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10 minutes ago

Dana White says UFC 249 will not happen April 18

UFC 249 will not proceed on April 18, despite Dana White's efforts to move forward with the pay-per-view event, the UFC president told ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Thursday. White also said all other UFC events have been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Today, we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level at ESPN ... and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event on Saturday," White said. UFC 249 was scheduled to air on ESPN+. ESPN has a five-year contract as the exclusive home of UFC fights on its networks and pay-per-view services. On Monday, White told ESPN he had secured a location in the U.S. to host weekly fights for at least the next two months. He told ESPN on Thursday that he was "ready to go" at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California -- near Fresno. The California State Athletic Commission had canceled all combat sporting events through May 31, but because the Tachi...
10 minutes ago
1 hour ago

Poll: Sports fans won't attend games without coronavirus vaccine

The sports world has been at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic for roughly a month, and despite the widespread eagerness to restart games, a majority of Americans said in a recent poll they would not attend sporting events in person just yet. Some 72% of Americans polled said they would not attend if sporting events resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus.  The poll, which had a fairly small sample size of 762 respondents, was released Thursday by Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business. When polling respondents who identified as sports fans, 61% said they would not go to a game without a vaccine. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6%. Only 12% of all respondents said they would go to games if social distancing could be maintained, which would likely lead to a highly reduced number of fans, staff and media at games. For example, fan capacity for a Los Angeles Lakers or LA Clippers game at Staples Center is around...
1 hour ago
1 hour ago

Poll: Majority of fans won't attend games without vaccine

The sports world has been at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic for roughly a month, and despite the widespread eagerness to restart games, a majority of Americans said in a recent poll they would not attend sporting events in person just yet. Some 72% of Americans polled said they would not attend if sporting events resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus.  The poll, which had a fairly small sample size of 762 respondents, was released Thursday by Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business. When polling respondents who identified as sports fans, 61% said they would not go to a game without a vaccine. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6%. Only 12% of all respondents said they would go to games if social distancing could be maintained, which would likely lead to a highly reduced number of fans, staff and media at games. For example, fan capacity for a Los Angeles Lakers or LA Clippers game at Staples Center is around...
1 hour ago
2 hours ago

Tua Tagovailoa throws for NFL teams in workout taped in lieu of pro day

Tua Tagovailoa participated in a one-hour private workout in place of a traditional pro day on Thursday, his representatives told ESPN, while his agent spoke out to allay concerns about the quarterback's hip. The former Alabama star ran through 55 scripted throws and another 20 throws in a dynamic drill setting at a private gym with fewer than 10 people present, in order to follow health and safety guidelines set forth during the coronavirus pandemic. Tagovailoa's team will distribute video of the workout to all 32 NFL teams ahead of this month's draft, in which the quarterback is expected to be a first-round pick. The workout came one week after Tagovailoa underwent a voluntary medical recheck on his hip facilitated by the NFL combine, the results of which "were overwhelmingly positive," according to his representatives. Tagovailoa suffered a posterior wall fracture and dislocated hip and underwent surgery in November. Earlier Thursday, Tagovailoa's agent, Leigh Steinberg,...
2 hours ago
3 hours ago

Poll: Fans won't attend games without vaccine

The sports world has been at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic for roughly a month, and despite the widespread eagerness to restart games, a majority of Americans said in a recent poll they would not attend sporting events in person just yet. A whopping 72% of Americans polled said they would not attend if sporting events resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus.  The poll, which had a fairly small sample size of 762 respondents, was released Thursday by Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business. When polling respondents who identified as sports fans, 61% said they would not go to a game without a vaccine. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6%. Only 12% of all respondents said they would go to games if social distancing could be maintained, which would likely lead to a highly reduced number of fans, staff and media at games. For example, fan capacity for a Los Angeles Lakers or LA Clippers game at Staples Center is...
3 hours ago
3 hours ago

Tua Tagovailoa throws in workout taped for NFL teams in lieu of pro day

Tua Tagovailoa participated in a one-hour private workout in place of a traditional pro day on Thursday, his representatives told ESPN, while his agent spoke out to allay concerns about the quarterback's hip. The former Alabama star ran through 55 scripted throws and another 20 throws in a dynamic drill setting at a private gym with fewer than 10 people present, in order to follow health and safety guidelines set forth during the coronavirus pandemic. Tagovailoa's team will distribute video of the workout to all 32 NFL teams ahead of this month's draft, in which the quarterback is expected to be a first-round pick. The workout came one week after Tagovailoa underwent a voluntary medical recheck on his hip facilitated by the NFL combine, the results of which "were overwhelmingly positive," according to his representatives. Tagovailoa suffered a posterior wall fracture and dislocated hip and underwent surgery in November. Earlier Thursday, Tagovailoa's agent, Leigh Steinberg,...
3 hours ago
3 hours ago

Wisconsin won't bring back seniors in spring sports next year

Citing a time of "unprecedented uncertainty in college athletics," Wisconsin officials announced Thursday that the Badgers would not seek waivers for seniors in spring sports whose final seasons were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the NCAA Division I Council approved an extension of eligibility for athletes in spring sports and relaxed scholarship limits to allow seniors in spring sports to return for the 2020-21 academic year. The NCAA also left it up to each institution to decide whether to grant seniors in spring sports less or equal financial aid next year, compared to what they received this year. The NCAA said in a statement that the financial aid flexibility applied only to student-athletes who would have exhausted their eligibility in 2019-20. "UW Athletics places tremendous emphasis on its student-athletes earning an undergraduate degree and having a great competitive experience," Wisconsin officials said in the statement. "In the case of the...
3 hours ago
4 hours ago

