Natural hair swim caps rejection sparks conversation on coded bias, gatekeeping and representation


(NEW YORK) — A rejection to allow swim caps made for natural hair in the Olympics has started a larger conversation on bias, gatekeeping and representation in the sport.

Soul Cap, a U.K.-based company that sells swimming caps for “thick, curly and voluminous hair,” had submitted its product to the International Swimming Federation (FINA) for approval last year so that athletes with these types of hair could use them while participating in the Tokyo Olympics.

FINA subsequently denied the request, as well as the company’s appeal this past June, Soul Cap confirmed to ABC News’ Good Morning America, saying that the caps don’t follow “the natural form of the head” and to its “best knowledge, the athletes competing at the international events never used, neither require to use, caps of such size and configuration.”

After receiving backlash for the decision, the watersports governing body released a statement on July 2, saying that it’s “currently reviewing the situation with regards to ‘Soul Cap’ and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation.”

However, many people say the damage has already been done.

‘Beyond the cap’

Soul Cap founders Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed told GMA the decision represented an extension of the cultural barriers people of color face in different areas of life.

“It’s another barrier which predominantly impacts Black people, and predominantly women with longer or thicker hair,” they said in a joint statement.

Diversity in Aquatics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the disparity among historically underrepresented populations in aquatic activities, called FINA’s explanation for rejecting the swim caps a “coded policy.”

“Coded policies substitute terms describing racial identity with seemingly race-neutral terms that disguise explicit and/or implicit racial prejudice,” the nonprofit said.

Maritza McClendon, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and the first African American woman to join a U.S. Olympic swim team, says that the decision goes “beyond the cap.”

“The undertone behind what their decision was speaks beyond the cap,” McClendon told GMA. “You’re basically saying that Black swimmers aren’t at the elite level and they don’t really need a cap that works best for them.”

McClendon also criticized FINA’s latest statement promising to review its decision. The organization said, “There’s no restriction on ‘Soul Cap’ swim caps for recreational and teaching purposes.” McClendon says this section points to a form of gatekeeping.

“So you can use it recreationally and at other competitions but just not at a FINA-sanctioned meet, which happens to be the Olympics, which happens to be the ultimate goal for most competitive swimmers at that level,” she said.

“This is discrimination,” Noelle Ndiaye, swim coach and founder of Afro Swimmers, told GMA. “There’s no competitive advantage to wearing a larger swim cap except to build confidence in the water.”

The language FINA used, Ndiaye said, is an example of the “disconnect between the competitive swim world, the white swim world and the Black swim world.”

She noted that the swim caps made by Soul Cap and other similar companies have been circulating through the Black community for some time now.

“So when FINA first made their decision that these caps weren’t necessary, that’s why people were so confused because what do you mean they’re not necessary? We’ve been purchasing these. We’ve been using these,” Ndiaye said.

FINA did not immediately respond to requests for comment from ABC News about the decision.

A history of barriers

Disparities in swimming are not new. According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 65% of Black children have none or low swimming ability in 2017, compared to 45% of Latino children and 40% of white children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that drowning death rates for Black people are 1.5 times higher than the rates for white people. The disparity is highest among Black children; those ages 5 to 9 faced a 2.6 times higher risk of drowning compared to white children while those ages 10 to 14 faced a 3.6 times higher risk.

The reason for this gap is due to a number of barriers Black people have faced and continue to face with swimming, McClendon said.

“There’s access, there’s costs, there’s a generational trauma,” McClendon said. “Our parents and grandparents went through segregation and they never were afforded the ability to have access to a pool, so why would you think to take your kids to a pool and learn how to swim?”

Then there are the differences in hair and skin, McClendon said. For a long time, the only swim caps available were made in a single size and made of constrictive latex or silicone.

“One size has never fit all,” Ndiaye said, adding that in high school she suffered from frequent headaches and lightheadedness due to the tightness of her swim caps.

FINA’s decision only further isolates people of color from a sport that has been predominantly white, said McClendon. Before companies like Soul Cap, Swimma and Swimmie Caps broke into the scene with caps that vary in size and material, swimmers had to choose between the sport and being their authentic selves.

