A Pro Football Hall of Famer and a record-setting kicker have died. The Hall of Fame says that speedy halfback and receiver Bobby Mitchell has died at 84. The Hall of Fame hasn't provided other details.
Mitchell spent 11 seasons in the NFL. He played halfback for the Browns from 1958-61 and was a flanker for Washington from 1962-68, becoming the first African American to sign with the Redskins. Mitchell was a three-time All-NFL selection and played in four Pro Bowls. Mitchell ran for 1,462 yards and accumulated over 3,700 total yards over four seasons for a Browns backfield that featured Jim Brown. He immediately became one of the NFL's most dangerous receivers upon arrival in Washington, leading the league with 72 receptions and 1,384 receiving yards in 1962. Mitchell also led the NFL with 1,436 receiving yards in 1963, including a 99-yard touchdown. Mitchell retired with the second-most combined offensive yards and was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey died late Saturday from what his family described as complications from the new coronavirus. He was 73. Dempsey set an NFL record that stood for 43 years when he kicked a 63-yard, game-winning field goal for the New Orleans Saints against Detroit on Nov. 8, 1970. It wasn't until 2013 that Matt Prater of the Broncos broke that record with a 64-yarder in Denver. Dempsey's success came despite being born without toes on his kicking foot. Dempsey kicked for 11 seasons in the NFL with New Orleans, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo. His daughter says Dempsey was diagnosed with dementia several years ago and was living in a New Orleans nursing home that was hit hard by the virus. The Orleans Parish coroner has yet to release an official cause of death.
Kobe Bryant is now officially a Hall of Famer. Bryant, who died in January, and fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett headlined a nine-person group announced Saturday as this year’s class of enshrinees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. They all got into the Hall in their first year of eligibility, as did WNBA great Tamika Catchings. Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich, longtime Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, 1,000-game winner Barbara Stevens of Bentley and three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton were selected. So was former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann.
Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans is giving up his last two seasons of college eligibility to enter the NBA draft, saying the time is now to pursue his dream of playing professionally. The 6-foot-3 Hagans was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman and became one of the country's best point guards this past season. He averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals last season, but he also clashed with coach John Calipari. Hagans argued with forward Nick Richards and coach Calipari and reportedly refused to re-enter in the second half of a home loss to Tennessee. Calipari downplayed the incident afterward.
William Byron has won the third NASCAR virtual race in a series put together after the coronavirus pandemic stopped sports. Byron easily captured the iRacing event Sunday at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, where NASCAR would have been really racing before the coronavirus pandemic caused sports to shut down. His victory came after he led the most laps in NASCAR's first two virtual races and had nothing to show for his gaming skills. The most entertaining part of Sunday's event was the drivers' gaming streams, where they argued and complained about one another. Bubba Wallace "rage quit" the game early after an accident and Daniel Suarez and Kyle Larson were parked after virtually tangling on track.
England defender Kyle Walker is facing disciplinary action from English Premier League team Manchester City after appearing to break lockdown conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Walker apologized on Sunday after it was widely reported he held a party involving two sex workers at his home last week, breaking the government's rules on social distancing. The country is in the middle of a three-week lockdown. The team says it will look into Walker's conduct.
A Serbian soccer player has been sentenced to three months of home detention for flouting a curfew imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus. Striker Aleksandar Prijovic pleaded guilty at a video link trial in Belgrade on Saturday. Police had arrested him and 19 others for gathering at a hotel lobby bar in Belgrade on Friday and violating the country's 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. lockdown orders. He is the second Serbian soccer player to be caught violating the stay-at-home orders. Those who violate the restrictive measures could face up to three years in jail.
Soccer players in Spain are criticizing the Spanish league's decision to ask clubs to put the footballers on government furloughs during the coronavirus crisis. The league on Friday said the furloughs were needed because there was no agreement on the size of the salary cuts that players must take to reduce the financial impact of the pandemic. In a statement Sunday, Spain's players' association said the league should have created a financial cushion for this period. The league and the players' association have been in talks to try to find ways to mitigate losses if the season cannot be restarted because of the pandemic.
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