We’re already seeing sporting events impacted by the coronavirus

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The world is burning, and athletes are silent

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Australia is on fire. Like California in the United States, bush fires during the hotter months are a common occurrence, but climate change has fanned those flames, and they just keep burning. Huge swaths of lands are now devastated and dead, as is whatever lived there, be they plants, insects, marsupial, or even people. It’s horrifying on a number of levels, and the kind of thing that isn’t going to just get better by ignoring it or sending well wishes.

It’s through this lens that you need to read Howard Bryant’s latest at ESPN, in which he takes tennis players — and athletes in general — to task for the way they handle political crises:

Appropriate or not, the narrative has been typecast to return us to normalcy, with athletes’ on-field strength infusing us, teams and players arm-in-arm with law enforcement, mayors and governors. They are the ambassadors whose very presence tells you we will rebuild, that everything will be all right.

While the fires decimate the country and players voice their concerns that conditions are unsafe and perhaps the tournament should be postponed, Tennis Australia, the governing body of the sport in the country, has said little of substance to address the effects of the fires on player safety, or the ethics and morality of hosting a multimillion-dollar spectacle as the country literally burns. Health officials have graded the air quality as “unhealthy.” Even through the smoke, it appears the show must go on.

The superstars, knowing their place despite the growing voices of dissent within their own ranks, assured tennis authorities and the public at large they could still be counted on, that they would trust authority instead of challenge it.

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MLB bars players from Venezuelan Winter League, thanks to Donald Trump

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MLB’s international events, lack of WWE union, and [robot] sports cops

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Carter Stewart chose Japan rather than MLB, and maybe that means something

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You might remember the name Carter Stewart from around this time last year, when the then-18-year-old was drafted out of high school by the Braves. Stewart was Atlanta’s first-round pick, eighth-overall, but refused to sign with them after they reduced their offered signing bonus from around the $4.98 million slot value of that pick to around $2 million, citing concern with his wrist from his physical as the reason.

This might not have been just some innocent misunderstanding or concern, either: it felt, to some, like Atlanta was going extra hard on something that very well could be nothing from a physical, in order to squeeze money out of Stewart that could be applied to another prospect in the draft or simply not spent. The Major League Baseball Players Association went so far as to file a grievance on Stewart’s behalf, and he’s not even a member of the players’ union. The Braves wouldn’t be the first team to pull this kind of stunt, nor will they be the last.

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MLB’s desire for international draft is financial, not benevolent

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Ozzie Albies’ awful extension makes sense, and that’s the problem

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We’ve been talking a lot about extensions lately, but, well, extensions keep happening. Ozzie Albies is the latest to sign one, and it’s a doozy: it’s basically the culmination of everything MLB has worked for in terms of suppressing potential outlets for earnings, funneling players into one specific direction that benefits teams more than anyone else.

Jeff Passan reported that agents, scouts, and even team executives think Albies’ seven-year extension worth $35 million guaranteed, that jumps to nine-years and $45 million should his options be picked up, could be “the worst contract ever for a player.” Michael Baumann wrote an article in response to that for The Ringer that does not discredit the notion that Albies and his agent put pen to an awful piece of paper. Craig Goldstein tweeted a thread on how Albies’ deal is a reminder that teams are acting like insurance companies, and if you know anything about myself or Craig, no, that is not a compliment.

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MLB, Cuba agreement on signing players is no more thanks to Donald Trump

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