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#pounditSunday, September 27, 2020

Soccer

Premier League nixes ‘Black Lives Matter’ patches in favor of own campaign

The 2020-21 Premier League season is set to begin on Saturday, and players were initially expected to wear “Black Lives Matter” patches on their shirts. That phrase has been swapped out in favor of another campaign, however.

Rather than “Black Lives Matter” patches, Premier League players will wear patches that say “No Room for Racism.” As Paul MacInnes of The Guardian notes, the change came as a result of the Black Lives Matter association supporting other movements such as defunding the police.

“We’re drawing a clear distinction between a moral cause and a political movement,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said. “Players rightly have a strong voice on this matter, which we saw last season. We have continued to talk and listen to players on this issue and will support them as well as continuing to emphasize the Premier League’s position against racism.”

The vast majority of leagues and players have found a way to display anti-racist messages since the killing of George Floyd, but not all are directly supporting the Black Lives Matter organization. The NFL has opted for other phrases such as “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us,” while the NBA is directly supporting Black Lives Matter in a number of ways.

Video: Will Ferrell gives odd ESPN interview with Ricky Bobby helmet on and lots of corn

Will Ferrell corn

Actor Will Ferrell gave a completely bizarre interview on ESPN Saturday night.

Ferrell is a part-owner of Los Angeles Football Club and spoke with analyst Taylor Twellman for a halftime interview of the LAFC-LA Galaxy game in Orlando, Fla. Ferrell had some stubble and long hair growing, and then he broke out a helmet worn by Ricky Bobby, the character he played in “Talladega Nights.” He also had a long pause after being asked what he did during quarantine. People couldn’t miss all the kids in the background, many of whom were eating corn.

Leave it to Ferrell to bring some wackiness to the telecast. It’s almost like he intentionally was trying to copy this interview.

LAFC had an impressive season last year, going 21-4-9 before losing to Seattle in the conference finals of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Galaxy entered Saturday’s game leading in the “El Trafico” head-to-head series between the teams 2-1-3.

JJ Watt’s wife Kealia makes big change to name on her jersey

JJ Watt Kealia Ohai

Kealia Ohai was an extremely successful athlete long before she married JJ Watt, and many women in her situation choose to keep their last name after getting married. However, Ohai is now a Watt, and she’s proudly displaying it on her jersey.

Ohai — or should we say Ohai Watt — had “Watt” on the back of her Chicago Red Stars jersey on Sunday night. She shared a photo on Twitter.

Watt and Ohai got married back in February. They began dating back in 2016. Watt has shown support for Ohai in the past by wearing her jersey at games, but now he can wear his own name on the back when he watches her play.

Ohai Watt is in her first season with the Red Stars after playing for the Houston Dash from 2014-2019. She’s also a member of the US Women’s National Team.

Report: Kevin Durant buys minority ownership stake in MLS’ Philadelphia Union

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is getting into the soccer ownership business.

Durant purchased a minority stake in MLS soccer team the Philadelphia Union, according to Sports Business Daily’s Mark J. Burns. Burns reports that Durant’s stake is somewhere between 1-5 percent. It’s unclear whether he purchased the stake individually or through his Thirty Five Ventures business, which he co-founded with his manager, Rich Kleiman.

The Union were founded in 2008 and began play in MLS in 2010. They are owned primarily by Keystone Sports and Entertainment LLC.

Durant is a 10-time All-Star and was the 2013-2014 NBA MVP. His career earnings in basketball are over $190 million, and that does not include the $164 million on his Brooklyn Nets contract. He joins Russell Wilson as an athlete to own a minority stake in an MLS team (Wilson is a part-owner of the Seattle Sounders).

Hope Solo’s dog dies after being shot in leg

Hope Solo

Hope Solo and her husband Jerramy Stevens are mourning the loss of a member of their family, as one of their dogs died on Friday night after being shot.

Solo shared news on Twitter earlier in the week that her dog, Conan, was in critical condition after being shot in the leg. She sadly announced on Saturday that the dog has died due to excessive blood loss. The soccer star said in an Instagram post that Conan was shot after wandering 30 yards off hers and Stevens’ 60-acre property.

