Colour Commentary: Social media’s involvement in sport

Social media has provided fans with ways to push the envelope on some well-known athletes. To what extent is it enough?

Professional athletes are humans too and as sports fans, we tend to forget that. The physical capabilities of athletes, now more than ever, are so extreme that we class them as near superheroes. The sheer power it takes to dunk a basketball or the agility needed to stretch from post to post to save a puck make us forget that although what athletes do is near extraterrestrial, they still deal with personal issues just like the rest of us.

Social media is the purveyor of directed personal messages to public figures across the world — a facilitator for people to personally send their opinions (good or bad) at the ends of their fingertips. Professional athletes don’t receive just a modicum of messages, they receive a plethora of different opinions and critics.

We’ve never really asked ourselves: how much is too much? How many negative messages can someone endure before it seriously takes a toll on them? Does traditional media exploit and amplify these messages athletes already see online?

For many players, they either avoid social media altogether or deal with messages head-on. Especially now more than ever, it is encouraged for athletes to express how they feel as well as their mental health status. It has gotten to the point that even notable NBA all-star Kevin Durant was caught responding to critics using multiple burner accounts on Twitter to defend himself. When media outlets like ESPN caught wind of Durant’s usage of a burner account, it became a non-stop discussion topic on all their platforms.

Lebron James has even admitted that come playoff time he shuns social media altogether. Sports media companies keep tabs on the online activity of any given athlete. If anything “newsworthy” exposes itself, they take a screenshot and share it with their millions of fans. All facets of media and fan involvement intertwine, constantly placing players under a microscope.

Locally, over the past year, both Jonathan Drouin and Carey Price admitted themselves in the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) assistance programs, creating a media stir in Montreal. Out of the countless rumours posted online, sports media amplified the message to another degree. Media companies are always on the prowl for anything that can attain clicks and shares.

The O.J. Simpson trial is when traditional media intersected into the personal life of an athlete and broadcast it for the world to see. The outcome of that trial prompted traditional media to continue pursuing drama in players’ personal lives to report on.

For an athlete, social media is a tough medium to frequent. Many people are jealous of their success, similar to tall poppy syndrome, a cultural phenomenon where fans criticize and sabotage people of notable success in order to make themselves feel better.

Social media is still too early in its development to know what the appropriate steps are to combat backlash. Athletes should have the chance to enroll in possible PR training on how to properly use social media for their own benefit. Though it may not be the ultimate solution, it’s a good place to start.


The use of instant replay in sports

Are video reviews and instant replays good for sports?

The implementation of instant replays in sports has been a subject of debate for fans and leagues since the technology was first industrialized for sports in the 1960s. Today, every major league uses video reviews to varying degrees, along with coaches’ challenges, to aid officials in making the right calls.

As technology continues to evolve, video replays will only get better at deducing what the human eye cannot, and reduce the number of controversial outcomes in games. Supporters of instant replay will justify the need for review by pointing to key moments in sports where the wrong call stood, and a winner was mistakenly crowned.

The most notable recent example came in the 2018 NFC Championship game in the National Football League (NFL), when the Los Angeles Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-23 in overtime.

While post-game banter should have been focused on the Rams’ achievement in reaching their first Super Bowl final since 2001, the outcome of the match was mired in controversy following an unpenalized pass interference committed by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis.

The dramatic play would later be notoriously dubbed the “NOLA No-call,” and the NFL would respond by making pass interference reviewable in its future seasons.

Nowadays, all games are officiated with the extensive use of instant replay reviews, whether it’s the deciding minutes of a championship game or an unassuming regular season matchup.

In theory, minimizing the number of referee-related mistakes is a notion worth supporting, but not all sports fans and athletes are in favour of the current replay system. Gabriel Guindi, who co-hosts CJLO’s sports talk show the Starting Rotation, is one such enthusiast who cannot get behind the excessive use of video reviews in the National Hockey League (NHL).

