‘F— Drew Brees’: New Orleans marchers respond to Saints QB

Drew Brees got an earful from teammates and other pro athletes, such as LeBron James, for what he said Wednesday about protests during the national anthem. Then people in New Orleans let him have it.

Marchers at a rally to protest police brutality and racial inequality cursed out the longtime Saints quarterback and city icon as they moved down a city street. (WARNING: Obscene language in the below video.)

Brees said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that kneeling for the anthem, which former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016, is disrespectful to the American flag and those who served in the armed forces, such as Brees’ grandfathers.

RIVERA: Brees still doesn’t understand point of protesting

Several current and former Saints players, including Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins, posted their strong disagreement on Twitter. Mark Ingram and Marques Colston also weighed in.

More backlash came from two high-profile New Orleans/Louisiana people.

Pro Football of Famer Ed Reed (born in Saint Rose) called a Brees a “chump” and a “punk” in an Instagram video. “I see Drew Brees is doing his part in keeping black folk down,” Reed opened.

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Actor Wendell Pierce (born in New Orleans) wrote of the experiences of his father, who he said is a World War II vet just like Brees’ grandfathers. The main difference in his father’s service, Pierce said, was how he was treated when he returned stateside.

Luke Johnson, who covers for the Saints for The Advocate and The Times-Picayune, wrote that as someone who served in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was not bothered by players taking a knee.

“I’m simply asking you to hear this, from me, one service member among thousands: I love my country, and I love the flag that represents it, but my service was never for pieces of land or fabric. The four years I spent in the Marine Corps were given to protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

Freedoms like protesting injustice, and by calling racism by its name when you see it. Nothing gets more American.”

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LISTEN: Will Greenwood’s podcast – Michael Johnson

Legendary sprinter Michael Johnson joins Will and Rupert to discuss racism, Usain Bolt and Jonny May.

Johnson won four Olympic gold medals plus eight World Championship titles over 200 and 400 metres during his career and is widely regarded as one of the greatest sprinters ever.

While police and protesters across the US clash over the death of George Floyd, Johnson gives his views on the current political situation in the USA and the responsibility athletes of stature have.

Now a successful pundit, Johnson also runs Michael Johnson Performance, a centre which aims to help every athlete reach his or her full athletic potential, regardless of age, gender, limitation, sport or natural ability.

He speaks about his centre and how it has helped England winger Jonny May as well as Harry Mallinder.

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Super Rugby Aotearoa to trial golden point and red-card replacements

New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams will be able to replace red-carded players and drawn matches may be decided by a golden-point tiebreaker when the country’s domestic competition starts on June 13, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said on Tuesday.

The changes are aimed at making the game more exciting for fans and will be trialled during the 10-week event which will kick off with a game between Otago Highlanders and Waikato Chiefs in Dunedin.

Players who receive a red card can be replaced 20 minutes after they are sent off and will not be allowed to return to the field.

“There are no winners when a player is red-carded, but paying rugby fans, players and coaches want to see a fair contest. Replacing a player after 20 minutes strikes the right balance,” NZR’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said.

If a match is tied after regular time, the first team to score by a drop goal, penalty kick or try during a 10-minute extra time period will be awarded the win.

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Coronavirus: World Rugby approves trials for laws to reduce risk of infection

World Rugby has approved ten domestic law trials designed to provide further coronavirus transmission risk reduction measures if required.

Temporary law trials relating to the scrum, tackle, ruck and maul were approved along with a package of best-practice match hygiene measures.

  • Slade: Move to 13 ‘a bit of a shock’
  • World Rugby rejects UK-based tournament

Each measure aims to reduce individual cumulative exposure to these contact activities, which are generally accepted as presenting the highest coronavirus transmission risk.

Implementation by unions will be entirely based on their territory-specific requirements and respective government advice and directives.

The trials are informed by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance, which determines high transmission risk as being 15 cumulative minutes within one metre of an infected person.

