Should female athletes sue the networks for equal coverage? | Anya Alvarez

Women are conditioned to accept whats given to them and female athletes are no exception. Its day for a change

During the wildly exciting Women’s Final Four earlier this month, the sports economist David Berri and I were speaking on the phone about the absence of coverage of women’s sports. In the midst of our dialogue, we ventured to ESPN’s website and began scrolling through the homepage to assure what we may find.

We scrolled and we scrolled to the point of exhaustion. Among the dozens upon dozens of headlines about male athletes, we spotted only 3 stories about females.” This is ridiculous: they’ve got a headline tale about the NFL draft, which isn’t even happening for months and nothing about women’s athletics ,” Berri told.

The whys and the hows behind the fact that women’s athletics receive merely 5% of dedicated coverage have been debated ad nauseam. Two main arguments are front of center: one, that athletics media is dominated by humen, therefore their scope of what they find appealing is restriction. And two, that women’s athletics simply don’t generate enough interest to warrant more coverage.

But as Lori Lindsey, a former member of the US women’s national soccer team told me:” Instead of writing about why women don’t receive coverage, they should just utilize that space to covering women’s athletics !”

It’s easy to break the lack of coverage of women’s sports down to arguments that on the surface are black and white. However, we need to look at the history of women’s sports participation, and how far we have come and how our progress in this arena has not been matched with media proper coverage.

Before Title IX passed in 1972– a bill that would inevitably give girls more access to athletics- only one in 27 daughters played sports. Today, the rate has risen to two in five. This increase of participate would lead one to think that increased coverage of women’s sports would follow suit.

But that’s not been the case.

In fact, the coverage of women’s sports has actually declined over the last few years.

So, it’s of my opinion that women should sue athletics media for equal coverage. Why? Because the lack of coverage across the spectrum of local and national media affects women athletes the ability to make a living on the field and to make money off of endorsements. For me, this is an equal pay issue.

I spoke with athletes who overall supported this extreme approach, despite recognizing that it likely would not hold up in court.

Then I spoke with Ed Chapin, who was the lead counseling on behalf of former San Diego State women’s basketball coach-and-four Beth Burns, whose wrongful-termination suit recently yielded the second largest Title IX verdict in US history. In his opinion, he “ve felt it” would do more damage than good to bringing a suit of this nature forward because a defeat could do more damage for women’s athletics.

” There’s no law that states networks are required to provide equal coverage, so it could have the counter effect of hurting their[ women’s athletes] cause ,” he said.

Then what would be more proactive?

Women have been waiting a long time to be treated fairly in society, and in athletics it’s no different. Women in sports have to constantly combat against the notion that nobody wants to watch them.

Despite this, they don’t stop playing. In fact, every time they go out on the court or on the field, they devote it their all knowing full well that their best will likely go unnoticed.

They play because they love it , not because of the glory or potential that they’ll attain millions. Because it is likely, they won’t.

As I’ve thought about it more, part of the solution to women’s athletics receiving more coverage comes down to us not being afraid to demand for more. In a conversation with Cheryl Reeve, the head coach-and-four and general manager of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, we discussed how female athletes are often afraid to ask for more coverage out of fear that they may upset those in athletics media who do offer some.

Women are conditioned to accept what’s to provide them. And in the case of women’s athletics, women athletes have been put in the position to accept coverage here and there out of fear that they won’t receive any coverage should they say something.

Reeve is not afraid to call out the absence of coverage though, and through a series of tweetsshe pointed out the pitfalls of not providing coverage, holding publishings like The Athletic accountable by asking,” Why would a subscriber-based athletics medium that asserts’ full access to all sports’ limit its earnings potential by not covering women’s athletics? The Athletic does just that … and it’s bad business .”

She also told me” that girls need to understand their leveraging in society .”

Take the US women’s soccer and hockey squads. Each group sued for equal pay, and did so know there would be backlash. They weren’t afraid and because of that, they won.

Women, this is our time. Every time we consider an opportunity to call out the absence of coverage of women’s athletics, let’s do it. Let’s continue to put pressure on local and national athletics media to give women’s sports the coverage it deserves. Let’s make it so they can no longer dismiss us.

