Update on the latest sports
The ESPYS focus on honors, pandemic and racial justice
UNDATED (AP) – This was a different version of The ESPYS. No red carpet, no nattily dressed athletes, no house band or monologue poking fun at the past year’s top athletes and moments. The focus was on honors, the pandemic and racial justice. Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for sparking a national conversation about mental health. Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins was honored as the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian of the Year for helping his hometown in the Dominican Republic acquire public service needs. The show was hosted remotely by NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird of the WNBA.
Balk in baseball coronavirus talks as negotiations drag on
NEW YORK (AP) – An email from Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to union head Tony Clark led to a balk in the drawn-out talks to start the pandemic-delayed season, which now won’t begin by July 19.
The executive committee of the players’ association was set to vote and reject MLB’s latest offer for a 60-game season on Sunday.
Manfred says in an email obtained by The Associated Press that he really believes they are fighting over an impossibility on games. Manfred says the earliest they’ll be ready for players to report is a week from Monday, given the need to relocate teams from Florida. That leaves 66 days to play 60 games. Manfred says, “Realistically, that is the outside of the envelope now.”
Players want 70 games and $275 million more than teams are offering. They are worried that if a resurgence of the new coronavirus causes the 2020 season to be cut short, the deal being negotiated would lock in innovations for 2021 and lessen the union’s bargaining power.
Simpson celebrates a Father’s Day win at Harbour Town
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – Webb Simpson celebrated another victory on Father’s Day, this time with a tartan jacket instead of a U.S. Open trophy.
In a wild sprint to the finish after a three-hour storm delay, Simpson ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine at Harbour Town and closed with a 7-under 64 for a one-shot victory over Abraham Ancer.
Simpson won the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in 2012. The U.S. Open has been scheduled to end on Father’s Day every year since 1976, but it was moved to September this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RBC Heritage filled the spot on the schedule and Simpson, now a father of five, became a winner for the second time this year with a record score at Harbour Town.
He didn’t have much of a choice with so many low scores on a soft course with little wind. He finished at 22-under 262, breaking by two the tournament record set by Brian Gay in 2009.
Weather delays NASCAR race at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) – Thunderstorms Sunday forced NASCAR to postpone the Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway that was to mark the return of more fans to the track. The race, which was pushed back to 2 p.m. CDT today, is the first amid the coronavirus pandemic in which NASCAR opened the gates for up to 5,000 fans.
The event was stopped several times for more than three hours of total delays.
The race is the ninth for the elite Cup Series since the May 17 resumption, and restrictions are gradually being lifted.
It was hardly an ordinary race day at Talladega Superspeedway, even before the lousy weather. The normal hordes of partying fans were nowhere to be seen.
Noose found in garage stall of Bubba Wallace
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) – NASCAR says it’s investigating the discovery of a noose in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace on Sunday at the NASCAR race in Talladega, Alabama.
Wallace is the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR’s elite Cup Series. Two weeks ago, he successfully pushed for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and properties.
F1 star Hamilton to set up commission to increase diversity
LONDON (AP) – Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton plans to set up a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.
The Mercedes driver says the aim of the Hamilton Commission will be to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in.”
Hamilton is the only Black world champion in F1. He has spoken widely about racism since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
Writing in British newspaper The Sunday Times, Hamilton said it would be a research partnership dedicated to exploring how motorsport can be used as a vehicle to “engage more young people from Black backgrounds with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and, ultimately, employ them on our teams or in other engineering sectors.”
2 tennis players test positive for COVID-19
UNDATED (AP) – Borna Coric has become the second tennis player to test positive for the coronavirus after participating in an exhibition event in Croatia.
Coric was among about 1,000 people who were tested for the virus after Grigor Dimitrov (GREE’-gohr DIH’-mih-trahv) announced that he was positive. That led to the cancellation of an exhibition event in Croatia where top-ranked Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) was scheduled to play in the final.
The 33rd-ranked Coric played a match against Dimitrov in the Adriatic resort of Zadar on Saturday in the second leg of the exhibition series.
In other sports affected by the coronavirus pandemic:
– Serbian soccer club Red Star Belgrade says five players have tested positive for the coronavirus. The club says the players are feeling fine and remain in isolation. Four of the players have displayed symptoms of COVID-19 while one has shown no symptoms at all.
– There’s been a setback in the Russian soccer league’s restart this weekend. Dynamo Moscow postponed its game Sunday after three of its players tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s the second game to be disrupted by the coronavirus since the Russian league restarted Friday after a three-month pause.
– Newcastle beat 10-man Sheffield United 3-0 in the Premier League to virtually guarantee its top-flight status for another year and make the club an even more attractive option for its controversial potential buyers. The win at an empty St. James’ Park lifted Newcastle to 38 points and 11 clear of the relegation zone. The future of Newcastle has been one of the big talking points during soccer’s three-month shutdown. League officials are deciding whether to approve a takeover of the northeast club by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Chelsea rallied to beat Aston Villa 2-1. Chelsea strengthened its hold on fourth place and is five points clear of fifth-place Manchester United.
– Two-time major champion So Yeon Ryu (soh yahn yoo) closed with an even-par 72 to win the Korea Women’s Open in her first tournament in four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ryu won for the first time since the Japan Women’s Open in 2018, and it was her first victory on the Korea LPGA since 2015. Upon winning, Ryu offered her entire prize money of just over $200,000 for coronavirus relief funds.
TRIPLE CROWN-WHAT’S NEXT
Belmont winner Tiz the Law eyes ambitious summer schedule
UNDATED (AP) – Having secured a victory in the Belmont Stakes, Tiz the Law now faces an 11-week wait until the Kentucky Derby in a reconfigured Triple Crown series. In between, the bay colt who became the first New York-bred to win the Belmont since 1882 is being pointed toward the Travers on Aug. 8 in upstate New York, which is his home turf.
Tiz the Law has five wins in six career starts by an average of 19 1/4 lengths. His only loss came at Churchill Downs last year, and he’ll get a chance to avenge it over the same track in the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.
Horse injured, euthanized after race at Santa Anita
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – A horse injured after crossing the finish line of a race at Santa Anita has been euthanized, making it the 15th fatality at the track since late December.
Strictly Biz, a 4-year-old colt, fractured his right knee while galloping past the finish of the sixth race Saturday. The attending veterinarian determined it was an unrecoverable injury.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Strictly Biz finished sixth among eight horses in the $51,000 race on the turf. Trained by Brian Koriner and owned by Jay Em Ess Stable, the colt had one win in four career starts and earnings of $29,000, according to Equibase.
The California track’s spring-summer meet ends Sunday.
British superbike rider dies after crash at English track
DERBY, England (AP) – A British superbike rider has died after being involved in a collision with another bike at an event on the Donington Park track in central England Sunday.
Organizers of the No Limits Trackday event say Ben Godfrey died from the injuries he suffered from falling from his bike. Godfrey was 25 and raced in the British Superbike Championship.
The No Limits Trackdays director described Godfrey as “a fantastic young man” and said he was “friends with so many people in the paddock, he was always smiling and had time for everyone.”
Former NFL, USC offensive lineman Max Tuerk dies at 26
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Max Tuerk, an All-America offensive lineman at Southern California who was drafted by the Chargers, has died. He was 26. USC announced his death on Twitter, but did not say when Tuerk died or provide a cause of death. Tuerk played for the Trojans from 2012-15.
He was a freshman All-American and an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2014.
As a three-year starter, he played under three head coaches – Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton. He was taken by the Chargers in the 2016 NFL draft, and played one game for the Arizona Cardinals before being cut in 2018.
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