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.

While LeBron and Steph Curry got all the attention, Robin Lopez may have had the sickest burn on Donald Trump

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USA TODAY

While LeBron and Steph Curry got all the attention, Robin Lopez may have had the sickest burn on Donald Trump

While the sports world was engaged in one of the more intense weekends in American history, Bulls center Robin Lopez got in on the action with a sick burn of Donald Trump.

The NFL and MLB took center stage during their games over the weekend and more high-profile names like LeBron James, Steph Curry and Chris Paul repsonded publicly to the prostests and President Trump, but Lopez took to social media to console the Golden State Warriors Saturday:

Over the weekend, Trump disinvited Curry and the title-winning Warriors to visit the White House like all championship teams get to in American sports.

Lopez, who calls himself the "Screen Powers of the NBA" in his Twitter bio, clearly doesn't mind injecting some humor into the situation.

The 29-year-old center also became the highest-paid player on the Bulls' roster over the weekend when the organization agreed to buyout terms with Dwyane Wade. Lopez is set to make nearly $13.8 million in 2017-18, a little more than Nikola Mirotic, who just signed a two-year deal Sunday.

Combating divisiveness, Steelers opt to skip national anthem in display of team unity

Combating divisiveness, Steelers opt to skip national anthem in display of team unity

All eyes were on the NFL Sunday afternoon after President Donald Trump told his supporters at a rally on Friday night that team owners should fire any "son of a bitch" who protests or takes a knee during the National Anthem.

The remarks fell on deaf ears as the Pittsburgh Steelers took a stance against President Trump before their 23-17 overtime loss to the Bears at Soldier Field.

In a display of unity, the Steelers were one of three teams on Sunday — along with the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks — who remained in the locker room during the national anthem in an attempt to combat divisiveness.

The Steelers decision was agreed upon during a players' only meeting at the team hotel on Saturday night.

"You know, by no means, no way shape or form, was there any disrespect intended towards our troops and those that serve this country," Steelers quarterback and team captain Ben Roethlisberger said. "We all have the utmost respect for them obviously. They give us the freedom to play this game. Last night, obviously with all the issues going on if you will, we had a players' only meeting after the team meeting last night, we decided we were going to talk about what we were going to do because we know some guys wanted to take a knee, guys wanted to stand.

"We said whatever we do, we need to make sure we are unified as one group because that is what we are about and that is what it should be about. Staying together as one unit, one group, one brotherhood, things like that so rather than having one guy kneel, one guy stand, the conclusion was made by everybody that the best to do was to stay in the locker (or in the tunnel if you will) and show respect that way."

When the Steelers ran out of the tunnel following the anthem, they were met by a chorus of boos from the Soldier Field crowd

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who revealed in a pregame interview on Sunday that the team wouldn't be taking the field during the national anthem, made it clear that the most important aspect of the team's decision was to stay united

"They were not going to be disrespectful during the anthem so they choose not to participate during the anthem, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the President," Tomlin said. "So, we decided to sit out and not take the field, to remove ourselves from it, so we could focus on playing football. Those were our intentions."

While nearly every member of the Steelers organization stayed in the locker room during the national anthem, one player stood in front of the tunnel.

Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former United States Army Ranger and Captain who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, was seen in the tunnel with his right hand over his heart.

Villanueva wasn't available for comment following Sunday's game, but his teammates made it clear that they had no problem with his decision to distance himself from the rest of the team.

"Al is a hell of a man and I appreciate everything he does," Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward said. "This man went over and served our country like no other and we've commended him every single day." 

In addition to the support of their head coach, the Steelers had the backing of team President Art Rooney II for their decision.

While President Trump may not agree with the displays around the league as evidence by him going on another Twitter rant about wanting to see the NFL change its policy regarding the national anthem, commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't plan on fining any players for their Week 3 protests.

If that's the case, would these displays continue throughout the entire season? Possibly.

"It isn't just one day," Heyward said. "We're out in the community. We're trying to make changes, not by just one person but as a team. It doesn't matter what goes on. We're trying to build a better society, a better city and a better America for everyone."