“My hair would break from the material of the cap so the bottom back of my hair was always short because it would just never grow — it was constantly being tugged at by these caps,” McClendon said.

Rather than feeling uncomfortable and trying to fit all of her curls into the cap, McClendon cut her hair before her Olympic trials in 2004.

“That was mainly because I didn’t have any other options,” she said. “The only cap that I had was the one that was ‘approved.'”

Calls for governing bodies to do better

The Black swim community is now calling for a change in light of FINA’s decision.

The ban is indicative of a larger problem surrounding representation in competitive sports, both in leadership and athletes, swimmers say. According to Soul Caps’ founders, the rules have been based on FINA’s “view of who a ‘typical’ competitive swimmer is and looks like.”

“If there was more diversity of decision-makers in the governing body, it would provide a greater breadth of knowledge and give an opportunity for issues which affect minorities to be recognized,” Chapman and Ahmed said in their joint statement. “We think it would really help to make positive change.”

In addition to being inclusive, organizations need to be more empathetic and listen, said Brooke DeVard, host of the “Naked Beauty” podcast.

She said that FINA’s decision “sends a message that a lot of the decision-makers at the very top of the sport aren’t being empathetic to the diverse needs of different types of swimmers” and that they have “categorically ignored an entire group of people and their needs.”

“It really showed a lack of empathy,” DeVard added.

This lack of representation is why athletes like McClendon are actively working with organizations to increase Black participation in swimming. USA Swimming reported in February 2020 that with a membership of over 300,000 athletes, less than 2% are Black.

Out of 26 women on USA Swimming who are headed to the Tokyo Olympics, only two are Black. In the U.K., where Soul Cap is based, Alice Dearing will be the first Black woman to ever represent the nation in Olympics swimming.

“We’re trying to bridge that gap,” McClendon said. “People are coming up with solutions but the problem is that we’re still being met by barriers and people standing in the way of progress.”

Leaving the choice in the hands of the swimmers is another thing organizations can do to support their athletes better, Ndiaye says.

“This should be the choice of the swimmer and their coach,” Ndiaye said. “It should not be up to a governing body of what a person should wear in the pool to feel comfortable in their own skin.”

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Scoreboard roundup — 7/8/21


(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Thursday’s sports events:


Oakland 2, Houston 1
Seattle 4, N.Y. Yankees 0
Cleveland 7, Kansas City 4
Minnesota 5, Detroit 3
Toronto at Baltimore 7:35 p.m. (Postponed)

L.A. Dodgers 6, Miami 1
Colorado 9, Arizona 3
Philadelphia 8, Chicago Cubs 0
Milwaukee 5, Cincinnati 3
San Diego 9, Washington 8
Pittsburgh at NY Mets 7:10 p.m. (Postponed)

Phoenix 118, Milwaukee 108

Philadelphia 1, New York 1 (tie)
Atlanta 2, Nashville 2 (tie)

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Equestrian Jessica Springsteen, daughter of Bruce Springsteen, to compete at Tokyo Olympics

Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Jessica Springsteen, daughter of rocker Bruce Springsteen and singer-songwriter Patti Scialfa, is headed to the Tokyo Olympics to compete on the U.S. equestrian jumping team.

Earlier this week, US Equestrian announced that Springsteen was one of four athletes to make the Olympic team, which also includes McLain Ward, Laura Kraut and Kent Farrington.

This is Springsteen’s Olympic debut, though the 29-year-old was an alternate for the team at the 2012 Olympics in London, according to ESPN.

Springsteen, who is ranked 27th in the world, will be riding Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, her 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion.

“Been dreaming of this since I can remember!” Springsteen wrote in a celebratory Instagram post. “Endless gratitude for my team, friends and family for helping me make this a reality. We are Tokyo bound!!”

“Honored to be a part of this team with @laurakraut @teamkpf and @mclainward.official,” she continued. “There’s no horse in the world I’d rather be on this journey with, thank you Don! You’re my horse of a lifetime. Let’s go USA!”

All of Springsteen’s teammates have competed at previous Olympic Games. Ward has won two gold medals and one silver medal, Krault has one gold medal and Farrington has one silver medal.

