#SportsReport: Tokyo Olympics Postponed Until 2021; NASCAR Orders Pay Cuts | WAMC

#SportsReport: Tokyo Olympics Postponed Until 2021; NASCAR Orders Pay Cuts

Mar 25, 2020

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021. The International Olympic Committee has decided that the Tokyo Games cannot go ahead as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak. The IOC says the games will be held "not later than summer 2021" but they will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The announcement was a nod to the reality that training and qualifying schedules have been ruptured beyond repair as the coronavirus spreads. Next up for the organizers is picking a date when it might be safe again to hold such a massive event. They'll also have to rearrange the 2021 global sports calendar. The track world championships in Eugene, Oregon, could be moved from 2021 to 2022.

A Boston Red Sox minor league player has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the team to close down its training complex in Fort Myers, Florida. The team didn't identify the player, but said he was doing well. The New York Yankees announced earlier this month that two of their minor leaguers had the virus.

North Carolina freshman point guard Cole Anthony says he's delaying any announcements about whether he'll enter the NBA draft amid the spread of the virus. Considered a likely one-and-done prospect, Anthony averaged 18.5 points for the Tar Heels, though he missed 11 games due to knee surgery and UNC went just 14-19.

The NHL is extending its recommendation for players and staff to self-isolate and stay away from team practice facilities until at least April 6. Multiple people with knowledge of the update say the NHL has recommended players and staff extend their self-quarantine 10 days beyond the original March 27 timeline. The decision further pushes back the earliest date team facilities can reopen.

NASCAR has informed its staff that pay cuts will be imposed across the company until the series returns to racing. NASCAR President Steve Phelps announced the moves in a memo to employees, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press from a person who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. The memo said series executives, including the presidents of NASCAR-owned tracks, will see a 25% reduction in salary. All other employees will have their salary reduced by 20%.

NFL

Tom Brady says one day he'll have time to reflect on a historic 20-year run with the New England Patriots. Right now the six-time Super Bowl champion and newest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is focused on the challenge of helping the Bucs end the NFL's second-longest playoff drought. The 42-year-old quarterback declined during a conference call to discuss specifics about his decision to leave the Patriots. Instead he reiterated that while he cherishes what he accomplished in New England, he's just as committed to helping Tampa Bay be successful.

The Cam Newton era is officially over in Carolina. The Panthers have released the quarterback after nine seasons. The move became a formality after the Panthers made it clear last week they were moving on from Newton, giving him permission to seek a trade before agreeing to a three-year, $63 million contract with free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

A person familiar with the situation says free agent wide receiver Robby Anderson has agreed to a two-year contract worth $20 million with the Panthers. He scored five touchdowns for the Jets last season and finished with 52 catches for 779 yards, both second-best totals for his career. The Jets quickly responded to losing Anderson by giving speedster Breshad Perriman a one-year contract. The 26-year-old wide receiver had his best season in the NFL last year, setting career highs with 36 catches, 645 yards receiving and six touchdowns for Tampa Bay.

Receiver Isaiah McKenzie has reached an agreement to re-sign with the Bills.

Oft-injured tight end Tyler Eifert has ended his seven-season run with the Bengals by accepting a two-year package with the Jaguars. Eifert played in 16 games last year for the first time in his seven NFL seasons, catching 43 passes for 436 yards and three touchdowns.

The Falcons have agreed to a contract with free-agent linebacker LaRoy Reynolds. Reynolds played in 15 games with Cincinnati in 2019. He is expected to add depth and contribute on special teams.

The Lions have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Oday Aboushi to add depth. Aboushi started two games and was a backup in five other games last season in Detroit.

The Seahawks have made a significant addition to their wide receiver group by agreeing to a one-year deal with Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett addresses another need for Seattle, providing depth and additional speed on the outside for quarterback Russell Wilson. 

The 49ers have officially announced a deal to re-sign safety Jimmie Ward to a three-year contract. The sides came to an agreement on the deal worth a reported $28.5 million last week but the team had to wait until Ward passed a physical before announcing. The 49ers also have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent receiver Travis Benjamin, according to a person familiar with the contract.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst says he's signed tight end Marcedes Lewis, who is back for a third year in Green Bay. The 35-year-old Lewis caught 15 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown last season.

Journeyman cornerback Rashaan Melvin and the Jaguars have agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $2.25 million. Melvin had 68 tackles and 11 pass breakups in 13 games for Detroit last season.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the club has agreed to free-agent contracts with defensive end Noah Spence and XFL interception leader Deatrick Nichols. Spence was a 2016 second-round draft choice by Tampa Bay and returns to the Saints after joining New Orleans for three regular season games and one playoff game last season.

The Chiefs have agreed to a one-year contract with Jordan Ta'amu, the highest-rated quarterback during the abbreviated XFL season. He will compete with veteran Chad Henne for a backup job next season.

Case Keenum has reunited in Cleveland with the coach who brought out the best in him. The veteran quarterback signed a three-year, $18 million free agent contract with the Browns. He'll again be working with coach Kevin Stefanski. The pair spent 2017 together in Minnesota.

The Chargers have agreed to a one-year contract with free agent linebacker Nick Vigil. He spent the last four seasons with the Bengals and started every game last year, finishing second on the team with 111 tackles.

The Cardinals have agreed to terms on one-year deals with offensive lineman Max Garcia and safety Charles Washington.

MLB

If the New York Mets ever start their season, they'll do it without Noah Syndergaard. The flame-throwing right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday after being diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen says Syndergaard underwent an MRI after experiencing discomfort in his elbow before spring training was suspended due to the pandemic. The right-hander received a second opinion on the damaged ulnar collateral ligament from the Los Angeles Dodgers' head team physician. The 27-year-old Syndergaard is coming off his worst major league season, going 10-8 with a 4.28 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 197 2/3 innings.

NBA

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for $400 million. That clears the way for the billionaire to build a new arena down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer, the former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the cash purchase through a newly formed corporation that will continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. The Forum has been owned by Madison Square Garden Company, which had been in litigation to block Balmer and Wong from building a new arena nearby. The purchase abruptly wraps up the litigation fight and allows the Clippers to move ahead on their goal to open a new arena when their Staples Center lease expires in 2024. The Clippers currently share the downtown arena with the Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Dayton's Obi Toppin and Anthony Grant have claimed top honors from The Associated Press after leading the Flyers to a No. 3 final ranking. Toppin was voted the AP men's college basketball player of the year. Grant is the AP coach of the year. They led the Flyers to a program-record 29 victories. Toppin won the player award with 34 votes from AP Top 25 poll voters. Iowa's Luka Garza was runner-up with 24 votes. Grant won the coaching honor with 30 votes in his third season at his alma mater. Baylor's Scott Drew was second with 13 votes.

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