Baseball must live on

MLB attendance is down league-wide as the average game length continues to increase

Baseball must live on

Attention spans have shortened and with the rise in popularity of competing sports leagues, the NBA has replaced the MLB as the second most popular sports league in North America, behind the NFL.

In an recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, host Bill Simmons says that he believed that people under 35 generally do not care about baseball. “When you go to the games, half the people are on their phones,” he said. “I got LAFC MLS tickets and you go to the game and people are into it, and its two hours and you’re out!”

The slow pace and long schedule of baseball has increasingly become a problem. The MLB has adopted new rules: the number of mound visits per game are limited, intentional walks are no longer thrown, and managers have only a 30-second window in which they can challenge a play. Each of these changes was made with the end goal of speeding up the pace of play.

In the end, there is no way to control how many hits or walks will occur during a game, and there is no limit on how much time a pitcher is allowed to take between pitches. The long, tense nature of the sport is unavoidable. And despite rule changes, in 2017, the average game length reached a record high, at three hours, five minutes, and 11 seconds.

Another point made in Simmons’ podcast is that an overdependence on statistics may actually be hurting fan engagement. When I find myself watching baseball with my roommates, one asks, “Hey what’s OBP? What about RISP?” and none of us know. Interesting baseball discussions have boiled down to analytics, a jumble of numbers, citing past matchups, and hitting averages against lefties or righties — the list goes on.

Simmons explained that the league has become so “stat obsessed” that there is no room for arguments. Meanwhile, basketball fans can argue about a player for hours since there are many arguments that do not refer to statistics.

Chuck Klosterman added that baseball arguments are often about “should we even care about batting averages?” and that he is “constantly being told what stats not to think about.”

Baseball’s dependence on numbers has halted conversations and simply made baseball debates less engaging. Ultimately, we must ask whether the level of argumentation is truly a reflection of the sport’s health. In my household, baseball games mainly provoke statistics chatter — much less engaging than our chats during the NBA season.

Now, let’s get down to the numbers regarding the MLB’s troubles. In June, Fortune reported that attendance is down 6.6 per cent since the same time last season and that there hasn’t been such a drastic dip in attendance since 1995. MLB attendance is now at its lowest in the past 15 years and there is a chance that average attendance dips below 30,000 for the first time since 2003. This may support the argument that the sport’s overuse of statistics and lengthening games has not done well for the MLB’s ratings.

Ironically, the advanced statistic Three True Outcomes percentage (TTO) is the clearest signifier of baseball’s slowing pace. TTO shows the percentage of at-bats that result in a walk, strikeout, or home run. Reporters have noticed that baseball has transformed from a “game of intense strategy, scrappy hitters, crafty pitchers and defensive wizardry,” into a sport that solely emphasizes the matchup between batters and pitchers. This year TTO reached a league average of 33.5% of at-bats, the highest rate in history, which means the league has never seen so few balls hit in play.

As the average number of home runs and walks reach their highest rates in history, the games only get longer. The MLB is walking a tightrope as there is pressure to shorten the game, but there is also pressure to promote excitement — which means base runners and home runs.

The recent decrease in ticket sales and TV ratings display that the sport is in obvious trouble, but baseball is still too special and popular of a game for it to die out completely.

Personally, the game’s slow pace adds a level of tension that no other sport can offer. Every motion and every inch in baseball can decide out or safe, win or loss. The use of statistics creates a fascinating strategic element that is unparalleled in any other major sport. It remains the only sport where players can depend more on technique and knowledge than pure athletic prowess.

While young, flashier soccer and basketball players have put pressure on the MLB to reinvigorate its own fan base to see a rise in viewership, I strongly believe that this is only a phase and there are many decades of great baseball ahead of us.

A debate on the Autumn Munk Debate

Two opposing student perspectives on the upcoming Toronto debate about populism, which features the controversial Steve Bannon

A debate on the Autumn Munk Debate

“Be it resolved, the future of western politics is populist, not liberal…”
PRO: Steve Bannon CON: David Frum  

Should Steve Bannon speak at the Munk Debate? Poll Results.


The left gains from listening, not silencing 

Steve Bannon, if you are not familiar with the name, is many things — none of which I would take much pride in being called. He is a media executive, investment banker, and a former executive of Breitbart News. Most importantly, however, he is an alt-right politician who was the White House’s Chief Strategist during the first seven months of the Trump presidency, until his high-profile departure. 

Bannon’s views are clear and controversial: under him, Breitbart was immersed  in scandals regarding, but not limited to, racism, antisemitism, sexism, and white supremacism. During the disastrous 2016 United States presidential elections, when it was announced Bannon would take up an influential post in the White House, there was an incredulous outpouring of public outrage. 

