Update on the latest sports
NHL, players’ union announce plan to resume play on Aug. 1
UNDATED (AP) — The National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association announced a tentative agreement Monday to return to play this season and extend their collective bargaining agreement by four years.
The CBA deal, coupled with both sides’ agreement on protocols for training camps and games, paves the way for hockey to resume in less than a month. Training camps would open next Monday, July 13, and games would resume Aug. 1 if the league’s board of governors, players’ executive committee and full membership sign off. The NHL is going straight to the playoffs with 24 teams resuming play. Those teams will travel to one of two “hub” cities July 26 for exhibition games. The qualifying round would begin Aug. 1.
Extending the CBA — which will now run through the end of the 2025-26 season — was considered a necessary step toward hockey returning this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Details of the CBA extension were not revealed.
Nationals, Astros cancel workouts
WASHINGTON (AP) — Baseball’s two World Series finalists have each canceled workouts because of COVID-19 testing delays.
The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros called off training camp practices Monday after not receiving test results from Friday.
General manager Mike Rizzo of the champion Nationals said it’s not safe to continue with camp without accurate and timely testing. Rizzo called on Major League Baseball to work quickly to resolve issues with its lab to keep the season from being at risk.
Astros GM James Click speculated the July 4th holiday weekend contributed to the delay.
MLB said it addressed delays caused by the holiday weekend and doesn’t expect them to continue.
Markakis won’t play this year
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Braves veteran outfielder Nick Markakis has become the latest player to opt out of the 2020 season due to increased concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Markakis is the second Atlanta veteran in two days to announce plans to sit out the 60-game season, following right-hander Félix Hernández.
The 36-year-old Markakis says he was uneasy about playing the season without fans and then was swayed by his telephone conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman, who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has fever and other symptoms.
Dodgers pitcher David Price, Washington infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Colorado outfielder Ian Desmond are among other players who have opted out.
Rangers’ Gallo tests positive
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — All-Star slugger Joey Gallo has tested positive for the coronavirus and is missing the Texas Rangers’ summer camp. The outfielder has yet to show any symptoms of COVID-19.
Gallo had been among Rangers players who worked out for several weeks at their new ballpark before his positive test. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says Gallo has had multiple tests, including one that came back negative. An initial test June 27 was positive, followed by a negative test and then another positive result Sunday.
Gallo is isolating at his Dallas apartment and away from teammates. Daniels says the teammates Gallo was around have tested negative.
In other MLB news:
— Mookie Betts wasn’t moved by Major League Baseball’s response in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ newest star has a goal of getting the Black community to love baseball as much as he does. MLB released a statement nine days after the death of Floyd. MLB was the last of the major pro sports leagues that either responded to Floyd’s death or condemned racism. Betts says baseball didn’t do a good job with that, but he think voices were heard.
—The New York Yankees held their first intrasquad game of summer camp Monday as they prepare for a condensed 60-game season that starts in 2 1/2 weeks. Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton and other regulars from the defending AL East champs took hacks under the lights against teammates for six innings. J.A. Happ’s first pitch came about an hour after Major League Baseball unveiled the schedule for a season it hopes to run through a pandemic. The Yankees will open July 23 against the World Series champion Nationals in Washington
— Phillies ace Aaron Nola reported to camp on Monday after waiting a few extra days because he was in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. The Phillies have had seven players and five staff members test positive for the virus. None has been identified. Nola threw a bullpen session upon arriving and would likely start Philadelphia’s season opener later this month if he’s ready. Nola finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2018 when he was 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. He was 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA last year..
Sports jumps on PPP bandwagon, but big leagues take a pass
Rapper Ice Cube, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and longtime boxing promoter Bob Arum led a cavalcade of sports leagues, federations, businesses and teams that navigated a federal loan program designed to help small firms cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Data released Monday showed hundreds of thousands of Paycheck Protection Program recipients across a wide range of industries, and sports-related businesses were well represented. However, none of the four major North American sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball — were among the businesses that applied, according to the data.
Big 3 Basketball LLC, a Los Angeles-based 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by Ice Cube, received $1.6 million and returned $700,000, Jeremy Watkins, a spokesman for the company, told The Associated Press. The remaining $600,000 was used to pay coaches and players for this season and ensure the league could play its 2021 season.
