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Liverpool stumble on Premier League title march with draw at Everton

Liverpool’s march to the Premier League title took a slight wobble as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side went into the game, their first competitive match in 103 days, knowing a victory would allow them to secure their first league title in 30 years on Wednesday with a win at home to Crystal Palace.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Both teams showed rust in a lacklustre first half that saw James Milner make way for Joe Gomez just before the break as the teams headed to the dressing room goalless after the opening 45 minutes.

It was more of the same in the second half, with Liverpool dominating possession and going close on several occasions but continuing to lack a cutting edge on their finishing.8

“It was very intense,” said Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. “Both sides created small opportunities, they had the big one against the post. Everyone is just happy to be back, we didn’t lose and it is another point towards our goal.”

With 10 minutes remaining Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s clever flick from a low Gylfi Sigurdsson cross was pushed out by Liverpool keeper Allison and Tom Davies’ follow-up shot hit the post.

Liverpool, who left Mohamed Salah on the bench, lacked their usual potency in attack with their best opening coming in the 35th minute when Roberto Firmino screwed a shot wide from a promising position while Fabinho went close late on with a curling free kick.

Both Klopp and his Everton counterpart Carlo Ancelotti handed players first league starts with Japan’s Takumi Minamino in the Liverpool attack and 19-year-old Anthony Gordon up-front for the home side — although neither were able to make much impact.

“We didn’t have enough chances. Most of the time we were dominant but they had the biggest chance,” said Klopp. “I liked a lot of things about our game but we didn’t have those moments in attack, we didn’t have the rhythm.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“Everton defended really well and we were not smart enough to use the space. That is normal when you start to play again.

“It was a real fight. Both teams showed they understand it is a derby. Intense, physical, all players were all in.

“The point is one we deserve. When I think of all the derbies here, they looked pretty similar. Everton were well organised so we had to run a lot but we looked fit and ready.”

Liverpool host Crystal Palace on June 24 at Anfield and can seal a first Premier League title in 30 years with a win if Manchester City lose or draw with Burnley on Monday.

Sources: NBA’s top young players seeking league-financed insurance protection

On the cusp of hundreds of millions of dollars in contract extensions, several of the NBA’s top young stars had a Friday call with National Basketball Players Association officials about the possibility of league-financed insurance policies to protect against career-threatening injuries in the bubble restart in Orlando, sources tell ESPN.cheap nike nfl jersey

Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Boston’s Jayson Tatum — five players with significant star and earning power — talked with executive director Michele Roberts and senior counsel Ron Klempner about the NBPA facilitating talks with the league on possible insurance allowances for players, sources said.7

As members of the 2017 NBA Draft Class, these five players are eligible for rookie extensions beginning with the start of the free agency period in mid-October. The increased risk of injury, based on a three month-plus league shutdown and a shortened training camp, has intensified concerns that the players are taking on heightened personal risk with the season’s resumption.

The NBPA and NBA have engaged on the possibility of protections for players in the event of serious COVID-19 illnesses or career-threatening injuries suffered in Orlando, sources told ESPN. The union and league are still negotiating details on the revised terms to the collective bargaining agreement before the 22-team restart.

Together, Adebayo, Fox, Kuzma, Mitchell and Tatum have hoped the collective voice of such a starry group of elite young talent could shape the league’s thinking on sharing in the risk on insurance not only for them, but a broader swath of players returning to the season’s restart in Orlando, sources said.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

For players on the brink of maximum contract extensions worth north of $100 million, insurance policies that run the length of the season’s truncated finish — July 1 to Oct. 13 — could cost in the neighborhood of $500,000 to protect against the financial loss of a career-ending injury, sources said. Even with policies, it can still be difficult to prove to insurance companies that future earnings were impacted by an injury — unless it is career-ending.

Man City’s Sterling: Premier League, FA need more black representation at top level

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has urged the Premier League and Football Association (FA) to address a lack of black representation in high positions.

Sterling has backed anti-racism protests in the UK after the death of George Floyd in the United States on May 25.

“This is a time to speak on these subjects, speak on injustice, especially in my field,” he told the BBC. “There’s something like 500 players in the Premier League and a third of them are black and we have no representation of us in the hierarchy, no representation of us in the coaching staffs. There’s not a lot of faces that we can relate to and have conversations with.cheap nike nfl jersey

“With these protests that are going on it’s all well and good just talking, but it’s time that we need to have conversations, to be able to spark debates.8

“There’s Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, you have your Sol Campbells and you have your Ashley Coles. All had great careers, all played for England. At the same time, they’ve all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven’t been given the right opportunities are the two black former players.

