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Australian News

Washington Redskins, NFL under more pressure to change offensive team name, Donald Trump chimes in


Several Native American leaders and organisations have sent a letter to the NFL calling for the league to force the Washington Redskins to change the team name immediately.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, was signed by 15 Native American advocates and demanded the team and the NFL cease the use of Native American names, imagery and logos — with specific importance put on Washington, which last week launched a “thorough review” of its name.

“[The groups] expect the NFL to engage in a robust, meaningful reconciliation process with Native American movement leaders, tribes, and organizations to repair the decades of emotional violence and other serious harms this racist team name has caused to Native Peoples,” the letter read.

The NFL did not immediately respond to a message confirming receipt of the letter, although NFL commissioner Goodell last week expressed support for Washington boss Dan Snyder’s review of the name.

Retired PGA Tour golfer Notah Begay, two former executive directors of the National Congress of American Indians and several authors and professors signed on to the letter, which came the same day President Donald Trump criticised the Redskins and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians for considering name changes.

The Indians, many fans of whom objected to the removal of mascot Chief Wahoo from team paraphernalia, also announced it was taking steps “to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name”.

“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct,” Mr Trump tweeted.

“Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!” he added, needling the Democratic senator who has been targeted by Mr Trump and faced questions over her claims of Native American ancestry.

Snyder had shown no willingness to change the name since buying the team in 1999, but last week sponsors FedEx, Pepsi, Nike and Bank of America said they requested the change, and several online stores removed the team’s gear.

FedEx chief executive Frederick Smith is a minority owner and the company is the title sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland.

Washington Redskins logo is shown on the field.
The Washington Redskins have flatly refused to change the team’s name in the face of years of outcry.(AP: Nick Wass)

“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said.

The protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May renewed calls for Snyder and his team to stop using the “dictionary-defined racial slur”, as Nestle did with its Redskin and Chico products last month.

There are a number of other top American sporting franchises that utilise Native American imagery, including baseball’s Atlanta Braves and NFL Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs.

Both teams’ fanbases have engaged in a “tomahawk chop” in the stands, which the clubs have at times tried to distance themselves from.

AP/ABC



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Australian News

Washington Redskins NFL team considering name change in wake of protests


A US professional football team, whose contentious name has drawn criticism in the past, will now review the nickname.

The Washington Redskins, who play in the National Football League (NFL), have announced they “will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name”.

Sources told The Washington Post the team was likely to change its name and mascot.

The switch could “potentially” occur in time for the 2020 season, one source told The Washington Post, while another said “it’s trending that way”.

“It’s not a matter of if the name changes but when,” a source told the Post.

Team owner Dan Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, has previously resisted calls to change the name.

In 2013, Mr Snyder made his position on the matter clear, saying, “we’ll never change the name, it’s that simple”.

However, this appears to have changed with Mr Snyder saying in a statement “initial discussions” had been held about changing the team’s name.

“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organisation, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Mr Snyder said.

Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins football team.
Team owner Dan Snyder, has previously said he would never drop the Redskins name.(Reuters: Joshua Roberts)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement he appreciates Mr Snyder’s efforts.

“In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step,” he said.

Corporate pressure could also be forcing Mr Snyder’s cooperation.

The Redskins play at a stadium sponsored by FedEx.

The delivery giant wrote in a statement on Thursday, reported by multiple media outlets, that they wanted the Redskins name dropped from the team.

“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” the statement read.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, along with corporate sponsors, have welcomed the move to consider changing the name in Washington.(Reuters: Brendan McDermid)

Calls for the team to dump the nickname have been made for decades, but a 2016 Washington Post poll of 504 Native Americans found that 90 per cent were not offended by the Redskins nickname.

The poll included people in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

What the Washington-based team might be named is still up in the air.

But in 2009, the Washington City Paper said Mr Snyder previously bought the franchise rights for an Arena Football League team and registered trademarks for the name Washington Warriors with a logo and helmet design that featured an arrow and a feather.