The law trials were considered by the specialist Law Review Group (LRG) comprising coaches, players, match officials, medics and law specialists, following a detailed analysis of 60 matches.

Comprehensive game analysis enabled an evidence-based approach to developing the temporary trials that limit scrum contact and time, lower the tackle height and speed up ball distribution from rucks and from mauls.

The trials provide limits to scrum options with no scrum resets, limits for players joining rucks and mauls, time to play the ball at the base of scrums, rucks reduced from five to three seconds and only one movement permitted for a maul.

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World Rugby rejects idea of UK-based tournament

World Rugby has quickly dismissed suggestions for a major international tournament to be held in England next year to ease the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron drew up an independent financial rescue plan involving a 16-team invitational tournament to be held in the UK and Ireland next June and July, using the 2015 World Cup hosted by England as a template.

However, the governing body said in a statement: “World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal.

“All stakeholders continue to progress productive discussions regarding the immediate global Covid-19 financial relief strategy and international rugby calendar optimisation, both of which will further the success of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”

World Rugby last month launched an £80mi relief fund to help unions navigate the pandemic.

Staging the competition for 31 matches over six weeks would mean postponing the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, scheduled for next July, but Baron had argued it was a necessary sacrifice which would benefit all unions.

“The RFU should take a leadership position and propose to other major unions and World Rugby that a special one-off tournament be held in the UK and Ireland in June and July next year,” Baron told Telegraph Sport.

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Patrick Ewing: New York Knicks legend recovering from COVID-19 at home

NBA great Patrick Ewing has been released from hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home.

The 57-year-old Hall of Famer, who played for the New York Knicks in the NBA and now coaches his college team Georgetown, announced on Friday that he had tested positive for coronavirus and was being treated at a hospital.

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The new Torres: Liverpool target Werner is a jewel in Red Bull empire

The new Torres? Timo Werner is the jewel in the Red Bull sporting empire and a major target for Liverpool this summer… as he prepares to take on Mainz on Sunday, Owen Hargreaves backs him to have the same impact on Anfield as the famous Spanish No 9

  • RB Leipzig star Timo Werner is one of Liverpool’s main summer targets
  • Fans will be able to get a glimpse of the German goal machine on Sunday 
  • Owen Hargreaves believes Werner could be as good as Fernando Torres for Reds
  • Werner said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is best manager in the world amid links

As the eyes of the world peer at the Bundesliga in hope for the future, the gaze of Liverpool fans might fix a little harder on one player who could help shape theirs.

Timo Werner will lead the line for RB Leipzig at Mainz and give the supporters on Merseyside a glimpse of who they want to light up Anfield whenever next season begins.

One of the brightest talents in Europe, Werner’s tally of 21 goals in 26 Bundesliga games this season is second only to Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

Liverpool will have chance to watch main target Timo Werner when he leads line against Mainz

Werner may evoke memories for Liverpool fans of their former great striker Fernando Torres

Those Liverpool fans who tune in to see 24-year-old Werner may find their imaginations sparked by memories of a former Anfield hero.

WERNER’S SUPER GOAL RECORD THIS SEASON

Werner’s total goals this season — only PSG’s Kylian Mbappe (30) has scored more by a player aged under 25 in Europe’s big five leagues

‘Werner is the Fernando Torres type, where he is super explosive, he will run away from anyone,’ said Owen Hargreaves, former Bayern Munich and England midfielder.

‘He’s got to make sure that he gets the right fit. We saw this with Torres when he left Liverpool, the way they played, Stevie G [Gerrard] playing those balls through the middle — a match made in heaven.

‘Then he goes to Chelsea where they had a lot of slow possession and no space to run into. That’s not a great fit. He was a super player, Chelsea were a super team, but you’ve got to play to a player’s strengths.

‘Werner would suit Liverpool. They counter and transition better than anyone. He will be doing homework on who will be a good fit for him.’