Most recently, following widespread criticism of its selection, The New Yorker dropped Bannon from its upcoming festival in October. Similarly, there are calls to disinvite Bannon from speaking at the Autumn Munk Debate in Toronto against David Frum, where Bannon will support the proposition, “the future of western politics is populist, not liberal.” 

Many are worried about allowing Bannon to spread his alt-right, populist views. However, Bannon’s disinvitation due to public outrage would be a very clear violation of free speech. 

Bannon, irrespective of the repulsiveness of his views, should be allowed to share his perspective and ‘educate’ the audience. Particularly, the most important redeeming quality from his speech is that we can critically reflect on that with which we disagree, a practice that can help us cultivate stronger and more well-rounded arguments. 

In the current political climate, an observation I have made is that those who are left-leaning, with which I identify myself, seem to be too impatient to listen to the opposition’s argument. We become so overcome with outrage that we quickly pick up on the disgraceful rhetoric expressed by the opposition, rather than think about the context in which that expression is made. However, this should not be confused with justification for any spiteful words articulated by the alt-right. 

The left speaks up everywhere — on the streets, on social media, in public spaces, in government. This has unwittingly helped the opposition cultivate its argument. One of the major reasons the alt-right is so successful in the dissemination of its information is that it listens to everything we say, framing and responding to every one of our talking points before we even say them. Our views are so easily accessible and visible in society for the opposition to read, especially given our propensity to protest and march. 

The power of free speech gives us the opportunity to not only express ourselves, but to enjoy the expressions of those with whom we disagree; by better knowing the opposition, we can improve the quality of our arguments and our capacity to challenge them. However, the left continues to squander this opportunity — rather than exercise reason and pay attention to the alt-right, we are bested by emotion and demand its silence. 

It would be extremely beneficial for U of T students to attend the Autumn Munk Debate and listen to Bannon’s views on populism. As the Western world undergoes rapid change, typical understandings of the functions of a democratic society — trade, immigration, foreign policy — are being questioned. Populism has taken the front seat in this new era of politics. 

The value of this Munk Debate is that it will expose the logic of an alternative political system and its approaches to governance. Although populism currently seems like a radical idea, there is no saying what the future holds — after all, liberal democracy was at one time viewed as revolutionary. Bannon, who is closely associated with the most powerful populist figure in the world — Donald Trump — may grant the audience exclusive insights into the concept. 

Providing Steve Bannon with a platform does not put anyone at risk. Ironically, it provides the left with the opportunity to develop its understanding of the increasingly relevant concept and practice of populism, and potentially, to improve the way it can engage and argue against the opposition. The Toronto public, and especially our student body, must be equipped with all the tools needed to debate those who have different values and perspectives. To this end, the left, rather than seek the disinvitation of Bannon, should invite themselves to listen.  

Varsha Pillai is a first-year Social Sciences student at University College.


The absence of the left points to a questionable debate 

It should first be noted that the proposition is reductive and vague. Most scholars associate the term ‘populism’ with politicians who emphasize their loyalty to the majority of the population and reject the ‘elites.’ Ultimately, populism is an approach to politics that depends on the ideology that brings it into force; this renders the discussion of a general concept of ‘populism’ a flawed debate topic. 

Furthermore, the dichotomy presented between populism and liberalism is questionable, given the rise of seemingly-paradoxical ‘neoliberal populist’ movements, such as French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! movement. 

The choice of participants for the Autumn Munk Debate opens the door to an even more significant void in this debate: that of ideological representation. Putting aside the surprising absence of voices from Europe, which has been shaken by numerous populist movements, in a debate about Western politics, the larger issue remains that there is no representation for left-wing populism. The views on stage will range from centre-right to far-right. 

To only invite a right-wing populist,  Bannon, under the guise that he speaks for the entire pro-populist side, is both unfair to populism and inaccurate of its actual manifestations. These debates are responsible for providing the jumping-off points for people’s thoughts on these ideas — to fail to inform people that support for populism is not exclusive to the alt-right will only lead to ignorance. 

Beyond ideology, Bannon himself is unrepresentative of the populist base that he claims to represent. Bannon, who is a privately-schooled, Harvard-educated former investment banker, is part of the elite he purports to criticize. Indeed, many recent right-wing populist movements have been no different: Trump is a Wharton graduate of immense inherited wealth; Brexit was led by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, both Oxbridge graduates who employ ‘reject the experts’ rhetoric.

Of course, David Frum is hardly representative of the ‘liberal’ side either: he has been responsible for one of the most authoritarian speeches in recent American history, employing highly populist rhetoric to attack non-Western democracies. 

