. The week preceding the all-star break saw the Raptors — playing in Tampa this season because COVID-19 has severely restricted border crossings — postpone one game and play another two short-handed because of positive tests and contact tracing.

WATCH | Bring It In: What is the future of sports in a post-COVID world?:

Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin, to discuss what changes in the sports world will continue after the Covid-19 pandemic. 4:37

The NFL pressed through full regular season and playoff schedules. That the league kept rolling even as more than 700 players and staff tested positive was spun as a triumph, instead of a sign it wasn’t quite safe to conduct business as usual.

Various sports organizations with upcoming seasons have announced plans to welcome spectators back into venues at varying capacity levels. Major League Baseball’s website keeps a constantly updating list of teams and in-person attendance limits for 2021, while the University of Alabama has announced plans for unrestricted ticket sales at 101,821 seat Bryant-Denny Stadium for football this fall.

These decisions highlight how little we’ve chosen to learn since last March.

Money talks

Teams aren’t trying to fill their stadiums this fall because, like our friends in New Zealand, they recognize vigilance has driven the risk of a new outbreak to almost nil. Canada added more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with 1,631 coming in Ontario alone. In the U.S., the new case count more than doubled overnight, hitting more than 98,000 on March 8.

Organizers are bringing fans back to venues for the money. TV makes all these leagues run — cancelling the Ravens-Steelers game first scheduled for U.S. Thanksgiving reportedly would have cost broadcaster NBC roughly $ 70 million US in ad revenue. If leagues eliminate big swaths of their schedules, they jeopardize billions in broadcast revenue.

But they clearly also miss the money they make selling tickets and beer and game-day trinkets. Sold-out stadiums also signal a return to whatever normal will be, because pandemic fatigue is real, and a lot of people feel we’ve been socially distancing and mask-wearing and obsessively washing our hands long enough. It’s an understandable sentiment. We all want to move around freely again and visit with friends and family without breaking a by-law or risking triggering another outbreak.

But the virus doesn’t care what we feel is normal. It’s going to spread until it mutates, then spread some more, because that’s what viruses do unless we intervene. Here in Toronto, we’ve seen what happens when people try to return to normal just because it seems like time.

In June 2019 Kevin Durant limped into the NBA Finals on a strained calf muscle and a string of missed games. If you had seen him slow-motion strolling through Scotiabank Arena, you wouldn’t have pegged him as ready to play. But this was Kevin Durant, one of the top handful of players in the NBA when healthy. And these were the NBA Finals, the most important competition in the top league in the sport. Stakes don’t get higher. The schedule said it was time for Durant to play. Surely his injured tissue would understand and co-operate.

WATCH | Durant injured in 2019 Finals:

Kevin Durant was injured in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and is likely out for months to come with a ruptured right Achilles. Now there are questions about whether he should have been on the court at all. 3:08

We all saw Durant’s Achilles tendon snap when he planted his foot and tried to drive to the basket early in Game 5 of that series. The injury, surgery and rehab sidelined him for all of 2019-2020, both the standard season and the summer restart on the COVID-free campus near Orlando. His calf and Achilles tendon, it turned out, didn’t care about the stakes or the schedule. Whatever problems existed would only disappear with treatment.

The North American sports world could have learned from Durant’s example. A full recovery beats a fast one.

Or we could look at New Zealand, where citizens and political leaders alike mobilized — or stayed home — to keep the virus from rippling through the population. A year into the pandemic, New Zealanders have full stadiums and a microscopic COVID-19 case load.

Over here, we have a rush to return to normal and hope that it all works out.

But hope isn’t a strategy. It’s just another gamble.

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CBC | Sports News

It’s world championships season for winter Olympic sports

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

Quick note before we get started: no newsletter tomorrow or on the holiday Monday. Back Tuesday.

It’s winter world championships season

Several winter Olympic sports are holding their world championships right now. Here’s what’s going on:

Speed skating

The worlds opened today at the same oval in the Netherlands where Canadians won 11 medals in the two meets that made up the pandemic-shortened World Cup season. Canada got off to a slow start — its best result today was a fifth by Isabelle Weidemann in the women’s 3,000 metres.

But tomorrow could be a huge day with strong Canadian medal contenders in three of the four events. Canada won both World Cup races in the women’s team pursuit and finished second and third in the two men’s team pursuits. Laurent Dubreuil reached the podium in three of the four men’s 500-metre races this season. Watch Friday’s races live from 9 a.m. to noon ET here.

Alpine skiing

Rough weather in northern Italy forced the start of the worlds to be delayed by three days. But they finally got going today and Canada’s Brodie Seger had the race of his life. The 25-year-old, who had never finished in the top 12 of a World Cup or world championship race, came just four hundredths of a second — shorter than a blink of an eye — from winning a medal. He finished fourth in the men’s super-G, which was won by Vincent Kriechmayr for the Austrian’s first world title.

The women’s super-G also went to a first-time world champ from Switzerland: Lara Gut-Behrami, who had previously won five medals at the worlds and another at the Olympics, but none of them gold. Defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin took bronze in her first speed race (super-G or downhill) in more than a year. Marie-Michele Gagnon was the top Canadian, finishing sixth.

The next events are the downhills. Watch the women’s Saturday at 5 a.m. ET and the men’s Sunday at 5 a.m. ET here.

Snowboard and ski cross

Canadian teenager Eliot Grondin won his first world-championship medal today by taking bronze in the men’s snowboard cross event. No Canadians advanced past the quarter-finals in the women’s competition.

The snowboard cross team event goes tomorrow. Watch it live at 6:30 a.m. ET here.

