Over at Grantland, Caleb Hannan takes a good, long look at MLS and its strong crackdown on homophobia.
The writer’s basic takeaway: MLS’s audience is younger than other sports leagues, making them more intolerant of anti-gay slurs, racism, and other societal ugliness. As a result, suspending players like Marc Burch and Colin Clark is both the right thing to do and good business.
That logic seems to make sense to me, but I’m not sure it goes far enough. By cracking down hard on players who use anti-gay slurs, Commissioner Don Garber is taking a stand that other league commissioners won’t, or at least haven’t, taken. This is perhaps a cynical read, but it gives MLS an advantage over American leagues. It’s a policy they can be proud of, but also one that is forward-thinking and better than what other, more established leagues currently have. (In some ways, it reminds me a little of MLS advocating for the use of goalline technology, albeit in a very different way.)
I’m not saying Garber and the other decisionmakers took this into account when deciding what to do about Clarke, whose suspension set the precedent. They made the right call there, and they should be proud they are sticking to it. All I’m saying is that MLS is a league that needs press and it’s nice it worked out this way. As Hannan writes, the policy is “both good for business and good for the game.”
Fernando Torres has won the UEFA Champions League before, but a victory on Saturday would ring as true as ever.
Calling it the game of his life, the Atletico Madrid striker spoke about this year’s final against Real Madrid.
[ MORE: Three battles that could determined UCL final ]
A lot has changed since the 2012 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, when Torres subbed into Chelsea’s comeback win.
His decline at Chelsea found him on loan to Milan, where he transferred before finding another loan back home to Atleti. Now 32, Torres has his most goals since 2013 and is preparing for a Madrid Derby final.
From Sky Sports:
“Tomorrow [Saturday] is the game of my life, without doubt,” said Torres. “To me it means everything. Everything you dream when you’re a kid, I have the chance tomorrow to make this dream come true.
“I’ve played for great teams, and won many things, but this one is special, it is different, it’s what I wanted when I was a kid.”
Later lauding Atleti for giving him the chance “to come back and fight for what I wanted”, Torres is clearly hungry for a bit of redemption. And if his side comes out on top, he’ll likely be a big part of it.
Orlando City is losing its wizard for a bit.
Kaka, 34, has been called into Dunga’s Brazil squad for this summer’s Copa America Centenario.
The move was made after Bayern Munich star Douglas Costa picked up an injury that will cause him to miss the tournament.
[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | B | C | D ]
The 2007 Ballon D’Or winner didn’t play in that year’s Copa America, which Brazil won.
Kaka has two goals and five assists in 7 MLS matches this season, a year after netting nine times with six assists in 28 matches.
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) A former Premier League player whose rape conviction was overturned will face a new trial in October.
Ched Evans, a Wales international who has played for Manchester City and Sheffield United, appeared in court in Cardiff on Friday and pleaded not guilty to raping a woman at a hotel in May 2011.
[ MORE: Mourinho confirmed | Speaks more ]
Evans had already served half of a five-year sentence before being released from prison and getting the conviction overturned in April following an appeal.
Evans only spoke briefly to confirm his identity before entering his plea.
The new trial will start on Oct. 4 in Cardiff.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has immediately begun courting the fans of his new club.
The 53-year-old Portuguese manager may’ve run rivals Chelsea on two occasions, but claims he’s always had empathy with United even when defeating the Old Trafford club.
[ MORE: United hires Mourinho | Things he must do ]
In an interview with Manchester United TV, Mourinho issues some high praise of the club while also managing a bit of classic “The Special One” ego in saying, “Giant clubs must be for the best managers.”
As for the disappointing trio of years between David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, Mourinho says he’d rather consider his tenure in line with the run of Alex Ferguson.
From the BBC:
“I think we can look at our club in two perspectives – one is the past three years and another is the history. I prefer to forget the last three years. I prefer to focus on the giant club I have in my hands now. “
Mourinho has had some time to calculate the best way to endear himself to United supporters, and playing to their belief as the most historic club in the world sure pushes the right buttons.
Now comes the task of delivering titles in a climate more competitive than any other time in modern history.