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July 02

Report: Investors call on Nike, FedEx, PepsiCo to cut ties with Redskins over name

The Washington Redskins face renewed pressure to change their nickname, but this time protestors are targeting their sponsors, Adweek reported. According to the report Wednesday, Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo each received letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a combined $620 billion asking the companies to sever ties with the Redskins unless they change their controversial name. There has been more pressure in recent weeks to change their name given the social climate following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The Redskins have contributed to some of that change, removing the name of former owner George Preston Marshall from their ring of fame. Marshall was the last NFL owner to integrate his roster, and did so only under pressure from the government to avoid losing a 30-year lease on federal land. But Native American leaders want owner Dan Snyder to change the name, which the franchise has used since 1933. In the past, groups protested the...
July 02
July 02

Inmate backed by WNBA star Maya Moore released from Missouri prison

Maya Moore's quest to see Jonathan Irons walk free from Missouri's Jefferson City Correctional Center was realized on Wednesday. Moore, who put her WNBA career with the Minnesota Lynx on hold in 2019 to help Irons have his conviction for burglary and assault with a weapon overturned, was among those greeting Irons outside the prison. She clapped as Irons approached a group of people waiting for his release. She then dropped to her knees at one point before joining a group hug around Irons. Moore posted video of the moment on Instagram. "I feel like I can live life now," Irons said on the video, thanking Moore and her family. "I'm free, I'm blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God's help and influence." Moore, who was born in Jefferson City, met Irons when she visited the correctional center before her freshman year at UConn after seeing her godfather, Reggie Williams, reviewing legal documents regarding Irons' case, according to The New York Times. Irons, 40,...
July 02
July 02

Lakers 'hopeful' Dwight Howard will join Orlando restart, won't seek replacement

LOS ANGELES -- Lakers coach Frank Vogel says the team will not seek a replacement player for Dwight Howard for the Orlando restart. And, according to Vogel, the team will not ask the replacement player that it did add, JR Smith, to play like the player he replaced, Avery Bradley. Speaking on a video conference call with reporters Wednesday at the start of the Lakers' "pre" training camp comprised of individual workouts before the team flies to Florida next week, Vogel restated L.A.'s commitment to the backup center. "We've been in communication with Dwight the whole way with supportive phone calls and text messages," Vogel said. "We don't know what the level of participation is going to be yet. He wants to play. We're hopeful that he's able to join us." Howard is currently with his family in Georgia, where he is satisfying the NBA's home quarantine and testing protocol required of all players who will participate in Orlando, a league source told...
July 02
July 01

Utah DC Morgan Scalley retains job, but takes pay cut, after review of racial slur

Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley will retain his position after the school conducted an external review into his use of a racial slur in a 2013 text message, but he will take a significant pay cut and Utah has rescinded its offer for Scalley to become the head-coach-in-waiting at his alma mater, the school announced Wednesday. Earlier this month, Scalley admitted he texted a racial slur to a recruit in 2013 while exchanging messages with another coach, and he was suspended on June 5. On June 7, the school hired the Kansas City law firm of Husch Blackwell to investigate whether the text message was an isolated incident or part of a broader pattern of racially offensive comments or conduct. In a letter released Wednesday from Utah athletic director Mark Harlan and coach Kyle Whittingham, they determined that while Scalley will remain on staff, "the seriousness of his actions" warranted changes to his contract. In December 2019, Scalley verbally agreed to a multiyear...
July 01
July 01

Damian Lillard has doubts players will strictly follow 'bubble' rules

As teams prepare to depart for Florida in the next week, entering into the Orlando campus "bubble" environment, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard expressed serious doubt that all the protocols and rules will be strictly followed by players. "My confidence ain't great," Lillard said with a laugh Wednesday. "My confidence ain't great because you're telling me you're gonna have 22 teams full of players following all the rules? When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don't follow all the rules. I don't have much confidence. But hopefully it'll be handled to a point where we're not putting everybody at risk or in a dangerous position." The 22 teams that are part of the NBA restart will arrive in Orlando beginning Tuesday and will be tested, will isolate for up to 48 hours, and then will be tested again. From there, it will become a bubble environment, with interaction between the outside world basically eliminated. Close family members will...
July 01
July 01

NBA tells coaches age alone won't prevent trip to Orando for restart

The NBA office has assured the league's coaches' association that "age alone" will not be enough to prevent a coach from going to the Walt Disney World Resort for the restart of the season. Individuals at high risk for serious coronavirus complications will not go, but simply being older, without other risks, won't put someone in that category. "Everybody goes through a screening process, but we've been assured by the league that no one will be red-flagged from going to Orlando based on age alone," said Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. "That was a very positive thing for us to hear, but as I said, everybody in all 22 markets -- all staff, all players, everybody -- goes through a significant screening process. We'll see who ends up going, not going, etc. But we were very encouraged to hear that age alone would not be something that would keep you from going to Orlando." NBCA executive director David Fogel...
July 01
July 01