The ski cross world championships are Saturday. Canada’s Reece Howden has won three of the last four men’s World Cup races and leads the season standings. Marielle Thompson ranks second in the women’s chase and has reached the podium in five of the last six events. Watch the world championship races Saturday starting at 6:30 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

Bobsleigh and skeleton

They opened last week with the great German pilot Francesco Friedrich winning his seventh consecutive world title in the two-man event and Kaillie Humphries grabbing her record fourth women’s gold. Her first two (in 2012 and ’13) came while competing for Canada, but she’s won the last two women’s world titles for the U.S. after a bitter falling out with the Canadian program led to her departure.

The skeleton competitions opened today with the first two runs of the men’s and women’s events. The top Canadian was Jane Channell, who’s seventh heading into the final two legs tomorrow.

Canada will have a better shot at a medal in the four-man bobsleigh event, where pilot Justin Kripps’ sled ranks third in the World Cup standings. That race begins Saturday and finishes Sunday. Same for the women’s monobob — an event that’s being added to the Olympics next year. Watch all the bobsleigh and skeleton world championship races live here.

Sainte-Marie, Quebec’s Eliot Grondin captured a world championship bronze medal in snowboard cross Thursday in Idre Fjäll, Sweden. 4:59

Quickly…

The head of the Tokyo Olympics is reportedly stepping down. Organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori got himself in trouble last week when he complained that meetings with a lot of women in them “take so much time” and that “if their speaking time isn’t restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.” The 83-year-old later issued a ham-fisted apology, but calls for his resignation were still trending on Japanese Twitter today and female politicians wore white to a House of Representatives session to protest Mori’s sexist remarks. Also — and this is probably what really did Mori in — some big Olympic sponsors criticized him after being threatened with boycotts. According to several reports in Japan, Mori will resign tomorrow. Read more about the controversy here.

The Raptors are staying in Tampa for the rest of the season. They’d hoped to return to Toronto for the second half, but ongoing border restrictions and the general pandemic situation forced them to give up on that. Playing out of Tampa’s Amalie Arena, the Raptors started the season 2-8 but have improved since. At 12-13 they sit fifth in the Eastern Conference and can get to .500 with a win at Boston tonight. Maybe some of the “Champa Bay” vibes are rubbing off. Tampa is now home to the reigning Super Bowl and Stanley Cup champions and, by the looks of things, everyone there is living their best life.

Someone in Australia really dislikes Rafael Nadal. A woman was thrown out of his Australian Open match today for heckling Nadal and giving him the finger. It didn’t throw him off: the gentlemanly Spaniard seemed genuinely amused (“Maybe she took too much gin or tequila,” he said later) and cruised to a straight-sets win. Meanwhile, defending women’s champion Sofia Kenin found herself on the wrong side of a blowout, falling in just 64 minutes to 65th-ranked Kaia Kanepi. Tonight, Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime face each other in the men’s third round at 3 a.m. ET. The only other Canadian singles player remaining, Milos Raonic, plays at 1 a.m. ET. Watch video of Nadal’s strange encounter and read more about all the notable Day 4 action here.

And finally…

Remember The Rick Nash Goal? It happened in a Blue Jackets-Coyotes game in the dog days of the 2007-08 season, so there’s no real historical significance to it. But, for pure aesthetics, it’s tough to top Nash’s video-game-like moves to undress a pair of Coyotes defencemen before beating goalie Mikael Tellqvist. For a fresh perspective on one of the prettiest goals ever scored, check out the latest episode of Rob Pizzo’s terrific I was in net for… series. Tellqvist explains how the “sick” play unfolded from his point of view, and how he almost foiled it at the last second. Watch the video here:

In episode 12, Rob Pizzo speaks to goalie Mikael Tellqvist about the time the Blue Jackets star turned the Coyotes inside out. 5:55

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CBC | Sports News

4 UBC Thunderbirds among 16 players taken in CPL-U Sports draft

FC Edmonton took UBC midfielder Thomas Gardner first overall in Friday’s CPL-U Sports draft, one of four Thunderbirds selected in the two-round draft.

Concordia had three players chosen while two each came from the University of Montreal, Mount Royal University and Ontario Tech University.

The 16 players selected will attend pre-season training with the hope of securing a contract. They are eligible for a developmental deal that allows a player to sign with a CPL club while preserving any remaining U Sports eligibility.

The 22-year-old Gardiner was drafted sixth overall in the 2018 draft and 12th overall in 2019, both times by Pacific FC. A native of North Vancouver, Gardner joined the Whitecaps FC residency program in 2011, signing his first pro contract with the USL’s Whitecaps FC 2 in 2015.

FC Edmonton coach Alan Koch, then with the Whitecaps organization, gave Gardner his pro debut in the USL Championship. Gardiner made one appearance for the MLS Whitecaps in a pre-season game against the Portland Timbers in February 2016.

“Tommy is a creative player who we know can play and contribute in the CPL,” Koch said in a statement. “Injury and COVID prevented him from playing in the league previously, and we are excited to welcome him to FC Edmonton.”

WATCH | Coverage of the 2021 CPL – U SPORTS Draft:

Coverage of the 2021 CPL – U SPORTS Draft. 1:01:48

Atletico Ottawa used the second pick on Carleton defender Chris Malekos. Winnipeg’s Valour FC then took six-foot-seven goalkeeper Yuba-Rayene Yesli from the Montreal Carabins.

The 21-year-old ‘keeper, a CF Montreal youth product, spent time with Vibonese Calcio in Italy’s Serie D, helping them earn promotion to Serie C.

“You can’t coach size,” said Valour coach Rob Gale.

York United FC took 19-year-old midfielder Christopher Campoli from Ontario Tech University before Pacific FC chose UBC defender Chris Lee.


Calgary’s Cavalry FC used the sixth pick on midfielder Victor Loturi from Mount Royal University. Loturi spent time with Calvary in 2019.