“Hockey probably does it the best compared to the other major sports leagues,” Guindi said. “But most of the time it does more damage than good. They might review a play for a few minutes and, if anything, I’m left more confused than when I saw it live.”

Louis-Vincent Gauvin, a second-year guard for the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team, is an avid fan of the National Basketball Association (NBA). When the league made the transition towards more reviews by adding coach’s challenges in 2019, Gauvin worried it would have an undesirable effect on the quality of games.

“Basketball is at its best when the play doesn’t stop and there is a constant flow,” Gauvin said. “Stoppages for replay reviews and coaches’ challenges can ruin the natural rhythm of the game.”

Gauvin believes that the intention to review close calls makes sense, so long as they can be accomplished in a timely manner.

“The referees’ mistakes are part of the sport, so I can accept incorrect calls here and there if it means preserving the natural momentum and pace of the game,” Gauvin said.

While instant review can prolong games and make them tough to digest for some spectators, it doesn’t stop the NBA from achieving peak entertainment value, Gauvin believes, thanks in large part to the sheer amount of talent in the league today.


LeBron James reaches another career milestone

LeBron James scored his 35,000th career point on Feb. 18

On Feb. 18, LeBron James became the third player ever to reach 35,000 points in the National Basketball Association (NBA), joining Karl Malone and fellow Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. James reached the milestone in a 109-98 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

“For me to be linked with some of the greatest to have played this game is an honour,” James told reporters after the game.

Joining the league as a teenager in the 2003–04 season, James took the NBA by storm with his superb athleticism. Nearly two decades later, he continues to dominate the sport by consistently adding to his already elite game. The Lakers, led by James, are the third seed in the Western conference, trailing only their California rival Los Angeles Clippers and the rising Utah Jazz.

Over the course of his career, The Lakers’ superstar has epitomized longevity. This season, James has yet to miss a game, logging 1148 minutes in his 33 games played. At 36-years-old, he was selected by fans, current players, and media analysts to start in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. James’ 17 All-Star selections only trail Kobe Bryant (18) and Abdul-Jabbar (19) for the most in the NBA’s history.

Since entering the league, James has charted 49,699 total regular season minutes to go along with his 10,811 minutes in the playoffs, the latter of which roughly equates to three additional full seasons played.

Despite having an illustrious career that has thus far not been jeopardized by injury, history has shown that Father Time is undefeated when it comes to sports.

In the 2012–13 NBA season, a 34-year-old Bryant led his injury-ravaged and floundering Lakers squad to a winning season, showing no signs of his old age before his body suddenly broke down on him when he tore his Achilles tendon.

Eight years later, the Lakers find themselves in a similar situation with James. And yet, the generational superstar has pushed back on the notion of resting while he is healthy and available to play.

“I’m resting now, sitting here talking to you guys,” James said during his postgame Zoom conference with reporters. “I’m resting when I get in my car and head home. I’m resting when I get home. I’m going to rest tomorrow.”

The Lakers have lost four straight games and five of their previous six since Anthony Davis’ lower-leg injury. Since James’ arrival in Los Angeles in the 2018 offseason, the team has struggled in producing quality offence when he sits, including when Davis is in the starting lineup and healthy. With Davis expected to be out at least until the All-Star break, the team needs their leader in James to overcome this rough stretch in the season.

The greatest player of all-time is a heavily debated subject among basketball fans. While it has no definitive conclusion, it commonly narrows down to James, Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jordan.

As it currently stands, James has won four NBA championships to go along with four Finals MVP awards and four regular-season MVP awards. He also ranks remarkably in almost every statistical category in the sport.

Perhaps most notably, by riding out seemingly inconsequential regular season games, James inches his way closer to surpassing Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring record set at 38,387 total points. James is currently 3,101 points shy of the record that was once deemed unbreakable and has expressed a desire to sit atop the list when his career is all said and done.

On his pursuit of a fifth championship ring, James has chosen to lead his teammates by example amid a rough patch in the season, while paving his unique path towards individual greatness along the way.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Should the NBA postpone the 2020–21 season?