Rose Namajunas' UFC 249 exit due to COVID-19 deaths in family

The manager for former UFC women's strawweight champion Rose Namajunas said she withdrew from the previously scheduled UFC 249 due to two deaths in the family related to the coronavirus. "Her hopes are to return to the Octagon as soon as possible but for now we ask for people to respect their privacy during this time," manager Brian Butler said in a statement Thursday. Namajunas was scheduled to fight Jessica Andrade in the April 18 co-main event. UFC president Dana White said later Thursday that UFC 249 won't proceed on that date, after all. ESPN has Namajunas ranked No. 5 pound-for-pound among women's MMA fighters, and Andrade is ranked No. 7. No replacement has been announced to fight Andrade. Namajunas (8-4) has not fought since Andrade (20-7) knocked her out via slam to win the strawweight title at UFC 237 in May. The Wisconsin native had won three in a row before that, including two title-fight wins over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Namajunas, 27, has lost...
4 hours ago
April 9, 2020, 7:29 PM

Buccaneers GM: Jameis Winston not a bust, has bright future in NFL

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have parted ways with Jameis Winston, who remains unsigned as a free agent, but general manager Jason Licht believes the quarterback still has a bright future in the NFL. Licht was asked during his pre-draft news conference Thursday if he believes the Heisman Trophy winner, whom Licht selected first overall in the 2015 NFL draft, "was a hit or a miss." "We have a lot of respect for Jameis. Jameis was still part of our plan if things went a different route," Licht said. "We've got a lot of respect for him. I thought he did a lot of great things, and anybody in our office or building would say the same thing. He did some spectacular things for us. I would never say that, personally -- and I think I speak on behalf of the organization -- that he's a bust. I think he's got a bright future ahead of him." Instead of bringing Winston back on a long-term contract -- which Tampa Bay has never done with a quarterback draft pick --...
April 9, 2020, 7:29 PM
April 9, 2020, 6:49 PM

Julian Edelman won't be prosecuted in vandalism case

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will not be prosecuted after being cited by police for misdemeanor vandalism in January, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Edelman had been arrested Jan. 11 in Beverly Hills, one week after the Patriots' season ended in a wild-card loss to the Tennessee Titans. The 33-year-old jumped on the hood of a vehicle at approximately 9 p.m. PT, causing damage, according to police. The owner of the vehicle told the district attorney's office that he has been fully compensated for the repair costs. According to an official filing, "The owner of the vehicle has informed the DA's Office that he does not want the arrestee to be prosecuted for the proposed vandalism charge. The arrestee has no known criminal history. Case filing declined in the interests of justice." Edelman had been scheduled to appear at Airport Courthouse on April 13. The Redwood City, California, native has spent his entire NFL...
April 9, 2020, 6:49 PM
April 9, 2020, 5:29 PM

NBA says players will receive full paychecks on April 15

NBA players will receive their full checks when the next payday for most of them arrives on April 15, even though no games will have been played for more than a month at that point. The NBA gave teams the directive on Thursday in a memo that was obtained by ESPN. The league and the National Basketball Players Association have been in talks for weeks about the status of salaries during the NBA's shutdown. The last games were played March 11, the day that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus. The pandemic will lead to the delay of at least 259 regular-season games through April 15, which would have been the end of the regular season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this week that no decisions about the rest of the season, including whether play can resume, would occur before May. None of the games have been canceled yet. The playoffs were to begin April 18, and the losses in revenue should the...
April 9, 2020, 5:29 PM
April 9, 2020, 4:09 PM

Tiger Woods says he'd have been healthy for Masters if it hadn't been postponed

There is no Masters this week, but had it been played at Augusta National, Tiger Woods says he would have been there in good health and ready to go. Woods, who has not competed since Feb. 16 at the Genesis Invitational and missed at least two tournaments he would have normally played, told endorser GolfTV that he has been using the time away due to the coronavirus pandemic to his advantage. "Night and day. I feel a lot better than I did then," said Woods, who skipped the WGC-Mexico Championship and the Players Championship after complaining of back stiffness. "I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be at. I've been able to play some golf. Fortunately, Medalist Golf Club is still open here -- virtually every course to the south of us is closed, but we remain open, so it's been nice to go out there and hit some golf balls a little bit. "You need to get some fresh air and do something....
April 9, 2020, 4:09 PM
April 9, 2020, 3:59 PM

Tiger Woods says he'd have been healthy for Masters if it hadn't been canceled

There is no Masters this week, but had it been played at Augusta National, Tiger Woods said he would have been there in good health and ready to go. Woods, who has not competed since Feb. 16 at the Genesis Invitational and missed at least two tournaments he would have normally played, told endorser GolfTV in an interview that he has been using the time away due to the coronavirus pandemic to his advantage. "Night and day. I feel a lot better than I did then,'' said Woods, who skipped the WGC-Mexico Championship as well as the Players Championship after complaining of back stiffness. "I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be at. I've been able to play some golf, fortunately, Medalist Golf Club is still open here, virtually every course to the south of us is closed - but we remain open, so it's been nice to go out there and hit some golf balls a little bit. "You need to get some fresh air...
April 9, 2020, 3:59 PM
April 9, 2020, 3:29 PM

Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby concerned about having full football season

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been speaking with the other Power 5 conference commissioners daily and said Thursday that he remains concerned about "whether or not we can have a full and robust football season," as the future of the sport remains uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic. "Virtually every program is highly reliant on football revenue," Bowlsby told ESPN. "We're making lots of contingency plans, but if you don't get the anticipated number of games in, you lose the donations, you lose the sponsorships, you lose the gate receipts and you lose the TV. It's potentially very impactful." Bowlsby declined to say which specific models the league is considering if the season has to be altered or pushed back. The Big 12 implemented a 10% salary cut across the board in the conference office, including for Bowlsby, he said. "We've eliminated all year-end bonuses and are formulating a reduced scope of operation plan that saves quite a bit of money, but we're a...
April 9, 2020, 3:29 PM
April 9, 2020, 3:09 PM

Chris Paul, Trae Young, Tamika Catchings, more join H-O-R-S-E competition

The NBA and ESPN have finalized plans to televise a H-O-R-S-E shooting competition, with stars Chris Paul of Oklahoma City, Trae Young of Atlanta and Zach LaVine of Chicago among those who will participate, the NBA announced Thursday. The NBA HORSE Challenge will include a couple of WNBA stars, including Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings, and fairly recent NBA alumni playing in a single-elimination format. Players will be filmed competing at home locations -- on indoor or outdoor courts -- and compete shot for shot in the traditional playground game. All first-round matchups will be Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, with the semifinals and championship happening April 16 from 9 to 11 p.m. ET on ESPN. Young, an All-Star selection in his second season, joked with LaVine, a two-time NBA slam dunk contest champion, on Twitter. LaVine competed in the NBA 2K20 Players Tournament, losing in the first round last week. The first-round...
April 9, 2020, 3:09 PM
April 9, 2020, 3:09 PM

Burger joint honors Bills WR Stefon Diggs with 4-patty creation

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. -- Stefon Diggs hasn't played a down for the  Bills, but that hasn't stopped the Buffalo fan base from embracing the team's newest wide receiver -- local restaurants, included. Burger joint Stack Burger introduced its "craziest creation yet" on Facebook last week, a four-patty burger named "Can you DIGGS it?" after the Bills receiver. Sandwiched between two buns are the restaurant's signature Bacon Bleu patty (topped with crumbled bleu cheese, thick-cut bacon, cheese and creamy bleu cheese spread); Demon patty (demon-spiced burger with jalapeños, banana peppers, cheese and garlic Parmesan mayo); Vinny patty (with Mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and cherry pepper bruschetta); and topped Rodeo patty (with onion rings, cheese and house loganberry brown-sugar BBQ sauce). It looks something like this: Diggs joins the ranks of Bills players with food items named after them, the most recent of whom is Dion Dawkins, who has a signature macaroni and...
April 9, 2020, 3:09 PM
April 9, 2020, 3:09 PM

Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby concerned about having full season

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been speaking with the other Power 5 conference commissioners daily, and said on Thursday he remains concerned about "whether or not we can have a full and robust football season" as the future of the sport remains uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic. "Virtually every program is highly reliant on football revenue," he told ESPN. "We're making lots of contingency plans, but if you don't get the anticipated number of games in, you lose the donations, you lose the sponsorships, you lose the gate receipts and you lose the TV. It's potentially very impactful." Bowlsby declined at this time to say what specific models the league was considering if the season has to be altered or pushed back. The Big 12 implemented a 10 percent salary cut across the board in the conference office, including Bowlsby, he said. "We've eliminated all year-end bonuses and are formulating a reduced scope of operation plan that saves quite a bit of money, but we're...
April 9, 2020, 3:09 PM
April 9, 2020, 1:59 PM

Chris Paul, Trae Young, Tamika Catchings, more to join H-O-R-S-E competition

The NBA and ESPN finalized plans to televise a H-O-R-S-E shooting competition, with stars Chris Paul of Oklahoma City, Trae Young of Atlanta and Zach LaVine of Chicago among those who will participate, the NBA announced Thursday. The NBA HORSE Challenge will include a couple of WNBA stars, including Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings, and fairly recent NBA alumni playing in a single-elimination format. Players will be filmed competing at home locations -- on indoor or outdoor courts -- and compete shot for shot in the traditional playground game. All first-round matchups will be Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, with the semifinals and championship happening April 16 from 9 to 11 p.m. ET on ESPN. Young, an All-Star selection in his second season, joked with LaVine, a two-time NBA slam dunk contest champion, on Twitter. LaVine competed in the NBA 2K20 Players Tournament, losing in the first round last week. First-round matchups are:...
April 9, 2020, 1:59 PM
April 9, 2020, 4:59 AM

Sources: Bulls tab Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas to lead basketball ops

The Chicago Bulls are hiring Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas to become the franchise's new executive vice president of basketball operations, league sources told ESPN. The sides were finalizing contractual details on a multiyear deal late Wednesday night, after the team offered the job to Karnisovas shortly after completing a second round of interviews, sources said. Karnisovas, 48, will replace John Paxson, who has been running the Bulls' basketball operations since 2003. Karnisovas will be tasked with reshaping the totality of an organization that has failed to reach the postseason the past two seasons, including hiring a new general manager and additional basketball operations and scouting positions, sources said. The Bulls were taken with Karnisovas' history for talent evaluation and strong endorsements from Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke and president of basketball operations Tim Connelly about Karnisovas' leadership, organization and ability...
April 9, 2020, 4:59 AM
April 9, 2020, 4:09 AM

