As Israel pauses its bombing of Gaza during a temporary cessation of violence, both it and Hamas have been releasing hostages. However, it is likely that Israel’s attempted genocide in Gaza and the Occupied Territories will continue after the so-called temporary ceasefire ends. Israel has already killed nearly 15,000 people in Gaza, including over 6,100 children – and injured more than 36,000 more. Moreover, it has obliterated much of the territory, destroying vital infrastructure and homes. It is unlikely that Israel will end there – hence people’s objections to a ceasefire in the first place. Moreover, journalists are reporting Israel has breached the ceasefire, regardless – as its forces fired on Palestinians trying to return to Northern Gaza, killing two people.
In Houston, TX., where the NCAA Final Four (college basketball tournament championship games) will take place March 31 – April 3, the mayor’s office has taken it a step beyond displacing the unhoused. Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office has ordered police to target people feeding those in need. After opening a facility to move people miles from downtown from a homeless encampment near Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center, Mayor Turner began invoking old city ordinances to ticket Food Not Bombs Houston (FNBH) food-sharing volunteers and trying to discourage them from doing what they’ve done for decades: feeding people at the Houston Public Library every night.
The Federal Trade Commission has proposed to ban the non-compete clause—a type of coercive labor contract that prevents workers from leaving their employer to work for a competitor. One in five workers labors under a non-compete agreement, costing workers $300 billion annually. The AFL-CIO was part of a large coalition of organizations petitioning the FTC for a ban on non-competes in 2019. Now the FTC is considering banning them. The long struggle of Major League Baseball players shows how the fight against non-competes can be linked with increasing union strength.
Among the owners of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams, 24 are billionaires. For decades they have complained that labor costs — particularly players’ salaries and pensions, but also the stadium workers who park cars; sell hot dogs, beer, peanuts and T-shirts; clean the stadiums; show fans to their seats; and provide security — have undermined baseball’s finances. Yet since 2011, the teams’ average value has tripled — from $523 million ($680 million in today’s dollars) to $2.1 billion. Mark Walter, the founder and CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based investment company with over $310 billion in assets under management, has a personal net worth of $3.7 billion. In 2012, Walter and his partners purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 billion in cash — a record cash amount for any sports franchise. The team is now valued at $4.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
Fans of Red Star Belgrade rolled out banners featuring the number of US military interventions during the club's match on Thursday. According to local media, the performance was dedicated to the anniversary of the ethnically-motivated violence against Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. The banners featured the number of all military operations US forces have participated in since the Second World War, including the first Gulf War, the bombing of Yugoslavia, as well as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The banners also featured a line from an anti-war song by the late singer John Lennon: "All we are saying is give peace a chance". Red Star Belgrade defeated Rangers 2-1, but this was not enough to progress to the quarterfinals of the Europa League as the club lost 3-0 during the first leg.
At 8:50 PM today, a young supporter of Just Stop Oil ran onto the pitch during the Everton vs Newcastle United game to draw attention to the group’s demand that the Government ends all new fossil fuel supply projects. Louis, 21, locked on to the goalpost at Goodison Park wearing a Just Stop Oil t-shirt, causing the referee to stop play or nearly 10 minutes. The shirt featured a link – bit.ly/WeHaveNoFuture – which leads to a short video message. Louis said: “It’s 2022 and it’s time to look up, time to step up and not stand by. It’s time to act like it’s an emergency. “Report after report is telling me that my future is going to be dire, and my government is telling me not to worry and pay into a pension. “My generation is being shafted — we face a cost of living crisis, a housing crisis, a fuel crisis and an unlivable planet — but we have a choice. We can choose to highlight that our climate is breaking down, we can choose to resist this government that is betraying us, we can choose to step up and not stand by.”
