Colin Kaepernick to file lawsuit against NFL owners over collusion

Colin Kaepernick, who many believe has been blackballed by the NFL, is reportedly filing a suit against the leagues owners.

Colin Kaepernick, who many believe has been blackballed by the NFL following his protest against racial injustice in the US, is reportedly set to file a suit against the league’s team owners.

According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, the former San Francisco 49 ers quarterback has hired attorney Mark Geragos and will claim NFL owners have colluded to keep him out of the league. Under the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement squads and the NFL are forbidden from coming together to deprive a player of employment.

” If the NFL( as well as all professional sports teams) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful protest- which the owners themselves stimulated great theater imitating weeks ago- should not be punished and athletes should not be denied job based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government ,” Geragos said in a statement.

” Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation. Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr Kaepernick to file his grievance. Colin Kaepernick’s goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field .”

Kaepernick chose to kneel last season during the national anthem. He was joined by other NFL players and the protests have continued into this season: on Sunday seven San Francisco 49 ers players knelt during the anthem.

The movement has angered Donald Trump, who ordered Vice-President Mike Pence to leave a game last week in which players were protesting.

The protests have also been blamed for autumns in the league’s Tv ratings this year, although other factors, such as the decline of television viewership in general, could also be at play. Surveys help find the majority of white fans are opposed to the protests while most black fans support them.

Kaepernick, who led the 49 ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, left San Francisco last season and has not been picked up since. The fact that many teams with a need for a quarterback have passed up the chance to sign Kaepernick left many to believe owneds are either punishing him for his stance or believe his presence would alienate fans.

” It’s difficult to see because[ Kaepernick] played at such a high level, and you assure guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by squads. So it’s difficult to understand ,” said Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman earlier this year.

” Obviously he’s going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off year before .”

Another potential opening for Kaepernick appeared on Sunday when the Green Bay Packers lost their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, to a broken collarbone.

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Mike Ditka rips NFL protests: ‘There has been no oppression in the last 100 years’

The Hall of Fame coach said on Monday that he doesnt believe theres been oppression in the United States in the last 100 years

Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka said on Monday that he doesn’t believe there has been persecution in the United States” in the last 100 years “.

The 77 -year-old Ditka stimulated the remarks during an interview on Westwood One’s Monday Night Football pregame show when asked about the ongoing wave of NFL players opting to sit or kneel during the national anthem as a route to protest social injustice in America.

” All of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now, about persecution ,” Ditka said.” There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now perhaps I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I believe the opportunity is there for everyone . … If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put endeavour into yourself, I think you can accomplish anything .”

He added:” Is that the stage for this? If you want to protest, or what it is you want to protest, you’ve got a right to do that, but I think you’re a professional athlete, you have an obligation to the game. I think you have to respect the game. That’s what I think is the most important thing. I don’t see a lot of respect for video games. I just see respect for their own individual opinions. Sentiments are like snouts, we all have one. Some are good. Some are bad .”

Steve Smith, a five-time Pro Bowl broad receiver who played 16 seasons with the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens before retiring in January, was among those who took objection with Ditka’s remarks.

Steve Smith Sr (@ 89 SteveSmith)

Really? Civil rights act of 1964, voting act of 1965, Rosa parks 1955, #mikeditka go sit ur dumb a $$ down somewhere. I respect my elders https :// t.co/ liHBMqS9sF

October 10, 2017

Steve Smith Sr (@ 89 SteveSmith)

But to say this dedicates us a peek into you’re heart. Jim crow statutes, brown v. Board of education
Great coach-and-four …….. Clueless person https :// t.co/ liHBMqS9sF

October 10, 2017

It’s not the first time Ditka has spoken on the issue. The longtime NFL coach said last year he had” no respect” for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49 ers, shortly after he first kneeled during the course of its anthem, triggering their own nationals debate and inspiring dozens of NFL players to follow suit.

” I think it’s a problem, anybody who contempts this country and the flag ,” Ditka said then in a radio interview on KRLD-FM in Dallas.” If they don’t like the country, if they don’t like our flag, get the hell out. That’s what I think.

” I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick. He probably has no respect for me, that’s his selection. My option is that I like this country, I respect our flag, and I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.