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics kick off July 23, having been delayed from last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Naomi Osaka speaks out after French Open mental health controversy: ‘Athletes are humans’

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(NEW YORK) — Tennis star Naomi Osaka is speaking out in-depth for the first time about her withdrawal from this year’s French Open due to mental health concerns, and the unexpected debate and controversy that followed her decision.

“I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete mental health as it’s still so new to me and I don’t have all the answers,” Osaka wrote in an essay published in Time magazine. “I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s O.K. to not be O.K., and it’s O.K. to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel.”

Osaka, 23, withdrew from the French Open in late May after being fined $15,000 for missing a post-match press conference.

One of the top ranked tennis players in the world, Osaka had announced at the start of the tournament she would not participate in the mandatory post-match news conferences in order to preserve her mental health.

She also did not compete in this year’s Wimbledon due to what she has said are her mental health struggles.

Osaka, who lives in the U.S. but plays for Japan, confirmed in her Time essay that she will compete in the Summer Olympics, scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo.

“After taking the past few weeks to recharge and spend time with my loved ones, I have had the time to reflect, but also to look forward. I could not be more excited to play in Tokyo,” she wrote. “An Olympic Games itself is special, but to have the opportunity to play in front of the Japanese fans is a dream come true. I hope I can make them proud.”

After her French Open exit, Osaka took to Twitter to reveal that she has “suffered long bouts of depression” since 2018.

She explained in her new essay that she felt pressured to reveal her mental health struggle because of the stigma surrounding her decision to not do post-match press conferences.

“In my case, I felt under a great amount of pressure to disclose my symptoms — frankly because the press and the tournament did not believe me. I do not wish that on anyone and hope that we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones,” she wrote. “I also do not want to have to engage in a scrutiny of my personal medical history ever again. So I ask the press for some level of privacy and empathy next time we meet.”

“Perhaps we should give athletes the right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subject to strict sanctions,” she wrote. “In any other line of work, you would be forgiven for taking a personal day here and there, so long as it’s not habitual. You wouldn’t have to divulge your most personal symptoms to your employer; there would likely be HR measures protecting at least some level of privacy.”

Osaka’s choice to exit the French Open sparked a conversation about athletes’ mental health and the ways in which mental health is dealt with in the workplace in general.

The tennis star says she would like to see some change come in the ways tennis players specifically interact with the press, writing, “The intention was never to inspire revolt, but rather to look critically at our workplace and ask if we can do better.”

“In my opinion (and I want to say that this is just my opinion and not that of every tennis player on tour), the press-conference format itself is out of date and in great need of a refresh. I believe that we can make it better, more interesting and more enjoyable for each side. Less subject vs. object; more peer to peer,” she wrote, adding that she would like to see professional tennis players offered, “a small number of “sick days” per year where you are excused from your press commitments without having to disclose your personal reasons. I believe this would bring sport in line with the rest of society.”

While Osaka received backlash from her decision to leave the French Open, she says she also received public support, which she expressed gratitude for in her essay.

“I also want to thank those in the public eye who have supported, encouraged and offered such kind words. Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, to name a few,” she wrote, adding, “Michael Phelps told me that by speaking up I may have saved a life. If that’s true, then it was all worth it.”

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How the ban on spectators at Tokyo Olympics could impact athlete performance


(TOKYO) — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshide Suga confirmed Thursday that Olympics events in Tokyo will have no spectatators at any of the Games’ venues.

The prime minister went on television and announced to the nation that a state of emergency with new COVID-19 restrictions will go into effect on July 12 and will remain in place through the Olympics.

After being delayed for a year, the Summer Olympics are scheduled to run from July 23 to Aug. 8.

Hashimoto Seiko, president of Tokyo 2020 said: “As for Tokyo 2020, a very heavy judgement was made” and that officials had “no choice” but to hold the games in a “limited way.”

“There are many people who were looking forward to the Games. Those people who purchased tickets as well as the local community people. We are very sorry we are able to delivery only a limited version of the games but we want to have through operations to ensure a safe and secure games so that the people world over will be able to find the Olympic and Paralympic ideals,” Seiko said.