Todd Gurley, Clay Matthews say they're still awaiting paychecks from Rams

Former Los Angeles Rams players  Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews have tweeted that the team is behind on delivering paychecks. "@RamsNFL past due. Send me money ASAP," Gurley wrote in a tweet Wednesday. Matthews retweeted Gurley, adding, "You and me both TG! Better get some interest with that too." The Rams released Gurley and Matthews on March 19. Gurley signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday. Matthews remains an unrestricted free agent. The Rams believe they are in full compliance with the language in the players' contracts, a source told ESPN. The team declined to comment. Los Angeles released Gurley less than two years after it signed him to a four-year, $60 million extension that included $45 million in guarantees. The Rams designated his release as post-June 1, which allows the team to spread the dead-money cap charge of $11.75 million over two seasons. The Rams also will have $5.5 million in cap savings...
April 9, 2020, 4:09 AM
April 9, 2020, 3:49 AM

LeBron James: Closure will be tough if Lakers' season doesn't resume

After his 17th year in the league -- which was shaping up to potentially be an all-timer -- came to a screeching halt when pro basketball, like the rest of the world, shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, LeBron James says it would be hard to accept an incomplete ending. "I don't know if I will be able to have any closure," James said Wednesday on a video conference call with reporters, four weeks to the day since the NBA shut down. James, sporting a bushy beard and in good spirits all things considered, was responding to a reporter who was wondering what it would be like for the 35-year-old superstar if the 2019-20 NBA season can't resume. When the league shuttered in March, the Los Angeles Lakers were coming off a 2-0 weekend against the Milwaukee Bucks and  LA Clippers, backing up their place atop the Western Conference standings. James was playing spectacularly. A fourth career championship and even a fifth regular-season MVP award...
April 9, 2020, 3:49 AM
April 9, 2020, 12:49 AM

Rose Namajunas pulls out of UFC 249 bout vs. Jessica Andrade

The repackaged UFC 249 card is down a big name. Former UFC women's strawweight champion Rose Namajunas is out of her scheduled co-main event bout with Jessica Andrade on April 18 for undisclosed reasons, ESPN confirmed Wednesday with sources. The card, which was fully formed earlier this week after coronavirus-related schedule shuffling, will take place at an undisclosed location, probably on a Native American reservation in California. ESPN has Namajunas ranked No. 5 among pound-for-pound women's MMA fighters, and Andrade is ranked No. 7. No replacement has yet been announced to fight Andrade. Combate first reported Namajunas' change of plans. Namajunas (8-4) has not fought since Andrade knocked her out via slam to win the women's strawweight title at UFC 237 last May. The Wisconsin native had won three in a row before that, including two title-fight wins over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Namajunas, 27, has lost only twice in six years. Andrade (20-7) dropped...
April 9, 2020, 12:49 AM
April 8, 2020, 11:19 PM

Doc Rivers confident Kawhi Leonard would return in top shape

LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers says he isn't sure what form the NBA will take if it can resume the season, but he is certain that Kawhi Leonard will be in "phenomenal" shape if there is a postseason. As teams try to remain prepared during this unprecedented time, with the season halted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the  LA Clippers' All-Star has been able to do something he wasn't able to do last summer, when his body was recovering from injuries and a long title run with the Toronto Raptors, according to Rivers. "I know Kawhi's overworking. I can guarantee you that," Rivers said with a laugh Wednesday on a video call with reporters. "And the difference is, during the summer, Kawhi couldn't work, you know, so now he's got this break and he's able to train. "The Kawhi we'll see will be in phenomenal shape. PG [ Paul George] is another guy that's gonna be in phenomenal shape." When the season was suspended on March 11, after the Utah...
April 8, 2020, 11:19 PM
April 8, 2020, 10:39 PM

Lakers staying close via virtual workouts while social distancing

Before the NBA shut down four weeks ago in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the only thing more impressive for the Los Angeles Lakers than their No. 1 record in the Western Conference was their team camaraderie. They were a team that went to dinners together, attended one another's charitable events on off nights and dressed up for LeBron James' Halloween party. Although Lakers players were placed into a 14-day, self-isolation period after two unnamed players tested positive for COVID-19 and the team continues to practice social distancing through the government-mandated April 30 time frame, it's no surprise they're trying to come together while being physically apart. "For the guys, we work hard with our strength and conditioning staff to make sure they have fitness bundles delivered to them where we can do Zoom workouts," Rob Pelinka, the team's vice president of basketball operations and general manager, said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters....
April 8, 2020, 10:39 PM
April 8, 2020, 9:09 PM

Sources: Chris Paul, Trae Young, Zach LaVine expected to join H-O-R-S-E competition

The NBA and ESPN are finalizing plans to televise a H-O-R-S-E shooting competition, with stars Chris Paul of Oklahoma City, Trae Young of Atlanta and Zach LaVine of Chicago among those expected to participate, sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The competition will include a couple of WNBA stars and fairly recent NBA alumni, sources said. Players would be filmed competing at home locations -- on indoor or outdoor courts -- and compete shot for shot in the traditional playground game, sources said. Young, an All-Star selection in his second season, joked with LaVine, a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion, on Twitter. LaVine competed in the NBA 2K20 Players Tournament, losing in the first round last week. The NBA suspended play on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and there is no expectation that the league can resume play anytime soon. Current NBA isolation protocols governing players prohibit them from...
April 8, 2020, 9:09 PM
April 8, 2020, 8:49 PM

