Posts tagged with "sports"

Allison Christensen Illustrates a Sports Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Tyrod Taylor

By Justin Lyons

Justin Herbert lined up under center on the first drive Sunday for the Los Angeles Chargers, which was a surprise.

Herbert was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but Tyrod Taylor was supposed to be the starter while Herbert learned from the bench. Herbert had a successful day, scoring on his first drive and going on to throw for 311 yards and a touchdown, but he came up a bit short of the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs in overtime.

It’s now clear why Taylor didn’t play quarterback Sunday. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told ESPN’s Shelley Smith that Taylor’s lung was punctured by a team doctor attempting to administer a pain relief injection just before kickoff.

Lynn told Smith that the injury is not career-threatening, and Taylor isn’t mad or upset. Lynn appeared to reaffirm Taylor’s status as a starter when he is cleared to return, saying there was a lot the Chargers didn’t get done with Herbert as their quarterback and that Herbert is a backup “for a reason.”

George Atallah, the assistant executive director of external affairs for the NFL Players Association, tweeted that the union’s medical and legal teams are looking into the incident. He also confirmed that the NFLPA has initiated an investigation.

According to ESPN, the injection is not uncommon, but the doctor is unable to see where the needle is going, which can be difficult. Though the procedure is standard, it is rare that a player’s lung is punctured.

Lynn said Herbert will start Sunday at home against the Carolina Panthers, as Taylor won’t be fully healthy.

“I am looking forward to seeing him play with a week of preparation and knowing he is the starter,” Lynn said.

The Panthers and Chargers will kick off at 1:05 p.m. local time Sunday.

Rita Azar Illustrates a Football Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Gale Sayers

By Justin Lyons

Hall of Fame running back and Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Sayers played seven seasons, all as a Chicago Bear, racking up 4,956 rushing yards and 39 rushing touchdowns. He played his final regular season game in 1971, retired in 1972 and became the youngest Hall of Fame inductee in NFL history in 1977 at the age of 34.

The news comes via a statement from David Baker, the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers. He was the very essence of a team player – quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block,” Baker said. “Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.”

Nicknamed the “Kansas Comet,” Sayers was an easy selection for the Hall of Fame despite injuries shortening his career.

Current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also released a statement saying Sayers will be remembered for his inspiration and kindness.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Ardie and their family. Our thoughts are with his teammates, the Bears organization, the many fans who remember him as a football player and the many more people who were touched by Gale’s spirit and generosity,” Goodell said.

The story of Sayers’ friendship with teammate Brian Piccolo was told in the 1971 film “Brian’s Song,” which starred James Caan and Billy Dee Williams.

Williams, who played Sayers in the film, tweeted, “My heart is broken over the loss of my dear friend, Gale Sayers. Portraying Gale in ‘Brian’s Song’ was a true honor and one of the nightlights of my career. He was an extraordinary human being with the the kindest heart. My sincerest condolences to his family.”

Caan, who played Piccolo, tweeted that he was proud to have known Sayers and also offered his love and condolences to the family.

The New York Times reported in 2017 that Sayers had been battling dementia, but that didn’t stop him from attending the 100th year anniversary celebration of the Chicago Bears in June 2019.

Teammate Dick Butkus, who joined Sayers on stage at that celebration, said,”[I] will miss a great friend who helped me become the player I became because after practicing and scrimmaging against Gale I knew I could play against anybody. We lost one of the best Bears ever, and more importantly, we lost a great person.”

The Bears have added a banner with a photo of Sayers to their website and have changed their Twitter profile picture to Sayers’ famous number 40.

Soccer illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success

The U.S. Soccer Foundation adapted and launched its signature Soccer for Success program to fit ever-changing COVID-19 landscape.