” I ensure opportunities if people want to look for opportunity. Now if they don’t want to look for them, then you can find problems with anything, but this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. Now if you don’t work, that’s a different problem .”

Ditka, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988, is one of two people in NFL history to win a league title as a player, an deputy coach and a head coach-and-four. He graduated from local hero to Chicago icon during an 11 -year coaching stint with the Bears that included the team’s only Super Bowl win during the course of its 1985 season, then retired permanently after a failed comeback with the New Orleans Saints in 1999.

The outspoken conservative publicly flirted with running against Democratic candidate Barack Obama, who was then a nation senator, for the open seat in the US Senate vacated by Illinois senator Peter Fitzgerald in 2004- an election that jump-started Obama’s ascent to the presidency in four years’ time.

” Biggest mistake I’ve ever stimulated ,” he told the Dickinson Press in 2013.” Not that I would have won, but I likely would have and he wouldn’t be in the White House .”

Last year, Ditka called Obama” the worst chairwoman we’ve ever had “.

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Pence follows Trump order and walks out of 49ers-Colts after players kneel

VP leaves NFL game after about a dozen San Francisco players kneel, before Trump corroborates walkout was planned and says he is proud

Vice-president Mike Pence left the 49 ers-Colts NFL game in Indianapolis on Sunday in a schemed stoppage, after about a dozen San Francisco players kneeled during the course of its playing of “the member states national” anthem.

Pence announced his deviation from the Lucas Oil Stadium on Twitter. A White House statement follow, with a tweet from President Donald Trump which corroborated the stoppage was not spontaneous.

” I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country ,” Trump wrote.” I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen .”

Protests of the anthem by NFL players, almost all African American, began last year when the then 49 ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled in protest against racial injustice and police brutality. 49 ers players have been prominent among those kneeling this season and could have been expected to kneeling on Sunday.

Nor was Pence scheduled to take up the whole game. Us air force Two was due to take off from Indianapolis International Airport at 4pm on Sunday, in order for the vice-president to attend a political fundraiser in Los Angeles. The Colts-4 9ers game kicked off at 1pm ET and finished after 4.30 pm, after going to overtime.

At a rally in Alabama last month, Trump launched aggressive criticism of players and the NFL. Though Kaepernick had kneeled to protest unpunished police killings of African Americans, the president and the White House insisted that protesting the anthem showed disrespect to the flag and to American troops, veterans and first responders.

Senior administration figures including Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were deployed to say that in this instance, freedom of speech did not apply. In answer, large numbers of players knelt, teams co-ordinated actions and owners criticised Trump’s terms.

Though debate continued about the meaning of the protests, until Pence’s walkout the issue had seemed to be receding from public view.

Players and some NFL writers guess Kaepernick, who took the 49 ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, has been blackballed by the league. On Sunday, CBS reported that he said he would not protest the anthem if he ever returned. The reporter then recanted the narrative and Kaepernick tweeted a quote attributed to- but not coined by– Winston Churchill:” A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its gasps on .”

Members
Members of the San Francisco 49 ers kneel during the course of its playing of the national anthem. Photograph: Michael Conroy/ AP

Many commentators have also accused the president of seeking to use the NFL protests as a distraction from his own political woes.

Trump has recently been criticised for his response to the catastrophic effect of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, for his approach to North Korea, and over his relationship with secretary of state Rex Tillerson. On Sunday, the president was embroiled in an embarrassing exchange of insults with Bob Corker, the chair of the Senate foreign relations committee and a senior is part of Republican leadership.

The New York Times reported in September that attacking protesting NFL players was ” a calculated attempt to shore up” Trump’s political base.

In the statement issued by the White House, Pence said:” I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem .”

The statement then seemed to allude to Pence’s visit to Las Vegas on Saturday, when he gratified survivors and first-responders from the mass shooting at a music celebration last week in which 58 people were killed and virtually 500 injured.

It read:” At a period when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their fortitude, resolve, and resilience , now, more than ever, we should rally around our flag and everything that unites us .”

The White House released a picture of Pence and his wife stand for the anthem at the stadium in Indianapolis, with their hands on their hearts.