Let’s make a legal lawsuit for how this is not just us wanting to grace the covers of magazines or be the lead story on SportsCenter. It’s about us wanting to make a living. It’s about knowing that if people were given the chance to see how talented we are that they too might become fans.

” I believe for real change and real motion, I think it’s going to take something bold ,” Reeve said.

From my perspective, how much worse could the coverage get should female athletes sue for better or equal coverage? Will networks and papers dwindle down their coverage from the current 5% even further in retaliation?

We’ve got nothing to lose. So to my friends in women’s sports competing, be bold. Don’t be afraid to bite the hand that feeds you, especially when they’re only giving you then crumb.

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At least the NFL isn’t pretending it’s not blackballing Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick and Reid have again been denied job due to their anthem protest, farther proof that for the NFLs proprietors its simply about power

As if there were any doubt that the NFL was going to continue its blacklist against Colin Kaepernick, the former Super Bowl starting quarterback was once again denied an opportunity the coming week. This time, it was in Seattle, and there was none of the hemming and hawing about Kaepernick’s numbers not being good enough or his playstyle not being the right fit for the offense. No, instead, an NFL source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Seahawks officials cancelled Kaepernick’s workout after he refused to commit to ending his kneeling protests during the national anthem during the course of its 2018 season.

This arrives just days after Kaepernick’s former teammate, Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid- the first 49 ers player to join Kaepernick in his protest in 2016- was approaching a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals merely to be confronted by squad owner Mike Brown, who asked him to commit not to kneel during the course of its anthem in 2018. After “re going through” a series of workouts with coach-and-fours and sensing interest, Reid was again confronted, this time by Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. Lewis asked Reid if he wished to clarify his stance on anthem kneeling for ownership. Reid declined, and the meeting was over shortly thereafter. Reid, like Kaepernick, remains unsigned.

As Reid tweeted in March, “[ General Managers] aren’t the hold out, owneds are .” Football people like Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin recognize players like Reid still have something to offer NFL squads. It’s proprietors like Brown who feel threatened by a powerful voice like Reid’s or a Kaepernick’s in their locker rooms, on their fields, and perhaps most crucially, on their television sets.

This should come as no surprise, particularly after Houston Texans proprietor Bob McNair came out and told the media he” regretted apologizing” for one of the most disgusting comments of the 2017 season, when McNair told at an owners meeting,” We can’t have the inmates running the prison .” McNair continues to claim he wasn’t actually referring to the players, but the context of the original report containing the quote, from Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham of ESPN Magazine, suggests otherwise.

The owneds sessions referenced above included an impassioned plea from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to take the business impact of the continued kneeling protests severely. Jones implored his fellow owners to institute a mandate that would force all players to stand for “the member states national” anthem under threat of a fine. One of Jones’s main allies in the room, Washington owner Dan Snyder, claimed that an absurd” 96 percent” of Americans are against kneeling( a CNN poll from September 2017 said that number was actually 49 percentage ).

The truth, though, is that the owners are not inducing business decisions when they refuse the services of men like Kaepernick and Reid. As Van Natta and Wickersham reported, the NFL’s major sponsors were not universally pro prohibit. In fact, at least one had threatened to drop its sponsorship of the league should it mandate the players to stand for the national anthem. If it was really about the bottom line, would the NFL have tried to buy out kneeling players for $100 m in charitable contributions in 2017?

No, these decisions are made almost solely to maintain the cultural and institutional power of men like Brown, Jones and Snyder. And men like McNair, who said this offseason,” Our playing field is not the place for political statements[ and] not the place for religion statements. It’s the place for football. I think we all need to respect our flag and respect our country. I think we’ll figure out a style to make sure that we do that .”

Money constructs football powerful, but so does its reaching. No other sport dominates American culture and media like the gridiron, and while the NFL chiefly exists to sell the product on the field, there can no doubt that the NFL also sells a very concrete defined of values every Sunday. As John Harbaugh summed up in his 2015 letter, Why Football Matters 😛 TAGEND

” Football is hard. It’s tough. It demands discipline. It teaches obedience. It builds character .”

