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Protesting Rams won't face censure

On Sunday, for their match against the Oakland Raiders, five St Louis Rams players walked onto the pitch with their hands up.

It was a theatrical gesture which, against the backdrop of the protests following the shooting dead of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, proved dramatic and controversial and awoke memories of US sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium at the 1968 Mexico Olympics with their gloved fists raised in a Black Power salute.

Smith and Carlos were vilified in the American media for their protest. While the local Police Officers Association has described the Rams players action "inflammatory" and called for them to be disciplined, neither the club nor the NFL will be taking disciplinary action.

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter insists that, despite allegations of bribery, the 2022 World Cup will be staged in Qatar. Keeping a watching brief on developments is the International Olympic Committee whose president Thomas Bach says he believes Blatter will make good on his promise not to clash with the Winter Games when the World Cup finals are rescheduled. Given the lucrative sponsorship interests involved, Bach has flagged his concerns early in case Blatter decides to run the finals during January and February when the Winter Games are being held. "FIFA realise that their situation is not the easiest one," says Bach.

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I suppose there's no chance that, as he's retiring from MLS and the New York Red Bulls, Thierry Henry might decide to repay his debt to Irish football by helping boost the struggling SSE Airtricity League. I'm sure Eamon Naughton, chairman of the FAI National League Executive Committee, would welcome an approach from Henry for recommendations of a suitable club to join here, before possibly heading back to Arsenal. Although, given the Frenchman's ball handling skills, he might be directed towards the Ballymun Kickhams.

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With well over €5 million in prize money on offer, Shane Lowry (27) has plenty of incentives to make a dramatic start to the 2015 golf season is his debut in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa this week.

The new season is already more interesting. After his back injuries, Tiger Woods (39) has a new swing coach and is hoping to regain the form that earned him 14 majors and perhaps bring him closer to the record 18 held by Jack Nicklaus. One of Rory McIlroy's ambitions for 2015 is to win the Masters at Augusta. "I've a chance to complete the Career Grand Slam at 25," he says.


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