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Update on the latest sports

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 22, 2020 at 4:43 p.m.


Player’s association rejects MLB schedule

NEW YORK (AP) — A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that the executive board of the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected a proposed 60-game schedule by a 33-5 vote.

The union dared Commissioner Rob Manfred to give a unilateral order for the regular season’s start and provoke what figures to be lengthy and costly litigation over the impact of the coronavirus.

Manfred was expected to take the next step as baseball descends into the type of labor strife that led to eight work stoppages from 1972-95.

With the collapse of a negotiated deal, playoffs are set to remain at 10 teams rather than expand to 16, and the proposed expansion of the designated hitter to games involving NL teams would be off. Also falling through for now is a planned experiment that would have had a runner start each extra inning on second base.

An initial deal March 26 called for players to receive prorated salaries, but that agreement did not require MLB to play in empty ballparks.

Players refused to alter from their insistence on prorated salaries, and MLB finally agreed last week during a meeting between Manfred and union head Tony Clark. But the sides remained about $275 million apart after weeks of talks. MLB offered 60 games and $1.48 billion from salaries that originally totaled $4 billion, plus a $25 million postseason players’ pool. The union wanted 70 games and $1.73 billion plus a $50 million pool.

Both sides are expected to file grievances accusing the other side of acting in bad faith.


White Sox announce deal with 1st-round draft pick Crochet

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have signed first-round draft pick Garrett Crochet to a minor league contract that includes a signing bonus worth $4,547,500. Crochet went No. 11 overall in the June 10 amateur draft.

The 20-year-old left-hander made one start before his junior season at Tennessee was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, striking out six in 3 2/3 scoreless innings.

The 6-foot-6 Crochet is known for his blazing fastball. He went 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA in 18 appearances with the Volunteers during his sophomore season, averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings.


Race starts with show of solidarity, Bubba Wallace says racial incident won’t break him

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — The NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama has begun after a show of support for driver Bubba Wallace. Fellow drivers lined up and pushed his car to the front of pit road in a show of solidarity.

Bubba Wallace steered the No. 43 to the front of pit road, NASCAR champion Kyle Busch pushing the famous car on one side and close friend Ryan Blaney pushing on the other.

The entire 40-driver field and all their crew members followed. After the car came to a stop, Wallace climbed out, sat on the window ledge and sobbed. Richard Petty, his Hall of Fame team owner, gently placed a hand on Wallace’s shoulder.

The move came one day after a crew member found a noose in his garage stall. Wallace is the only fulltime Black driver in the top NASCAR series. Two weeks ago, he successfully pushed NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its facilities.

The FBI is investigating the discovery of a noose found in the Talladega Superspeedway garage stall of Bubba Wallace. President Steve Phelps says security has been stepped up for Wallace since the noose was found on Sunday. On Monday, every driver and their crews joined Wallace in a show of solidarity before the race that was postponed a day by rain.

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace says a noose found in his garage stall at Talladega in Alabama “will not break me.” Wallace says, “I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”


Kobe Bryant high school footage to be auctioned on July 23

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant’s time in high school will be showcased when about 22 hours of footage of the late basketball star playing games and giving interviews will be sold on July 23 by the auction house Profiles in History. The footage is from the media library of Stu Ross, who produced “High School Sports Show,” a syndicated weekly television series seen in 35 cities.

About 60% of the Bryant footage is of games involving the Lower Merion Aces from the Philadelphia suburbs. Ross’ library includes 130 hours and more than 700 athletes, including LeBron James, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, Ryan Braun, Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal.


Zanardi stable but not ready to be brought out of coma

SIENA, Italy (AP) — Doctors say Alex Zanardi remains in stable condition after a crash on his handbike and for now will stay in a medically induced coma.

A hospital in Siena says the Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist spent a third night in intensive care without change and that his neurological condition remains grave.

The hospital’s medical director says “we need to have patience.”

Zanardi has been in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator since he crashed his handbike into a truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on Friday during a relay race.


2 virus cases following Djokovic’s charity event

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Two tennis players have now tested positive for the coronavirus after participating in Novak Djokovic’s charity tennis exhibition in Croatia.

Borna Coric, ranked 33rd in the world, tweeted that he feels well and has no symptoms, but is urging anyone who has had close contact with him to be tested for COVID-19. Three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov also has said that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Djokovic will now be tested as well. His media team says he has no symptoms but “he needs to do the test and then we will see what’s going on.”

Elsewhere in sports news affected by COVID-19:

— Ravens coach John Harbaugh is confident his team’s training camp will begin as scheduled next month despite the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking on a video conference on Monday, Harbaugh said he expected the NFL would have a plan in place that would enable teams to start practicing in late July. Harbaugh said they’ll just have to be very adaptable, and flexible and smart about what they’re going to do and that testing was the main thing. The Ravens have replaced 13 scheduled on-field practice sessions with virtual classes so far this offseason.