From safety to finances, fans wonder about the fate of the NBA’s season

A hotly contested topic among National Basketball Association (NBA) fans is whether or not the season should be postponed due to the large number of players being infected with COVID-19. Pushing through the remainder of the season will result in the league generating more income, allowing its players to continue as normal. However, there are safety concerns, as many players have caught the virus on and off the court.

First, one must consider the health implications this may have on the players. Players have caught COVID-19 from other teams across the league, and eventually one of these cases may lead to a player getting really sick. Also, due to the condensed season schedule, more players are playing back-to-back sets, meaning players are getting injured more frequently.

Some matches have also been completely one-sided since some teams had to play with less players due to quarantine protocols and an increase in injuries. Notably, the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat have recently played games with only eight players instead of the usual 15 that teams can dress on any given night due to a combination of injuries and COVID-19 protocols. The 76ers in particular only had seven players because they activated Mike Scott from the injured reserve a game early in order to have the minimum requirement of eight players in their game.

It is unfair to teams who just so happened to have a player catch the virus, especially if all their players were following the NBA protocols correctly. The league should consider postponing games more often to level the playing field, because being unlucky with COVID-19 cases for a small period could derail a team’s playoff hopes.

Oftentimes, a player tests positive for the virus, and since they have been in contact with the other players on the roster, some of those contacts must also enter a mandatory quarantine.

The Heat, for example, had an even record before losing a large portion of their roster to the pandemic protocols and since have had a record of 2-3, including a devastating 120-100 loss to the last-place Detroit Pistons. Some games were postponed for the team, but they are still missing some of their most important players and have had to go into some games shorthanded.

Financially, however, it makes sense to push through the season. By doing so, the league may be able to recuperate some of the lost income they accrued by not being able to have fans in most arenas.

A significant portion of the league’s revenue is generated through hosting games in arenas around North America, which means the league is now relying on television ratings and NBA League Pass subscriptions for their revenues. Television revenues in all sports have been in decline for various reasons; for example, some leagues chose to have some early kickoff times while the majority of at-home spectators had work. As well, during prime time this year due to the pandemic, there was a period of time when the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL all had games. Usually, only two or three of these leagues are occurring at the same time, therefore people had to pick and choose which sport to watch on a given night.

Also, doing this would allow the league to keep player salaries and the salary cap consistent. If players’ salaries end up being affected by the pandemic, players may go on strike and a lockout situation may be initiated, like we have seen previously in the NHL and other sports leagues.

The NBA has rules in place which should be able to mitigate the spread of the virus amongst its players. However, there have been issues with players obeying the rules. Players such as James Harden and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets have been known to go to bars and clubs, even though league rules specifically state to avoid these locations.

Postponing the NBA season would create more complications in terms of league finances and player salaries, but perhaps postponement is still the best option, as it might save some upcoming problems. There are strong cases on either side of the issue, and it is important to weigh the costs versus the benefits of such a move.

A small shutdown for a couple of weeks may help to get the players who are currently quarantined under the NBA’s health and safety protocols virus-free, but as long as COVID-19 is still impacting North America, the league will likely not be able to get back to normal.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


A unique 2020 NBA Draft for a unique year

This year’s NBA Draft was exciting, eventful, and packed with surprises at every turn

After a long hiatus in the NBA, draft night is upon us. Fans will finally get to find out which of the exciting young prospects their team will add on from colleges, overseas professional teams, or perhaps even from Quebec CEGEPs. Tonight is very important for many teams, and it will shape franchises for years to come.

Before the draft, a few picks had already traded hands; the Portland Trail Blazers traded the 16th overall pick to the Houston Rockets, and their 2022 first round pick along with Trevor Ariza in exchange for Robert Covington. This year’s Trailblazers’ pick was eventually traded to the Detroit Pistons, who selected 6-foot-9 centre Isaiah Stewart.