Carleton forward Stefan Karajovanovic went seventh to HFX Wanderers FC before Concordia defender Garven-Michee Metusala was taken by CPL champion Forge FC to complete the first round.

York took Karajovanovic fifth overall in the 2019 draft.

Valour FC used the 14th overall pick on Carleton defender Tony Mikhael, who has been called up by Lebanon’s under-22 team.

York University defender Reggie Laryea, younger brother of Toronto FC fullback-midfielder Richie Laryea, went 15th overall to Atletico Ottawa. Reggie Laryea has also spent time with the University of Akron and League 1 Ontario’s Sigma FC.

UBC defender Jackson Farmer was taken 16th overall by FC Edmonton. The 25-year-old Edmonton native has won one cap for Canada at the senior level and was a youth international at the U-15, U-18 and U-20 level.

The six-foot-two centre back also played for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, Charleston Battery and Calgary Foothills.

The league says 17 U-Sports draft choices have made CPL rosters since the first draft in 2018. Cory Bent, taken first overall in the last U Sports draft (2019), played 10 games for HFX Wanderers last season.

1st round

1. FC Edmonton, Thomas Gardner, midfielder, UBC; 2. Atletico Ottawa, Christopher Malekos, defender, Carleton University; 2. Valour FC, Yuba-Rayene Yesli, goalkeeper, University of Montreal; 4. York United FC, Christopher Campoli, midfielder, Ontario Tech University; 5. Pacific FC, Chris Lee, defender, UBC; 6. Cavalry FC, Victor Loturi, midfielder, Mount Royal University; 7. HFX Wanderers FC, Stefan Karajovanovic, forward, Carleton University; 8. Forge FC, Garven-Michee Metusala, defender, Concordia University.

2nd round

9. Forge FC, Jose da Cunha, defender, Cape Breton University; 10. HFX Wanderers, Kareem Sow, defender, University of Montreal; 11. Cavalry FC, Ethan Keen, defender, Mount Royal University; 12. Pacific FC, Victory Shumbusho, forward, UBC; 13. York United FC, Danial Rafisamii, midfielder, Ontario Tech University; 14. Valour FC, Tony Mikhael, defender, Carleton University; 15. Atletico Ottawa, Reggie Laryea, defender, York University; 16. FC Edmonton, Jackson Farmer, defender, UBC.

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CBC | Soccer News

The GameStop frenzy even touched sports

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

The GameStop saga has some sports links

In case you’re foggy about the hottest story on the internet at the moment, here’s a quick explainer:

GameStop is a retail chain that sells video games and related equipment. Like a lot of brick-and-mortar outfits, the company has been losing money for years. Betting that its downward spiral would continue in a pandemic, some traders shorted GameStop stock. That’s when you borrow stock from a broker, sell it right away and hope for its price to fall. That way, you can buy it back for a lower price, return the shares you borrowed and pocket the difference. Pretty standard stuff on Wall Street.

Until, that is, a bunch of amateur traders who congregate on the popular Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets noticed that some big-time hedge funds had shorted billions worth of GameStop stock and decided to stick it to them. They did this by buying (and encouraging each other to accumulate even more) GameStop stock and/or options, causing the share price to go up (and up and up). They also weaponized social media by shaming (even harassing) establishment types who suggested publicly that the stock was dangerously overinflated and people should sell.

This army of small-time traders gobbling up GME stock (and refusing to sell it) created a nightmare for anyone with a big short position. Faced with theoretically unlimited losses if they didn’t act, the short-sellers had little choice but to buy the dwindling supply of available shares at inflated prices so they could pay back the shares they’d borrowed and stop the bleeding. These purchases, of course, caused the stock’s value to rise even higher and faster.

How high and fast? Well, back in the summer, a share of GME was trading for about four bucks US. A few weeks ago it was up to around $ 20. Two days ago, it became the most-traded stock in the United States. This morning, it peaked at almost $ 470 before finally (and inevitably) tumbling. Bottom line: those savvy amateurs made out like bandits at the expense of the deep-pocketed shorters who do this for a (very nice) living. The Joes beat the pros.


Wall Street short sellers have been caught in a short squeeze on GameStop shares in recent weeks as they have been forced to buy in at higher and higher prices to cover their bets. (Alex Kraus/Bloomberg News)

Some of the hedge-fund types that lost a boatload are now complaining that it’s wrong for a band of renegades on the internet to be able to manipulate stock prices like this. They’re warning of a dangerous rise in “meme stocks” after buying stakes in dying companies became a craze over the last few days. Shares in the pandemic-ruined AMC movie theatre chain quadrupled yesterday before coming back to earth. People were rushing to buy Blackberry!

But others (including the renegades themselves) are hailing the r/WallStreetBets traders as anti-establishment heroes — little guys beating the big guys at their own game. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who still fancies himself a disruptor, and Golden State Warriors minority stakeholder Chamath Palihapitiya cheered them on via Twitter.

At least two other sports owners are directly involved in the GameStop mayhem — and, unfortunately for them, not on the right side.

Gabe Plotkin is one of the two New York-based investors who bought a sizable piece of the Charlotte Hornets from majority owner Michael Jordan in 2019. He’s also the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Melvin Capital — the hedge fund that took perhaps the biggest hit on GameStop. To stay on its feet, Melvin took a $ 2.75-billion bailout from two other hedge funds. A reported $ 750 million of that came from the fund owned by Plotkin’s old boss, Steven Cohen, who’s the new owner of the New York Mets. Cohen’s Point72 is reportedly down 15 per cent this year, partly due to its positions in GameStop.

Mets fans are understandably scarred by their experiences with the team’s previous owners, the Wilpon family, who initially profited from and then got burned by Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Now some are worried that Cohen’s involvement in the GameStop bloodbath might cause him to renege on his promise to reverse the Mets’ penny-pinching ways. But they can relax. With an estimated worth of more than $ 14 billion, Cohen is three times richer than the next-wealthiest Major League Baseball owner.

