Scattershooting on a Saturday night before a day of virus-ravaged NFL games . . .


“Detroit Lions DB Mike Ford got penalized for taunting after teammate Jamal Agnew’s 74-yard punt return cut the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ lead to 40-7,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “They had to rule it taunting, because there’s no such thing as 15 yards for stupidity.”

Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers was one of the many NCAA football coaches who went the entire season without learning how to properly wear a facemask. Of course, he’s also the guy who ranked Ohio State, 6-0 at the time, at No. 11 in the coaches’ poll. That was before the Buckeyes handed his Tigers a 49-28 drubbing in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

It’s really too bad that someone who pulls strings in the world of NCAA football didn’t instruct the on-field officials to throw flags for unsportsmanlike conduct every time a coach was spotted with his mask under his nose or under his chin. Of course, had that happened it would have taken them about five hours to play one game.


Headline from @TheOnion: Facebook clarifies site not intended to be users’ primary information source.

So . . . when you were a youngster and ate a Christmas orange — OK, a mandarin orange — did you try to get the peel off all in one piece and then wolf down the slices, including all the white stuff? And now that you’re a mature adult, do you sit there and painstakingly remove all that white stuff, one strip at a time from one slice at a time before eating?

RB Alvin Kamara wore one red shoe and one green shoe on Christmas Day as he scored six touchdowns to lead the host New Orleans Saints to a 52-33 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Kamara is well aware that he plays in the No Fun League, so he knew he was going to have to pay for his sin. As he told reporters: “You know that the Grinch always tries to steal Christmas.”


True to form, the No Fun League touched up Kamara for $5,000. As Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times noted, it left “pundits to speculate whether it was $2,500 per shoe, the green shoe put him in the red, or the red shoe cost him some green.”

Back to the NFL for a moment. . . . That’s the league where the Indy Colts could finish 11-5 and miss the playoffs . . . and the New York football Giants could be 6-10 and in. Seriously!

Headline at Report: 750,000 Americans die each year during first attempt to get back in shape.




Entertainment Weekly: Legendary talk show host Larry King has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.​

KTVU: Funeral homes in the hot spot of Southern California say they must turn away grieving families as they run out of space for the bodies piling up.​

CNN, Saturday, 8:47 p.m.: 350,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Saturday, 7:50 p.m. PT: 20.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.


Tony Romo, CBS-TV’s top NFL analyst, was to have worked the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. But he’s out because of COVID-19 protocols and will be replaced by Boomer Esiason. . . .

The New Orleans Saints, who are to play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, ran out of running backs on Saturday when they placed Latavius Murray, Michael Burton and Dwayne Washington on the reserve/COVID-19 list as close contacts of Alvin Kamara, who had tested positive earlier in the week. . . . Running backs coach Joel Thomas also will be out as a close contact. . . . Also out due to COVID-19 are S D.J. Swearing and S C.J. Gardner-Johnson, while S Marcus Williams is out with an ankle issue.

The Pittsburgh Steelers put CB Joe Haden, TE Eric Ebron and LB Massius Marsh on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . . They won’t play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns who, on Saturday, closed their facility for the third time in four days after another positive test, this time to wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea. Bill Callahan, the Browns’ offensive line coach, and his assistant, Scott Peters, are out due to COVID-19 protocols. The Browns also will be without CB Denzel Ward, TE Harrison Bryan, LB Malcolm Smith, LB B.J. Gordon and S Andrew Sendejo, all of whom tested positive this week. . . .

The Buffalo Bills placed TE Tyler Kroft on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday so he won’t play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. . . .

The Arizona Cardinals won’t have WR Christian Kirk when they play the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday because he’s on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who get the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, have placed LB Devin White, LB Shaq Barrett and DL Steve McLendon on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . .

The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will play Sunday without some personnel. Dave DeGuglielmo, the Giants’ offensive line coach, tested positive, so he’s out. The Cowboys will be without S Darian Thompson and DT Justin Hamilton, both of whom now are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As well, assistant head coach Rob Davis, offensive assistant Scott Tolzien and special teams assistant Matt Daniels didn’t make the trip due to protocols.

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if that really was an NFL game in Denver . . .


Sunrise over the South Thompson River . . . Campbell Creek, B.C. . . . Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 . . . 7 a.m.

There was a wonderful outpouring of emotion the other day when Fred Sasakamoose was taken from us by COVID-19 at the age of 86. Mel Recchi of Kamloops felt the loss, too.