The English Football League (EFL) introduced its own version of the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” last year in order for clubs to interview at least one Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidate for any first-team managerial position.

However, there are only four BAME managers in English football, with Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo being the only black Premier League manager.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Troy Townsend, head of development for anti-racism group Kick It Out, has criticised the policy and said it is “not fit for purpose.”

“There is a loophole that allows clubs not to be judged on the mandatory code because it has to be an ‘open recruitment’ process,” he told the Telegraph.

“Clubs are not bending any rules of the Rooney Rule if they already have a manager in place. If you are not holding an open recruitment process, you are not under pressure by the code. So that itself tells you it is not fit for purpose.

“We didn’t receive data after the pilot series. I’ve always questioned the sharing of data in general, whether that is reporting of incidents or the number of coaches going through a process and what learning they have gone through.”

Lions’ Duron Harmon speaks up about racism, what to tell his son about police brutality

“It was very unfortunate, with everything going around, and I’m trying to explain to my 8-year-old why George Floyd lost his life and try to explain to him the best as I can for an 8-year-old that this is not right. This is wrong. And, you know, it really brought me to tears because it’s like the world should never be like this. We shouldn’t treat people the way we treat them just based off the color of your skin.”nfl jerseys from china

When Harmon tried to explain Floyd’s death to his son, his son struggled to grasp why a police officer would do that. He knows the police officers who come to his school and are friends with his father. Harmon said his son called them “uncles.”

So how does he explain to his son what has happened? Harmon tried to focus on love, on what he’s learned from his faith.

“Through the midst of it, you’ve got to love. No matter what, right, wrong or indifferent, you’ve got to love,” Harmon said. “Just tried to instill that in him, that no matter the skin color, people are people. It’s the human race and we got to do better as a community to just push that out there.7

“To do that, we have to identify the issue and have to realize, some people get upset when we say black lives matter. Some people pull back and say, ‘well, all lives.’ Yes, all lives matter but until we view black lives the same as white lives, all lives matter, that means nothing.”

Harmon had a conversation about race with his parents when he was 17 years old — a talk, looking back now, he says was maybe a little too late. It came after an incident where a police officer in Delaware made Harmon get out of a car while he was waiting for his parents outside of Wal-Mart. The officer, Harmon said, threatened to break the glass of his window if he didn’t get out of the vehicle because he was parked in a fire lane, which he said he was ticketed for.nfl jerseys wholesale

“My mom and my father, they told me, look, you are a black man,” Harmon said. “Right, wrong or indifferent, you are feared. When people see you get upset, they think and they see the big black guy who is angry. So you need to do a better job of controlling your emotions. You need to do a good job when you’re in a situation with the police, always be respectful, always show your hands, always roll down the window.”

Harmon said the police department learned he was a football player going to Rutgers and his family ended up going to the station to watch video of the incident. Watching it — and seeing the microphone and video cut at points — opened his eyes to the reality that he needed to be careful.

Memphis star, AAC Player of the Year Precious Achiuwa to enter NBA draft

Memphis freshman forward Precious Achiuwa is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Friday.

“I’ve decided to declare for the 2020 NBA draft and hire an agent,” Achiuwa said. “This is the next step in my journey and career as a basketball player. I’m really excited for it.”

Achiuwa, the No. 12 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, emerged as one of the most productive freshmen in college basketball, winning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors.

He averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals for the Tigers, establishing himself as one of the most versatile defenders in the country.nfl wholesale jerseys

“I’d summarize my season as spectacular. Even though a lot of things were thrown at us early and we had a lot of ups and downs, we found a way to be successful,” Achiuwa told ESPN. “I think I was able to show NBA teams my versatility on defense and that I am able to adjust to whatever role that is given to me and still find a way to be successful. We all had to adjust to different roles because of the uncertainty that was thrown at us early in the season. It was sad the way it ended because of the COVID-19.”8

Memphis finished the season 21-10, but its conference tournament and season were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since the season ended I’ve just been at my house working on my body, doing a lot of cardio, making sure I am in shape and ready to go whenever we’re allowed to play basketball again,” Achiuwa said. “I’m just staying prepared and keep my body and mental state in the right place.”official nfl jerseys cheap

“This is a very weird time that we live in. Taking the next step in my career, becoming a professional with the situation that is going on, it’s going to be one of those moments that you can’t replicate. I’ll always be able to tell people that I was part of the class with the pre-draft process that got [disrupted] by the COVID-19,” Achiuwa said.