One interesting change in this year’s draft is the change in the hat tradition. In previous years, players and their families have been handed caps of the team that drafts them. This year, they were given one of every team’s hats, to be ready for anything. Players held small draft parties with their families from the comfort of their homes, and when a player was drafted, their home and families were displayed on television.

This was emotional for many players, especially for Anthony Edwards, whose home had portraits of his mother and grandmother displayed since they had unfortunately passed away while Edwards was young.

Some very interesting selections were made during the draft, and there was plenty of excitement and drama surrounding them. Edwards was taken with the first overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and — despite a few flaws in his game, such as below average defense — is projected to be an excellent shooting guard to pair alongside D’Angelo Russell.

James Wiseman, the seven-foot tall centre from the University of Memphis Tigers was selected second overall, and should be able to help push a star-studded Warriors lineup back into finals contention. The infamous Lamelo Ball was selected third overall by the Charlotte Hornets.

Some players were drafted far higher than expected, and others fell down general managers’ draft boards. Patrick Williams, a combo forward who was expected to go around ninth overall, ended up being selected fourth overall by the Chicago Bulls, ahead of players projected to go much farther ahead, such as Obi Toppin (eighth overall) and Deni Avdija (ninth overall). Many Raptors fans were hoping that Isaiah Stewart would be available at pick 29, due to the team’s lack of centre depth, but the Pistons selected him with the 16th pick.

The Raptors selected two interesting guards. Malachi Flynn, a 6-foot-2 guard from the University of San Diego, has excellent playmaking ability reminiscent of Fred VanVleet, who just signed a four-year contract extension with the Raptors worth $85 million. Jalen Harris was selected at pick 59, and is projected to be a scoring machine. However, Harris is a very raw prospect and can use some time to develop in the G League before coming to the NBA.

This draft was very interesting, as there was a lot of fluctuation in people’s draft rankings. This draft projects to have a lot of excellent role players, but there was a distinct lack of star power, like Zion Williamson last season. Some more trades were finalized later on, due to the league’s various rules about trading such as the Stepien Rule, which states that no team can trade their first-round selections in two consecutive years.

The NBA implemented the rule after Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien attempted to trade all of his first round draft picks, and succeeded in trading his first round picks from 1982 to 1986 in trades that ended up having poor returns. The league eventually had to step in, as he was actively ruining his franchise by doing so.

The main blockbuster trade of the night was a four-team trade which sent  Steven Adams from the Oklahoma City Thunder over to the New Orleans Pelicans, Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks, and had the Denver Nuggets exchanging a draft pick in 2023 in order to secure the draft rights to R.J. Hampton.


Graphic by @ariannasiviria


The Los Angeles Lakers win it again

The Lakers win their 17th title in franchise history

On Oct. 11, the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th National Basketball Association (NBA) championship, tying the Boston Celtics for the most in the league’s history.

The Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and raised the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time since 2010. Lakers superstar LeBron James, appearing in his 10th NBA Finals, received the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award for the fourth time in his career.

This title meant a lot for the Lakers, during a year beset by hardship. The year started with the tragic death of sport legend Kobe Bryant, who played his whole career in the Lakers uniform and won five NBA championships with them, and continued with the appearance of COVID-19 in America, forcing the league to postpone play.

Yet, it didn’t stop the Lakers from performing when the NBA resumed action. The league proceeded with a bubble format, cancelling the remaining regular season games and going directly into the playoffs. The Lakers won each of their first three rounds in five games, clinching their spot in the finals in just 15 games.

Despite great opposition from the Heat, superstars James and Anthony Davis simply dominated the court in every game, averaging 29.8 and 25.0 points respectively.

In today’s NBA, it’s almost a necessity to have one or two superstar players on your team in order to win championships. Yet, it feels like having James in your team automatically makes you a top contender every year because of his exceptional talent. The way James has led the Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and now the Lakers, is unique.

He’s not doing the work alone, that’s for sure, but considering he has played in eight consecutive NBA Finals before this year’s; four with the Heat and then four with the Cavaliers, and is now at 10 finals and four titles, James’ consistent leadership and talent cannot be ignored.