After years, even decades of hearing such platitudes on NFL broadcasts and pre-game shows, it can be hard to recognize these values as political. But it is impossible to separate football’s demands of discipline and obedience from the route McNair, Jones and many of the NFL’s owneds insure on-field player activism. Thus, when even a player like Kaepernick- a quarterback who led his team to the Super Bowl at age 26, and one of the most physically talented players at the position- dared to say something is bigger than football, his continued presence became unacceptable. It’s why when Reid tried to land a task in Cincinnati, both the head coach and owner pressed him to commit not to kneel in 2018 before they would even consider a contract offer.

It’s good, at least, that the owners have stopped bothering to feign it’s about anything else but indicating their power for the world- and for any players who might be considering a protest this season- to ensure. In a world where Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned but Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens find a place for Robert Griffin III, a quarterback with a wrecked knee and simply 14 appearances, six touchdowns and nine interceptions to his name since 2014, any hallucinations about the blackball of Kaepernick having anything to do with the league’s product should be put to rest.

The political statement McNair and the rest of the owners are trying to keep off the football field in their campaign against on-field activism is one America perfectly needs to hear. Systemic racism and police brutality are a daily reality for black Americans, and despite the NFL’s posturing, these issues are bigger than the game. And let’s not forget that it is not just people who are indignant over protests during the anthem who will stop watching football. For all persons who blusters about ceasing the league over the” anthem protests ,” there will be others who assure the owners’ cowardly attempts to stifle the speech and expres of the players and think twice about devoting their Sundays to a game with no soul.

By kneeling for themselves and their brethren, Reid and Kaepernick have become a threat to the NFL. They don’t only threaten to sully the league’s image, to remind everybody watching at home and in the stands that the NFL is part of an America that savagely and systematically opresses black Americans. Kaepernick, Reid and anybody else who would dare kneel in 2018 also threaten the league’s ironclad grip on the values of obedience and discipline, and that is a threat that cannot be brooked by such small, angry men as Bob McNair, Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones. But Reid and Kaepernick will not submit, and for that crime, we should expect the NFL’s unofficial but blatantly obvious blackballing to continue through 2018, and, in all likelihood, beyond.

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Conor McGregor has turned into what he once condemned: a bully and a bum

The Irishmans tiresome act is doing more to destroy the UFCs hard-won credibility than any stomach-turning brawl or failed doping test

Watching Conor McGregor racing through the loading dock at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday, hurling dollies at a bus like some crazy-eyed rowdy, I could only think of John McCain.

It was the US senator who years ago denounced the UFC as ” human cockfighting “, affixing a label of lawlessness on mixed martial arts that pushed them into the corners of what was considered acceptable adult behavior. The UFC has worked for years to combat this image, with brain safety and doping mandates that helped attract a corporate buyer and resulted McCain to reconsider his opinion.

” The MMA cleaned up their act, they genuinely did ,” McCain told me in 2016.” When it first started they were able to do things that are now prohibited. I don’t have a problem with the MMA .”

Now the UFC’s biggest name, their star who burst into the mainstream, landing on magazine cover-ups, luring many to a athletic they’d never might have never considered, has been charged with assault and criminal mischief. One of these countings is a felony. And it does far more than any bloody brawl or failed doping test to destroy the credibility the UFC has built in recent years. The videos of the organization’s most visible fighter raging across concrete corridors, lunging garbage can, project to the world an image that confirms McCain’s original impression.

What does it say about the UFC when the only fighter to hold titles in two of its divisions at once starts acting a common hoodlum?

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Conor McGregor assaults bus backstage at UFC event- video

Two years ago, back when he still went off as clever, McGregor once sat in a pre-fight press conference with Nate Diaz and told Diaz had” a bully mentality “. He then mocked Diaz’s mentors- some of whom are MMA royalty- as “bums.” As he said this, McGregor wore a fine plaid suit. He looked elegant. And even though he tussled with Diaz on stage, he still went off as regal, the fighter with an uncanny ability to describe exactly how he would win his fightings. For this he became known as” Mystic Mac “.

But there was nothing mystical or magical about the man bellowing through Barclays with a posse of flatterers, scampering from security, flinging anything not bolted down at a bus filled with other fighters. When he hurled the dolly through the bus window, he allegedly injured lightweight fighter Michael Chiesa and flyweight Ray Borg enough that both were pulled from Saturday’s UFC 233 card. McGregor arrived off as the very things he once condemned: a bully and a bum.