The Foundation spent the past few months listening to its partners to best support the needs of soccer communities. By adapting its Soccer for Success curriculum, partners can run the program across a variety of settings. In lieu of the traditional in-person trainings, they are providing an online training that is specifically designed to prepare coach-mentors to deliver the program across these new settings. The 12-week curriculum consists of:

  • Thirty-six pre-recorded video sessions that can be sent directly to participants and their families to complete at a time that works best for them. The sessions are around 15-20 minutes in length, can be done at home with little space and equipment, and incorporate health and wellness tips and information.
  • Thirty-six practice session plans that provide coach-mentors with guidance on how to run 45-minute virtual sessions (in real time) with their participants. The practice sessions include both soccer activities and health and wellness teaching points.
  • Thirty-six practice session plans that provide coach-mentors with guidance on how to run 60-minute, in-person socially distanced sessions with participants. The practice sessions include both soccer activities and health and wellness teaching points.
  • Thirty-six traditional in-person practice and game day sessions.

This formatting gives our partners the flexibility to run Soccer for Success three days a week for a typical 12-week season in the way that works best for them and their community at any given time, said Sarah Pickens, U.S. Soccer Foundation Associate Vice President of Programs. 

In some places, space constraints may limit the number of in-person socially distanced participants allowed at one time. Fortunately, with this program, partners can alternate days that players can come in person, while still providing virtual lessons to any other students enrolled in the program. No matter what stage a given community is in, children have a way to participate in each session. This approach also anticipates the very real scenario that things will continue to change rapidly. Therefore, even if COVID-19 guidelines change, partners can still run programming virtually or through distribution of pre-recorded sessions without missing a beat.

Pickens added, This helps children have some sense of consistency, keeps them active, and keeps them connected to each other in a positive and fun way. The bottom line is that Soccer for Success keeps kids healthy in body and mind. In our current reality, this is more important than ever. 

About U.S. Soccer Foundation

The U.S. Soccer Foundation programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Follow U.S. Soccer Foundation: Website | Twitter | Facebook

football, NFL, sports, laces, pigskin, leather, game

Football Is Back And So Is Branding

With major league sports back in action –  along with college football –  sports fans have found themselves with a welcome commodity – choice. Social media is tracking what are proving to be the most effective and strategic ways to compete.

According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) has made the most noise with sports partnerships this summer, as their beverage brands are trying to make the sports comeback resonate with fans stuck at home through experiential marketing. 

#ultracourtside

AB InBev tested virtual experiences with Michelob Ultra’s partnership with the NBA – the beer brand sponsored a digital experience that live streamed fans onto screens at the game so that they could “attend” while watching the action at home. The ad experience, and with it the announcement that Michelob Ultra is the new official beer of the NBA, garnered the brand 24,300 mentions in July with campaign hashtag #ultracourtside, generating 70,000 mentions since the season kicked off, Talkwalker reported.

$18 Nachos….and a brand boost of 550%

Another brand, Babe Wine, is producing football-themed candle scents so that fans can feel like they’re at the game – “Jockstrap,” “$18 Nachos,” and “Hashtag Field Goals” (aka Turf scent) – are among some of the varieties available. The move caused their online mentions to increase 1,200 percent in the last week, and engagement with the wine brand online has increased 550 percent, according to Talkwalker. This is the largest spike that Babe has seen since October 2019, following the announcement of the partnership that made them the “official wine of the NFL.”

#showtimecam brings Bud Light engagement to 266M

Bud Light is also getting in on the action with the launch of its “Showtime Cam” at last Thursday night’s opening game. The stunt enables fans who can’t be at the game to interact with players through live-streaming video in stadiums, creating a way for viewers at home to celebrate exciting moments along with their favorite teams. NFL fans can enter the #showtimecam contest by tagging Bud Light in posts for the chance to have their Tweets and videos featured during the regular season. The Showtime Cam premiered on Sept 10 during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, and by the following day it had 3,000 engagements and a potential reach of more than 266 million. Now, with a few more games under its belt, Bud Light’s marketing stunt has racked up 4,200 engagements since then.

About Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels. Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.

Rita Azar Illustrates a Basketball Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Jaylen Brown x George Floyd Bill

by Justin Lyons

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics wing, in a press conference Sunday said he would like to see the city of Boston pass the George Floyd bill.