Reuters



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Local News - Victoria

Hotspot residents caught out trying to change addresses


A new licence card is not required to show proof of a new address, as VicRoads sends labels to stick onto cards in the short term.

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VicRoads is now reviewing each application made since Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement mid-afternoon on Tuesday to reintroduce stay-at-home orders in suburbs largely north-west of Melbourne.

The agency refused to confirm exactly how many requests had been made but said it would not cease online licence alterations as a result.

VicRoads warned it was an offence for people to falsify documents and lie to police about their address.

Those who break the rules face a maximum fine of up to $825 if caught.

“As soon as we were made aware of this issue we immediately put in place measures to ensure any changes of address in priority postcodes were for genuine reasons,” a spokeswoman for the department said.

“We are reviewing all changes to licence holders’ addresses from priority postcodes since the Premier’s restrictions announcement on Tuesday to ensure anyone who changed their address did so because it was necessary.”

VicRoads will now contact anyone who requests a change of address from a hotspot postcode and ask for additional information to substantiate their change.

It said allowing people to update their details online rather than in-person provided for greater convenience and efficiency.

In the 2018-19 financial year, the Department of Transport facilitated the change of more than 1.1 million licence holders addresses – about 3000 per day.

Wednesday marked the biggest single-day increase in community transmission of coronavirus in Victoria since the start of the pandemic.

The running total is now 301, an increase of 20 since yesterday. The last time Victoria recorded those numbers was April 2, when there were 18 cases.

Ten suburban postcodes will enter stage-three restrictions again from midnight on Wednesday. Police-enforced restrictions mean that people leaving and entering those postcodes for anything other than essential purposes can be given on-the-spot-fines.

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Australian News

Super Rugby AU rule changes hoped to bring crowds back and change future of the game


It’s fair to say there will be many more eyes on Australia’s new domestic rugby competition when it kicks off this weekend than just those of the diehard fans.

Super Rugby AU is Australia’s equivalent of New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa, and was quickly formed to fill the breach left by the 15-team, five-nations Super Rugby tournament which went into COVID-19-enforced hibernation in mid-March.

The future of that competition remains in limbo, with both South Africa and Argentina isolated and their new case curve still trending upwards. Japan’s Sunwolves were to be mothballed at the end of the 2020 season anyway, and though there were attempts to have them play in the new Australian competition, they’ve now played their last game.

Australia’s four Super Rugby sides — the Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels, and the Brumbies — will be joined by the Perth-based Western Force in a full home-and-away competition played over 10 weeks plus two weeks of finals.

For the Force, it marks their return to top-flight Australian rugby for the first time since their axing from Super Rugby at the end of the 2017 season.

Western Force players wait for a try decision during the World Series Rugby match against Fiji in 2018.
The Western Force will be welcomed back to the fold.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

But it’s the law variations in place that will draw the extra attention, and from the moment the Reds and Waratahs run out onto Brisbane’s Lang Park on Friday night. Behind every one of the changes is an intention to make a more enjoyable spectacle of the game for spectators, fans and players alike.

A couple are already in place over the ditch, with Super Rugby Aotearoa implementing 10 minutes of “golden point” extra time in the event of a scoreboard deadlock after 80 minutes.

The other is the allowance to replace a player sent from the field with a red card after 20 minutes. The sent-off player can’t play any further part in the game, but the contest can be restored to 15 players on 15, 20 minutes later.

Neither has been seen in New Zealand yet in three rounds, but Australia’s leading referee Angus Gardner is a fan.

“You definitely want the players to decide the game and as a ref you prefer to not make a decision that decides it,” he said last week, of the extra time allowance.

Gardner has been busy over the past fortnight, running live familiarity sessions around the new variations with the Waratahs and Rebels. The focus on the breakdown contest in Super Rugby Aotearoa — and the sharp upsurge in penalties — were a cause for concern initially, and were undoubtedly a reason Gardner and his colleagues were utilised during these intra-squad sessions around the country.

