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“There’s no bigger indication that the times have changed,” Jim Miller, journalist and co-author of the 2011 book “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN,” told CNN Business.

“Sometimes, as African Americans, we know being on the side of right there has to be some uncomfortability for people to actually pay attention to it,” Smith told CNN Business when he reflected on his walkout. “I wish there was a society where you don’t have to do things to get attention, but that hasn’t been the case in any form for our communities.”

The media has long struggled with how to cover the intersection of sports and politics, with management at ESPN and Deadspin opting to concentrate on the former and shy away from the latter. But amid a pandemic that forced sports to go dark and a national reckoning over race, sports journalists are learning that the firewall between sports and politics has vanished, if it ever existed.

“Stick to sports”

In some cases, the “stick to sports” refrain comes from readers rather than management.

During her more than two decades covering sports, USA Today sports columnist Nancy Armour said she has received feedback from readers asking her to keep politics out of sports whenever her columns touch on social issues.

Armour said she has been writing about sports and activism with increasing frequency lately, but the intersection of sports and politics is nothing new.

“Jackie Robinson was the face of desegregation. That was political. Billie Jean King fought for equal pay and equal rights for women. That’s political. The NFL got money from the service branches to have their representatives at games. That’s political,” Armour said.

There are countless examples of athletes as activists, many of whom were featured in the 2018 documentary, “Shut Up and Dribble,” produced by NBA star LeBron James. Decades before Kaepernick took a knee, Muhammad Ali was banned temporarily from boxing and sentenced to five years in prison for draft evasion in protest of the Vietnam War.
Even so, “stick to sports” has pervaded sports media. ESPN released a poll last year that found the majority of viewers do not want to hear about politics on the network. Miller, the ESPN expert, said the network used it as a reason to keep politics out of its coverage.

“They had all this quote unquote research that suggested the viewers didn’t want to hear any of it,” Miller said. “They put that all on the audience, but it was clear that they were more comfortable.”

ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys insists that the company’s stance on political coverage is “often mischaracterized.”

“We have said we aren’t covering pure politics, but clearly we cover it when it intersects with sports, including in the last 24 hours as the sports world became a focal point of social unrest,” Soltys told CNN Business last Thursday during the NBA strike.

G/O Media management also called on Deadspin bloggers and reporters to “stick to sports” last year, prompting staffers to resign en masse. But G/O Media says it has since clarified its stance.

“Deadspin’s mandate is to do sports stories we think matter, whether it be on racial injustice, gender disparities, LGBTQ rights, the environment, or who won the game last night,” a G/O Media spokesperson told CNN Business. “Where sports meets life, essentially, is what we want to explore, examine and question.”

Diana Moskovitz, investigations editor and cofounder of Defector Media, a new media company operated by former Deadspin staffers like herself, told CNN Business that “stick to sports” comes up not only from management but also from peers. (Moskovitz had given her two weeks notice to Deadspin just prior to the mass exodus.)

She said former colleagues in previous newsrooms where she worked have dismissed sports reporters by saying they should stick to game recaps and player performance.

“There’s this version of stay in your lane,” Moskovitz added. “If some real news happens, don’t worry we’ll call one of the White House correspondents because they’re the real reporters.”

ESPN alumn Cari Champion echoed this when she elaborated on why she and Hill launched “Cari & Jemele: Stick To Sports” on Vice TV. Champion said the name was inspired by “what many people asked us to do while we were” at ESPN and “that was just stay in that one lane.”
“Those who tell you to stick to sports are uncomfortable with our take on what we’re seeing in the world and how it relates to sports,” Champion said on “Morning Joe” last week. “As Black journalists, I feel that it is so important for us to speak up about what we see because what’s happening in the country right now requires someone who’s lived that life… All we’re asking right now, especially with our show, is for you just to see us, the humanness in us, the humanity in us.”