“I have seen first-hand the harm that mascot names and imagery cause to the self-esteem and self-confidence of our young people. I know only too well what the research proves about the harm the imagery does to them. By selecting a team name and image that reflects a city’s shared values and celebrates all its citizens, the Cleveland Guardians have set a welcome and higher standard for how change can be managed by listening to all community members, including all voices in a shared vision, and helping a city, an enterprise, and citizens grow as they move forward.”
We need a Workers’ Olympics as an alternative to the bourgeois Olympics! This might sound like an empty slogan, but the International Workers’ Olympiads took place from 1921 to 1937. The workers’ movement had always organized its own sports competitions. The Workers’ Olympiads let workers from all over the world exercise and compete together. Participants did not march under national flags — instead, everyone used the same red flag as the universal banner of labor.
Germany’s women’s Olympic gymnastic team will wear unitards at the Tokyo 2020 games in protest against the “sexualisation” of the sport. The team will wear full-body outfits that cover their legs from hip to ankle. This is an obvious difference from the traditional leotard which usually leaves the entire leg and hip exposed on the female gymnasts. The unitard, although breaking from conventions, doesn’t defy the rules of the competition.
Ten thousand people. That’s how many Olympic volunteers quit their posts in Tokyo, with the games just 50 days away. That is one of every eight volunteers needed to pull off the 2021 (still called the 2020) Olympics. This is just the latest warning sign that, despite the Panglossian protestations of the International Olympic Committee, this summer’s Games are in peril. Japan is currently wrestling with a coronavirus upsurge and less than 3 percent of the population is vaccinated. According to polls, as much as 80 percent of the country does not want to host the games, for fear of it exacerbating this omnipresent public health crisis, currently classified as a state of emergency. The masses of Tokyo want to postpone or cancel the games, but the government says it’s the IOC’s decision, not the host country’s, sovereignty be damned.
On March 3, Missouri father Brandon Boulware begged lawmakers not to pass a bill that would ban his transgender daughter from participation in her dance squad, volleyball, and tennis teams. To date, a video of his testimony shared by the American Civil Liberties Union has impressively drawn more than 7.5 million views. But visibility alone has been no match for the tide of anti-trans legislation introduced over the past three months. The Missouri bill that Boulware testified against is just one of the more than 100 bills introduced around the country targeting trans people’s ability to update our identification documents to accurately reflect our gender, play sports in school, and access health care.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has signed executive orders barring transgender athletes from women’s sports in the state. “Only girls should play girls’ sports,” Noem tweeted on Monday. “Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics.” The executive orders direct the state’s Department of Education and Board of Regents to align its policies so only those who are biologically female can participate in women’s sports. Last week, Noem refused to sign the GOP bill barring transgender athletes from women’s sports.
Howard Bryant is a senior writer for ESPN.com and appears regularly on the sports network and NPR. His most recent book “The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism” is about the responsibility often placed upon professional black athletes from Jackie Robinson to LeBron James to be role models for social justice. In their conversation, Bryant tells host Robert Scheer that black athletes often come up against the conflict between their corporate sponsors and their desire for social justice and action.
If sports don’t trump religion as the opiate of the masses, they have, until recently, been at least the background music of most of our lives. So here’s my bet on one possible side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic to put in your scorebook: if the National Football League plays regular season games this fall, President Trump stands a good chance of winning reelection for returning America to business as usual -- or, at least, to his twisted version of the same. That’s why he announced at a recent daily coronavirus briefing-cum-rally his eagerness to bring professional sports back quickly. Though it was Major League Baseball that he mentioned -- “We have to get our sports back. I’m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old” -- the sport that truly matters to him is football, the only major mass entertainment (other than Trumpism) that endorses tribalism and toxic masculinity so flagrantly and keeps violence in vogue.
Boycotting for Palestinian rights works. A reporter broke the news in late September that the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team ended their partnership with Leupold & Stevens, which makes rifle scopes for Israel’s brutal occupying army, following a year-long protest campaign led by our Portland, Oregon, chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and many allies. For nearly 10 years, Leupold & Stevens sponsored a “Hometown Hero” segment during Blazers games...