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43 minutes ago

Sources: Browns closing in on 5-year, $125M deal with Myles Garrett

The Cleveland Browns are on the verge of finalizing a massive five-year extension worth $125 million with star pass-rusher Myles Garrett, a league source confirmed to ESPN. The deal is not final yet, but the sides are close. NFL Network first reported Tuesday that a deal was imminent with the 2017 No. 1 overall pick. Garrett entered the offseason with two years left on his rookie contract after the Browns picked up his fifth-year option. Garrett had 10 sacks in 10 games last year. But then he was suspended the final six games for hitting Mason Rudolph with the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback's own helmet during a skirmish at the end of their game on Nov. 14. The NFL reinstated Garrett in February. By signing the deal, Garrett would pass Chicago's Khalil Mack ($23 million) as the highest-paid defensive player in average annual salary.
43 minutes ago
2 hours ago

Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley confident there will be a college football season

While commissioners, athletic directors and coaches brace for the worst amid the growing coronavirus crisis, Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley said he remains confident there will be college football this season -- even if it looks a bit different. After the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a move to conference-only play and numerous college football power brokers have expressed concerns about the season being played, Riley said there's ample reason to find a solution, as long as it meets safety standards. "I just can't imagine a scenario [where we don't play]," Riley said. "Whether it's something we do in the fall, whether it's a shortened season, whether it's spring, there's nothing we should take off the table. Regardless of what we have to do, I don't think there's anything we can't work around and we can't adjust and can't make work in order to play college football. We've all got to do our part on that." Riley has been among the few big names to advocate for the potential of a...
2 hours ago
2 hours ago

Chiefs, star DT Chris Jones reach four-year deal worth up to $85 million, sources say

The Kansas City Chiefs and defensive tackle Chris Jones have reached agreement on a four-year contract, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. According to the sources, the $80 million contract includes: $37 million, due at signing $60 million, guaranteed for injury $5 million in incentives, making the value of the contract up to $85 million The Chiefs and Jones, who received the team's franchise tag, had until Wednesday's deadline to agree to a long-term contract. The extension comes a week after the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to a 10-year contract that could be worth up to $503 million. The extension does not begin until the 2022 season, so the Chiefs took on little in the way of additional salary cap obligations in 2020 and 2021 for Mahomes in extending his contract. Mahomes in 2020, for instance, will have a cap cost of about $5.3 million, or less than 3% of the Chiefs' cap. The Chiefs are now the only team...
2 hours ago
3 hours ago

Tiger Woods put safety first during coronavirus in avoiding tournaments

The thought of returning to the PGA Tour crossed Tiger Woods' mind well before this week's Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. But Woods, a five-time winner of the event, put his safety first. He wanted to wait and see how the first five tournaments were played during the coronavirus pandemic before committing to the Memorial via Twitter on July 9. "I just felt it was better to stay at home and be safe," Woods said Tuesday. "I'm used to playing with lots of people around me or having lots of people have a direct line to me, and that puts not only myself in danger but my friends and family, and just been at home practicing and social distancing and being away from a lot of people. Coming back and playing the tour, in my case over the 20-some-odd years I've been out here, that's really hard to say, that I'm used to having so many people around me or even touch me, going from green to tee. That's something that I looked at and said, well, I'm really not quite...
3 hours ago
3 hours ago

Rep says he was conned by someone posing as Zion Williamson's friend

A Canadian marketing representative who allegedly had an agreement to represent Zion Williamson and purportedly paid his stepfather $400,000 while Williamson was enrolled at Duke said he was conned by someone acting like they were in the New Orleans Pelicans star's inner circle. In a court filing last week, Gina Ford's attorneys included documents that they said showed Williamson's stepfather, Lee Anderson, solicited and accepted a $400,000 payment in October 2018 from Slavko Duric, a Canadian marketing representative. Duric told Sports Illustrated on Monday that he was contacted by someone in 2018 who was allegedly acting as a middle man for Williamson's family and friend, James "Chubby" Wells. Duric said he was offered a percentage of Williamson's future earnings in exchange for a $100,000 payment to Williamson's family. "I tried to do something I would characterize as outside the lines," Duric told SI. "I allegedly was involved early. I was at the front...
3 hours ago
4 hours ago

Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. says 'the blond is back' and so is a different attitude

Odell Beckham's blond hair is back. The Cleveland Browns wide receiver said a different attitude is coming with it. Beckham recently hosted a roundtable on his YouTube channel with Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, with whom Beckham has worked out this offseason; and former NFL receiver Victor Cruz, a former teammate of Beckham's on the New York Giants. During the hourlong discussion, Cruz asked Beckham about his mindset for the upcoming season, coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued debut year with the Browns, which ended in a 6-10 record, then offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia. Beckham initially answered the question by simply taking off his hat, revealing the blond locks that he featured throughout his tenure with the Giants but that were conspicuously absent in his first season with the Browns. Immediately, Cruz and Newton both declared, "The blond is...
4 hours ago
July 14