Maybe, in a way, this was some kind of extravagant battle promotion. The real target of McGregor’s ire was supposedly Khabib Nurmagomedov, the rising lightweight superstar whose fight with Max Holloway on Saturday night was for the belt McGregor was stripped of for not fighting in the UFC since November 2016. McGregor was once a master of hype, house hysteria for his battles with profane denunciations.

What happened Thursday was no masterful stroke of promotional genius. McGregor’s act has grown tiresome in recent months as his starring has peaked and he virtually seems to have developed a compulsion to be outrageous. He appeared tacky and obnoxious in his pre-fight tour with Floyd Mayweather before their struggle last year and in dragging his gang of hangers-on to charge a bus under an arena two days before a big fighting night was stupid. There’s no honor in getting arrested for potentially damaging the careers of other fighters. McGregor, a man obsessed with fund, should understand that. With Chiesa and Borg’s withdrawls and UFC president Dana White’s removal of Artem Lobov( who was with McGregor on Thursday ), he may have expensed the UFC three fightings on Saturday’s card. When Holloway was declared medically unfit to battle on Friday morning, the UFC was left with a shell of an event.

” This is the last stunt on ground that we’d ever pull ,” White told ESPN .” This is embarrassing for the athletic and obviously for the UFC. This is the farthest thing from a stunt. This is bad.

Times have changed. This isn’t the old anything-goes UFC. The work White and others did to polish the organization’s image resulted in a$ 4bn sale to WME-IMG. The modern UFC is not the renegade UFC. They are a huge corporate entity desperate to appeal to the mainstream. What McGregor did on Thursday might draw a knowing smile from a fight fan who will shrug the whole thing off a part of “fighting”. But it doesn’t appeal to the broader world that sets people like McGregor and former female star Ronda Rousey on magazine covers and television commercials.

” It’s out of character for Conor McGregor and any of my fighters ,” White said in his ESPN interview, seeming shaken by what happened.” Listen, crazy things happen in sports . … In the history of the UFC, this is definitely the worst thing that’s happened. This is not Conor McGregor. This is not the Conor McGregor that I know .”

UFC executives have been frustrated with McGregor ever since he knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds back in UFC 194. The win propelled McGregor to new renown, attaining him virtually bigger than the organization himself- something he exploited to become increasing more difficult to control. They put up with his behaviour because, for a hour, it built them fund.

But this time McGregor traversed a line. White is right, the McGregor of recent months, the McGregor on Thursday, was nothing like the one who became the UFC’s greatest star. He has to make a option now. Does he want to be a champion or a bully and a hobo, throwing it all away to throw trashcans at bus?

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Conor McGregor involved in chaotic backstage melee ahead of UFC 223

Conor McGregor was involved in a backstage melee and footage appears to show the UFC star throwing a guard rail at a bus full of fighters on Saturdays card

Conor McGregor was involved in a backstage melee after a news conference for UFC 223, and video footage appears to show the promotion’s biggest star throwing a hand truck at a bus full of fighters, injuring at least one scheduled to compete Saturday.

Video showed McGregor with a group of people causing chaos Thursday as they took an elevator to the loading dock at Barclays Center. He can be seen tossing trash can and being prevented from throwing a roadblock at a bus during his unannounced appearance in New York.

caposa (@ Grabaka_Hitman)

yoooooo … first time seeing this one. Conor has legit “losing ones” mind. XcLFd2FIMo

April 5, 2018

The New York police department said it wants to question McGregor. A police spokesman said McGregor hurled a hand truck at a bus causing minor injury to an individual on the bus.

McGregor hasn’t fought for UFC since November 2016 and was stripped the coming week by UFC chairwoman Dana White of the 155 lb championship he had never defended. White also said this week he did not expect McGregor to attend Saturday’s fights.

McGregor profanely reacted on Twitter and wrote,” You’ll strip me of nothing .”

McGregor last fought at all he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr in a boxing match on 26 August 2017.

The popular Irishman is tight with UFC 223 fighter Artem Lobov, who was involved this week in a scuffle in a hotel with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov fights Max Holloway for the lightweight championship left vacant by McGregor.

