Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams unveiled new uniforms, putting a modern aesthetic on their classic horned helmets and traditional color scheme ahead of their move into SoFi Stadium this year.
Two of the Rams’ three new looks are broadly similar to their primary royal-blue-and-yellow uniform from 1973-99. But there are several surprising touches added to an overall look that’s still wildly popular with California fans who stayed loyal to the franchise during its 21-year sojourn in St. Louis.
The Rams have added distinct creases to the horn on their famous blue helmets, which now have a metallic sheen. The horns circling the shoulders of their royal-blue jerseys also have the crease, echoing the style of the new team logos unveiled earlier in the spring.
The Rams took an even bigger risk with their white uniform, choosing an off-white color dubbed Bone that’s sure to be hotly debated.
The franchise has planned a new look since its return to Los Angeles in 2016. The changes were timed to coincide with the planned opening of owner Stan Kroenke’s multibillion-dollar arena in Inglewood this fall.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Mike Pouncey says he is ready to go whenever NFL teams are allowed to return to their facilities to hold workouts or training camp.
The Los Angeles Chargers center said during a conference call that he has been cleared to return by doctors who did his neck surgery. Pouncey played in just five games last season before undergoing surgery in October.
The bigger challenge for Pouncey and his teammates might be where they will play if there is a season. The Chargers are slated to begin their first season at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood but Los Angeles County’s stay-at-home order could be extended through the end of August.
County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday that restrictions will gradually be relaxed under a five-stage “roadmap to recovery.” The NFL said in a memo to teams last week that team facilities would all open at the same time.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Several NFL teams are eyeing a resort owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice as a potential training facility during the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesman for the retreat said.
The Greenbrier, a lavish resort in southern West Virginia, has previously hosted training camps for New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans. Although several teams have contacted the resort, no franchise has officially signed on to practice there this year, hotel spokesman Cam Huffman said.
Justice, a Republican billionaire thought to be the state’s richest man, bought the resort out of bankruptcy in 2009. The Greenbrier has been closed since March 19 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Built for the Saints, The Greenbrier’s practice facility includes two natural grass practice fields, a synthetic field, and a 55,000-square-foot building with kitchen and dining facilities, meeting rooms, weight and locker rooms, training and physical therapy accommodations. At an elevation of 2,000 feet, the location offers a cooler climate than some NFL teams’ training camps in the summer.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR resumes its schedule at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina on Sunday. Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, now in his fifth season as part of Fox Sports’ broadcast team, will not be at the track.
He and Mike Joy will call the race from a studio in Charlotte and Regan Smith will be the only at-track reporter for the broadcast team, working the pits. Larry McReynolds, an analyst, will also work from the Charlotte studio.
NASCAR is limiting the number of people at the track to only those essential to compete and broadcast the race, so Fox will have a dramatically reduced roster and use a high-speed custom-built drone that can offer more perspectives than usual since fans won’t be in the stands. The Fox team is still finalizing its approach, but expects to use instant messaging with crews to glean the critical information Gordon and Joy need to properly call a race.
Gordon and Joy spent the last two months calling iRacing events from a studio, so they have some experience with broadcasting remotely. Still, they will be winging some things as they adapt to watching the race on monitors instead of describing what’s unfolding right in front of them at the track.
MIAMI (AP) — The NBA is now one-third of the way back, at least in terms of voluntary workouts.
With Miami re-opening its doors, 10 of the league’s 30 teams have gone forward with on-court individual workouts — the first permitted sessions since the league ordered teams to close their training facilities as part of the coronavirus pandemic response about two months ago.
Besides the Heat, the other teams that have opened so far are Portland, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Denver, Atlanta, Indiana, Sacramento, Toronto and Utah. More are expected in the coming days; among them, Orlando is close, and the Los Angeles Lakers are targeting Saturday.
And while there still is no decision about whether the season can resume — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, has told the league’s players he expects to make that call by mid-June at the latest — getting back to some semblance of work is generally being considered a positive step.
NEW YORK (AP) — Wilson will begin manufacturing game balls for the NBA again starting with the 2021-22 season.
Next season will be Spalding’s 37th and final season in that role for the NBA. Wilson, the NBA’s original manufacturer, will also provide game balls for the WNBA, the G League and, when it begins, the Basketball Africa League.
The WNBA will switch to the Wilson ball in 2022.
Leather used for the basketballs will continue to come from the same provider, and the new balls will keep the same eight-panel configuration and performance specifications as the ones currently used. NBA players will also have a role in approving, developing and refining the new ball, the league said.
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Santa Anita will resume live racing Friday after receiving approval from Los Angeles County health officials.
The Arcadia track stopped live racing on March 27 by order of the county health department because of concern over the spread of the coronavirus. From March 12-27, the track raced without spectators.
Racing will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday with only essential personnel on hand. Nine races are scheduled Friday.
Face masks and daily temperature checks are mandatory, as is social distancing. The track has created a so-called restricted zone, which will house jockeys, valets and other personnel, who must test negative for COVID-19 to have access. Saddling and prerace protocols will be handled differently to increase physical distancing.
Santa Anita’s stable area has about 1,700 horses and 750 workers who live and work onsite. Morning training has continued during the pandemic.