If you want a more in-depth explainer on the GameStop saga and what comes next, by someone who actually covers business, check out this piece by CBC News’ Pete Evans.

An animated explanation of how people make money from stocks losing value 0:46

Quickly…

Rebecca Marino says she “feels like a different person.” She’s playing like one too. The 30-year-old Canadian tennis player recently earned her first Grand Slam berth in eight years by winning three straight Australian Open qualifying matches. She was ranked as high as 38th in the world in 2011 before stepping away from the sport in 2013 for almost five years as she battled physical and mental-health issues. Her current ranking is a humble 313th, but Marino says she’s in a far better place personally. Her message for others going through a difficult time? “That period of your life is not forever. And if you do the right things to get yourself into a better mental state, whether it’s talking or other different steps to take care of your mental health, it’s obviously very important. And I feel like had I not done that, I wouldn’t be in this position I am right now.” Read more about Marino’s battles and her comeback here.

One of the WNBA’s biggest stars is changing teams. Candace Parker spent her first 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, winning a championship and two MVP awards with them. The 34-year-old forward/centre isn’t quite the scorer she was in her prime, but she still led the Sparks last year with 14.7 points per game, tied for the league lead in rebounds with 9.7 and was named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. WNBA free agents can’t officially sign until Monday, but Parker says she’s headed to her hometown team, the Chicago Sky. Read more about her move here.

Kyle Lowry scored his 10,000th point as a Raptor. He’s the third player to reach that many in a Toronto uniform, joining DeMar DeRozan (13,296) and Chris Bosh (10,275). Just in case you were wondering: the highest-scoring player in Vancouver Grizzlies history is Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who had 7,801 over five seasons before the franchise moved to Memphis. Read more about Lowry’s milestone night here.

Coming up on CBC Sports

We’re in the thick of the winter Olympic sports season, and on Friday you can live stream World Cup competition in skeleton, luge, Nordic combined and speed skating. The latter looks the most enticing after Canadian speed skaters won five medals at last week’s season-opening meet in the Netherlands. Watch this week’s races live starting Friday at 8:50 a.m. ET here. For the other sports, check the full streaming schedule here.

If you’re looking for a taste of summer sports, the semifinals of the men’s world handball championships start Friday at 11:20 a.m. ET and you can watch them here. You can also watch the Canadian Premier League’s draft for collegiate players at 3 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

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CBC | Sports News

Sports worship winners, but Donald Trump is recent history’s sorest loser

This is a column by Morgan Campbell, who writes opinion for CBC Sports. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

If you wanted early clues to how Donald Trump’s presidency would unfold, you needed only examine his record as a sports industry mogul.

You could, for example, single out Trump’s bad-faith invocation of the war clause in a contract to host the Evander Holyfield-George Foreman heavyweight title fight at one of his struggling Atlantic City hotels in 1991. The clause allowed parties to void parts of the deal if war broke out on U.S. soil, but Trump refused to pay promoters the agreed-upon site fee when U.S. troops launched Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait.

That act of chicanery allowed the future president to slither out of a deal he thought would lose money, cost promoters $ 2.5 million US in revenue, and foreshadowed 2019, when Trump declared a specious national emergency hoping to force funding for his still-under-construction border wall.

Trump wasn’t a complete failure as a sports executive. As owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals, he ordered the team’s coaches — until then reluctant to overuse Herschel Walker — to feed the superstar running back all the carries he could handle. Walker responded by shattering records, rushing for 2,411 yards in 1985.

Of course, sports business success involves solving problems more complex than whether to give the ball to a once-in-a-generation talent like Walker. Trump’s long-term plan, expertly chronicled in Jeff Pearlman’s Football for A Buck, was to steer the USFL into head-to-head competition with the NFL, then force the NFL to absorb the Generals into the league and Trump into its exclusive club of owners.

WATCH | Bring It In: Breaking down sports fallout from Capitol siege:

Morgan Campbell and Bring It In’s Washington-based panellists Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin discuss the sports fallout from the siege on Capitol Hill 30:32

Except Trump drove the fledgling league straight into a ditch. It folded after three seasons, but won an antitrust suit against the NFL — the judge awarded the USFL a single dollar in damages.

Those details didn’t foretell exactly how Trump’s one-term presidency would end — with an angry mob of his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol building in a spasm of treasonous violence that would lead to five deaths and more than 100 arrests. But Trump’s record as a sports executive did signal a willingness to double-cross partners and create intractable scandals, then leave others behind to clean up his messes.

Trump is bad for business

Trump loyalists like Alabama senator and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville still appear eager to follow the lame-duck president wherever he leads them, but the broader sports world seems, finally, to have figured out Trump is bad for business.

On Sunday, the PGA announced it would no longer hold its 2022 championship at Trump National golf course in New Jersey. Then golf’s worldwide governing body confirmed that the British Open would not return to Turnberry, a Trump-owned club in Scotland. And on Monday, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick declined to join Trump at the White House to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

As president, Trump has used sports as a platform for his performative patriotism — witness his call for NFL teams to cut “sons of b—-es” who kneel during pre-game anthems. And he has used sports to launder his image — witness his posthumous pardoning of heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in 2018, and subsequent photo-op with prominent Black boxers like Deontay Wilder and Lennox Lewis.

But after a gang of far-right marauders ransacked the Capitol and slayed a cop in Trump’s name, leagues are cutting ties and Trump is discovering he can no longer Stick to Sports.

“It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand,” said PGA of America President Jim Bridgerton in a video statement. “It was a decision made to ensure that PGA of America and the PGA Professionals can continue to lead and grow our great game.”

