Tuesday Sports in Brief
Here’s some of what awaits NBA players going to Disney next month: game rooms, golf course access, cabanas with misters to combat the heat, fishing areas, bowling, backstage tours and salon services.
It only sounds like vacation.
The NBA described very specific plans to players and teams for the restart on Tuesday, doing so in a memo and handbook both obtained by The Associated Press. With safety being of the foremost importance during the coronavirus pandemic, players were told they will be tested regularly — but not with the deep nasal swabs — and must adhere to strict physical distancing and mask-wearing policies.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association have been working on the terms of how the restart will work for weeks, all while constantly seeking advice from medical experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, perhaps the best-known physician in the country when it comes to the battle against COVID-19.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead Tuesday for the U.S. Open tennis tournament to be held in his state starting in late August — but without spectators — as part of the reopening from shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now that the U.S. Tennis Association’s proposal to hold its marquee event has been accepted — including a “bubble” setup with designated hotels, limited player entourages and a facility closed to the hundreds of thousands of people who usually attend the U.S. Open — the key question becomes: Who actually will end up competing on the blue hard courts in Flushing Meadows from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13?
Some of the sport’s top names, including defending U.S. Open men’s champion Rafael Nadal along with No. 1-ranked players Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty, have expressed reservations about heading somewhere that was a hot spot for the COVID-19 outbreak. An indoor tennis facility at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center temporarily housed hundreds of hospital beds at the height of New York’s coronavirus crisis.
Others expressed an eagerness to return to action: Both the ATP and WTA tours have been suspended since early March because of the virus.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres fired general manager Jason Botterill on Tuesday in a dramatic change-of-course three weeks after co-owner Kim Pegula said his job was secure.
In announcing the decision, the Sabres promoted senior vice president of business administration Kevyn Adams as Botterill’s successor.
The cuts went deeper, with assistant general managers Randy Sexton and Steve Greeley also fired.
Later in the day, the Sabres announced the firing of minor-league coach Chris Taylor and his assistants, Gord Dineen and Toby Petersen.
And a person with direct knowledge of the decisions told The AP that 12 members of the team’s 21-member scouting staff, including assistant director of amateur scouting Jeff Crisp, were also let go. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the moves were not announced.
— By AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow.
SEATTLE (AP) — The arena for Seattle’s expansion NHL team is behind schedule by a couple of months but is still expected to open in plenty of time for the team to begin play in the 2021-22 NHL season.
Team President Tod Leiweke said there have been a few issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the timeline being adjusted. The initial hope was for the building to be completed in June 2021. Lewieke said the expectation now is that the venue will be complete later in the summer.
The Seattle Times first reported the construction delay.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Pro Bowl is headed to Las Vegas.
The NFL announced Tuesday that the 2021 all-star game will be played at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 31 — one week before the Super Bowl in Tampa.
Plans include what the league calls a week-long celebration of football, and will include NFL FLAG Championship games and a Pro Bowl skills showdown in which players compete in a variety of events. There will be community and charity initiatives as well.
All Dale Earnhardt Jr. needed was a chance to prove he could win in stock cars.
Turns out, he was a natural — on and off the track.
Now the longtime fan favorite and two-time Daytona 500 winner will join his famous, late father in NASCAR’s Hall of Fame after being selected as one of three members of the 2021 class. The other inductees are Red Farmer and the late Mike Stefanik. Ralph Seagraves was chosen as the Landmark Award winner.
Earnhardt Jr. received 76% of the votes in his first appearance on the ballot.
Georgia cornerback Champ Bailey, Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney and Kansas State running back Darren Sproles will appear on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.
The National Football Foundation on Tuesday announced the 78 players and seven coaches from major college football who are up for selection to the Atlanta-based Hall of Fame. There also are 99 players and 33 coaches from outside the highest level of college football eligible for induction.
The College Hall of Fame class of 2021 will be announced early next year.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — One day after Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard lashed out at coach Mike Gundy on social media for wearing a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel, Gundy apologized.
Hubbard, who is black, suggested Monday he may boycott the program after Gundy was photographed wearing a T-shirt promoting the One America News Network, a cable channel and website that has been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement and praised by President Donald Trump.
On Monday evening, Hubbard and Gundy appeared in a video together, with Gundy saying he would make changes.
Gundy, who is white, took it a step further on Tuesday.
BREMEN, Germany (AP) — Bayern Munich secured its eighth successive German Bundesliga title Tuesday with two games to spare after beating Werder Bremen 1-0 with a goal from Robert Lewandowski.
With no fans in the stands on a wet night in Bremen, it was a subdued and strange celebration for Bayern’s players, who put on commemorative T-shirts and paid tribute to their supporters with cheers.
The win put Bayern 10 points clear of second-place Borussia Dortmund, which can earn a maximum nine points from its three remaining games.
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an abrupt about-face Tuesday and agreed to keep funding meals for poor students over the summer holidays after young soccer star Marcus Rashford demanded that his government not forget the needs of hungry children.
The Manchester United and England player had pressed the government not to stop a meal voucher program at the end of the school term in July. The 22-year-old cited his own childhood experience of relying on free school lunches and food banks.
Rashford’s campaign drew support from celebrities, opposition politicians and even some members of Johnson’s governing Conservatives.
Reigning world champion Christian Coleman insists a simple phone call from drug testers while he was out Christmas shopping could’ve prevented the latest misunderstanding about his whereabouts — one he fears could lead to a suspension.
The 24-year-old American sprinter detailed his latest missed drug test Tuesday in a long post on his Twitter account. He said the Dec. 9 test was his third infraction in a 12-month period, which could result in a suspension. He also missed a test on Jan. 16, 2019, and another on April 26, 2019, due to a filing failure.
Coleman is a favorite for Olympic gold in the 100-meter dash heading into the Tokyo Games that have been postponed to next summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said in his post he’s been appealing the latest missed test for six months with the Athletics Integrity Unit, which runs the anti-doping program for World Athletics.
CORNELIUS, N.C. (AP) — Longtime Giants pitcher Mike McCormick, who won the Cy Young Award in 1967, has died. He was 81.
The Giants say McCormick died Saturday at his home in North Carolina after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
McCormick played 16 years in the majors from 1956-71 with the Giants, Orioles, Senators, Yankees and Royals. He had a 134-128 record with a 3.73 ERA and his greatest accomplishments came with the Giants.