Thursday Sports in Brief
The Kansas City Chiefs will open defense of their Super Bowl championship by hosting Houston on Sept. 10 in the NFL’s annual kickoff game — pending developments in the coronavirus pandemic, of course.
The Texans won a regular-season game at Arrowhead Stadium in 2019, then blew a 24-0 lead in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Another highlight of the opening weekend will have Tom Brady’s regular-season debut with Tampa Bay against Drew Brees at New Orleans on Sept. 13 — the first matchup of 40-plus quarterbacks in NFL history.
All of the 32 teams released their schedules Thursday.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s social media accounts were hacked on Thursday afternoon and several bizarre and offensive tweets were posted, according to the Milwaukee Bucks, Antetokounmpo’s brother and the player’s representatives.
More than a dozen tweets popped up in Antetokounmpo’s feed in the span of about five minutes, and they appeared to clearly be the work of someone other than the reigning MVP. The tweets included racial slurs, profane attacks on other players and a claim that Antetokounmpo had the coronavirus.
The tweets weren’t up for long before disappearing from Giannis Antetokounmpo’s account.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The NCAA struck back at the University of Kansas and its men’s basketball program Thursday, calling five Level I violations that are alleged to have occurred “egregious” and arguing that they undermine and threaten” college athletics.
In the latest in a series of back-and-forth filings, the NCAA reiterated in a 92-page response its claim that Adidas representatives were acting as boosters when two of them — T.J. Gassnolo and Jim Gatto — helped to arrange payments to prospective recruits. Those transactions became a central point in a wide-ranging FBI probe into college basketball that has ensnared Kansas, Louisville and several other high-profile programs.
Officials from Kansas have said they agree with the NCAA that Gassnola made payments to family members and handlers of two players, Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa. But coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend said they were unaware of the transactions, backing up a statement Gassnola made during sworn testimony.
HOBE SOUND, Fla. (AP) — The next match involving Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson involves a $10 million donation for COVID-19 relief efforts, along with plenty of bragging rights in a star-powered foursome May 24 at Medalist Golf Club.
Turner Sports announced more details Thursday for “The Match: Champions for Charity,” a televised match between Woods and Peyton Manning against Mickelson and Tom Brady.
Medalist is where Woods plays when he’s at home. Manning and Brady said they have played there before — Manning running out of golf balls before reaching the 18th, Brady posting a 106.
The format will be better ball for the front nine and modified alternate shot on the back nine, meaning both players hit tee shots and they take turns from there.
It will be simulcast on May 24 at 3 p.m. EDT on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, along with pre-match coverage available on the Bleacher Report app.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — IndyCar has gotten the green flag to finally start its season in Texas next month with a night race without spectators.
The June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway was the next on the series schedule that hadn’t been postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. IndyCar and track officials announced the race Thursday.
IndyCar President Jay Frye said IndyCar worked closely with TMS President Eddie Gossage, his track and public health officials.
Texas has hosted IndyCar races since the 1 1/2-mile track opened in 1997. The June season opener will run a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — More than 30 workers at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have accepted voluntary severance packages as part of the federation’s attempt to trim up to 20% of its expenses in response to shortfalls caused by COVID-19.
Furloughs and involuntary layoffs are expected to begin as soon as next week.
CEO Sarah Hirshland told the staff of plans to make all the cuts by the end of May. In an offer presented to them last week, employees were offered severance packages that gave two weeks’ pay for every year of service, along with a cash payment to cover health insurance over the span of the severance period.
TRACK AND FIELD
Distance runner Dathan Ritzenhein announced his retirement Thursday, closing a career during which he made three Olympic appearances and also was one of the first to question the methods being used by his coach, Alberto Salazar, who is serving a four-year doping suspension.
In a farewell post on his social media accounts, the 37-year-old Ritzenhein wrote: “I won’t be on the start line, but I’ll never be far away. I won’t be in a rocking chair or out on the golf course. You’ll probably find me behind a stopwatch or cheering on the side of the road.”
Ritzenhein leaves the sport as the fourth-fastest American marathoner in history; he clocked a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 47 seconds in Chicago in 2012. He qualified for the 2004 and ’12 Olympics in the 10,000 meters, and also earned a spot in the 2008 Olympics marathon.
BALTIMORE (AP) — The lawyer for the wife of Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas said she is being subjected to an “unfounded ongoing investigation” by Texas police after she allegedly pointed a loaded gun at her husband’s head upon finding him in bed with another woman last month.
According to a police affidavit, Nina Thomas tracked down her husband at a short-term rental home in Austin in the early morning hours of April 13 and found him and his brother, Seth, in bed with two women.
The affidavit says Nina Thomas admitted to pointing the pistol at Earl Thomas’ head “with the intent to scare him.” She had taken the magazine out of the gun and disengaged the safety, but police noted “she was unaware the gun had a round in the chamber.”
Nina Thomas struck Earl Thomas repeatedly with her free hand before her husband eventually wrestled the 9 mm Beretta from her grasp, the affidavit said. At that point, he told the woman with whom he was romantically linked to call the police.
Nina Thomas was arrested on a felony charge of burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident was first reported by TMZ.
CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
OTTAWA (AP) — Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the most likely scenario is to cancel the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambrosie made the admission for the first time while testifying Thursday to a House of Commons standing committee on finance.
Ambrosie appeared via video during a panel on arts, culture, sports and charitable organizations after news broke last week that the CFL had requested up to $150 million Canadian in assistance from the federal government.
During his testimony, Ambrosie said the league’s future is “very much in jeopardy.”
Mike Storen, a former ABA commissioner and multisport marketing whiz and the father of ESPN broadcaster Hannah Storm, died Thursday. He was 84.
Storm said her father died at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta of complications from cancer.
Storen was general manager of the Indiana Pacers and Kentucky Colonels and president of the Atlanta Hawks. He owned the ABA’s Memphis Sounds with musician Isaac Hayes, worked for the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA and the Houston Astros, and was commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association.
With the Memphis Grizzlies of the World Football League, he brought in the likes of Paul Warfield and Larry Csonka on the field and Elvis Presley into the seats.
Storen promoted the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston and major indoor tennis tournaments featuring Bjorn Borg in Memphis. His last sports job was with the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League is 2002.