Update on the latest sports
AP sources: MLB players cut to 89 games, want prorated money
NEW YORK (AP) – Baseball players have moved toward teams but remained far apart economically in their latest proposal for starting the pandemic-delayed season, adamant they receive full prorated salaries while offering to cut the regular season to 89.
The proposal by the players’ association, given to Major League Baseball Tuesday evening without a negotiating session, was detailed to The Associated Press by a pair of people familiar with the negotiations. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcements were authorized.
MLB did not appear to view the proposal as productive but made no comment. MLB has said that absent an agreement it could go ahead with a shorter schedule of perhaps 50 games.
Players made their move one day after management cut its proposed schedule from 82 games to 76.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TAIWAN BASEBALL
More fans, fewer restrictions: Games go on Taiwan ballparks
NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan (AP) – The Taiwan baseball league is continuing as a trailblazer for sports resuming after the lockdown in the coronavirus pandemic.
An easing of restrictions by the government last weekend allows more fans at the ballparks and allows them to sit closer together while they’re supporting their teams in the Taiwan-based CPBL. Spectators are only required to wear face masks when they’re not in their seats and ball parks are allowed to be up to 50% capacity.
The Taiwan league resumed play in April in empty stadiums. Last month the CPBL started allowing up to 1,000 fans to attend games.
USOPC forming group to look into Olympic protests
DENVER (AP) – The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is creating an athlete group that will look into loosening restrictions on protests at the games.
CEO Sarah Hirshland tweeted the plans for a new group, which is being formed in response to George Floyd’s death last month and the worldwide protests that followed.
The USOPC put out a statement last week signaling its solidarity with black athletes. But the federation received blowback from several athletes, most notably hammer thrower Gwen Berry. Berry is serving a 12-month probation for raising her fist on the medals stand at the Pan-Am Games last summer.
Ban the Confederate flag? NASCAR could see the end of an era
UNDATED (AP) – The familiar scene of Confederate flags waved by fans at NASCAR tracks could soon be a relic of racing’s good ol’ boy roots.
Bubba Wallace — the lone black driver in the sport – this week declared it is time for the stock car series with deep ties to the South to ban the flag at its properties and formally distance itself from what for millions is a unwelcome symbol of slavery and racism.
The signs are everywhere that NASCAR could do so. As the nation grapples with social unrest largely tied to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, the predominantly white field of drivers united for a video promoting social change. A black NASCAR official took a knee before Sunday’s race near Atlanta in what may have been a first and the governing body vowed to do a better job of addressing racial injustice.
Wallace – who wore a black T-shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” at Sunday’s race — seized the moment and issued his most compelling comments yet on the often thorny nature of race and racing: “My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags.”
There was no immediate statement from NASCAR. The series in 2015 asked fans to “refrain from displaying” the flag at its facilities and events.
NASCAR set to allow fans back in Florida, Alabama
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – NASCAR is set to allow fans back at the track for races this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
NASCAR will allow up to 1,000 Florida service members, representing the Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command in Doral, to attend the Cup Series race Sunday as honorary guests and view the race from the grandstands.
Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama will allow up to 5,000 guests in the frontstretch grandstands/towers for the June 21 Cup race. There will be limited motorhome/camping spots available outside the track.
NASCAR says all fans will be screened before entering, required to wear face coverings, mandated to social distance at six feet, and will not have access to the infield, among other revised operational protocols.
Todd Gurley passes physical with Falcons, impresses Ryan
ATLANTA (AP) – Running back Todd Gurley has passed his physical, clearing the final hurdle for his return to Georgia with the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons say Gurley passed his physical on Monday in Atlanta.
Gurley’s $6 million, one-year deal with Atlanta was made official on April 6. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL didn’t allow players to report to their new teams immediately for physicals.
Gurley’s physical was notable because he has a history of knee problems, including an injury while a standout for the Georgia Bulldogs. A persistent left knee injury limited his effectiveness late in 2018 with the Los Angeles Rams. He played in 15 games last season.
The Falcons expect the 25-year-old Gurley to replace Devonta Freeman, who was released, as the leader of the Falcons’ running attack.
Browns welcome 6 coaches as part of diversity program
CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cleveland Browns have welcomed six young coaches, including two women and former NFL player Leonard Hankerson, to take part in the final three weeks of their offseason program.
As part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, the team brought in the coaches so they can gain experience while working with an NFL team and potentially land full-time jobs in the league.
Hankerson played four seasons with Washington. He’s in his second season coaching wide receivers at Stephen F. Austin.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said diversity will always be an important component for Cleveland’s organization.
PGA Tour to hold minute of silence at 8:46 to honor Floyd
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – The PGA Tour is leaving the 8:46 a.m. tee time vacant this week at Colonial. It’s part of a tribute to George Floyd and to support efforts to end racial and social injustice.
Authorities say 8 minutes, 46 seconds is how long Floyd was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee before the handcuffed black man died.
Commissioner Jay Monahan says the tour will have a moment of silence and reflection at 8:46 a.m. in each of the four rounds at the Charles Schwab Challenge. The moment of silence will start with three short blasts of the horn.
FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Football Hall of Fame reopening
CANTON, Ohio (AP) – The Pro Football Hall of Fame will reopen Wednesday after nearly a three-month closure caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The hall closed on March 16, but permission has been granted by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for museums, science centers and zoos to open.
There will be several health and safety guidelines in place for visitors and workers at the Canton shrine. All employees must wear face coverings and visitors are encouraged to do so as well.
The hall is making both masks and disposable gloves available. It also will hand out a stylus to anyone wanting one for the interactive displays.
Djokovic may skip US Open
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – Top-ranked Novak Djokovic is thinking of skipping the U.S. Open — if it is played — and instead returning to competition on clay ahead of the rescheduled French Open.
Djokovic tells Serbia’s state broadcaster RTS that the restrictions that would be in place for the Grand Slam tournament in New York because of the coronavirus pandemic would be “extreme” and not “sustainable.” He says that “as things stand,” he would skip the U.S. Open and return to action in September on clay ahead of the rescheduled French Open.
Djokovic says most players he has talked to were “quite negative” about going to New York.
Rankings after next year’s French Open will determine Olympic qualifying
LONDON (AP) – The tennis rankings that come out after the 2021 French Open ends will be used to determine who qualifies for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
The International Tennis Federation says its eligibility rules will be the same as originally set up for Tokyo, with requirements related to minimum participation in Fed Cup or Davis Cup – and an appeals process for players who do not meet those standards.
The cutoff for ATP and WTA rankings points for the 2020 Games originally had been Monday. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics were pushed back a year to July 2021.
HORSE RACING-SANTA ANITA FATALITIES
2-year-old filly dies after training injury at Santa Anita
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – A horse broke down during a workout at Santa Anita and was euthanized, making it the 14th fatality at the track since late December.
Lightsaber, a 2-year-old filly who had yet to race, died Sunday in what the California Horse Racing Board called a training-related death. She sustained a left hind leg fracture and attending veterinarians found the injury was unrecoverable, which led to Lightsaber being euthanized.
Santa Anita resumed live racing on May 15, although it is closed to the public and media. The Arcadia track closed on March 27 because of the coronavirus pandemic, although training was allowed to continue.
LA Kings’ Jeff Carter has surgery on core muscle injury
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter has undergone surgery to repair a core muscle injury.
The Kings say Carter had surgery last week. The veteran Stanley Cup winner is expected to be fully healthy for next season.
Carter was injured in a game at Winnipeg on Feb. 18, and he missed the final 10 games of the Kings’ season.
Los Angeles is among the seven teams that won’t be returning to action when the NHL resumes competition this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
– Buffalo Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut is forgoing a chance to continue his NHL career by signing a two-year contract with Russia’s Chelyabinsk Traktor. The signing was announced by the Kontinental Hockey League team Tuesday and comes after Pilut had difficulty establishing a regular role over the past two years in Buffalo.
Federer out for remainder of 2020 after injury setback
LONDON (AP) – Roger Federer will be out competitive tennis until the start of the 2021 season because of a setback in his recovery from surgery on his right knee.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has posted a statement on Twitter to confirm he’ll be out of action for the rest of 2020.
The 38-year-old Federer had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February. He had initially planned to be sidelined for at least four months but has barely missed any elite tennis because the tour was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
MSU coach, former Texas Tech title guard Noel Johnson dies
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) – Midwestern State women’s basketball coach Noel Johnson has died from ovarian cancer at age 47.
Johnson was also the point guard for Texas Tech’s 1993 national championship team.
Her 159 wins in 12 seasons as Midwestern’s coach were the most in program history. As a Texas Tech player from 1991-95, Johnson helped the Lady Raiders to four consecutive Southwest Conference championships and the NCAA Sweet 16 each of those four seasons.
A memorial celebrating Johnson’s life is scheduled for June 20 on the Midwestern State campus.
Former world champion boxer Gvozdyk retires
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – The former world light heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (OH’-lehk-san-dur VOHCH’-dihk) has retired.
His manager wrote on Instagram today that “he is retiring” and wished the 33-year-old Ukrainian luck in his new career.
Gvozdyk won the WBC title in December 2018 when he knocked out Adonis Stevenson, who had held the belt for five years. His Canadian opponent suffered a brain injury in the fight in Quebec which left him needing surgery and long-term care.
JORDAN-A BIG FISH
No fish story: Michael Jordan’s boat nabs 442-pound marlin
UNDATED (AP) – Apparently, Michael Jordan is pretty good at fishing, too.
Jordan and the crew of his 80-foot fishing boat named “Catch 23” hauled in a blue marlin weighing 442 pounds at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on Tuesday. It’s an event held annually at Morehead City, North Carolina, that attracts anglers from across the world.
Jordan’s is the sixth-largest blue marlin caught so far during the tournament, which boasts a $3.3 million overall purse.
The fish wasn’t enough to place in the top three, so it is not eligible for prize money. But Jordan and his crew still have two more days to catch a bigger marlin.
The six-time NBA champion and owner of the Charlotte Hornets says he’s hoping to reel in a “little bit bigger fish” later this week.