Without a doubt, the Lakers will surely be a threat once again next season if James and Davis play the way they did these playoffs.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Blaming a team loss on one individual isn’t fair

Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam faced criticism following his team’s playoff elimination

The dream of back-to-back championships for the Toronto Raptors was shattered when they were eliminated from the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs during the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After sweeping their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, the Raptors lost a heartbreaking Game 7 to the Boston Celtics by a score of 92-87, and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Following the elimination, Raptors player Pascal Siakam was at the centre of discussion and criticism. United States media and Celtics reporters were hard on him, with Siakam even being asked how it feels to be responsible for his team’s loss.

Siakam’s field goal percentage (FG%) this postseason decreased by 7.4 per cent compared to last year’s playoffs where he finished with 47 FG%. He also averaged fewer points per game despite averaging more playing time.

However, he isn’t the only Raptor whose statistics dropped. Team star Kyle Lowry also saw a decrease in his FG%, while Marc Gasol couldn’t match his playing time, points per game or FG% from 2018–19.

Basketball requires passing plays, communication, and a good defensive game to support the offence. It’s fair to mention that a player missed important or even easy shots in key moments. Yet, those failed opportunities are part of a whole.

Siakam isn’t responsible for the Raptors in its entirety, just like Montreal Canadiens superstar Carey Price isn’t necessarily the only reason for a loss.

It would be unfair to blame Siakam’s missed shots, and act like all other Raptors errors didn’t affect the outcome of the game. The point is simple: it’s unfair to say that one person is responsible for all, no matter which sport.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Justice and Equality, Now

Some things are bigger than sports

On Aug. 23, a Black man named Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake was shot seven times, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

After this event, much of the sports world and its high-profile athletes used their platforms to speak out against systemic racism.

On Aug. 26, in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Milwaukee Bucks were scheduled to play Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Orlando Magic at 4 p.m. In response to Blake being shot several times, the Bucks didn’t emerge from their locker room, calling for justice for Blake. It was announced by 5 p.m. that all NBA playoff games were postponed indefinitely.

The Bucks then released an official statement explaining their decision not to play, outlining their inability to focus on basketball when change is needed. The strike sparked a chain reaction in sports, as people from all disciplines showed their support. Kenny Smith, former NBA player and co-host of Inside the NBA on TNT walked off the set of the show on-air, in solidarity with player protests.

In keeping with this idea, on Aug. 26, three Major League Baseball (MLB) games were cancelled in order to draw attention to systemic racism, while seven more were cancelled the following day. In the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), fourth-seeded Naomi Osaka won her quarterfinal matchup at the Western and Southern Open, but withdrew shortly after to fight for racial justice. The tournament responded to her courageous act by postponing all of Thursday’s scheduled matches. On Aug. 27 and 28, all NHL games were also postponed, and multiple football teams cancelled their practices as well.

We all can do our part to help make this world a better place, especially in 2020, where we have the tools and the technology to share our message and learn from each other. For example, a group of former and current NHL players started the Hockey Diversity Alliance in order to inspire the new generation of players and fans. By providing resources to the young generation, the Hockey Diversity Alliance is showing it wants to do more than just support a cause. Their ultimate goal is to eliminate racism and intolerance in the game.

The Concordian wants to support and follow the movement taken in the sports world. That’s why this article is the only one that will be published in the sports section for our first issue of the semester. Some things are bigger than sports, and we should never ignore them.

We stand for racial justice and equality. Black Lives Matter.


Graphic by Chloë Lalonde


Amidst COVID-19, a look back at some great sports moments

Have you ever heard the saying “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?”

Many sports fans around the world had this realization this past week, as they saw, one after another, their favourite sports teams and leagues suspended their activities due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

At this point, the vast majority of sports events have been cancelled. The Indian Wells Masters 1000 tennis tournament of the BNP Paribas Open was one of the first sports competitions to be officially cancelled. It was first announced that it would be played behind closed doors, but a confirmed case of the COVID-19 at the Indian Wells venue forced the organizers to cancel the event a few hours before its start.