Eagles re-sign Pro Bowler Jason Peters to play guard

The Philadelphia Eagles are bringing back veteran offensive lineman Jason Peters on a one-year contract. The deal has $3 million in guarantees and is worth up to $6 million, according to Adam Schefter. Peters, 38, has been named to nine Pro Bowls over his 16-year career with the Eagles and Buffalo Bills. The Eagles believe Peters -- their standout left tackle for the last 11 seasons -- can transition to right guard to fill the void left by Brandon Brooks, who is out for the year with a ruptured Achilles. He adds depth and versatility overall with the ability to be their swing tackle as well. Andre Dillard, the team's 2019 first- round pick, is projected to start at left tackle. He was up and down over his four starts as a rookie, leaving questions by some internally whether he was ready to assume the role full-time. While Dillard has been credited with adding strength this offseason and has earned praise from the coaching staff for his efforts...
July 14
July 14

Patriots' Cam Newton says replacing Tom Brady is 'the elephant in the room'

Quarterback Cam Newton has shared how motivated he is to prove doubters wrong through social media posts, but one topic he hadn't addressed prior to this week was the unique position he's in of possibly replacing six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady with the New England Patriots. Newton referred to it as "the elephant in the room." "You know who [you're] coming after? I'm like, yeah, great. What he was, what he is, is great, needs no even talking about it," Newton said. "But one thing about it, though: Coach [Josh] McDaniels, you're able to call some stuff that you ain't ever been able to call now. "You're getting a dog. You're getting one of these ticked-off dogs too. And I'm looking at the schedule and I'm like, 'Who we're playing? That team passed on me! OK, that team passed on me. They could've came and got me.'" Newton, who has not held an introductory news conference since the Patriots officially announced his signing on July 8, made the remarks...
July 14
July 14

Source: Titans and Derrick Henry not expected to reach long-term deal by Wednesday deadline

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry and the team are not expected to reach a long-term deal by Wednesday's deadline for franchise players, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Henry, 26, signed his franchise tender in April is scheduled to make $10.27 million this season and become a free agent in the offseason. The Pro Bowler rushed for a league-leading 1,540 yards last season with 16 touchdowns. He became the first player to have 180 yards or more rushing in three consecutive games, counting the season-finale win over the Houston Texans and playoff wins against the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry added 446 yards with two touchdowns in the playoffs. ESPN's Turron Davenport contributed to this report.
July 14
July 14

Mystics' Elena Delle Donne says medical opt-out request denied

A panel of physicians has denied reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne's request to opt out of the 2020 season due to medical concerns, a decision she said is at odds with the advice she received from her personal physician, the Washington Mystics star and her agent told ESPN on Monday. "The independent panel of doctors the league appointed to review high-risk cases have advised that I'm not high risk, and should be permitted to play in the bubble," Delle Donne said in a statement released to ESPN Monday. "I love my team, and we had an unbelievable season last year, and I want to play! But the question is whether or not the WNBA bubble is safe for me. My personal physician who has treated me for Lyme disease for years advised me that I'm at high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19," Delle Donne added in her statement. "I'm thinking things over, talking to my doctor and my wife, and look forward to sharing what I ultimately plan to do very soon." "When I...
July 14
July 13

QB Shedeur Sanders, son of Deion Sanders, commits to Florida Atlantic

Florida Atlantic added a big name to its 2021 recruiting class on Monday when ESPN 300 quarterback Shedeur Sanders announced his commitment to the Owls. Sanders, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, is the No. 8-ranked pocket-passer QB and the No. 41-ranked prospect overall in the class. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback out of Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, Texas, is the first ESPN 300 recruit to choose FAU since ESPN started its rankings in 2009. "I wanted to write my own legacy, FAU gave me a opportunity to do that! I trust the staff," Shedeur Sanders told ESPN's Gerry Hamilton in a text message. "[Owls coach] Willie Taggart was the first coach to offer me a opportunity to play at the next level." As a junior last season, Sanders threw for 3,477 yards, 47 touchdowns and four interceptions. He had 3,088 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions his sophomore season and has had his father as his offensive coordinator. Taggart signed his son,...
July 13
July 13

Washington NFL team says it will retire Redskins name, logo

The Washington Redskins announced Monday that they will be retiring their nickname and logo after completing a thorough review that began on July 3.  "Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review," the team said in a statement. "Dan Snyder and Coach [Ron] Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years." It had been widely expected that Washington would change its name, and one source said Saturday night that an announcement of a new name would come soon.  Sports Business Daily reported that the announcement of a new name has been delayed because trademark issues are pending. "The NFL and Dan Snyder have finally made the right call and Change the Mascot commends them for it," Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative and head of the...
July 13
July 13