That severed relationship might cut Trump as deeply as being dumped by Twitter did. According to TrumpGolfCount.com, the outgoing president has spent 298 days playing golf since taking office, costing taxpayers roughly $ 144 million.

The sport is so important to him that in early 2018 he dispatched then-ambassador to the U.K Woody Johnson, a former owner of the NFL’s New York Jets, to lobby the British government to send the British Open to Turnberry.

WATCH | Trump supporters storm Capitol Hill:

An angry mob of U.S. President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed into the U.S. Capitol Building as Congress was preparing to certify the results of November’s election after Trump repeatedly said the election was rigged against him. 7:16

Britain’s government turned Johnson down as quickly as Belichick did this week. And the knowledge that he couldn’t lure an NFL coach to Washington for another photo-op, even when offering the nation’s highest civilian honour, must also sting. To the extent that Trump can muster loyalty to entities besides himself, he’s a New England Patriots fan. Team owner Robert Kraft even gifted him a ring the last time New England won the Super Bowl.

But Belichick, correctly, deduced that accepting a medal from Trump a week after the president’s supporters overran senate chambers would help normalize deeply troubling acts.

“I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honour represents and admiration for prior recipients,” Belichick said in a statement. “Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award. Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy.”

Trump still has sport-connected allies working to overturn president-elect Joe Biden’s election victory. Inside the Capitol, Tuberville and Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, wrestling coach at Ohio State during that program’s sex abuse scandal, are on the record opposing the certification of November’s election results. And the violent gang breaking into the building included Klete Keller, a gold-medal winning swimmer who skulked through the Capitol rotunda in his Team USA jacket.

But it’s not surprising that prominent sports figures are seeking distance from the outgoing president, not just because he incited an insurrection, but because of how he has behaved since Biden’s clear victory.

Imagine Ohio State football coach Ryan Day dialling up College Football Playoff officials after his team’s 52-24 loss to Alabama in the championship game, then begging him to find him 29 points so he can declare his team the winner and collect a six-figure championship bonus. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s no different from Trump on a recent phone call, pleading with Georgia’s secretary of state to overturn that state’s federal election results.

Or picture Day persuading committee members not to hand the championship trophy to Alabama coach Nick Saban, while spurring armed Buckeye fans to a violent revolt against the very idea of settling championships on the field. Better just to name Ohio State champions in perpetuity.

All of those tactics are par for a Trumpworld course, but will also doom many of his other sports relationships.

The sports world worships winners, and Trump is recent history’s sorest loser.

WATCH | Brint It In: 2020 year in review:

It’s the final episode of Bring It In for 2020, and Morgan Campbell is joined by Dave Zirin, and Meghan McPeak to discuss the biggest sports moments of the year. 21:18

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2020 in sports: photos that defined an unforgettable year

As we ring in the New Year, more than just our view of sport has changed. 

With the spread of the global pandemic, victory and loss have taken on new meaning in 2020. 

As shutdowns took hold in March, the sports world – rocked by waves of cancellations and postponements – struggled to find its footing. 

Locked in a cycle of stutters and halts, the lights may have flickered, but sport – so often considered a mirror to society – became so much more in an era of loss and turmoil. 

It became a voice of conscience.

Here are some moments that helped define an unforgettable year. 

Signs and portends at Aussie Open


While Novak Djokovic may have successfully defended his crown and Sofia Kenin captured her first Grand Slam title, the Aussie Open, in a sign of things to come, already had people wearing masks. As much of Australia burned, after more than a month of raging bushfires, a lingering haze of smoke had spectators and players worried about air quality as practice sessions were temporarily suspended at the year’s first Slam. (Michael Dodge/Associated Press )

The world mourns Kobe 

 
Kobe Bryant along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed during a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in Calabasas, Calif. (Sandy Hooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Sinclair takes over international scoring chart


Canada’s Christine Sinclair, front left, celebrates after scoring her 185th goal (Jan. 29); surpassing American Abby Wambach to become the all-time international scoring leader. (Joel Martinez/Associated Press)

Mahomes becomes youngest QB with MVP trophy and a Super Bowl ring


Patrick Mahomes, right, and Kansas City defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win the Super Bowl thanks to a sensational fourth-quarter comeback. (Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira breaks own world record


Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira broke her own world record by five and a half feet, after surfing a 73.5-foot wave on Feb. 11. at the inaugural WSL Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge event in Praia do Norte, Portugal. (Armando Franca/Associated Press)

Fury re-takes heavyweight throne


Britain’s Tyson Fury, right, dropped Deontay Wilder of the U.S. twice in their heavyweight title rematch on Feb. 22 to win the WBC heavyweight title after Wilder’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round. (Isaac Brekken/Associated Press)

Zamboni driver lives Hollywood moment


When both of Carolina’s goalies were injured during a mid-February game against Toronto, David Ayres, a former Zamboni driver for the Maple Leafs’ AHL team, was called upon to stand between the pipes and, incredibly, he won. After allowing two goals on the first two shots he faced, Ayres and the Hurricanes held on for a 6-3 win that will forever go down in the history books. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Ovi reaches 700


Russia’s Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals scored his 700th goal (Feb. 22), becoming just the eighth player in NHL history to reach the milestone. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

And then…everything stopped 


A staff member sprays disinfectant after the final patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in a sports stadium in Wuhan, China in March. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

NBA goes dark and sports world follows


As the global pandemic took hold, fans were asked to leave the stadium minutes before the Oklahoma City Thunder were scheduled to play the Utah Jazz on March 11. The fallout quickly spread to other leagues as baseball players were sent home, hockey was put on hiatus and the sporting world was suddenly left asking who could be next? (Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports)