Source: NFL shortens preseason to just two weeks as league continues to plot its 2020 strategy

The NFL has shortened its 2020 preseason to two games, a source said, part of a larger acclimatization plan for players after an unprecedented virtual offseason program during the coronavirus pandemic. In essence, the league canceled Weeks 1 and 4 of its original preseason schedule. It had previously canceled its Aug. 8 Hall of Fame game. Most players will still report to training camp on July 28, but the first preseason games won't be played until Aug. 20-24. The second week of preseason games is scheduled for Aug. 27-31. Some re-shuffling of the original preseason schedule for Weeks 2 and 3 are underway, as each team will play one home game and one on the road. Teams that travel will depart on the day before games. The primary driver for restructuring the preseason was a consensus between the NFL and the NFL Players Association that players will need more time than normal to get in football shape this summer. No teams were able to practice on the field during...
July 01
July 01

NBA tells coaches age alone won't prevent trip

The NBA office has assured the league's coaches association that "age alone" will not be enough to prevent a coach from going to Disney World for the restart of the season. Individuals at high-risk for serious coronavirus complications will not go, but simply being older, without other risks, won't put someone in that category. "Everybody goes through a screening process, but we've been assured by the league that no one will be red-flagged from going to Orlando based on age alone," said Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. "That was a very positive thing for us to hear, but as I said, everybody in all 22 markets -- all staff, all players, everybody -- goes through a significant screening process. We'll see who ends up going, not going, etc. But we were very encouraged to hear that age alone would not be something that would keep you from going to Orlando." NBCA executive director David Fogel and Carlisle...
July 01
July 01

New Jersey approves betting on hot dog eating contest

Bettors in New Jersey will have a little more to relish when it comes to the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest this year. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement told ESPN on Wednesday that it has approved betting on the annual eating contest -- the first time licensed sportsbooks in any state have been authorized to offer wagering on the contest. The July 4 tradition, which has a cult following in the betting community, will take place at noon ET Saturday (ESPN). Traditionally, the event has been held on the streets of Brooklyn's Coney Island in New York City, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's contest is taking place at a private location with COVID-19 safety measures. Joey Chestnut, who is looking for his 13th title, is an overwhelming favorite to win the men's competition for a fifth straight year. At DraftKings sportsbook, Chestnut is listed at -1,250 odds -- meaning you have to risk $1,250 to net a $100 win -- while the field is +650. DraftKings...
July 01
July 01

Giannis Antetokounmpo says pandemic shake-up, fears make title hunt harder

For Giannis Antetokounmpo, leaving behind his family -- including his infant son, Liam -- for the NBA restart in Orlando, Florida, will be no easy task, but those irregular circumstances will put this year's NBA champion in a class of its own. "I feel like a lot of people say that there's gonna be a star next to this championship," Antetokounmpo said. "I feel like, at the end of the day, this is gonna be the toughest championship you could ever win -- because the circumstances are really, really tough right now. So whoever wants it more is going to be able to go out there and take it." Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Antetokounmpo has shared numerous social media posts of him bonding with family, including a workout video in which he kissed his baby boy while going down for every pushup. Liam was born in February ahead of NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Like several other NBA players, Antetokounmpo has concerns about health and safety, but he trusts...
July 01
July 01

Penn State AD says idea of spring football season is a 'last resort'

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said a spring college football season "would be a last resort" to safely squeeze in the sport during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the impact it would have on the 2021 fall season as a major hurdle. Barbour said discussions about potentially playing college football in the spring began as soon as college athletics came to a screeching halt this past March because of the pandemic, which continues to cast an abundance of uncertainty over the fast-approaching 2020 fall season. "One of the biggest challenges [of a spring season] -- and it's probably the biggest one in my mind -- is the proximity to next season, and frankly a second lost spring ball," Barbour told reporters on a Zoom teleconference Wednesday. "Overcomeable, if perhaps we're willing to have a shortened season -- again in the category of 'something is better than nothing,' that may not be a problem at all." Conferences at every level have been working on various...
July 01
July 01

New Jersey approves betting on hot dog-eating contest

Bettors in New Jersey will have a little more to relish when it comes to the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest this year. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on Wednesday told ESPN it has approved betting on the annual eating contest -- the first time licensed sportsbooks in any state have been authorized to offer wagering on the contest. The July 4 tradition, which has a cult following in the betting community, will take place at 12 p.m. ET Saturday (ESPN). Traditionally, the event has been held on the streets of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's contest is taking place at a private location with COVID-19 safety measures. Joey Chestnut, who is looking for his 13th title, is an overwhelming favorite to win the men's competition for a fifth straight year. At DraftKings sportsbook, Chestnut is listed at -1,250 odds -- meaning you have to risk $1,250 to net a $100 win -- while the field is +650. DraftKings lists...
July 01
July 01

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo says pandemic shake-up, fears make title hunt harder

