It's Sunday, that time of the week when we handpick the top six incidents from around the globe that you should know about - whether it's good, bad, or ugly. While the pandemic phase has given us little to cheer about, this edition features a few positives along with the usual suspects, of course.
Athletes in the USA protest for justice in the aftermath of the Jacob Blake killing
It was not more than three months ago that the killing of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis shook the entire world to such an extent that the wave accelerated the universal ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which prompted sportsmen to take an active part in voicing their opinion against racial discrimination. Three months on, last Sunday, 29-year old Jacob Blake was shot seven times from the back by the police, in Kenosha, as he leaned into his SUV, with three of his children seated inside the vehicle. Incidentally, the video of the killing was recorded on a cell phone, which once went viral re-kindled fresh protests in the United States of America. Sportsmen, an active part of the BLM movement, raised their voices yet again, with several NBA teams refusing to turn up for their matches.
Meanwhile eight NFL teams including The Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Football did not turn up for their practice sessions as a mark of protest. Similar stances were taken by the teams in the Major League Baseball, Women’s National Basketball Association, and Major League Soccer. The initiative taken by American sportsmen to eradicate the ill-treatment towards the black people in the country is to be given due credit.
Surrey to host fans in their T20 Blast game against Hampshire
Finally, some good news. After a five-month hiatus, we are finally going to get back people in the stands to witness a cricket match. While sporting activities were suspended for a majority of the lockdown beginning from late March, it was one-and-a-half months ago that we had the first International match following the Covid-19 outbreak, with bio-secure bubbles in place. While England is busy with its International season, the domestic season has also kicked off in the meantime. With the Caribbean Premier League already underway, the T20 Vitality Blast also kicked-off this week and, as per the latest reports, Surrey will allow fans inside the stands of the Kia Oval as part of government trails around the return of spectators to live sporting events. Surrey was also involved in initiating the movements, permitting 1000 fans inside the ground in a friendly match against Middlesex. This is all a part of the government's attempt to normalize the entry of fans for sporting activities from October 1.
13 members of Chennai Super Kings test positive for Covid-19
The players and staff have already assembled in the United Arab Emirates for the cricket extravaganza and this is the most awaited season in the history of the Indian Premier League. Why? Indians were devoid of cricket action for the past five months and the IPL was set to once again bring back the cricket-crazy nation into life. But the tournament has hit a roadblock three weeks before the scheduled start of the tournament. 13 members of the Chennai Super Kings unit were tested positive for Covid-19, which includes two cricketers - Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad. To everyone’s disappointment, the contingent has gone back into quarantine once again. To make the situation even worse, their star player Suresh Raina also left the squad and headed back to India citing personal reasons. Hopefully, everyone heals fast and we get a full IPL season. That's what we are all waiting for.
Former Indian athletic coach Purushotham Rai passes a day before receiving the Dronacharya Award
August 29, the birthday of arguably India’s greatest sportsman, Dhyan Chand, is observed as the National Sports Day - where athletes are presented with several awards, including the Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and the Dronacharya Award. Veteran athletics coach Purushotham Rai was set to receive the prestigious Dronacharya Award for his services but, unfortunately, he passed away hours before receiving the title after suffering a heart attack. It was announced days before that the coach would be conferred with the award via virtual felicitation program scheduled this Saturday. In fact, he was also present for the rehearsal for the ceremony, but could not make it to the event. Rai coached the Indian team for World Athletics Championships back in 1987 and was also in charge of the contingent which featured in the 1988 Asian Track and Field Championships and 1999 SAF Games.
Channel 7 threatens Cricket Australia to terminate contract over its handling of schedule
Australia’s Channel 7 head James Warburton has threatened Cricket Australia (CA) that it might terminate the broadcasting contract with the latter over its handling of the summer schedule. The official termed the situation as ‘train wreck’, with the Big Bash League set to be a less attractive affair with no marquee foreign players expected to feature in the competition due to Covid-19 restrictions. They have raised concerns over CA’s ‘unacceptable product’, stating that Channel 7 is not in support of the season, even though there are international fixtures involving India scheduled in the new season. In reply, CA claimed that they are eager to deliver a full and compelling summer of cricket and are disappointed regarding the stance of Channel 7 regarding the matter. For the sake of Australian cricket, hopefully, the air clears between both the parties, so that they can enter into the second year of their record five-year deal.
Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe owing to ‘acts of serious misconduct’
Even if we want to keep South African cricket out of the list, a fresh incident crops out of nowhere. Just a week back, the director of their board, Graeme Smith received death threats, after he voiced his support and took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Just when Cricket South Africa (CSA) was trying to get over the shameful incident, the apex body sacked their executive director Thabang Moroe owing to ‘acts of serious misconduct,’ on his part. Monroe had been suspended in December 2019 for an investigation during which he was offered the chance to submit evidence, failure of which led to his sacking from the post. This is the third such development in the cricket board recently, as former chief operating officer Naasei Appiah was sacked from the duties earlier this month. Clive Eksteeen, the former head and sales of sponsorship, was also axed in June. CSA has been through a rough ride in 2020, so hopefully they overcome the hurdles and sail smoothly once again.