Wickenheiser speaks her truth


Hayley Wickenheiser, six-time Olympian and aspiring emergency room physician, sent out a post on social media that was heard around the world. After the IOC insisted that the Tokyo Olympics would go on as scheduled in 2020 despite the pandemic, Wickenheiser famously wrote: “I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity. We don’t know what’s happening in the next 24 hours, let alone the next three months.” (Hayley Wickenheiser/Canadian Press)

Olympics postponed 


With both the Canadian and Australia Olympic committees saying that they either would not, or could not, send a team to the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC finally bowed to the realities of the global pandemic. Handing perhaps the biggest blow to the sporting calendar, organizers rescheduled the Tokyo Games for the summer of 2021. (Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images)

Canada’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif decides he’s needed more off the field, than on it


Months after winning the Super Bowl with Kansas City, Canada’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, right, became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season. Instead, the native of Quebec chose to volunteer in a long-term care facility at the height of the first wave of the pandemic. Ultimately, Duvernay-Tardif decided that if he was going to take a COVID-19 related risk, it would be with patients; not on the football field. His selflessness won him a share of the Lou Marsh Trophy along with Alphonso Davies. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

NHL bubbles up


As leagues started to come back, many Canadian teams flew South. TFC headed to Connecticut, the Jays made a surprising, if short-lived, playoff run, after setting up shop in Buffalo. The NHL, however, hunkered down in Canada, with Edmonton and Toronto serving as host cities for the 24 NHL Stanley Cup playoff bubble. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Reds refuses to be deterred as Liverpool wins 1st title in 30 years


More than 2,000 fans chant and set off flares in celebration outside Anfield as Liverpool lifts the Premier League trophy for the first time in 30 years. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Alphonso Davies scales soccer’s heights 


Canada’s Alphonso Davies, right, shone on soccer’s biggest stage in 2020. Davies won world-wide praise for his athleticism and pace as he helped Bayern Munich hoist the Champions League in August. And, in November, he became the first North American to make FIFA’s all-star squad. All this, plus, the 20-year-old was a co-recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy along with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif as the top Canadian athlete of the year. (Miguel A. Lopes/Getty Images)

NBA players decide slogans aren’t enough and walkout in protest of police shooting of Jacob Blake 


The Milwaukee Bucks kicked off an extraordinary day, in which six NBA teams walked out on their respective NBA playoff games on Aug. 26 in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha Wis. The protest reverberated across the professional sports landscape, leading to further cancellations among some MLB, MLS and WNBA games as players from across the four leagues decided that the best way to use their platforms and demand change was to literally stop playing. (Ashley Landis, Pool/Associated Press )

In night of solidarity, WNBA players pay memorable homage 


In an unforgettable moment in August, WNBA players walked onto the court wearing T-shirts with bullet holes on the back and then walked out in honor of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by police. (@WNBA/Twitter)

Cyclist gets 9-month ban for crash that leaves rival in coma


Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen’s bicycle (left, back) flies through the air as he collides with compatriot Dylan Groenewegen (Left, forward) during the opening stage of the Tour of Poland race in Katowice, back in August. Groenewegen was banned from racing for nine months for causing the sprint-finish crash that left Jakobsen in a coma. (Szymon Gruchalski/Forum/AFP via Getty Images)

California wildfires leave Giants’ stadium resembling horror scene


In September, smoke from a number of California wildfires sent a thick, orange-glowing haze around the San Francisco Bay area, leaving the Giant’s Oracle Park resembling a black-and-orange horror scene. (Tony Avelar/Associated Press )

Djokovic’s self-inflicted wounds lead to unexpected U.S. Open exit


Top-seeded Novak Djokovic was favoured to win the U.S. until he hit a ball in frustration toward the back court, during his fourth-round match, that ended up striking a line judge in the throat. While his actions were unintentional, the 17-time Grand Slam winner was ejected from the tournament. (Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY Sports)

Osaka shows how revealing masks can be 


While Naomi Osaka won the U.S. Open for her third Grand Slam title, she also stood out for speaking out against racial injustice and police brutality. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

Tampa Bay becomes centre of sports verse


Not only did Tom Brady join the Buccaneers in March, but the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in Sept. The Rays almost added a World Series in Oct. and the nearby Heat made the NBA finals. And now, as if that wasn’t enough, they have the Raptors. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Nadal ties Federer’s grand slam record


Rafael Nadal put on a near-flawless performance against Novak Djokovic in the French Open final to draw level with Roger Federer’s record of 20 major singles championships. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Lakers romp to record-tying 17th championship


LeBron James won his fourth title and the Los Angeles Lakers won their first championship since Kobe Bryant’s fifth and final one, a decade ago to draw level with the Boston Celtics for most NBA titles (17). (Harry How/Getty Images)

Turner’s return overshadows Dodgers’ celebration


The Lost Angeles Dodgers won their first World Series championship since 1988 after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in Oct. However, their victory celebration was partially overshadowed by the return of Justin Turner, centre, who had initially been pulled from the game in the seventh inning to self quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. (Eric Gray/Associated Press )

Lewis Hamilton’s record-equalling 7th F1 title


Lewis Hamilton won his seventh world driver’s championship in Novemeber, matching Michael Schumacher’s record. However, the British driver left just as much of an impact off the track as he took a stand against racial injustice, following the death of George Floyd. (Bryn Lennon/Reuters)

Fighting Irish fans encapsulate 2020 like no other


Without care for social distancing, approximately 11,000 fans stormed the field after the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Clemson Tigers 47-40 in double overtime in November. (Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images)

Adios Diego: soccer world says goodbye to global icon


In November the world said goodbye to soccer icon Diego Maradona, the Argentine great who led his nation to World Cup glory in 1986. His passing of a heart attack, mere weeks after his 60th birthday, left the sporting world in shock. (Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

Romain Grosjean escapes horrific F1 crash


Stewards attempt to extinguish flames after Haas’ Romain Grosjean crashed out at the start of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix in November. (Bryn Lennon/Reuters)