For Giannis Antetokounmpo, leaving behind his family -- including his infant son, Liam -- for the NBA restart in Orlando will be no easy task, but those irregular circumstances will put this year's NBA champion in a class of its own. "I feel like a lot of people say that there's gonna be a star next to this championship," Antetokounmpo said. "I feel like, at the end of the day, this is gonna be the toughest championship you could ever win -- because the circumstances are really, really tough right now. So, whoever wants it more is going to be able to go out there and take it." Throughout the pandemic, Antetokounmpo has shared numerous social media posts of him bonding with family, including a workout video in which he kissed his baby boy while going down for every push-up. Liam was born in February ahead of NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Like several other NBA players, Antetokounmpo has concerns about health and safety, but he trusts the league's protocol once...
July 01
July 01

76ers' Ben Simmons 'effectively 100%' for restart of season

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown said Ben Simmons' back is "effectively 100 percent" as they prepare to head to Florida for the NBA restart at Disney World. "He's good to go. He's put in a tremendous amount of work for me to be able to confidently say that," Brown said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. "As you search for silver linings with this pandemic and the way things have shaped up, it would be hard-pressed for me to find something more obvious than this: It's enabled Ben to reclaim his health. He's good to go, and we look forward to watching him with what I'm told is effectively 100 percent health." Simmons hasn't played in an NBA game since Feb. 22, when he suffered a back injury early in the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, after months of speculation, it appears the Sixers can expect to have Simmons available when they resume their season on Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers. In addition to...
July 01
July 01

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo says pandemic shakeup, fears make title hunt harder

For Giannis Antetokounmpo, leaving behind his family -- including his infant son, Liam -- for the NBA restart in Orlando will be no easy task, but those irregular circumstances will put this year's NBA champion in a class of its own. "I feel like a lot of people say that there's gonna be a star next to this championship," Antetokounmpo said. "I feel like, at the end of the day, this is gonna be the toughest championship you could ever win -- because the circumstances are really, really tough right now. So, whoever wants it more is going to be able to go out there and take it." Throughout the pandemic, Antetokounmpo has shared numerous social media posts of him bonding with family, including a workout video where he kissed his baby boy while going down for every push-up. Liam was born in February, ahead of NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Like several other NBA players, Antetokounmpo has concerns as far as safety, but he's refusing to make any excuses as he puts his trust...
July 01
July 01

Alabama carries on five-star recruit streak with 2021 commitment from DE Dallas Turner

Alabama has had at least two five-star commitments in each recruiting class going back to the 2017 cycle, and that streak will continue in 2021 after defensive end Dallas Turner announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide on Wednesday. Turner is the No. 13-ranked prospect overall and joins five-star offensive lineman J.C. Latham, who committed to the Crimson Tide on June 12. Alabama beat out Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma to add Turner to this class. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end out of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said Alabama had more of what he was looking for than the other schools on his list. "Alabama, the success of the program. I feel comfortable in that program because it's about business and they carry out every plan they put out," Turner said. "The amount of greatness at the school and the amount of people they produce to the NFL and also how Coach [Nick] Saban...
July 01
July 01

Camps for Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder target Dec. 19 as potential fight date

One of the proposed dates for the third fight in the trilogy between WBC heavyweight titlist and lineal champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder is Dec. 19, Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. "Us, and the Fury and Wilder camps are targeting that as one of the potential dates," duBoef said. A potential site for the fight could be Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Top Rank chief Bob Arum told ESPN. "We've reserved that date for Allegiant Stadium," Arum said. "The Raiders are playing on that Thursday [Dec. 17], which is perfect. After the game is over, we put up the ring and so forth. We have a couple of days to do it, and Saturday we have the fight." The second bout between Fury and Wilder, on Feb. 22 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, produced a live gate of nearly $17 million, which was a significant portion of the revenue for the rematch. It's not yet clear whether live audiences will be allowed into sporting events by December, and duBoef said everything is fluid at this moment...
July 01
July 01

Source -- NBA jerseys highlighting social justice issues won't include names of deceased

NBA players have decided not to use the names of those who have died in police custody or in racially motivated incidents on the backs of their jerseys due to concerns about offending those close to someone whose name might not be used, a source told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. In addition, it would be difficult to get permission from surviving family members. The NBA and NBPA are continuing talks regarding placing social justice messages on jerseys. Those talks are expected to conclude by the end of the week, a source said. The personalized statements on jerseys are part of a long list of social justice messages the players plan to deliver over the rest of the season, which restarts July 30 in Orlando, Florida. The NBA and NBPA announced an agreement last Wednesday to continue to discuss fighting systemic racism and to make it one of the main focuses of the restart. Personalized jerseys could say such things as "Black Lives Matter" or "I Can't Breathe" and bring light to a...
July 01
July 01

