Max Verstappen wins F1 championship in season closer, Mercedes launches appeal

A winner has been crowned at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi GP.

Hamilton held an 11-second lead over Verstappen prior to a safety car due to a crash by Williams driver Nicholas Latifi with five laps to go. Verstappen pitted during the safety car, with a controversial decision by the FIA then allowing all lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to pass before the race restarted. The FIA’s decision put Verstappen directly behind Hamilton on fresh tires when the race restarted on the final lap.

Mercedes has launched a protest against the decision, arguing it was a breach of regulations. The FIA dismissed the protest late Sunday, with Mercedes now appealing that decision.

Verstappen finished the season on 395.5 points, while Hamilton finished on 387.5. Both rivals started the race with 369.5 points. Coming in third for the championship was Hamilton’s current Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished the season with 226 points. Rounding out the top five were Perez on 190 and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on 164.5 points.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas won the 2021 constructors’ championship, with both of its drivers in the top three.

Verstappen broke his rival’s winning streak, but Hamilton and Michael Schumacher hold the record for most championship titles, at seven. Hamilton, who is also spearheading an initiative to push greater diversity and inclusion in motorsports, won the F1 championship in 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The drivers get just three months off now, with the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship kicking off on March 20 in Sakir with the Bahrain Grand Prix. Hamilton will continue racing for Mercedes with new teammate George Russell, while Verstappen remains at Red Bull with current teammate Sergio Perez.

Season four of F1 Drive To Survive will be coming to Netflix in 2022 to recap this year’s dramatic and controversial racing championship.

Tokyo Summer Olympics bars overseas spectators

COVID-19 is to blame, say the organizers. Ticket holders will get their money back.

Originally set for 2020, the games have been delayed by the pandemic.

Originally set to take place from July 24 through Aug. 9, 2020, the Olympics were pushed back a year because of the coronavirus and rescheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympics were also delayed and are now set to run from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5, 2021.

The organizers noted Saturday that emerging coronavirus variants continue to raise concern and that the situation with COVID-19 in Japan and elsewhere remains challenging. They also pointed to severe international travel restrictions put in place by countries around the world and said overseas travelers may well be prohibited from entering Japan this summer.

Read more: Fear and COVID in hotel quarantine: What it’s like flying overseas right now

They said they made the decision about international spectators “to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans.” Information on how to get a refund will be made available soon, the organizers added.

“We will continue to do our utmost to deliver a safe and secure Games,” they said, “in the hopes that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a light of hope for people all over the world.”

How to watch the All-Star Game 2021 tonight without cable

Baseball’s best will be on stage in Denver this evening.

Here’s how you can watch all of the All-Star action without cable.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels will be the first player in baseball history to hit and pitch in the All-Star Game.

For the National League, the starters are:

For the American League, the starters are:

Mike Trout was voted to his ninth All-Star Game but is recovering from an injured calf and will not play, so Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins will start in his place. Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL on Saturday and will miss the rest of the season. Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds will take his place. Buster Posey was voted to start his seventh All-Star Game behind the plate for the National League but will miss the game with a hand injury. J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins will start at catcher.

Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani will do it all. The Major League leader in home runs at the break, and the owner of a 3.49 ERA as a starting pitcher, made history by becoming the first player to be selected to the All-Star Game as both a position player and a pitcher. He’ll hit and pitch in the All-Star Game (and he also took part in last night’s Home Run Derby).

You can see the full MLB All-Star Game rosters here, including reserves and pitchers.

The MLB All-Star Game starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on Fox. Cable TV cord-cutters have a number of options for watching the All-Star Game via a live TV streaming service, detailed below. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries Fox in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes Fox. Sling TV offers Fox in only a handful of areas.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes Fox. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes Fox. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Social networks struggle to shut down racist abuse after England’s Euro Cup final loss

Social media users have been frustrated at having to perform moderation duties to keep racist abuse in check.

Bukayo Saka of England is consoled by head coach Gareth Southgate.

The vitriol presented a direct challenge to the social networks — an event-specific spike in hate speech that required them to refocus their moderation efforts to contain the damage. It marks just the latest incident for the social networks, which need to be on guard during highly charged political or cultural events. While these companies have a regular process that includes deploying machine-automated tools and human moderators to remove the content, this latest incident is just another source of frustration for those who believe the social networks aren’t quick enough to respond.

To plug the gap, companies rely on users to report content that violates guidelines. Following Sunday’s match, many users were sharing tips and guides about how to best report content, both to platforms and to the police. It was disheartening for those same users to be told that a company’s moderation technology hadn’t found anything wrong with the racist abuse they’d highlighted.

It also left many users wondering why, when Facebook, for example, is a billion-dollar company, it was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the easily anticipated influx of racist content — instead leaving it to unpaid good Samaritan users to report.

For social media companies, moderation can fall into a gray area between protecting free speech and protecting users from hate speech. In these cases, they must judge whether user content violates their own platform policies. But this wasn’t one of those gray areas.

Racist abuse is classified as a hate crime in the UK, and London’s Met Police said in a statement that it will be investigating incidents that occurred online following the match. In a follow-up email, a spokesman for the Met said that the instances of abuse were being triaged by the Home Office and then disseminated to local police forces to deal with.

Twitter “swiftly” removed over 1,000 tweets through a combination of machine-based automation and human review, a spokesman said in a statement. In addition, it permanently suspended “a number” of accounts, “the vast majority” of which it proactively detected itself. “The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, there was frustration among Instagram users who were identifying and reporting, among other abusive content, strings of monkey emojis (a common racist trope) being posted on the accounts of Black players.

According to Instagram’s policies, using emojis to attack people based on protected characteristics, including race, is against the company’s hate speech policies. Human moderators working for the company take context into account when reviewing use of emojis.

But in many of the cases reported by Instagram users in which the platform failed to remove monkey emojis, it appears that the reviews weren’t conducted by human reviewers. Instead, their reports were dealt with by the company’s automated software, which told them “our technology has found that this comment probably doesn’t go against our community guidelines.”

A spokeswoman for Instagram said in a statement that “no one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram.”

“We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules,” she added. “In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words, a tool which means no one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs. No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.”

The social media companies shouldn’t have been surprised by the reaction.

Football professionals have been feeling the strain of the racist abuse they suffer online — and not just following this one England game. In April, England’s Football Association organized a social media boycott “in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.”

English football’s racism problem is not new. In 1993, the problem forced the Football Association, Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association to launch Kick It Out, a program to fight racism, which became a fully fledged organization in 1997. Under Southgate’s leadership, the current iteration of the England squad has embraced anti-racism more vocally than ever, taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before matches. Still, racism in the sport prevails — online and off.

On Monday, the Football Association strongly condemned the online abuse following Sunday’s match, saying it’s “appalled” at the racism aimed at players. “We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” it said. “We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”

Social media users, politicians and rights organizations are demanding internet-specific tools to tackle online abuse — as well as for perpetrators of racist abuse to be prosecuted as they would be offline. As part of its “No Yellow Cards” campaign, the Center for Countering Digital Hate is calling for platforms to ban users who spout racist abuse for life.

In the UK, the government has been trying to introduce regulation that would force tech companies to take firmer action against harmful content, including racist abuse, in the form of the Online Safety Bill. But it has also been criticized for moving too slowly to get the legislation in place.

Tony Burnett, the CEO of the Kick It Out campaign (which Facebook and Twitter both publicly support), said in a statement Monday that both the social media companies and the government need to step up to shut down racist abuse online. His words were echoed by Julian Knight, member of Parliament and chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“The government needs to get on with legislating the tech giants,” Knight said in a statement. “Enough of the foot dragging, all those who suffer at the hands of racists, not just England players, deserve better protections now.”

As pressure mounted for them to take action, social networks have also been stepping up their own moderation efforts and building new tools — with varying degrees of success. The companies track and measure their own progress. Facebook employs its independent oversight board to assess its performance.

But critics of the social networks also point out that the way their business models are set up gives them very little incentive to discourage racism. Any and all engagement will increase ad revenue, they argue, even if that engagement is people liking and commenting on racist posts.

“Facebook made content moderation tough by making and ignoring their murky rules, and by amplifying harassment and hate to fuel its stock price,” former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said on Twitter on Monday. “Negative PR is forcing them to address racism that has been on its platform from the start. I hope they really fix it.”

Baseball and softball at the Tokyo Olympics: Everything you need to know

Baseball and softball are back. Here’s what you need to know…

America’s favorite pastime returns to the Olympics.

Baseball and softball will both run in a modified tournament format. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the international governing body established in 2013 to merge the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation, will run the competitions.