Alabama's Nick Saban learns to email, text while social distancing

Add Nick Saban to the list of people who had to find new ways to work while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The Alabama football coach said Wednesday that he finally has his own email account. "I've come a long way," Saban said during an Instagram Live with ESPN's Maria Taylor. "It was hard to communicate when you have to be by yourself and you always depend on somebody else to get your emails and messages and all that. They were sending them all to Miss Terry [Saban's wife], and she fired me. She said, 'I'm not dealing with your stuff anymore,' and so I had to do it on my own." Saban spoke about the daily routine while coaches and players are separated, from Zoom meetings with players to video lessons on specific plays. He said he believes the ability to continue with a routine has been helpful for the coaches and the players. "They've been great," he said. "Maybe the whole idea that there's not a whole lot else you can do because of social distancing,...
April 8, 2020, 8:49 PM
April 8, 2020, 8:39 PM

Nick Saban learns to email and text while social distancing

Add Nick Saban to the list of people who've had to find new ways to work while social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Alabama coach said on Wednesday that he finally has his own email account. "I've come a long way," Saban said during an Instagram Live with ESPN's Maria Taylor. "It was hard to communicate when you have to be by yourself and you always depend on somebody else to get your emails and messages and all that. They were sending them all to Miss Terry (Saban's wife), and she fired me. She said, 'I'm not dealing with your stuff anymore,' and so I had to do it on my own." Saban spoke about the daily routine while coaches and players are separated, from Zoom meetings with players to video lessons on specific plays. He said he thought the ability to continue with a routine has been helpful for the coaches and the players. "They've been great," he said. "Maybe the whole idea that there's not a whole lot else you can do because of social distancing, people trying...
April 8, 2020, 8:39 PM
April 8, 2020, 8:39 PM

Sources: Chris Paul, Trae Young, Zach LaVine expect to join H-O-R-S-E competition

The NBA and ESPN are finalizing plans to televise a H-O-R-S-E shooting competition with stars Chris Paul of Oklahoma City, Trae Young of Atlanta and Zach LaVine of Chicago among those expected to participate, sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The competition will include a couple of WNBA stars and fairly recent NBA alumni, sources said. Players would be filmed competing at home locations -- on indoor or outdoor courts -- and compete shot for shot in the traditional playground game, sources said. The NBA suspended play on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and there is no expectation that the league can resume play anytime soon. Current NBA isolation protocols governing players prohibit them from competing together in the same location.
April 8, 2020, 8:39 PM
April 8, 2020, 8:19 PM

Sources: Chris Paul, Trae Young, Zach LaVine expect to play H-O-R-S-E competition

Plans by the NBA and ESPN to televise a H-O-R-S-E competition are nearing completion, and Chris Paul, Trae Young and Zach LaVine are among the league's stars expected to participate, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday. The competition will also include a couple of WNBA players and recent NBA alumni, sources told ESPN. Discussions have been ongoing among the NBA, NBPA and ESPN about a competition among several players in isolation -- presumably using home gyms -- that would include them competing shot for shot in the traditional playground game, sources said. The NBA has been shut down since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and there's no expectation that the league can resume play anytime soon. Current NBA isolation protocols governing players make it impossible for players to compete in the same location.
April 8, 2020, 8:19 PM
April 8, 2020, 6:49 PM

Matt Rhule says Cam Newton release more about Teddy Bridgewater

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday during a video conference that it was the "best thing for our team" to move on from quarterback Cam Newton and move forward with Teddy Bridgewater. Rhule expressed appreciation for what Newton did for the organization since being the first pick of the 2011 draft. But in his first comments since Newton was released last month, Rhule indicated the decision had less to do with Newton's health and more to do with Bridgewater being a better fit for what offensive coordinator Joe Brady wants to accomplish. Newton underwent foot surgery in December and last month was cleared medically. "I have no doubt that he will play well," Rhule said of Newton. "He is a great quarterback, and we have all seen the things that he has done. I just think as we move forward, we thought this was the right time for us. We saw the opportunity to get Teddy and really felt like he was the right fit for us. "We went...
April 8, 2020, 6:49 PM
April 8, 2020, 5:39 PM

Bat from Yankees legend Lou Gehrig goes for $1M

A bat used by New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig that dated back to 1922 was sold for $1,025,000 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas this past week. The auction house initially had the item up for auction in the February lot with a $950,000 reserve. The bat did not meet the reserve, but Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, said a private buyer came in after the auction to purchase the item. "We had been discussing the bat with [the buyer] over several conversations the last couple weeks," Ivy said. "He decided to pull the trigger last week and make the purchase." The bat had traded hands privately before this sale but had never been sold publicly or at auction. Ivy said this is the most significant Gehrig bat in the hobby because it is one he sent to Hillerich & Bradsby, which made Louisville Slugger bats, when he joined the Yankees in 1924. Gehrig sent it to be used as a model for any other bats the company produced for him. "He sent this one back and said,...
April 8, 2020, 5:39 PM
April 8, 2020, 5:29 PM

