Update on the latest sports
Akers runs wild, Newton benched as Rams rout Patriots 24-3
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) – Cam Akers rushed for 171 yards in a breakout performance, Kenny Young returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown and the Los Angeles Rams clinched their fourth straight winning season with a 24-3 victory over the New England Patriots on Thursday night.
Jared Goff rushed for a touchdown and threw a TD pass to Cooper Kupp as the Rams, now 9-4, rolled to a one-sided victory in a rematch of their 13-3 Super Bowl loss in February 2019.
Cam Newton passed for 119 yards before getting replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the fourth quarter of another dismal offensive game for New England. The Pats are now 6-7. Five days after the Patriots scored 45 points at SoFi Stadium against the Chargers, New England endangered its push for a 12th straight playoff berth with only its second loss in six games.
NBA reports 8 more positive tests
UNDATED (AP) – The NBA says eight more players have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total so far this season to 56.
Of those, the first 48 tested positive in the league’s initial return-to-market testing phase that went from Nov. 24 through Dec. 1. Those tests showed a leaguewide positivity rate of about 9%. The next eight came from a batch of 541 players tested in the week that began Dec. 2. For that span, the positivity rate was just under 1.5%.
Preseason games across the NBA begin Friday and the regular season is scheduled to begin with two games on Dec. 22.
In other NBA news:
– The NBA is making Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets pay for the point guard’s silence. The league fined Irving and the team $25,000 apiece Thursday because he has refused to speak to the media thus far during the preseason. In announcing the fines, the NBA said Irving has refused on several occasions this week to participate in the team’s media availability. Irving has not spoken during any of the Nets’ press sessions, all being held via Zoom. He released a statement through his publicist last Friday to address his media silence, saying he wanted to ensure that his message was conveyed properly.
– Paul George wants to retire with the Los Angeles Clippers, and he took a step in that direction Thursday by signing a multi-year contract extension. The six-time All-Star could have become a free agent after the upcoming season. George said recently that he wants to retire as a Clipper. He averaged 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and shot a career-high 41% from 3-point range in his first season with the team.
– The Indiana Pacers say starting forward T.J. Warren and backup guard Brian Bowen II will miss time with injuries. Warren has plantar fascitis in his right foot and is listed as week to week. Bowen is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a partially torn groin muscle. Warren averaged 19.8 points and shot 53.6% from the field last season, his first with Indiana, both career-bests. Bowen spent most of last season playing in the G-League but made six appearances with Indiana.
Adam Eaton and White Sox finalize $8 million, 1-year deal
UNDATED (AP) – Outfielder Adam Eaton and the Chicago White Sox have reunited, finalizing a one-year contract that guarantees $8 million. Eaton gets $7 million next season, and the White Sox have an $8.5 million option for 2022 with a $1 million buyout.
Eaton played for Chicago from 2014-16 and was dealt to the Washington Nationals at the December 2016 winter meetings for current ace Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez. Eaton helped the Nationals win the World Series in 2019. They declined their option on him after he hit .226 in 41 games last season.
In other MLB news:
– Infielder Nate Lowe was traded from the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays to the Texas Rangers for minor league catcher and outfielder Heriberto Hernandez. As part of the swap, Tampa Bay also acquired minor league infielder Osleivis Basabe and minor league outfielder Alexander Ovalles, and Texas obtained minor league first baseman Jake Guenther and a player to be named. The 25-year-old Lowe hit .224 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 21 games last season and was 0 for 3 in the wild-card playoff against Toronto, his only postseason appearances.
– Chadwick Tromp and the San Francisco Giants have agreed on a one-year deal after the team declined to tender a contract to the rookie catcher from Aruba before last week’s deadline. He gets a salary of $583,000 while in the major leagues and $150,000 while in the minors. Tromp announced on social media he would be returning to the Giants, who initially signed him to a minor league deal for last season. The 25-year-old Tromp batted .213 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 24 games last season.
– Pittsburgh has taken right-hander Jose Soriano from the Los Angeles Angels organization with the first of 18 picks in the major league phase of the winter meeting draft of players not protected on 40-man rosters. The 22-year-old Soriano was 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts for the Arizona Rookie League Angels in 2019 and 5-6 with a 2.55 ERA in 15 starts and two relief appearances for Burlington of the Class A Midwest League. He missed last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
– The Philadelphia Phillies have hired longtime baseball executive Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, according to two people familiar with the decision. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced the move. An official announcement is expected Friday. Andy MacPhail is the Phillies’ current president and has planned to retire after the 2021 season.
McCaffrey not expected to play vs. Broncos
UNDATED (AP) – Christian McCaffrey seems likely to spend another week watching from the sideline.
The 2019 All-Pro running back did not practice on Thursday and coach Matt Rhule said “at this point I do not expect him to play” on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Both teams are 4-8.
McCaffrey missed six games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain. He has missed the past three games with a shoulder sprain but was expected to return this week. However, Rhule said McCaffrey tweaked his thigh while working out last week and hasn’t been right since.
In other NFL news:
-The Chicago Bears closed their facility for a few hours Thursday and pushed back practice because of a positive COVID-19 test. The team placed three practice squad players on the COVID list this week but coach Matt Nagy says the team doesn’t think the latest positive test was related to those cases.
