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June 4, 2020
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Update on the latest sports


Brees says he ‘completely missed the mark’ in flag comments
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Drew Brees is apologizing for comments that he now says were “insensitive and completely missed the mark” when he reiterated his opposition to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem in 2016
Those remarks, in an interview with Yahoo, drew sharp criticism from fellow high-profile athletes and others in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Los Angeles Lakers great LeBron James, New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL player Martellus Bennett were just some of the high-profile athletes to criticize Brees on their Twitter feeds.
James says he couldn’t believe Brees was still confused about what Kaepernick was trying to do. The Lakers’ star says kneeling was not about showing disrespect to the flag or the military but instead about police brutality.
In an Instagram post Thursday, Brees said he was apologizing to his friends, teammates, New Orleans, the black community, the NFL community and “anyone I hurt with my comments.” He says his words “lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy” and had become “divisive and hurtful.”


Berry ‘disappointed’ with USOPC in aftermath of Floyd death
UNDATED (AP) – Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry wants an apology from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for shaming her last summer.
She captured headlines when she used her turn on the gold-medal podium at the Pan-Am Games to raise her fist as a show of her frustration with America’s treatment of blacks. The USOPC put Berry on a 12-month probation for her gesture.
It’s a gesture that has taken on new meaning in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the protests that have followed. Berry found it galling the USOPC recently issued a statement saying the organization “stands with those who demand equality.”


Indianapolis Motor Speedway slams door on fans at Brickyard
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indianapolis Motor Speedway will hold the July 4 IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader without fans.
Track officials had been optimistic it could be the first major sporting venue to have fans back in the stands this summer. Instead, the stands will be empty much like the rest of the tracks since major racing resumed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic last month.
IMS officials made the decision after consulting with local and state officials.


Tottenham expects big losses with no fans or NFL
UNDATED (AP) – English soccer club Tottenham says it is expecting to lose more than $250 million in revenue with Premier League matches being played without fans and its stadium no longer being used for two NFL games this year.
Tottenham’s stadium opened last year and can hold more than 60,000 people. It is unclear when spectators will be allowed into events again.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy says “it is imperative that we now all work together … to find a safe way to bring spectators back to sport and entertainment venues.”


In other sports developments related to the coronavirus outbreak:
– The International Olympic Committee is in talks with insurers over compensation for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games. The IOC pays for insurance against the cancellation of an Olympics but it is unclear if its policy covers a one-year postponement. The IOC said last month it set aside $650 million to cover potential extra costs for the postponement. Costs for organizers in Japan are expected to run to billions of dollars.


– Premier League clubs have agreed to allow five substitutions in soccer matches. They will adopt the temporary law change when the league resumes on June 17 amid the coronavirus pandemic. There can still only be three pauses to bring on substitutes. Premier League clubs have also agreed to temporarily increase the number of substitute players from seven to nine.


– All referees in Italy’s top soccer league have tested negative for the coronavirus. The Serie A referees and some from the second division were tested at the Italian federation’s training headquarters on the outskirts of Florence. They will remain there until June 10 to have further tests and continue training and preparing for the resumption of Serie A on June 20.


– Rafael Nadal says if he had to decide right now he wouldn’t play in the U.S. Open, but he wants to wait and see what happens with the coronavirus pandemic. The 19-time Grand Slam champion thinks it’s important that there be two requirements for tennis to return: assuring everyone’s health and making sure players from all countries can travel. All sanctioned tennis has been on hold since March. Nadal recently resumed practicing lightly. He is a 12-time champion at the French Open. That tournament should have been in Week 2 now but was postponed until September. The U.S. Open is scheduled to start in late August.



AP-WF-06-04-20 1448GMT