Kings' Richaun Holmes back in quarantine after leaving NBA bubble

Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes is in quarantine once again after leaving the NBA's bubble to pick up a food delivery.  Holmes said in a statement on Monday that he accidentally crossed the NBA's campus line at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, making him subject to an additional 10-day quarantine in his hotel room. "I apologize for my actions and look forward to rejoining my teammates for our playoff push," said Holmes, who has eight days left of his new quarantine period. After players entered the league's bubble last week, anyone caught leaving for an unauthorized reason or breaking the initial quarantine period (which included being confined to a hotel room until passing multiple coronavirus tests in a longer-than-24-hour span) was subject to the league's reentry protocols. That means undergoing enhanced coronavirus testing -- testing with the long swab up the nose, as opposed to the less invasive tests players are getting during their...
July 13
July 13

WNBA kicks off with Breanna Stewart-Sabrina Ionescu matchup

Breanna Stewart's return and Sabrina Ionescu's debut headline the opening act of the WNBA season, two women's basketball stars pitted against each other as the league opens the 2020 season. Initially scheduled to begin May 15 but delayed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the WNBA season will now begin with a matinee between the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty on July 25 (ESPN, noon ET). The Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks will renew their rivalry later that day (ABC, 3 p.m. ET) in perhaps an even more star-laden encounter, while the Washington Mystics begin their title defense against the Indiana Fever that night to round out the opening slate. The WNBA released the 132-game 2020 schedule on Monday. The league will play three games a day at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with Monday most often an off day. Players, coaches and staff will remain isolated on the IMG campus throughout the season. Each team will play 22 games in the regular season. "This...
July 13
July 13

NBA reverses course on pregame outfit policy

As NBA players arrive at games during resumed play in Orlando, they will now have the freedom to wear clothing from their own wardrobe while walking from the team bus to the venue's locker rooms, according to a league spokesperson. Initially, a protocol finalized last week  required players to fully dress for games in their hotel rooms and "be in uniform and warmups when they arrive" to the game venue, as reported by ESPN on Sunday and confirmed by the league Monday. "Considering the unique environment on the NBA Disney campus and warmer weather conditions, a different policy was put in place for players' arrival and entry into the arenas," a league spokesperson told ESPN on Monday. Players may also still dress in full uniform and warm-ups, should they decide to, at their respective hotel rooms at the trio of designated resorts at Walt Disney World. Each team will board a socially distanced team bus with gapped rows for an expected 15-minute drive to the ESPN Wide World of...
July 13
July 13

Texas responds to football players' requests with sweeping changes

A month after Texas football players requested a list of changes be made on campus, Texas has responded with to a sweeping plan to "redefine campus symbolism," including the renaming of Texas' football field for Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams and a statue for Texas' first Black football letterman.  On June 12, Longhorns players released a statement requesting the removal of "The Eyes of Texas" as the school song, the renaming of four campus buildings that are named after Confederate or racist figures, more diverse statues by people of color, a permanent Black athletic history in the school's athletics Hall of Honor and the renaming of part of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium after Julius Whittier, who in 1970 became the first Black player to letter for the Longhorns. On Monday, Texas interim president Jay Hartzell announced a set of diversity initiatives that included "reconsidering how to best reflect the university's values, both in the symbols and names on campus...
July 13
July 13

Brian Urlacher, Travis Kelce, DeMarco Murray join Jennifer Lopez-Alex Rodriguez bid to buy Mets

Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce and 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year DeMarco Murray are part of a group of investors who have joined power couple Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez in a bid to buy the New York Mets. The group has already submitted its initial bid of $1.7 billion. Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has made a top bid so far of $2 billion, according to a report by the New York Post. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon would prefer to sell to the Rodriguez-Lopez group if its offer is close to the best bid at the end of the auction, according to the Post. The group is in standby mode awaiting word from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred regarding the next step in the process. Rodriguez, who last starred with the Yankees, and fiancée Lopez have put $300 million of their own money toward the bid. Other investors include future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe Thomas, who spent his entire career with the Cleveland...
July 13
July 13

Rockets' Russell Westbrook tests positive for coronavirus

Houston Rockets star guard Russell Westbrook announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus before the team departed for Walt Disney World. Westbrook, co-star James Harden and recent addition Luc Mbah a Moute did not travel with the Rockets to Orlando, Florida. The NBA announced coronavirus test results Monday. Of 322 players tested since arriving in the Orlando bubble, two were positive and have left the campus to isolate at home or in isolation housing. The league said that since July 1, 19 players have tested positive.  Coach Mike D'Antoni said Sunday he hoped all three of his affected players would be able to arrive at the NBA bubble in Disney World within three or four days. The Rockets had declined to specify a reason for the players' absence. "These are things that people are dealing with," D'Antoni said. The players will have to quarantine in their rooms for 48 hours after their arrival before practicing with the Rockets. D'Antoni said the three...
July 13
July 13

Rockets' Russell Westbrook positive for coronavirus

Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook says he has tested positive for coronavirus. Westbrook tweeted Monday that he tested positive before his Rockets teammates were scheduled to travel to Walt Disney World for the resumption of the NBA season Westbrook tweeted he is "currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared." "Please take this virus seriously," Westbrook wrote on Twitter. "Be safe. Mask up! #whynot"
July 13
July 13