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee had already ruled that spectators from abroad won’t be allowed “due to the prevailing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic,” including the emergence of more contagious variants.

Tournaments and leagues across the globe have been slowly welcoming back fans, often at reduced capacity, in recent months. The 2020 Games will feature over 300 events representing 33 different sports. For the elite athletes competing, the question of whether fans’ attenance can impact their performance, is an important one.

“Fundamentally, my experience in coaching professional and college athletes is that any change to the performance environment causes some level of stress,” Jonathan Fader, a psychologist who has worked for the New York Mets and New York Giants and a founder of the coaching practice SportStrata, told ABC News. “That change could be weather, that change could be a new coach, that change could be fans.”

There haven’t been studies done during the pandemic on elite athletes and their performance with or without fans, Sam Sommers, a psychology professor at Tufts University and co-author of “This Is Your Brain on Sports,” told ABC News. But “we do know that the presence of other people is physiologically arousing, it makes our heart beat faster, it focuses our attention on what we’re doing,” he said.

“We do perform differently in front of other people than we do on our own,” Sommers said. “There are research findings that suggest that performing in front of others can be a good thing when you’re doing something that is familiar and that you’re well-practiced in.”

Athletes themselves have talked about the difference with fans back in attendance. French tennis player Gael Monfils told ESPN that playing in front of a larger crowd at this year’s French Open was “incredible.”

“I could feel their energy. It definitely made me so happy. Cannot be happier than that,” said Monfils, who reached the second round of the tournament. “I was missing the crowd.”

For the home nation, there may also be benefits from an exuberant Olympics crowd. An analysis published in the Journal of Sports and Sciences in 2003 found that crowd noise can influence officials’ decisions, resulting in a greater home advantage.

Whether or not fans in attendance matters could largely depend on the sport. The crowd at a professional baseball or basketball game is not the same as what you’d find in golf, for instance, Sommers said.

“I mean this with no disrespect, but your average archer or rower may not be used to performing in front of large groups, so the effects may be different,” Sommers said. “You couldn’t offer blanket across-the-board predictions, but there is evidence that suggests that the presence of a lot of people can change our performance.”

Well-trained, seasoned athletes who typically compete in front of large, loud crowds are likely to train for those conditions to tune out any distractions, Fader said.

“What we know is that it helps, usually, to train under the same circumstances that we’re gonna perform,” Fader said. “What a lot of people do is they’ll actually bring in crowd noise. [NFL football coaches] will train players in the cold if they know they’re gonna play in the cold.”

While some athletes may thrive off the energy of fans, there could be benefits to having no crowds in attendance, Fader said.

“There’s less to focus on, and there’s no one heckling you,” he said.

A lack of a home crowd in particular could take the pressure off hometown athletes, one sports psychologist told Reuters ahead of the 2012 London Games.

At Fader’s practice, which works with Olympic athletes, coaches help competitors deal with crowds in part through a mental practice called imagery.

“It helps you in terms of your ability to deal with crowd noise, or non-crowd noise, if you’ve mentally practiced that situation,” Fader said.

Whether or not spectators are in attendance is part of a larger question about “not knowing what normal is anymore,” Sommers said.

“This is a question not just about sports, it’s for the whole world — what’s it going to be like in my college classrooms in the fall? What’s it going to be like in restaurants? What does the future hold?” Sommers said. “All the stuff that we’ve learned over time is thrown into question. We’re figuring it all out, sports is no different.”

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Sha’Carri Richardson’s dashed Olympic hopes ignite debate over marijuana

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The suspension of Sha’Carri Richardson, the sprinter who finished first in the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials, over a failed drug test for marijuana has already sparked calls from advocates for a change within the international sports world.

Although the 21-year-old told reporters she used marijuana during the Olympic trials in Oregon, which has legalized the substance for recreational use, as a way to cope with the loss of her birth mother, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspended her for 30 days citing the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ban on cannabis.

Marijuana legalization advocates said Richardson’s case should propel the U.S. to urge international sports leaders to take a hard look at the association’s rules and the reasoning behind them.

