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08-14-2018, 06:59 AM,
#1
we’ve been able to do all season long
Colin Kaepernick’s first two ”protests” drew scant attention. He sat on the bench Cheap P.J. Hall Jersey , out of uniform, virtually unnoticed. His third got some buzz after a reporter tweeted a picture of the 49ers bench that had nothing to do with the quarterback but caught him in the frame, sitting during the national anthem.

Meanwhile, the killing of a 12-year-old boy by police and the light it shined on the Black Lives Matter movement helped draw a reluctant LeBron James into the world of using sports as a vehicle for social change. But once he got there, James stayed disciplined both about the message he sends and the way he sends it.

Despite their vastly divergent methods, Kaepernick and James helped set a stake in the ground, declaring to athletes across all sports that their platforms could be – should be – used for more than fun and games in the 21st century.

Kaepernick’s message – ”organic” to some, ”disorganized” to others – started a movement that has essentially linked the NFL with kneeling in a dramatic string of events that will play out for a final time this season, Sunday at the Super Bowl. James has also made an imprint thanks to the power of his own brand. Whose method worked better? The answer to that question figures to guide the direction of sports protests for the foreseeable future.

”Kaepernick didn’t go into it knowing what was going to happen. He was doing what he thought was right but this was not something he expected,” said professor Danielle Coombs of Kent State, who specializes in the politics of sports. ”On the other hand, you have athletes, like LeBron James, who make sure they do it in a way that lets the message rise to the top.”

Coombs and David Casillo co-authored a paper in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues centered on James, whose precise, calculated brand of activism pressed for change, but in a way that would not negatively affect the bottom line.

Two years before Kaepernick, and two decades after the seemingly apolitical Michael Jordan once reportedly said Republicans buy shoes, too, James found himself in the middle of a firestorm in the wake of the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

James said very little about the killing Dak Prescott Jersey Elite , which occurred only miles from his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He took heat for his reluctance. But over the ensuing years, he branched out slowly and cautiously, and sometimes with others at his side. He joined Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade at the 2016 ESPYs and gave a well-received speech calling for an end to gun violence.

The speech was a well-thought-out, well-organized message timed for maximum impact, as was Steph Curry’s impassioned defense of the stance that Kaepernick and others had taken on issues ranging from sitting during the national anthem, to the importance of showing team unity to foregoing White House visits.

”If I’m going to use my platform, I don’t want to just be noise,” Curry wrote in a Veterans Day blog on The Players’ Tribune website. ”I want to talk about real issues that are affecting real people.”

The methods Curry and James use for getting out the message were almost the exact opposite of Kaepernick’s. Turns out, Kaepernick made more headlines, but also became more vulnerable to his message getting lost or distorted due to the timing and some of his own self-inflicted sideshows .

Some may say that by not being calculating and by playing from the heart, Kaepernick sent a truer message. He also backed it up by raising $1 million for charity – much coming in $10,000 increments from celebrities and sports stars.

But was it more effective? Can it be repeated?

”One of the keys for athletes is that they pick moments in time to make sure their message resonates,” said marketing expert Joe Favorito. ”Certainly, it has become easier for people to start a process. But it’s become more difficult to follow through with it. These days, unless you have the biggest stage, you’re competing against thousands of other people. It’s not necessarily athletes. It can be anyone.”

The NFL was unprepared for the protests, though a five-page memo in 1966 written by a young black league executive to then Commissioner Pete Rozelle predicted this could happen. The memo, which can be read in its entirety on theundefeated.com Braden Smith Youth Jersey , warned that a team releasing a black player who’d been outspoken on civil rights issues could spark major protests.

Now even more than then, few platforms grab as many eyeballs as that of the NFL. And no league drapes itself in the American flag quite like the NFL. That’s two reasons Kaepernick’s gesture had legs.

When President Donald Trump took on the league this season, criticizing those who followed Kaepernick’s lead, the debate became multipronged, with players, and even some owners, banding together to show they would not be pushed around by the president.

Meanwhile, TV ratings remained flat. Some fans tuned out and stayed away, enraged by what they perceived as disrespect to the flag, the military and American values.

Kaepernick’s original message got mixed in with several others. Regardless, midway through the season, the NFL realized it had to do something. After multiple meetings with player representatives, the league announced it was funneling $90 million into social justice issues that are important to players. Just last week, it launched Let’s Listen Together , an initiative designed to address some of the players’ most urgent concerns.