Ex-USC QB J.T. Daniels has waiver to play at Georgia

Quarterback J.T. Daniels has received a waiver to play immediately for Georgia after transferring from USC in May. Daniels announced the decision on Twitter, thanking the NCAA for granting him the waiver while declining to elaborate on the decision. He has three years of eligibility left after suffering a knee injury in USC's 2019 season opener. Daniels started for USC as a true freshman in 2018, passing for 2,672 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Kedon Slovis replaced Daniels and had a record-setting 2019 season at quarterback. Daniels entered the NCAA's transfer portal in April. He is expected to compete with Jamie Newman, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest, and others for Georgia's starting job. ESPN rated Daniels as the nation's No. 3 pocket passer and No. 64 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class, after he starred for Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California.
July 13
July 13

NFL unveils Oakley Mouth Shield to combat coronavirus

In the name of health and safety, NFL players could be sporting a whole new look in 2020. The Oakley Mouth Shield -- a product designed by Oakley in collaboration with doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFL Players Association to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on the field of play -- is expected to be distributed to all 32 teams over the next week, when it will receive a test drive on a much larger scale than it has gotten to date. Safety protocol negotiations are ongoing between the league and players. Currently, there is no mandate to wear a face shield, but the NFL's medical experts are advocating for the use of the protective equipment. "That's certainly what we're going to encourage," said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer. "And we hope that we're going to land on a product design that's something that everyone would want to wear, because they'll see the value and want that additional protection without any detriment to performance." The...
July 13
July 13

Eagles' DeSean Jackson accepts Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg's invite to visit Auschwitz

DeSean Jackson accepted an invitation to visit Auschwitz during a Zoom call Friday with a 94-year-old survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, according to the Jerusalem Post. The wide receiver was disciplined by the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday for conduct detrimental to the team for his social media posts, which included an anti-Semitic message that he attributed to Adolf Hitler. Jackson was fined, a source told ESPN's Tim McManus. The wide receiver also intends to donate a significant amount to Jewish community efforts, a source told McManus. Jackson, who apologized for his posts last week, was on the call with Edward Mosberg, a survivor of the Holocaust who was dressed in his concentration camp uniform. Jackson posted on Instagram about the call on Friday, including a screengrab of the Zoom call. "I grew up in Los Angeles, and never really spent time with anyone from the Jewish community and didn't know much about their history, this has been such a powerful...
July 13
July 13

Patriot League cancels fall sports due to coronavirus

The Patriot League will not play sports in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. In Monday's announcement, the league also said that a decision on winter sports will be made at a later date and that practice, conditioning and strength training will be permitted if "health and safety conditions support such activities." The U.S. Military Academy and Naval Academy are exempt from the cancellation, and any decisions on their participation in competitive sports will be made by their superintendents.  "From a health and well-being standpoint, things are not getting better in this country," Patriot League commissioner Jennifer Heppel told ESPN. "As we get closer to the point where students are going to be making plans to how they travel back to our campuses as well as student-athletes, it became clear for us that this wasn't going to be in the best interest of our communities to have athletics this fall. That's the decision that had been made. It's incredibly disappointing for...
July 13
July 13

Source: Patriot League to cancel fall sports

The Patriot League will not play sports in the fall, a source confirmed to ESPN. An official announcement is expected on Monday. The New York Post was first to report the news. The source told ESPN that all options, including a spring football season, are on the table for when the conference would resume sports competition. The decision comes on the heels of the Ivy League canceling its fall sports last week. The Big Ten and the Pac 12 conferences both announced last week that they would be playing conference-only schedules this football season. The ACC and SEC have yet to make decisions regarding scheduling. SEC athletic directors are meeting in-person at the conference offices in Birmingham, Alabama, on Monday. Over the weekend, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said that its deadline to reach a decision is late-July but acknowledged that "we are running out of time to correct and get things right." "We put a medical advisory group together in early April with the question,...
July 13
July 13

Washington Redskins to change name following years of backlash

Redskins change name following years of backlash.
July 13
Redskins change name following years of backlash
July 13

Ex-player organizes virtual NCAA tournament

When the NCAA tournament was canceled in March, Akoy Agau was understandably disappointed. Aside from it being perhaps the greatest three-week spectacle in sports, the former Louisville big man would have seen his Cardinals earn a top-four seed on Selection Sunday. But Agau also had an idea -- a virtual NCAA tournament. There have been computer and video game simulations done since March, but Agau had a different angle. "When I was at Louisville and Georgetown, a bunch of guys played video games. What if we had a way to play the NCAA tournament?" Agau said. "Get someone from each of those universities, get guys to play out the tournament." Agau is uniquely suited for this venture. Last fall, Agau and former Louisville manager Matthew Melander launched Primetimesports, a company that allows fans to interact with athletes and celebrities while streaming video games. "We always wanted to do something with athletes, connect athletes with fans in a unique way," Melander said. "We were...
July 13
July 13