Barrier breaker: Sarah Fuller becomes 1st woman to score in Power 5 football game


Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power Five conference game in December. It was a highlight moment in a year filled with female firsts that included, but by no means limited to: Kim Ng becoming the first GM in MLB history; Spur’s Becky Hammon becoming the first woman to coach in the NBA; France’s Stephanie Frappart becoming the first female referee in a men’s Champions League match; and Emily Harrington becoming the first woman to free-climb El Capitan’s Golden Gate route. (@VandyFootball)

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Sports in 2020: Disruptions aplenty, only constant was loss

2020 reminded us that the show mustn’t always go on. Disrupted by the coronavirus, sports stopped cold three months in and then started up again in emptied-out stadiums, stumbling, skidding and finally staggering across the finish line — all the while shadowed by loss.

Celebrations were muted, crowd noise was piped-in and dozens of games were cancelled at the last minute even as the sports industry hemorrhaged jobs. Facing increasingly long odds, some mega-events — the Olympics, March Madness, the Boston Marathon and Wimbledon — pushed the starting line into 2021. Those were hardly the only dislocations.


A staff member sprays disinfectant after the final patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in a sports stadium in Wuhan, China in March. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in late January, and the toll of beloved figures we mourned kept mounting — Diego Maradona, Don Shula, John Thompson and Bob Gibson, among others — until Phil Niekro passed away two days after Christmas. But those moments of unity lasted only so long. Straining under the combined weight of a pandemic and a nationwide reckoning on race, the last few bricks in the wall between sports and politics crumbled and fans and athletes quickly chose sides — take Naomi Osaka, for one, who used her U.S. Open-winning run to speak out on racial injustice.

Time will tell what was won or lost by playing on. Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse experienced both, but wasn’t sure which memories would prove lasting. Easier to settle was what he missed most: everything that goes on around the games themselves.

WATCH | 2020 showed that the sports world is greater than the sum of its parts:

Athletes around the world raised a collective voice in an unprecedented show of power. 5:03

“The `electricity’ in the streets on game day, the tremendous buzz in the city,” said Nurse, who won NBA coach of the year honours, but saw his team’s chances to repeat as champions squashed by the Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Technically that was a “home” game, but it was played in the nearly-empty NBA “bubble.”

“We certainly missed that [energy],” he added.

Sports world ‘plows through’

Stretched between public health concerns and a worsening economy, leagues and teams scrambled to innovate and return to play. With access to robust COVID-19 testing and deeper pockets than most businesses, some sports gathered players in isolated spots — like the NBA’s use of a sports complex at Walt Disney World in Florida — while others attempted to restore some semblance of home-and-away normalcy.

It worked for nearly all of them, but just barely. The Denver Broncos ran out of healthy quarterbacks at one point in the NFL season and the San Francisco 49ers called Arizona home as the coronavirus surged in California late in the season. Preparations to rush back college football and basketball games were so inconsistent from one program to the next, the schedules might as well have been written in invisible ink.

“We’re just plowing through this,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski griped in early December.

“I know the NCAA is worried about the endgame,” he added, referring to plans for the lucrative 2021 NCAA tournament. “They’re not as worried about the game we’re playing right now.”

Germany’s Bundesliga took advantage of their countrymen’s successful effort early in the pandemic and became the first big leaguers on either side of the Atlantic back on the pitch. Even less surprising, its perennial champion, Bayern Munich, beat PSG in the Champions League final, claiming the first major team sports title of the COVID-19 era.

WATCH | From refugee camp to international soccer stardom:

Canada’s breakout soccer star, 19-year-old Alphonso Davies, is now the first member of Canada’s national team to play for — and win — the coveted Champions League as a member of the victorious German team Bayern Munich. Davies, born in a refugee camp in Ghana, has become an inspiration to a new generation of Canadian soccer fans. 2:02

“It was a difficult situation, playing without fans, without atmosphere in the stadium,” said Bayern scoring ace Robert Lewandowski.

“It wasn’t just the specific nature of football. It was also in our private life. This was something new,” he added. “We didn’t want it, nobody did.”

Bayern players celebrated afterward like a team that won a rec league championship, not one of soccer’s grandest trophies. Whatever joy they felt — relief might be more accurate — was tempered knowing the 2020-21 season would kick off barely two weeks later.

Reading the room

Of course, not every champion or their fans celebrated that responsibly. After Liverpool ended a 30-year drought with an English Premier League title in June, some 2,000 fans gathered outside Anfield stadium and set off enough flares to turn the night sky red. Police made no attempt to disperse the crowd.

“It was mostly good-natured,” explained constable Rob Carden. He heaped even more praise on the “overwhelming majority of fans that recognized now is not the time to gather together to celebrate and chose to mark the event safely.”

Try telling that to Los Angeles Dodgers’ slugger Justin Turner. Pulled during the deciding game of the World Series because of a positive COVID-19 result, Turner ran back out on the field for the after-party, hugging teammates and posing for photos without a mask on.

WATCH | Justin Turner celebrates with teammates:

Justin Turner was removed from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays after registering Major League Baseball’s first positive test in 59 days, but he returned to join the celebrations about an hour after the game. 2:16

He subsequently apologized, but defended his “mindset” in that moment: “Winning the World Series was my lifelong dream and the culmination of everything I worked for in my career.”

Now imagine just-as-hungry and even-younger athletes winning one of the more than 300 gold medals handed out, which is one reason why the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee took a pass on 2020. It marked the first time the Games, sports’ biggest global event, had been postponed or cancelled for something other than war.

“It’s a bummer,” said teenage Swedish pole vault world record-holder Armand Duplantis. “But you have to understand the situation, understand that some things are a little bigger than sport.”