As a tennis fan, it was a shock to see one of the biggest competitions of the season outright cancelled. At first, I thought it was a drastic decision, but then came to understand that the tournament wasn’t worth the risk, considering the severity of the virus.

I thought there would still be other sports to watch, like hockey, soccer, and even other tennis tournaments that wouldn’t be cancelled. Yet, in a matter of days, almost all were postponed or cancelled.

This is a unique situation we’re going through, and hopefully we won’t have to deal with this ever again. These moments make us realize how important our passions are to us, and help us gather together and cherish what we love.

I’m used to waking up in the morning and watching sports recaps and talk shows. I would normally talk about what happened in sports the previous day with my friends before going to class, and then prepare to watch a game in the evening.

It’s obviously impossible to bring fresh sports news to the public right now. However, as we’re looking for things to talk about other than COVID-19, here are some recent sports moments that should bring some happiness in your day.


First up is Sidney Crosby’s historic “Golden Goal” at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Team Canada faced Team USA for gold in men’s hockey. Tied 2-2, Crosby scored the game-winning goal with 12:20 left in overtime, lifting an entire nation into a celebration, with a goal that changed the history of hockey and the Olympic Games forever. Even 20 years later, people talk about that goal when celebrating the 2010 Olympic Games of Vancouver. The rivalry between Team Canada and Team USA continued to grow since then.

In women’s hockey, the Canadian national team won the Olympic gold at Sochi 2014, in what has become an iconic game against their American rivals. Trailing by one with less than a minute to play, Team USA hit the post when trying to secure what would have been a 3-1 score with an empty-net goal. Team Canada took advantage of it, as Marie-Philip Poulin tied the game seconds later to force overtime. Poulin then scored her second of the game in overtime, securing gold for Canada.

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu made history last September when she won her first ever Grand Slam title at the 2019 US Open versus Serena Williams. She became the first ever Canadian Grand Slam title winner.

Next is this legendary bat flip from Jose Bautista in 2015, in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. Bautista’s three-run homer gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 6-3 lead late in the game.

The NFL sees its fair share of spectacular catches. One of the best (if not the best) was this one by Odell Beckham Jr. in 2015. Despite being held to one-hand while being interfered with, Beckham Jr. managed to catch the ball and get a touchdown.

One of the most discussed plays of recent years in football came when the Seattle Seahawks faced the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl XLIX. With a second down and goal, the Seahawks opted for a passing play despite the fact they would lose the game if it were to be intercepted. They also had the always-entertaining Marshawn Lynch at running back, which only made many fans more upset. Surely, they thought, Lynch would have made it to the end zone safely.

Unfortunately for the Seahawks and their fans, Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler, ensuring his team’s Super Bowl victory.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a real football list without this play between quarterback Case Keenum and wide receiver Stefon Diggs. In the last seconds of overtime in a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints during a National Football Conference divisional playoff game in 2018, Diggs caught Keenum’s pass while his defender missed their tackle, and ran down the field unopposed for a 61-yard game-winning touchdown.

In golf, Tiger Woods made history once again last year when he won the 2019 Masters Tournament. This was a historic moment, not only for golf, but for sports in general. His triumph was celebrated by many fans around the world, especially considering the tough years he went through preceding this victory.

This picture also went viral on social media. The first image shows Woods hugging his father after winning the Master Tournament in 1997, while the second shows him and his son, shortly after his 2019 victory.

What about the two-point buzzer-beater shot from Kawhi Leonard. As the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers were heading to overtime in game seven of the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals, Leonard gave the Raptors the win, shooting the ball in the basket with less than a second left in the game. That put the score at 92-90 and pushed the Raptors to the next round. The team would go on to win their next series and the league’s championship.