Sources: Orlando bubble to cost NBA more than $150 million

Operating the three-month completion of the NBA season at the Walt Disney World Resort will cost the NBA more than $150 million, sources told ESPN. The league is housing 22 teams plus support staff at three resorts, has arranged for seven practice courts and is playing games at three arenas during the quarantine. It is also providing meals, daily coronavirus testing and other medical support, security, transportation and entertainment for more than 1,500 people during the height of the event. "It comes into play that we feel an obligation to our sport and to the industry to find a new normal," NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Time magazine earlier this week. "It doesn't come into play in terms of dollars and cents because, frankly, it's not all that economical for us to play on this campus. It's enormously expensive." Not included in this expense is the loss of revenue because teams won't be selling tickets. The league is projecting to lose more than $1 billion in revenue...
July 01
July 01

Alabama carries on five-star recruit streak with commitment from DE Dallas Turner

Alabama has had at least two five-star commitments in each recruiting class going back to the 2017 cycle, and that streak will continue in 2021 after five-star defensive end Dallas Turner announced his commitment to Alabama on Wednesday. Turner is the No. 13-ranked prospect overall and joins five-star offensive lineman J.C. Latham, who committed to the Crimson Tide on June 12. Alabama beat out Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma to add Turner to this class. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end out of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said Alabama had more of what he was looking for than the other schools on his list. "Alabama, the success of the program. I feel comfortable in that program because it's about business and they carry out every plan they put out," Turner said. "The amount of greatness at the school and the amount of people they produce to the NFL and also how Coach [Nick] Saban runs his program, that they have...
July 01
July 01

Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks says team committed to sending group to Orlando, despite holdouts

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks says the organization is committed to sending a group to Orlando, Florida, for the NBA restart in late July, despite several players saying they will not make the trip. "We have a job to do," Marks said during a virtual news conference Wednesday morning. "We have to bring a team to Orlando. We will bring a team to Orlando. We will go down there, and we will compete. That's our jobs here." The Nets are expected to be without DeAndre Jordan, who tweeted that he would not travel after testing positive for the coronavirus last week. They will also be missing Wilson Chandler, who opted out to  spend more time with family, and Nic Claxton, who had season-ending shoulder surgery on June 24. Marks said Spencer Dinwiddie, who also tested positive for the coronavirus, has not made a final decision on whether he will travel to Florida. "That would be up in the air," Marks said. "Look, I would...
July 01
July 01

Nets GM Sean Marks says team committed to sending group to Orlando, despite holdouts

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks says the organization is committed to sending a group to Orlando, Florida, for the NBA restart in late July, despite several players saying they will not make the trip. "We have a job to do," Marks said during a virtual news conference Wednesday morning. "We have to bring a team to Orlando. We will bring a team to Orlando. We will go down there, and we will compete. That's our jobs here." The Nets are expected to be without DeAndre Jordan, who tweeted that he would not travel after testing positive for the coronavirus last week. They will also be missing Wilson Chandler, who opted out to  spend more time with family, and Nic Claxton, who had season-ending shoulder surgery on June 24. Marks said Spencer Dinwiddie, who also tested positive for the coronavirus, has not made a final decision on whether he will travel to Florida. "That would be up in the air," Marks said. "Look, I would hope...
July 01
July 01

Source: NBA players decide against using names of deceased on jerseys

NBA players have decided not to use the names of those who have died in police custody or in racially motivated incidents on the backs of their jerseys due to concerns about offending those close to someone whose name might not be used, a source told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. In addition, it would be difficult to get permission from surviving family members. The NBA and NBPA are continuing talks regarding placing social justice messages on jerseys. Those talks are expected to conclude by the end of the week, a source said. The personalized statements on jerseys are part of a long list of social justice messages the players plan to deliver over the rest of the season, which restarts July 30 in Orlando, Florida. The NBA and NBPA announced an agreement last Wednesday to continue to discuss fighting systemic racism and to make it one of the main focuses of the restart. Personalized jerseys could say such things as "Black Lives Matter" or "I Can't Breathe" and bring light to a...
July 01
July 01

Franchise-tagged Chris Jones tweets perhaps he 'won't play' for Chiefs in 2020

Chris Jones is hinting at the possibility of holding out as the wait for a deal continues between the Kansas City Chiefs and their franchise-tagged defensive lineman. Jones, replying to an NFL Network video regarding his contract situation, tweeted Tuesday night that not playing in 2020 was an option, bringing up running back Le'Veon Bell's 2018 holdout with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jones in March. They still have until July 15 to reach a long-term contract, but Jones has yet to sign the tag, which would pay him $16.1 million next season. Barring a long-term deal with the Chiefs, Jones is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Bell missed the 2018 season after declining to play for the Steelers when they used the franchise tag on him for the second straight year. He signed with the New York Jets in the next offseason. The running back showed support for Jones in a tweet...
July 01
July 01

Family of Dodgers' Andrew Toles just glad he's alive

The family of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles was glad he was arrested last week because that meant they knew where he was. Toles, who has struggled with mental illness, was charged in Key West, Florida, with trespassing property after he was found sleeping behind a Federal Express building at the airport and refused to move. "When the news came out, the response from the public was very different from the response from my family,'' Morgan Toles, Andrew's sister, told USA Today. "When people saw my brother's mugshot, it was like, 'Oh, my god! He's been arrested.' "You know what my family felt? Relief. It's really crazy to say, but the mugshot, really, was the best thing ever. We didn't know whether he was dead or alive.'' Toles, 28, rose from the low minors to the majors in just months and became a postseason star for the Dodgers in 2016. He was the starting left fielder in the second half of 2016 and early in 2017. In May of that year he tore...
July 01
July 01

