The NFL: A Season of Protests

The Play by Play

What a World Series!

It’s shaping up to be one of the most entertaining World Series of all time. In Game 4, the score remained 1-1 until the top of the ninth when the Dodgers tallied four runs and handed the Astros their first home loss of the playoffs. Game 5 proved to be a bonafide slugfest, and one for the history books. Not only was it the highest scoring World Series game to go into extra innings, with a final score of 13-12, it was the first time five different players on a single team hit home runs. The list of records set goes on and on.  And no one is more excited than the Astros, who now lead 3-2 and “literally love” each other.  Game Six airs tonight and it is do or die for the Dodgers. First pitch at 8:20pm.

Players as Prisoners

During a closed-door meeting with NFL executives, Bob McNair made a comment he would promptly, and deeply regret.  When asked his thoughts on the anthem protests, the Houston Texans’ owner compared the players to prisoners saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” While he claims the comment was not meant to be taken literally, the backlash was swift and severe. Everyone from NBA players to NFL commentators  spoke out against the statement. McNair’s own team immediately began thinking of ways to protest, hoping to show solidarity amongst themselves and their disapproval of McNair’s statement. While Deandre Hopkins opted to skip practice on Friday, the Texans ultimately decided to encourage kneeling before Sunday’s game against Seattle. In total over forty players took a knee, with everyone linking arms. Despite both the commissioner and team owners wishing the protests would dissipate, they just seem to continue to grow, making this NFL season one much more about racism and equality than the sport itself.

The Faces and Facts

Martina Hingis (Tennis): The tennis great announced her retirement from the sport. Hingis, considered one of tennis’ greatest players, won a total of 25 grand slams in both singles and doubles. After 23 years, Hingis decided to finally walk away, for good, having done so two times already. Third time’s a charm.

Alejandro Villanueva (Football): An offensive lineman whose story has come front and center this year.  After attending, and playing football at, Army, Villanueva deployed to Afghanistan on three separate occasions, serving as both a lieutenant and an army ranger. With a dream of playing in the NFL, Villanueva used his leave time to try out, eventually getting signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Now playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, his time in the military provides him with a unique perspective on the current anthem protesting. And he was, intentionally or not, placed front and center in that debate when it appeared he was the only Steeler present for the singing of the anthem back in September. Conservative media outlets took the photo and ran with it, making Villanueva the symbol of the anti-protest. Yet the image proved more complicated than that, as did Villanueva’s comments on the incident.

Draymond Green (Basketball): One of the many all-star players on the Golden State Warriors. Known for his defensive prowess and, more often, his short fuse. Having been involved in numerous scuffles over the years, most recently Green was fined $25,000 for an altercation with Bradley Beal. Draymond disputes the fine, claiming to have been unjustly targeted due to previous incidents, including multiple kicks, some to the groin.

New Orleans Pelicans (Basketball): While not the most frightening of mascots, the players sure were frightened at a team outing to a haunted house. It’s reassuring to know (and comical to watch) that even NBA players, including stars like Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins,  get scared.

The Midweek Rundown

While in basketball there are only three shot values ( one, two or three points), there are a handful of terms used to describe various shots a player might take. This list is not exhaustive but touches upon some of the most common and most entertaining shots you’ll see:

Layup: When a player drives (dribbles) toward the basket and, once very close to the hoop, lays the ball into the basket using one hand, often bouncing the ball off the backboard.

Jump shot: Made from farther away. The player plants both his/her feet and shoots the ball while jumping in the air, using his/her legs to gain significant power and distance. More complex versions of the jump shot are the hook shot and fade away, the second of which Michael Jordan made famous.

Free throw: After being fouled while shooting, a player goes to the free throw line. If he/she was fouled while taking a three-point shot, the player attempts 3 free throw shots, each worth one point. If fouled when shooting a two pointer, he or she gets two free throws. If the player is fouled but the shot they were taking still goes in, then he or she gets just one free throw. Some NBA stars are exceptional free throw shooters. Others, like Shaquille O’Neal, notoriously stink.

Slam Dunk:  When a player jumps toward the basket and literally “slams” the ball through the hoop. An always  impressive shot, since it requires a player to reach ten feet in height (basketball hoops stand at ten feet tall). There’s an entire competition centered on slam dunks during All-Star weekend and those involved get quite creative.

Alley Oop: One of the more exciting shots in a game. One player tosses the ball toward the hoop as a teammate jumps into the air, catches the ball, and then dunks it.

The UpComing

Game 6 of the World Series: Tonight at 8:20pm. The series heads back to Los Angeles, giving the Dodgers home field advantage. Down 3-2, and in a win or go home situation, they could certainly use the leg up. If it’s like any of the previous five games, this one is bound to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Game Seven, if needed, is tomorrow, Wednesday, November 1st at 8:20pm.

Golden State Warriors v. San Antonio Spurs: A rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals that, unfortunately for the Spurs, has a hint of deja vu. With a mysterious quadricep injury, it appears Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio’s star player, might be watching this game from the sidelines as well, having missed every game this season and three of the four played during the WCF. Hopefully that’s where the similarities end for the Spurs but it will definitely be difficult to win without Leonard, especially against a team that boasts as many all-stars as the Warriors. Tip off is at 8pm on Thursday, November 2nd.

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