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1 hour ago

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 scheduled 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...
1 hour ago
3 hours ago

Doc Rivers confident Kawhi Leonard would return in top shape

LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers says he isn't sure what shape or form the NBA will take if it can resume this season, but he is certain that Kawhi Leonard will be in "phenomenal" shape if there's 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 Toronto, 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 Jazz's ...
3 hours ago
3 hours ago

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....
3 hours ago
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 competing...
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
April 7, 2020, 3:29 PM

Dana White: Secured U.S. location, private island for UFC fights

LAS VEGAS -- UFC president Dana White is so committed to resuming operations in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, he has secured a private island to host events. White told ESPN on Monday that he has secured a location in the U.S. to host UFC 249 on April 18, which will be headlined by an interim title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje and consist of 12 fights overall. He said the location will host weekly fights for at least the next two months. Additionally, White said he has started work on an undisclosed island, where he could conceivably book fights for international athletes who can't come into the U.S. "I'll tell you this, I'm this close to getting a deal done," White said. "So this place where this fight is going to be on April 18 I have locked up for two months, so I'm going to continue to pump fights out. I also secured an island. I've got an island. The infrastructure is being built right now. We're going to do all of our...
April 7, 2020, 3:29 PM
April 7, 2020, 1:29 PM

Ravens' John Harbaugh worried about NFL tech security

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh is worried that sensitive team information is more vulnerable to getting stolen because of the technology that NFL teams are relying upon to connect with players during the coronavirus pandemic. At a time when teams are preparing to go virtual -- from playbooks to meetings -- Harbaugh has immediately texted the Ravens' information technology members when he's read about Zoom or other online resources getting hacked. He's been assured that everything is secure, but he reminds them about how other companies believed the same before their customers' accounts were compromised. "It's a big concern," Harbaugh said during the Ravens' pre-draft news conference. "Hopefully we'll be OK. I really wouldn't want the opposing coaches to have our playbook or our draft meetings. That would be preferable, if we can stay away from that." Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta joked that Harbaugh is being too concerned about cracks in today's communication...
April 7, 2020, 1:29 PM
April 7, 2020, 1:19 PM

Cam Newton tells Chris Paul he's 'a fish out of water' as free agent

Quarterback  Cam Newton is a free agent for the first time, and it comes during an unprecedented period when much of the country is shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Newton, who was released by the Carolina Panthers in late March, talked about his situation during an interview Monday with Oklahoma City Thunder point guard  Chris Paul on Instagram Live. "It's so much possibility right now for me, but the fact that this corona situation has hit -- I'm not a person to blame or do any of that things, man, it's business," Newton said. "But at the same time, I think I have been affected in a lot of ways, and it's just [unfortunate]. But yeah, at the end of the day, man, I'm going to let the ball play how it play, man, and go from there." He said being a free agent has put him "in uncharted waters for the first time in my career" and that the chip on his shoulder has "turned into family-size real quick." Newton acknowledged it's a...
April 7, 2020, 1:19 PM
April 7, 2020, 11:39 AM

Sources: Rams, Chargers set for 'Hard Knocks'

For the first time, "Hard Knocks" is planning to supersize and feature two teams in the same summer: the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, league sources told ESPN -- if there are training camps. No announcement is planned this week, as the NFL and NFL Films are focused on the first virtual draft in league history because of the coronavirus pandemic. But NFL Films, which produces the show with HBO, would be excited to have not one, but two teams volunteer for "Hard Knocks," and it would, in the words of one source, "be special to figure out the creative for a 'supersized' series this summer. " The announcement had been scheduled to be made at last week's NFL annual meeting, but the meeting was canceled because of the pandemic. NFL Films plans for the show to go on, assuming training camp does. No one yet knows whether training camp will be a go this summer because of the virus, but NFL Films must prepare as if it will. Being stationed in Los...
April 7, 2020, 11:39 AM
April 7, 2020, 11:19 AM

Sources: 'Hard Knocks' may get Rams, Chargers

For the first time, "Hard Knocks" is planning to supersize and feature two teams in the same summer: the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, league sources tell ESPN ... if there are training camps. No announcement is planned this week, as the NFL and NFL Films are focused on the first virtual draft in league history because of the coronavirus pandemic. But NFL Films, which produces the show with HBO, would be excited to have not one, but two teams volunteer for "Hard Knocks," and it would, in the words of one source, "be special to figure out the creative for a 'supersized' series this summer. " The announcement had been scheduled to be made at last week NFL's Annual Meeting, but the meeting was canceled due to the  pandemic. NFL Films plans for the show go on, assuming training camp does. No one yet knows whether training camp will be a go this summer due to the virus, but Films must prepare as if it will. Being stationed in Los Angeles will give NFL...
April 7, 2020, 11:19 AM
April 7, 2020, 6:59 AM