Lobov was yanked from the card and the fight status of Michael Chiesa was unclear after he was sent to the hospital with injuries sustained in the two attacks. Chiesa is scheduled to fight Anthony Pettis.

UFC president Dana White said this week in New York that McGregor would oppose again for UFC this year. McGregor’s actions now put any future opposes very much in doubt.

The 29 -year-old McGregor once held the 145 lb and 155 lb championships at the same hour and boldly stated he wanted an ownership stake in UFC. But the trash-talking, egocentric has been out of the fight game except for his boxing dalliance with Mayweather that constructed him wealthy enough to never have to fight again. McGregor and his girlfriend welcomed their first child, a son, in May 2017.

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A star is re-born: Zlatan brims with confidence on first day with LA Galaxy

The Swede brushed aside the issue of his age and fitness with his trademark self-confidence on his first day with the MLS club

As with all new recruits at LA Galaxy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was greeted to the’ Tunnel of Death’ brainwashing where reference is first stepped onto the StubHub Center educate field on Friday morning.

Ibrahimovic’s team-mates formed a passageway and took turns slapping his back, as the 36 -year-old operated the gauntlet. Perhaps some will have needed the fearlessnes of the’ lion’ to strike the 6ft 5in frontman, yet he was all smiles afterwards.

Just 12 hours or so after first landing in Los Angeles, Ibrahimovic displayed a childlike pleasure to be on the training field and beginning what will surely be the final chapter of his decorated career. The former Manchester United man even had to be dragged away from shooting practice at the end of its present session, with a view to keeping him fresh for today’s inaugural LA derby.

But while dedication to his craft has been an integral component in Ibrahimovic’s success at Europe’s heavyweight clubs, his aura has also grown as a consequence of his forthright views when will come forward with a microphone.

In that consider, his opening press conference as a Galaxy player boasted plenty of’ Zlatanisms’- in addition to a couple of noteworthy revelations about his long-speculated upon switch to the MLS.

Ibrahimovic confirmed that he had agreed a move to Galaxy from Paris St-Germain in the summer of 2016, only for the bargain to collapse. He would subsequently pen a one-year contract at Manchester United, which became two, despite the torn knee ligament suffer under last season’s Europa League semi-final.

” My head was here. I wanted to come here and it didn’t happen ,” he said.

The Swede also told how Galaxy technological director and former Man United youngster Jovan Kirovski pestered him relentlessly to move to southern California, during this season’s troubled trauma rehabilitation.

He said:” For the last two months, I’ve been training every day and still not feeling 100%.

” Then this move came up where Jovan started to call me every day and I started to set my intellect on something in a different way. I spoke to Jovan more than my spouse !”

But it was those glimpses into Ibrahimovic’s streak of self-confidence which illuminates up a press conference boasting more than 100 journalists from around the globe( such attention offering a fringe benefit of what the TAM signing will bring to MLS ).

The criticism of Ibrahimovic’s arrival in the US has significantly centered on his age and whether he has a role to play in an era where MLS clubs have shifted towards signing younger recruits. Those days when the likes of Steven Gerrard, Kaka and Andrea Pirlo picked up bumper pay packets for strolling around the field appeared to be at an end.

Yet when asked about his advancing years, Ibrahimovic responded with typical bullishness.

” I’m like Benjamin Button !” told Ibrahimovic.

” They told I was too old in the Premier League- the fastest competition in the world.

” But I did it and took over. After three months, the super-haters- all the people who were criticizing – became my fans.

” I will always take the hardest challenge that is out there. At 35, people told I would never make it in the Premier League, even players I talked to.

” I had 20 years of experience in other competitions and had won trophies, but they said I would be gambling that if I went to the Premier League and the one season wasn’t good.

” But I took all those years and put it on one wager to go to the Premier League and assure what happened.

” Same thing here, I don’t have anything to prove. I simply have to perform. I know what I’m able to do and I will do it.

” I know in my head what the game is. Now the rest of my body has to follow.

” I’ve come here to win. I’ve already brought their own families. My wife can take care of the family and I can do what I’m good at. The lion is hungry .”

Nevertheless, Ibrahimovic has clearly were influenced by his injury. He attained seven first-team appearances and scored once for United when he returned to the fold in November, but his final appearance arrived on 26 December, due to a fresh setback. He admits he was unable to get back to full fitness during the remainder of his career at Old Trafford.

