Update on the latest in sports:
Players holding firm in battle with MLB
NEW YORK (AP) — Major league players and owners continue to fire salvos instead of fastballs.
Players accused teams of “depriving America of baseball games” as part of a money fight created by the coronavirus pandemic. They raised the possibility baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred might push ahead with a shortened season over the union’s objection.
Union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer has sent a letter to Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem threatening that an attempt to play without an agreement could lead players to block any attempt to expand the playoffs and deny consent to neutral-site games in the postseason.
Major League Baseball made its initial economic proposal on May 26, offering an 82-game regular season schedule and a sliding scale of cuts beyond the prorated shares of salaries the sides agreed to on March 26.
Players responded on Sunday with a 114-game regular season schedule running through October and no additional cuts. Each player would get about 70% of his original salary under the union’s plan and roughly 22-47% under MLB’s proposal, including $200 million tied to the postseason being completed.
Management quickly rejected the union plan and said it would not offer a counterproposal given the insistence of the players’ desire for a longer season that would spill into November. Among MLB’s objections concerns November baseball that could be canceled by a second wave of COVID-19.
NFL JAGUARS PROTEST MARCH
‘Today we say no more’: Jaguars march to sheriff’s office
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are taking a stand against inequality and police brutality.
The players, their families, coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell marched from their stadium to the steps of the local sheriff’s department.
The Jaguars started their march at 9:04 a.m. local time Friday to signify the local 904 area code.
The protest comes two days after owner Shad Khan spoke against racism in a letter on the team website.
Wide receiver Chris Conley wore a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt. He said: “Today we say no more. Today we see a nation that can’t await change, a city that won’t sit still or be quiet.”
AMERICA PROTESTS-NFL PLAYERS VIDEO
NEW YORK (AP) — Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’) is among more than a dozen NFL stars who united to send a passionate video message to the league about racial inequality.
The 70-second video was released on social media platforms Thursday night and includes Saquon Barkley, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins, among others.
The video closes with the players demanding the NFL state that it condemns “racism and the systemic oppression of black people,” and that the league “admit wrong in silencing” players from peacefully protesting. The players also want the league to state: “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
AMERICA PROTESTS-COLLEGE FOOTBALL-SOUTH CAROLINA
Gamecocks march for Floyd
UNDATED (AP) — South Carolina coach Will Muschamp and football players joined others in a protest march from the Governor’s Mansion on Friday.
The march of several hundred people went the nearly 2 miles from the governor’s residence to the State House. South Carolina quarterback Jay Ulrich carried a sign, “Matter is the minimum. Black lives are worthy. Black lives are beloved. Black lives are needed.” It is the seventh straight day of rallies in South Carolina following the death of George Floyd.
NFL-PATRIOTS SOCIAL JUSTICE PLEDGE
Patriots pledge $1 million to social justice causes
BOSTON (AP) — The Patriots say team owner Robert Kraft’s family is pledging $1 million to local grassroots organizations to promote social justice causes.
A statement and video released on the team’s website Friday says the money will be distributed over the next 10 months in $100,000 monthly donations. The recipients will be chosen in collaboration with Patriots players.
The groups selected will be those “fighting for equity, working to end systemic racism and creating meaningful change in our community.”
The video says “change always begins with listening.” The recipients will be invited to speak with the team’s executive staff and senior management across the Kraft Group’s businesses
More than half of NFL coaching staffs not at team facilities
UNDATED (AP) — More than half of the 32 NFL teams did not have their coaching staffs back at their facilities Friday even though the league has approved such returns where local governments allow them.
NFL teams have been performing all their offseason duties virtually since their facilities were closed by Commissioner Roger Goodell in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The league is taking a slow approach to reopening those team buildings, with the latest step allowing coaching staffs to return. Only players currently rehabilitating injuries are allowed at the complexes.
Former Olympic minister says March is deadline for Tokyo
TOKYO (AP) — Next spring has been set as a possible deadline by a local lawmaker for deciding if the postponed Tokyo Olympics can go ahead.
That’s the judgment of former Japanese Olympic minister Toshikai Endo. Japanese television NHK quoted him at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
The Tokyo Olympics are to open on July 23, 2021. They were postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Endo is the latest powerful politician to speak out this week about the games, bracing the Japanese public for possible changes and costs.
Tokyo Governor Yurkio Koike said Thursday the games were likely to be downsized and undergo many changes.
Memorial could be first PGA event with fans on hand
UNDATED (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has approved a plan for Muirfield Village Golf Club to have at least some fans for the Memorial in July. That would make it the first PGA Tour event with a crowd since the tour was shut down March 13 by the coronavirus. DeWine says plans submitted for the tournament were approved by local officials. He said on Twitter that casinos, racinos, amusement parks and water parks will be able to open on June 19.
