Update on the latest sports
Berger a winner at Colonial, and PGA Tour feels like it, too
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – The PGA Tour returned after three months and Commissioner Jay Monahan felt every bit a winner as Daniel Berger at Colonial.
There were no positive tests from the 487 administered at the Charles Schwab Challenge to players, caddies and key personnel. There were no fans, either.
Monahan called it a phenomenal return, mainly because it was a healthy won.
Berger won in a sudden-death playoff when Collin Morikawa missed a 3-foot putt.
Morikawa says just because it was a good return doesn’t mean players can ignore that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat.
Denny Hamlin wins on a long day at Homestead
HOMSTEAD, Fla. (AP) – Denny Hamlin found the magic at Homestead-Miami Speedway, once again.
Hamlin went to the lead for the final time with 30 laps left and held off Chase Elliott for his record-tying third NASCAR Cup Series victory at Homestead. Former drivers Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle are the other three-time winners.
Hamlin is in the club now, after battling Elliott most of the night. Hamlin raced to his third victory of the season and 40th overall.
He opened the season with a victory in the Daytona 500 and won at Darlington last month.
At Homestead, he led 137 of 267 laps on the 1 1/2-mile track in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 Toyota, finishing 0.895 ahead of Elliott.
US SOCCER-NATIONAL ANTHEM
U.S. Soccer president addresses repeal of anthem policy
UNDATED (AP) – U.S. Soccer President City Parlow Cone has apologized for the federation’s lack of leadership in the fight against racism. Parlow Cone on Saturday discussed the federation’s decision to repeal a policy that required players to stand during the national anthem.
The rule had been adopted by U.S. Soccer in 2017 when national team player Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick’s protests of police brutality and racial injustice.
It was repealed this week during a special meeting called by Parlow Cone. On Saturday, she apologized to African Americans and other minorities “for us not being leaders in this fight.”
‘Long overdue’: White NHL players find their voice on racism
UNDATED (AP) – The predominantly white sport of hockey has a checkered history of racism and a culture of not speaking out. The death of George Floyd in Minnesota has changed that.
A number of white NHL players have decided to join their black counterparts in discussing the issue.
More than 100 players posted statements on social media. Kim Davis is the NHL’s executive vice president of social impact and the highest-ranked African American in the league. She says she thinks many players are realizing the truth about what she calls “the racial pandemic.”
TV money gives NFL leg up if fans can’t fill team’s coffers
UNDATED (AP) – Timing favors the NFL over other major pro sports leagues in trying to figure out how to keep the coronavirus pandemic from wrecking the 2020 season. America’s most popular sport has another big advantage if the games are played: TV money.
While NFL owners could lose billions collectively with limited capacities in stadiums or no fans at all, the league is well positioned financially because of lucrative media contracts approaching $10 billion in a full 2020 season.
Fitch Ratings recently affirmed its “A-plus” credit mark for the NFL and its properties in part because of the league’s media deals. Fitch says the NFL estimates each team’s media revenue at $250 million per season. The number gets bigger later in the contract, and each deal is set to expire in the next two years.
So, it’s safe to say more than half of the league’s $15 billion in annual revenue comes from the TV deals shared equally among all 32 teams – unlike Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL.
MLB’s attempts to get the baseball season started are being held up in part by a disagreement over how to compensate players in the likelihood that owners will have no fan-related revenue.
In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
– Ash Barty has joined the ranks of high-profile players expressing concern over the staging of the U.S. Open while there’s still so much uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. The women’s No. 1 hasn’t had the chance yet to defend her French Open title because all elite tennis competition is shuttered. She’s still awaiting clarity on the U.S. Open, which is scheduled to start Aug. 31. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have aired reservations about the potential restrictions on players and other changes being considered. Barty says “I understand the tournaments are eager to run but keeping everyone safe has to be the priority.”
– An Arizona Coyotes staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolated at home in the Phoenix area. The teams say the staffer is asymptomatic and feeling well. The team says all other staff members or players involved in phase 2 of the NHL’s testing protocol have tested negative as teams prepare to start voluntary small-group workouts on Monday. NHL mandatory training camps can open July 10, pending an agreement to returning to play later this summer.
– Jeremy Jeffress, Jordan Montgomery, Kevin Plawecki could be playing for free this season, earning salaries lower than what they already received as advances. Mookie Betts, George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, James Paxton and Marcus Stroman are likely to find fewer bidders, dollars and contract years as the free-agent market lurches into a free fall next offseason. And all of baseball could be bracing for a spring training lockout and shortened 2022 season after the coronavirus pandemic heightened the likelihood of the sport’s first work stoppage since 1994-95.