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  • Shauna Rush

5-POINT FRIDAY, JUNE 12th, 2020

This article was originally published on June 12th, 2020.

Here is this week's dose of “5-Point Friday”. A weekly round-up of the sports news and stories that I find most interesting and enjoyable.

Virtual event I attended -

The San Francisco 49ers and SportTechie's Horizon Summit 2020. The conference consisted of virtual presentations from a number of global executives and thought leaders. Who shared their knowledge and opinions on the trends and events that are shaping the sport industry.

A particular highlight that I paid attention to was from Orlando Magic's senior VP of strategy and innovation, Jay Riola (@jayriola), who spoke about their approach to the future of sports ticketing.

“Traditional ticketing products aren't adaptable, and oftentimes don't meet [fans’] needs,” said Riola. “Variable pricing is the recognition from a ticket perspective that not all games are created equal.”

NASCAR news I am excited about -

An almost one-man campaign by Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) has led NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from its races.

Wallace raced a black car with the words #blacklivesmatter"on it Wednesday night when he finished 11th.

"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags," Wallace said. "Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

Ray Ciccarelli, who competes in NASCAR's Truck Series, was so unhappy about the decision that he announced that he would stop racing after the 2020 season.

"Well its been a fun ride and a dream come true but if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over, I don't believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly whatever flag they love," wrote Ciccarelli on Facebook.

Furthermore, helmet designers Beam Designs also found themselves on the wrong side of the debate saying in a tweet, "The Confederate Flag, North vs South in the Civil War, a war over separation of the Union, not slavery. But hey ignorance wins again, NASCAR you realize the North had slaves too, lol not just the South, you want to remove the American Flag as well, idiots." In response, a large number of drivers, including Bubba Wallace, Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson), Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) and Joey Logano (@joeylogano), have announced that they have ended their business relationships with the company.

Rugby news I am following -

New Zealand's success in fighting COVID-19 has been highlighted as they will sports stadiums to capacity crowds.

The move has paved the way for fans to attend the opening round of New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament, a bespoke competition involving the five Kiwi Super Rugby sides starting on 13th June.

“One of the things I’ve missed most during this extraordinary period is watching and attending live sport and music,” said New Zealand’s sport and recreation minister, Grant Robertson (@grantrobertson1). “It’s a huge deal for Kiwis to be able to both attend sport matches but also watch live on TV.

“It’s exciting not just for rugby fans, but also all the other professional sports like netball. It’s also important for community sport, once it’s up and running, that fans can attend those games too. Also, events generate work opportunities. I understand there are about 500 people working in and around the first game being played in Dunedin.”

Action that I am proud of -

This week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell put out a video that showed a dramatic shift in the league's stance regarding player protests. Just two years after the league had attempted to establish a rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room as the anthem played, Goodell admitted that the NFL was wrong to push to shut down players' right to peacefully demonstrate.

"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell said. "We the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.

"We the National Football League believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you, and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff."

The jarring reversal from the NFL didn't come without pressure. Instead, it began with a rogue NFL employee reaching out to some of the biggest stars in the league to help produce a video that would force the league to reckon with its past attempts at apoliticism.

Bryndon Minter (@Bryndon), a social media creative producer for the NFL, was frustrated with the league's response to the death of George Floyd, and the ongoing protests around the country were taking place.

"I decided, 'Hey, I'm just going to go rogue here. If I can get one player to buy in, we'll take a chance at this and see what can happen,'" Minter told The Athletic.

Minter reached out to Saints receiver Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) with an Instagram DM. Thomas responded, and the two began to brainstorm where to go from there.

By Thursday night, the video was ready to go, with Thomas, Saquon Barkley (@saquon), Patrick Mahomes (@PatrickMahomes), and other NFL stars sharing it through their own social media channels.

What I've been watching -

After listening to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speak about recent events, I decided to look back his amazing story by watching Kareem: Minority of One, from HBO.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!



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