The launch came mere days before the Super Bowl, where ”The Star-Spang Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash turned to bench coach Charlie Montoyo early in the game and mentioned how closely Jonathan Loaisiga resembled a former Yankees great and future Hall of Famer.

Cash just hopes this 23-year-old prospect doesn’t develop the same nasty stuff closer Mariano Rivera once featured.

Loaisiga pitched three-hit ball over five impressive innings to win his major league debut, and New York beat the Rays 5-0 on Friday night.

”There were some similarities,” Cash said while mentioning the cutter perfected by baseball’s career saves leader. ”Don’t give him any ideas, though. He doesn’t need to be pitching in the ninth inning anytime soon. Talented young kid. Very poised.”

Didi Gregorius homered off ex-Yankee Nathan Eovaldi, and Gary Sanchez broke out of a long slump with a three-run double in the eighth. Giancarlo Stanton had a sacrifice fly for New York Shaquem Griffin Seahawks Jersey , which improved the best record in the majors to 45-20.

Jonathan Holder, David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Adam Warren each worked an inning to finish the four-hitter.

The Rays have lost 17 of their last 21 at Yankee Stadium.

Loaisiga (1-0) was called up from Double-A Trenton to fill in for injured starter Masahiro Tanaka and arrived early in the clubhouse for the World Cup match between Spain and Portugal. At times, Loaisiga demonstrated the same moxie Cristiano Ronaldo showed when lining up a free kick that tied that game 3-all in the late stages.

The right-hander, who walked only four batters in 45 minor league innings this year, struggled a little with his command, issuing four walks while striking out six.

He walked the first batter in the first but escaped with an inning-ending double play. After a one-out walk, he fanned the next two batters.

In the third inning, he once again benefited from a double play.

With two outs in the fourth, the Rays loaded the bases but Loaisiga – the 15th major leaguer from Nicaragua – regrouped and calmed down after a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild and struck out Christian Arroyo behind the support of 45,112 roaring fans at Yankee Stadium.

”I think that’s the part of the game you have to learn how to manage,” Loaisiga said.

After returning last year from Tommy John surgery, Loaisiga became the first Yankees starter to win his first career game since Tanaka on April 4, 2014.

New York manager Aaron Boone considered extending Loaisiga past the fifth inning even though he eclipsed 90 pitches for the first time in his professional career – he threw more than 80 in four minor league starts this season. Only once has Loaisiga pitched seven innings, during a Dominican Summer League start in 2013.

But Boone felt fine with the 91-pitch effort he got from the rookie, lauding his confidence.

”I think everyone got a look at the stuff that this kid has and the arm he has and the easy delivery he has,” Boone said. ”I felt like mentally, emotionally, he’s equipped to handle this.”

Pitching against his former team, Eovaldi (1-2) allowed only two runs over the first seven innings until the Yankees chased him in the eighth. He was charged with five runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings during his first career outing against New York. He struck out five and walked one.

It was Eovaldi’s fourth outing since coming back from a second Tommy John surgery. The right-hander pitched for the Yankees from 2015-16 DJ Chark Youth Jersey , going 14-3 in 2015.

With one out in the eighth, Eovaldi gave up consecutive singles to Aaron Judge and Gregorius before issuing an intentional walk to Stanton. Johnny Venters struck out Greg Bird before Sanchez’s bases-loaded line drive to right field skipped past a diving Johnny Field to make it 5-0.

Sanchez, who began the night with just six hits in his past 60 at-bats, hopes that will spark him going forward.

”I did feel good being that I had a long time that I wasn’t contributing to the team batting like that, bringing in runs and getting on base with hits,” he said.

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

The Yankees traded RHP Chad Whitmer to Milwaukee for $59,000 in international signing bonus pool money. That raises New York’s available total to $5,061,000 for the signing period that starts July 2. The 23-year-old Whitmer, a 10th-round pick in the 2017 draft, went 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA for the Gulf Coast Yankees last season in rookie ball.

SKIPPING LEVELS

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Loaisiga became the first Yankees player to make his major league debut without appearing in a Triple-A game since INF Ramiro Pena on April 6, 2009, at Boston. The last Yankees pitcher to accomplish the feat was Chase Wright on April 17, 2007, against Cleveland

UP NEXT

Yankees ace Luis Severino (9-2, 2.27 ERA) tries Saturday to improve to 6-0 at home this season. Tampa Bay is expected to open with right-handed reliever Ryne Stanek on another ”bullpen day.”



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