” I started to play, but I had a bit to do before I could go all in. I played six to seven games, scored a aim, but I felt something. I didn’t feel 100%. I didn’t feel ready, so I took a step back ,” he said.

Fitness questions aside though, Ibrahimovic’s signing is an opportune boost for Galaxy , not only because it came on the eve of the LA derby, but because new neighbors LAFC have been inducing plenty of noise in the city.

While Galaxy suffered the worst season in the club’s history in 2017, LAFC are the new kids on the block- bring back the likes of Mexican international Carlos Vela, landing former US boss Bob Bradley and nearing completion of a new $250 m stadium in the heart of LA.

As Galaxy fan Juan Lopez Jr- who was present at the press conference- said:” They were beginning to take some of the spotlight away with the signing of Vela and[ Diego] Rossi.

” The Galaxy have to maintain their place at the top of the MLS table. We are the only team to have five titles and we need a scorer like Zlatan .”

Ibrahimovic is fully aware of Galaxy’s history after speaking with his former PSG team-mate David Beckham, and believes he can restore some of the club’s gusto after joining a long line of aging footballing hotshots become members of the club.

” When David Beckham came here he devoted a boost to the league and to the Galaxy, and set the bar with where he had come from ,” told Ibrahimovic.

” That was something that maintained going with Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane, and now I’m here.

” It’s the most successful club in the history of MLS and the right environment for me. They’re used to getting players from Europe in this situation.

” I find the health risks. Last year was not a good year, but something new is going on. I’m an extra piece in the big puzzle.

” I know what I can bring, and I will bring it. I’m not arrogant, I’m confident. The people who don’t understand say I’m arrogant .”

Arrogant or not, Ibrahimovic has instantly become Galaxy’s star media attraction after simply one full day on the job. Regardless of what he does on the field, that will remain the case.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s low-key MLS debut: a wondergoal then the winner for LA Galaxy

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a man who needs no encouragement to attain headlines, took 19 minutes to establish his MLS legend

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a man who needs no encouragement to construct headlines, took all of 19 minutes to establish his MLS legend. The Swede came on as a substitute in the 71 st minute for his LA Galaxy debut with his squad 3-1 down. He promptly scored a brilliant aim: a dipping, stinging shot over the keeper from 40 yards out. That, of course, wasn’t enough for the man who announced his arrival in MLS by telling the press that” the lion is hungry “. He went on to score the win in added time as Galaxy beat LA FC in the first ever Los Angeles derby.

“[ The fans] were shouting’ We want Zlatan ‘. I devoted them Zlatan ,” he told after the game.

Major League Soccer (@ MLS)

AMAZING. #zLAtan #LAvLAFC https :// xyk7 8K6xSr

March 31, 2018

It had appeared that LAFC would win the first ever’ El Trafico’- named for the city’s snarled freeways- when Carlos Vela scored twice in the first 30 minutes, and Galaxy were 3-0 just after half-time when Daniel Steres deflected the ball past his own keeper. When Sebastian Lletget pulled one back for Galaxy in the 61 st minute it appeared it would be little more than a succour objective. And then Ibrahimovic took the stage.

He had a part in Galaxy’s second – his cross was deflected and eventually fell to Emmanuel Boateng, who set-up Chris Pontius’s powerful header. The best was yet to come though: in the 77 th-minute the ball dropped to the Swede around 40 yards out and he ripped a dip shot over Tyler Miller in the LAFC goal. Ibrahimovic, who was entitled to be pleased with his afternoon so far, was booked for tearing off his shirt during the course of its ensuing celebrations.

Major League Soccer (@ MLS)

Zlatan called game! #LAvLAFC ldYCRc8P 9y

March 31, 2018

And then came the win. Another former Premier League player- Ashley Cole- scooped the ball across the six-yard area and Ibrahimovic headed home the win. There was more of hint of offside but Ibrahimovic had written his own legend. Again.