Ryan Louwrens holds a rugby ball in both hands and prepares to pass it away from a ruck
New rules around the breakdown have sped up play, but has also seen an initial uptick in penalties.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

“They’re really rewarding speed to the breakdown, I think for us that’s going to highlight our breakdown presence,” Rebels backrower Michael Wells said, his side spending this week of preparation in Canberra to escape the recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Melbourne.

“Attacking wise, you can’t be slow; you have to be really fast. Defensively, if you have a good on-ball presence you’re really going to get pay out of it. I think that was the biggest thing about having Gus [Gardner] here, just to be exposed to those new rules, because it’s different watching it in the New Zealand comp,” Wells said.

But the breakdown focus is having a positive impact already over the Tasman. In half a dozen games over the first three rounds in New Zealand, the rugby on display has been wonderful to watch, no doubt spurred on by huge crowds now allowed with no restrictions in place.

Fans applaud as players line up in the foreground
Super Rugby Aotearoa has returned to huge crowds.(Photosport via AP: Joe Allison)

The crowds will be much smaller when Super Rugby AU kicks off on Friday night, but it’s certainly hoped the rugby is no less exciting. Rugby Australia is also hoping the decision to go a bit further with law variations will have an impact, too.

Several of them roll over from last season’s National Rugby Championship, in which a rampant Western Force ran away with the title. The line drop-out allowance, which rewards the defending team if they’re able to hold the attacking team up in-goal, works as a faster way of restarting play instead of a five-metre scrum that risks multiple resets.

And 50-22 and 22-50 kicks carry over too, borrowing from rugby league’s 40-20, which will force teams to defend differently at the back, as well as open up attacking opportunity.

“Does that open up more space in the front line to play ball in hand?” Rebels attack coach Shaun Berne wondered.

“And if they don’t defend that back field, are we then able to kick and find those 50-22s?”

The players themselves can already see opportunities.

“It’s going to break some teams when we find that space and take those opportunities, it’s going to hurt a lot of teams,” Brumbies centre Irae Simone offered from Canberra.

Waratahs coach Rob Penney loves the removal of calling for a mark in the defensive 22 from kicks originating in the same portion of the field. But he’s equally wary of the architect of the idea.

“I am a bit worried about Matt Toomua and the impact that he is going to have. He is such a talented 10 and he has the ball on a string really,” Penney said of the Rebels and Wallabies flyhalf.

“I thought it was a real breath of fresh air to hear Matt talking about what could be really good for the game.”

A male rugby union player kicks the ball from a penalty goal attempt with his right foot.
Matt Toomua could have a huge impact with his boot under the new rules.(Reuters: Issei Kato)

As Rugby Australia works to negotiate its way to new TV deal for 2021 and beyond, the hope is that these variations and the exciting rugby it anticipates will result will be really good for the game over a longer term. Arguably, the future of the professional game is counting on it.

But the condensed campaign means there won’t be time for the five sides to work their way into contention. Most agree the Brumbies start overwhelming as the favourites, given they were running second overall when Super Rugby was suspended.

Brumbies prop James Slipper says that just means the side is already determined to pick up where they left off back in March.

“It’s always important to start well,” he said.

“We actually addressed that this year in Super Rugby and we did start well.

“What you find is when you have a good start is you try and build on that momentum and that winning habit.”

Super Rugby AU Round 1 fixtures

Friday: Queensland Reds vs NSW Waratahs, Brisbane 7:15pm AEST

Saturday: ACT Brumbies vs Melbourne Rebels, Canberra 7:15pm AEST

Western Force have the bye.



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Australian News

Sydney Roosters are a class above this NRL season, but Brisbane Broncos need a change of mindset


There were some really good games of footy this weekend, especially the Eels-Raiders match on Saturday night, but I was really impressed with the way the Roosters dug deep against St George Illawarra on Friday.