Pence’s Las Vegas visit mean he missed an unveiling of a statue of the great Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning on Saturday. Manning’s jersey was retired on Sunday.

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NFL players kneel for anthem in unprecedented defiance of Trump

Ravens and Jaguars players lead protest in London and owners voice solidarity before president says his attack on protests over racial injustice has nothing to do with race

NFL players staged an unprecedented wave of protest on Sunday, beginning at Wembley Stadium in London, as Donald Trump maintained his attack on players who kneel in protest against the national anthem.

It was a climactic day for a motion that began with a single backup quarterback kneeling before a pre-season game 13 months ago and had now been prompted a nation to wrestle with questions of free speech and racial justice.

Colin Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49 ers, kneeled in an attempt to provoke debate over race and police barbarism. He is now without a squad but active players have followed his example. This weekend, the protest spilled into baseball: the Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell kneeled during the course of its anthem before a game against the Texas Rangers.

Early on Sunday, shortly before his own treasury secretary insisted he was not picking a fight, Trump doubled down on his bellicose remarks at a rally in Alabama on Friday night. The president recurred his challenge to NFL team proprietors and encouraged fans to stop attending until the owners take action.

” If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag& Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend !” Trump wrote on Twitter.” NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away since they are love our country. League should back US .”

Later, at an impromptu media scrum as he headed back to Washington from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, Trump was asked if he was inflaming racial tensions by criticising protesting players who are almost all black.

” This has nothing to do with race ,” he said.” I never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag .”

Cleveland
Cleveland Browns players stand and kneel before their game against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo: Thomas J. Russo/ USA Today Sports

Wembley staged the day’s first game. Around 25 players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens kneeled. The Guardian’s Sean Ingle reported that no white players appeared to kneel but” many players, coaches and even the Jaguars’ proprietor Shahid Khan connected limbs instead as they stood, presenting unity for their black team-mates against Trump “.

Later, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, several Miami Dolphins wore black T-shirts supporting Kaepernick before facing the New York Jets. During the anthem, the Dolphins locked limbs. The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to remain in the tunnel before their game against the Bears at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

” We’re not going to play politics ,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS.” People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feelings the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his team-mate who chooses not to .”

Dozens more players either kneeled or locked arms before the 1pm kickoffs. Trump tweeted:” Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked limbs is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings !”

The reveals of protest were not confined to the teams. Musicians performing the anthem also took knees at Falcons-Lions in Detroit and Seahawks-Titans in Nashville, where both teams bided off the field.

Trump constructed his initial remarks at a Friday night rally for the Republican senator Luther Strange.” Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL proprietors, when someone disrespects our flag, to say,’ Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired !'” he said.

He also complained about regulations introduced to improve safety in the NFL, which has a serious problem with head injuries.

The president’s statements and his withdrawal on Saturday of a White House invitation to the NB-Achampion Golden State Warriors prompted a remarkably strong reply. NBA great LeBron James called the president a “bum” while Buffalo Bills NFL running back LeSean McCoy called him an “asshole”.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed disappointment with the “divisive” comments while the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a close friend of Trump, was among squad owners to side with their players. In a statement, Kraft said he was ” deep disappointed” by Trump’s remarks.

” There is no greater unifier in this country than athletics, and unfortunately , nothing more divisive than politics ,” Kraft said.

In London, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said of his players and coaches:” We respect their demo and support them 100% .” Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, a stockholder in Arsenal, released a statement affirming his belief in his players'” freedom to peacefully express themselves “.

The
The Pittsburgh Steelers sideline is nearly empty during the course of its playing of the national anthem at Soldier Field. Photo: Kiichiro Sato/ AP

White House officers played defense. Treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin told CNN Trump was responding to” the NFL saying people should be able to decide what they want to do and disrespect the United States flag “.

” He thinks this is about respect for the military and so many people who set their lives at risk and what the country stands for … players have the right to free speech off the field. On the field “its about” respect for lots of people .”

Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, told Fox News Sunday players had” a first amendment right” to protest but added:” NFL owneds also have a right to fires those players .”

The Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner addressed the issue on the NFL Network.