-New York Jets rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims is dealing with a family matter and will miss the game Sunday at Seattle. Mims left the team Wednesday to travel home to Texas. Coach Adam Gase ruled Mims out against the Seahawks because the receiver would not be able to go through the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols in time.
– Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and Kansas City’s standout tight end Travis Kelce (KEL’-see) are among the 32 finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. The award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. It was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame running back. The award will be presented during Super Bowl week.
– The Buffalo Bills signed general manager Brandon Beane to a multi-year contract extension, locking up the architect of a team in position to secure its third playoff berth in four years. The length of the contract is likely to coincide with coach Sean McDermott, who was signed to a four-year extension in August. McDermott’s contract runs through the 2025 season.
– The New Orleans Saints say they are shrinking the planned crowd size for a December home game against the Kansas City Chiefs from 15,000 to 3,000 due to a recent surge in local positive tests. The club says current season ticket holders will have access to 3,000 tickets that will be distributed during the week of December 14 for the Chiefs game.
-Denver defensive coordinator Ed Donatell is planning to attend his first game since Oct. 25 when the Broncos travel to face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Donatell missed six games with a case of the novel coronavirus that landed him in the hospital last month. He’s been gradually increasing his trips into team headquarters. Donatell said he’s still working to regain his strength.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Boston College decides to end season, skip bowl game
UNDATED (AP) – Boston College has opted out of playing in a bowl game.
Coach Jeff Hafley said on Thursday that after speaking with his players the team decided to end its season. The Eagles managed to make it through the entire season with just one positive COVID-19 test and played all 11 games on the schedule. The Eagles went 6-5, and 5-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference to qualify for a postseason game for the fifth straight year.
In other virus-related college football news:
– The regular season-ending football game between No. 23 Texas and Kansas, which had already been pushed back to Saturday because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Jayhawks program, has now been canceled due to an outbreak among the Longhorns. Texas returned three positive tests after blowing out Kansas State last week. The Longhorns had a walkthrough Wednesday only to discover there were more positive tests. Kansas will finish 0-9, its second winless season since 2015.
– Washington’s football game at Oregon on Saturday has been canceled because of COVID-19 cases in the Huskies’ program. The Pac-12 announced the decision Thursday. The league said the game would be declared a no contest. The conference said Washington did not have enough scholarship players available under Pac-12 protocols. The conference says 53 scholarship players need to be available. Washington paused practices Wednesday after a rise in the number of positive cases and announced earlier Thursday it would not be resuming practices. This will be just the second time the Ducks and Huskies have not played since 1945. The teams did not meet in 2001 due to a scheduling quirk.
– West Virginia has paused all football activities for the next seven days and will not host No. 13 Oklahoma on Saturday due to a surge of positive COVID-19 cases and contact tracing in the football program. Athletic director Shane Lyons says the game will not be rescheduled. The next game for the Sooners will instead be the Big 12 championship game against No. 10 Iowa State in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 19.
– In the Mid-American Conference, Miami (Ohio)’s game at Bowling Green was also canceled Thursday.
– Texas Tech has closed its football facility after eight members of the staff joined coach Matt Wells among those with positive tests for COVID-19. Wells missed the regular-season finale against Kansas last weekend after testing positive during the week leading to the game. The school says the coaching staff started working remotely Wednesday so the football facility could be cleaned. The facility will be closed the rest of the week. The season might not be over for the Red Raiders, since all teams are eligible to participate in bowl games.
Olson comes up aces and takes 1-shot lead in Women’s Open
HOUSTON (AP) – Amy Olson is the leader after one day at the U.S. Women’s Open thanks to a hole-in-one. Olson hit an 8-iron for her ace on her seventh hole of the tournament at Champions Golf Club. She kept right on going until she had a 4-under 67. That gave the North Dakota native a one-shot lead over former Women’s British Open winner Hinako Shibuno.
Also at 68 were Moriya Jutanugarn and A Lim Kim. They were among only 11 players who broke 70 in perfect scoring conditions.
USOPC hears athletes, won’t punish protesters
CHICAGO (AP) – The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has responded to calls from American athletes by announcing it won’t sanction them for raising their fists or kneeling on the medals stand at next year’s Tokyo Games and beyond.
It’s a response to a set of recommendations from a USOPC athlete group that seeks changes to the much-maligned Rule 50 of the IOC Olympic Charter, which prohibits inside-the-lines protests at the games. It was this rule that most famously led to the ouster of U.S. medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos from the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City after the sprinters raised their fists on the medals stand to protest racial inequality in the United States.
Wimbledon champ, tennis Hall of Famer Alex Olmedo dies at 84
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) – Alex Olmedo, who won the Wimbledon and Australian Championships singles titles in 1959 and was later inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, has died.
Alejandro Olmedo was born in Peru in 1936 and moved to the United States as a teenager. He won NCAA tennis championships in singles and doubles at Southern California. Olmedo led the United States to the 1958 Davis Cup trophy. In 1959, he won singles titles at two Grand Slam tournaments and was runner-up at a third.
Citing Olmedo’s son, Alejandro Jr., the hall says Olmedo died Wednesday of brain cancer. He was 84.