Brooklyn Nets GM says team committed to sending group to Orlando, despite holdouts

Nets general manager Sean Marks said the organization is committed to sending a group to Orlando for the NBA restart in late July, despite several players saying they will not make the trip. "We have a job to do," Marks said during a virtual news conference Wednesday morning. "We have to bring a team to Orlando. We will bring a team to Orlando. We will go down there and we will compete. That's our jobs here." The Nets are expected to be without DeAndre Jordan, who tweeted that he would not travel after testing positive for the coronavirus last week. They will also be missing Wilson Chandler, who opted out, citing spending more time with family, and Nic Claxton, who had season-ending shoulder surgery on June 24. Marks said that Spencer Dinwiddie, who also tested positive for the coronavirus, has not made a final decision on whether he will travel to Florida. "That would be up in the air," Marks said. "Look, I would hope these guys decide to...
July 01
July 01

Pacers' Victor Oladipo still mulling return for NBA's restart

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo remains undecided on whether he will report to Orlando, Florida, with the team for the NBA restart. Although he is undecided, a league source told ESPN that Oladipo will be included on the Pacers' travel party list, but they are still working with him on his plan and will support whatever decision is made. Initially hesitant to commit right away while evaluating the risk of reinjuring his quadriceps tendon, Oladipo told reporters that his decision remains unclear, although the team is looking to finalize its travel party Wednesday. "Nah, I haven't made a decision just yet. Just taking it one day at a time," Oladipo said. "I feel like when the day comes, I'll know. I appreciate my teammates and this organization for backing me and supporting me with whatever decision I make, but at the same time, I'm focused on me getting as strong as possible and getting where I'm at. "Like I said, I'm taking it one day at a time and hopefully I...
July 01
July 01

Pelicans star Zion Williamson one of three to grace NBA 2K21 cover

Growing up playing NBA 2K games, Zion Williamson dreamed of one day being on the cover. After just one season in the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans rookie has turned that dream into a reality. Williamson was named one of the three cover athletes for NBA 2K21 on Wednesday morning. "It's one of those emotions I'm still processing," Williamson told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears in a video interview. "It's a dream come true. At those AAU tournaments, you're looking at the cover thinking, 'That's gonna be me.' For it to happen that fast, it's a huge honor." Williamson will be the cover athlete for the next-generation systems PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. He joins Damian Lillard, who will be featured on the current-generation systems, as one of the announced cover athletes. The final cover athlete will be announced Thursday. During the PS5 reveal event June 11, Williamson was featured to show off the game's new graphics. "My first thoughts on the...
July 01
July 01

NHL eyeing Toronto, Edmonton as hub cities for season restart

The NHL has shifted its focus to selecting two Canadian hub cities, sources confirmed to ESPN. That would have the NHL resuming its season in Toronto and Edmonton later this summer. Nothing is final until players vote on the return-to-play proposal, which is not expected to happen until later this week. The NHL and NHLPA are also in discussions on an extension to the collective bargaining agreement, which has delayed any announcements. Las Vegas had long been the presumed favorite as a hub city for the NHL's return. In recent days, however, the league and its players became spooked by a spike of positive cases in Nevada as well as several other U.S. states. As of June 30, there have been 18,456 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nevada with 507 deaths, with the state reporting its five highest days for coronavirus cases in the past week. The NHL initially hoped to pick one Canadian city and one American city for its hubs. But it is cheaper to stage games in Canada --...
July 01
July 01

Source: NHL to pay out $300M in signing bonuses as scheduled

NHL players who are due signing bonuses on July 1 are expected to be paid as scheduled, a source told ESPN. There is more than $300 million due to be paid to players on Wednesday, with the Toronto Maple Leafs leading the league with roughly $60 million owed. Contracts structured with large signing bonuses have been in vogue in the NHL the past several years. Maple Leafs forwards Auston Matthews ($15.2 million) and Mitch Marner ($14.3 million) will receive the largest payments. Connor McDavid ( Oilers) is third in the NHL at $13 million, and Artemi Panarin ( Rangers) is fourth at $12 million, according to CapFriendly.com. The agreement to pay players and not defer was made Tuesday between the NHL and NHLPA. The two sides are in ongoing negotiations about the league's plan to restart with a 24-team tournament in two hub cities this summer. The sides have yet to finalize the health and safety protocols for games...
July 01
July 01

Lightweight titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko to fight Teofimo Lopez, promoter Bob Arum says