Brown, who has been one of the more active players in social justice conversations throughout the NBA, was asked about the Celtics’ commitment to spend $25 million over the next ten years to fight social injustice.

He said it was a great step, and that change happens over a period of time, but he thinks there are things that can be catalysts for change right now.

“One thing I would like to see in Boston is the George Floyd bill enacted,” Brown said, adding that conversations need to be had about police and qualified immunity. “Some things just need to be held accountable, and hopefully Boston can be a place where a tone is set that can be transpired in other cities.”

Brown went on to say that he thinks Boston is moving in the right direction, but he would still like to see more companies and organizations be diversified as well as more opportunities for people of color.

“I’m proud to be a part of the Celtics organization. I’m proud to have an ownership group, or a leadership group, that’s willing to take these steps because they recognize that we need to live in a better, more forward progressing world.”

The George Floyd bill, or H.R.7120, aims to achieve a few goals.

First, it would lower the criminal intent standard to convict an officer of law enforcement. The standard currently requires that officers act willfully, while H.R.7120 would only necessitate that officers act knowingly or recklessly.

Second, it would limit qualified immunity, which grants officers immunity in lawsuits regarding violations of constitutional rights of civilians.

Third, it would allow the Department of Justice to issue authorizations to investigate departments demonstrating patterns of discriminatory practices.

It would also create a national registry of police misconduct, lay the bricks for prohibition of racial profiling and implement new standards for training regarding racial profiling and use of body cameras.

It passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 236-181, and it will move to the Senate.

Brown’s comments come just weeks after NBA players boycotted games on behalf of Jacob Blake, whom was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and victims of police brutality everywhere.

A reporter asked Brown if he thought the boycott’s message was still effective even as players returned to the court.

“These issues have been here for a very, very long time, and they’re still going to be here regardless of if we protest or not or boycott or not. I think sports plays a huge role in society, and I’m very aware of that, so using our platform is something I’m always going to support,” Brown answered.

While he said the cure for racism might not come from the NBA, the players can always use their platform to let the world know that these issues are important.

Brown, who wears the word “Liberation” on the back of his jersey, scored 21 points and picked up eight rebounds to help the Celtics defeat the Toronto Raptors Friday by a score of 92-87. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet up with the Miami Heat, who are playing on six days of rest after eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks in just five games.

The first game of the series begins Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. EST with the Celtics favored by a point and a half.

Rita Azar illustrates NBA basketball story for 360 MAGAZINE.

NBA Protests

by Justin Lyons

The clock struck 4:05 p.m. on Aug 26 in Orlando, and neither the Magic nor the Bucks were on the court for the tip-off of the fifth game of their playoff series.

Playing their home games just 40 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin, it’s safe to say that the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police literally hit close to home for the Bucks players.

The Orlando Magic originally took the court for their game, but they decided to leave when it appeared the Bucks weren’t coming. That court was now empty aside from the NBA logos, the regulation markings and “Black Lives Matter” in bold text across the side closest to the scorer’s table.

Then, the tweet from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski came at 4:13 p.m. Orlando time saying that the Bucks officially decided to boycott the fifth game of the series.

News broke later that the Rockets, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Lakers all decided to boycott their games, as well, in a show of unity.

It was the spark that started the fire, as basketball wouldn’t be played again until Aug. 29.

Bucks guard George Hill was one of the most outspoken players on the team regarding the shooting of Jacob Blake, making it very clear that he couldn’t continue to play basketball to distract from the reality of what’s happening in the United States.

The Brewers, the Milwaukee baseball team that plays its home games just a short drive from where the Bucks play, also decided to cancel their Aug. 26 game against the Reds.

Brewers star Christian Yelich said it was a unanimous decision from the team to not play.

“I think the Bucks spearheaded it for us,” Yelich said. “They started the discussion. It gave us a conversation to have. It was eye-opening for us, and we felt like it was the right thing to do.”

