Update on the latest sports
Cubs coach details harrowing coronavirus fight
UNDATED (AP) — Chicago Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy is recovering from a severe case of COVID-19 that had him quarantined for 30 days.
Hottovy says he experienced fevers, breathing trouble and an increased heart rate. The symptoms worsened at night, making it difficult to sleep.
Because he didn’t want his wife and young children to catch the virus, Hottovy isolated himself in a spare bedroom at home. Things got so bad that Hottovy spent eight hours at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on the 12th day he was sick.
He finally tested negative about two weeks ago. The Cubs resume workouts Friday for the first time since Major League Baseball shut down camps on March 12.
In other baseball news:
— The Kansas City Royals have launched what they are calling a “Fanbassador” program in which up to 500 fans may purchase a plastic cutout of their likeness for $40 apiece that will be displayed in a seat at Kauffman Stadium during the abbreviated 2020 season. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Royals Respond Fund. That’s an effort to support Kansas City-area nonprofits that are focused on food insecurity amid the coronavirus pandemic. Other baseball franchises like the Oakland A’s have proposed the similar programs.
In other baseball news:
— Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich says he supports outfielder Ian Desmond’s decision to sit out the 2020 major league baseball season over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and other issues in society. Bridich says Desmond’s decision won’t affect his future in Denver nor will it spoil the special relationship the men have developed while working together in Denver. The Rockies have found a replacement for Desmond in veteran Matt Kemp. The slugger as agreed to a minor league deal with the Rockies and could get the DH job.
Lakers add veteran J.R. Smith for Orlando championship push
LOS ANGELES (AP) — J.R. Smith has joined LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for their championship push.
The Lakers announced their long-anticipated signing of Smith as a substitute player. Smith is the Lakers’ replacement for Avery Bradley, who cited family reasons for his decision not to finish the season with the Lakers in Orlando.
The 34-year-old Smith hasn’t played in the league since November 2018, but the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year is a longtime trusted teammate of James. They won the NBA title together with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and reached four consecutive NBA Finals.
In other NBA news:
— Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown says All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are healthy for the NBA restart. Brown says Simmons is “good to go” following a lengthy layoff with a back injury. Embiid was recovering from surgery on his left hand and had just returned after missing five games with a sprained left shoulder at the time of the shutdown. Brown says he expects Embiid to return to play in the best shape of his professional career.
— The Brooklyn Nets don’t look ready for a restart, but general manager Sean Marks says there was no discussion of the team not traveling to Florida for the resumption of the NBA season. DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler aren’t going, and Spencer Dinwiddie’s status is uncertain after both he and Jordan tested positive for the coronavirus. Marks also says neither Kevin Durant nor Kyrie Irving will return from injuries to rejoin the Nets this season. The GM says he will support any other players who choose not to play. Brooklyn is currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Packers sign 1st-round pick Love, 2nd-round choice Dillon
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers have signed each of their two top draft picks: Utah State quarterback Jordan Love and Boston College running back A.J. Dillon. Green Bay gave the Miami Dolphins a fourth-round draft choice to move up four spots in the first round and take Love with the 26th overall selection back in April. The Packers chose Dillon with the 62nd overall pick. Both selections were somewhat surprising because the Packers already have two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and Aaron Jones at running back.
In other NFL news:
— Some NFL players are raising concerns about playing football amid the coronavirus pandemic while others are ignoring advice of medical experts by working out with teammates. JC Tretter, a center on the Cleveland Browns and president of the NFL Players Association, wrote an open letter to players saying they have to fight for “necessary COVID-19 protections.” New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said last week that “football is a nonessential business and so we don’t need to do it.” Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward has asthma so he wants to “take every precaution” if he plays.
LeBron James pushing for sports venues to be used for voting
UNDATED (AP) — If basketball icon LeBron James gets his way, NBA arenas and other sports venues around the country will be mega polling sites for the November general election. James and his voting rights group, formed earlier this month with other black athletes and entertainers, are joining with other professional basketball leaders and Michigan’s top elections official to push for the mega voting sites to accommodate in-person balloting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Atlanta Hawks and the Detroit Pistons have already made deals with local elections officials in their cities. The effort will advise sports franchises around the country on how to follow suit.
In other coronavirus related sports news:
— UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is asking for federal help to get foreign students that include athletes back to campus. The Huskies have three foreign players on their roster. The Hall of Fame head coach says they and other foreign students studying in the Unite States are still overseas because of restrictions put in place with the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said he and other members of Congress plan to press the Department of Homeland Security to grant exemptions for the students, similar to ones given to professional athletes last month.
— Coach Dawn Staley would be prepping the U.S. women’s basketball team for the Tokyo Olympics this week if not for the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, she’ll hold a Zoom conference call with players who are vying for a spot on the roster in 2021, if the postponed Olympics are held next year. Staley says they’ll say hello and get a virtual hug. Staley’s focus these days involves getting her South Carolina women’s team back on campus in a safe environment. Her team finished No. 1 in the last AP poll and won the SEC Tournament before the NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus.
