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NBA mandates anthem after Mark Cuban, Mavericks skipped it



NBA mandates anthem after Mark Cuban, Mavericks skipped it

The Dallas Mavericks will play the national anthem after all.

On Wednesday, a day after owner Mark Cuban publicly acknowledged his already on-going plan of skipping the pregame anthem, the NBA responded with a league-wide reminder of its policy.

“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” the league’s chief communications officer Mike Bass said in a statement.

Dallas allowed a limited number of fans into the arena on Monday for the first time this season. It had not played “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the first 13 preseason and regular-season games at American Airlines Center at his direction, per The Athletic.

Cuban quickly announced that the Mavericks will abide by the NBA’s mandate.

“We respect and always have respected the passions people have for the anthem and our country,” the billionaire businessman said in a statement. “I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart — no matter where I hear it played. But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard, because they have not been heard.

“The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.”

According to The Athletic, sources close to Cuban said the move was not due to a hatred of the US, but because many didn’t feel the anthem represented them. The outspoken owner has supported athletes who chose to kneel rather than stand during the anthem —“If they were taking a knee, and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them,” he told ESPN in July.

NBA rules require players to stand for the anthem, though commissioner Adam Silver has opted to overlook the edict in the name of “real engagement.”

The short-lived move by Cuban and the Mavericks had a number of detractors, but also received support from others in the NBA community.

“This should happen everywhere,” New Orleans Pelicans coach Van Gundy wrote of Cuban’s directive on Twitter. “If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service and the start of every work day at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game?”

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Harry Kane tells Tottenham he wants to leave amid Man United, Man City, Chelsea rumors



Harry Kane tells Tottenham he wants to leave amid Man United, Man City, Chelsea rumors

Harry Kane has reiterated his stance that he wants to leave Tottenham this summer.

The 27-year-old has grown frustrated over the club’s inability to compete at the highest level, having seen his side fall out of contention to secure Champions League football for next season.

Spurs have long been reluctant to entertain bids for their talisman but the England captain is hoping that they will soften their stance after his long service to the club.

State of play for Kane’s future

Daniel Levy will demand a huge fee for Kane – who prefers a move within the Premier League – as he is on a long-term deal until 2024.

Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are potentially viable destinations, although it is still unclear as to whether a move will materialise.

All three of the aforementioned Premier League giants have significant financial might and are looking for attacking signings, even with the coronavirus pandemic causing monetary problems. 

In Man Utd’s case, however, they have renewed Edinson Cavani’s contract after a good run of form and are thought to have switched focus to signing a right-winger – potentially Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.

Kane is keen to resolve his situation ahead of the European Championship but it is likely to rumble on throughout the summer.

What has Kane actually said?

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In a host of recent interviews, Kane hasn’t sought to sugar-coat his unhappiness in north London and vocalise his desire to represent a club that challenges for major honours.

“Individual awards are great, they are fantastic achievements,” the striker said . “When I look back at the end of my career, I will go over it and take in a little bit more. The goal right now as a player is to win team trophies.

“As much as this [London Footballer of the Year award] is great, I want to be winning the biggest prizes that there is to offer as a team, and we are not quite doing that.

“It is one of those [situations], it is bittersweet. I would rather be winning team trophies than this award. It is what it is. I am proud to win it. It means it has been a good season on the pitch, so I have just got to try and continue what I am doing.”

What have Tottenham said?

In a brief statement released to various media outlets, Spurs’ commented: “Our focus is on finishing the season as strongly as possible. That’s what everyone should be focused on.”

Kane’s stats this season

With 22 Premier League goals, Kane is level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race for the golden boot. 

Furthermore, he has 32 goals and 16 assists in 47 games in all competitions, ranking him among the world’s best strikers.

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Jordan Binnington restrained from nearly starting goalie fight at end of Blues vs. Avalanche



Jordan Binnington restrained from nearly starting goalie fight at end of Blues vs. Avalanche

The Blues and Avalanche already have some bad blood brewing in the first round of their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup.

In the aftermath of the Avalanche’s 4-1 series-opening win, several scrums broke out between the two sides, including one in front of the net between Blues forward Kyle Clifford and Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth. 

But when Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer got in on that battle, that prompted a response from St. Louis’ netminder Jordan Binnington.

MORE: Former Predators goalie Chris Mason talks Nashville’s Stanley Cup chances

Binnington made his way down the ice and had to be restrained from going after Grubauer, as you can see below via SportsNet.

The referees got to Binnington well before he could engage with Grubauer and escorted him off the ice. That prevented the goalie fight, a rare spectacle, from happening.

Nonetheless, Binnington’s willingness to get involved in the late-game physicality must have been appreciated by his teammates. After all, Binnington had a terrific Game 1 for St. Louis, making a whopping 46 saves on 49 attempts, and did everything he could to give his team a chance to win.

Perhaps Binnington’s effort in all facets of the game will provide his teammates with a much-needed spark as they look to even the series with the Avalanche in Game 2.

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Braves’ Huascar Ynoa picks fight with bench, loses, breaks hand



Braves' Huascar Ynoa picks fight with bench, loses, breaks hand

Huascar Ynoa has broken a bat or two in his career, and now the wood is fighting back. 

Dugout frustration is part of baseball. Hundreds of Gatorade coolers have been demolished, gloves have been thrown across zip codes. It happens.

But when you’re a pitcher, you may want to think twice about what you do with your pitching hand, and Braves starter Ynoa found that out the hard way over the weekend.

Ynoa landed on the 10-day injured list Monday after punching a dugout bench following his exit from Sunday’s forgettable start vs. the Brewers and breaking a bone in his pitching hand.

MORE: Mets’ Kevin Pillar takes fastball to face

What’s especially brutal is that Ynoa is off to the best start of his career: Through nine games (eight starts) he’s pitched to a 3.02 ERA (3.72 FIP) with a 144 ERA+ in 44 2/3 innings.

Ynoa’s frustration is understandable, as he was pulled from his worst start of the season to Milwaukee on Sunday: He allowed five runs on nine hits through 4 1/3 innings in the loss.

Maybe somewhat luckily for Ynoa, it’s not the most unfortunate injury for a pitcher this season. That dishonor belongs to A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo, who broke his finger in an unfortunate video gaming moment.

Let this be a lesson, kiddos: Don’t pick fights with inanimate objects. They will win most of the time.

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