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Opinion: College football celebrates COVID-19 outbreaks, ridicules cautious approach

The truth about what has gone on at college football programs over the past few months in pursuit of..



The truth about what has gone on at college football programs over the past few months in pursuit of playing this fall has started to dribble out into public view. Its not a flattering picture.

Texas Tech has had 75 players test positive for COVID-19 since June. LSU coach Ed Orgeron casually mentioned to reporters Tuesday that “most of our players have caught it” while adding he hopes they dont catch it again. Memphis had to postpone its game against Houston scheduled for this weekend because of a significant number of cases that popped up following its season opener against Arkansas State, which has now subsequently had to postpone a game against Central Arkansas. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley acknowledged that the season opener against Missouri State last week was in jeopardy.

And those are just the ones weve learned about in the past few days.

So, uh, why exactly did Big Ten presidents get so much grief over canceling fall football that have been browbeaten into possibly changing their minds?

Its not like weve gotten a lot of great news on the COVID-19 management front since the season started a couple weeks ago. Just in the past handful of days, three more games were postponed. Last weekend, several schools had to play games without big chunks of their rosters. Its every bit the logistical mess we knew it was going to be.

But its also clear now that the only bar for playing college football this fall was that as long as nobody dies from COVID-19, its fine. We should all be grateful it hasnt come to that.

What does it say, though, about the collective culture of college football that the Big Ten and Pac 12 — which initially canceled football this fall because they prioritized caution over dollars — were widely viewed by their own coaches as making bad decisions while LSUs coach is bragging because he thinks hes got herd immunity in his locker room.

What does it say about the higher education model that college presidents who did not want to put athletes at greater risk until there was a way to actually contain COVID-19 within their programs got worn down by angry tweets and political games?

Lets get one thing clear here. College football players getting COVID-19 en masse is not in any way, shape or form a good development. Even setting aside the unknown long-term impacts of this virus, which are concerning enough on their own, theres a public health responsibility for all of us not to spread it so that lives will be saved and one day we can all get to the other side of this awful pandemic.

If most of a college football locker room gets COVID-19, thats not a competitive advantage. Its an ethical abdication, a public health failure and an unnecessary risk.

We shouldnt have been bashing the Big Ten while celebrating LSU and Texas Tech. We should have been asking who needs to lose their jobs.

Yet here we are possibly on the brink of seeing the Big Ten gear up for play again and nobody has even the slightest concern about whether being pushed to play this fall is really the right thing to do? Doesnt the evidence suggest that they were right all along to take this very slowly?

It sure doesnt feel like thats what the narrative is going to be.

Perhaps the Big Ten did not need to announce on August 11 that the entire fall semester was off the table, but it was not wrong in seeing the dangers of trying to prepare for a season while the infection numbers were surging and the testing infrastructure was being stressed. Maybe their rollout of that decision was clumsy, but the instincts to put a pause on football until conditions were better seem far more noble than schools that clearly werent concerned whether their players got the virus as long as it wasnt in the middle of the season.

Instead of worrying about whether the Big Ten was falling behind, the question we should be asking as we learn more about the actual infection numbers is how seriously has college football really taken COVID-19?

Even when a conference tried to do the right thing and just wait a few months, the culture of the sport was so intense that the push back overwhelmed administrators who know better. Now, if past is prologue, it seems reasonable to wonder whether more football players are more likely to get COVID-19 from their teammates. Does that matter? Should it? At LSU and Texas Tech and many other schools whose numbers havent been made public, apparently it wasnt important enough to stop.

Maybe the imminent ability to conduct daily testing is what saves this whole enterprise. Within the next month, it seems, most schools will have the ability to do rapid testing at their facility that will allow them to see on a daily basis whether someone is carrying COVID-19.

If the Big Ten actually pulls that off, they may end up having a smoother ride with fewer cases than the leagues that are already playing. But instead of scrutinizing schools that had COVID-19 run rampant through their teams, the Big Ten bore the brunt of the criticism simply for being cautious and deliberate.

How screwed up is that?