The Roosters are a class above everyone this year.

They’ve got their game plan nailed on. Everyone knows their role really well, they’re working together as a team, it’s very hard to beat their defensive line, their structure is spot on and I think the older guys are really stepping up.

Daniel Tupou is playing some good football, Josh and Brett Morris are in career-best form, Luke Keary is ready to go to the next level and the combination with Kyle Flanagan really suits that side well.

Flanagan looks like he knows his role better than I’ve ever seen from him coming through the grades.

His support play is awesome, he’s really just focusing on punching out the game plan, getting to his kicks and making sure he’s doing that right for his team.

However, a few injuries to that side could really cruel them for a three-peat, and we saw two bad ones on Friday to Victor Radley and Sam Verrills within 15 minutes of each other.

A Sydney Roosters NRL player lies on the ground as he receives treatment on a knee injury against St George Illawarra.
Victor Radley was the first of two Roosters to suffer a season-ending knee injury on Friday night.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

It’s so disappointing to see two real quality football players end their season — you wouldn’t wish that upon your worst enemy.

I believe it was a bit of bad luck and bad timing. I can’t put it down to the surface of the ground, but saying that, I’m sitting from a totally different perspective in the stands.

Radley was probably three or four metres behind the defensive line and came out to try and change the momentum for his side and put a shot on but just got wrong-footed.

It looked like his foot got stuck in the ground, there almost wasn’t enough give. I think that’s how he did his injury.

Verrills was just a freak accident. He’s just gone for a run, nobody’s touched him and he’s done his knee. When you see someone go down like that, you know that’s a pretty scary injury.

With those two players out of action, the Roosters needed their other forwards to step into the gap, and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves did just that.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is tackled, with a player's hand on his face
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ran for 233 metres and made 45 tackles in his 73-minute performance against the Dragons.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Waerea-Hargreaves played 73 minutes on Friday against the Dragons, and I think he can step up to that level week after week because he won’t want to let his team down or his club down.

He’s also got a really good partner in Siosiua Taukeiaho, who played all 80 minutes. They’re just running off each other and bringing the best out of each other.

Brisbane Broncos need a change of mindset, but that’s not easy

When I look at the Broncos, I think they’ve got a great side, a good, young team coming through — but at the same time, they haven’t really found their role on how they want to play and what they want to do.

With the teams that are going really well, they’re all on the same page. They’re all doing what’s right for the team. When I look at the Broncos, I feel like they do not have a clear focus on how they want the game to go.

Their leadership is probably a little bit down there as well, they’ve let a lot of guys go and I think that’s probably a part of it, but they can turn it around.

Brisbane Broncos players, with Darius Boyd front and centre, stand with their hands on their hips, looking disappointed.
The Brisbane Broncos have struggled since the season restart, losing all of their matches.(AAP: Darren England)

I think it’s all in your head. If you can get your head right, everything will fall into place.

I think you need a good four or five guys to show their leadership, to make sure the guys are on the same page and that they are driving what needs to be done for the club.

If you’ve only got one guy doing it then other guys will go off on their own little tangent, but if you’ve got four or five senior guys leading the way, then all these young kids will get on board with it.

At the moment, I don’t see that from the Broncos, and it’s very hard to change your mindset.

You don’t feel like you’re necessarily doing anything wrong, it just feels like things aren’t working or going your way. But, again, you’ve just got to be able to hang in there and believe in the process, get a couple of really close wins and then start to get that belief back in the jersey.

People say that you need a rock-bottom moment, like Saturday night’s defeat against the Titans, to kick-start your season, but I don’t think you do.

It’s like when people say that if you win 10 games in a row, a team is due for a loss. That’s not true, why do you have to lose?

I know every player up in Brisbane is super competitive and they want to win. At the moment, it’s just not working for them, but I don’t think you need to go through rock bottom to understand.