FredSasakamoose, who would have turned 86 on Christmas Eve, played four seasons (1956-60) with the Kamloops Chiefs of the long gone Okanagan Senior Hockey League. This came after his 11-game stint with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks (1953-54) and time with the New Westminster Royals, Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Calgary Stampeders.

During Sasakamoose’s stint with the Chiefs, Recchi sometimes would serve as a practice goaltender.

“He was a hell of a hockey player and also a pretty nice guy,” Recchi remembers. “He could shoot that puck. He really liked Kamloops . . . and they loved him here.”

Of course, goaltenders didn’t wear masks back in the day.

“I was a brash kid in those days . . . no mask and no fear,” recalls Recchi, who also got ice time with the Western league’s Vancouver Canucks when they would train in Kamloops. “I can’t believe it now.”

BTW, Sasakamoose played 94 games through three of those seasons with the Chiefs, scoring 43 goals and adding 57 assists. The stats for the 1958-59 season aren’t available.

Sasakamoose has family in Kamloops, including his younger brother, Pete, who didn’t make the Chiefs when Fred did, but ended up staying in the city and making it his home.

Solaine Sasakamoose, a great-grand niece, played for the Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University women’s soccer team in 2019. She was born in Kamloops, but was living and playing soccer on the Lower Mainland when she was recruited by TRU coach Mark Pennington.

Patrick Johnston of Postmedia has more on Fred Sasakamoose and his Kamloops connections right here.


Earl Seitz, the sports voice at CFJC-TV in Kamloops, has been an observer of the sporting universe for more than 50 years. Here’s a relevant thought that he posted on Facebook this weekend:

“Can’t understand the NFL and college basketball keep plowing ahead with growing number of COVID-19 cases. I make my living from sports, but if we want to keep living it’s time for sports, all sports, to take a complete break until there is a reliable vaccine for everyone.”

He’s right.

Columnist Ann Killion, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“At UCLA, registered nurses protested the fact that the athletic department conducted 1,248 tests in a single week but health-care workers at the university hospitals have been denied testing.

“National Nurses United, the nation’s largest RN union, released a survey of more than 15,000 members: two-thirds reported never having been tested. Yet the NFL administered more than 43,000 tests in a two-week period in November.

“Do you think our priorities might be just a little bit skewed?

“Sports is a nice distraction. But at what price?”

“Veteran NBA forward Trevor Ariza got traded from Portland to Houston to Detroit to Oklahoma City in three separate deals in barely two days after this year’s draft,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Thunder is listing Ariza as day-to-day with severe jet lag.”


Perry also served up what he calls a “Turkey quiz.” Here it is: “The worst dish served up each Thanksgiving Day is: a) Tofu; b) Plantains; c) the Detroit Lions.”


It would seem that Perry isn’t a Lions fan, because he also had this one: “Eastern Market Brewing Co. has stopped sales and production of ‘Same Old Lager’ after Lions legend Barry Sanders — pictured on the can in team colors without his consent — threatened to sue. Apparently it was a little too Lions: It went flat the minute you opened the can.”


Perry’s tweet of the week came from George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on TV’s original Star Trek: “Breaking: Professional sports fall into disarray as concerns mount over whether losing teams will concede to winning ones despite what the scoreboard says.”


After Alabama football coach Nick Saban tested positive and another 19 NCAA football games were scratched, Janice Hough, who can be found at, wondered: “Wouldn’t it be simpler to write ‘COVID-19’ on the College Football 2020 Trophy and be done with it?”

Coming at some point over the next 10 days, the annual Taking  Note Bookshelf. Yes, it’s coming back by popular demand — two loyal readers have asked about it! . . . It looks like it’ll be in three parts, but be forewarned that I strayed from sports books over the past 12 months. Still, you may find a Christmas idea or two, especially if you’re shopping for yourself.

The story to which Jack McCallum refers in the above tweet is a wonderful piece of work by the great Steve Rushin. Take a few minutes and give it a read. You won’t be sorry.

Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Against titanic odds, the NBA and MLB managed to complete seasons with historical significance — wildly different to be sure, but nevertheless authentic in the end. That’s hardly the case with the Pac-12 football season, a terrible idea (especially after the initial plan to call it off) that has descended into farce. Retrospective views will offer nothing but disdain, dismissal and wonderment, as in, What were we doing? Now the plague of stupidity (with a special dose of greed) has infected college basketball, with alarming developments expected throughout the land. . . . That’s the key word, expected. Positive tests, outbreaks, shutdowns, fractured schedules — all of this was going to be part of the deal, and the power brokers just brushed it aside, like lint. ‘Surely,’ wrote Chuck Culpepper in the Washington Post, ‘there’s an admirable human trait tucked somewhere into the way everybody continues to act.’ ”


Catherine Litt worked in the newsroom at the Kamloops Daily News while I was the sports editor. As she writes: “It happens to other families until it happens to yours.” . . . Wear a mask, keep your distance and be safe out there.


CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 365 new COVID-19 cases, 11 additional deaths. Officials say the current 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 13.3% per cent provincially, 13.5% in Winnipeg.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: Record highs for hospitalizations (115) and ICU patients (23). . . . There were a record high 120 positive cases in Regina in the past 24 hours. The high one month ago was 21. . . . Regina’s test positivity was 10.78%.

COVID-19 Tracker Canada: Both COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in ICU in Saskatchewan are at all-time highs, with 115 in hospital (+9) and 23 in ICU (+5). . . . Today’s increase of +5 in ICU is the highest ever daily increase for COVID-19 ICU census data in Saskatchewan.

Robson Fletcher, CBC Calgary: The latest COVID-19 data for Alberta: 1,609 cases yesterday (1,608 net w/adjustments to past days); 15,692 active cases. A record; 435 in hospital / 95 in ICU. Both records; 9 more people have died. 533 total now.

rdnewsNOW: Red Deer up to 191 active COVID-19 cases.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Another COVID-19 death is being reported in the Hat today. Bringing the total to four. . . . There are 107 active cases and 152 recoveries. . . . 1,608 new cases were identified in the last 25 hours. Nine new deaths (including the one here) are being reported

CBC News: Ontario reported 1,708 new cases and 24 deaths today: The province’s health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting a 3.7% positivity rate for Ontario.

CBC News: Quebec reported 1,395 new cases today: The province has added 12 deaths to its total, including 4 from the last 24 hours and 8 that happened earlier this week. 665 people are in hospital, including 92 in ICU.

CBC News: P.E.I. has no new confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 4 active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19. 4 of the cases are in the Moncton region, 9 are in the Saint John  region and 1 is in the Bathurst region. There are now 119 cases in the province, including 1 person who is in hospital.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19. 9 of the new cases are in the Central Zone and 1 is in the Western Zone. There are now 125 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the cases are in the Eastern Health region, but they are not connected to each other. There are 36 active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

KOMO News: Washington State health officials report more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases.

Top U.S. & World News: The US has surpassed 100,000 new daily Covid cases for the 27th consecutive day as those who traveled for the holiday risk spreading the virus.



Things have gotten to a point in the NFL where it is shutting down almost all team-related activities for Monday and Tuesday. Yes, there are games scheduled for both nights, but other than that it will be mostly quiet as the league tries to get a handle on what has been happening. . . . Yeah, good luck with that. . . . WR Willie Snead of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive on Sunday. He is the seventh Baltimore starter to test positive. The Ravens, who are to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, have had at least one positive test each of the past eight days and have 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They also have had 10 staff members test positive. . . .  That is the game that was to have been played on Thursday, then was bumped to Sunday and, finally, to Tuesday. . . . The Steelers will be without RB James Conner, a cancer survivor who has tested positive, and a couple of assistant coaches.

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.

JUST NOTES: If you’re a regular viewer of PTI you have to know that Michael Wilbon is going to be an angry man on Monday afternoon, what with Northwestern and his beloved Chicago Bears both laying eggs on the weekend. . . . If you are interested in WHL history and if you’re on Twitter, you need to be following Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner). He posts something every day slugged “On this date in @WHLPats history” and it’s great stuff. Yes, every once in a while my name shows up, but more often it’s someone like Fran Huck or Billy Hicke or Terry Harper or Gord Berenson. You may know Berenson as Red. Anyway, check it out.


Saanich jr. B team to change logo, nickname . . . Hockey problems down under . . . U.S. conferences, schools start reacting to pandemic

Owners of the Saanich Junior Braves, who play in the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, are changing the team’s nickname and logo. . . . In a news release, owners Edward Geric and Norm Kelly said: “The Saanich Junior Braves name is not respectful to our First Nations and does not reflect the value relationships we hold with local First Nations communities or with our First Nations players. We have decided to rename the team and have started a process to develop a name that upholds our core values.” . . . The nickname and logo have been in use since 1967. . . . The team is open to feedback and questions at

The City of Red Deer decided Wednesday to give Westerner Park as much as $2 million to allow it to operate until November. The hope is that things will have gotten better by then, in terms of the pandemic, meaning the park will be able to play host to events including WHL games. The Centrium, home to the Red Deer Rebels, is part of Westerner Park. . . . Lana Michelin of the Red Deer Advocate has a terrific story right here that explains the situation.

