Donald Trump

President Donald Trump calls for sports to resume play at UFC 249

President Donald Trump calls for sports to resume play at UFC 249

Last night, live sports returned in the United States at UFC 249. Held in an empty arena without fans, with a load of coronavirus prevention guidelines and testing, some normalcy returned to the sports world.

President Donald Trump addressed UFC fans during the broadcast in a video from the White House.

"I'm standing in a very important spot, right outside the Oval Office, and you're looking at the White House behind me," Trump said. "It's an honor to be here and an honor to salute you. I want to congratulate Dana White and the UFC. They're going to have a big match.

"We love it. We think it's important. Get the sports league back. Let's play. Do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do, but we need sports. We want our sports back."

It's worth noting that UFC light heavyweight Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19 and his bout with Uriah Hall was pulled from the event, but the card continued otherwise. It's also worth noting that Trump and UFC president Dana White have a close personal relationship, with White speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016.

Trump has reportedly held calls with the commissioners of the major sports leagues about how to get sports going again. As of now, the NBA, NHL and MLB seasons are suspended, and there isn't a clear return date or plan in mind. Reports of options have crept out, but nothing concrete is in place.

The NFL released its schedule in early May and is planning on starting in early September, as usual. However, there are contingency plans in place if the season needs to be delayed.

Did Lauri Markkanen just troll Donald Trump?

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@MARKKANENLAURI

Did Lauri Markkanen just troll Donald Trump?

Lauri Markkanen remains undefeated on Twitter.

Sunday, Markkanen tweeted a photo that seems to be an attempt to troll President Donald Trump. Take a look:

Look at that sly smile. The photo seems relatively harmless, but it's clear that Markkanen is trolling Trump based on the president's comments regarding the devastating California wildfires. From The New York Times:

“You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Paradise, Calif., on Saturday. “I was with the president of Finland and he said: ‘We have a much different — we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem.”

In addition to the obvious rake reference, Markkanen, of course, is Finnish. All jokes aside, Markkanen used the tweet to promote donating to those affected by the wildfires. What a guy!

Sam Acho on latest Trump, NFL dust-up: ‘I think people need to stop, think and listen’

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USA TODAY

Sam Acho on latest Trump, NFL dust-up: ‘I think people need to stop, think and listen’

Shortly after the NFL announced its updated National Anthem policy last month, Bears linebacker Sam Acho — the team’s union representative — delivered some thoughtful and pointed remarks about the league’s edict.

The Anthem issue again roared back to the headlines after President Donald Trump on Monday dis-invited the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles from their scheduled day at the White House:

Multiple Eagles players disputed the statement’s accuracy (and B-roll Fox News used of Eagles players kneeling, but in prayer before games):

https://twitter.com/JOEL9ONE/status/1003990054505730048

And on Tuesday, Acho had this to say about an issue that seems sure to continue to be escalated by the NFL and President Trump well into this year’s regular season: “You just have to think about it,” Acho said. “Just because they make a statement doesn’t mean it’s true. I could make a statement about anything, that doesn’t mean it’s true. I could sit here and say, ‘The sky is green.’

“That’s why it doesn’t frustrate me. Nor does it surprise me because you see it time and time again. I think when you look at people’s history, you start to see themes. Someone said me once, ‘People show you who they are. It’s up to you whether you believe them or not.’”

For a league that has plenty of intriguing storylines happening on the field — including, potentially, a dynamic Bears’ offense — the issue of the National Anthem appears like it’ll dominate headlines for the coming weeks and months. That’s to say it’s not going away any time soon, or at least as long as the NFL and its players aren’t on the same page.

The reason why players — led by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — began protesting during the National Anthem continues to get lost, as Acho sees it: Far too many people are viewing this as an issue about respecting the troops instead of a movement for social justice reform.

“I think it’s up to people to use common sense, use your intelligence and your brain to think about what the players are actually standing for, what they’re kneeling for or what they’re putting their fist up in the air for,” Acho said. “If you just stop and think, you realize that these players are (doing this) … you hear it’s to fight against injustice.

“I think people need to stop, think and listen. And not be so eager to say, ‘well, because you took a knee, you hate the military …’ I think that’s sophomoric thinking. It’s just too simple.”

The NFL’s ruling in May on the Anthem didn’t — and won’t — deter players like Acho from continuing to speak up for what they believe. Neither will tweets from the President. For Acho, these social justice efforts are all about using his fame and his high profile to make a difference.

“As a player in the NFL, people call us modern-day kings, celebrities, whatever you want to say,” Acho said. “Once you have this kind of platform, you have to use it. You can’t shy away from it. Different people use it in different ways. I am going to continue use my platform to speak up for social justice and speak up for people who can’t speak up for themselves. It would be wrong of me not to. To whom much is given much is required.”