The Munk Debates’ ignorance of leftist supporters on either side of this debate points to a troubling trend in Western politics, one that says that the people “have had enough of experts,” as Gove famously said on British television just before Brexit — a trend that places trust in loud polemicists, often perceived as ‘public intellectuals,’ instead. 

Populism should not be seriously discussed without bringing in experts on the digital spread of information and misinformation, the increasing levels of support for referendum-driven democracy, and other phenomena which have allowed Western populism to flourish — and neither Bannon nor Frum cite these experts when making their cases. Populism deserves a more holistic, informed, and global analysis.

We then come to a final problem: that of Bannon’s actual attendance at the debate. Bannon’s ideas are one problem, but the platform that this debate could give him is a far more dangerous one. Bannon has a history of expressing sexist and racist views. He co-ran Trump’s 2016 election campaign, one which coincided with a hitherto-unforeseen spike in hate crimes reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Bannon uses the affectation of reason to push hateful ideas. The Munk Debates are propagating the idea that Bannon and his ideas are reasonable by putting him up on stage.

This is not a free speech issue. The suppression of free speech entails censorship: denying someone any sort of platform, private or public. Bannon has many platforms and he has used them to repeat the same message. His ideas have been publicized throughout the last few years, by everyone from liberal-learning mass media to demagogues like Nigel Farage, Kellie Leitch, and Viktor Orbán. We must consider the fact that, even if we did want to hear the words of Bannon, he does not have anything important to say. 

Bannon should be dropped from this debate because of the horrific ideals he openly espouses — ideals which he has been given chance after chance to spread. But even if the Munk Debates decide to tolerate the fact that Bannon is one of the worst people in modern Western media, he should be dropped simply because, as someone who is both unrepresentative of populism and ideologically worn out, he is irrelevant to the topic at hand. 

Arjun Kaul is a fifth-year Neuroscience student at St. Michael’s College. 


Editor’s Note (2018-10-01): The “Should Steve Bannon speak at the Munk Debate?” poll at the top of the article was replaced after 14 days of polling with the completed results. 

TIFF 2018: The soundtracks

My favourite four musical moments from this year’s movies

TIFF 2018: The soundtracks

If you’ve been anywhere downtown in the last two weeks, you probably have noticed that TIFF season was upon us. Whether you’re interested in seeing the films, volunteering, or on the lookout for celebs, many U of T students find themselves involved. This year, I decided to up my own festival game, seeing 25 movies.

Music is undoubtedly a key element to film, whether it is the score providing support for what’s on screen or a memorable soundtrack moment being forever tied to the scene in which it’s played. The broad range of films at TIFF have an array of musical moments, and I’ve created a small playlist to recognize some of the best that I’ve seen.

Song: “Trying” by Bully

Film: Her Smell

The TIFF film that’s stuck in my mind the most this year is Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell, in which Elisabeth Moss plays the frontwoman of ’90s all-female punk rock band Something She. Providing the music for the fictional band is Alicia Bognanno of the band Bully. The Nashville band has garnered acclaim for their music, which mixes an indie and punk rock sound with emotional rawness and directness.

Something She has a few louder songs throughout the film, but they really stand out when Moss’ character Becky Something performs acoustically; the lyrics and arrangements really show Bognanno’s and Moss’ talents. Bully’s song “Trying,” from their 2015 album Feels Like, is a good mix of both.

Song: “Windowlicker” by Aphex Twin

Film: Climax

Gaspar Noé’s film is about a French dance troupe in the mid-1990s, who get together to rehearse and then party. But when a bowl of sangria that the group has been drinking from throughout the entire night turns out to have been spiked, the night quickly descends into paranoia, despair, and a show of humans at their lowest. Before that happens, however, the film is a joyous showcase of people expressing themselves in the way they know best, through dance.

The movie is scored by an assortment of French house songs, which play almost constantly throughout the film.

One of the most recognizable songs is intelligent dance music classic “Windowlicker,” by electronic musician Aphex Twin. In this sequence, we see the film’s main character, played by Sofia Boutella, stumble through hallways, affected by whatever was in the sangria. The song is quintessentially weird, and its bizarre rhythms fit perfectly with Boutella’s physical performance.

Song: “Chandelier” by Sia

Film: Vox Lux

One of the joys of heavy TIFF-going is being able to see the many filmmakers’ different views on contemporary life, and Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux feels like the most modern and reflective of the current world. The film touches on school shootings, pop stardom, media image, a loss of innocence in culture, internet terrorist groups, and art’s relation to trauma.

The film features a bizarre pairing behind its music: pop star turned experimental artist Scott Walker, and indie pop singer turned pop star Sia. Sia’s “Chandelier” is a song that well represents the chaos and catharsis in the film and has already cemented itself as one of the best pop hits of the decade.

