Soccer

Why Eric Dier fan clash should result in easy FA discipline decision

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AP

Why Eric Dier fan clash should result in easy FA discipline decision

Eric Dier started Saturday for Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor against Burnley. When he'll start next remains to be seen.

The Spurs defender charged into the stands at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the Lilywhites' FA Cup loss to Norwich on Wednesday, confronting a fan who Dier alleged was abusing his brother. The Football Association is investigating the altercation, as are Tottenham and London Metropolitan Police. 

Dier had the sympathy of manager José Mourinho and the backing of Tottenham Hotspur supporters, who sang "I love Eric Dier, Eric Dier loves me" from the away end at Turf Moor on Saturday. NBC Sports soccer analysts Robbie Earle and Kyle Martino sympathized, too, but they fully expect Dier to face discipline from the FA. 

"I think protecting your family is almost like a basic instinct, and I think his instinct to protect took over his control as a professional," Earle said on "Premier League Mornings" on Saturday. "He saw a situation where his brother was involved and felt he had to go into the stands. I think he will end up in trouble. I think the FA will have to look at it. Stands are places that players shouldn't be just like fans shouldn't be on the football pitch, and I sympathize with him for his actions. But I do think that the FA will look at it."

Earle played nearly two decades for Port Vale and Wimbledon, while Martino played seven seasons for MLS' Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy. Both dealt with abuse from fans and understand why Dier was drawn into the stands Wednesday. 

They viewed the field's boundaries and a stadium's barriers as sacrosanct, however. Martino noted that fans going onto the pitch can result in stadium bans, and he felt players can't cross the line the other way, either. 

"What if that fan started coming towards him, and a fight ensued?" Martino rhetorically asked. " ... It's tough because I totally feel for him, and I understand why he wanted to do that, but for the safety of not doing those things because of what it can start, you've gotta stay out of the stands."

[RELATED: Liverpool claw back into win column with comeback victory]

Mourinho told reporters he didn't think the club should discipline Dier, and he didn't want to address the situation in a pre-match interview with Sky Sports before Tottenham's match at Burnley. 

The FA's decision likely will be just as clear-cut, but don't expect Dier to be spared punishment. Even if they understand why he ran into the stands in the first place. 

DeAndre Yedlin echoes grandpa's heartbreak over George Floyd's death

DeAndre Yedlin echoes grandpa's heartbreak over George Floyd's death

DeAndre Yedlin is one of the United States Men's National Team's most recognizable faces, with more caps (62) to his name than all but three players (Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Brad Guzan).

The Newcastle United right back also is African American, and he revealed in a Twitter thread Tuesday that his 74-year-old grandfather texted him "a couple days" after George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis to say he was happy his grandson was in England, not the United States, during this time.

Yedlin understood why, tweeting that each "American needs to ask themselves if there is 'liberty and justice for all,' and if their answer is yes, then they are part of the problem."

Yedlin shared his thoughts hours after Newcastle's Twitter account posted a picture of the club's players kneeling in a circle before Tuesday's training session with the hashtag #UnitedAsOne. Liverpool and Chelsea also tweeted pictures of their players kneeling Monday and Tuesday, respectively, along with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died last Monday in Minneapolis police custody after a white officer -- who has since been fired, arrested and now faces charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter -- pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for over eight minutes. Floyd died two months after the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor -- a 26-year-old African American woman -- by police in Louisville and three months after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery -- a 25-year-old African American man -- by two white men, and nationwide protests of systemic racism and police brutality have sprung up over the last week.

[RELATED: Bruce Maxwell's kneel still sparks hate, misunderstanding]

Some demonstrations have turned destructive, with violent police response alongside looting and rioting. Numerous cities and municipalities across the country have started to institute curfews.

The outrage isn't limited to the United States, with protests occurring in London, Berlin and Paris, among other cities around the world. In the Bundesliga, which is the only major European league that has resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, a handful of young stars honored Floyd and the ongoing protests last weekend.

Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, a 22-year-old African American man, wore an armband bearing the message "Justice for George." Borussia Dortmund wunderkinds Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi -- 20 and 21, respectively -- both lifted their kits to reveal shirts saying "Justice for George Floyd" after scoring goals. Twenty-two-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thurman took a knee after scoring.

The laws of the game prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images," but the English Football Association said Tuesday players would be able to follow in McKennie, Sancho, Hakimi and Thurman's footsteps without fearing punishment. German soccer authorities have said they're investigating whether McKennie should face sanctions for wearing the armband.

Premier League set to restart play from coronavirus pause on June 17

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AP

Premier League set to restart play from coronavirus pause on June 17

The Premier League is set to restart.

On Thursday, shareholders gave "Project Restart" the green light for play to start back up June 17. According to ESPN's James Olley, there will be two games on June 17, with Manchester City facing Arsenal and Sheffield United hosting Aston Villa. That will bring all clubs to 29 matches played, with the remaining 90 games left on the slate to start up the following weekend.

The Premier League's goal is to have all league games finished by Aug. 1 with the FA Cup to be complete with the final to be played on Aug. 8. As for the remaining Champions League and Europa League games, those also are slated to be completed if the pandemic calms down to allow international travel.

According to Olley, a number of clubs asked for more time to ramp up training before the restart given contact training was just given the OK on Wednesday. But the desire for a sooner restart and pressure from UEFA to complete all domestic matches by August had the league settle on June 17.

[RELATED: What PL's positive coronavirus tests mean for league restart]

The Premier League has had 12 positive coronavirus tests through the first three rounds. When the league restarts, testing capacity will be increased to 50 to 60 tests per club. Anyone testing positive must self-isolate for seven days.

The league suspended play March 13. One hundred days will have passed by the time the league starts back up June 17.