Bat from Yankees' legend Lou Gehrig goes for $1M

A bat used by New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig that dated back to 1924 was sold for $1,025,000 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas this past week. The auction house initially had the item up for auction in the February lot with a $950,000 reserve. The bat did not meet the reserve, but Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage, Chris Ivy, says a private buyer came in after the auction to purchase the item. "We had been discussing the bat with (the buyer) over several conversations the last couple weeks," Ivy said. "He decided to pull the trigger last week and make the purchase." The bat had traded hands privately before this sale, but had never been sold publicly or at auction. Ivy says this bat is the most significant Gehrig bat in the hobby because it is the bat Gehrig sent back to Hillerich & Bradsby, who made Louisville Slugger bats, when he joined the Yankees in 1924. Gehrig sent it back to the company to use it as a model to make any other bats the company produced for...
April 8, 2020, 5:29 PM
April 8, 2020, 5:29 PM

Jameis Winston says it's an honor to be replaced by Tom Brady

Jameis Winston said Wednesday that it's an honor that it took the best quarterback of all time to replace him with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston was asked by Fox News about the Buccaneers signing Tom Brady to be the team's starter and what Winston's future looks like as a free agent. "One thing you can learn about me is my faith. I have tremendous faith in my lord, and one thing about Tom Brady is it's understood that he is the GOAT," Winston said. "For you to get replaced by Tom Brady in a city that you love so much, I guess that's kudos to me." Winston added: "I'm going to have to play the Tom Bradys, the Patrick Mahomes and all the other great quarterbacks eventually. That's how you win Super Bowls, and that's what I want." Winston has long considered Brady an inspiration. When the two met for the first time in a nationally televised game in 2017, Winston said it was "an honor" and a "blessing" to meet and play against Brady. He said, "I dream to...
April 8, 2020, 5:29 PM
April 8, 2020, 4:49 PM

Saints' Drew Brees: 'American people need sports right now'

Drew Brees said Wednesday on "The Ellen Show" that he thinks "the American people need sports right now." The New Orleans Saints quarterback is also eager to return to the field this fall so he can compete against new NFC South rival Tom Brady. "Yeah, well, the division just got a little bit better, didn't it?" Brees said with a laugh when asked about Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "And in addition to that, Teddy Bridgewater -- who played so well for us with the Saints last year when I got hurt -- he's now the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. So our division has Teddy Bridgewater, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and myself with the Saints. "It's always been a very challenging division, and it just kicked up a notch." Brees and his wife, Brittany, discussed a variety of topics with host Ellen DeGeneres, including home-schooling their four children and their $5 million pledge to help Louisiana get through the ...
April 8, 2020, 4:49 PM
April 8, 2020, 2:29 PM

Mets simulation broadcast throws shade at Astros

During a time with no baseball games, even team broadcasters are looking for some way to fill the gap in normalcy that comes with the postponement of the season. On Tuesday night, the New York Mets broadcast booth of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling called a video game matchup between the Mets and the Houston Astros on MLB: The Show. While calling the simulation, Cohen dropped a joke about the Astros' sign-stealing scandal, giving fans a taste of what a broadcast might sound like any time a team faces Houston during the 2020 season. "You can hear very little from the crowd tonight. It almost feels like you're playing in a library," Cohen said on the broadcast of the simulation. "Which would mean that any sound that might be emanating from the dugout, say, the sound of a trash can being banged, would be quite formidable." The broadcasting trio touched on everything from the lack of names for the umpires to the injury rehab of Yoenis...
April 8, 2020, 2:29 PM
April 8, 2020, 1:59 PM

Back to black: Falcons break out new uniforms

Black is back for the Atlanta Falcons. The team announced Wednesday its new uniforms for the 2020 season, marking the first redesign in 17 years. The new Falcons home uniform will feature black jerseys and black pants, while the away look will be white on white. There will be up to eight uniform combinations, including a throwback version to the 1966 team and a "Rise Up" alternate uniform. The new uniforms were supposed to be revealed next Tuesday, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that internet leaks led to the Falcons pushing up the date. The team's announcement comes a day after NFC South foe Tampa Bay  unleashed its new threads. Team owner Arthur Blank addressed the changes in a letter, starting by discussing the coronavirus pandemic affecting the country and praising health care workers for helping aid the fight. In discussing the uniforms, Blank referenced the importance of the "back to black" theme. "Black has been a part of our history since 1966...
April 8, 2020, 1:59 PM
April 8, 2020, 1:59 PM

Tom Brady reflects on Bill Belichick relationship in Howard Stern interview

Tom Brady said he went into 2019 thinking it would be his final season with the New England Patriots and delved into his relationship with coach Bill Belichick in an expansive two-hour interview Wednesday on SiriusXM's "The Howard Stern Show." Brady was asked about the thought that he wouldn't have had success without Belichick, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. "I think it's a pretty s---ty argument actually that people would say that, because again, I can't do his job, and he can't do mine," Brady said on the program. "So the fact you could say, 'Would I be successful without him, the same level of success?' I don't believe I would have been. But I feel the same vice versa, as well. "To have him allowed me to be the best I can be, so I'm grateful for that. I very much believe that he feels the same way about me, because we've expressed that to each other." The new Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback told Stern he didn't have any resentment...
April 8, 2020, 1:59 PM
April 8, 2020, 1:49 PM