AU$5 million to be refunded to fans for Boomers-Team USA fiasco

Around AU$5 million (US$3.08 million) will be refunded to spectators of last year's Boomers vs. Team USA two-game series at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium after the Australian consumer watchdog found that promoter TEG Live made false claims about its seating plan. The 20,000 refunds will be paid out to those who purchased floor-level seating for the games. Despite a mock-up depicting tiered seating, the seats used were in flat rows, lower than the court and, in some cases, more than 30 metres from the action. "Consumers paid a premium for floor-level seats, ranging between $895 and $3,995 for a hospitality package, and may have done so as a result of misleading seating advertising," said Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. "In our view, TEG Live's conduct was unacceptable." The ACCC had stepped in already in August, ahead of the two highly anticipated FIBA World Cup warm-up games in Australia, instructing TEG Live to offer refunds to any ticket...
April 7, 2020, 6:59 AM
April 7, 2020, 4:19 AM

Sources: MLB, union focused on plan that could allow season to start as early as May in Arizona

Major League Baseball and its players are increasingly focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May and has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN. Though the plan has a number of potential stumbling blocks, it has emerged above other options as the likeliest to work and has been embraced by MLB and MLB Players Association leadership, who are buoyed by the possibility of baseball's return and the backing of federal officials, sources said. The plan, sources said, would dictate that all 30 teams play games at stadiums with no fans in the Phoenix area, including the  Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field, 10 spring training facilities and perhaps other nearby fields. Players, coaching staffs and other essential personnel would be sequestered at local hotels, where they would live in relative isolation and travel only to and from...
April 7, 2020, 4:19 AM
April 7, 2020, 3:59 AM

UFC's Anthony Smith fights home intruder; man charged with criminal trespass

A man has been charged after he unlawfully entered the Nebraska home of UFC fighter Anthony Smith early Sunday morning, according to police. Luke Haberman was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, according to Sgt. Wayne Hudson of the Douglas County (Nebraska) Sheriff's office. Smith said in an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Monday that he woke up just after 4 a.m. local time Sunday to a stranger in his Omaha-area home. The UFC light heavyweight said he tried to subdue Haberman for more than five minutes while waiting for police to arrive. Haberman did not steal anything, Smith said, and it was unclear why he was in the house. Smith and his family -- he lives with his wife, mother-in-law and three daughters -- were not injured. Smith described the incident as "terrifying" and called it "one of the toughest fights" he has ever had. Smith said his wife woke him and told him there was a man in the house. Smith said he could hear a...
April 7, 2020, 3:59 AM
April 7, 2020, 12:39 AM

Commissioner Adam Silver does not expect to make any decisions on NBA season until at least May

Commissioner Adam Silver said Monday night that he has told people in the NBA that there will be no way for the league to make a decision about when it can return until May 1 at the earliest -- and probably not even then. "Essentially what I've told my folks over the last week is we should just accept that at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said in an interview with TNT's Ernie Johnson aired on the NBA's Twitter page. "I don't think that necessarily means that, on May 1, we will be [in that position], but at least I know that just to settle everyone down a little bit. "It doesn't mean that, internally, both the league and discussions with our players and the teams we aren't looking at many different scenarios for restarting the season, but I think it honestly is just too early, given what's happened right now, to even be able to project or predict where we will be in a few weeks." Silver said repeatedly throughout the...
April 7, 2020, 12:39 AM
April 7, 2020, 12:29 AM

NBA, players union assessing potential COVID-19 rapid-test options

In recent weeks, officials within the NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in assessing the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for the coronavirus that could provide accurate results within a matter of minutes, a process that would hopefully enable the league to track the virus in what is considered a critical first step toward resuming play in the near future. Multiple league sources close to the situation said the league and players union have been looking at what those familiar with the matter describe as "diabetes-like" blood testing in which someone could, with the prick of a finger, be tested quickly, and results could be gained inside of 15 minutes. The Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories began shipping its rapid-response tests across the U.S. last week, according to a Washington Post report. The tests, which have been approved by the FDA, are said to deliver results in five to 13 minutes. The league sources stressed that this matter is in the exploratory phase and...
April 7, 2020, 12:29 AM
April 7, 2020, 12:19 AM