— When Brooks Koepka goes for a historic three-peat in the PGA Championship, there won’t be anyone at Harding Park to cheer him on. The PGA of America confirms the first major of this unusual year won’t have spectators. The PGA Championship is scheduled for Aug. 6-9 in San Francisco. It’s the first major of a golf calendar reconfigured because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Open is scheduled for September and the Masters is in November. The British Open was canceled. No one has ever won the PGA Championship three straight times in stroke play.

— Jonquel Jones, the star center for the Connecticut Sun, has decided not to play in the WNBA this season because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Jones led the Sun to the WNBA Finals last year, averaging almost 18 points and more than 10 rebounds in the postseason. She becomes the first WNBA player to cite the virus in opting out of the upcoming season. Renee Montgomery, the former UConn guard now with the Atlanta Dream, had previously announced she will skip the season to focus on social justice issues.

— Atlanta United president Darren Eales says the team remains on pace to begin full team training on Tuesday, assuming there are no more positive tests for COVID-19. Eales says the two players who have tested positive are in isolation but are expected to be with the team for the MLS Is Back Tournament in July at Walt Disney World. He says the tests of asymptomatic players are evidence the protocols set up by MLS “are working.” The players who tested positive last week have not been identified.

— Two Rutgers football players have tested positive for the coronavirus. Coach Greg Schiano discussed the positive tests Monday during a conference call with the media. It was his first availability since the team was allowed to return to campus for voluntary workouts. Schiano said players and coaches were tested before the team returned on June 15. One of the positive tests came from those samples and the player was isolated. The second positive test came from a sample taken when the players reported on June 15. The player was isolated and three players who had contact with him were put in quarantine.


Wizards GM to AP: Bertans to sit out restart of NBA season

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans will skip the Florida-based resumption of the NBA season. He is the first known example of a healthy, eligible player sitting out. Bertans can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is expected to command a big contract as one of the league’s top 3-point shooters.

The Wizards are allowed to sign a replacement player for Bertans as early as Tuesday, and Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard said the club “will look at it closely.” The league plans to resume its season in July with 22 of 30 teams playing eight games apiece at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida, before the playoffs begin.


Veteran NHL forward Chris Thorburn announces retirement

UNDATED (AP) — Veteran forward Chris Thorburn has announced his retirement after playing more than 800 NHL games since 2005. Thorburn spent his last time on the ice celebrating the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup last season. Despite playing just one game for the Blues in 2018-19, he was the fourth player handed the Cup. Thorburn played 801 regular-season games for the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets and Blues. He skated in four playoff games with Winnipeg in 2015. The 37-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, finishes his NHL career with 53 goals, 81 assists and 968 penalty minutes.


Oklahoma State’s Cunningham staying despite postseason ban

UNDATED (AP) — Cade Cunningham, one of the nation’s top basketball recruits, has chosen to remain at Oklahoma State despite the program being banned from the 2021 postseason. Cunningham won the Naismith High School Trophy given to the nation’s best player. The 6-foot-7 point guard was a key piece of Oklahoma State’s highly ranked recruiting class. Many wondered what the one-and-done prospect would do. Cunningham announced in a video he posted to social media that he would stay.

Earlier this month, an NCAA infractions committee panel handed down numerous penalties related to findings that former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepted up to $22,000 in bribes intended to help steer athletes to certain financial advisers. Oklahoma State is appealing.


Convictions of FIFA officials upheld by US appeals court

NEW YORK (AP) — The convictions of former soccer officials Juan Ángel Napout and José Maria Marin have been upheld in a 3-0 decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Napout was convicted in December 2017 of one count of racketeering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. Marin was convicted of three counts of wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of money laundering conspiracy and one count of racketeering conspiracy. He was sentenced to four years. Marin was released April 2 after he was granted compassionate release. He turned 88 last month.


F1 announces new initiative to tackle racism and inequality

PARIS (AP) — Formula One has announced an initiative aimed at tackling racism and encouraging more diversity within the series.

F1 says “We Race As One” will also address issues surrounding inequality, sustainability and the coronavirus pandemic.

F1 intends to send a strong message about equality when the season begins on July 3 at the Austrian Grand Prix as the first of eight scheduled European races through September.


Japan out of 2023 Women’s WCup; Australia-NZ bid favored

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has pulled out of bidding to host soccer’s 2023 Women’s World Cup.

That leaves the top-rated joint bid by Australia and New Zealand a clear favorite in the FIFA vote on Thursday. That bid received the highest evaluation from FIFA with Japan rated second and Colombia third.

Japan and Australia are both members of the governing body of Asian soccer.

Asian soccer president Sheikh Salman of Bahrain praises Japan’s decision as “another impressive show of Asian football unity.”

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