#SportsReport: Players Agree To Drop NFL Preseason Games; NBA Returns With Scrimmages
The NFL Players Association has agreed to the league's plan to drop all preseason games for the 2020 season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the offer had not been made public. The union also agreed to a 80-player roster limit for training camp, instead of the usual 90.
The players' union plan came during a conference call on Tuesday. The agreement between the union and the league came a day after league made a proposal on not playing any preseason games because of the coronavirus pandemic. The players' association originally had sought no preseason games and the league had reduced the exhibition schedule to two games. But on Monday evening, the NFL said it would eliminate those preseason contests and also would offer players 18 days for acclimation, up from seven days.
In other virus-related sport news:
The NBA comes back Wednesday with a very different look. There’s no bench. The courtside broadcasters will not be courtside. And the stat crew will be doing their work inside what can be loosely described as an oversized hockey penalty box. The exhibition games that start Wednesday – three for each team through July 28 – are more or less glorified scrimmages with shortened quarters to help players, referees, and workers figure out how everything works. The league says the matches will be aired on NBA TV – the Nets face the Pelicans at 7 p.m. The season officially restarts July 30 in Orlando, Florida.
Attendance will be limited to 25% capacity for the Indianapolis 500 and spectators will be required to wear face coverings at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Indianapolis Motor Speedway can hold approximately 350,000 fans in the grandstands, suites and infield, but officials said last month only 50% capacity would be admitted for the Aug. 23 race. The number was adjusted Tuesday.
Danielle Collins has been kicked out of World TeamTennis for breaking the league's COVID-19 protocols. WTT CEO Carlos Silva says Collins left The Greenbrier resort hosting all of the matches during the league's three-week season and went out of the state of West Virginia.Collins is a 26-year-old American who was a semifinalist at the 2019 Australian Open. She has been ranked as high as No. 23 and currently is No. 51. She was playing for the Orlando Storm at WTT, which took all nine of its teams and put them at The Greenbrier, where the season began July 12 and ends Aug. 2.
The hard-court tournament in the nation's capital that was supposed to mark the official return of men's professional tennis has been canceled. But the group in charge of the U.S. Open immediately said the tuneup's cancellation "in no way impacts" its Grand Slam event. The Citi Open tournament in Washington had been scheduled to start with Aug. 13 qualifying. It was called off Tuesday because of what tournament manager Mark Ein said are "too many unresolved external issues, including various international travel restrictions as well as troubling health and safety trends." The number of coronavirus cases has been spiking in spots throughout the United States.
Matt Turner made five saves, including a key stop on Ayo Akinola late in the second half, and the New England Revolution and Toronto FC played to a 0-0 draw in the MLS is Back tournament. The draw on Tuesday ensured both sides will advance to the knockout stage of the tournament. Both New England and Toronto finished with five points in Group C. Jozy Altidore made his first appearance for Toronto in the tournament coming on in the 86th minute. New England was without designated player Carles Gil, who was wearing a walking boot while on the Revolution bench.
In soccer news, actor Natalie Portman and venture capitalist Kara Nortman lead a group that will bring an expansion National Women's Soccer League team to the Los Angeles area in 2022. The team, tentatively named Angel City, will bring the league to 11 teams. Louisville FC joins the nine current NWSL clubs next season. Portman and Nortman are joined by gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, who is president in the majority-female group. Others involved include actors Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Uzo Aduba.
Cleveland's players met Tuesday with owner Paul Dolan to discuss a potential name change for the team, which has been called the Indians for the past 105 years. Manager Terry Francona said the group had an "honest" conversation and he came away proud of how it was handled by all involved.Francona stressed that nothing has been resolved over the controversial topic. The franchise recently announced it was in the early stages of meeting with the community and appropriate stakeholders "to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name." The Indians' move coincided with the recent decision by Washington's NFL team to drop the name Redskins, which had been decried as being racist for decades. Cleveland removed its contentious Chief Wahoo logo from its game jerseys and caps. Fans, however, can still buy merchandise bearing the red-faced, toothy mascot that became a symbol of hatred to some and civic pride to others.
In other MLB news:
The Blue Jays' front office has told its players that Pittsburgh and Baltimore are possibilities for where the team will hold home games this year after Canada's government barred the club from playing in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic. That's according to Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk. He says the players want to be in a major league stadium but have also been told their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo is a possibility. Canada denied the Blue Jays' request to play at Rogers Centre because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID-19 cases are surging.
The Dodgers have optioned infielder Gavin Lux and agreed on a one-year deal with pitcher Jake McGee. Lux arrived late to summer camp and has appeared in only a few of the team's intrasquad games. Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez have also gotten starts at second base. McGee was placed on waivers by Colorado last week. The 33-year-old left-hander was 4-11 with a 4.78 ERA in 225 games in four years with the club. He was 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA last season.
Oakland Athletics left-hander A.J. Puk received an injection in his troublesome pitching shoulder and is likely to be sidelined for at least two weeks. The prized prospect had been set to pitch in the rotation. He is dealing with inflammation that also bothered him during spring training. Puk is on the 10-day injured list. Right-hander Daniel Mengden is filling Puk's spot at the back end of the rotation to begin the shortened 60-game season. The A's open at home against the Angels on Friday night.
The NFL is planning to allow players to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence. The league has been in talks with individual players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. The initiative will be done leaguewide, with each team deciding who it will honor and how to display the names.
Washington's NFL team has hired TV reporter, anchor and host Julie Donaldson to oversee its broadcast operation and be a member of a three-person radio booth for games. Donaldson will be the first woman to be a regular on-air member of an NFL radio broadcast booth. The move comes less than a week after longtime broadcaster Larry Michael announced he was leaving Washington after 16 years. A day after his departure was made public, Michael was among the team executives named in a Washington Post report about sexual harassment by club employees.
Veteran defensive end and three-time Pro Bowler Michael Bennett is retiring after 11 NFL seasons.The 34-year-old Bennett played for five teams and was an integral part of the Seattle Seahawks' 2013 NFL championship. He said Tuesday on Instagram that the 2019 season, which he split between New England and Dallas, was his last. He also played for Tampa Bay and Philadelphia.
The Panthers have now signed all seven draft picks. The team signed its final six unsigned draft picks, including second-round draft picks Yetur Gross-Matos and Jeremy Chinn on Tuesday. Also signed were fourth-round selection Tony Pride Jr. from Notre Dame, fifth-round pick Kenny Robinson Jr. from West Virginia, sixth-round pick Bravvion Roy from Baylor and seventh-round pick Stantley Thomas-Oliver from Florida International. First-round pick Derrick Brown from Auburn signed back in May.
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