NBA sets guidelines on draft prospect workouts in memo

The NBA informed teams on Monday that organizations are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. NBA teams will be allowed to conduct virtual interviews with draft prospects, but are limited to four hours total for any single player, the memo said. The guidelines are in place for an indefinite period during the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA pre-draft process will be dramatically different for the 2020 draft, forcing teams to rely heavily on previous scouting and intelligence gathering. There are still uncertainties regarding how teams might gather crucial physical information on draft candidates. Teams also are prohibited from requesting video of recent workouts that players might conduct outside of a team environment, the memo said. Teams can study only film -- such as college game and practice sessions -- that occurred before the NBA's suspension of play on March...
April 7, 2020, 12:19 AM
April 7, 2020, 12:19 AM

NBA, players union assessing potential COVID rapid-test options

In recent weeks, officials within the NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in assessing the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for the novel coronavirus that could provide accurate results within a matter of minutes, a process that would hopefully enable the league to track the virus in what's considered a critical first step toward resuming play in the near future. Multiple league sources close to the situation said the league and players union have been looking at what sources familiar with the matter have described as "diabetes-like" blood testing in which someone could, with the prick of a finger, be tested quickly and results could be gained inside of 15 minutes. The Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories has begun shipping its rapid-response tests across the U.S. as of last week, according to a Washington Post report. The tests, which have been approved by the FDA, are said to deliver results in five to 13 minutes. The league sources stressed that it is in the...
April 7, 2020, 12:19 AM
April 6, 2020, 10:29 PM

Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu completes sweep of major honors with John R. Wooden Award

Oregon senior Sabrina Ionescu completed a clean sweep of the major individual honors in women's college basketball by winning the John R. Wooden Award on Monday. The Wooden Award is given annually to the nation's most outstanding player. Ionescu is the sixth woman to win the Wooden multiple times, joining Seimone Augustus, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore, Candace Parker and Breanna Stewart. She is the fifth player to win the award in back-to-back seasons. She and former LSU standout Augustus are the two repeat winners who did not win national championships. Oregon was 31-2 and ranked No. 2 in the AP poll when the NCAA canceled its tournament in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the Wooden, Ionescu recently won the Naismith Trophy and Wade Trophy and was recognized as the nation's best player by The Associated Press and espnW. After leading Oregon to the Pac-12 regular-season and conference tournament titles, she also was the Pac-12 Player of the Year for...
April 6, 2020, 10:29 PM
April 6, 2020, 10:19 PM

Nebraska expels two former Cornhuskers after violations of the school's sexual misconduct policy

The University of Nebraska expelled two former football players after a school investigator last year found them responsible for violating the school's sexual misconduct policy, according to a document obtained by ESPN. In a letter obtained by ESPN, the university conduct board said the expulsion of two unnamed respondents was effective April 3. A university spokeswoman confirmed Monday that the players involved were redshirt freshmen Katerian LeGrone and Andre Hunt. The March 25 letter states that the board "considered the seriousness of this incident and modified the previously proposed sanction." The school's investigator previously recommended a two-and-a-half-year suspension when she issued her finding in December. Expulsion means the two men are not allowed on campus and are permanently terminated as students, according to the letter. The university investigation found evidence to support that Hunt touched and digitally penetrated a female student...
April 6, 2020, 10:19 PM
April 6, 2020, 8:09 PM

Dana White says Tony Ferguson-Justin Gaethje to headline UFC 249

UFC 249 has a new headliner. With Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia and facing potential travel issues, Tony Ferguson will now meet Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 249 on April 18, UFC president Dana White tweeted Monday. The fight for the interim lightweight title is "signed" and "100%" on, White wrote. The location of UFC 249 remains undisclosed. White tweeted that the fight will be "somewhere on EARTH!" ESPN's Ariel Helwani reported Sunday night that the UFC is targeting a venue on the West Coast for the card. It will more than likely take place in front of no fans. "#forthepeople I'm terrified and I f----- love it. #ufc," tweeted Gaethje on Monday. The UFC 249 main event was supposed to be held in Brooklyn with Nurmagomedov defending his lightweight title against top contender Ferguson. However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the UFC to change its plans. New York has become the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States and all large...
April 6, 2020, 8:09 PM
April 6, 2020, 8:09 PM

Hall of Fame outfielder and Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline dies at 85