By the sounds of it, Werner has already finished that assignment. ‘Jurgen Klopp is the best coach in the world,’ he said recently. ‘There is a lot to suggest that my style of play would suit there.’

Werner is another coup for Red Bull, the energy drinks firm that 15 years ago took a punt on breaking into football’s elite, now dominate Austrian football and have taken RB Leipzig from the fifth tier to the Champions League.

However, their unconventional and rapid rise meant the club became an instant hate figure for many in Germany. In 2005 Austria Salzburg became Red Bull Salzburg, but company chief Dietrich Mateschitz always had ambitions to conquer Germany’s Bundesliga.

Werner said that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would ‘suit his style’ if he moved to the Reds

The Austrian wanted more than the one club in his home country and quickly identified Leipzig as prime for investment. However, success in Germany would be tougher than first expected. Sachsen Leipzig, now dissolved, were the first to be identified in 2006 but the DFB (German FA) blocked the deal.

Unsuccessful negotiations with 1860 Munich, Fortuna Dusseldorf and St Pauli followed before fifth-tier SSV Markranstadt agreed to sell to Red Bull. The club was rebranded and moved 15km east. 

DFB regulations prevent the use of company names in club titles, so RasenBallsport (Lawnsports) Leipzig was adopted. RB Leipzig carry the company’s logo and their name is the club’s shirt sponsor.

Germany’s football culture is built on fan ownership, the 50+1 model that states supporters must own 50 per cent of a club plus an additional share.

In a legal move, the club issued a small number of shares and purchased 49 per cent of them, making the remainder available at significant cost while handpicking who could buy them. It allowed RB Leipzig to conform to the rules, but with 17 members, a far cry from traditional clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, who boast 154,000.

Werner is an out and out goal scorer and has netted 27 times for RB Leipzig this season

Owen Hargreaves (left) believes Werner could have same impact at Anfield as Torres if he joins

Leipzig needed to adopt a sustainable plan, and an individual to take them there. Step forward, Ralf Rangnick. He became sporting director for both Salzburg and Leipzig in 2012. No superstars, no signings over the age of 25 and no extreme wage deals. It led to a revered recruitment strategy.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino all came via the Red Bull conveyor belt, while Erling Haaland is the latest star off the production line.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl also started at Leipzig, where a second-placed finish in the Bundesliga in his first season took them to the Champions League.

Rangnick sees Leipzig masterminded by coveted coach Julian Nagelsmann, 32, who in March knocked Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham out of the Champions League. ‘A very confident young man and a sensational manager,’ was Jurgen Klopp’s verdict.

On Sunday, Leipzig travel to Mainz, a reverse of the fixture that saw Nagelsmann’s men win 8-0 in November. Part of that was a hat-trick for Werner. Liverpool fans would surely love a repeat.




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Rangers' new kit makers laugh off rumours of links to Mike Ashley

Rangers’ new kit manufacturers, Castore, laugh off talk of Mike Ashley bank-rolling the brand’s Ibrox deal after Glasgow club’s legal battle with Newcastle owner’s Sports Direct

  • Rangers have signed a multi-year kit deal with Castore worth £25million 
  • Rumours have circulated linking the brand to Newcastle owner Mike Ashley
  • The Ibrox side have been locked in a legal battle with Ashley’s Sports Direct 
  • Castore co-founder Tom Beahon dismissed the suggestions, ruling out the link

New Rangers kit makers Castore have dismissed online rumours of a tie-up with Mike Ashley.

The Ibrox club have confirmed a multi-year deal worth £25million with the English-based luxury sports brand.

Rangers have been locked in a lengthy and draining legal battle with Ashley’s Sports Direct over a merchandising contract.

Rangers’ new kit manufacturers have dismissed speculation linking them to Mike Ashley

The Ibrox side have been battling Ashley’s Sports Direct company in court this year 

And, as interm vice-chairman John Bennett hailed the new kit deal as a ‘clean slate’ and a ‘fresh start’, Castore co-founder Tom Beahon laughed off internet speculation that Ashley’s Fraser’s Group were one of the investors bank-rolling a move into football.