“We’re crushed. Just a dog running through the woods, trying to make his way home,” Solo wrote. “We bought our 60-acres so our dogs have space to run and live their most full lives.‬ Conan was kind and loving. He wandered 30 yards off our property when he was shot. As animal lovers we are struggling to make sense of anyone using their right to own guns to shoot pets of any kind. We have had pets come onto our property and always helped them get home safe.‬”

Solo had tweeted on Thursday asking if anyone had information on canine prothetic legs.

In addition to the dogs, Solo and Stevens have two children together. The couple welcomed twins last month.

Carli Lloyd still has interest in becoming NFL kicker

Carli Lloyd

It’s been just shy of a year since Carli Lloyd’s World Cup heroics gave rise to the possibility of her kicking in the NFL, but time hasn’t dulled her desire to give it a try.

Lloyd recently told Yahoo Sports that she’s still focusing on her soccer career for the moment, but still believes she could learn the ins and outs of kicking in the NFL and was “not ruling it out.”

Lloyd’s problem may be timing. She still wants to take part in the Olympics, which have been pushed back to 2021. By that point, she’ll be 39 years old. That’s not too old to be an NFL kicker, but it’s not easy to get started at that age.

We’ve seen that Lloyd can definitely kick in a practice situation. It would be fun to see if she can pull it off during more competitive action.

Aymeric Laporte responds to FIFA gamer’s hilariously disrespectful Kylian Mbappe video

Aymeric Laporte FIFA

Aymeric Laporte offered a hilarious response on Twitter to a FIFA gamer’s video, and my friends, this is a good one.

In order to appreciate the beauty of this video, you have to understand the background. The person in this video is Castro 1021, who is a famous FIFA gamer. As told to me by our Grey Papke, Castro was playing FIFA 20 Ultimate Team (FUT 20) and had just earned a rare card for a player that would be added to his team. When Castro saw the French flag pop up, he got really excited about getting Kylian Mbappe, who is regarded as one of the best young players in the world.

Instead, Castro got Aymeric Laporte, a French defenseman, and his fury over the disappointment was something to watch.

Laporte saw the viral video and offered a response on Twitter, joking “sorry for your loss bro”.

That is just too much. And I can’t stop watching the video.

Watch: Zlatan Ibrahimovic does crotch grab LAFC fans after loss

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a savage response to some heckling LAFC fans after LAFC beat the Galaxy 5-3 in the playoff version of El Trafico on Thursday night.

Zlatan scored a goal and assisted on another, but it was not enough as the Galaxy was sent home from the postseason in the semifinals of the Western Conference. On his way off the field at Banc of California Stadium, Zlatan did a crotch grab to some fans.

The loss had to hurt for Zlatan. He previously declared himself the best player in MLS, but LAFC’s Carlos Vela best him with two goals and an assist to take the edge in their rivalry. This is nothing new for Zlatan, who also got into it with an LAFC coach after a match in July.

Watch: Jorginho grabs Michy Batshuayi’s nuts after goal

Jorginho Michi Batshuayi

Chelsea beat Ajax in a UEFA Champions League match on Wednesday thanks to a goal by Michy Batshuayi that garnered the forward quite a celebration.

Batshuayi scored in the 63rd minute for the lone goal of the match. After his goal, teammate Jorginho grabbed Batshuayi right in the nuts. Take a look:

Usually when we see nut grabs like this, it’s done by a player to an opponent, not teammate to teammate. I guess this is a new method of celebration — a personal one at that.

Mexican soccer game abandoned after fans erupt into violence (Video)

A Liga MX match between Querétaro and Atlético San Luis was abandoned in its final minutes on Sunday as fans erupted into violence and chaos ensued.

With visiting Querétaro leading 2-0 and just 5:00 remaining in the match, fans began to throw bottles and get into isolated fights in the stands. In what felt like a blink of an eye, the isolated fights turned into a battle royal where literally no one — children included — were spared.

Videos from the match resemble some of a violent political uprising as opposed to a family friendly Sunday.

Warning: Videos are loud and display extreme violence.

ESPN reports that 37 people were injured in total and those looking to escape the violence rushed onto the field, leaving Querétaro to flee to the locker room where they were guarded by police and security for two hours.

“It’s a situation that leaves us all sad and very worried,” said Atletico San Luis coach Gustavo Matosas in a news conference. “It’s something that we don’t want to see happen in football.”

In a statement published by Liga MX, they requested that authorities and the Mexican Football Federation open an investigation into the violence and to impose sanctions, which could include a lifetime stadium ban.