The NBA draft is scheduled for June 25, but following worldwide suspensions of basketball activities, NBA teams are lobbying the league office to push it to August in order to salvage the pre-draft process, ESPN reported earlier this month.

“I was definitely looking forward to the pre-draft process,” Achiuwa told ESPN. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that almost every NBA player that was drafted goes through. Unfortunately the situation that we’re in is not going to allow us to experience that.

“The way I can help is by staying at home and doing what health officials tell us. Washing your hands and making sure you keep social distance to ensure everyone stays safe. Eventually we’re going to come back to our normal life and get back to what we do on a daily basis.”

Redskins OT Trent Williams denies nixing potential trade to Vikings

Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams is denying that he struck down a potential trade to the Vikings because he didn’t want to play in Minnesota, he told ESPN on Saturday.

“No, that’s not true,” Williams said.

However, sources confirmed to ESPN that the potential trade partners were informed at some point Friday that Williams did not want to play for the Vikings, as was first reported by NFL Network.

Williams’ agent, Vince Taylor, also denied the reports in a statement Saturday.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“On behalf of my client Trent Williams and with the permission of the Washington Redskins I sought trade opportunities for the Redskins to trade Trent,” Taylor said. “Once I identified the potential trade partners, I wanted to respect all teams’ rights and the process and allowed the Redskins to negotiate directly with the other teams.

“There has been false reporting that Trent and I objected to particular trades. I will continue to respect the Redskins’ right to negotiate a trade, and hope that the negotiations quickly lead to a trade that is in the Redskins’ interest, Trent’s interest, and the interest of the other team.”7

A source told ESPN that the Vikings had been among the preferred destinations for Williams and that the teams had discussed a deal for more than a month. But they did not come close to anything until Friday morning, when Minnesota increased its offer to include a second Day 3 draft pick, sources said. The Vikings had previously offered one pick on the third day.

With six teams drafting tackles in the first round Thursday, it’s uncertain what teams will want to trade for Williams. The San Francisco 49ers had expressed interest, but there was no deal imminent, and sources said plenty of work remains. The 49ers likely will wait to know whether starting left tackle Joe Staley is retiring before making a move. The 49ers also would have to create more salary-cap space. If the 49ers want to acquire Williams, they would likely have to offer picks in the 2021 draft because they only have picks in the last three rounds Saturday.

Other teams, such as the Los Angeles Rams, might have interest, but lack the cap space to pull off a deal. Both the Rams (Sean McVay) and 49ers (Kyle Shanahan) have head coaches who worked with Williams in Washington.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

The Redskins have maintained they don’t feel they need to trade Williams this weekend if they don’t like the offers.

Friday became the latest twist in a saga that began in June when Williams first requested to be traded or released.

Williams eventually told reporters he was upset over what he termed inadequate medical treatment involving a cancerous growth on his scalp. Sources with the Redskins said at the time — and still maintain — that it was about Williams wanting a new contract.

Lakers staying close via virtual workouts while social distancing

Before the NBA shut down four weeks ago in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the only thing more impressive for the Los Angeles Lakers than their No. 1 record in the Western Conference was their team camaraderie.

They were a team that went to dinners together, attended one another’s charitable events on off nights and dressed up for LeBron James’ Halloween party.

Although Lakers players were placed into a 14-day, self-isolation period after two unnamed players tested positive for COVID-19 and the team continues to practice social distancing through the government-mandated April 30 time frame, it’s no surprise they’re trying to come together while being physically apart.

“For the guys, we work hard with our strength and conditioning staff to make sure they have fitness bundles delivered to them where we can do Zoom workouts,” Rob Pelinka, the team’s vice president of basketball operations and general manager, said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters. “This is a team that just loved being together, whether it was on the bench, on the bus, in the locker room. These guys just have a great chemistry of being together. So they’ve tried to stay as connected as possible in the ways they can, working out together virtually.”cheap nike nfl jersey

Pelinka took advantage of the technology, as well, conducting the call over Zoom — a video-conferencing service — with about a dozen reporters who regularly cover his team.

