Update on the latest in sports:
Larson fired over slur
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Kyle Larson has been fired by Chip Ganassi Racing, a day after nearly every one of his sponsors dropped the star driver for using a racial slur during a live stream of a virtual race.
Larson was in his seventh Cup season with Ganassi and had been prepping to test free agency for the first time. Just weeks ago, the 27-year-old was considered the top free agent in NASCAR. Now he is out of a job in what could ultimately be an eight-figure blunder.
The unraveling began Sunday night when Larson was competing in one of the iRacing virtual events drivers are playing during the sports stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Larson appeared to lose communication on his headset with his spotter. During a check of his microphone, he asked his spotter, “You can’t hear me?” That was followed by the N-word. The slur from Larson was directed at his spotter, who is white.
He was suspended without pay by Ganassi early Monday, then suspended indefinitely by NASCAR and Larson, who is half Japanese, was ordered to complete a sensitivity training. But his entire program fell apart as primary sponsors McDonalds and Credit One Bank pulled their funding from Larson. Chevrolet suspended its relationship with him, and all but one commercial partner denounced Larson’s comment and indicated they were ending their relationship.
Ganassi says it decided to end its relationship with Larson when “it became obvious that this was the only appropriate course of action to take.” It called Larson’s comments “offensive and unacceptable especially given the values of our organization.”
British Senior Open postponed
UNDATED (AP) – The Senior British Open has been postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak, but organizers are still hoping the last senior major of the year can be played in 2020.
The event, due to take place at Sunningdale from July 23-26, is the fourth of the five senior majors to lose its scheduled place on the calendar because of the pandemic. R&A official Johnnie Cole-Hamilton says organizers are looking at alternative options to host the tournament “later in the year if at all possible.”
Word of the postponement comes a week after the regular British Open was called off for the first time since 1945. It’s been moved to next July so it can still be held at Royal St. George’s.
The Senior PGA Championship and the U.S. Senior Open have been canceled, while the Regions Tradition has been rescheduled for Sept. 24-27 from early May. The Senior Players Championship, scheduled for Firestone Country Club in Ohio from July 9-12, hasn’t been called off yet.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
– The Tour de France won’t begin as planned because French President Emmanuel Macron (eh-mahn-yoo-EHL’ mah-KROHN’) has canceled all public events with large crowds through mid-July in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Tour organizers say it is now impossible for the three-week race to start on June 27 in the Riviera city of Nice as scheduled. It is unclear if cycling’s biggest event will be scrapped from the race calendar. New plans are likely to be announced before the end of the month following consultations with the governing body of cycling.
– The NHL will remain on pause through at least the end of the month. The league on Tuesday announced it was extending its self-quarantine recommendation for players, coaches and staff through April 30. The announcement marks the third time the NHL has pushed back its timetable since suspending play on March 12 because of the new coronavirus. The most recent self-quarantine recommendation was supposed to run through Wednesday. The recommendation means team facilities will remain closed to players. There is no timetable of when play might resume and whether the NHL will be able to complete the regular season or start the playoffs, which could stretch into September. There were 189 games remaining when play was suspended.
– Major League Baseball is moving its annual celebration of Jackie Robinson online because of the delay in the season caused by the new coronavirus. The Jackie Robinson Foundation is launching a virtual learning hub to coincide with tomorrow’s 73rd anniversary of Robinson breaking the major league color barrier. CC Sabathia (suh-BATH’-ee-uh) and Harold Reynolds are among the former major leaguers reading excerpts from the book by his daughter, Sharon. The MLB Network and MLB.com will feature Robinson-related programming.
– Tokyo organizers say they have no “PlanB” for the Olympics if they need to be postponed again. They say they are proceeding under the assumption the Olympics will open on July 23, 2021. That date was set last month by the IOC and Japanese officials after the spreading coronavirus pandemic made it clear the Olympics could not be held as scheduled.
– The mother of Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has died due to complications from COVID-19. Jacqueline Cruz-Towns had been fighting the virus for more than a month. The native of the Dominican Republic was a fixture at Timberwolves games from the start of her son’s NBA career in 2015. Karl Towns Sr., the father of the two-time All-Star, was also hospitalized with the virus but has since recovered.
– Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook has donated 650 computers to children in need so they can continue learning with schools shut down because of the new coronavirus. Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation teamed with Comp-U-Dopt and Houston mayor Sylvester Turner’s office of education to provide computers to underprivileged children across the city.
– A sporting goods manufacturer in Rhode Island went looking for other products it could produce when sports shut down. Protective pad maker G-Force retrofitted its factory to turn out face shields for medical workers. It is joining with some neighboring companies to pump out 10,000 per day and they are hoping to double that by the end of this week. G-Force CEO Glen Giovanucci is a former Northeastern hockey player and assistant coach. He says the effort has saved at least 80 jobs. But it also has the benefit of helping to do something about the coronavirus crisis.