Jermaine Jones apologizes to fans for red card, Traoré left out

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Credit to Jermaine Jones. The guy has publicly addressed his red card, taking to his Twitter account (@jermainejunior) on Saturday night to apologize to Schalke fans for getting sent off at Stuttgart:

source:

After it happened, I took to my soapbox to outline all my problems with the challenge: it was unnecessary, part of a pattern, ill-timed, and inherently disrespectful to his opponent. Jones conceded it was a too much for a “50:50” challenge. He undoubtedly realizes down 3-1 with his team playing 11-on-10 is a poor time to be that aggressive. And though I’d like him to be “100% on the ref side,” it would be a little naive of me to expect an athlete to do so.

Regarding the pattern of behavior, that needs to be taken back. According to various sources, Jones earned the first straight red card of his career today. He may have a penchant to unnecessary fouls, but there’s little record of his affinity for dangerous ones.

source: APStill, I would have like to see him apologize to Ibrahima Traoré, the Stuttgart player he put at risk with his challenge. That play could have seriously injured the 24-year-old Ivorian. Without acknowledging that, I’m not sure Jones really gets what was so wrong about his challenge.

In the big picture, the problem wasn’t that you broke the rules, Jermaine. It’s that you took another player’s well-being into your own hands. For feet, as it were. For those few moments you were airborne with your right leg extended, Traoré’s immediate future was under undo risk.

That this isn’t the first thing on your mind when you go to tweet apologies hints this situation could happen again. I only hope the next player is as spry as Traoré.

And I’m not looking for contrition here. At least, I’m not looking for it from one player. This is a sport-wide problem. The frequency of these kind of tackles is something every player should care about the same way basic safety concerns are important in all sports. No horsecollar tackles in American football. No putting a guy head-first into the boards in ice hockey. No ankle-breakers in soccer.

They’re not an inherent part of the game. Nowhere in the rules are lunging tackles addressed, but player safety and danger play is. The potential risk associated with these plays in no way justifies an insignificant reward.

From what I know of Jermaine Jones, I imagine his response to whether he should apologize to Traoré would be “of course.” It’s just not something that enters a player’s head unless an injury has occurred. That’s how far down the list of priorities player safety is in these situations.

Over the last 25 years, the game has gotten much better about curtailing these types of challenges, but at some point, players are going to have to take it upon themselves to say the possibility of injuring a fellow professional makes those challenges off limits.

Whether that means more punishment than a red card and suspension, I’m not sure. But I’m confident once players agree this type of aggression has no place in the game, the problem will disappear within a generation.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE