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Djokovic's issues in Australia sign of more to come in future events

Novak Djokovic’s ordeal in Australia may "presage other battles ahead" as the "attitudes of sporting bodies, health authorities and public opinion harden toward the non-vaccinated," according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. While it is "highly unlikely" Djokovic will find himself sequestered again in any other country over visa issues, his trouble in Melbourne is "an indication of some of the resistance or obstacles he could face in the months ahead if he continues to attempt to travel the world without being vaccinated." The next major events after the Australian Open are in Indian Wells and Miami, but the U.S. "now requires that visitors be fully vaccinated to travel to the country by plane unless they are U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents or traveling on a U.S. immigrant visa." Limited exceptions do apply, but it is "unclear whether Djokovic would qualify for one or would even want to try to qualify for one after the Australian imbroglio" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/14). In London, Stuart Fraser writes Djokovic is "going to run into further difficulties on the tour over the coming months." A growing number of tournaments across the world are "introducing mandatory requirements for all competitors to be jabbed." It remains to be seen whether Djokovic has "the will and patience to follow complex medical exemption processes in other countries after what he has gone through in Australia" (LONDON TIMES, 1/14).

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: In MelbourneGalloway, Sakkal, Mills & Iuanola report Djokovic is “set to be detained on Saturday morning before a legal showdown to remain in Australia.” Attorneys will claim that Djokovic’s visa “was cancelled on the grounds the world No.1 is stoking anti-vaccination sentiment.” An emergency court hearing on Friday night “prevented his immediate deportation,” though he is “expected to appear at immigration offices or another location on Saturday morning and be formally detained.” Djokovic “will be permitted to stay at least until a hearing Sunday.” If Djokovic’s appeal is unsuccessful, Australian law states that he “would be banned from being granted another visa for three years.” However, that “can be waived on ‘compassionate grounds’ if he applies for another visa” (Melbourne AGE, 1/15).

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SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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