“They’re tired of asking nicely”

It’s been nearly impossible for sports journalists to stick solely to game results and player statistics this year. Safety measures stemming from the pandemic forced sports to shut down in March. And when sports returned, protests over George Floyd’s death had roiled the country for months. For the NBA, activism has been at the forefront from its bubble in Orlando, Florida.
“They have worn uniforms with racial-justice slogans and T-shirts that say black lives matter played on courts bearing the same message, and often steered interviews away from basketball to talk about issues such as voter suppression and police violence,” Hill wrote in The Atlantic where she now a contributing writer.
The NBA took a stand against police violence. But a second message quickly became clear
Armour said the NBA players’ strike was sparked by a “tipping point” that the country has reached. She cited LeBron James’ repeated calls for addressing systemic racism, which go as far back to 2012 with the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

“They’re tired of asking nicely,” Armour said. “What more can they do? This is it. They said we’re going to take our ball and we’re going to sit this one out until we get at least an effort to get the kind of action we want.”

Black Lives Matter taking center stage in sports should come as no surprise since sports are played by “human beings, American citizens,” Moskovitz said, noting that the athletes in some leagues, such as the NBA and the NFL, “the vast majority are Black.”

“Police brutality affects their everyday lives,” Moskovitz told CNN Business. “Even if they are millionaires, they are still Black. Of course, they’re going to talk about that because how could they not?”

Hill wasn’t available to comment for this story, but she made similar remarks to CNN’s Jim Sciutto last week.

“They want America to listen to what it’s like to really be Black in America in this country, and to understand the racism that they still even face despite being pro-athletes, despite having these platforms and making millions of dollars and often, in many moments, they’re reminded that they’re Black,” Hill said.

And it’s not just the Black Lives Matter movement. Athletes have spoken out against “inequality, sexism and misogyny, especially in women’s athletics,” Moskovitz said. “To tell them to not talk about that with the platform they have is just denying them their humanity.”

It’s also clear that some reporters will not stay silent about politics and social issues, either.

In a Thursday piece titled, “NBA Players and Their Causes Will Benefit From Decision to Keep Playing,” Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix wrote, “I shudder at the behavior of President Donald Trump, and often struggle to understand the people who support him. I share a popular opinion that the country will be better off when he’s gone.”
The Athletic’s Tony Jones said on Friday’s episode of Sam Vecenie’s “Game Theory” podcast, “Enough is enough, man.”

“You have so many instances where you’re gunned down just because of the color of your skin,” he added. “As a Black man, I’m tired of this. I’m tired of waking up and seeing stuff like this.”

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British-bred Royal Enfield speeding ahead in Asia

114778337 royalenfield2

By Justin Harper
Business reporter, BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe company is aiming to boost its share of motorbike sales in Asia

British-bred Royal Enfield is expanding aggressively as it aims to tap into the world’s biggest motorbike-buying market, in Asia.

One of the world’s oldest bike brands still in operation has been owned by India’s Eicher Group since 1994 and has seen strong sales in its local market.

It is now embarking on increasing sales across Asia, and recently announced plans to open a new factory in Thailand.

Asian customers appreciate the style and heritage of its bikes, Royal Enfield chief executive Vinod Dasari tells the BBC.

“We make a significantly better bike for not a significantly higher price,” he says.

“Plus we design and produce bikes for the world, not just India”.

The new Thailand plant is expected to be in operation within the next 12 months and will be the firm’s biggest factory outside of India.

image copyrightRoyal Enfield
image captionRoyal Enfield’s Continental GT 650 – Ice Queen

It will serve as a hub to export to other countries in South East Asia including Vietnam, Malaysia and China.

Mr Dasari has ambitious plans, aiming to launch one new bike each quarter for the next three to five years. 

“Asia Pacific is a very exciting and important market for us, and our buyers tend to be aspirational, looking for something better.”

  • Harley-Davidson to exit world’s biggest bike market

Winners and losers

Asia has a strong tradition of motorbike riding. India is the world’s biggest market for motorbike sales, followed by Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Motorbikes are the easiest way to navigate the region’s often congested roads, particularly in its big cities.

Sales for Royal Enfield, which only makes motorbikes in the mid-segment market (250-750cc class), have grown 88% across the region in the last year.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionRoyal Enfield is now owned by India’s Eicher Group

However, not all motorbike brands have been successful in Asia.

US-based Harley-Davidson recently announced its withdrawal from India, in stark contrast to Royal Enfield’s expansion.

“Products of Harley-Davidson were considered oversized for India. The infrastructure, top speeds and traffic discipline is not very suited to cruising at high speeds safely,” says Vivek Vaidya, a transport expert at consultants Frost & Sullivan.

“They tried lower engine sizes but that wasn’t their forte. Trying to take on Royal Enfield in that segment was not so easy,” he adds.