The NHL also joined in the protests, postponing games Aug. 27 and Aug. 28.

Later on the night of Aug. 26, Shams Charania reported via Twitter that the Lakers and Clippers, both of which are still contenders for the title, voted to boycott the rest of the season. LeBron James reportedly led the movement to cancel the season, which is no surprise given his history of fighting for social justice.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said the Bucks were able to get in contact with Blake’s father very quickly. Blake’s father was moved to tears by the gesture.

According to an article from ESPN, Antetokounmpo said, “Obviously, it’s gonna be games that you come in and score 30, 35, 50 or whatever the case might be, but that you’re going to remember. The way we felt, we’re going to remember the way we felt for the rest of our lives.”

The Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday, which begs the question of how they will respond. Hill expressed disappointment that he had to be in the Orlando bubble instead of fighting for justice, so it should be interesting to see where the Bucks go from here.

Eyes are also shifting to the NFL, which starts Thursday. The entire nation will have its eyes on protests and social justice initiatives from a league that has been just as outspoken as the NBA.

Rita Azar Illustrates a Video Games Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Colin Kaepernick x Madden 21

by Justin Lyons

Colin Kaepernick is officially back in Madden.

For the first time since 2017, football fans and Colin Kaepernick fans will have the chance to use the ex-49ers quarterback in the signature football game from EA SPORTS.

The announcement came from EA SPORTS themselves, saying, “Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.”

Though Kaepernick is not signed to a team in real life or in Madden, he is available to sign to any team in Franchise mode. He’s also available in Play Now mode.

His jersey is also available in The Yard, a mode new to Madden this year that allows users to express themselves creatively. His signature celebration, which is available upon scoring with Kaepernick, depicts the quarterback raising his fist in the air to signify Black Power.

Kaepernick has been rated 81 overall, which is good for the 15th best quarterback in the league, tied with Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

According to EA SPORTS, that number was determined using data-driven simulations. They did take into account the fact that Kaepernick has not played since 2016, but his mobility and big play ability earned him the 81 overall rating.

EA SPORTS also said players looking to have complete control over their Franchise mode can change his rating however they see fit, including bringing him up to 99 overall. Adjusting his stats to 99 overall would make his only company the likes of Aaron Donald, Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas, Stephon Gilmore and the only 99 rated quarterback in the game, Patrick Mahomes.

Kaepernick was among the first in professional sports to kneel during the American National Anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick opted out of his contract after the 2016 season, and not one of the 32 NFL teams has made a move to acquire him.

Largely suspected of being a victim of blackballing, Kaepernick has since worked as an activist in the community, especially with children. He has led rights campaigns and camps and was the face of a Nike campaign in 2018 that carried the slogan “Believe in something. Even if means sacrificing everything.”

Roger Goodell encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick in a conversation on ESPN in June, just weeks after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

The killing of George Floyd seemed to awaken large corporations throughout the United States, leading many to make statements, including the NFL.

Though criticized for not speaking out sooner, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell released a statement via Twitter on June 5 saying, “We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

NFL teams cancelled practices and scrimmages in the past month after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Action taken after these events could remove the stigma NFL owners appeared to have when it came to signing Kaepernick, and fans who believe in his message and talent would love to see him on the field again soon.

Allison Christensen Illustrates a Sports Article for 360 MAGAZINE

2020 Summer Olympics

by Justin Lyons

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are following the old show business gospel of “the show must go on.”

John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, spoke with AFP to say the Olympics would indeed begin in July 2021, whether COVID-19 is still around or not.

The summer games were originally scheduled to take place this summer, but complications from COVID-19 delayed them until next year.

Coates said the next Olympiad will be “the Games that conquered COVID.”

According to BBC, chief executive of the Tokyo Games Toshiro Muto also said it was possible for a limited audience to be in attendance and wanted to avoid having no spectators.

BBC also reported that Muto said a vaccine was not necessary for the games to go on.