“[ The flag is] a emblem of the ideals of our large country: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all ,” he said.” The anthem: it’s a reminder to us of those things. The president of the United States, his role is to uphold and to fight for the rights of every person, every American. And so when I heard the comments, I was so disappointed because I believe[ Trump’s] commentaries are completely contradictory to what the flag represents.

” We have this narrative that these protests are contradictory to our flag and contradictory to our military. I don’t see them that route. I ensure them as complementary to the ideals to the flag, to the military and what they fought for.

” I have not heard one player that has not been more than grateful to our military. This isn’t about that at all. It’s about standing up for the ideals of the flag .”

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Donald Trump defied at Wembley as Jaguars and Ravens kneel for anthem

Around 25 players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens took a knee during the singing of the US national anthem at Wembley Stadium on Sunday

Twenty-seven players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens took a knee during the singing of the US national anthem at Wembley Stadium on Sunday as the protest against the US president, Donald Trump, intensified. It was the most ever in a single NFL game.

Trump had increased his criticism of NFL players on Saturday , not only is recommended that fans of the sport should” refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag& Country” but also urging any players who took a knee to be fired or suspended.

” NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN ,” he added.” Boring games yes, but many stay away since they are love our country. League should back US .”

However Trump’s testy demands were ignored by more than 80,000 fans at Wembley as well as a great number of players from the Jaguars and Ravens, who took a knee. The Guardian counted around 12 players from the Jaguars and 14 from the Ravens. There did not appear to be any white players taking a knee. However many players, coaches and even the Jaguars’ owned Shahid Khan connected limbs instead as they stood, proving unity for their black team-mates against Trump.

The Ravens’ players and coaching staff were also supported by their owner Steve Bisciotti, who said:” We respect their demo and support them 100% .”

The NFL’s rules encourage but do not involve players to stand for the playing of the anthem. Several team owners have issued statements over the past 24 hours condemning Trump’s comments as divisive and supporting their players’ ability to express themselves.

The latest came on Sunday morning from the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who said he was ” profoundly disappointed” by the president’s views.

Kraft, who has previously called Trump a very good friend when the Patriots visited the White House in April, said in a statement:” There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately , nothing more divisive than politics.

” I suppose our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal ,” he added.” Our players are intelligent, thoughtful, and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in accordance with the arrangements that they feel is impactful .”

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‘Sunil Gulati has an agenda to stay in power in US Soccer and that is it’

Eric Wynalda, the former USA forward turned commentator, exposes he is ready to roll up his sleeves and challenge Sunil Gulati for the role of US Soccer president

Eric Wynalda doesn’t yet know if he will run for president of the United States Soccer Federation next year but he does know something has to change at the upper part of the athletic in America.

Wynalda, apparently, is not alone. After 11 unchallenged years as USSF president, incumbent Sunil Gulati is currently facing at the least two- and perhaps more- declared challengers at an election in February.

Wynalda comes with a broad view on the state of the American game. A Hall of Famer with more than 100 appearances for the men’s national squad, his 34 goals made him all-time resulting goalscorer until Landon Donovan violated that record in 2007. Now 48, he was the first American to play in the Bundesliga before Jurgen Klinsmann stimulated that cool- if not mandatory- and scored the first-ever aim in Major League Soccer. He is a coach-and-four and now known as a TV pundit with Fox Sports.

” I’ve stood back for two decades waiting for things to get better ,” Wynalda says.” What I’ve realise is that there is not a whole lot of people who are willing or even wanting to invoke change. Out of moral obligation, I suppose I’m eventually at the point where I’m asking,’ What can I do to help ?’ I don’t want to tweet something or write an article or start a fight. I want to roll up my sleeves .”

Eric
Eric Wynalda in his heyday for the United States soccer team. Photograph: Monica M Davey/ AFP/ Getty Images

Disquiet about Gulati’s leadership has been growing in the broader football community, heightened by the tepid performance of the men’s national squad under Klinsmann and deja vu successor Bruce Arena- both handpicked by Gulati. While on-field results can’t be directly attributed to a human who teaches economics at Columbia University for his day chore, they can be a symptom of deeper issues, according to Wynalda.

” I’ve had at least 50 calls from people encouraging me to run ,” Wynalda says.” Not merely people on Twitter who are interested promotion and relegation and want the[ USSF] house of cards to autumn. I’ve heard from people who want to know how we can induce football better in this country .”