Song: “The Shallow” by Lady Gaga

Film: A Star Is Born

Arguably, no film has dominated TIFF conversation as much as Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born remake. Having two major celebrities both take on different jobs from what they are known for in a big-budget and ambitious film is exciting. The film boasts a great trailer, but there are 27 seconds of it that stand out from the rest. I will admit that I did not see this film, and the song featured has not been released yet, but it is worth noting as possibly the defining song of the festival.

Immediately, the viewer is struck by Lady Gaga’s vocals, which are more emotional than most songs or movies this year, without even using words. The song has become somewhat of a Twitter meme, and it shows how it has captured people’s hearts before, during, and presumably after the festival. We’re far from the shallows now.

“Cowardly murder”: U of T accounting clerk and part-time caterer found beaten to death in the foyer of his home in spring 2011

Estranged husband, husband’s lover convicted seven years later

“Cowardly murder”: U of T accounting clerk and part-time caterer found beaten to death in the foyer of his home in spring 2011

At 5:00 pm, Allan Lanteigne’s day finally ended. Saying goodbye to his colleagues at the University of Toronto’s Ancillary and Capital Accounting office, he walked out the door and headed home.

On his way, he thought of his estranged husband, who had been away in Europe for quite some time, and who had asked him earlier that day to call once he got home. About what, Lanteigne didn’t know; he was just told not to “dilly dally.”

After a twenty-something-minute commute through the west end, he arrived at 934 Ossington Avenue. Climbing the brick steps, Lanteigne fumbled for his key, hoping to get the conversation with his husband over soon.

At around 5:37 pm, he walked inside and closed the door behind him. Then, in an instant, he was attacked. Lanteigne had likely scratched desperately at his assailant, but could not fend him off.

His attacker fled, leaving him bleeding on the ground. Lanteigne died soon after. Bludgeoned to death.

The evening crept into morning.

Almost 24 hours later, police discovered Lanteigne’s body right in front of his door. He was lying face-down in the middle of the foyer, still wearing his coat from the day before.

On March 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm, Allan Lanteigne was found murdered in his own home, with “obvious signs of trauma,” according to investigators at the scene. 

Homicide Detective Tam Bui, one of the case’s investigators with the Toronto Police Service, would tell me years later that once officers arrived at the scene, there was no question that Lanteigne’s death was suspicious. The autopsy only confirmed what they already knew — he was beaten to death in a homicide.

News of Lanteigne’s passing spread quickly amongst family, friends, and colleagues. The day after the autopsy results were released to the public, people began posting messages of shock and horror on his Facebook wall.

“I will miss you so much,” wrote Carmine Malfitano.

“You will live forever in our hearts. There is no justice. You are the purest soul. My friend forever more,” posted Claudia Ammar.

On April 1, Lanteigne’s funeral was held  in Saint John, New Brunswick — a long way from his Ossington home. Mourners attended to remember their late friend, many of whom described him as “kind” and “gentle.”

But one prominent figure was missing. His husband, Demitry Papasotiriou, or Papasotiriou-Lanteigne, as he would be referred to years later in official court documents. He was in Europe at the time of the murder. He had heard about Lanteigne’s death over the phone, police said, but declined to return for the funeral.

In 2018, Bui told me that Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s absence from his husband’s service was a strong red flag in the investigation. From the get-go, police had identified Papasotiriou-Lanteigne as a person of interest — they had spoken to him over the phone after they discovered Lanteigne’s body, but they found him to be uncooperative. According to Bui, he was confrontational and refused to speak to investigators unless his criminal defence lawyer was physically with police in Toronto while he was on speakerphone in Greece.

Lanteigne and Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s marriage had taken their family and friends by surprise. The two had only known each other for a few months before they got married in November 2004. But they were a couple in a love, and Lanteigne soon moved into Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s Ossington Avenue home. 

For a fleeting moment, they were happy.

Only five years later, a new man entered the picture: Mladen “Michael” Ivezic, a married father from Mississauga. He became Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s new lover. They met online and almost immediately began what would later be described as an “intensely intimate” affair that they kept as a closely-guarded secret from their partners and their families. They grew so close that Papasotiriou-Lanteigne gave Ivezic a key to his house.

Despite their crumbling relationship, Lanteigne continued to live with his husband. Lacking a connection with his husband, he turned his attention on the house itself, investing time, money, and effort into making the building a comfortable place. He widened the front porch, put an addition into the third floor, and filled the home with antique furniture.

In 2009, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was accepted into the University of Lucerne’s doctorate of law program in Switzerland. He left Lanteigne behind — but paid for Ivezic’s visits. A new start. 

That was supposed to be the end. Husband moves away with new boyfriend; partner stays behind and rebuilds. But things didn’t go that way.