Royal Enfield, in contrast, has products which more readily suit the region’s bike buyers, say some.

“People are buying Royal Enfield machines based upon their ease of use, their simple design and their classic vintage styling,” says Scott Lukaitis, a motor sports consultant.

“They provide the opportunity for new riders to enter the power sports community at a cost-conscious price point without the need to have a great deal of mechanical ability or knowledge to keep them running.”

Ask Mr Dasari and he emphasises Royal Enfield’s heritage as an attraction: “We are not just selling a product, we are selling an experience.”

Royal Enfield: A timeline

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA limited edition Royal Enfield Classic 500 Pegasus motorcycle was built in 2018 to pay tribute to WW2’s “Flying Flea”
  • 1893. Originally a bicycle manufacturer, Royal Enfield derives its name from making parts for the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield
  • 1901. Produces its first motorised bikes in Britain
  • 1914-18. In World War One, supplies motorbikes to British, Belgian, French, US and Russian armies
  • 1932. Builds the legendary “Bullet” motorcycle, featuring the inclined “sloper” engine
  • 1939-45. Produces military motorbikes as well as bicycles, generators and anti-aircraft guns in World War Two – most famously the “Flying Flea”, for use by parachutists and glider troops
  • 1960s. The cultural heyday of classic motorbikes, but many brands struggle including Royal Enfield
  • 1970. Ceases UK operations, its Indian subsidiary takes over production
  • 1994. India’s Eicher Motors buys Enfield India, renaming it Royal Enfield Motors Limited
  • 2020. UK is still a key market – its Interceptor 650 is the best-selling middleweight motorcycle
image copyrightYoutube/Jay Leno Garage
image captionFormer US chat show host Jay Leno is a fan of Royal Enfield

Next year marks Royal Enfield’s 120th anniversary since it built its first motorbike. Although with India still battling Covid-19 it has not announced any plans yet to celebrate this milestone.

As for the future of the Asian motorbike sector in a post-pandemic world, many see continued growth.

“The general consensus is fear of infection may shift people away from shared transport to individual mobility. Hence, the cheapest mode for rural areas is the motorcycle,” says Mr Vaidya.

Related Topics

  • Thailand

  • India
  • Asia Pacific
  • Asia
  • Transport

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Time change: Here’s how to stay positive as the nights draw in

201023080046 stock person walking autumn super tease

But although the time change means people will get a little extra sleep on Sunday morning, there is a downside.

While Daylight Saving Time is designed to give people an hour more of daylight in the mornings, the reality is that as winter approaches and the nights draw in, many people who work indoors will find themselves starting work in the dark and finishing in the dark — with little opportunity to see sunlight.

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging across Europe and lockdown measures preventing people from socializing, this winter will feel particularly tough for some.

But the good news is there are things you can do to help keep positive during the winter months. Read on for some mood boosting tips — though if the winter blues start to impact your day to day life — do reach out for some professional support.

Get outdoors, even if just for a few minutes

There are huge benefits to getting outdoors in the daylight each day, even if only for a few minutes. During the working week many people feel as though they are chained to their desks, but a change of scenery, even briefly, can be a real mood booster.

Longer walks on the weekends can also help us feel reconnected to nature and are a great way to exercise.

Sarita Robinson, Deputy Head for the School of Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Central Lancashire, says that getting out into the great outdoors can be a great way to feel more positive.

“We know that green space and blue space are very soothing, so anywhere where the environment looks pretty is actually beneficial — so having a walk down to a local riverside, or if you can get to a beach,” she says.

Even if you live in a city or an urban environment, getting out and looking at your surroundings can still really help — especially if you go out with a “purpose” — for example looking at different bird species, or plant varieties.

“You can find nature in anything,” she adds.

And if you find you need a mood boost when back indoors, a SAD light therapy lamp, which is said to emit bright light similar to that of the sun, but without the potentially harmful UV rays, might help.

Light therapy lamps work by simulating sunlight — although for best results, experts recommend shopping for a product that has an exposure of at least 10,000 lux of light.

Improve your sleep

The changing of the clocks can impact the body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep by taking cues from the environment, including sunlight and darkness. Not getting enough sleep can significantly affect mood, making it hard to concentrate or be productive.

There are things everyone can do to improve their chances of a good night’s sleep, such as avoiding stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and mobile phones before bed.