The Lakers’ executive — who said he keeps a quote from Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, on his desk: “Sport has the power to change the world” — thinks that resuming the NBA season could bring people around the globe together once the coronavirus crisis is contained.8

Pelinka, who was Kobe Bryant’s longtime agent before he worked for the Lakers and was the godfather of Bryant’s daughter Gianna, said the organization could benefit from a little Mamba Mentality right now.

“I have to believe these hard things will be redeemed. That’s just the way I live because I think that in a time like this, a friend like Kobe is especially missed,” Pelinka said. “If you were on a night’s journey with him, and a huge, fire-breathing dragon ended up in the pathway ahead, he would say, ‘OK, this is why this is good right now. We’re going to meet this challenge, and here’s how we’re going to get around it, and here’s how we’re going to defeat it.'”

Despite all the challenges that exist, Pelinka can’t help but be optimistic.cheap nfl nike jersey

“I think all of us right now have to live with hope, and we have to live with faith and trust and courage and those attributes because it’s a really, really hard and dark time for the world,” Pelinka said. “And so I’m going to choose to fix most of my thoughts on that we will have a chance to finish the season. I think that would be a great thing for us.

“But we also know that this situation is so much bigger than basketball. The reason I have that hope is not for personal accomplishment. Just it’s more that I think it could be the best thing for the world — going back to that Nelson Mandela quote, I think sports can really be powerful.”

Still, Pelinka recognizes that putting the wheels in motion to play games again — be it with no fans or gathering all the teams in one location, like Major League Baseball is proposing to do in Arizona — is premature right now.

“I think all of us hope that we get to May and there will be more information and clearer information,” he said. “We’ll put the health of the world and our fans and our players first and foremost, but hopefully, once we get past this initial phase, where we’re all putting in these efforts to flatten the curve, if we see success there, hopefully it will get to a place where we can see more definitively what those plans might look like. But I think it’s too early to know.”

Show me the money? Ex-stars say cash isn’t always king in NFL free agency

The first time he entered free agency, former NFL linebacker Bart Scott wasn’t afraid to make a tough call. He had survived a rough Detroit neighborhood. He prided himself on playing through pain, having endured Michigan winters and playing on dirt fields. And he arrived in the NFL as an undrafted free agent — from a school that flew a chartered UPS plane to games.

“It had no windows,” Scott said, “We landed and I was asleep and I thought we were f—ing crashing.”

Not much fazed him. He, and other former NFL players, understand the decisions many current players must make once free agency begins Wednesday. Money is a motivator, but there are other factors players consider as well.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Here’s a look at different perspectives from three prominent former players as they were about to hit free agency for the first time: Scott, running back Fred Taylor — both were Pro Bowlers — and defensive lineman Ziggy Hood — the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round pick in 2009.6

“If I’m able to garner this amount [on an offer] at that time, what happens if I get a full year and an opportunity to show what I can do?” he said. “It was me betting on myself and taking a shorter deal to show what I could do.

“Why lock myself down until I’m 30 and sign a deal under market [value] when I know it will change?”

Baltimore’s deal would allow Scott to hit free agency again as he entered his prime. His first season as a full-time starter in Baltimore (this time next to Lewis) worked out perfectly: Scott finished with a career-high 135 tackles, 9.5 sacks, two interceptions and nine passes defensed.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Two years later, he wanted to cash in on free agency but also consider life after football. When his defensive coordinator in Baltimore, Rex Ryan, became New York Jets coach, Scott knew where he wanted to go. He signed a six-year deal worth $48 million; Scott said Baltimore made him an identical offer.

“I wanted to be in a place I could make a transition off the field,” he said. “I knew New York had never seen such brash bravado from the Jets. I knew they’d be attracted to the in-your-face, unapologetic, tough, physical, braggadocio mentality me and Rex would bring.”

Scott said that sort of attitude helped him post-NFL. After he retired from the Jets following the 2012 season, he spent five years working for CBS Sports and currently has a radio show on ESPN New York with Alan Hahn.

How Thierry Henry is trying to resurrect his coaching career in MLS

Thierry Henry is annoyed. He grimaces. He extends his hands for emphasis, palms to the sky. It is a look the world has seen before.

Since the start of a 20-year playing career that included spells at some of the world’s most important football clubs, Henry has held his teammates, the journalists who covered him, and even his managers to the highest standards. He has been quick to express frustration with anyone who wasn’t good enough, didn’t try hard enough or, once, who didn’t push in his chair after a news conference.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Whether he responded with a word or a gesture, it was never hard to tell what he was thinking. He packed an entire narrative into a turn of the hands, a roll of the eyes. “He could score an amazing goal,” says Dennis Bergkamp, who played alongside Henry at Arsenal, “and then a moment later he’d be angry with someone for not passing the ball correctly. That’s the way he was.”

