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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Thursday, December 24

Naomi Osaka on athletes speaking up

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Aston Villa Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Hi, all!

We’ve got Alanna Kennedy at the top today.

Ramble of the Day

Naomi Osaka has truly established herself as not just a tennis player worth watching, but one worth listening to. I can only applaud her; I imagine many don’t go into sports thinking they might have a microphone thrust towards them and know how to use it, but Osaka has used that platform to play her part in the fight against racism. Her latest move was writing a piece in The New York Times, and I’d like to spotlight an excerpt:

Do people see us as no more than bodies — individuals who can achieve what’s physically impossible for nearly everyone else, and who entertain fans by pushing ourselves past our limits? Do they wonder if a collection of muscles, bones, blood and sweat might also be able to voice an opinion? ...

When we are not performing, we live in the same country as everyone else. And as plenty of athletes today can attest, that means we are subject to the same injustices and inequalities that have led to the murder of people who look just like us but who don’t enjoy the same protections afforded by our fame, access and support systems. Just ask the N.B.A. player Sterling Brown, whom police officers shot with a stun gun, or my tennis colleague James Blake, who was slammed to the ground and handcuffed for 15 minutes by police officers while he stood outside a New York City hotel (the officers said it was a case of “mistaken identity”). Just because we are athletes doesn’t mean we are unaffected by what happens around the country, nor does it obligate us to keep our mouths shut.

This is only a snapshot of the piece, and if you have the few minutes (and don’t run into the Times’ paywall), you should read it. She is not the first to make this point — this isn’t even the first time she’s made this point — but it remains worth remembering: athletes using their platforms to protest racism is based on simple truths of them understanding the world they live in. It can only be a good thing if they are doing their part to eradicate discrimination in any form.

Links of the Day

Southampton and Brighton will have to play behind closed doors as COVID-19 cases increase in parts of England.

Atléti’s Kieran Trippier received a ten week ban and a £70k fine from the FA after breaking betting rules.

West Ham women hired Olli Harder as the team’s new manager.

RB Salzburg’s Mohamed Camara and Sekou Koita failed a drug test after returning from international duty with Mali.

A longer read: Donald McRae interviews agent Michael Kallbäck, who was inspired to move into the women’s game after the birth of his daughter and meeting his birth mother for The Guardian