The Grand Slam of Curling, which is owned and televised by Sportsnet, has dropped four events from its next season, which leaves it with two competitions on its schedule. . . . The season was to have started in Sarnia, Ont., Oct. 20-25. Also gone are events in Grande Prairie (Nov. 3-8) and Chestermere, Alta. (Dec. 8-13), and Las Vegas (Jan. 12-17). . . . Now the season is to open in Toronto (April 13-18), with the final event in Olds, Alta., April 27 through May 2.

The Augustana Vikings, who play out of the U of Alberta’s Camrose campus, won’t be playing hockey this season, but they’ll be back for 2021-22. And that’s great news! . . . In February, it seemed that the program was kaput due to financial reasons, but the U of A and Vikings’ alumni got together and came up with a plan. . . . Robert Tychowski of Postmedia has more right here.


The Melbourne Mustangs of the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) revealed Wednesday that their season is over. The AIHL season was to have opened on April 18. . . . Melbourne was put into a six-week lockdown earlier in the week. . . . The Mustangs wrote on their Facebook page: “It is with much sadness that we today announce the cancellation of the 2020 season. We were holding onto the slim chance we might get to see a modified competition, but the current situation in Victoria makes this all but impossible. Thank you to our tireless supporters. Rest assured we will be back next year stronger than ever.” . . . On Thursday, the AIHL responded with this: “We’ve got an active Return To Play (RTP) committee which continues to closely follow COVID-19 updates. While the current outbreak and border closures are making it increasingly unlikely, the RTP committee remains hopeful of having a substantially condensed 2020 schedule when the situation improves in Melbourne.” . . . Interestingly, the Melbourne Ice, the second AIHL team in that city, has yet to comment on its immediate future. . . .

New Zealand’s dream of having teams compete for IIHF championships has been set back at least a year. The country’s ice hockey federation has withdrawn its teams from the men’s U-20 World Championship Division III in Mexico, and has taken its women’s team out of the U18 Women’s World Championship Division II Group B in Turkey. . . . From a news release: “The NZIHF Management Committee met and discussed the two team’s attendance at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships and after reviewing the situation, unanimously agreed that putting forward teams for these age groups to compete in the 2021 World Championships was not possible due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19 in New Zealand and internationally.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham, the governor of New Mexico, has decided that contact sports at the high school level won’t be allowed this fall. That includes football and soccer, with some non-contact sports, like cross-country and volleyball, under review. . . .


The Ivy League has cancelled all sports, including football and hockey, through Dec. 31 due to the pandemic. It is the first NCAA Division I conference to cancel fall sports. . . . The Ivy schools are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale. . . . The Ivy League includes six schools with hockey teams — Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Without those teams, the ECAC is down to six teams, but Colgate, RPI and Union are expected to follow the Ivy League’s lead because they won’t have all students on campus in the fall. . . . From an Associated Press story by Doug Feinberg and Jimmy Golen: “Ivy League schools are spread across seven Northeastern states that, as of mid-July, have seen some success at controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. But most of those states still ban large gatherings; under the Massachusetts reopening plan, Harvard would not be allowed to have fans in the stands until a vaccine is developed.” . . .


On Thursday, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced that its Olympic sports will be kept from competition until at least Sept. 1. That covers men’s a women’s cross-country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s volleyball. . . .


The National Junior College Athletic Association, the second-largest collegiate athletic association in the U.S., recommended Thursday that its members move a majority of its competitions to the spring. . . . From a statement: “Individual NJCAA regions will discuss the recommended changes prior to the NJCAA board of regents’ meeting on Monday, July 13, where an official plan of action will be decided.” . . . The NJCAA encompasses 525 schools in 24 regions of the U.S. . . .


Meanwhile, the Big 10 issued a news release on Thursday that included this: “We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our No. 1 priority. To that end, the Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.” . . . There is a mighty big “IF” in the second sentence of that statement. . . .

There is a look right here at all the non-conference football games that the Big 10’s decision killed . . .