Lakers' Rajon Rondo suffers broken right thumb in practice

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo suffered a broken right thumb in practice Sunday night in Orlando, Florida, and is expected to return to full basketball activities in six to eight weeks, the team announced. Rondo will undergo surgery to repair the fracture this week, the team said. The Lakers traveled to Orlando on Thursday night for the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season and practiced for the first time on Saturday. Rondo, who signed with the Lakers in 2018, twice missed time during the 2018-19 season after undergoing separate surgeries to repair a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand and a torn ligament in his right ring finger. The 34-year-old is averaging 7.1 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds per game this season. He has appeared in 48 games for Los Angeles and has started in three. L.A. is already without starting guard Avery Bradley, who opted out of the season restart because of coronavirus concerns for his family. The Lakers signed ...
July 13
July 13

Sources: Lakers' Rajon Rondo suffers 'significant' hand injury in practice

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo suffered a "significant" hand injury during practice on Sunday evening, sources told ESPN. Rondo, 34, underwent medical evaluation on his hand and thumb, sources said, and the severity of the injury should be known Monday morning. The Lakers traveled to Orlando, Florida, on Thursday night for the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season and practiced for the first time on Saturday. Rondo, who signed with the Lakers in 2018, missed several weeks during the 2018-19 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right ring finger. He is averaging 7.1 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds per game this season. He has appeared in 48 games for Los Angeles and has started in three. L.A. is already without starting guard Avery Bradley, who opted out of the season restart because of coronavirus concerns for his family. The Lakers signed JR Smith as Bradley's replacement for the remainder of the season.
July 13
July 13

Lakers' Anthony Davis opts to keep his name on jersey for NBA's restart

Anthony Davis says he will keep his last name stitched on the back of his jersey for the NBA restart in Orlando, Florida, rather than replace it with a social justice message. "I think the name Davis is something that I try to represent every time I try to step on the floor, my family," he said during a video conference call with reporters Sunday. The Los Angeles Lakers star's teammate LeBron James revealed over the weekend that he would do the same, in part, because the 29 approved messages, decided upon jointly by the NBA and National Basketball Players Association, were "something that didn't really seriously resonate with my mission." Davis admitted he was "torn" between going with his last name or one of the messages instead. "I didn't know what to decide: Should I have a social justice message or should I have my last name there? I just think my last name is something that is very important to me," he said. "Also social justice as well. But just...
July 13
July 13

Sources: NBA players required to be in uniform when arriving to games

When the NBA season resumes later this month in Orlando, Florida, one key element of the game-night experience for both players and fans will be missing -- the arena entry tunnel walk and spotlight on players' fashion. A new entry protocol finalized at the end of this past week calls for players to "be in uniform and warm-ups when they arrive" to the game, sources told ESPN. Players will get dressed in full uniform in their respective hotel rooms at the trio of designated resorts at Walt Disney World, then board a team bus for an expected 15-minute drive to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and HP Field House's primary game court. Photographers will be waiting as they disembark from each team bus, though each player will be outfitted in the same team-issued warm-ups that they'll then take the floor in for typical pregame stretching, layup lines and shooting. For many players around the league, such as Russell Westbrook, P.J. Tucker, Kyle...
July 13
July 12

NHL to use fan videos with team-specific cheers

NHL players will hear fans chanting, "We want the Cup!" during their postseason tournament -- just not in person. The league's teams began emailing season-ticket holders over the weekend, asking them to record 30-second clips of cheering for their players. The clips will be used during games played in empty arenas inside the Toronto and Edmonton "hub cities," as well as on broadcasts and through NHL social media channels. The emails include guidelines from the NHL on best practices for filming, including location, sound quality and shot composition. They also discuss how to dodge potential trademark and copyright violations by "avoiding the appearance of paintings, posters, professional photography or any other art in the background" as well as avoiding "wearing apparel that shows any brands" other than those of the NHL and its teams. Fans who submit videos must also sign and submit an electronic waiver for every person featured in the clip. ESPN reviewed emails sent to ticket...
July 12
July 12

National Junior College Athletic Association expected to move football season to spring

The National Junior College Athletic Association is expected to approve a proposal that would move its football season to the spring, according to Dr. Christopher Parker, the NJCAA president and CEO. The decision, first reported by The Athletic, will affect 54 football-playing members of its association, which is made up of 512 schools. "This plan gives our student-athletes the best opportunity to have as much of a quality season in the spring for all sports, while also allowing some time and engagement when allowed by their individual institutions in the fall," Parker said. Under the NCAA Presidents Advisory Council's proposal, football practice would begin on March 1, 2021, with games beginning on March 25. There would be a maximum of seven games allowed, with play wrapping up by May 15 and the NJCAA championship and bowl games beginning on June 3. This fall, schools would be allowed to practice between Aug. 13 and Oct. 10, with two scrimmages allowed against outside...
July 12
July 12