A dejected NRL coach sits with a microphone in front of him at a post-match press conference.
Anthony Seibold is under pressure at Red Hill.(AAP: Dan Peled)

If I lose one game, it hangs around for a long time and I can’t wait to get out onto the field. To lose week in week out, it would be burning those players.

They just need to get back to basics and do those things really well, stop making those silly errors coming out of their own end and giving away those six-again calls and really just hone in on what needs to be done and focus on that.

If they can just make a bit of a step in the right direction next week and then a little bit more the following week, it will all build up and they’ll start to get a bit of enjoyment in their footy again.

At the end of the day. it’s all hard work, and it all starts on the training park as well, it doesn’t just start on the footy field.

They could come out this weekend and win. That’s a step in the right direction, but, then they can’t go back the following weekend and do what they were doing again.

You’ve just got to be really consistent on how you approach your week.

If you all pull in the same direction, you start to make the game a lot easier.

Luke Lewis was talking to ABC News’s Simon Smale.



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Australian News

Super Netball’s super shot rule change panders to those with no stake in the game


You are running a widely popular, predominantly female sport that has stood the test of time.

The game has evolved from its conservative roots; it has embraced semi-professionalism and become pleasingly dynamic; it has forged a storied international rivalry that has produced some of the most dramatic moments in Australian sport; it has withstood challenges from voracious competitors and maintained an enormous participant base.

It has even welcomed men to play in their own leagues and mixed competitions — even if they sometimes find it hard to check their fragile egos at the locker room door and keep their pointy elbows to themselves.

But you’ve looked at the TV ratings, you’ve compared the sponsorship model with other predominantly male sports and you want more eyeballs on your domestic competition.

A netballer jumps up and extends her arm as she prepares to pass over the defence.
Super Netball bosses want more people to watch its domestic competition.(AAP: Jono Searle)

So you’re thinking about making a radical rule change, one that will alter the most fundamental element of the game — scoring.

Naturally, you first take the proposal to your competition committee and carefully weigh their input.

Then you run it by the Players’ Association. Not because the lunatics run your asylum. Because, well, maybe the people who are actually going to be bound by this rule might have some practical suggestions about its application?

You have a quiet coffee with some ex-players and even the media types who are tapped into the thoughts of the fans and the game’s wider community to gauge potential reaction.

Two netball opponents stoop to get their hands on the ball in a contest.
Netball has developed a compelling international rivalry between Australia and New Zealand without the gimmicks.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

This is exactly what the Super Netball Commission did NOT do before springing the introduction of a two point “super shot” on its players and fans just six weeks before the start of the season.

This non-consultation process, almost as much as the two-point shot, has caused uproar among the very people who should have had the greatest say in such a radical change.

Instead, the Super Netball commissioners made a mistake common among sports desperate to increase their “reach” — instead of asking what those who love netball wanted, they asked themselves what those who are mostly indifferent to the sport might hypothetically want.

In one sense, bypassing the people who are the cornerstone of your sport and bastardising your game for the edification of those who ticked the “have some interest” box on a fan engagement survey is understandable, even essential.

Caitlin Basset smiles looking over her shoulder
Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett said on Instagram she half-expected the next innovation to be to wear skimpier outfits.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Sporting stalwarts are notoriously conservative. Cricket’s transition from Test to One Day to Twenty20s involved endless anguished debates pitting so-called traditionalists against the perceived desires of less cricket-savvy consumers.

The obvious difference is that cricket has imposed most of its changes on two new formats. Test cricket remains virtually as it was, albeit now crammed into a schedule dominated by limited-overs fixtures and with those ghastly numbers on the shirts.

Netball, on the other hand, has taken a gimmick from its own short-form game, Fast5, and imposed it on the second highest level of the sport without so much as a “What do you guys think?” in a competition committee Zoom meeting.

An Australian netballer shapes to pass the ball as she stands outside the two-point shot line.
The Super Shot Zone will become a feature of Super Netball, against the wishes of the majority of players.(AAP: Mark Evans)

No wonder a member of that committee, Diamonds’ star Jo Weston, was apoplectic when the news dropped via press release during the week.