The success of soccer in the US, Wynalda says, should not just be measured by participating interest and revenue streams if that doesn’t translate to broader development and evolution.

” Just because the masses are playing the athletic, they suppose success is going to magically happen some day by accident ,” Wynalda says.” Sometimes it does- a Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, or Christian Pulisic happens- but that is not good enough. Coming 18 th at a World Cup is not a success story .”

Off the field, Gulati can claim the federation’s good financial position, its influence within Concacaf and Fifa, and the 2026 joint World Cup bid, in his favor. He has also successfully avoided any USSF links to the Fifa corruption scandal despite Department of Justice indictments nailing individuals doing business in or from the US right under the snout of his organization.

Gulati was close to the late Chuck Blazer, the corrupt former Fifa vice-president and Concacaf general secretary who turned FBI informer, and has never clarified the dynamic of that relationship or if he has been interviewed in ongoing DoJ and Swiss investigations conducted by football corruption.

While Wynalda contemplates whether to make a move, Boston attorney Steve Gans has declared he wants Gulati’s undertaking. Gans said in a recent interview with the Washington Post that the state of the game” feelings more like 1989 or 90″. Also operating is Paul Lapointe, a Massachusetts-based former indoor soccer squad owned, while John Motta- another New Englander- is a US Soccer board member holding a challenge.

Motta is president of the United States Adult Soccer Association( guess amateur players ), a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise mogul and the only person to ever defeat Gulati in an election. In 1998, Motta beat Gulati, then an MLS deputy commissioner, in a election to elect a USSF vice-president. Still, Gulati persisted. Eight year later he was elected USSF president.

Of course, Gulati has not yet signalled whether he even intends to run again but the entice of four more years at US Soccer- especially if it wins hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup- is powerful, even more so with Gulati’s elected posture on Fifa’s perk-heavy council. However, an option mooted by some insiders is for Gulati to step aside and usher in US Soccer vice-president Carlos Cordeiro, a former Goldman Sachs executive, as his status quo successor.

Wynalda believes Gulati’s time as an unchallenged leader is over and, as every economic prof knows, the theory is that competitor breeds innovation and success.

” I don’t think it is healthy[ to have someone in charge for 11 years] unless there is a clear vision or a plan ,” Wynalda says.

” Right now, it is just one guy who not only professes to be the smartest guy in the room and has an answer for every single question you hurl at him but he has an agenda and that is why there is a lot of people saying enough is enough. His agenda is to stay in power and that is it .”

Wynalda adds:” People are no longer simply interested or curious about football in the US. They are passionate. This is the moment to genuinely give these people who are in love with the game a better product .”

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How NBA star Dennis Rodman came to stand between the world and nuclear war

It says a lot about the world that the only human on good terms with both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is a former basketball player

2017 has become the year when absurd gags appear to be coming true. When Dennis Rodman constructed his first journey to North Korea back in 2013, it was amusing to imagine the eccentric NBA legend acting as the United States’ de facto ambassador to the country. The notion was as preposterous as Donald Trump somehow being elected president.

It audios surreal, but with tensions rising between the two countries thanks to North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program, there’s a very real potential that Rodman, a man who once married himself, ends up playing a key role in preventing armageddon. Rodman himself surely believes he will. In an interview with Good Morning Britain, the five-time NBA champion offered to” straighten things out” between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, to emphasise he holds both men friends.

Rodman, along with a group of journalists from Vice, first visited North Korea in 2013 after an invitation from Kim. It turns out that the Northern korean leader grew up a fan of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teams from the 1990 s. Rodman, one of the best defensive players of the epoch, was a key figure on those squads, although ultimately he received far more attention for his( literally) colorful antics than his formidable basketball skills.

Rodman stood out on the court with his dyed hair and numerous penetrates. Off the court, he moved from disagreement to controversy, fueled by a near-limitless need for attention. Rodman dated several celebrities, most famously Madonna and Carmen Electra, appeared in terrible action movies, posed in wedding dresses and coffins to promote his tell-all volumes and became a tabloid fixture thanks to his self-destructive behavior. He was once even a candidate on Celebrity Apprentice, where Trump fired him for misspelling the name of the future first lady.