Catherine Seymour, Head of Research at British charity the Mental Health Foundation, says getting enough sleep is one of the most important things a person can do to be set for the day ahead — and she recommends people prioritize it.

In a 24 hour society, she says, people can delay going to bed at night either to scroll on their phones or catch up with everyday tasks. But it is more important to slow down and get a good night’s sleep.

“Getting that extra hour’s sleep is going to be much more valuable to helping you cope with everything this winter is going to throw at you than an extra hour tidying the house,” she says.

“We tend to sometimes think that shaving an hour off of sleep can be a really efficient way of squeezing more time out of the day but in the long run that catches up with us and can damage our mental health.”

If you are someone who struggles to get to sleep, weighted blankets have also been growing in popularity for people who suffer with insomnia and anxiety. They work by making us feel more physically secure, and have been reported to ease tension, reducing levels of stress hormones in the body.

And if you wake up feeling groggy in the mornings, a sleep lamp might help you to feel more refreshed. Similarly to light therapy lamps, sleep lamps work by mimicking sunlight. Instead of a loud, beeping alarm, a sleep lamp wakes people up as the light gets gradually brighter and brighter.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to help people relax and approach life’s challenges with a more positive mindset. Slowing down and focusing on your surroundings can really help some people to better control their worries and anxiety — which many people are experiencing more than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meditation needn’t take long. Taking just five minutes out of your day to unwind and focus on your breathing could help you to reset.

CNN has a short meditation guide, which you can find here, that will help you release any negativity or stress and allow your body to relax.

Get your body moving, and look after it

Exercise not only keeps the body fit and healthy, but has been proven to improve sleep, mood, and outlook, too.

“Getting outside and exercising is a good way of keeping your mood up — and if you want to beat the blues exercising in nature is a great way to do that,” says Sarita Robinson.

This 5-minute meditation routine will calm you down

Catherine Seymour adds that even as it gets darker, colder, and rainier outside, the benefits of wrapping up and going for a walk are strong.

“There’s the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing — and almost nobody feels worse after going for a walk than they did before,” she says.

“In research we’ve done into how people are coping throughout the pandemic, the top coping mechanism is going for a walk and spending time in nature. We know [walking] really helps people to feel as though they can cope with the uncertainty.”

As well as staying physically active it’s also important to eat healthily.

In times of stress and uncertainty it can feel really tempting to reach for junk food — and possibly booze, too — but it’s really important to have a healthy, balanced diet.

But that doesn’t mean being strict with yourself at all times. It’s important to be kind to yourself too, so have that bar of chocolate when you fancy it — just don’t forget to eat your five a day.

Sing, dance, and be silly

When you’re feeling down, the idea of having fun can seem impossible, but being silly and fooling around can help us feel less glum about the world.

Sarita Robinson says that music and a good dance help her to perk up.

“As it gets gloomy outside, another way to boost your mood with exercise is dancing while singing along to some energetic music — music is a really powerful mood lifter and if you’re feeling a bit down turning on the radio and rocking out to some power ballads is a great way to lift your mood. It’s one of the things I use to lift my spirits when I’m feeling a bit down,” she says.

Catherine Seymour agrees that finding time for simple pleasures is a really great way to give yourself a boost.
To let off steam, her children do a three-minute dance routine throughout the day that they call “go noodles,” she says — and since working from home, Seymour has been joining in.

“Getting up from your seat and just being silly is so good for your mental health and wellbeing. After three minutes I see my children sitting back down with a smile — it improves everybody’s mood and just makes you realize you don’t have to get stuck down a rabbit hole of problems and seriousness,” she says.

“A bit of being lighthearted is good — whether that be dancing around, watching comedy, or playing board games. Lightheartedness and silliness is a tonic.”

CNN’s Allen Kim and Banu Ibrahim contributed to this report.

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Murkowski to back Barrett for Supreme Court, despite opposing GOP process

aplisa

Sen. Lisa Murkowski will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite her opposition to moving forward in an election year.

The Alaska Republican said Saturday she will split her votes on Barrett. She will vote against a procedural hurdle on Sunday to advance her nomination over a filibuster, due to her longstanding objection to confirming a justice so close to the Nov. 3 presidential election.

But based on the merits of Barrett’s credentials for the job, she’s a ‘yes.’

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