ESPN's top pound-for-pound fighter has a new date to face one of boxing's rising stars. Lightweight titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko is scheduled to face Teofimo Lopez in a unification bout on Sept. 19, Top Rank chief Bob Arum told ESPN's Mark Kriegel. Lomachenko, who holds the WBO and WBA lightweight belts, was initially scheduled to face Lopez, who holds the IBF belt, on May 30 at Madison Square Garden. But that fight was scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) hasn't been in the ring since October 2019, when he won a unanimous decision over Luke Campbell. It was only the second time since 2014 that he didn't win via stoppage. Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) earned one of the four major belts in the 130-pound division when he stopped Richard Commey in December 2019. The Brooklyn native, who was ESPN's 2018 prospect of the year, fought four times last year as he ramped up toward a belt. The undefeated titleholder had previously complained about the...
July 01
July 01

Rockies GM supports Ian Desmond's decision to skip 2020 season

DENVER -- Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said he supports Ian Desmond's decision to sit out the 2020 season to focus on his young family and help rejuvenate youth baseball in his hometown in Florida. Bridich said he had a pair of recent conversations with the outfielder, who announced his decision in a lengthy and heartfelt Instagram post Monday night. Desmond, 34, wrote that the "COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking." The slugger, who is biracial, also mentioned myriad issues within baseball, including sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns, as well as the racial reckoning that emerged after George Floyd's death while in police custody in Minneapolis sparked protests around the world. "The conversations with Ian felt the exact same that his written words feel to me," Bridich said, "which is from the heart and honest. ... I did not know that he was going to write something as...
July 01
July 01

MLB teams can't identify players who test positive for coronavirus

There are no protocols that can completely eliminate the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Therefore, despite Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association having developed an extensive manual to aid in the task of playing a shortened 2020 season, players will continue to test positive during the pandemic. But identifying those players won't be easy. New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and  Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer both said that, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, teams are not allowed to divulge the name of any player who tests positive. "The information I've been given is [the media] will be left to try to figure that out," Cashman said during a conference call Tuesday afternoon. "Somebody might be down and out, but we might not be able to speak to why, and it would be a speculating circumstance [where] you would have to use your journalistic superpowers to determine if there's anything there or not, what the...
July 01
June 30

Aspiring driver Rajah Caruth discusses his journey, why Bubba Wallace is a role model

The 18-year-old also is planning to attend Winston-Salem State University.
June 30
Rajah Caruth,  NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine at New Smyrna Speedway, Oct. 23, 2019, in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
June 30

Cornerback Tony Grimes, ESPN's No. 6 prospect, commits to North Carolina

North Carolina added its second five-star commitment to the 2021 recruiting class Tuesday when cornerback Tony Grimes announced his commitment to the Tar Heels. Grimes is the No. 6-ranked prospect overall and chose North Carolina over Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M. He now joins five-star defensive end Keeshawn Silver as the top two commitments in the class for the Tar Heels. "North Carolina came up big time," Grimes said. "When I say big time, they came up big time. I love the whole coaching staff, but I most definitely love Coach [Mack] Brown, Coach [Jay] Bateman and Coach Dre [Bly]. I feel like Coach Bateman is going to put me in the scheme, to put me in the right position to be great." The 6-foot, 180-pound corner out of Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is the top-ranked corner in the class. His recruitment went back-and-forth throughout the entire process. Grimes said Texas A&M was initially his...
June 30
June 30

Probe opened as Las Vegas bettors exploit error in international baseball bets

A few Las Vegas bettors uncovered a scenario last weekend that raises questions about opportunity versus ethics. They exploited a mistake by BetMGM and wagered on baseball games that had already started, thus giving them an incredibly strong chance to win tens of thousands of dollars. The errors could cost the operator nearly a quarter-million dollars because of approximately 50 questionable wagers, including a 10-leg parlay netting $137,000, a source told ESPN. However, Nevada Gaming has opened an investigation and could deem the wagers invalid, saving the sportsbook from paying all remaining tickets. It is unknown exactly how many bettors were involved or were able to successfully cash tickets before casino officials realized the errors Sunday afternoon and stopped payments. Nearly all suspicious wagers occurred at Bellagio sportsbook self-bet kiosks between 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. PST this past Sunday morning, according to a source, and all involved baseball games in Korea and...
June 30
June 30

Calls for NCAA to compensate college athletes

Draymond Green, three-time NBA champion of the Golden State Warriors, discussed what immediate steps he’d like to see the NCAA take.
June 30
VIDEO: Calls for NCAA to compensate college athletes
June 30

Adam Silver: On track but coronavirus spread may stop NBA

With coronavirus cases on the rise in the United States and some teams recently closing their facilities due to positive cases, NBA commissioner Adam Silver remains "pretty confident" about the league's plan to safely resume play but admits that a spread in the NBA community could bring the league to a halt again. During an appearance on TIME 100 Talks, Silver was asked if there is any chance the NBA doesn't go to Orlando, Florida, as planned due to the surge in coronavirus cases or if it is full steam ahead to resume play at the end of July. "Never full steam ahead no matter what," Silver told TIME. "One thing we are learning about this virus is much [is] unpredictable, and we and our players together with their union look at the data on a daily basis. If there were something to change that was outside of the scope of what we are playing for, certainly we would revisit our plans. "We are testing daily. We haven't put a precise number on it, but if we were to see a large...
June 30
June 30