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Spain investigates racism in football, after further abuse hurled at Vinícius Jr



Prosecutors in Spain have opened an investigation into the racist abuse hurled at Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior as Brazil made a formal protest on Monday.

The 22-year-old Brazilian international has often been targeted by opposition fans in Spain’s La Liga and was once more in a 1-0 loss at Valencia on Sunday.

The game was held up for several minutes and the referee wrote in his post-match report that shouts of ‘monkey’ had been directed at Vinicius.

Valencia FC released an official statement reiterating ‘its strongest condemnation against racism and violence in all forms’ and stating that it would be ‘acting forcefully against all identified persons with the most severe measure by banning them for life’ from the stadium. The club confirmed that the police had identified a total of three fans to date who had racially insulted Vinícius Jr during the match. The prosecutor’s office in Valencia was also investigating a possible hate crime.

Real Madrid said earlier it had filed a complaint ‘in order that the facts be investigated and those responsible be held accountable. The club said the chants, in its view, ‘constitute a hate crime’.

Brazil formally protested to the Spanish ambassador and will lodge an official complaint with authorities in Madrid.

There is growing anger in Brazil, where the lights of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro were turned off for one hour in solidarity with the player.

‘Black and imposing,’ Vinícius tweeted of the darkened statue, saying he was moved and thanked followers for their support. ‘But I want, above all, to inspire and bring more light to our fight,’ he added.

Vinicius has been racially abused at several stadiums this season in Spain. On one occasion, an effigy of him was hung from a bridge by Atlético Madrid fans. Spanish police said on Tuesday that they had arrested four people as part of a probe into the hanging of the dummy.

During the Valencia match, Vinícius stood in front of home fans behind one goal and pointed to an apparent culprit. Play was delayed for several minutes in the second half.

Referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea spoke to Mestalla stadium officials, who made an announcement calling for racist insults to stop before play resumed 10 minutes later.

Spain’s government sports council is analysing crowd images to root out the fan or fans responsible. The body has in similar incidents in the past proposed a one-year stadium ban and fine of €4,000 for those found guilty.

On a day of recriminations and soul-searching, the head of Spain’s football federation said the country had a ‘problem’ with racism. ‘As long as there is just one fan, a single undesirable, or group of undesirables who hurl insults over someone’s sexual orientation, or skin colour, we have a serious problem,’ Luis Rubiales said.

But Real Madrid heavily criticised Rubiales, saying his refusal to ensure FIFA protocols – which suggest matches should be halted when racist abuse is heard – are upheld in Spain is exacerbating the problem.

‘His inaction has resulted in the helplessness and defencelessness of our player Vinícius,’ said the club, which hit out at the federation for failing to ‘prevent the situation’.

La Liga argues it has been ‘proactive’ in previous cases of racism against Vinicius.

Vinícius was sent off in added time at the end of the game for hitting Valencia player Hugo Duro during a brawl. Real said the match officials ‘made unfair decisions based on incomplete images’ when Vinicius was shown a red card.

After the match, Vinícius issued a strongly worded statement saying that ‘today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists … The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and Messi now belongs to racists.’

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PSG: Parisian Return Dream For Spain



Long removed from the Spanish selection, Sergio Ramos could know very big news today. The Paris Saint-Germain central defender has been very serious since the start of the season and he could now reap the fruits of his labor, he who had suffered a long calf injury.

Paris Saint-Germain emerged from a 7-0 victory over Pays de Cassel in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France. This is the third time this season that Christophe Galtier’s team has managed to score so many goals in a match, after the 7-1 against LOSC in the league and the 7-2 against Maccabi Haïfa in the Ligue des Champions. With this victory, PSG is qualified for the round of 16 where it will find Olympique de Marseille for the 2nd Classic of this fiscal year 2022/2023.

Autumn champion, Paris Saint-Germain is only 3 points ahead of its runner-up RC Lens. With 47 points, the Parisians managed a very big first part of the season in Ligue 1, with a record of 15 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses. Great news recently fell concerning one of Galtier’s players, enough to motivate him to attack a second part of the season which will be busy in Paris.