Each tournament — one for baseball and one for softball — features six teams. The softball tournament will consist of a single round-robin among the six teams, followed by a bronze medal game and a gold medal game for a total of 17 games.

The baseball tournament opens with a group round-robin with two pools of three teams. Each team will play the other two teams in the pool once, with a total of six games played in the group round-robin.

The group round-robin is followed by a knockout round of 10 total games, wherein the first three games feature teams that finished in the same position within their pools (A1 vs. B1, A2 vs. B2, A3 vs. B3). The loser of the A3 vs. B3 game is eliminated, and the rest of the competition ensues in a double-elimination format until there is one team left in each of the winners and losers brackets. Those two teams play the gold medal game.

Baseball’s sister sport, softball, also returns to the Olympics.

The MLB has never halted or interrupted its season for the Olympics, and MLB officials still seem reluctant to do so.

Shortly after the announcement was made that baseball would appear in the Olympics, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said it was unlikely that MLB athletes would play, as it would mean that some MLB teams would play short-handed or the league would shut down for two weeks during the Olympics. The latter half of MLB’s season is the most crucial, as it sets up which teams will make it to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series, so it’s even harder to justify players taking time away from their teams.

In 2008, the last year baseball was seen at the Olympics, the US roster was filled by minor league players and one college player.

So far, it seems unlikely that any big leaguers will travel to Japan.

Both tournaments will begin at the Azuma Stadium in Fukushima, with softball on July 21, 2021, and baseball on July 28, 2021. The finals will continue at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, with the softball final on July 27 and the baseball final on Aug. 7.

Check out the schedule of events here.

The Olympics are back on NBC, with a 24/7 stream online if you verify you’re a cable subscriber. NBCSports Gold will have a dedicated Olympics package — pay an upfront fee and you’ll be able to watch anywhere, uninterrupted by ads.

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast, so watching live should get a good spread of events. It’s a little trickier on the East Coast, where you may have to rely on highlights.

The BBC will cover the games on TV, radio and online in the UK, with more on Eurosport, a pay-TV channel. The time difference there is 8 hours, so you’ll have to get up very early in the morning to watch live.

In Australia, the Seven Network will spread free-to-air coverage over Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two. It’s a good year for watching Down Under, with Sydney only an hour ahead of Tokyo.

NFL draft 2021: How to watch live today without cable

The NFL draft will be live from Cleveland on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. You can watch it all live, no cable TV required.

Five quarterbacks are expected to be picked early. Most draft experts predict the Jacksonville Jaguars will select Lawrence from Clemson with the first overall pick, and the New York Jets will take Zach Wilson from BYU with the second pick. Justin Fields from Ohio State, Trey Lance from North Dakota State and Mac Jones from Alabama are the other three quarterbacks expected to come off the board in the first round.

The NFL draft is a three-day event. Here’s everything you need to know to watch all the action without cable.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to be the first pick of the 2021 NFL draft.

The NFL draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network. Here’s the TV schedule:

On ESPN, Mike Greenberg will serve as host for the first two nights of the draft alongside Mel Kiper Jr., Louis Riddick, Booger McFarland, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter and Suzy Kolber. On ABC, Rece Davis will host with Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Todd McShay from one set, and Maria Taylor will host from another set with Jesse Palmer and David Pollack. For day three of the draft on Saturday, ABC and ESPN will combine forces with Davis, Kiper, McShay, Riddick, Mortensen and Schefter covering rounds four through seven.

On the NFL Network, Rich Eisen will lead coverage featuring Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis, David Shaw, Kurt Warner, Joel Klatt and Ian Rapoport. Peter Schrager and Chris Rose will join the NFL Network’s coverage on Friday and Saturday.

ESPN Deportes will have Spanish-language coverage of the 2021 NFL draft, featuring Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega from Monday Night Football.

The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the first pick, followed by the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. You can track all of the picks with ESPN’s Draftcast.

Watch live for free: ABC will air all three days of the draft. If you have an over-the-air antenna hooked up to your TV and get your local ABC station, you can watch for free.

Subscription options: The NFL draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the NFL Network. There will also be a livestream on the WatchESPN app or the NFL Mobile app (or ESPN.com or NFL.com). One caveat: You will need to prove you have a TV subscription (from a cable or satellite provider or live TV streaming service) that includes ESPN or the NFL Network in order to watch live on either app.

