Update on the latest sports
Roosevelt Taylor, 82, safety on Bears’ 1963 title team, dies
UNDATED (AP) — Roosevelt Taylor, a star safety on the Chicago Bears’ 1963 NFL championship team, has died. He was 82.
The team said he died Friday but did not provide details.
An All-Pro in 1963 when the Bears won the title, Taylor played his first nine NFL seasons with Chicago, 1961-69, appearing in every game. A ballhawk, he led the league in interceptions in 1963 with nine, also making the Pro Bowl.
Chicago was 11-1-2 in that championship season, winning all eight games in which Taylor made an interception.
He also made the Pro Bowl in 1968. The next year, he was dealt to San Francisco for guard Howard Mudd and spent 2 1/2 seasons with the 49ers, then was Washington’s free safety in 1972. The Redskins lost to Miami in the Super Bowl that season, with the Dolphins finishing off their perfect record.
In all, Taylor had 32 interceptions, 23 with the Bears. He ran back three for touchdowns and also scored on a fumble return.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-FLORIDA-NEMBHARD LEAVING
Florida G Nembhard withdraws from NBA draft, transfers
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida point guard Andrew Nembhard is removing his name from the NBA draft and returning to school — just not in Gainesville. A team spokesman said Saturday that Nembhard plans to transfer and will have two years of college eligibility remaining. Stadium first reported Nembhard’s intentions.
Nembhard entered the NBA draft last month. He hired NCAA-certified agent Jaafar Choufani so he could retain his college eligibility. He took a similar approach after his freshman year and eventually returned to Florida after not getting invited to the NBA scouting combine.
As a sophomore, he averaged 11.2 points, 5.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds. With 173 assists and 80 turnovers in 2019-20, his assist-to-turnover ratio ranked 49th in the country.
No agreement yet on resumption of NBA season
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA Board of Governors continues to ponder various scenarios as the league prepares to resume a season still on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Three people familiar with Friday’s meeting have told The Associated Press that the board hasn’t developed a consensus opinion on how many teams should be back on the floor for the planned late-July resumption. The people say Commissioner Adam Silver is still collecting information on multiple options ranging from 16 to all 30 teams returning to action when the season begins again near Orlando, Florida.
One person said 20 of more teams would be brought back to finish the season near Orlando, while a second person said the league would bring back any team within six games of a playoff berth.
The league suspended play following the conclusion of its March 11 games.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— Major league teams have released hundreds of young players with the minor league season in doubt due. Transactions posted at MiLB.com say over 200 players were cut Friday and more than 400 have been released over the past month. The start of the minor league season was postponed in March and players were mostly sent home from spring training. While Major League Baseball and the players’ association are negotiating terms to play big league ball this summer, it’s unlikely there will be minor league games. Minor league players not on 40-man rosters were promised $400 per week through May 31 by a policy drafted by MLB.
— The Arizona Diamondbacks have laid off or furloughed about one-quarter of the team’s employees because of lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organization made the moves on Friday. Remaining staff will take pay cuts that average less than 15%, with the team’s highest earners losing a bigger percentage of their income.
— The NCAA has released a long and detailed plan to help schools bring athletes back to campus. The move comes as schools across the country prepare for the return of athletes as early as June 8. The NCAA last week lifted a moratorium on athletic activities starting Monday. That cleared the way for voluntary workouts and training to begin at team facilities. Schools have already started putting plans in place to test athletes, coaches and staff for the coronavirus and implement social distancing. The NCAA says its plan is offered as guidance, consistent with federal and local public health guidelines.
— Four-year colleges facing budget shortfalls because of the coronavirus outbreak have eliminated nearly 100 sports programs. Critics say some of those sports might have survived if decision-makers had considered the benefits those sports brought to the schools as a whole. Former University of Idaho president Chuck Staben argues athletes in sports that award partial scholarships often pay more than the value of their scholarships for tuition. He says that’s especially important at a time when enrollment declines are accelerating because of the pandemic.
— The Ukrainian Premier League restarted Saturday but one game was called off when an unspecified number of soccer players and staff tested positive for the coronavirus. The league said players and staff from last-placed Karpaty Lviv had tested positive ahead of tomorrow’s match against Mariupol. The league is playing its first games since March 15, with Kolos and Desna kicking off the opening match. There are nine rounds left. The league is due to finish July 19 with a European qualification playoff following 10 days later.
— The Spanish league says full team training sessions will resume Monday, ahead of the first match to be played following the coronavirus stoppage. La Liga said the government gave authorization on Saturday for squads to practice together. Until now, players had been limited to individual training before progressing to small groups. The league, which has been on hold since March 12, will restart on June 11 when Sevilla faces Real Betis without fans. The 11 rounds remaining are due to be played until July 19, according to the government. Barcelona leads Real Madrid by two points at the top of the table.
— The English Premier League was given government approval on Saturday to press ahead with its June 17 restart, although players will have to stay apart during goal celebrations and disputes to maintain social distancing. Further details of the league’s plans for dealing with coronavirus cases have been disclosed with clubs likely to have to play even if they only have 15 fit squad members.
— Sporting events will be allowed to resume in England without spectators starting Monday, as long as they comply with the government’s coronavirus protocols. The new guidance for elite sports bodies paves the way for the planned June 17 return of the Premier League, the world’s richest soccer competition. The guidance includes a request that social distancing must be maintained in matches “during any disputes between players and referees or scoring celebrations.” Horse racing and snooker have already lined up events for Monday in anticipation of the end of an 11-week shutdown of sports.
— France’s former sports minister says the government was too hasty in calling off soccer leagues this season. The French leagues were canceled after Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said in late April they could not resume because of the coronavirus pandemic. Patrick Kanner, sports minister from 2014-17, thinks the leagues were pressured into canceling. In a French radio interview Saturday, Kanner said “they were not given any choice” and that “maybe we could have resumed playing in June.” France is the only one of Europe’s five major soccer leagues to cancel its season.
— The South African government says it’s maintaining a ban on all contact sports because of the coronavirus, meaning the country’s professional rugby teams and its world champion Springboks will remain out of action. The sports minister’s announcement Saturday came as South Africa prepares to further ease lockdown on Monday and open up most of its economy as part of a phased relaxation of restrictions. Professional non-contact sports competitions will be allowed in some regions. Rugby teams can resume training if protocols are in place, including mandatory screening. All teams have 14 days to submit detailed plans on their protocols for approval before they can train.
— The Austrian Health Ministry has approved safety conditions for Austria to host two Formula One Grand Prix races in July. The first 10 races of the season have either been postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but F1 could finally return with back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on July 5 and 12. The double-header would have no spectators and only a limited number of people involved.
— Major League Baseball wants to ban mascots if the sport resumes this season. But mascot guru Dave Raymond thinks that’s a bad idea. He says “every mascot should be essential because of its ability to connect and distract with fun.” Raymond was the first Phillie Phanatic and has since become a mascot consultant. He has helped create, brand and train the next generation of hundreds of stadium characters. Mascots were lumped in with other baseball traditions that would be weeded out under a 2020 proposal. The traditional exchange of lineup cards would be eliminated, along with high-fives, fist bumps and bat boys and girls.
— The Pawtucket Red Sox have found something to do with McCoy Stadium while the minor league baseball season is on hold. Starting next weekend, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox will be serving ballpark fare on picnic tables that are spread out across the infield dirt. To follow Rhode Island state guidelines on dining, “Dining on the Diamond” is limited to 20 tables, with two seatings per night. The first four seatings sold out in 88 minutes.