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Raptors fans’ cheers after Durant injury ‘overstated,’ Toronto mayor says

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Toronto’s mayor is defending his city’s basketball fans, saying cheers from Raptors supporters when a star Golden State Warriors player got injured in Monday’s nail-biter playoff game are being “overstated.”

Large sections of Raptors fans at the Scotiabank Arena initially cheered when Kevin Durant went down clutching his Achilles tendon, prompting several Toronto players to wave their hands to get the crowd to stop.

Many in the stands soon started clapping instead and muted “K-D” chants could be heard as Durant was helped off the court in the second quarter.

The incident drew criticism from some Golden State players and observers, including many on social media.

But Toronto Mayor John Tory stressed Tuesday that while any crowd may contain some who react the wrong way, the “vast majority” of people at Monday’s NBA Finals game in Toronto acted like good sports fans.

“I was in the arena and it happened right at the end of a play and people were cheering at the end of the play but very quickly after that (Durant) got a very warm round of applause as he was taken on to the dressing room — as he should, he’s a superstar, and nobody wants to see him hurt,” Tory said.

It’s important not to overblow such incidents or make generalizations about what Toronto sports fans are like, the mayor added.

“Toronto sports fans are good fans, they’re considerate fans,” Tory said. “They understand a superstar when they see one and I think that’s the kind of applause he got as he left the arena.”

At least one Toronto fan set out to salvage Raptor Nation’s reputation following the incident by launching an online fundraiser for the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, which helps at-risk youth.

“We’re sorry that some fans of Raptor Nation at the Scotiabank arena, Jurassic Park, and in some bars/restaurants showing the game, displayed an ugly side of fandom when they cheered on the injury of Kevin Durant,” says the fundraiser on GoFundMe.

“This isn’t cool. This isn’t right. This isn’t what I expect from fellow Canadians.”

The fundraiser, which aims to collect $50,000, received roughly $250 in its first hours.

Some players previously said they were surprised at the initial fan response.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry, who lived in Toronto when his father played for the Raptors from 1999-2002, said Monday that the cheers left him “confused.”

“It’s not my experience with the people of this city,” said Curry, whose wife, Ayesha Curry, grew up in nearby Markham, Ont. “I just hope that ugliness doesn’t show itself again as we go forward in this series.”

The Warriors eked out a victory Monday, winning 106-105 in Game 5 of the best-of-seven Finals. Game 6 of the series goes Thursday in Oakland, Calif.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Sports

Promoters enthusiastic about Winnipeg NFL game despite fumbles

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Investors Group Field Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — The promoters of an NFL pre-season game in Winnipeg remained  enthusiastic in the hours before Thursday’s kickoff despite some earlier fumbles.

“It’s going to be an exciting game and I know the fans that are going to be here are going to be passionate, committed and they are going to see one heck of a good show,” said Terry Dale, operations manager with On Ice Entertainment.

City Coun. Kevin Klein thanked the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers on Twitter for choosing to play in the city, even if it meant they faced some “social media bumps” along the way.

There were many online jabs after some players arrived wearing “Winnipeg, Alberta” shirts.

Raiders punter A.J. Cole apologized to the city and responded to a Twitter user that he’d purchased the shirt on Amazon, saying he’s “just a kid from Atlanta, Florida playing football in Oakland, Nevada with a low geography IQ.”

Safety Johnathan Abram was also spotted in the same shirt in a photo posted on the Raiders website.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers embraced the Prairie locale by sporting a jean-on-jean-on-jean “Canadian tuxedo” with a bolo tie.

Organizers of the game received word from NFL inspectors late Wednesday that IG Field, home of the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was approved for play. But to get there, Dale said, it was all hands on deck for three days following a soccer game Monday.

Goalposts had to be pulled out and specially ordered NFL posts were brought in and mounted, which involved digging holes and filling concrete 1.5 metres deep.

CFL Bombers logos and lines were stripped off the field which was repainted to match NFL regulations. An entire edge of asphalt around the field was replaced with synthetic turf.

Even the team rooms had to be reconfigured.

There was also plenty of skepticism about whether the game would fill seats. Tickets sales appeared slow with people pointing to high prices. Lower-bowl seats cost about $300, although end-zone tickets were recently reduced through a sponsorship deal to $75 from $164.

Earlier this week, the president and CEO of the Bombers announced the team would hold a viewing party downtown.

“Based on the price of these tickets, there was going to be a lot of fans who wouldn’t be able to afford to come to the game and we wanted to make sure that our season-ticket members and football fans in the entire community had a place to gather and have a great event,” said Wade Miller.

Dale said there was a lot of ticket movement in the last few days and he was eager to see seats full of football fans.

Thirty youth and members from northern Manitoba First Nations were being flown in to attend the game. There was also to be an area for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Amateur football players will on deck to hold the Canadian and American flags at the game.

Dale said it’s clear from their Winnipeg-themed arrival that the players were excited, too.

“When they arrived, I can be very straight up and say they were laughing. They were joking. They were excited. They were having fun. They were looking forward to it.”

The game is the first NFL contest in Canada since the Buffalo Bills completed a run of eight games in Toronto with a regular-season clash against the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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Edmonton

LISTEN: THE OUTSIDERS Podcast features Edmonton’s Bryn Griffiths and Robin Brownlee

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This week on The Outsiders, Bryn and Robin spend time with TSN’s Chris Cuthbert


 

The Outsiders Podcast is a new offering in the local sports arena.   The Outsiders are Edmonton media veterans Bryn Griffiths and Robin Brownlee. Together, they intend to bring us a different perspective on sports gained from decades in the business.

As a result of their longevity, both have rolodexes literally overflowing with the contacts of some amazing sports luminaries.

This is a new weekly one hour sports podcast.  And while they’ll be covering most sports, they wantT to keep a keen eye on the hottest topics of the week in Canada.  Expect them to serve up some outstanding conversations with a variety of guests, like TSN’s Chris Cuthbert. Above all,  expect lots of opinions! 

“NOT always right but willing to listen.” – Bryn Griffiths

This week, The Outsiders spend time with TSN’s Chris Cuthbert talking CFL.

 

Bryn Griffiths is a veteran of more than 3 decades in the communications and media industries.  He’s worked in radio, television, social media, PR and media relations. The bulk of his experience has been broadcasting sports and news.  

Robin Brownlee is a Canadian writer and columnist.  He has covered the Oilers for the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun, among other publications.  Robin currently writes for Oilersnation.

Read more stories on Todayville Edmonton.

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august, 2019

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