In the spring of 2010, the couple moved to Greece, where Papasotiriou-Lanteigne has dual citizenship. Papasotiriou-Lanteigne demanded money from his husband so that he and his boyfriend could sustain a lavish lifestyle, away from the demands of his numerous commitments.

At this point, Lanteigne had been working two jobs. Aside from his job as an accounting clerk for U of T, he also worked part-time as a caterer, providing for both himself in Canada and his husband abroad. He was struggling to pay the bills and maxed out his credit cards just to survive.

Tensions between Lanteigne and Papasotiriou-Lanteigne eventually reached a breaking point. Papasotiriou-Lanteigne asked Lanteigne to liquidate the $23,000 that he had saved for retirement, but Lanteigne refused.

“I am working my ass off and I do not see you doing anything,” wrote Lanteigne in an email. 

“My husband is having the time of his life in Greece and Switzerland and with his hand out and I’m here like a slave giving it to him,” he wrote to someone else.

A month before his death, Lanteigne sent his spouse $1,425. 

“There will be no more,” he told his husband.

On March 2, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne sent Lanteigne an email, asking Lanteigne to call him in Greece. “Don’t dilly dally on your way home buying shoes and shirts and crystal balls,” wrote Papasotiriou-Lanteigne. At 5:00 pm that day, Lanteigne packed up his bag and walked out the door. After a short commute, he arrived home at Ossington Avenue and unlocked the door.

More than a year and a half later, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was arrested in Toronto.

In a press conference at police headquarters on November 2, 2012, Bui told reporters that they had arrested Papasotiriou-Lanteigne on charges of first-degree murder. He had just arrived back in the country after years of living in Europe.

With Bui was Dan Sterritt, husband of Lanteigne’s sister, Jocelyne. “When you lose someone through something so senseless and tragic as a murder, it’s almost incomprehensible,” said Sterritt.

“Allan was a loving family member. That sounds so inadequate to say. He was the organizer of the family reunions, he was the favourite uncle to nieces and nephews, he was a brother that was remembered as being kind and generous.”

But why was Papasotiriou-Lanteigne back in Canada?

Shortly after Lanteigne was brutally murdered, without stepping foot on the continent, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne sought all the financial benefits he believed he was entitled to as a surviving spouse. With the help of Ivezic, who was physically in the GTA at that point, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was able to receive thousands of dollars in benefits as Lanteigne’s widower.

The main attraction among the benefits was Lanteigne’s $2 million life insurance policy. Spread across two private companies, it named Papasotiriou-Lanteigne as the sole beneficiary.

When Lanteigne’s family caught wind of his movements, they fought Papasotiriou-Lanteigne in court. Their lawyer would argue that a man found criminally responsible for killing his husband should not be able to profit from it.

Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s legal team contended that the family was not named in the life insurance policy — ergo, they should not be eligible to receive any benefits from Lanteigne’s death. In late 2012, after months of a civil suit, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne returned to Canada to fight the case. Police arrested him soon after.

The hefty life insurance policy, Bui told me, was another red flag. He explained that Lanteigne earned around $50,000 a year at U of T, which has a general employee policy that is around twice the employee’s salary. This means that Lanteigne’s policy would have been around $100,000. It would also be normal for Lanteigne to have an additional $100,000 policy, Bui said, so an approximate $200,000 policy would have been suitable for their economic conditions.

The seven-figure amount sounded an alarm for investigators and, coupled with other factors, led to the charge and arrest of Papasotiriou-Lanteigne.

Police also identified Ivezic as a suspect and charged him with first-degree murder. Two months later, with an arrest warrant issued by Interpol, the Hellenic National Police arrested Ivezic in Athens. By early June 2013, Ivezic had been extradited back to Canada and had made a court appearance at Old City Hall, signalling both the end of a two-year manhunt and the beginning of a five-year legal process. The search for suspects was over.

It was the moment that Lanteigne’s loved ones had been waiting for. With both suspects on Canadian soil, the criminal trial could finally begin. But due to delays, proceedings wouldn’t begin until the end of the summer the following year, when preliminary hearings — used to determine if cases can go to trial — began.

That fall, the trajectory changed again. In an unexpected decision, Ontario Court Justice Shaun Nakatsuru threw out the first-degree murder charge against Papasotiriou-Lanteigne, citing insufficient evidence presented against him at the time. Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was subsequently released to his mother. Ivezic continued to stand trial.

“It was very tragic when Allan died and it will always be tragic,” Papasotiriou-Lanteigne said through his lawyer at the time. “I’m just relieved to be free of the accusation that I had anything to do with it.”