Stanford announced Wednesday that it will be cutting 11 of its 36 varsity sports once the 2020-21 season is over. Men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling will be going by the wayside. . . . In making the decision, the school cited the pandemic and the cost of operating a total of 36 varsity sports. . . . “These 11 programs consist of more than 240 incredible student-athletes and 22 dedicated coaches,” read a statement released by the school. “They were built by more than 4,000 alumni whose contributions led to 20 national championships, 27 Olympic medals, and an untold number of academic and professional achievements. Each of the individuals associated with these programs will forever have a place in Stanford’s history.”

The MLS is Back tournament lost another team on Thursday as Nashville SC pulled out have having nine players test positive. FC Dallas had been taken out of the tournament prior to its start after 10 players and a coach tested positive. . . . Nashville had one p[layer test positive when the team arrived in Orlando, Fla., on July 1, then had eight more come up positive after the arrival.

Bob Tasca, who drives the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang Funny Car, will miss this weekend’s E3 Spark Plugs Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Why? You guess it. Tasca, 44, tested positive for the coronavirus. . . . He caught the virus at a family gathering on Father’s Day, as did seven other family members. . . . Tasca shares his experience right here.

Nicknames: To change, or not to change, that is the question . . . Top NASCAR driver tests positive . . . Hockey Canada cancels U-17 WHC

In a recent editorial, the Washington Post called for Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, to change the NFL team’s nickname.

Asked by USA Today in 2013 if he would change the name, Snyder replied: “NEVER — you can use caps.”

But now, with Black Lives Matter front and centre, the pressure is on again.

From The Post’s View:

“Already, institutions across the board have been forced to take stock of how their practices and policies and — yes — even the names and symbols of their products have contributed to racial misunderstanding and prejudice. Quaker Oats announced it was getting rid of Aunt Jemima from its syrup and pancake mixes, and Uncle Ben and Mrs. Butterworth seem sure to follow. . . . Events DC, which manages RFK Stadium in Washington, removed a statue of George Preston Marshall, who as owner of the local football team refused to allow black players for as long as he possibly could. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently admitted to — and apologized for — not listening to players about systemic racism and police brutality against African Americans. He also must know it is wrong for a team to have a name that the dictionary defines as a racial slur and that no one would ever use to address a person who is a Native American.

“This should be an easy call. Mr. Snyder — or, if Mr. Snyder refuses to back down from his declaration of ‘NEVER,’ the NFL — should take advantage of this singular moment in history to get on the right side of history. Change the name. NOW.”

It seems that a name change is imminent, what with various sponsors and other businesses with ties to the NFL team now applying pressure.

FedEx, which agreed to a naming rights deal for the stadium in which the team plays, has asked Snyder to change the name. Frederick W. Smith, FedEx’s CEO and chairman, is a minority owner of the team.

Nike has taken the team’s merchandise from its online store, but has yet to offer an explanation.

Officials with Pepsi and Bank of America also have indicated that they want to see a name change.

“It’s not hard to change the name,” Tony Dungy, who is well-respected in NFL circles, told William C. Rhoden of The Undefeated.

Meanwhile, you can add Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream to the list of name-changers, too, because management told Reuters the other day that it will change the brand name of its Eskimo Pie ice cream stick.

Yes, the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos are facing pressure — again — to come up with a new nickname.

Simon Fraser University, which is located in Burnaby, almost surely will be changing its nickname — Clan — at some point in the coming months after 97 per cent of student-athletes voted to get rid of it. The athletes, it seems, are tired of being asked about the nickname, especially when they journey south to play against U.S. schools.

And the Cleveland Indians say they are ready to discuss a change. They issued a release on Friday that read, in part: “We are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”


Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, on the nickname situation involving the Washington NFLers: “It’s been theorized that a fan boycott might convince Snyder to change the team’s name. But judging from attendance at FedEx Field the last few years, how could anybody tell if there was a boycott?”


With all of that, allow me to place this on the table . . .

There are four WHL teams with nicknames and logos that refer in one way or another to Native American or Canadian First Nations peoples — the Moose Jaw Warriors, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs.

In November 2014, the Prince Albert Raiders received some heat when they unveiled a new mascot — Boston Raider — that was sponsored by a pizza joint. But, as Adam Proteau wrote in The Hockey News, “The new mascot’s appearance does not sit well with a number of people who believe it stereotypes those of Middle Eastern heritage.”

The mascot, which also paid tribute to the Raiders’ original logo, quickly and quietly disappeared, with the club apologizing to anyone who may have been been offended.

The Raiders really didn’t mean anything with what they felt was a simple marketing move.