Henry experienced exactly that disappointment with the New York Red Bulls, where he spent the final 4½ seasons of his career. In 2013, the Red Bulls amassed the best regular-season record in MLS. Then they immediately lost their home-and-home conference semifinal to bottom-seed Houston. It wasn’t fair, but it was the system. “Those are the rules,” he says.nfl nike jersey cheap

So too is the structure that allows teams to sleepwalk through the regular season and flip a switch when the playoffs start. Or worse, lose every game and show up the next year ready to play again, rather than getting relegated as in nearly every other league in the world.3

“What happens if you lose?” he asks. “Nothing! Nothing happens. You’re still in MLS, or the NBA, or NFL, or whatever. The rules allow you to just let it go. You shouldn’t let anything go. In Europe, it’s unacceptable. It would never happen. It shouldn’t happen.”

He sighs. “But you have to know where you are,” he says.

A little more than a year ago, Henry was in Monaco, ending a managerial stint that was as short — three months — as it was disappointing. He’s back in MLS now, trying to rehabilitate his reputation while managing with a distinctly different frame of reference. Henry won nearly everything a player can win, but the Impact have been the model of a mediocre franchise, with only three trips to the playoffs in eight MLS seasons, and seven head coaches during that time.

Henry’s task is clear. If he can do a credible job for a couple of years, he’ll put distance between Monaco and his next job. “It could take him back on the managerial ladder in Europe,” says Craig Burley, the former Scotland international and current ESPN commentator.

Damion Lee puts tough outing in past while lifting Warriors past Sixers

Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee has made a career out of proving people wrong. That determination has helped him earn the respect of his teammates and coaches over time. It is part of the reason why so many people within the Warriors organization were so happy to see him score 24 points while leading the team to a 118-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

At 27, Lee has had to overcome many hurdles to carve out a niche for himself in the league, the latest of which came following Thursday’s home loss to the Toronto Raptors in which Lee missed a pair of free throws and a wide-open 3 in the final minute of the game.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

After the previous game was over, Lee, who scored 23 points against Toronto, was the subject of online harassment from Twitter users. The abuse was so overwhelming that Lee’s teammates, including brother-in-law Stephen Curry and Eric Paschall, and Lee’s wife, Sydel, all came to his defense, posting messages of support.7

“I remember going home after that game, that last game, people were just slandering him,” Paschall said. “[He was] trending on Twitter. I didn’t like it. I feel like you always got to have your teammates back, and that’s the reason I tweeted that out, because it was like people were disrespecting him like [he didn’t] have a great game before that.

“Just because he had a little rough sequence doesn’t mean you take that away from a dude like that. So that’s why I was hyping him up, because I just wanted to let him know that, ‘You’re a killa. Kill me doing your thing.’ That was that sequence.”

Lee acknowledged that getting all the support from his teammates over the previous day and a half was important to him in the wake of all the demeaning comments he and his family saw since Thursday night.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“It’s huge,” Lee said. “That goes to show what kind of people they are, what kind of organization we have. This is a brotherhood, and no matter what we’re going through, ups and downs, we’re always going to stick together and defend each other.”

Playing without Curry (flu), Draymond Green (knee) and Kevon Looney (hip), it was Lee, Paschall and Marquese Chriss who led the way all night against Philly.

The Warriors were particularly good when Lee and his teammates went to the rim against a Sixers team playing without Joel Embiid (shoulder) and Ben Simmons (back). Golden State was 19-for-24 for 39 points when scoring on drives and 22-for-28 for 52 points when including any shots that came off drives, according to ESPN Stats and Information data.

“It’s not surprising,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Lee’s performance. “Damion has so much toughness [and] perseverance. You think about how he’s gotten this far — something like that the other night, a tough finish. If you play in the NBA long enough, stuff happens like that, so he bounced back quickly. He had a great game the other night too. He played really well the whole night through; just had a couple tough plays at the end.

“One of the things I love about this team is just seeing the stories of these guys.”

To Kerr’s point, aside from Lee’s contributions, the Warriors also received a boost from guard Mychal Mulder, who scored 18 points and made several big plays down the stretch. Kerr is hoping that Mulder, who is still on his first 10-day contract, remains with the Warriors for a while longer.