Weekly Recap 06.15

Driving Out Hate  –

Last week NASCAR announced that it is banning the Confederate flag from all of its events and properties.  The league’s only African American driver, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., called for the change.  In solidarity with protesters to end police brutality against black people and achieve social justice, Wallace drove a black car with #BlackLivesMatter at his race on Wednesday at Martinsville Speedway.  The special paint scheme also included black and white hands gripping together.

Out of this Galaxy  – 

The LA Galaxy released Serbian soccer star Aleksander Katai because his wife, Tea Katai, posted several racist, hateful and violent images and comments on Instagram.  The posts have been deleted, but The Associated Press reported that one showed a picture of New York Police Department officers’ driving into a crowd of protesters, with a line in Serbian that translates to “kill those shits.”  Other posts showed a person seemingly looting sneakers with the caption, “Black Nikes Matter” and called protesters “disgusting cattle,” also in Serbian.

After Galaxy fans went to the stadium and protested, the club cut the midfielder who just joined the LA team this year.  Team president, Chris Klein said that the decision was not difficult and they have to hold their values. “We believe strongly that we’re a club that represents our staff, represents our players, represents our fans and our community.”  

Katai says that his wife posts are unacceptable and are not tolerated in his family. 

Juneteenth  –

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Friday to its employees and clubs that the league would close its office on June 19 to celebrate Juneteenth, the effective end of slavery in the United States.  It is celebrated on June 19 because that was the date in 1865 when Union soldiers delivered the news in Texas that enslaved people were now free.  The recognition of the  holiday is part of the NFL’s commitment to social justice.

In the internal memo, Goodell wrote, “Juneteenth not only marks the end of slavery in the United States, but it also symbolizes freedom — a freedom that was delayed, and brutally resisted; and though decades of progress followed, a freedom for which we must continue to fight.”

Tip-Off or Nah?  –

The NBA is planning to resume its season next month at Search Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Not all players are feeling like it is the best time to return.  On Friday night Brooklyn Nets forward Kyrie Irving led a zoom call with other star players to discuss their feelings of playing basketball while the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining momentum and the nation is still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.  Irving thinks that the return of basketball could be a distraction to the fight for social justice and police reform.  He expressed his willingness to give up everything for it.  

Lakers center Dwight Howard agrees with Irving believes that this isn’t the time for entertainment period.  In a statement to CNN from his agent, he wrote, “No Basketball until we get things resolved.”

The NBA’s current King, LeBron James, was not on the call.  Some believe that the NBA’s return will come down to how the Lakers forward feels.   

Game On,

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