At least four Major League Soccer teams tapped the PPP program, according to the data: D.C. United and Inter Miami were approved for loans in the $1 million to $2 million range, while Orlando City and the Seattle Sounders each applied for between $2 million and $5 million.
Under the PPP, Congress created $659 billion in low-interest loans that will be forgiven if employers use the money on payroll, rent and similar expenses. With about $130 billion unclaimed as the application deadline closed June 30, Congress extended the program until Aug. 8.
Chiefs, Mahomes agree to 10-year, $503 million extension
The Kansas City Chiefs made sure they’ll have Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes around as long as possible. Mahomes agreed to a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million, according to his agency, Steinberg Sports. The deal is worth $477 million in guarantee mechanisms and includes a no-trade clause and opt-out clauses if guarantee mechanisms aren’t met.
It’s the richest contract in professional sports history, surpassing Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.The Chiefs had the 2018 NFL MVP under contract for the next two seasons but that wasn’t nearly enough.
The contract extension starts in 2022 when the NFL salary cap is projected to be $227.5 million. However, that number could be lower depending on revenue losses due to the cornonavirus pandemic and the possibility any games played this season won’t have fans.
In other NFL moves:
The San Francisco 49ers signed cornerback Jamar Taylor to a one-year contract. San Francisco cleared room on the roster by waiving cornerback Teez Tabor with a non-football injury designation. The 29-year-old Taylor appeared in 12 combined games for Atlanta and Seattle last season.
Plans for spectators are scrapped
UNDATED (AP) — The PGA Tour and the Memorial have scrapped state-approved plans to have limited spectators next week in Ohio.
The Memorial was scheduled to be the first tournament with spectators since golf return from the COVID-19 pandemic-caused shutdown. Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine approved a plan for there to be 20% capacity at Muirfield Village. The tour said rapidly changing dynamics of the pandemic caused that to change.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says golf needs to stay focused on health and safety. Muirfield Village is hosting back-to-back events. The Workday Charity Open this week was not planning on having fans.
Trump lashes out at NASCAR, Bubba Wallace over flag, rope
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is criticizing NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag at its races and is going after its only Black driver.
After a weekend spent stoking division, Trump wrongly accused Bubba Wallace of perpetrating “a hoax” after one of his crew members discovered a rope shaped like a noose in a garage stall. Federal authorities ruled last month that the rope had been hanging there since at least last October and was not a hate crime.
Trump is asking whether Wallace has “apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid.”
Native American groups ask NFL to force Redskins name change
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a dozen Native American leaders and organizations have sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling for the league to force Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team name immediately.
The letter was signed by 15 Native American advocates and obtained by The Associated Press. It demands the team and the NFL cease the use of Native American names, imagery and logos — with specific importance put on Washington, which last week launched what the team called a “ thorough review ” of its name.
The letter was delivered on the same day that President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to any name change by the team. Several team sponsors have come out in favor of change recently and Snyder showed his first indication of willingness to do so amid a nationwide movement to erase racially insensitive symbols.
IOWA STATE-COACHES COMMENT
Bolton left Penn State after coach’s ‘noose’ comment
UNDATED (AP) — Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton said he decided to leave Penn State last spring because of a comment by coach Pat Chambers, who said the player had a noose around his neck. Bolton, who is Black, disclosed the reason for his departure Monday in a tweet he titled “a noose around my neck.”
Chambers, who is white, later tweeted an apology. Bolton tweeted that Chambers made the noose comment after the coach returned from a one-game suspension for shoving Nittany Lions player Myles Dread in the chest during the previous game. Bolton told The Undefeated he wasoffended by the reference and confronted both Chambers and the athletic director’s office.
Japanese soccer and baseball to start allowing fans at games
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s professional baseball and soccer leagues will begin allowing fans this week.
Soccer and baseball officials say the first day with fans will be Friday. The maximum number will be 5,000 or 50% of stadium capacity, whichever is smaller. Officials say they plan to allow stadiums to be filled to 50% capacity beginning on Aug. 1.
Japan has largely held the coronavirus in check with only 1,000 deaths it a country of 126 million.
The United States has reported 130,000 deaths with a population of about 330 million. However, new cases have increased recently in Tokyo. New cases on Sunday in Tokyo topped 100 for the fourth straight day.