Sources: NFL sets up tech safeguards for draft

Anyone who has ever held a fantasy draft online knows you have to log on early to make sure it works. This year, the NFL will be doing more or less the same thing for its actual draft. With teams forced to conduct the NFL draft from their homes due to the isolation guidelines brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the league has been working to test internet connections and install safeguards to ensure that technological issues don't result in major problems such as missed picks or insufficient time to make trades. League sources said there will be multiple tests of the system prior to the draft, which begins April 23, and that the NFL is planning to build in several safeguards to cover teams in the event that an internet connection cuts out or some other technological glitch affects a team's pick. One safeguard will be a conference call with all 32 teams that will be in progress throughout the draft. Hypothetically, if a general manager is hooked up to that call via...
April 8, 2020, 1:49 PM
April 8, 2020, 1:29 AM

Tiger Woods enjoys Masters Champions Dinner 'quarantine style'

Tiger Woods has been mostly quiet since the sports world went into lockdown, but he acknowledged Tuesday on social media that he would have been hosting the Champions Dinner at Augusta National had the Masters not been postponed. "Masters Champions Dinner quarantine style. Nothing better than being with family," Woods captioned a photo of himself wearing the green jacket with the Masters trophy -- a clubhouse replica -- on the table. With him at his South Florida home are his girlfriend, Erica Herman, his daughter, Sam, and his son, Charlie. The Champions Dinner is a tradition that began at Augusta National in 1952 at the suggestion of Ben Hogan. Only past Masters champions and the club chairman, currently Fred Ridley, attend the gathering. The dinner is hosted by the defending champion, who picks the menu for the evening (though attendees are allowed to order whatever they want off the club's menu). Woods had selected the same menu for this year's version of the dinner as that...
April 8, 2020, 1:29 AM
April 8, 2020, 12:49 AM

Kevin Garnett dismisses talk of Wolves retiring his number, says he 'won't forgive' team owner

Kevin Garnett was recently selected for enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but he is "not entertaining" the idea of the Minnesota Timberwolves retiring his No. 21, saying he still hasn't forgiven team owner Glen Taylor after an acrimonious split in 2016. "Glen knows where I'm at. I'm not entertaining it. First of all, it's not genuine. Two, he's getting pressure from a lot of fans and, I guess, the community there," Garnett told The Athletic. "Glen and I had an understanding before [former team president] Flip [Saunders] died, and when Flip died, that understanding went with Flip. "For that, I won't forgive Glen. I won't forgive him for that. I thought he was a straight-up person, straight-up businessman, and when Flip died, everything went with him." Saunders brought Garnett back to Minnesota in a trade in 2015, and the two talked about KG eventually becoming a minority owner. Then Saunders suddenly died of lymphoma, and the Wolves were forced to...
April 8, 2020, 12:49 AM
April 8, 2020, 12:19 AM

Justin Gaethje says Tony Ferguson will face 'pure hell' at UFC 249

UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje says he'll have "18 to 19 minutes of pure hell" for Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18, adding that he's confident that will be enough to get it done. Gaethje (21-2) has agreed to face Ferguson (25-3) at an undisclosed location on short notice. The 31-year-old has notoriously refused to fight on short notice throughout his distinguished career, and he admits he wasn't keen on the idea initially but ultimately decided to accept the opportunity of an interim title fight. "When I train for a fight, I really go to a special place every single day," said Gaethje, who replaced Khabib Nurmagomedov on the card. "I do not cheat. I wake up with a goal in mind: to be better than yesterday. The more days you can do that in a row, the more prepared you will be. "For me, it's always that mental warfare. Confidence is huge in there. If you haven't prepared, then you can't be confident -- or as confident as you should be." The good news...
April 8, 2020, 12:19 AM
April 7, 2020, 10:49 PM

AD: Coach Mike Leach to 'expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi' following tweet

Following a controversial tweet by Mike Leach, Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen issued a statement Tuesday saying there is a plan in place to provide the first-year Bulldogs coach with opportunities to "expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi." Leach's tweet, depicting a woman knitting a noose for her husband during self-quarantine, was criticized by several Bulldogs players. Defensive lineman  Fabien Lovett  entered the transfer portal, and his father, Abdual Lovett, told the Clarion Ledger that he didn't feel comfortable with his son playing for Leach, "with a guy like that, from a leadership standpoint." "No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that's particularly true in the South and in Mississippi," Cohen said in the statement. "Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach." Cohen added that Leach will participate in...
April 7, 2020, 10:49 PM
April 7, 2020, 10:19 PM

AD: Mike Leach to 'expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi' following tweet

Following a controversial tweet by Mike Leach, Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen issued a statement Tuesday saying there is a plan in place to provide the first-year football coach with opportunities to "expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi." Leach's tweet, depicting a woman knitting her husband a noose during self-quarantine, was criticized by several  Bulldogs players. Defensive linemen  Fabien Lovett  entered the transfer portal, and his father, Abdual Lovett, told the Clarion Ledger that he didn't feel comfortable with his son playing for Leach, "with a guy like that from a leadership standpoint." "No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that's particularly true in the South and in Mississippi," Cohen said in the statement. "Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach." Cohen added that Leach will participate in "listening...
April 7, 2020, 10:19 PM
April 7, 2020, 9:29 PM

Dayton's Obi Toppin wins Wooden Award to complete sweep

Dayton forward Obi Toppin completed a magical season as the winner of the 2020 John R. Wooden Award, the award's committee announced Tuesday. Toppin secured the award over Iowa star Luka Garza. Last week, Toppin won both the Naismith and Associated Press national player of the year awards. Toppin led Dayton to a 29-2 record during the 2019-20 season, which ended abruptly prior to the NCAA tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic. A projected lottery pick in this summer's NBA draft, Toppin recorded 20.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while connecting on nearly 70% of his shots inside the 3-point line. He made 39% of his shots from beyond the arc. Toppin is projected to be the No. 9 pick in this summer's NBA draft, per ESPN's latest mock draft.  Toppin received the Wooden Award a day after the national championship game would have been played if the pandemic hadn't canceled the NCAA tournament, but Toppin said he is confident of one...
April 7, 2020, 9:29 PM
April 7, 2020, 8:39 PM