The WHL franchises in Moose Jaw, Portland, Seattle and Spokane aren’t trying to be offensive with their nicknames, either.

But with all that’s going on right now, should they be changing their nicknames to, as the Washington Post editorial read, “get on the right side of history,” or is it OK to maintain the status quo?

Maybe the WHL and one, two three or all of those franchises should take action now and, in doing so, get in front of things . . . instead of having to react at a later date.



Jimmie Johnson, with seven NASCAR titles under his belt, has tested positive and will miss this weekend’s races at Indy. He will have to have two negative tests within a 24-hour period before being allowed to return to racing. . . . Going into this weekend, Johnson had made 663 consecutive starts. In fact, he has never missed a start in his career. . . . According to Jeff Gluck, who covers NASCAR like a blanket for The Athletic, Johnson “got tested (Friday) after learning wife Chani tested positive.” . . . Justin Allgaier will drive the No. 48 in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. . . .

Jeremy Rutherford and Scott Burnside of The Athletic reported Friday evening that, according to sources, the NHL’s St. Louis Blues have cancelled practices at their facility because of “multiple” positive tests. . . . The Blues skated on Thursday at the facility, but not on Friday. . . .

Hockey Canada has cancelled the 2020 World U-17 Hockey Challenge that was to have been played in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I., from Oct. 31 through Nov. 7. . . . The 2021 event will be held in those communities. . . . Hockey Canada also said that its remaining 2020 schedule remains unchanged, including the National Women’s U-18 Championship, Nov. 2-8, in Dawson Creek, B.C.; the Para Hockey Cup, Dec. 6-12, in Bridgewater, N.S.; the World Junior A Challenge, Dec. 13-20, in Cornwall, Ont.; and the 2021 World Junior Championship, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer. . . .

MLB and the MLBPA announced Friday that positive tests total 31 players and seven staff members with teams having opened workouts to prepare for a July 23 opening day. . . . Identities of those testing positive aren’t being released, although OF Delino DeShields Jr. of the Cleveland Indians gave the team permission to reveal that he tested positive. . . . The Minnesota Twins said they have had four players test positive, including C Willians Astudillo, P Edwar Colina and INF Nick Gordon. The identity of the fourth player wasn’t released. . . .

The 2020 All-Star Game that was to have been played at Dodgers Stadium has been cancelled. The game had been scheduled for July 14. . . . This will be the first year since 1945 that an all-star game hasn’t been played. . . . The 2021 game is scheduled for Atlanta, and the 2022 game now is to be played in Los Angeles.


“As organized sports attempt to return during the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes, coaches, spectators and bystanders will all be expected to sign liability waivers,” writes Michael McCann of Sportico. “Everyone associated with the games will have to accept, in so many words, that he or she (1) assumes the risk of contracting COVID-19 through their participation and (2) agrees that the organizer—be it a league, team, venue, college or even high school—would not be liable for any COVID-19 related harms.

“This is not just true of players, coaches and referees. According to The Athletic, the NFL is weighing the possibility of mandating that ticket-holders sign COVID-19 waivers as a condition of stadium entry.”

McCann is an attorney and law professor who writes on sports and law. In this piece right here, he writes on the potential legality of these waivers in the U.S.

Had to go to a small grocery store on Friday afternoon. Might have been two dozen people in it. I saw one mask. I was wearing it. . . . Come on people. Be better. . . .

If you’re wondering what we’re dealing with here, go to Twitter and check out the thread accompanying the tweet below . . .


Trudeau: Today, we remember . . .

Michael McCann is the legal analyst for Sports Illustrated and writes regularly for SI’s website.

In his latest piece, he writes about the legal implications involved in a return to play by professional sports leagues.

It really isn’t as simple as bringing players back to a central location, holding some sort of training camp, and then playing games. Oh no! There’s a whole lot more to it than that in these bizarre times.

You can give him a read right here.


And what if Major League Baseball ends up opening its season by having teams play in facilities without any fans.

Well, there is precedent from 2015 . . .

As Bruce Jenkins wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Kurkjian, the longtime baseball writer/analyst with ESPN, was in Baltimore when baseball got a taste of the no-fans experience. It was the spring of 2015 and the city was in chaos over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered severe spinal-cord damage while in police custody. Violent protests raged over the issues of race, justice and police brutality, and it was determined that if the April 29 game between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox were to be played at Camden Yards, the public could not be allowed inside.