LeBron James said as much moments after he and the Los Angeles Lakers wrapped their hands around the NBA championship trophy. James was one of the principals in a growing movement that saw athletes loudly and visibly pushing for social justice reforms like never before. He considered leaving the NBA bubble when the Milwaukee Bucks nearly shut down all of sports again in August by refusing to play a scheduled game after Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

WATCH| Milwaukee Bucks players make joint statement after boycotting Game 5 against Orlando:

After becoming the first team to boycott games in the NBA bubble, the Milwaukee Bucks players made a joint statement to the media. 1:54

“We know we all want to see better days,” James said. “When we leave here, we got to continue to push that. Continue to push [against] everything that’s the opposite of love.”

If only for a moment, the pandemic receded into the background.

“If we can continue to do that, all of us,” James concluded, “would be a much better place.”

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Indigenous leadership needs to be at heart of creating sports programming, says NAIG CEO

On a humid and rainy mid-July night in 2017, thousands of Indigenous athletes from across Turtle Island started gathering at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, preparing for the North American Indigenous Games opening ceremony.

The excitement and anticipation was palpable as a round dance broke out on the street and drums reverberated outside the stadium. Every athlete was carrying a Team 88 flag. Inside the stadium there were Team 88 flags on every seat for spectators. 

In the 200 level suites, which mostly included government leaders, stakeholders and policymakers, there were Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action pocketbooks waiting for every dignitary.

The number 88, in recognition of the TRC’s Calls to Action, became the rallying cry of the Games.

“We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel.”

Chief Executive Officer of NAIG, Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, remembers how inspired she was that evening — and believed that the policy makers and politicians in attendance were fully grasping what sport meant to Indigenous youth.

“We were trying to demonstrate through the opening ceremony the connection between culture and sport for the people who were there,” she told CBC Sports.

“We see the connection to overall health and well-being. From a First Nations lens and Anishinabek lens, we see the interconnectedness in all aspects of health and well-being.”

WATCH | Need for increased Indigenous access to sports:

Duncan McCue, who hosted CBC Sports’ panel on the TRC’s 5 calls to action regarding Indigenous sport, joined Heather Hiscox to discuss where those calls currently stand. 5:15

TRC released 5 years ago

Five years ago today the TRC’s results were released, including 94 “calls to action.” Nos. 87 to 91 called upon governments, national and international sporting officials to collaborate with Indigenous Peoples on several fronts. Those included:

  • Funding for community-based and professional sport initiatives.
  • Providing education on the history of Indigenous athletes.
  • Developing policies for cultural awareness and anti-racism training.

“Sport has the power to heal,” Chief Wilton Littlechild said that July evening. “It’s finally coming around. People are experiencing sport and traditional games as an avenue to heal.”

There was momentum and a spotlight being put on the importance of sports as an avenue for change within the Indigenous community during that athletic and Indigenous celebration in 2017.


Trudeau-Bomberry knows how the power of sport can impact Indigenous communities. (Submitted by Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry)

Trudeau-Bomberry knows all too well the power of sport within Indigenous communities. In fact, much of Trudeau-Bomberry’s life has revolved around sport, from her early days watching her parents curl, to playing lacrosse at Brock University, and now in her role as Chief Executive Officer for the Anishinabek Nation secretariat.

At home on the First Nation, a six-hour drive from Toronto on the eastern part of Manitoulin Island, Trudeau-Bomberry is with her husband and three young children. She’s now seeing in clear view of the gaps that exist in youth community sport programming on First Nations.

“Being at home in the community, having young daughters who you want to be involved in sport, and the opportunities aren’t necessarily there,” she said. 

“Community-based sport in First Nations is a challenge, especially in a pandemic. But I think now more than ever we need to find ways to continue to be active in our homes, yards and out on the land.”

Trudeau-Bomberry says she’s cautiously optimistic about the future, specifically pointing to Canada’s acknowledgement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

She says it’ll be crucial that Indigenous leadership and community members are at the heart of creating sporting programming in the future — one of the biggest concerns is around funding to sports programs as governments try to recover economically from the pandemic.

“The voices of the people in the community are what we need to be listening to in terms of making sure access and safe participation are being met,” Trudeau-Bomberry said.

WATCH | Where does Indigenous sports stand?:

It has been five years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended more access and education in sports for Indigenous people. CBC Sports and CBC Indigenous convened an expert panel to discuss the successes, shortfalls, and unfinished business of the five calls to action on sport. 40:48

Power of change

In June, CBC Sports and CBC Indigenous held a collaborative online panel discussion hosted by CBC’s Duncan McCue.

McCue was alongside Canadian Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller as well as: 

  • Spencer O’Brien, an Olympic snowboarder of the Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations.
  • Trina Pauls, a fourth generation Arctic Winter Games athlete from the Tahltan and Tlingit Nations.
  • Serene Porter, the executive director of partnerships and marketing with the 2021 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).
  • Dr. Lynn Lavallée, an Anishinaabe/Métis instructor at Ryerson University, whose research focuses on Indigenous sport, health and fitness.

At the age of 14, Horn-Miller spent months on the front lines of resistance during the 1990 Oka Crisis and was stabbed in the chest by a soldier’s bayonet.

She won a gold medal at the 1999 Pan American Games and co-captained the first Canadian women’s water polo team in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

During the discussion, Horn-Miller said developing as an athlete was “a cornerstone” in rebuilding her self-confidence while facing discrimination in Canadian and international sport institutions.

Implementing the TRC’s calls to action can become a way to address systemic racism in other areas, she said. 

“I think sport has this incredible capacity to make change,” she said.

Trudeau-Bomberry overwhelmingly agrees with Horn-Miller and echoes her comments regarding the importance of sport in the lives of Indigenous youth.

“It saves lives,” she said.

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