Because of his history, few took his” basketball diplomacy” trip-up to North Korea very seriously. If they did, it was to criticize Rodman for participating in what was, at least partially, propaganda meant to humanize one of the world’s most notorious dictators. When Rodman proclaimed that he and Kim were” friends for life ,” one wondered whether he had set any believed to be the people his new best friend had jailed or executed.

June 2017: Dennis Rodman hoping to’ open a doorway’ with another North Korea visit

To Rodman’s credit, it turned out to be something more than a one-time publicity stunt. He made additional trips to North Korea and unavoidably found himself in the middle of international incidents. In 2014, Rodman depicted harsh criticism by suggesting that North Korea had a valid reason to keep American missionary Kenneth Bae locked up. Bae would later claim that Rodman’s comments indirectly lead to his release:” Because of his rant, the media attention to my plight was increased .”( Rodman, who would subsequently apologize, entered rehab in the consequences of the the disagreement .)

Earlier this year Rodman’s agent said that his client helped convince North Korea to release American college student Otto Warmbier before his death. Now, nearly everyone else involved with Warmbier’s release has denied that Rodman had much to do with it, but the mere fact that he was in position to take credit is proof enough that he has become the unlikely face of US-North Korean relations. As North Korea expert Ken Gause said to Time that” he’s not the best diplomat we could have but it’s who we have .”

In just about any other situation, Gause would be correct in describing Rodman as an utterly inappropriate diplomat- as the man himself acknowledges “[ Kim and I] ride ponies, we hang out, we go skiing, we hardly ever talk politics and that’s the good thing .” Rodman also basically lacks the tact and restraint required in most diplomatic situations, and has a tendency to make events all about himself.

Oddly enough, all of these traits might induce Rodman the perfect diplomat to North Korea. These are characteristics he shares with both Trump and Kim, which could go a long way to explaining how he became the only high profile someone with a direct line to both leaders.

What induces the current situation between the United States and North Korea so unpredictable is that it’s a nuclear stalemate without a rational performer on either side. No one has a realistic notion of how to deal with North Korea’s growing nuclear program, every alternative seem to be either be ineffectual or potentially catastrophic. It’s also obvious that the Trump administration seems far more open to using nuclear weapon than any of the previous ones. There’s no obvious solution.

Is it likely that a distressed basketball legend/ terrible actor/ reality present star was likely to end up helping to avert a nuclear war? Likely not. It is worth dedicating him a shot? Well, why not? Could it only be magical reasoning? Well yes, but considering everything that has happened in the last year, it’s foolish to rule out any event , no matter how preposterous.

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Rafael Nadal defeats Kevin Anderson in US Open final for 16th grand slam title

The world No1 Rafael Nadal beat Kevin Anderson in the US Open final to clinch his second grand slam title of 2017 and the 16 th of his career

When Rafael Nadal said early in this tournament he was not looking forward to his next birthday, it was tempting to assume the finishing line in his career might be nearer than he cared to contemplate. In the final of the 2017 US Open on Sunday, the Peter Pan of tennis chuckled at time in more styles than one, playing with the ricochetting zest of his youth to breeze past Kevin Anderson in two hours and 27 minutes for his third title here and the 16 th slam of his long career.

Afterwards Nadal said:” It has been a very special two weeks for me, but congratulations to Kevin. He’s a great example to a lot of children, had a lot of tough traumata. Personally, it’s unbelievable what’s happened to me after a couple of years of traumata, playing not so good. But I’ve been playing a high level of tennis and the crowd here brings me to a higher level of energy .”

He also thanked his uncle Toni, who was watching his last slam with him as coach-and-four.” Without him I would never be playing tennis. It is great I had person like him pushing me all the time. He had great motivation to practise with me since I was a kid. He is for sure one of the most important people in my life .”

Anderson said:” Getting to my first grand slam final, there’s been a lot of feelings for me. I’ll keep working hard. I’ll be back .”

Nadal’s 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win was his fourth in a New York final and his fifth win over Anderson, the sort of shut-out mastery Roger Federer has imposed on other players over the years, and which the Swiss confirmed here before losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the quarterss. That defeat cost New York fans a Nadal-Federer semi-final. At least bits of the old empire remained in place, despite recent upheavals.