“Strangest day I’ve ever known in sports,” Kurkjian said in a telephone interview this week. “Chris Davis hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and you could hear the sound of it landing. He rounded the bases in total silence in his home ballpark. (Manager) Buck Showalter told me he could hear every word the TV guys (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer) were saying. And Buck didn’t need the bullpen phone. He just yelled down there, ‘Get (Zack) Britton up!’”

Kurkjian admitted it was “pretty cool, for that day. But if it happens several times in a week, it’s no longer a novelty. After that, I think we should all be pretty careful.”


While we don’t have any idea when professional golf will return, the British Open officially was cancelled on Monday. It had been scheduled for Royal St. George’s from July 16-19, and now is set for July 15-18, 2021. The 2022 Open Championship, the 150th, is to be played at St. Andrews. . . .

The Masters, which was to have been played this week, has been rescheduled for Nov. 12-15 at Augusta. . . . The U.S. Open is to be played at Harding Park in San Francisco, Aug. 6-9, with the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Sept. 17-20. . . .

If you’re wondering about the Canadian Open, it remains on the PGA schedule at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, June 11-14.

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “I agree with my esteemed (and sometimes steamed) fellow columnist, Bruce Jenkins, that it will be weird if the NBA plays games without fans, because of the lack of crowd noise. But there would be two benefits. We’d get to hear the game — the squeaks, the growls, the talking, the swearing. And we would be spared the incessant PA sound effects during play, which add nothing to the experience for fans in the arena or watching on TV.”

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, brings us his Thought of the Day, this one from Mark Twain: “Truth is might and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain’t so.”


BTW, The Sports Curmudgeon was at his best in Monday’s rant, where he speculates about what we will see when we emerge from this tunnel.

He points out that even with all that we are missing — from March Madness to the NHL to the NBA and on and on — “the world goes on; and as time passes without the presence of these pleasant activities, people may very well come to a point where sports reside on a lower tier of their life-importance construct. If — I said IF — that comes to pass in a significant number of people, that may mean a much smaller demand for high priced tix and a much diminished willingness to approve spending large blocks of taxpayer money to build sporting venues. If interest diminishes, TV ratings would likely drop too and that will make ever-increasing TV rights deals a bad revenue projection for leagues and owners.”

He’s got more to say on the subject and it’s all right here.


Veteran junior coach Mike Vandekamp has left the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals to join the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm, signing a three-year deal as general manager and head coach. . . . Vandekamp spent two seasons as the Capitals’ GM and head coach. . . . Whenever the next season begins, it will be Vandekamp’s 26th as a junior hockey coach. . . . Vandekamp is returning to Grande Storm, where he coached the Storm for four seasons (2007-11), going 154-72-19 and winning the AJHL title in 2009. He has spent the past nine seasons in the BCHL. . . . In Grande Prairie, he takes over from Ryan Aasman, who stepped in as interim head coach on Dec. 17 after the firing of Matt Keillor.

The Bookshelf . . . Part 1 of 3


It’s back, by popular demand (well, Dan Russell always asks for it) . . . For the past few years, I have compiled lists of books that I have read over the previous 12 months, and posted them here. With any luck, you may find an idea or two to help you get through your Christmas shopping.

So . . . here is Part 1 of 3 of the books that I have read so far in 2018.


All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row — This book chronicles, as the title suggests, the rise and fall — an amazingly quick fall at that — of Aaron Hernandez, who was a tight end with the NFL’s New England Patriots when it all came crashing down. By book’s end, the reader knows that there can only be one outcome. But what leads to that outcome is mind-numbing; it is absolutely incredible how much badness one person of such high visibility was able to cram into his young life. James Patterson, one of the biggest-selling authors of this generation, had a hand in the writing, along with Alex Abramovich, with Mike Harvkey.


American Gods — If you choose to read Neil Gaiman’s work, suspend all your beliefs and open your imagination wider than it has ever been. This is science fiction and fantasy and everything in between; it is a horror story and reality. It is about gods and non-gods and war and our culture. And it’s likely different than anything else you have ever read. After you have finished it, you will look at the people next to you somewhat differently, whether you are shopping, dining, at a hockey game . . .


Beartown — Beartown is a town, presumably in Sweden, that loves its junior hockey team. In fact, if there is a word stronger than love, well, that’s what it would be. Written by Swedish author Fredrik Backman (and translated by Neil Smith), Beartown is one of the best works of fiction that I have encountered. It explores the relationship between a team and a hockey-obsessed community, including the parents and sponsors to whom winning is the only thing. This is a dark, dark novel and, if you know anything at all about junior hockey, it is absolutely full of truisms. It often will have you shaking your head, nodding your head and raising an eyebrow — often at the same time.