NHL commish: Completing regular season 'may not be possible'

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Tuesday that completing the 2019-20 NHL regular season "may not be possible," but one prominent player believes that would be unfair. The NHL paused its season on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with players ordered to remain quarantined in their homes until at least April 15. Bettman hoped to have more clarity on a season restart by the end of the month, but he acknowledged for the first time that finishing the full 82-game regular season might not happen. "The best thing, and the easiest thing, would be if at some point we could complete the regular season and then go into the playoffs as we normally do," Bettman said in an interview on NBCSN. "We understand that that may not be possible, and that's why we're considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is. Again, it doesn't even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions."  Bettman said...
April 7, 2020, 8:39 PM
April 7, 2020, 7:29 PM

Oklahoma St. coach Mike Gundy planning May 1 start for Cowboys

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said on Tuesday that his goal is to return to the football building on May 1 because he hopes that tests for the coronavirus will be available in three or four weeks to clear both employees and players. "How fast that can happen based on the tests that are available, I can't say right now, but that's the plan," Gundy told more than a dozen reporters on a teleconference. "We have to have a plan, and the plan right now is for them to start on May 1. It might get backed up two weeks. I don't know, I can't make that call, but if it does, we'll start with the employees of this company, the ones that come in this building. Then we'll bring the players in, and slowly but surely we'll test them all in." In what was roughly a 20-minute opening statement, Gundy talked about the national and state response to the coronavirus. COVID-19 has shut down sports across the globe, and college football has set no date to return to practice. Gundy, who has been working...
April 7, 2020, 7:29 PM
April 7, 2020, 7:29 PM

Falcons GM confident Todd Gurley's knee will stand up to scrutiny of physical

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff expressed confidence Tuesday that three-time Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley will pass the team's pending physical despite well-documented concerns about the health of Gurley's left knee. Gurley, the 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, who was released by the Los Angeles Rams on March 19, faced lingering questions about his knee as his time with the Rams came to a close. The Rams' brass never confirmed a report about the 25-year-old Gurley having arthritis in the knee, which was surgically repaired in 2014. "We looked closely at it," Dimitroff said of Gurley's health. "We have language in our contracts that are going to protect us and the player. If the player comes in and has an issue that he might not pass a physical, then that's something that we'll address then. We're not looking at it that way [of Gurley possibly failing the physical]. In our mind, we're thinking about Todd Gurley coming in ... he really...
April 7, 2020, 7:29 PM
April 7, 2020, 6:09 PM

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick doesn't want football games in empty stadiums

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick doesn't know whether the 2020 college football season will kick off on time or be delayed because of the impact of COVID-19. But when the games eventually kick off, Swarbrick doesn't want them to take place in empty stadiums. "I don't see a model where we play, at least any extended number of games, in facilities where we don't have fans," Swarbrick told ESPN. "College football is about the cheerleaders and the band and the campus environment on game day. We're interested in solutions that allow us to have a traditional game-day experience." College administrators and some conferences are discussing potential modifications to the season if it cannot start on time in late August. Proposals include elimination of some non-league games and starting the season in the late fall and continuing into 2021, or not starting the season until 2021, which could increase the likelihood of having fans in the stands. Major professional leagues both in...
April 7, 2020, 6:09 PM
April 7, 2020, 5:59 PM

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick doesn't want games in empty stadiums

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick doesn't know if the 2020 college football season will kick off on time, or be delayed because of the impact of COVID-19. But when the games eventually kick off, Swarbrick doesn't want to see them take place in empty stadiums. "I don't see a model where we play, at least any extended number of games, in facilities where we don't have fans," Swarbrick told ESPN. "College football is about the cheerleaders and the band and the campus environment on game day. We're interested in solutions that allow us to have a traditional game-day experience." College administrators and some conferences are discussing potential modifications to the season if it cannot start on time in late August. Proposals include a later fall start date with the elimination of some non-league games, starting in the late fall and continuing the season in 2021, or not starting the season until 2021, which could increase the likelihood of having fans in the stands. Major...
April 7, 2020, 5:59 PM
April 7, 2020, 5:39 PM

Buccaneers' new uniforms pay homage to glory years

TAMPA, Fla. -- The "alarm clock" uniform numbers are no more for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are going back to their roots in 2020 with a new uniform that pays homage to their best years and adds a futuristic twist, the team announced Tuesday. They won't be wearing the "creamsicle" colors from their earliest days -- as some fans called for -- but have gone to a look that resembles the threads from their winningest era of football, from 1997 to 2013, and their Super Bowl XXXVII title. "This new but familiar look is a direct result of the valuable feedback we received from our fans," Buccaneers owner/co-chairman Ed Glazer said in a statement. "We are excited to return to our classic Super Bowl era uniforms while also introducing a sleek Color Rush uniform that showcases our signature pewter in a new and dramatic way. The refreshed classic design of our home and away combinations bridges our past with our exciting new future, and we are confident it will resonate with our...
April 7, 2020, 5:39 PM