The big four of Nadal, Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic had won 45 of the previous 50 slams between them, with only Stan Wawrinka, Del Potro and Marin Cilic intruding on their dominance. But Anderson could not be denied his opportunity. He out-hit Sam Querrey in the semis and has decided to stimulate the most of his big day- except the world No1, 18 days younger than him, was not about to co-operate.

Anderson’s big serve pinned Nadal deep, close to 10 metres behind the baseline at times, but he was palpably comfy there. And, almost from the first exchange, the deadening pattern of struggle on one side of the net and urgency on the other began to emerge.

When Anderson tried to serve and volley for simply the 20 th time in the tournament, Nadal passed him for breaking phase, and it took a third superstar, swinging broad, to help him stave off three break points in the third game, which lasted 12 minutes. Nadal held to love in a twinkling.

A third double fault get Anderson into more difficulty in the fifth game, but again the amiable trier his friends call” The Dog” clung on like a terrier. In the first half hour, he had not had a look at Nadal’s serve and had to save four break points. It was desperate stuff. Twice in the seventh game, the spare ball popped out of Anderson’s pocket and he recognise the chair umpire’s warning that a third infraction would cost him the point. It was the sort of distraction that can disrupt a player’s focus, and a fourth double defect handed Nadal a fifth infringe opportunity. This time Anderson cracked, pushing a forehand wide.

Within 10 minutes, the first define was Nadal’s. Anderson’s challenge in the biggest match of his life was to stop a steady drip turning into a full-scale leak. They had known each other since they were 12- not unlike Murray and Djokovic, although the rivalry was way less competitive. Murray has won two of his three slams against the Serb; Anderson has won just one set of 12 in five matches against Nadal.

While Nadal was now rushing through the points, Anderson tried to slow the narrative, like a condemned man asking for a final piece of tart. Behind in the serve cycle, the pressure mounted. When Nadal violated to go 4-2 up in the second, there was a chilling inevitability about the rest of the match. The mob had fallen into near slumber. Nadal was winning not only the points he fashioned himself, but those he was not expected to get, scampering after every half-chance and putting most of them away imperiously.

Anderson kept fighting but Nadal is a ruthless front-runner. He had only lost twice in his career from two sets up- to Fabio Fognini here and in Miami against Federer in the distant past- and history did not lie to him on Sunday.

Anderson’s big serve kept him vaguely competitive, but there was little he could do about the whipped forehand that gave Nadal the ninth game to love – his fourth to that phase- and the set.

Anderson’s resistance slowly morphed from heartfelt to token. The first decide had taken nearly an hour, the second 39 minutes, the third- despite Anderson’s first love hold to trail 3-2, a 10 th superstar to hold in the ninth game to build Nadal serve it out in the 10 th game, and a brave battle to his first deuce point on Nadal’s serve at the very end- lasted 50 minutes. Nadal won it with his 16 th volley.

While the other lions are sleeping- Murray probably for the rest of the year, Federer working on his distressed back, Djokovic and Wawrinka already out until the start of next season- Nadal, fit and strong again with his game in superb shape, will make a pushing that could further disturb the upper order of the game.

The next leg of the journey is the 2018 Australian Open, where he lost to Federer in the final this year.

If the Swiss does not repeat his extraordinary heroics there and Nadal prevails, he will be sitting on 17 majors, simply two behind Federer. If he wins his 11 th French Open in May, as he will be favoured to do, the gap will be a single title. They will then arrive at Wimbledon with even more to play for. Peter Pan, incidentally, will be 32 by then.

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Juan Martn del Potro beats fever and Thiem in thriller to set up Federer match

Juan Martin del Potro pulled off one of the great US Open comebacks against Dominic Thiem on Monday night

Juan Martin del Potro pulled off one of tennis’s most remarkable comebacks to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The 2009 champion has been struggling with illness and won only three games in the opening two sets against sixth seed Dominic Thiem. It seemed doubtful whether Del Potro would even be able to complete the match but he did much more than that.