The Crown quickly sought to overturn the decision. On October 21, Crown lawyers alleged that Nakatsuru had failed to consider the array of evidence presented to him in preliminary hearings, and asked a higher court judge to order Nakatsuru to move ahead with the first-degree murder trial of Papasotiriou-Lanteigne.

But before the Crown’s appeal could go through, Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur intervened using a rare move called “preferred indictment” to bypass the system. Under the Criminal Code, the Ministry of the Attorney General has the power to reinstate a case — “prefer” an indictment — to the Superior Court if it was dismissed during preliminary hearings.

And so it was settled. The case would finally go ahead.

In a courtroom at Old City Hall on November 27, 2017, jurors began listening to the criminal case against Papasotiriou-Lanteigne and Ivezic. After years of delay from Papsotiriou-Lanteigne and Ivezic, the trial was finally given the go-ahead in late 2017 — exactly 13 years after Lanteigne and Papasotiriou-Lanteigne were married.

The proceedings were ugly. Crown prosecutor Anna Tenhouse painted a picture of a secret affair, closely-guarded from the two suspects’ families, and a heightening sense of greed that led to a plot to murder Lanteigne for the financial benefits.

Tenhouse read excerpts from emails exchanged between Papasotiriou-Lanteigne and Ivezic while they were together to the jurors, and pointed out that Papasotiriou-Lanteigne gave Ivezic a key to 934 Ossington Avenue. 

She argued that since there was no evidence of forced entry into the home, Ivezic had used the key to enter the home and wait for Lanteigne to arrive home. The “dilly dally” email, Tenhouse argued, was the couple’s way of luring him into their trap.

However, the so-called ‘smoking gun’ wasn’t the emails or the money. Forensic biologist Kimberley Sharpe discovered foreign DNA under Lanteigne’s fingernails, indicating that he had fought off his attacker — and the DNA matched Ivezic’s. According to Sharpe, the DNA transfer had to have come from something close, something physical.

Ivezic denied the charge, and said that the transfer most likely came from the last time he saw Lanteigne —  they had allegedly had lunch together days before the incident. He said that even though he and Papasotiriou-Lanteigne were in a romantic relationship, he kept an acquaintanceship with Lanteigne. His argument was strongly undercut by the fact that jurors did not see any evidence that supported these claims. 

Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s defence, on the other hand, hinged both on the fact that he was out of the country at the time of his husband’s death, and that he had a pending property sale in Greece that could have netted him around $600,000.

The crux of his legal arguments, however, threw his lover under the bus. During the trial, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s counsel suggested that Ivezic may have had his own reasons for potentially murdering Lanteigne, like jealousy. They told jurors that he may have acted without informing his new lover.

Earlier, Ivezic claimed he was being unfairly prosecuted for his lifestyle. He conceded he was guilty of cheating on his wife and lying to his three children, but “last time I checked, an extramarital affair is not a criminal offence in Canada.”

Ivezic fired his lawyer and began to represent himself during court proceedings.

The case dragged on.

In early June this year, the jury handed down their decision to convict both Papasotiriou-Lanteigne and Ivezic of first-degree murder. The two men were automatically sentenced to life in prison, without eligibility for parole for 25 years. 

“This was not a spontaneous response to a lover’s quarrel, or a couple of drug dealers fighting over turf. This was a cowardly murder, by two-cold-blooded killers of a gentle and decent man,” said Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein in court.

Earlier this month, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne appealed his case, alleging that jurors misunderstood the “don’t dilly dally” email and that his communications with Lanteigne and Ivezic are under interpretation. He was released from prison on bail and is currently under strict house arrest.

Under Armour comes to U of T

#WillFindsAWay meets the #6ix

Under Armour comes to  U of T

After the announcement that Under Armour would be the new athletics apparel partner and sponsor for the Varsity Blues in late May, the hype for the famous brand has increased across campus. With Blues athletes sporting their fresh track wear and uniforms, there is no doubt that Under Armour has become a significant presence on campus.

On Thursday, September 13, the Under Armour team brought fitness training and athletic events to U of T, as Back Campus was transformed into a state-of-the-art workout studio with a massive stage. Under Armour symbols were proudly worn by participating students and fitness instructors alike.

The yellow and black #WillFindsAWay signs were scattered around, separated by the sea blue U of T shirts handed out to participants. #WeareTO was also a huge sign, flying in the air.

The day started out with drop-in events such as dodgeball, yoga, soccer, and volleyball, but ended with three sessions of bodyweight fitness classes.

The bodyweight fitness classes were packed with students and athletes alike, taking a much needed break from their first week of studies to stretch and move around.

The fitness classes, led by a very motivational fitness coach, started with basic stretching and moved into more complex moves, providing participants with a good challenge. At one point, U of T mascot True Blue decided to take a shot at some of the moves.