Sports were warmly welcomed back in the United States in July, and the National Football League will return this week. Though basketball, baseball and hockey are finishing their seasons without fans, plan for fans in football stadiums remain tentative.

Fans around the country will have their eyes on the situation, and we obviously hope to see fans cheering on their home countries next year in one of the most unifying events in the world if conditions so permit.

PUMA × NINTENDO TEAM UP

PUMA teams up with the iconic video game brand, Nintendo, to bring consumers the latest of a string of J. Cole’s signature basketball shoes: the RS-Dreamer Super Mario 64. The launch is in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Super Mario, and is the successor of PUMA and J. Cole’s previous collaboration, the now sold-out RS-Dreamer ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears.’

The debut collaboration with Nintendo features design elements reminiscent of Super Mario 64. The new pair of J. Cole’s signature shoes take the quintessential video game to the basketball court with its striking red and blue colorway and animated feature font and design. 

The silhouette features PUMA Hoops technology, which includes a disruptive cord lacing system for a snug and responsive fit, a ProFoam midsole and RS-Foam heel for maximum energy return, and a high abrasion rubber outsole for increased grip.

Like past collaborations between J. Cole and PUMA, the shoe will cross league boundaries and be worn by both NBA and WNBA players during their respective leagues’ play. The new release comes shortly after PUMA’s debut of the highly anticipated RS-Dreamer, J. Cole’s signature basketball sneaker in July, and its additional colorways in August.

The RS-Dreamer Super Mario 64 will retail for $125 and will be available starting this Friday, September 4, exclusively in store and online at the Foot Looker Inc., PUMA.com, and the PUMA NYC Store.

Rita Azar illustrates football player for 360 MAGAZINE

3 Common Misconceptions People Have About DraftKings

Daily fantasy sports are a type of fantasy sports (DFS) game where each contest takes place over a matter of days or hours. This is opposed to traditional fantasy sports, which take place over a whole season.
 
Just like with traditional fantasy sports, you build a team from a roster of players and earn points based on how well their team members play. You can also place bets and earn money by competing against other players via online platforms.
 
DraftKings is perhaps the most popular of these online platforms. Developed in 2012, they call themselves “the leader in daily fantasy sports” and boast a user-base of eight million players, far greater than their closest direct competitor, FanDuel.
 
Despite this popularity, there remain a number of major misconceptions when it comes to the DraftKings platform. Hopefully, by refuting these, you’ll be able to see why DraftKings is the right DFS platform for you!
 

Playing DraftKings requires more luck than skill.

 
It’s easy to see why this is a common belief. There is an element of luck in everything we do, but especially in sports – for example, a player you have in your lineup may be injured before the game, or not played by the coach during the game.
 
However, this does not mean that luck is the only thing involved when playing DraftKings. If you want to be truly successful, you will need to do your research. For example, you will need to be aware of any last-minute lineup changes before deciding on your roster of players for the game. Just because a player is famous does not mean that they are performing well, so you will also need to be aware of players’ current stats.
 
This is just some of the research that will go into being successful at DraftKings, so it is certainly not all based on luck.
 

Most games on the website are fixed.

 
There have certainly been cheating scandals about other daily fantasy sports games and websites, which makes it easy to see why many players believe that games on DraftKings have been fixed as well.
 
However, DraftKings is vigilant about cracking down on any cheating users. It uses the latest software and technology to detect anyone trying to subvert the system and takes strict action against such players. With a strong security system, you can be assured that even if some other websites have cheating problems, DraftKings is legit.
 

DraftKings uses bots to cheat players out of money.

 
Again, this is an understandable belief because of many such scandals. However, with a large user base, DraftKings is 100% legitimate and features only real players.
 
There may be players attempting to use bots in order to cheat other users out of money. However, DraftKings takes quick and decisive action against such users. Furthermore, it will never use “official” bots to affect your ability to win money – your winnings are always solely based on your matches with your rivals.
 
Ultimately, DraftKings is a great way to challenge your knowledge of sports against other users.