The Argentinian raced through the third defined, saved two match point with superstars in the fourth and then clinched the fifth to win 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6( 7-1 ), 6-4. At his moment of victory, after HawkEye showed that Thiem had served a doubled faulting, Del Potro stood with head back and limbs aloft as his legions of supporters on Grandstand roared.

On-court interviewer Pam Shriver had to wait for the’ Ole’ chants to die down before posing the question of just how he was able to win the match.” Oh my God ,” said the 22 nd seed.” I don’t know what can I tell after this big combat. I was sick the last two days. I came here trying to play as well as I can. When I assured all of this mob cheering for me, my illness cleared up. I was trying to feel better every game. I fight like this because of you guys .”

Del Potro must now try to recover for a quarter-final meeting with Roger Federer, who he beat to win his only grand slam title eight years ago. The Swiss beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 later on Monday.

” I would like to have the trophy after these five matches ,” said Del Potro with a smile.” I’m so happy to go through after playing this great match. I enjoyed it a lot. I think it’s enough for me but maybe I have the chance to play Roger again, which is special for me, and I would like to play my best tennis .”

Del Potro appeared exhausted at the start of the match and called for the doctor, who gave him some pills. They eventually seemed to kick in for the third set, when Del Potro detected his heavyweight punch of a forehand and began to land some blows on Thiem.

The Argentinian violated early in the fourth set but back came Thiem and, when he led 30 -0 serving for the match at 5-3, the comeback seemed over. But Del Potro threaded a backhand pass down the line to give himself hope and with that Thiem blew his chance, reaching two wild errors and a doubled flaw.

It was tough on the young Austrian, who must have felt as if he was playing an away Davis Cup tie, but he dug in and had two match points at 6-5 only for Del Potro to send down superstars. The 28 -year-old ran with his momentum in the tie-break, objective it with a forehand cross-court bullet that took the breath away.

Del Potro looked like he might have missed his opportunity when Thiem bravely saved three violate points at 3-3 but, serving to stay in the match, his resistance operated out. It was a tale of two HawkEye challenges; the one Thiem was unable to induce because he had run out on the penultimate phase when a forehand was called wide, and the one Del Potro successfully attained on Thiem’s second serve.

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Im happy to play in a parking lot in Queens: Maria Sharapova fires back

After her latest win at the US Open, Maria Sharapova responded to criticism from Caroline Wozniacki by pointing out: I dont attain the schedule

Maria Sharapova has responded to Caroline Wozniacki over her criticism of the US Open’s scheduling. Wozniacki, who has been one of Sharapova’s most outspoken critics since her return from a 15 -month doping forbidding, said it did not set a good example to give the Russian prime-time billing for every match.

Sharapova played her third competition in a row on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night and defeated the American teen Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-2 to reaching the fourth round.

Asked about specific comments from Wozniacki, who was beaten in round two by Ekaterina Makarova, Sharapova told:” I don’t make the schedule.

” I’m a pretty big competitor. If you set me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I’m happy to play there. That’s not what matters to me ,” she added.” All that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. I’m not sure where she is .”

After three-set struggles against Simona Halep and Timea Babos, Friday’s match was slightly more comfy for Sharapova, although she suffered a 66 -minute first set against her 18 -year-old opponent.

Both players, who trod the same route from Russia to Florida, entered the tournament through wild cards. Kenin had never won a grand slam match before this event and, unless she turns professional immediately, will have to forfeit her $144,000( PS110, 000) in prize money.

Kenin was outmatched physically but fought doggedly to stay with Sharapova and a slew of unforced mistakes from the Russian see her pegged back from 4-1 to 4-4.

As she had against Babos, Sharapova struggled to produce the free-swinging tennis that stunned Halep, but she played two fine points to clinch the opening set.

There was a blip in the second situate when Sharapova double-faulted to go from 3-0 to 3-2 but she then reeled off another three games to book her spot in the last 16.

The five-time grand slam champion next plays Anastasija Sevastova, the 16 th seed, and she knows she will need to improve if she is to go much further. She told:” There were just too many mistakes in the beginning of that match. Coming into this match playing two three-setters, I’m just happy I got it done in two. Devote my body a little bit of a transgres, I guess.

” I merely felt like I wasn’t hitting the ball that well in the beginning, but I got better as the match went on .”

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