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Serena Williams is now a mother, but dont expect the hate to stop | Paul MacInnes

The greatest champion of the modern era has had to achieve it all to a background of thinly veiled racism and unjust criticism sadly, her having a baby is unlikely to change anything

Would someone please give Serena Williams a infringe? Two weeks into her comeback, seven months after giving birth to daughter Olympia( her name chosen from a shortlist of those links with strength ), the win of 23 grand slam singles crowns was forced to endure another round of the rubbish that has been as consistent a part of her career as the titles.

Williams had to enter the Miami Open this week as an unseeded player, a wildcard in fact. This despite the fact that she left for her maternity leave as the women’s world No 1, at 35 years and seven months the oldest person ever to hold that stance. Without commenting on the issues herself, Serena’s deseeding has become a talking point in Florida after she was drawn against Naomi Osaka, last week’s Indian Wells champion, in the first round. The director of the Miami Open, James Blake, has suggested:” These kind of things shouldn’t happen .”

The seeding is in the gift of the WTA. It has a system of what it calls protected ranking, which permits an injured player to retain a rank averaged from the months immediately following their injury. But this ranking does not apply to seeding. Also, technically speaking, Williams- who plays Osaka on Wednesday evening- was never injured in the first place.

” She had a kid, which we should all be celebrating ,” Blake told.” So when she comes back there should be a grace period where she can still be seeded .” Blake is not the only person to venture an opinion on this subject and, abruptly, maternity in tennis is a hot topic. Are female players being penalise for having a child? Is having a child the same as a broken leg? Should the governing body of women’s tennis perhaps have thought about these matters before now?

Simona Halep, the current WTA No 1, believes Williams should have been granted top seeding. The world No 66, Mandy Minella, believes no adjustment should be made at all.” The regulation should stay as it is ,” said Minella, who returned to tennis in February, 99 days after giving birth.” There are many players who have been out because of pregnancy and there will be many more. I don’t think we would be talking about this if it wasn’t Serena .”

Needless to say it is not the first time that people are talking about something because of Serena. The Miami Open has given equal prize money to both its males and winners since 1985, but it is an outlier. At other events on the WTA circuit a champ will still earn far less than their equivalent on the ATP tour. Williams has been making the debate for equal pay for years. In return she has not only had to listen to snide questions from male journalists quoting court-time statistics but also enjoy the diatribes of male executives who believe female players should” get down on their knees” and” give thanks for the men who stimulated their career” possible.

That opinion belongs to Raymond Moore, the former CEO of Indian Wells who stepped down amid the outrage at his remarks and which only happens to be the other tournament Serena has entered unseeded since her return. Indian Wells is an infamous locating in the Williams legend, the place where Serena’s father Richard railed against racist abuse from the crowd when Serena won the final in 2001. She subsequently boycotted the tournament for 14 years.

The struggle of being a prominent female African-American athlete has hardly gone away during that time. This wintertime Williams learned that her fellow American player, Tennys Sandgren, had made an apparently derogatory tweet about her utilizing foul language on tribunal. It was part of a cloudburst of screenshots of deleted social media bilge attributed to Sandgren on Twitter, forcing him to deny he was an alt-right sympathiser. The female who has claimed 316 grand slam match wins in her career wrote to this human, who sounds like he changed his name to celebrate both his preferred sport and an interest in Viking lore, and asked for an apology on behalf of the members of an” entire group of people “. Sandgren has since apologised, but merely for homophobic remarks he made on another occasion.

Williams did not have to step into the Sandgren hellhole, some suggest. Neither did she have to call out Novak Djokovic over his statements on equal pay. And if she did not want to have her body criticised( as it has been throughout her career) she should not have posed for the cover of Sports Illustrated or, subsequently, Vanity Fair while pregnant.

That Williams, the only player male or female to win a career golden slam after the age of 30, has any choice in the matter seems laughable, however. For a start the idea that black people with opinions are difficult is a trope that for generations has given white people covering to provoke them with whatever material they like. Induce a narrative about Serena and it stirs up a whole slurry of related bitternes that they are able to provoked engagement in an audience. That Williams could choose to somehow ignore that seems naive.

It would be nice if Serena could have some time off from all this, perhaps expend six months without becoming the figurehead for something eminently sensible yet somehow abhorrent to reactionaries. It would be nice if she received the respect she deserves for her tennis career and that owed to her as a human being. But maybe she won’t. And if she doesn’t you can bet that a born competitor will keep up the fight at her aim. In turning that were likely to construct Williams an icon whose significance carries beyond her sporting career.