Atlanta Braves not changing name, looking at 'chop' celebration

The Atlanta Braves said in an email to season-ticket holders Sunday that they will not be changing their nickname but will take a further look at the future of the tomahawk chop. The email was shared on Twitter by Paul Lukas, a journalist who runs the Uni Watch blog. He received it from a Braves season-ticket holder. The Braves confirmed the contents of the email when contacted by ESPN. "The Atlanta Braves honors, respects and values the Native American community," the letter says in part. "As an organization, we have always drawn strength from our diversity and respect for everyone. That will never change. "We have had an active and supportive relationship with the Native American community for many years. Last fall, we furthered this relationship and pledged to meet and listen to Native American and tribal leaders from many areas, including the Eastern Band of the Cherokees [EBCI] in North Carolina. As a result, we formed a cultural working relationship with the EBCI and...
July 12
July 12

Braves not changing name, looking at 'chop'

The Atlanta Braves said in an email to season-ticket holders Sunday that they will not be changing their nickname but will take a further look at the future of the tomahawk chop. The email was shared on Twitter by Paul Lukas, who received it from a Braves season-ticket holder. The Braves confirmed the contents of the email when contacted by ESPN. "The Atlanta Braves honors, respects and values the Native American community," the letter says in part. "As an organization, we have always drawn strength from our diversity and respect for everyone. That will never change. "We have had an active and supportive relationship with the Native American community for many years. Last fall, we furthered this relationship and pledged to meet and listen to Native American and tribal leaders from many areas, including the Eastern Band of the Cherokees (EBCI) in North Carolina. As a result, we formed a cultural working relationship with the EBCI and have also formed a Native...
July 12
July 12

Phoenix Mercury's Skylar Diggins-Smith 'conflicted' about being in bubble, but happy to be playing

Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said she was "conflicted about being here" Sunday during a Zoom call with media, which seemed to indicate some discomfort being in the WNBA bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Asked initially by a reporter about being back in action with the WNBA after a year away -- Diggins-Smith missed last season on pregnancy leave while still with the Dallas Wings -- she pointed out that she had played with USA Basketball during the winter months. "I haven't really stopped playing basketball except for a little bit during the quarantine," Diggins-Smith said. "But, yeah, it's basketball. You know, it's still round, and it's still played the same way. "I'm just happy to be here. I don't really have much to say. I'm kind of conflicted being here. But I'm happy to be on this team, I'll say that." When asked by a different reporter whether she could give more detail on what she meant about being conflicted, Diggins-Smith said,...
July 12
July 12

Milwaukee Bucks' Kyle Korver: Decision to use 'Black Lives Matter' on back of jersey an easy one

For Kyle Korver, choosing a social justice message to use on the back of his Milwaukee Bucks jersey was simple. The white male who has been outspoken about white privilege chose "Black Lives Matter." "I just think that in this moment in time, this is the message. Anything I would ever hope to convey on the back of a jersey is represented in these three words," Korver told The Undefeated in a text message Sunday. NBA players are allowed to have social justice messages on the back of their jerseys during the first four days of the NBA resumption of the season, beginning July 30. After the four days, players can opt to still have the social justice message above their number on the back of their jerseys, but their last name must be beneath. In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd to police brutality, which conjured protest and change around the world, NBA players plan to make a statement and keep the conversation going about racial injustice and police...
July 12
July 12

White Sox pitching coach concerned about Michael Kopech

Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper says he is concerned about right-hander Michael Kopech, who recently opted out of the upcoming 2020 season. Kopech, 24, missed the entire 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery but was expected to contend for a spot in Chicago's rotation this year. He has publicly discussed his anxiety and depression, which Cooper cited Saturday in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. "I don't know what is going on with Michael, but I know he deals with some anxiety and depression, and my thought is, I sure hope he's OK," Cooper told the Sun-Times. "And I hope he gets to where he needs to be, where he's feeling good and wants to come back, because we will welcome him back with open arms." Kopech also missed the start of summer camp earlier this month because of what the White Sox called a personal matter. "Last time I saw him in spring training, he was in a great place," Cooper told the Sun-Times. "But let me put it this way:...
July 12
July 12

Alexander Volkanovski beats Max Holloway to retain UFC featherweight title at UFC 251

Alexander Volkanovski wanted to finish Max Holloway in their featherweight title rematch at UFC 251 on Sunday morning, to prove beyond a doubt he is the better of the two. Instead, the second meeting proved to be much closer than the first -- but ultimately, Volkanovski maintained the title via split decision. The final scores reflected how close the 145-pound championship bout was. Two judges gave the fight to Volkanovski by the thinnest of margins, 48-47. A third judge saw it for Holloway 48-47. ESPN also scored the fight 48-47 for Holloway. The rematch co-headlined UFC 251 on Fight Island -- Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Volkanovski, of Australia, wanted a finish in the rematch, to silence any observers who felt his first win against Holloway, in December, was close. In the end, Volkanovski wasn't able to do so, but he said he was pleased with the result. "We had 10 rounds," Volkanovski said. "I was able to dominate some; of course, he won some rounds,...
July 12
July 12