Beahon told Sportsmail: ‘We have investors who like to remain private. Our biggest investor is one of the wealthiest families in the UK.

‘For the record, it’s not Mike Ashley despite some of the things I’ve read online in the last couple of weeks.

‘Our investors are backing Castore to go and achieve the vision we have to go and build a truly global brand.

Ashley has become one of the most unpopular men in football for his ownership at Newcastle

Co-founder Tom Beahon (left) ruled-out the links as he embarks on the deal with Rangers 

‘In order to do that we knew that our first football partnership would be with one of the most global, historic, high profile clubs in the world.’

Beahon and his brother Phil established online luxury brand Castore four years ago and plans to add English Premier League, Serie A and La Liga clubs to the roster in 12 months’ time.

A court previously ruled that Sports Direct should have been given the chance to match a deal struck with current supplier Elite/Hummel. Satisfied that Ashley will have no influence on the new arrangement, however, Beahon described the Castore agreement as a ‘new start’.

Revealing that Rangers will claim a small percentage of every shirt sold the former Tranmere footballer said: ‘It has been very well documented the history with some of the previous commercial partnerships.

‘In all honesty I don’t think there is much more that I can add to what’s already been discussed very publicly there.

The Ibrox will be decked out in Castore, replacing the Scottish side’s current sponsor Hummel 

‘But we are satisfied that this is a new start for the club. It’s an opportunity to do things differently for all of us.

‘Castore is a challenger brand and to compete in this market we’ve had to be innovative and more creative than our competitors.

‘And that’s a mindset we’ve been looking to apply as we enter the football market.

‘What that means in reality is that we’ve structured a deal with Rangers where the club benefit directly from every branded product that Castore sell.

‘We’ve structured a deal where the interests of Rangers and Castore are 100% aligned.

Ashley and Rangers’ partnership ended in tears, leaving the SPL club in need of a refresh

‘That’s not always how football partnerships have been structured in the past and that makes no sense to me.

‘I want partnerships where, if I’m successful, then my partner is successful too.

‘There are Rangers fans in all corners of the globe and we have been preparing for this moment for the best part of 12 months now and we are very confident that we can deliver on that.

‘As a digitally native brand we are far better protected from the current crisis than many retailers.

‘We are well positioned to not only ride out this storm, but thrive on the other end however long we are in lockdown.’




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Coronavirus: World Rugby postpones July internationals

World Rugby has postponed all of July’s international matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It means England’s two-Test series against Japan, Wales and Ireland’s tours of New Zealand and Australia respectively, and Scotland’s series in South Africa are off.

England were due to face the Brave Blossoms on July 4 and 11 in Oita and Kobe but that was shelved following discussions between rugby’s governing body, the RFU and Japan Rugby Football Union.

“While we are of course disappointed to have our two Test matches against Japan postponed, it’s the correct decision under the current circumstances,” said England head coach Eddie Jones.

“I hope all Japanese and English rugby fans are keeping safe and well and we look forward to being back on a rugby pitch and back in Japan in the future.”

Last month RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney suggested England move to their Japan tour to October.

Wales were also scheduled to face Japan in Shizuoka before travelling to New Zealand for two Tests against the All Blacks.

Scotland were headed to South Africa to face the world champions in a two-Test series before playing New Zealand in Dunedin, with Ireland due in Australia for two matches with the Wallabies.

France’s series against Argentina is also off, along with Italy’s games against Canada, United States and Argentina.

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Finn Russell available for Scotland, says Gregor Townsend

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has confirmed fly-half Finn Russell is available for selection again after being left out of the Six Nations for disciplinary reasons.

Russell was omitted from Scotland’s squad after “breaching team protocol” during a drinking session ahead of their tournament opener against Ireland.

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