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Lion Links: 1/27/20

The loss of a legend, the MLS CBA, the coronavirus affects Olympic qualifying, and more.

MLS: BodyArmor-Press Conference Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers. I know that’s not my usual greeting, but given the news of the death of Kobe Bryant, I felt it wouldn’t be appropriate. I don’t think there’s much more for me to say, other than that the Black Mamba will be missed.

The Loss of a Legend

Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash early Sunday morning near the Southern California residential neighborhood of Calabasas. Tragically, Bryant was one of nine to die in the crash, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The other people will not be publicly identified until the next of kin have been notified. Although an icon across all sports, Bryant was recently in soccer news as an investor in the BodyArmor sports drink, and was involved in the recent deal between the company and MLS. Orlando City captain Nani met Bryant when the BodyArmor deal was announced and expressed his condolences.

The MLS CBA Negotiations

With the new collective bargaining agreement looming, the idea of a salary arbitration mechanism might be a good idea. The recent trade deal between D.C. United and Atlanta United involving Julian Gressel showcased some of the problems with salary negotiations in MLS. The players are looking for fair compensation, and owners are looking to keep player expenses under club control. With opportunities available in other leagues for up-and-coming MLS players, it’s in the best interest of the league to offer mechanisms for keeping those players within the league.

Coronavirus Concerns in the Soccer World

With the coronavirus spreading in China, the Chinese Football Association has withdrawn from hosting an Olympic women’s soccer qualifying event. The event had already been moved once from Wuhan, where the outbreak started, but it has now been moved to Sydney, Australia. Sadly, more than 2,000 people have been infected, and as of now 56 people have died globally. The qualifying group is Group B and consists of Australia, China, Thailand, and Taiwan, and the event will be held Feb. 3-9.

Free Kicks
  • For the FIFA players out there, Orlando rookie Daryl Dike was added to the game.
  • Nantes fans paid tribute to Argentine striker Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash a year ago. The team also wore special blue and white jerseys in the fashion of the Argentina national team in honor of Sala.
  • Racism has reared its ugly head once again. Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams was upset about a 1-1 draw against Espanyol, but was even more upset with alleged racist abuse from Espanyol supporters.
  • Edinson Cavani may be on his way from Paris Saint-Germain to Atletico Madrid. Cavani is out of contract at PSG in June after six and a half years, but hasn’t been in the lineup since his groin injury. The deal is expected to be completed within days.
  • A pair of Liverpool supporters went to the wrong Belgian city to watch Liverpool FC in the Champions League. Let’s just say the words Gent, Ghent, and Genk were involved. Now, Genk invited the pair to a match against Gent. Love it.
  • We have no details on this, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on in the coming days.
  • Nani is feeling good, and looking good, rocking his new hairdo.

We’ll end today’s links with Nani’s pearly whites to help get this Monday started off right. I hope you all have a great day and week.