Finally, at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games of Rio, Canadian Penny Oleksiak lived what us common folk would call “a fairytale” born of hard work and talent. Only 16 at that time, Oleksiak won four medals, including the gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle event.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Colour Commentary: Big four North American sports league suspend play due to COVID-19

Last Wednesday night, Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

What ensued next was absolute chaos. The NBA swiftly announced that it would be suspending play after that night’s games were finished.

Around 1 p.m. on March 12, after a meeting among team owners and commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHL also suspended play until further notice. Bettman has teased a summer restart, but nothing is confirmed as of publication.

Then the news of leagues and competitions really started to pour in. Here is a summary of what happened next:

  • NCAA’s March Madness, the single biggest sports gambling event in the United States announced the cancellation of the tournament.
  • Major League Soccer suspended its season for 30 days.
  • The Association of Tennis Professionals suspended play for six weeks.
  • The Canadian Football League combine was cancelled.
  • The International Ice Hockey Federation’s under-18 world championships got cancelled.
  • Women’s World Curling Championships got cancelled.
  • Hockey Canada suspended all activities including all Canadian Hockey League games, the U-Sports National Championships and all unsanctioned minor hockey leagues.
  • The American Hockey League suspended play until further notice.

This was all on Thursday.

Since then, many major competitions would follow suit, including the English Premier League. The EPL was one of few competitions that were supposed to continue until Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19.

With sports being suspended/cancelled, many 24-hour sports radio and TV stations are scrambling. However, one channel that has to be given credit is TSN.

Their coverage of all things sports that day was incredible—they ran commercial-free from the time the NHL made it’s announcement around 1 p.m. until their flagship show, SportsCentre was scheduled at 6 p.m.

Thursday was a grim day, but some positive news came out of it. A team of three Canadian doctors had managed to isolate the COVID-19 virus to further research towards a vaccine.

Rick Westhead of TSN was the first reporter to interview one of the doctors on SportsCentre about the impact of what the team’s findings mean for research.

I tip my hat to TSN for continuing live coverage and reporting during a time where the world probably needs sports the most to distract them from what is going on.

At The Concordian, we are committed to you and will still be bringing you sports pieces every week.

Stay safe, stay calm, and stay clean. And for Pete’s sake, wash your hands.


China and the NBA: Lebron enters the fold

In light of the events leading to a frigid disconnect between the NBA and its connections with China, Lebron James was once again the one left to speak up for the players.

James publicly reprimanded the timing of Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who on Oct. 4, tweeted “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The problem with Morey’s tweet is not that he was supporting freedom for a foreign country under a communist government, but rather that he did so while two teams, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, were in the thick of that very regime in China; where they were to play two exhibition games.

Ever since James spoke publicly about Morey’s terrible timing, he’s been under fire for being a supporter of censorship. People are saying his comments are financially motivated, as he doesn’t want to lose all the endorsement money that Nike makes him in China. Fox News paints him as “unamerican” in his position against Morey, who is simply speaking freely, and supporting freedom, as Americans do. HURRAH. This is so typical in more ways than one… Leave it to the USA to impose their constitution on countries halfway across the world, and to dumb down the issue at hand, using ideology as an excuse.

Let’s take a step back and look at this in a rational, practical way.

James doesn’t hate free speech – all of his actions say otherwise. The man founded and funded a public elementary school in his home town of Akron, Ohio, and promises free college tuition to every graduate. He is constantly a voice for the disenfranchised, a philanthropist to those in need, and is openly liberal. What James hates is loose-lipped executives sitting in their ivory towers far, far away, who stir the pot while he’s sitting in it. Despite the tweet only existing for several minutes before being deleted, it sparked a controversy in a country with a population of over 1.3 billion people.

The controversy caused outrage, and hostility. Lebron and his team, as well as the Nets, were simply there to play basketball, and grow the game on an international level. All of a sudden, they’re on the front lines of an international conflict and media storm, where they could have potentially been in political, or even physical danger. What if the Chinese government wouldn’t let them leave? What if Chinese loyalists became violent?