Although the sponsorship from Under Armour as the official sportswear brand of U of T may seem like it is only an opportunity for Varsity Blues athletes, it is events like these that help make athletics more accessible to the regular, everyday student.

The space was inclusive and inviting, with people of all abilities and fitness levels joining in.

Whether a participant was there for an intense workout or just for a fun activity to break up a busy day, it’s doubtful that anyone left the field without a smile on their face.

Donald Trump has sparked a civil war within the NFL’s fanbase

Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem in 2016

Donald Trump has sparked a civil war within the NFL’s fanbase

With more fans than any other collegiate or professional sport, the NFL boasts the highest league revenues as well as the most lucrative television deal in the world.

Yet in recent years, the NFL and its players have been bombarded with controversy, which has served to polarize the league’s fan base. Players choosing to kneel during the national anthem — and the assorted policy and procedural changes that the NFL adopted to address these player actions — continue to be an ongoing issue, even with the 2018 season kickoff.

Nike’s latest “Just Do It” ad campaign, featuring the leader and face of the movement, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has only served to heighten the debate surrounding the issue.

Kaepernick first popularized the controversial act of kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to highlight racial injustice in the United States. In May 2018, NFL owners finally responded by voting in favour of requiring players to stand during the anthem and threatened to fine teams if players took a knee or weren’t on the field during the national anthem.

As Kaepernick’s social movement has gained momentum, notable individuals like US President Donald Trump have criticized it. Like most critics, Trump believes that kneeling during the anthem is unpatriotic and disrespectful to the men and women who serve in the military. Proponents continue to respond to this point of view by asserting that when athletes take a knee, they are simply practicing their right to free speech.

After the NFL Players Association filed a complaint, Adam Schefter, ESPN’s lead NFL correspondent, reported, “the new policy is going to be no policy,” later explaining that “too many people have stances too strong to figure out a compromise.”

In July, the NFL ultimately decided not to implement the new policy detailing player behaviour during the national anthem and teams sanctions.

By hitting the pause button on their policy, the NFL has recognized that the issue of kneeling during the national anthem is simply too contentious; therefore, the safest course of action is simply to do nothing.

The NFL’s inaction has resulted in a barrage of criticism from Trump. After the first week, the US President continued his social media barrage against the league, tweeting that television ratings for the first game were down from those of last year and “viewership has declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade.”

While Trump would like there to be a link between the NFL’s declining television ratings and players kneeling during the national anthem, the truth is that ratings have been declining for the past couple of years, which is consistent with broader viewership trends across the country. At the same time, the number of players that have decided to overtly protest has also declined, which further discounts Trump’s assertion that kneeling has resulted in lower television ratings.

And while Trump has been extremely vocal about his views regarding this topic, other public figures within the NFL have verbalized their support for the social movement. Detroit Lions principal owner Martha Ford openly challenged his assessment of the situation, saying that “players’ right to express views is part of what makes America great” and that “negative disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country.”

Even though Kaepernick is no longer in the league, he continues to support players taking a knee to protest racial injustices in the United States and has found a new advocate in Nike. While not all consumers have responded positively to Nike’s new campaign and some have even taken to burning Nike products, the company has seen a 31 per cent increase in sales since the campaign’s launch.

Regardless of one’s stance on the issue, Kaepernick’s message has served to inspire not only NFL owners, players, and fans, but also positively impacted society as a whole.

Ravens defeat unconvincing Blues 3–0

Defeat exposes men’s soccer team’s ineffective attack

Ravens defeat unconvincing Blues 3–0

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues men’s soccer team and their previous two opponents — the Carleton Ravens and the Ryerson Rams — have consolidated the top three Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East division places in each of the past two seasons. Judging from early results around the league, this three-horse race will likely remain intact for the season ahead, but the 3–0 defeat to the Ravens on September 8, one week after suffering a 3–1 loss to the Rams, means that the Blues may need to settle for third best.

The Blues made four changes to their starting lineup from their previous game, with starting striker Jack Wadden out injured and first-choice goalkeeper Stefan Dusciuc relegated to the bench in favour of first-year Sebastian Sgarbossa, who is making his first OUA start for Toronto.

Unlike their previous four games, the Blues started slowly, unwilling to commit players forward in their trademark pressing style. Instead, they found themselves sweating in the opening 40 seconds, as poor defending from the usually reliable centreback and captain Nikola Stakic forced Sgarbossa to make a key save.

Carleton, who began the game with a perfect record and who had topped the division in 2017 with 13 wins out of 16 matches, continued to dominate proceedings, sending a number of dangerous balls into the attacking third.