Weston told The Guardian she was not just disappointed with the “insulting” lack of consultation, but by the rule itself.

Which makes you wonder if Super Netball teams will jog onto the court this season or arrive stuffed in a mini minor given the apparent desperation of the game’s administrators to pander to the non-fan.

The one-off media sugar hit of a radical rule change is far easier than the hard yards of long term grassroots engagement, clever promotional campaigns and relationship building with broadcasters.

Former West-Tigers chair Marina Go is now the Super Netball Commission chair and she admitted some inspiration had been taken from Australian Rugby League Commission chief Peter V’landys’ recent NRL rule changes.

This attempt to imitate the “innovative changes” in rugby league has proven about as popular with netball diehards as telling them players will wear lingerie and games will be played in a giant tub of jelly.

A female netball player holds the ball behind her head as she prepares to shoot for goal.
Netball’s super shot would change the very fabric of the game.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Yet, gallingly for the game’s ignored insiders, the change has gained support from the type of casual high-profile observers who are unlikely to be at a Super Netball game after the last canape in the corporate hospitality area disappears.

So what’s wrong with the “super shot” (to be taken from a designated spot inside the circle in the last five minutes of each quarter)?

The most obvious problem is that all goals will not be created equal. An artfully worked full court move that gets the ball into the hands of the goal attack will not be worth as much as a long bomb executed during an arbitrary time period.

It also perverts the power balance because a team that has gained the ascendency in general play can have its hard-earned lead erased by a couple of freak shots.

But don’t take my word for it.

I stand to be corrected by those who have played the game at all levels or who have spent years in the crowd or on the media bench at Super Netball games.

The kind of people who should be the first consulted when a beloved sport makes a radical change for the benefit of those who usually couldn’t care less.

All the latest sports news and issues including Australia’s 2023 Women’s World Cup bid will be discussed on Offsiders on ABC TV at 10:00am on Sunday.



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Eddie Betts on his daily battle with racism, and why he will ‘cop the brunt’ if it means bringing about change


Eddie Betts has questioned his AFL future as a result of constant racial vilification, but says he is determined to keep fighting for what he believes in.

The veteran Carlton forward this month called out the latest in a long line of racially motivated attacks directed at him.

Playing in his 16th AFL season, Betts says he has been racially abused at least once a year for the past decade, and the persistent attacks hurt deeply.

The 33-year-old considered whether or not to address a Twitter post which depicted him as a monkey, but felt it was his duty as an Aboriginal role model to call out despicable behaviour.

“I was really angry and I wanted to put something up that was aggressive, but that’s not my nature,” he told Fox Footy.

“I’m kind and I always like to give people a second chance and I always like to educate people.

“I’ve got to set up barriers every day when I leave the house, thinking I’m going to get racially abused when I’m driving or when I go to a supermarket.

“All I want to do is rock up to training, play and enjoy the game of footy.

“I’m sick and tired of it, but I want the AFL to be a safe platform for young Aboriginal kids to come and enjoy and play footy without being racially abused.”

Eddie Betts celebrates a goal by bumping fists with Jack Martin and Patrick Cripps.
Eddie Betts was excellent in Carlton’s surprise win over Geelong.(AAP: Dylan Burns)

Betts said he had previously contemplated his future in the game due to the abuse.

But he said he was willing to take the punches if it could one day lead to sustainable change.

“If I have to take the full brunt of all that and try and educate people so that the platform is a safe place, I am happy to cop the brunt,” he said.

“It deeply hurts, and you think to yourself, ‘Why do I keep playing footy if I keep copping this?’ but I want to make a change.

Betts did just that last Saturday night when he played an inspirational role in the Blues’ upset away win against Geelong.

In Carlton’s first victory at Kardinia Park since 1996, Betts kicked two vital goals and produced a number of game-saving pressure attacks in the dying seconds, including running down Geelong’s Jack Henry with a lunging tackle.