Sources: Denver Nuggets close facility because of coronavirus

The Denver Nuggets closed the team's practice facility starting Saturday after a round of positive tests for the coronavirus, sources told ESPN. The Nuggets had two members of the team's 35-person Orlando traveling party -- which encompasses players, coaches and staff -- initially test positive before the weekend shutdown, sources said. There has been at least one more positive test since Saturday, sources said. Denver All-NBA center Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia, where he was asymptomatic, sources told ESPN. The Nuggets will reopen their facility based on the results of ongoing testing. Players are allowed to undergo controlled, socially distanced workouts with coaches in the facility until the team leaves for Orlando on July 7. The Nuggets (43-22) are the third seed in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers. NBA teams, including the Nuggets, returned to team facilities...
June 30
June 30

Sources: Nuggets close facility because of coronavirus

The Denver Nuggets closed the team's practice facility starting Saturday after a round of positive tests for the coronavirus, sources told ESPN. The Nuggets had two members of the team's 35-person Orlando traveling party -- which encompasses players, coaches and staff -- initially test positive before the weekend shutdown, sources said. There has been at least one more positive test since Saturday, sources said. Denver All-NBA center Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia, where he was asymptomatic, sources told ESPN. The Nuggets will reopen their facility based on the results of ongoing testing. Players are allowed to undergo controlled, socially distanced workouts with coaches in the facility until the team leaves for Orlando on July 7. The Nuggets (43-22) are the third seed in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers. NBA teams, including the Nuggets, returned to team facilities...
June 30
June 30

Rockies' Ian Desmond says baseball is 'failing' minorities

Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, who is opting out of playing this season, says baseball is "failing" in helping minorities, especially children, to play and advance in the sport. In a series of Instagram posts Monday, Desmond said he has been sharing more of his thoughts and experiences as a biracial man since George Floyd's death on May 25 in Minnesota. Floyd, a Black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for more than seven minutes. Desmond said his mind started racing during a recent visit to the Sarasota baseball fields that he played on as a kid. He wrote about how they looked run-down and neglected and how important youth baseball was for him growing up. "Why can't we support teaching the game to all kids -- but especially those in underprivileged communities?'' Desmond wrote. "Why aren't accessible, affordable youth sports viewed as an essential opportunity to affect kids' development, as opposed to money-making propositions and...
June 30
June 30

Sources: Nuggets close facility due to coronavirus

The Denver Nuggets closed the team's practice facility starting Saturday after a round of positive tests for the coronavirus, sources tell ESPN. The Nuggets had two members of the team's 35-person Orlando traveling party -- which encompasses players, coaches and staff -- initially test positive prior to the weekend shutdown, sources said. There has been at least one more positive test since Saturday, sources said. Denver's All-NBA center Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia, where he was asymptomatic, sources told ESPN. The Nuggets will reopen the facility based on the results of ongoing testing. Players are allowed to undergo controlled, socially distanced workouts with coaches in the facility until the team leaves for Orlando on July 7. The Nuggets (43-22) are the third seed in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers. NBA teams, including the Nuggets, returned to team facilities last Tuesday to...
June 30
June 30

Redskins' Ron Rivera: Don't bet against Cam Newton with Patriots

Ron Rivera has a message for those ready to doubt that Cam Newton can rebound with the New England Patriots: Don't bet against him. Rivera, who coached the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons with Newton as his starting quarterback, was asked Monday on 670 The Score in Chicago if he thought Newton has recovered from the injuries that marred his past two seasons. Rivera said he had watched the workout videos that Newton posted on social media. "He's headed in the right direction," Rivera said on the McNeil & Parkins Show. "I mean, he's probably about as healthy as it gets from what I've seen on video. I think he's ready to bust out. "I would never bet against the young man, that's for sure." Newton, who holds most of Carolina's career passing records, missed 14 games last season with a foot injury and the final two games of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury that also required surgery. He reached an agreement on a one-year,...
June 30
June 30

Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard first cover athlete for NBA 2K21

Damian Lillard has been announced as a cover athlete for the upcoming NBA 2K21 release. In a video tweet posted Tuesday, developer 2K revealed that the Portland Trail Blazers star will be the cover star for current-generation console players and is one of three cover athletes to be announced this week. The reveal of there being three covers was first made by Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis, the NBA 2K20 cover athlete, last week in a TikTok video by NBA 2K. "This is a special moment for me in my NBA career," Lillard said in a statement. "I've been a fan of NBA 2K for years and love how they represent all aspects of basketball culture. I'm an avid 2K player, so I'm honored to join the other NBA greats who have been on the cover. I'm grateful to all my fans and can't wait for everyone to experience the game later this year." Lillard, who is a five-time NBA All-Star and was NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013, becomes the first cover athlete from the...
June 30
June 30