Kamaru Usman beats Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision at UFC 251 to retain welterweight belt

Kamaru Usman pushed Jorge Masvidal up against the cage at UFC 251. He struck Masvidal with his shoulder, stomped Masvidal's feet and dug in with hard punches to the body. With an opponent coming in on a week's notice, Usman's strategy was clear: grind and wear Masvidal out. And it worked completely. Usman defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) in the main event of UFC 251 on Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. With the win, Usman retained his UFC welterweight title. Usman vs. Masvidal came together only in the past eight days. Usman's scheduled opponent, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for the coronavirus on July 3, just hours before the UFC charter was set to leave Las Vegas for Abu Dhabi. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the UFC was able to come to terms with Masvidal -- who balked at the promotion's initial offer for the fight six weeks ago -- to fight for the 170-pound title as a late replacement. "'[Masvidal] is...
July 12
July 12

Kamaru Usman beats Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision to retain UFC welterweight belt

Kamaru Usman pushed Jorge Masvidal up against the cage. He struck Masvidal with his shoulder, stomped Masvidal's feet and dug in with hard punches to the body. With an opponent coming in on a week's notice, Usman's strategy was clear: grind and wear Masvidal out. And it worked completely. Usman defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) in the main event of UFC 251 on Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. With the win, Usman retained his UFC welterweight title. Usman vs. Masvidal came together only in the past eight days. Usman's scheduled opponent, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for the coronavirus on July 3, just hours before the UFC charter was set to leave Las Vegas for Abu Dhabi. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the UFC was able to come to terms with Masvidal -- who balked at the promotion's initial offer for the fight six weeks ago -- to fight for the 170-pound title as a late replacement. "'[Masvidal] is the...
July 12
July 12

Alexander Volkanovski beats Max Holloway to retain UFC featherweight title

Alexander Volkanovski wanted to finish Max Holloway in their featherweight title rematch at UFC 251 on Sunday morning, to prove beyond a doubt he is the better of the two. Instead, the second meeting proved to be much closer than the first -- but ultimately, Volkanovski maintained the title via split decision. The final scores reflected how close the 145-pound championship bout was. Two judges gave the fight to Volkanovski by the thinnest of margins, 48-47. A third judge saw it for Holloway 48-47. ESPN also scored the fight 48-47 for Holloway. The rematch co-headlined UFC 251 on Fight Island -- Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Volkanovski, of Australia, wanted a finish in the rematch, to silence any observers who felt his first win against Holloway, in December, was close. In the end, Volkanovski wasn't able to do so, but he said he was pleased with the result. "We had 10 rounds," Volkanovski said. "I was able to dominate some; of course, he won some rounds,...
July 12
July 12

Petr Yan beats Jose Aldo via 5th-round TKO to win UFC bantamweight title

From Siberia to UFC royalty. Petr Yan stopped the legendary Jose Aldo by TKO at 3 minutes, 24 seconds of the fifth round Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to win the vacant UFC bantamweight title. Yan, who was born in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk, dropped Aldo with a combination early in the final round and then poured it on once on the ground. Yan landed dozens of unanswered blows on the ground, leaving Aldo facedown in his own blood before referee Leon Roberts stepped in to call it. The finish was the latest in UFC bantamweight title history. "In the beginning, I wanted to put pressure on him, make him tired and then start attacking after the third round. That's exactly what happened," Yan said through an interpreter. "In the first and second round, he had hard punches and low kicks. I waited and pressured him. After the second round, I started to work. It was a good knockout. I liked it." The bout took place at the recently built Flash Forum on...
July 12
July 11

Clippers' Kawhi Leonard in quarantine protocol after arriving in Orlando

Kawhi Leonard is in Orlando, Florida, and going through the quarantine protocol before joining the LA Clippers for team activities. Coach Doc Rivers confirmed Saturday that the Clippers' All-Star forward did arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort as expected after Leonard was excused by the team to tend to a family matter when the Clippers flew to Orlando on Wednesday. "Kawhi, he is here, he is going through the protocol," Rivers said. He will be quarantining for two days. The Clippers closed their team facility out of caution after there was a positive coronavirus test among their travel party, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on July 2. Rivers said the Clippers players who are in Orlando are healthy, including Leonard. And that was something he could not say for much of the season. Leonard has managed a knee issue for much of the time, and Paul George eased his way into the season as he recovered from offseason surgeries on his shoulders. But George said his...
July 11
July 11

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says NBA bubble is safest place to be

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Saturday he initially thought about sitting out the  NBA restart in Orlando, Florida, given his age, but he decided to go because he was confident in the precautions in place and the opportunity to continue conversations around social justice. "I talked to a lot of people, I talked to [commissioner] Adam [Silver], and you find out pretty quickly what he and his staff of many have gone through to put this thing together," Popovich said. "I honestly do believe, and it's not just me being a loyal soldier to the NBA, I've done my share of criticizing here and there when I thought it was necessary, but I don't know where else you would be as safe as we are right now. They can't spoil us here as much as they usually do, before COVID -- we're pretty spoiled, in all kinds of ways. So we're not as spoiled now, but it's good for all of us." Popovich, who at 71 is the current oldest coach in the NBA, gave consideration to not...
July 11
July 11