ABC/AAP



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Business

Change can be a slow process – and that’s the way it should be


Magically these types are able to cut through the pesky multifactorial complex and not fully understood nature of the relationships between things like psychological processes, diet, exercise and Labor branch stacking.

No, for the gurus, the solution is always a simple cause and effect. I did a dance, and then it rained! Ergo, dancing causes rain! I am a rainmaker! Eat Peruvian nose flute cheese, and see how it improves your complexion! Add dromedaries’ droppings to your quinoa to strengthen your gag reflex. (Well that might actually work, I suppose.)

The trouble is, as it is known in the biz, correlation does not mean causation. Just because two things appear to be directly related (highly correlated) doesn’t mean one causes the other. A quick perusal of the wonderful Tyler Vigen’s website provides enough warning signs.

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For instance did you know that between 1999 and 2009 the number of films Nick Cage appeared in was highly correlated to the number of people who drowned in swimming pools in the USA? Or that there is a near perfect relationship between per capita cheese consumption and people becoming tangled by their bed sheets? Or as the consumption of margarine dropped in Maine, so did the divorce rate?

We all want change to be easy – for there to be a simple formula or key – so we can effect the changes we want to see. Usually, if we want the transformation we want it to happen quickly. The more we want the change, but feel helpless to make it, the more we are susceptible to the lure of simple formulas or are prepared to believe in spurious correlations.

Ultimately, our desire to understand change reflects our desire to control, and perhaps over-control our lives. This does not mean we should not try to change in desirable ways, or that we are powerless. But it does mean that we also need to accept that change can be slow, hard and sometimes as limited as life itself. Self-acceptance also means accepting what cannot be readily changed.

Jim Bright, FAPS is Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU and owns Bright and Associates, a Career Management Consultancy. Email to opinion@jimbright.com. Follow him on Twitter @DrJimBright



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Big change to Victorian class actions passed amid political warfare


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“Class actions play a critical role in our justice system, and it’s important that people with meritorious claims are provided with every opportunity to have their matter heard,” Ms Hennessy said on Friday.

“We’re improving access to justice for ordinary Victorians by making it easier to bring class actions for silicosis, wage theft, consumer harm and other forms of corporate wrongdoing.”

The new laws have opened a political battleground at both state and federal levels, where a Commonwealth inquiry is underway, between plaintiff lawyers and big business.

Former Law Council of Australia president Stuart Clark said the change will hand more money to lawyers and lead to an explosion of class actions in Victoria.

The Liberal Party brought in Mr Clark to brief crossbench MPs on behalf of business interests at a state level, and he has been contracted to lobby the federal government for a subsidiary of Washington powerbroker the US Chamber of Commerce.

“The Victorian government has just made possible the transfer of enormous amounts of compensation that would otherwise have flowed to class members and victims to the pockets of a handful of lawyers,” Mr Clark said.

Liberal opposition to the Victorian move has centred on the Labor government’s links to plaintiff law firms, including Labor donors Maurice Blackburn and Slater and Gordon, who have both been advocates for the new fee arrangement.

Shadow attorney-general Ed O’Donohue tried to amend the legislation on Thursday so it would include a 35 per cent cap on the settlement lawyers can obtain.

The amendment failed but the legislation has a safeguard that enable judges to determine at any stage during a case how much lawyers will be paid.

Mr O’Donohue said the new laws do nothing to improve access to justice, and “will only further enrich a small number of large, Labor-donating plaintiff law firms, including the Steve Bracks-chaired Maurice Blackburn”.

The new laws were recommended by the Productivity Commission, the Victorian Law Reform Commission and the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

A Maurice Blackburn spokesman accused the US Chamber of Commerce of running a co-ordinated and deliberate misinformation campaign to undermine the legal rights of Australians.

“The legislative changes will give Australians who suffer injustice greater access to the courts,” he said.