Beneath a Scarlet Sky — At the age of 18, Pino Lella finds himself as the personal driver for General Hans Leyers, a man of great power within the Nazi party. It’s late in the Second World War and Leyers is working in the area of war-torn Milan, Italy. Oh yes, the teenager also is a spy for the resistance. Written by Mark Sullivan, this one is based on the story as related to him by Lella, and as you read you have to keep reminding yourself that this is non-fiction.


The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created — Jane Leavy wrote two earlier baseball classics, The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax, and you can put The Big Fella right there, too. While The Last Boy was about Mickey Mantle, The Big Fella details the life and times of Babe Ruth. Meticulously researched, Leavy writes not only about Ruth but about the impact he had on the people around him and, indeed, society at the time. This is a wonderful, wonderful look at America in Ruth’s time.


Bottom of the 33rd — Darn, but this is a great book. . . . The Rochester Red Wings visited the Pawtucket Red Sox for an International League baseball game on April 18, 1981. It turned into the longest game in pro baseball history, lasting 33 innings and taking 8 hours 25 minutes to play. The game was suspended on April 19, around 4 a.m., with 19 fans still in the stands at McCoy Stadium. The final inning, the 33rd, was played on June 23 and lasted only 18 minutes. Author Dan Barry magically explores the game, all of its nuances and oh, so many sidebars. Like the pitcher who went home at 1 a.m., but whose wife wouldn’t let him in because she thought he and teammates had been out drinking and carousing. . . . If you haven’t already read this one, find a copy and prepare to be entertained.


Camino Island — This work from prolific author John Grisham is somewhat different from the legal thrillers that he has written. There aren’t any lawyers involved in what is a book drafted around the world of rare books. The pace is leisurely as it follows Bruce Cable, who owns a bookstore on Florida’s Camino Island, and Mercer Mann, a would-be writer who is trying to find her way into a second novel.


Clandestine — This cop book, written by James Ellroy, has been around since 1982. Ellroy, of course, also wrote the Black Dahlia and LA Confidential, among other works. He is a master of the noir detective novel and Clandestine is no exception. It follows Fred Underhill, who is an LAPD detective when the book opens but, well, you’ll have to follow the twists and turns to see if he still has a badge at book’s end. If you like the noir genre, you’ll love this one.


Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA — Ed O’Bannon, a former basketball star at NCAA, and lawyer Michael McCann explain in plain terms how and why the former chose to be the frontman in a lawsuit aimed at allowing so-called student-athletes to control the use of their names and likenesses. It all started after O’Bannon’s college basketball career was over when he saw his image playing in an EA Sports video game. Through it all, the NCAA comes out looking like a plantation owner.


Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink — Using archived material, author Anthony McCarten provides us with a play-by-play of the days leading up to Britain’s official involvement in the Second World War. Hitler is moving west through Europe and, surely, Britain will be next. At the same time, the political arena in Britain is a mess, with Churchill only days into his run as Prime Minister. There are those who would negotiate with “Herr” Hitler and “Signor” Mussolini. Churchill, though, isn’t so sure. But will he or won’t he?


Dark Sacred Night — The latest from author Michael Connelly has Harry Bosch, who is officially retired from police work but just can’t give it up, and LAPD detective Renée Ballard teaming up. Bosch is kind of freelancing with the San Fernando PD, and is investigating a cold case, while Ballard works the late show (night shift) with the LAPD. Connelly is a master at writing this kind of fiction, and Dark Sacred Night is another fine addition to the library that includes Bosch.


Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey — This book, from author Greg Oliver, deserves a prominent spot on the shelf with others that detail important stories in Canada’s hockey history. There was a time when senior hockey teams, most of them having had to fund-raise, represented Canada at Olympic Games and World championships. Then along came Father David Bauer, whose dream changed the face of Canadian hockey. It wasn’t that easy, though, and Oliver has all the stories right here. If you care about Canada’s hockey history, don’t miss this one.


Finnegan’s Week — Fin Finnegan is a cop in San Diego but he would rather be an actor. He really doesn’t have a whole lot of luck at either. Finnegan, with three ex-wives behind him, is the main character in author Joseph Wambaugh’s book from 1995. It’s full of lots of great dialogue and some truly off-the-wall characters.


TOMORROW: Part 2 of 3.

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