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US skiers Jessie Diggins, Kikkan Randall stun field for historic cross-country gold

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall upset the field in the team sprint freestyle race for the United States first ever womens cross-country gold medal

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall came from behind to win a astound cross-country gold medal in Wednesday night’s squad sprint freestyle, ending one of the the United States’ longest-running Olympic droughts with a dramatic upset.

The American skiers overtook a pair of more heralded squads to finish the final in a time of 15 min, 56.47 sec, edging Sweden for the gold by 0.19 seconds and coming in nearly three seconds ahead of Norway, who added a bronze to their overflowing cross-country medal haul in Pyeongchang.

” I simply felt unstoppable ,” Diggins said.” I am in the best shape of my life right now for sure. That feeling of crossing the line and having Kikkan tackle me was the coolest thing ever .”

Diggins and Randall became the first ever American women to win any medal in cross-country skiing, much less a gold. They join Bill Koch, a silver medalist in the 30 km event at the 1976 Wintertime Game in Innsbruck, as the only US skiers to make an Olympic podium in a athletic dominated by athletes from Scandinavia.

The Americans earned a spot in the front row of the final by posting the most wonderful time in the second of two semi-finals with a trade mark of 16 min 22.56 sec, more than 10 seconds better than Norway’s winning time in the first.

” I felt better every round today ,” Randall said.” I felt strong in the semi-final, I was trying to conserve energy. In the final, every lap I felt stronger and stronger. When we ran up that mound I knew I simply had to keep us in there. Tactically, I wanted to keep us in there so Jessie could do what she wanted to do on that last lap .”

Diggins, the ebullient talisman of the US team who spends her downtime learning hip-hop dance routines from YouTube tutorials, was third entering the final lap before discovering an extra reserve to overtake both the Swedish and Norwegian teams and secure the history-making gold.

” In the final stretching I was just thinking,’ Go, go, go, I’m giving it everything I had and I’ve got someone who I truly love and care about waiting for me at the finishing line and I just wishes to attain her proud ‘,” Diggins said.” Just expressed his belief that we had what it took the entire day .”

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USA clinch first ever gold in ladies’ team sprint- video

Diggins entered Pyeongchang on a tailwind of optimism with a US-record four world championships medals including a pair of silvers last year to her name.

But an Olympic breakthrough appeared less and less likely as the near-misses piled up over the last week and a half. The 26 -year-old finished in the top six in each of her previous four events at these Games but each time failed to reach the rostrum , none more agonizing than last week’s 10 km freestyle where she missed out on a bronze by 3.3 seconds.

” I have been working so hard for so long, the entire squad has ,” Diggins said.” Being so close to medals so many times this week, I knew I was in good shape and I knew it could happen. This team brings the absolute best out in me .”

The catharsis was different but no less acute for the 35 -year-old Randall, who finally broke her Olympic maiden in her 18 th career event, setting a Winter Games record for most events before claiming a medal.

” It was hard to make this team and when I got the nod the other day, I knew I had an important job to do ,” she said. “It’s just so cool.”

Wednesday’s shock victory by the US team overshadowed an even bigger piece of history as Norway’s Marit Bjorgen, the 37 -year-old who took the bronze with team-mate Maiken Caspersen Falla, won a 14 th career medal to outshine countryman Ole Einar Bjourndalen for the most ever medals at the Winter Olympics.

But the night is accountable to Diggins and Randall, whose upset win will no doubt buoy the spirits of a US delegation who have slipped poorly in the medal table since the weekend.

” Hearing it out loud, it still doesn’t feel real ,” Randall said.” It’s what I’ve been working on for 20 years and with this squad for the last five years and wow, it’s just so fun to set it together tonight, eventually .”

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Gus Kenworthy’s kiss with boyfriend on NBC greeted with acclaim

The British-born American freestyle skier failed to add to his silver from Sochi, but a historic kiss with his boyfriend on primetime network TV may have made an even bigger impact back home

Shaun White wins third snowboard halfpipe gold with nerveless final run

American snowboarder Shaun White won a spectacular mens halfpipe final to collect his third Olympic gold medal