Al Kaline, a Hall of Famer who played all 22 years of his career in Detroit, earning the nickname "Mr. Tiger,"  died Monday, a team official confirmed to ESPN. Kaline was 85. Kaline, an All-Star in 15 seasons and a 10-time Gold Glove winner in right field, retired shortly after recording his 3,000th hit in 1974 and joined the Tigers' broadcasting team. He continued to work for the Tigers after his retirement from the booth in 2002. He became the first Tiger to have his number retired, with the "No. 6" by which he was known in the clubhouse going up on the walls in 1980. He was also elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame that year, his first on the ballot. "Baseball lost a titan today," Tigers chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch said in a statement. "Anyone who knew Al Kaline would describe his gentle soul and passion for baseball as an unbelievably powerful combination, making him one of the most respected players in Major League Baseball history." The cause of death was...
April 6, 2020, 8:09 PM
April 6, 2020, 6:29 PM

Chicago teams coordinate stay-at-home message

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot strode onto the sun-drenched grass at Soldier Field on Monday to make an announcement that was difficult for any sports fan to misinterpret: "We are not playing." "We'd rather be here in Soldier Field, or Wrigley, or Sox park or at the United Center or Wintrust [Arena], cheering on our players and having a good time with our friends, but this crisis has changed almost everything -- and particularly our sports," Lightfoot said. "Coming to these parks would be dangerous and deadly to ourselves and our city." Standing alone at a lectern in an empty stadium that can comfortably seat more than 60,000 fans, Lightfoot announced a first-of-its-kind awareness campaign, called "We Are Not Playing." All of Chicago's professional sports teams -- including the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, Red Stars, Sky and White Sox -- have agreed to use their platforms and athletes to encourage residents of...
April 6, 2020, 6:29 PM
April 6, 2020, 5:29 PM

Antonio Brown hires veteran agent Ed Wasielewski as he attempts NFL return

Antonio Brown has hired veteran agent Ed Wasielewski of EMG Sports to represent him in his pursuit of a return to the NFL this season, Wasielewski told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday. Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, is a free agent who wasn't on an active roster for most of the 2019 season. The Oakland Raiders parted with Brown when he publicly demanding his release after the preseason. He was active for one game with the New England Patriots but was released shortly after, amid sexual assault allegations. Additionally, the state of Florida has levied three formal charges against Brown for an alleged January assault that resulted in his arrest. Brown, 31, faces felony burglary conveyance, misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor criminal mischief charges, according to a Broward County court document obtained by ESPN. In January, agent Drew Rosenhaus terminated his relationship with Brown. Brown has continued to get into scrapes with the law since being...
April 6, 2020, 5:29 PM
April 6, 2020, 3:49 PM

Masters in November as golf shuffles schedule for majors

Golf's various organizers announced a revamped schedule for 2020 in hopes that the coronavirus pandemic will allow them to proceed later in the year, with the Masters being rescheduled from this week to November. The Open at Royal St. George's was canceled, but the PGA Championship was moved to August and the U.S. Open to September, the Ryder Cup will remain in its original late September date and the Masters will be Nov. 12-15. "We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials," said Fred Ridley, Augusta National and Masters chairman. "Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week." The PGA Tour hopes to resume in June with the Memorial Tournament, but details about dates and other events are forthcoming. It is...
April 6, 2020, 3:49 PM
April 6, 2020, 3:39 PM

Clemson early favorite to dominate ACC, win national championship

The  Clemson Tigers have won five consecutive ACC championships, going 43-2 in conference play during that stretch, and oddsmakers expect the Tigers' ACC dominance to continue this season but aren't convinced that coach Dabo Swinney's squad is the best in the nation. Caesars Sportsbook has installed Clemson as a giant -600 favorite to win the ACC championship game. The Tigers are the second-largest preseason favorite in a Power 5 conference since 2010, behind only the Clemson team of last season (-650). Clemson's season-win total opened at 11.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, with the vigorish tilted toward the over, meaning the Tigers are favored to complete a third straight unbeaten regular season. Clemson's win total is the highest in the nation. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne returning -- and a seemingly smoother path through conference play than other contenders -- the Tigers also have emerged as the consensus favorites to win...
April 6, 2020, 3:39 PM
April 6, 2020, 3:39 PM

Masters in November; golf shuffles majors schedule

Golf's organizers announced a revamped schedule for 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that will see The Open canceled, the PGA Championship moved to August, the U.S. Open in September, the Ryder Cup remaining in its original dates and the Masters in November -- all predicated on clearance from health officials. The Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England, will not be played for the first time since World War II. The R&A said it will play the championship in 2021 at Royal St. George's, meaning the 150th celebration at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, will be moved to 2022. Here is a rundown of the various changes: The PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May 14-17, is moving to Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco. The U.S. Open, originally scheduled for June 16-19 at Winged Foot in Mamoroneck, N.Y., is moving to Sept. 17-20, one week prior to the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup, at Whistling...
April 6, 2020, 3:39 PM