Luis de la Fuente in Favor of Ramos’ Return

According to information reported by the AS newspaper, the new coach of the Spanish national team Luis de la Fuente will soon meet Sergio Ramos to discuss the prospect of his return to La Roja! A moment eagerly awaited by the central defender of Paris Saint-Germain who had a very bad time not being called up for selection with Luis Enrique, he who missed the last World Cup in which he could have participated.

Spain have just inherited Italy in the draw for the Final 4 of the League of Nations which takes place this Wednesday. Sergio Ramos could therefore make his return 2 years later, he who had played his last match in the red jersey against Kosovo on March 31, 2021. Better still, the legend of Real Madrid could even be entrusted with the role of captain of the club. team by Luis de la Fuente, who has a lot of consideration for the Parisian number 4. Author of 2092 minutes played in a total of 26 games with Paris this season, Ramos shows his ability to play at the highest level at almost 37 years old.

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Today’s Transfer Market Updates: January 16



Lots of news on this Monday of the transfer market. From Nicola’s bench in the balance, to the sensational victory of Atalanta over Salernitana for 8-2. Market bombs involving Inter and Barcelona, engaged in an exchange. Today’s news will make fans dream!

Mychailo Mudryk to Chelsea

Here we go! The transfer of the Ukrainian player, as already anticipated yesterday, is now official. An exhibition operation, the one that led the Shakhtar striker to wear the Blues shirt. He had already distinguished himself as a promising profile and thus convinced the Chelsea management that the English team decided to shell out 100 million euros and thus beat the competition from Arsenal, who went so far as to offer 70 million euros as a basis fixed and more than 25 million in bonuses, which are not always easy to achieve, as reported by the transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano. The boy’s will has always pushed the negotiation towards a transfer to Arsenal, but the Blues have been very convincing, both with the rich contract offered to the player, but also with the important commissions that will be paid to the boy’s agents. And then there are the requests from Shakhtar to consider, who immediately made it clear that they only wanted to listen to offers starting from a base of 100 million. When Mychajlo realized that Arsenal’s offer was already the maximum of their possibilities, he accepted the Chelsea court. The Ukrainian footballer binds to Chelsea until 2030, a very long contract, which protects the growth of the footballer, who will immediately have the opportunity to take the field and demonstrate his real value.

Bomb From Spain: Exchange Depay – Correa!

Sensational indiscretion from Spain, where many newspapers describe a very advanced negotiation between Barcelona and Inter, engaged in an equal exchange, which would bring Memphis Depay to Milan and Joaquin Correa to Barcelona. A negotiation that would make many fans happy and certainly both clubs. The Dutchman Depay’s contract is about to expire and the limited playing time that Xavi has given him so far suggests that the management will hardly be willing to offer him a renewal. Very good reason to help Memphis find new accommodation right away. There have been many polls, especially from second tier Premier League clubs. A few days later Manchester United came forward, for what would have been a sensational comeback. However, the English club has moved on to other objectives, making Weghorst official. Atletico Madrid have also come forward for the player, having to replace Joao Felix, who is on loan at Chelsea. However, contacts with Barça have shown that, under current conditions, the negotiation cannot take off.

As for Inter, Correa has absolutely not convinced. Last season he was tormented by physical problems, while this year he had much less. Different situation but the performance of the Tucu has never been positive. Performance that led the Nerazzurri management to consider a possible transfer. The investment made to convince Lotito and bring Joaquin to the Nerazzurri was important, but Tucu has never convinced. And taking a look at Inzaghi’s attack, we immediately understand why the arrival of Depay cannot be excluded: Lukaku tormented by injuries, Dzeko who cannot always play as a starter and then Correa who is not convincing. Depay at Inter would be a reinforcement of no small value and Correa at Barcelona would be a good chance to find a different audience, which possibly doesn’t boo, unlike the Nerazzurri.

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Verona: Hongla can leave. Salernitana and Cremonese strongly interested in the player. Ballardini signs with Cremonese until 2024. Inter have not yet received any official request for Marcelo Brozovic. Nicola in the balance, the granata management did not take the defeat against Atalanta well.

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