— Six players with FC Dallas have tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire team has been quarantined ahead of the MLS Is Back tournament. The team says the players tested positive upon arrival in Florida for the tournament that starts next week. The team says all players and staff tested negative for the coronavirus before leaving for the tournament on Saturday. Upon arrival, two players tested positive. Four more positive tests were uncovered in subsequent testing. The league says no other team has been in contact with the FC Dallas delegation since its arrival. All of the league’s 26 teams are sequestered in hotels in advance of the tournament played without fans at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World.
— For the first time in almost a century, Mexico has cancelled its professional baseball season. And the Mexico City Marathon, Latin America’s most important, has also been cancelled. The Mexican Baseball League announced the cancellation of the 2020 season Wednesday, the first time in 95 years a whole season had been cancelled. The season was scheduled to start Aug. 7, but the 16 team owners decided that they could not guarantee the safety of fans and players. Sporting events in Mexico have to be played without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. But for baseball, playing without fans would not be economically feasible.
Sankey: federal NIL law needed to ensure fair competition
UNDATED (AP) — Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey has told a U.S. Senate committee that there needs to be a uniform federal law to regulate the compensation of college athletes instead of a series of state-level versions with different requirements.
Sankey was part of a panel discussing the potential impact of allowing athletes to profit from the use of their name, image and likenesses.
The hearing came as three states have signed athlete-compensation bills into law, with Florida’s set to take effect next summer. Sankey said there’s a risk of states “one-upping each other” with their own versions without a federal law.
In other NCAA news:
— The NCAA’s infractions case against the University of Kansas men’s basketball program has been accepted into a newly created independent investigation process that was created to handle especially complex cases. The Independent Accountability Resolution Process said Wednesday that a referral of the case against the Jayhawks and coach Bill Self had been approved by the infractions referral committee. It is the first step in a process that was created in August 2018 to deal with select cases and minimize perceived conflicts of interest. Kansas has been accused by the NCAA of committing five Level I violations, which are considered the most egregious, as part of the fallout of an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption. The case hinges on whether representatives of apparel company Adidas were acting as boosters when two of them arrange payments to prospective recruits.
Utah defensive coordinator Scalley to keep job after review
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley will remain on staff but will take a pay cut and must undergo diversity training after being suspended for using a racial slur in a 2013 text message. Utah announced Scalley will participate in diversity and inclusion education, and have his salary cut from $1.1 million to $525,000. His contract also was trimmed from a multiyear deal to a one-year deal, and he will no longer be the designated head coach in waiting. Scalley was suspended last month when his use of a racial slur in a text message was posted on social media.
Thorns, Red Stars play to scoreless draw in NWSL tournament
HERRIMAN, Utah (AP) — The Portland Thorns and the Chicago Red Stars have played to a scoreless draw in the group stage of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup tournament. Portland dominated possession and outshot Chicago but couldn’t manage to score. The game was the second of the monthlong tournament for both teams. Games are being played without fans in Herriman, Utah.
— In Tuesday night’s match, Sky Blue played to a scoreless draw with OL Reign. Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan leapt to stop Jasmyne Spencer’s breakaway attempt in the 85th minute, preserving the draw in the tournament opener for both teams. The Reign are playing the Challenge Cup without Megan Rapinoe, who opted out of the tournament. Sky Blue are without national team players Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh because of injuries.
Aubameyang gifted two goals as Arsenal beats Norwich 4-0
LONDON (AP) — Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was gifted two goals by Norwich in a 4-0 victory in the Premier League at an empty Emirates Stadium.
Aubameyang was teed up by opposing players, either side of laying on Granit Xhaka’s first goal of the campaign. There was even time for Cedric Soares to mark his return from injury with a debut goal.
The goals helped Arsenal move up to seventh and ahead of north London rival Tottenham.
Campaign for Black soccer player denied by England in 1925
LONDON (AP) — A fundraising campaign has been launched to raise money for a statue to honor a man who was denied the chance to play for England’s national soccer team in 1925 because he was Black.
Jack Leslie was an attacking player who scored 137 goals in 401 matches with Plymouth Argyle. He was named in England’s team for an international match against Ireland 95 years ago. But the campaign website says his name disappeared from the team sheet because Football Association officials discovered he was Black.
Viv Anderson eventually became the first Black player to represent England’s national team in November 1978.
2013 FA Cup winner Wigan enters bankruptcy protection
WIGAN, England (AP) — English soccer team Wigan has entered bankruptcy protection due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The northwest club was taken over by a Hong Kong-based consortium only a month ago. Wigan is 14th in the second-tier League Championship with six games remaining of the season that restarted after a three-month break because of the pandemic.
The club was relegated from the Premier League in 2013 — the same year it shocked Manchester City in the FA Cup final.
Wigan dropped into third-tier League One in 2015 but made an immediate return to the Championship. It reported losses of $11 million last year.
Russia says it can’t afford to pay fine to World Athletics
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is expected to miss the deadline to pay a $5 million fine to the governing body of track and field. Russian track federation president told the Tass state news agency that the money “has not been found.” World Athletics could suspend the “authorized neutral athlete” program as a result. That program allows Russians to enter international competitions even though their federation is suspended. But, the Russian track federation says World Athletics should take into account the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.