Their attacking play would pay off in the seventh minute, as forward Gabriel Bitar won a penalty after dribbling through the Blues’ defensive line. Bitar dispatched his spot kick straight down the middle, marking the first time this season that the Blues did not open the scoring.

Seconds after kickoff, Stakic gave away possession with a poor forward ball that Carleton quickly passed to left winger Emad Houache, who released a defense-splitting peach of a ball to the other flank. Poor positioning from the Blues allowed right winger Ricky Comba to centre to striker Jimi Aribido, who smashed the ball past Sgarbossa.

Already trailing, Toronto were still unable to move the ball forward, owing to Carleton’s incessant pressing and proficient tackling. The Ravens continued to threaten in attack, forcing the Blues to camp inside their own half. Carleton’s attacking organization repeatedly bypassed an inattentive backline, and they could easily have scored one or two more goals in the first half.

Counterattacking opportunities for the Blues were far and few between, and lone striker Jae Jin Lee, positioned at the halfway line, lacked the pace and ball control to trouble Carleton. The Blues’ best chance would come in the 40th minute as second-year midfielder Anthony Sousa found himself in a pocket of space 20 yards away from the goal and unleashed a powerful shot that rattled the crossbar.

Toronto grew into the match in the second half and operated with more attacking freedom, as Carleton stopped pressing intently, happy to sit back and absorb attacks. The Blues’ most exciting moment came in the 57th minute as Sousa displayed smart ball control and managed a neat Cruyff turn to pass the ball beyond three surrounding Ravens players, but, like most of their forays, the attack fizzled out harmlessly.

In the 71st minute, Carleton forward Dario Conte sliced the ball across the field, splitting Toronto’s defense yet again and allowing substitute Stefan Karajovanovic to easily chip the onrushing Sgarbossa and make the score 3–0. Karajovanovic almost scored again in the 77th minute after intercepting a terrible pass from fourth-year defender Kenny Lioutas, but he blazed the shot wide of the net.

This second consecutive defeat for the Blues emphasized their ineffective attack and lack of ideas against teams with strong, organized defenses.

The Blues will hope that Wadden returns from injury sooner rather than later to provide a much-needed pressing and positioning-based dimension in their attacks.

Blues women’s lacrosse earn unbeaten home weekend

Blues trounce York Lions 21–4, draw Trent Excalibur 10–10

Blues women’s lacrosse earn unbeaten home weekend

The Varsity Blues women’s lacrosse team (WLAX) played its lone homestand of the season, as Varsity Stadium played host to several Ontario University Athletics WLAX matches on September 15.

The Blues entered the weekend tied for fourth place in the OUA with a 1–1 record, after opening the season with a 14–8 loss against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks and a 6–2 victory over the Guelph Gryphons.

Toronto easily dominated York in every area of the game to earn a commanding 21–4 victory.

Despite the early 8:30 am start time, the late summer humidity was felt from the opening faceoff.

The Blues started the match with eight unanswered goals. Attacker Sarah Morgan played a vital role in the Blues offense, coordinating attacking plays from the right wing. Brynne Yarranton and Mary Frost each scored five goals to lead Toronto.

York attacker Sonya Mwambu was the lone bright spot for the Lions, using her tremendous speed to penetrate Toronto’s defense.

The heat and humidity only got higher ahead of Toronto’s second game of the day. Players from the Queen’s Gaels and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks attempted to beat the heat and relax between matches by taking naps on the concourse, an effective barricade from the sun.

Toronto’s match against the Trent Excalibur was an intense showdown featuring two sides unable to break away from each other, ultimately ending in a 10–10 tie. Trent opened the scoring two minutes into the match and Yarranton promptly answered back for the Blues.

After a strong performance against York, Blues goalie Sierra Watkins had a rough first half as Trent mounted pressure and used cutters to create space in front of Toronto’s goal. Watkins looked more confident in the second half, as the Excalibur fired a flurry of shots toward goal.

Yarranton picked up where she left off against York, netting another five goal performance. Fellow attacker Heather McDougall added four goals for Toronto, and Frost rounded out the scoring with one goal.

Fans, including players from the Blues men’s lacrosse team, stood and cheered during the dramatic final two minutes of the match.

Trent pressed forward and Watkins stopped a shot from point blank range. After possession changed, Yarranton ran toward goal, swerving between defenders and firing a low shot into the far corner to level the score at 10–10.

The play prompted a member of the male lacrosse team to exclaim, “Why aren’t any of our games this exciting?”

Trent committed a foul near their crease, providing the Blues with a prime chance to take the lead. But Toronto’s shot from close range fell just wide of the far post.

The Blues were able to regain possession but unfortunately, as their attackers circled the Excalibur goal and fans eagerly anticipated a game-winner, time expired for the Blues.