Now, thankfully, those things didn’t happen, but they very well could have. Instead, they experienced a different kind of backlash: The wrath of corporate China. The Chinese broadcast of the two games on their network, CCTV, was cancelled. Tickets became hard to come by.  All corporate logos were taken off the hardwood. Community events involving the players were cancelled. Chinese apparel brands suspended their relations with the NBA. The Chinese Basketball Association, run by Rockets legend Yao Ming, severed all ties with the Rockets. Chinese streaming service Tencent banned Houston from their service. The team’s official apparel is no longer available in China. China has basically censored the hell out of the NBA.

Like many NBA superstars, Lebron James has been visiting China in the offseason for over 10 years on behalf of Nike, who carries his signature shoe and apparel lines. Of course it benefits him financially, why shouldn’t it? Would you spend weeks in China doing promotion for free? I didn’t think so. I assure you the league doesn’t mind either, because it popularizes their sport in a massive market.

More important than money, James is the most impactful ambassador for the sport since Michael Jordan made the NBA an international phenomenon. He cares more about the state of the game than he does his bank account, which is doing fine, I promise. The complete destruction of all the inroads the NBA has built into China is more likely what doesn’t sit well with him. All that time spent globalizing the game, and instilling its values in parts of the world that need them, evaporated in a moment’s notice with a seven word tweet.

But wait, here’s the cherry on top: In an attempt to either limit the damage, or save face with China, the NBA has censored the game in their own way. Fans holding up “Free Tokyo” signs in Philadelphia and Washington have had their posters taken from them by stadium officials. Reporters have been silenced in asking questions about the controversy in Houston. Hypocrisy at its best, right? How is James the one being criticized for being an advocate of conciliatory speech, when the league is clearly guilty of that very thing?

This is why sports and politics should never intersect. Sports bring people together, politics have a tendency to be divisive. James wants Morey to let the game speak for itself, and so do I.


Graphic by Salomé Blain


Colour Commentary: The Rocky State of the NBA in China

Remember when the NBA’s biggest storylines during the off-season involved tampering, trade requests, and Lebron’s “Taco Tuesday” trademark denial? Now, America’s most progressive sports league faces its biggest challenge since the Donald Sterling scandals of 2014.

On Oct. 4, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted an image in support of the protests taking place in Hong Kong that read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Morey deleted the tweet shortly after but had failed in avoiding conflict with China.

The NBA’s initial statement acknowledged the tweet as offensive to Chinese friends and fans, but ultimately created more confusion as it failed in representing a definitive stance. On Oct. 8, NBA commissioner Adam Silver cleared the air when he specified the NBA would not regulate what its employees and owners say, supporting Morey’s right to freedom of expression.

In response, China Central Television, CCTV, showed immense dissatisfaction, saying “remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.” In addition, the company suspended all NBA broadcasting. Rights holder of the NBA in China, Tencent, blacklisted Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets. Sponsors were forced to cut ties with the team and its players to avoid potential blowback.

The NBA-China rift is an ongoing process that is showing no signs of faltering. A single tweet derailed a Chinese partnership that generated millions in yearly revenue for the NBA, unequivocally one of its largest international markets.

The bottom line is prominent figures need to provide unsolicited content frequently to appease the public interests, often resulting in posts that are imprudent.  Morey’s tweet shows the volatility a post can possess and stresses the importance of taking precaution when sharing online in a society that encourages spontaneity, with consumers who are obsessed with immediate satisfaction.

This notion was emphasized in the backlash received by coach of the Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr, when he was asked about the topic. Kerr has been outspoken to the media on American political issues in the past but admitted he did not have enough knowledge to formulate an opinion on Chinese politics.

Kerr was criticized by fans and was called out by President Donald Trump in a hearing on Oct 9, who labelled Kerr a hypocrite that “was like a scared little boy”. The Warriors’ coach effectively showed self-awareness in wanting to think before he speaks, which is unfortunately an ostracized attitude in 2019.

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