Cable TV cord-cutters have a number of options for watching the draft via a live TV streaming service, detailed below.

Sling TV does not feature ABC, but its $35-a-month Orange plan includes ESPN, and the $35-a-month Blue plan includes NFL Network. You can bundle the Orange and Blue plans together for $50 to increase your draft viewing options.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC and ESPN but not NFL Network. ESPN Deportes is part of the $5-a-month Español Add-on. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes ABC and ESPN, the $95-a-month plan includes ESPN Deportes, but none of its plans include NFL Network. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS sets impressive ‘Ring time ahead of November debut

The RS is more than 23 seconds quicker around the Nurburgring than the standard Cayman GT4.

What’s hotter than GT4? GT4 RS.

How awesome? Well, ahead of the GT4 RS’ official debut, Porsche took a nearly completed prototype to Germany’s infamous Nurburgring to set a lap time. In the hands of Porsche development driver Jörg Bergmeister, the GT4 RS lapped the ‘Ring in 7 minutes and 9.3 seconds. That’s on the track’s new, longer configuration; the time for the shorter, more familiar ‘Ring setup is 7:04.511. That makes the GT4 RS a full 23.6 seconds quicker than the regular GT4, which is a super impressive feat.

The prototype used for lapping was fitted with a racing seat in order to protect the driver, but was otherwise stock. The GT4 RS ran on ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, which Porsche says will be optionally available on the production car.

It’s unclear exactly when in November we’ll see the GT4 RS, though the Los Angeles Auto Show is one possibility. In any case, we’re pretty darn stoked to get behind the wheel of one of these. After all, if the normal GT4 is already so good, the RS is going to be a total chef’s kiss.

Preakness Stakes 2021: Post time, TV schedule, how to watch horse racing without cable

You don’t need cable to watch the second leg of the Triple Crown today on NBC.

The 2021 Preakness Stakes takes place later today and will be broadcast on NBC. Here’s how you can watch live without cable.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will attempt to capture the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

The Preakness Stakes takes place today, Saturday, May 15. TV coverage starts at 5 p.m. ET on NBC. Post time is set for 6:50 p.m. ET (3:50 p.m. PT).

If you don’t have cable, you still have plenty of options. The least expensive that doesn’t require streaming is to connect an over-the-air antenna to your TV and watch your local NBC station. You could also check out a live TV streaming service, all of which offer free trials and offer NBC. Not every service carries your local NBC station, however, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area.

Shandful of marketsling TV’s $35-a-month Sling Blue package includes local NBC stations but only in a handful of markets.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

AT&T Now TVs $70-a-month Plus package includes NBC in most markets. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Champions League final: Man City vs. Chelsea kick-off time, how to watch

We’re just hours away from deciding the champions of Europe…

Sorry, Man City are probably gonna win.

And here’s a crazy statistic: Chelsea have beaten Man City on the last four occasions.

This should be a cracker of a final.

Read more: How to watch Premier League games live in the US today without cable

Here’s everything you need to know…

The final between Man City and Chelsea takes place on May 29. Kick-off will most likely be 3 p.m. ET (12 noon PT).

The second leg between Chelsea and Real Madrid. Kick-off will most likely be 8 p.m. GMT.

The final between Man City and Chelsea takes place on May 30. Kick-off will most likely be 5 a.m. AEDT.

The final was initially supposed to take place at Attaturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, but was recently moved to the Estádio do Dragão in Portugal.

The long and short of it is, your best bet is signing up with Paramount Plus.

All the details on Paramount Plus’ online coverage of Champions League matches can be found here. Paramount Plus has access to all Champions League matches. You’ll also be able to watch all matches in the Europa League, the second-tier European competition.

Univision has the rights to the US Spanish broadcast of the Champions League, however. You can find out more here.

If you want to watch Champions League football in the UK, our recommendation is sign up with BT Sport.

BT Sport is streaming all the Champions League matches, but it also gives you access to a bunch of other good stuff, like UFC, so it’s worth getting.

Much like the English Premier League, Optus Sport is showing all the Champions League matches in Australia.

If you care about watching soccer at all, the Optus Sport deal is a good one. Especially if you follow the EPL which, being the most high profile league on the planet, most soccer fans do.

Disclaimer: I subscribe to the service and love it. Easy access to all matches on my smart TV and works nicely with a mobile app.