“America is the birthplace of harsh cannabis policies and like many things we exported it around the world,” Matthew Schweich, the deputy director of the nonprofit group the Marijuana Policy Project, told ABC News. “There’s a lot that needs to be undone.”

However, Schweich and other experts warned that this battle will be a marathon and not a sprint due to the rest of the world’s strict policies on marijuana use.

“I don’t think you’ll see the world community will flip a switch [on cannabis rules] just because the United States says it’s legal,” Mark Conrad, the director of the sports business program at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, told ABC News.

Cannabis has been on the WADA list of banned substances since 2004. A substance is banned by the association if it meets two out of three criteria: “potential to or enhances sport performance”; “actual or potential risk to health” and “against the spirit of sport.” Athletes can apply for a “therapeutic use exemption” with a doctor’s approval if they need medical cannabis.

In 2011, WADA published a paper in Sports Medicine explaining why marijuana fit all three criteria. As a performance enhancer, the paper stated the substance “reduces anxiety, allowing athletes to better perform under pressure.” For risk to health, the paper said marijuana causes “slower reaction times and poor executive function or decision making.” And as a sign of it being against the spirit of sport the paper said it’s “not consistent with the athlete as a role model for young people around the world.”

Schweich said that the organization’s reasoning is hypocritical given that alcohol and nicotine are permitted by WADA even though they have similar effects on the body.

“The World Anti-Doping Agency is supposed to stop doping,” he said. “Sha’Carri Richardson’s marijuana use has nothing to do with doping.”

Schweich said WADA’s research on cannabis’ effect on performance is questionable given other studies in recent years. A 2018 study published in The Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine found “no evidence for cannabis use as a performance-enhancing drug.”

The paper’s researchers looked at data from previous studies on cannabis in sports dating as far back as the 1960s. They did not take into account the number of participants in each previous study nor the magnitude of effect within each individual study when making their conclusions.

“Medical and nonmedical cannabis use among athletes reflects changing societal and cultural norms and experiences,” researchers wrote in their conclusion.

Dr. Niteesh Bharara, a sports medicine and regenerative medicine physician at the Virginia Spine Institute, told ABC News that some of his athletes use marijuana for recovery. Cannabis mostly helps those patients with pain and modulating spasms, he said.

“Now, I don’t see it as a performance-enhancing drug, though. It has no evidence that it does actually improve performance,” Bharara told ABC News.

Conrad said Richardson’s case wasn’t the first time WADA’s rules have come up for debate. He noted there are many medications on the banned substance list that have been questioned by athletes and coaches, such as legal decongestants and cold medicines.

However, when it came to cannabis, Conrad, who teaches law and ethics, said there is a bigger hill to climb since almost all countries, including Olympic host nation Japan, have deemed the substance illegal for any use.

“The system is an international system and the U.S. is really just a small part of that,” he said.

Conrad said WADA will likely amend its rules on cannabis as more places legalize the substance, but that move will take time and more calls from world leaders.

Still, Richardson’s situation has sparked some calls for change from prominent American leaders and organizations. Last week, when asked about her suspension, President Joe Biden told reporters that the “rules were the rules,” but added, “whether those should remain … is a different issue.”

In announcing that Richardson would not be going to Tokyo, the U.S. Track and Field team said its athletes “must adhere to the current anti-doping code,” but also said “that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated.”

Schweich said he’s disappointed that the president hasn’t taken more action to defend Richardson and protest WADA’s policy. He noted that the argument would be stronger if there was a national change to the marijuana laws.

“Federal reform sends a powerful message to the world,” he said.

Schweich reiterated that the federal government will have to address the issue soon as more states legalize the substance.

As of July 7, 18 states and the District of Columbia allow for recreational and medicinal marijuana for adults. In the last year, seven states have legalized it through voter referendums or legislative action.

In the meantime, Schweich said Richardson’s plight has resonated with a lot of Americans who have lived through personal losses and turned to cannabis for relief.

“Sometimes it takes real lives and real stories to shift people’s opinion,” he said.