Lakers' LeBron James to go without social justice message on jersey

The NBA is back, and the back of LeBron James' jersey will still look the same. The  Los Angeles Lakers' star on Saturday said he'll be one of the few NBA players who will forgo a social justice message on the back of his jersey when the season resumes in Orlando, Florida. "I actually didn't go with a name on the back of my jersey," James said on a video conference call with reporters. "It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It's just something that didn't really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal. "I would have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple things in mind, but I wasn't part of that process, which is OK. I'm absolutely OK with that. ... I don't need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I'm about and what I'm here to do." As of...
July 11
July 11

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey: Concern about football season 'high to very high'

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Saturday his concern for the football season is "high to very high" and acknowledged, "We are running out of time to correct and get things right." During an interview on Marty & McGee on ESPN Radio, Sankey was asked about looming decisions the SEC must make about the upcoming season, with coronavirus cases across the South rising, and about announcements the Big Ten and Pac-12 have made regarding the move to conference-only schedules. "We put a medical advisory group together in early April with the question, 'What do we have to do to get back to activity?' and they've been a big part of the conversation," Sankey said. "But the direct reality is not good and the notion that we've politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings. There's some very clear advice about -- you can't mitigate and eliminate every risk, but how do you minimize the...
July 11
July 11

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for coronavirus

New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman became the team's third major league player to test positive for the coronavirus, manager Aaron Boone announced Saturday afternoon. "We did have a player test positive, it was Aroldis Chapman, so he is not at camp. He's got mild symptoms but overall is doing well," Boone said. "He will not be here for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, I'm not going to get into commenting much on him." Chapman told ESPN on Saturday that he was feeling well and had "very little symptoms." MLB is also providing those in close contact with players access to regular COVID-19 testing, so Chapman's right-hand man and personal trainer was also tested, with negative results. With a positive test, Chapman joined fellow Yankees pitcher Luis Cessa and infielder DJ LeMahieu, both of whom were tested before heading to New York to complete the intake testing protocols. Chapman passed all intake testing and was allowed to report to workouts at...
July 11
July 11

Duke hires Kara Lawson as women's basketball coach

Duke has hired former Tennessee and WNBA guard Kara Lawson as its women's basketball coach, the school announced Saturday. Lawson, 39, had been an assistant with the Boston Celtics before taking over at Duke. She will replace Joanne P. McCallie, who announced on July 2 that she wouldn't return for a 14th season. She'd entered the final year of her contract without an extension. "Well, it is a dream come true for me," Lawson said in a statement. "I have wanted to be a coach since I was a kid. To have an opportunity to lead a group of young women at a prestigious university like Duke -- I have run out of words; it is unbelievable and very exciting. "... Everybody I spoke with and had a chance to interact with, I immediately felt a great connection. It wasn't a decision based on emotion, but there was a lot of emotion involved in it because of how excited I am and how ready I am to get started and to work with the players." Lawson is the first Black head coach in...
July 11
July 11

Sources: Patriots settle compensation grievances with Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez

The New England Patriots have settled compensation grievances with Antonio Brown and Aaron Hernandez over the past week, which creates notable salary-cap space for the team, league sources told ESPN. The Patriots had owed wide receiver Brown $9 million, and as part of the settlement he will instead receive $5 million, per sources. The settlement is notable, as some experts viewed the Patriots' chances of recouping any money as low. The Patriots gave Brown a $9 million signing bonus on Sept. 7, and half of it was to be paid on Sept. 23, three days after they cut him. The other half was to be paid in January. In addition to that $4 million credit on the Patriots' cap, the club received a $2.55 million credit after settling a long-running compensation grievance with the late Hernandez, per sources. The salary-cap space is significant for the Patriots, who have been tight to the league's limit. Earlier this week, prior to restructuring the contract of running back ...
July 11
July 11

Atlanta Dream players stand against Sen. Kelly Loeffler's criticism of BLM movement

On the same day that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) declared she had no intention of selling her ownership share in the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, the team's official Twitter account shared a message from players collectively repudiating her criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. Written in their own voice, a Friday evening tweet that included the signatures of 13 players states, "Our team is united in the Movement for Black Lives. It is not extreme to demand change after centuries of inequality. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity." The signees included all 12 players currently in Bradenton, Florida, where the WNBA will soon begin play in a self-described bubble at the IMG Academy, as well as veteran guard Renee Montgomery, who last month opted out of the season in order to focus on social justice issues. Montgomery penned an open letter to Loeffler on Friday as well.  "I kindly invite you to rethink your stance and join a discussion with me,"...
July 11

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