In other sports developments related to the coronavirus outbreak:
— Liverpool could win the Premier League title at home after all. Police originally indicated they wanted the Reds’ second game after the restart against Crystal Palace to be staged at a neutral venue because of concerns that supporters could congregate outside Anfield. But the league now says the game on June 24 is scheduled to be at Liverpool’s home stadium. Liverpool leads Manchester City by 25 points and is two wins from ending its 30-year title drought.
— The University of Maryland will begin allowing its football players to begin voluntary, individual workouts under the supervision of the sports medial staff on June 15. Football players will be permitted to return to campus on June 8 for medical screenings. The athletes will be tested for symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis.
— Italian top-flight soccer clubs are asking for no title winner or relegations if the season is stopped again. One of the ideas the Italian federation is planning in case of another stop is the use of an algorithm to decide the final classification. Italian media reported 16 of the 20 Serie A teams voted in favor of not relegating anyone and not assigning the league title unless it is mathematically certain. A final decision is expected to be made during the next FIGC council meeting on Monday.
— The Italian soccer federation says teams will be allowed up to five substitutions in matches, although there will still be only three pauses to bring players off the bench. Italian competitions will adopt the temporary rules change when they resume next week. If matches go into extra time and teams haven’t used all five of their substitutes, they can make a fourth interruption at the end of regular time or between the two halves of extra time. The Italian Cup will be completed next week before Serie A is set to resume on June 20.
— Chelsea has been declared Women’s Super League champion after the season was stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic. The English Football Association’s board decided to determine the final standings on a points-per-game basis. Manchester City was a point ahead of Chelsea but had played an extra game when the season was suspended in March.
— The Asian qualifying tournament for the World Cup is set to resume in October after the coronavirus pandemic forced games in March and June to be postponed. The Asian Football Confederation says it agreed with FIFA (FEE’-fah) to schedule two dates in October and two in November to complete the current groups. Twelve teams will advance to a further group stage next year.
Ross to miss 2020 season following back surgery
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross had surgery on Friday for a congenital fusion in his spine that will keep him off the field this upcoming season.
Ross was being monitored for a shoulder injury suffered in March, but head coach Dabo Swinnery X-rays revealed that two vertebrae in his spine were fused and he had a bulging disc.
Ross had a team-high 66 receptions last season for 865 yards and eight touchdowns.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-OKLAHOMA STATE
NCAA hits Oklahoma St with postseason ban in corruption case
UNDATED (AP) — The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team has been hit by numerous penalties by the NCAA infractions committee, making it the first school to be punished following the federal corruption investigation into the sport.
Penalties include a one-year postseason ban for the team for next season. The ruling includes three years of probation, a $10,000 fine and a reduction in basketball scholarships for the program.
The punishment comes the day former Oklahoma State assistant men’s basketball coach Lamont Evans was found by the infractions committee to have violated ethical-conduct rules by accepting up to $22,000 in bribes from financial advisers.
Schools like Kansas, North Carolina State, Louisville, South Carolina and Southern California were investigated for corruption.
Oklahoma State issued plans to appeal, saying it was “stunned by the severity of the penalties and strongly disagrees with them.”
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-TEXAS STATE-RACISM ALLEGATIONS
Texas State to look into allegations of racism
SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) — Texas State has ordered an investigation into a former basketball player’s allegations of racist remarks by coach Danny Kaspar.
Athletic director Larry Teis calls the allegations deeply troubling and said the investigation would be handled through the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.
Former Bobcats point guard Jaylen Shead posted the allegations on Twitter late Thursday, accusing Kaspar of singling out black players with racist taunts and threatening to have a foreign player deported.
Shead transferred to Washington State before last season.
IndyCar drivers uncertain how aeroscreen will work at Texas
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some IndyCar drivers are nervous heading into Saturday’s season-opening race at Texas. They will be racing on one of the series’ trickiest tracks, in stifling heat and with the new windscreen for the first time.
The protective device was supposed to make its debut on a road course in March. But when the pandemic shut down the sports world, series officials revised the schedule.
Now, the introductory race will take place on a high-speed, high-banked Texas oval, where it has not been tested.
Pete Rademacher, 1956 Olympic boxing champion, dies at 91
CLEVELAND (AP) — Olympic boxing champion Pete Rademacher has died at age 91.
Rademacher won a gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Games and fought Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title in his first professional bout. Rademacher is the only boxer to fight for a championship in his first pro bout.
He knocked Patterson down in the second round before being counted out in the sixth.
Rademacher had dementia for years and his brain will be donated for medical research.