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Scoreboard roundup — 7/7/21


(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Wednesday’s sports events:


Cincinnati 5, Kansas City 2

Tampa Bay 8, Cleveland 1
Chi White Sox 6, Minnesota 1
Tampa Bay 4, Cleveland 0
Detroit 5, Texas 3
LA Angels 5, Boston 4
Toronto 10, Baltimore 2
Houston 4, Oakland 3
NY Yankees 5, Seattle 4

Atlanta 14, Pittsburgh 3
NY Mets 4, Milwaukee 3
Milwaukee 5, NY Mets 0
Miami 9, LA Dodgers 6
Chi Cubs 8, Philadelphia 3
Arizona 6, Colorado 4
San Francisco 5, St. Louis 2
Washington 10, San Diego 5

Final Tampa Bay 1, Montreal 0 (Tampa Bay wins series 4-1)

Minnesota 85, Dallas 79
Seattle 71, Los Angeles 62
Phoenix 99, Las Vegas 90 (OT)

Toronto FC 3, New England 2
CF Montreal 2, New York City FC 1
Chicago 3, Orlando City 1
Seattle 2, Houston 0
Los Angeles FC 2, Austin FC 0
Colorado 2, Minnesota 0
Real Salt Lake 4, Vancouver 0
LA Galaxy 3, FC Dallas 1

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Suns lose Šarić to ACL injury

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(PHOENIX) — Phoenix has announced forward/center Dario Šarić tore his ACL during game one of the NBA Finals Tuesday night. 

The team said he is out indefinitely. 

The injury happened late in the first quarter when Šarić drove the lane and his right knee appeared to buckle when he planted his feet in the paint. 

He checked out of the game and could be seen limping to the locker room. 

“It’s just one of those situations that literally breaks your heart,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “Dario is a guy that I’ve been with twice. I coached him in Philly, and to get a chance to be with him here, he’s what Suns basketball is about. Hard worker, unbelievable guy, and he was so looking forward to playing in these Finals.”

Saric averaged 4.5 points in 10.5 minutes of action during the post-season.

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Killorn out as Lightning look to clinch back-to-back titles

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(TAMPA BAY) — Tampa Bay can clinch its second straight Stanley Cup championship tonight at home against Montreal. 

The Lightning are up 3-1 in the series after dropping game four in Montreal. 

Tampa Bay will likely be without forward Alex Killorn again, according to head coach Jon Cooper.

“I’d say Killorn is probably in the same situation he was the last game,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “Probably doubtful.”

Killorn took part in pre-game warm-ups during game four but did not play. 

He has missed the past three games since taking a puck off a skate in game one. The forward has 8 goals and 9 assists this postseason. 

Cooper said he doesn’t expect any lineup changes ahead of the game. 

Tampa Bay can become the first team to win the Stanley Cup at home since 2015 when the Chicago Blackhawks beat Tampa Bay. 

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CFL, XFL agree to end talks on partnership


(NEW YORK) — The Canadian Football League and the XFL have agreed to stop collaboration between the two leagues. 

The CFL announced the decision in a statement. 

“Our talks with the XFL, exploring the potential for collaboration and innovation, have been positive and constructive. While we remain open to finding new ways to work together in the future, we and our XFL counterparts have jointly decided to not pursue any formal arrangements at this time,” the statement said. 

The CFL begins its season on August 5 and will run to December 12, where the champion will be crowned at the 108th Grey Cup. 

The league canceled its 2020 season after failing to secure a loan from the Canadian government. 

In March, the league’s announced they would be working together to “collaborate, innovate, and grow the game of football.”

“It’s clear through our early conversations that we share a passion for football, an expansive sense of possibility, and a deep desire to create more opportunity for players and fans across North America and around the world. Blending the CFL’s rich heritage with our fresh thinking, and the unique reach and experience of our ownership, could be transformative for the game,” said Jeffrey Pollack, the XFL president, and CEO, in a statement at the time. 

The 2022 XFL season was put on hold while conversations with the CFL were ongoing. 

The second iteration of the XFL began in 2020. The season was canceled after five games because of the coronavirus pandemic. Owner Vince McMahon then put the league in bankruptcy proceedings. 

Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, and RedBird Capital Partners bought the league for $15 million last summer.

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