Rose Namajunas says fighting 'is my purpose' following death of family members from coronavirus

Rose Namajunas' last fight was nearly 14 months ago. On that night, in Brazil, she lost her strawweight title in dramatic fashion when she was knocked out following a slam by Jessica Andrade, Namajunas' upcoming opponent in UFC 251 on July 11. After that loss in May 2019, Namajunas said she might never fight again. Six months later, in an emotional interview, she told ESPN she decided to keep on fighting after all. The original plan was for the fan favorite, nicknamed "Thug Rose," to return to action at UFC 249 on April 18 against Andrade, but the coronavirus pandemic stalled those plans. The bout was eventually moved to May 9, but Namajunas ultimately withdrew after two of her family members died after contracting the coronavirus. "They were living in a hot spot where COVID-19 was," Namajunas told ESPN during the lead-up to UFC 251. "They came down with it. They got put on ventilators and shortly [after], in a few days, it just happened like that. Passed away. "... As...
June 30
June 30

Rose Namajunas says fighting 'is my purpose' following death of family members from COVID-19

Rose Namajunas' last fight was more than 14 months ago. On that night, in Brazil, she lost her strawweight title in dramatic fashion after she was knocked out following a slam by Jessica Andrade. Following the bout, Namajunas said she might never fight again. Six months later, in an emotional interview, she told ESPN she decided to keep on fighting after all. The original plan was for the fan-favorite, nicknamed "Thug Rose," to return to action at UFC 249 on April 18 against Andrade, however, the COVID-19 pandemic stalled those plans. The bout was eventually moved to May 9, but Namajunas ultimately withdrew after two of her family members died after contracting coronavirus. "They were living in a hot spot where COVID-19 was," Namajunas told ESPN. "They came down with it. They got put on ventilators and shortly, in a few days, it just happened like that. Passed away. "For the longest time, just as a fighter, we deal with (many things). I had MRSA before, we deal with...
June 30
June 30

Rockies' Ian Desmond opting out of playing in 2020, citing high risk amid pandemic

Ian Desmond will opt out of playing this season, the Colorado Rockies outfielder announced Monday. "The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking," he wrote at the end of a lengthy post on Instagram that touched on race and opportunities for youth baseball players. "With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what's going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now,'' Desmond wrote. "Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys' questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their Dad.'' Desmond, who grew up in Sarasota, Florida, made his major league debut with Washington in 2009. The two-time All-Star played for Texas for one season before signing with the Rockies. In his Instagram post, Desmond said he has been sharing more of his thoughts and experiences as a biracial man since George Floyd's death on May 25...
June 30
June 30

Nets' DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie say they tested positive for the coronavirus

Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan has tested positive for the coronavirus and opted out of next month's Orlando, Florida, restart with his team, he announced Monday. "Found out last night and confirmed again today that I've tested positive for Covid while being back in market," Jordan wrote on Twitter. "As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season." Jordan's agent with Excel Sports informed management of the decision on Monday, sources said. Jordan and guard Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for COVID-19, though Dinwiddie has yet to officially rule himself out, he told The Athletic on Monday. Forward Wilson Chandler told ESPN on Sunday that he opted out of the season's restart, citing family concerns. Even prior to these positive tests, some Nets players -- like others on several NBA teams -- discussed the possibility of sitting out the restart in Orlando, sources said. As the Nets lose more players, it perhaps...
June 30
June 30

Arizona pauses plan for athletes' return to campus amid COVID-19 surge

Arizona paused its plan to bring athletes back to campus Monday, citing a surge in COVID-19 cases in Pima County and the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the local healthcare system. On June 15, the school started bringing athletes back for voluntary workouts in groups of approximately 20, with new groups arriving each week. Arizona said Monday that it has received only one positive COVID-19 result after testing 83 athletes the past few weeks. Arizona is awaiting clarification on whether it can continue workouts with athletes already on campus after Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday ordered all gyms in the state to close for 30 days as a result of the COVID-19 spike. Arizona reported 3,858 positive COVID-19 cases Sunday, marking its highest single-day total and the seventh report of more than 3,000 cases in the previous 10 days. Pima County now has more than 7,500 confirmed cases. "The health, safety and well-being of all members of our community is our number one priority,"...
June 30
June 30

Nets' DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie say they tested positive for coronavirus

Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan has tested positive for the coronavirus and opted out of next month's Orlando restart with the team, he announced Monday night. "Found out last night and confirmed again today that I've tested positive for Covid while being back in market," Jordan wrote on Twitter. "As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season." Jordan's agent with Excel Sports informed management of the decision on Monday, too, sources said. Jordan and guard Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for COVID-19, although Dinwiddie has yet to formally rule himself out of Orlando, he told The Athletic on Monday. Forward Wilson Chandler told ESPN on Sunday that he had opted out of the season's restart, citing family concerns. Even prior to these positive tests, some Nets players -- like those on several NBA teams -- had already discussed the possibility of sitting out the restart in Orlando, sources said. As the Nets lose more...
June 30

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