At the moment, class actions are usually brought by lawyers on a “no-win, no-fee” basis or backed by a litigation funder.

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Even before the change, the returns for funders and lawyers were lucrative.

The ALRC found funders were involved in about 70 per cent of proceedings and, on average, charged a commission for 30 per cent of proceeds recovered, returning just over half of the settlement to class members after legal fees.

Class actions backed by law firms, returned 85 per cent to plaintiffs and class members, ALRC said.

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NBA’s July restart faces player concerns that games could distract from calls for change after death of George Floyd


The NBA’s return to play is just weeks away, but there is disagreement among basketballers past and present on whether going back to games is the right thing to do or will distract from the Black Lives Matter movement.

The NBA was shut down on March 11 after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive to COVID-19.

Earlier this month, the league approved a plan to resume the season at a hub in the ESPN Wide World of Sport complex inside Disney World’s vast Orlando resort in Florida.

The NBA opted to have 22 out of the 30 teams take part, playing eight seeding games to determine a 16-team playoff field.

The competition is set to resume on July 31, with a champion crowned no later than October 12.

During the shutdown, the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis, after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, has given rise to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial inequality.

American and world sport are coming to grips with the new landscape, with a variety of protests and statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologised to players for not supporting their past kneeling protests — led by ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — during the American national anthem.

Players are becoming vocal — former NBA legend Michael Jordan has called for justice for Floyd and later announced his Jordan Brand would donate $US100 million ($145.7 million) over the next decade to help fight for racial equality.

Among current players, Australian-born Kyrie Irving — who won an NBA Championship ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers before moving to the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets — and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley are leading a coalition that is actively talking about the return to play.

“We are truly at an inflection point in history where, as a collective community, we can band together — UNIFY — and move as one,” the coalition wrote in a statement to ESPN.

“We need all our people with us and we will stand together in solidarity.

“As an oppressed community, we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP / Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ us.

“WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!!”

“The league has a responsibility to our communities in helping to empower us — just as we have made the NBA brand strong.”

Los Angeles Lakers star centre Dwight Howard said he agreed with Irving.

“I would love nothing more than to win my first NBA Championship.

“But the unity of my people would be an even bigger championship, that’s too beautiful to pass up.”

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Milwaukee Bucks veteran Kyle Korver says he will be guided by what his black teammates and friends feel is right.

“If my black teammates and friends and brothers feel like the best way to go about real change is to not play, I stand with them. I’m OK with that.

“On the other side, I am on a team that feels like we could win and I have never won. I would like to win. So, is there a way to do both? I think there’s a conversation there.”

A top basketball executive speaks as he stands in front of microphones at a press conference.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admits it is a difficult time to be trying to revive the basketball season.(Reuters/Kyodo Kyodo,file photo)

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he has a sense that the league should be able to “work through” the issues with players over the next few weeks ahead of the restart.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” Silver said regarding a series of issues the NBA is facing in an appearance on Monday night’s “The Return of Sports” special on ESPN.

“We are trying to find a way to our own normalcy in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of essentially a recession or worse with 40 million unemployed, and now with enormous social unrest in the country.

“And so as we work through these issues, I can understand how some players may feel, that it’s not for them … it may be for family reasons, it may be for health reasons they have, or it may be because they feel — as some players have said very recently — that their time is best spent elsewhere.”

Dissent from some players over sitting out

The coalition’s view is not universal among players, however.

Former Nets player Matt Barnes is not on board with Irving’s stance.

“Kyrie needs to stop bullshitting,” Barnes said on Instagram Live.

“And then it also divides us.”

Another who disagrees is the Houston Rockets’ Austin Rivers.

“I love Kyrie’s passion towards helping this movement. It’s admirable and inspiring, I’m with it … but in the right way and not at the cost of the whole NBA and players’ careers,” he said.

“But cancelling or boycotting return doesn’t do that in my opinion.

“Guys want to play and provide and help change!”

Reuters/ABC



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