NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says there might be no major league games this year after a breakdown in talks between teams and the players’ union on how to split up money in a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The league also revealed several players on big league rosters have tested positive for COVID-19.
Two days after union head Tony Clark declared additional negotiations futile, Manfred reversed his position of last week when he said he was “100%” certain the 2020 season would start.
Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem sent a seven-page letter to players’ association chief negotiator Bruce Meyer asking the union whether it will waive the threat of legal action and tell MLB to announce a spring training report date and a regular-season schedule.
These were just the latest escalating volleys in a sport viewing disagreements over starting the season as a preliminary battle ahead of bargaining to replace the labor contract that expires on Dec. 1, 2021.
Roger Goodell would like to see Colin Kaepernick back in the NFL this season.
The NFL commissioner said during ESPN’s “The Return of Sports” special on Monday that he is encouraging teams to sign the 32-year old quarterback, who hasn’t played the past three seasons. Kaepernick was with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
“If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s gonna take a team to make that decision. I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that,” Goodell said during his interview with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers rewarded coach Kyle Shanahan with a new six-year contract Monday after he took the team to the Super Bowl in his third season at the helm.
The Niners are replacing the three years remaining on Shanahan’s original six-year contract signed in 2017 to keep him under contract through 2025. ESPN first reported the extension.
The 49ers won just 10 games in Shanahan’s first two seasons in San Francisco before a breakthrough in 2019. The Niners went 13-3 in the regular season, with the nine-win improvement the biggest in one season in team history.
San Francisco earned the top seed in the NFC playoffs and then went to the franchise’s first Super Bowl in seven years. The Niners blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against Kansas City in that game and lost 31-20.
But the 40-year-old Shanahan has brought needed stability to the Niners who went through three coaches in the three seasons before his arrival.
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to his agent.
Rocky Arceneaux told the NFL Network on Monday that Elliott was feeling OK and recovering. Arceneaux did not immediately return messages seeking comment, but a person with direct knowledge of the diagnosis told The Associated Press that Elliott had the positive test about a week ago and could be described as symptomatic. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to discuss Elliott’s diagnosis publicly.
The Cowboys declined to comment, citing privacy laws.
Only players who have been rehabilitating injuries have been allowed inside team facilities during the pandemic shutdown. That hasn’t included Elliott.
—By AP Football Writer Schuyler Dixon.
The U.S. Tennis Association intends to hold the U.S. Open in New York starting in August without spectators, if it gets governmental support — and a formal announcement could come this week.
The professional tennis tours have been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The French Open was postponed from May to September and Wimbledon canceled altogether for the first time in 75 years. The U.S. Open, if played, would be the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, following the Australian Open in January.
The operational plan to hold the event amid concerns about the coronavirus includes no spectators, limited player entourages, centralized housing, increased cleaning at the tournament grounds in Flushing Meadows and testing for COVID-19.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The silence that greeted the return of the PGA Tour at Colonial will be a familiar sound for the first major of the year.
The PGA of America has submitted plans to hold the PGA Championship at Harding Park without spectators, and the San Francisco Chronicle reports public health officials have approved it.
An announcement was pending approval by San Francisco officials and was expected as early as Tuesday.
It at least sets the PGA Championship for Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park, the public course along a golf landscape near the Pacific Ocean that includes Olympic Club, Lake Merced, San Francisco Golf Club and Cal Club.
The PGA Championship originally was scheduled for May 14-17
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR is set to allow up to 30,000 fans at the track in Bristol next month when it moves the All-Star race out of Charlotte Motor Speedway for just the second time in the history of the race.
If the expected attendance count holds, NASCAR would open to the largest gathering of sports fans in the United States in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic __ all while numbers in some states continue to spike.
NASCAR is set to brush off those concerns and open the gates in Tennessee. Bristol holds about 146,000 fans.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and coach Mike Gundy appear to have ironed out their differences for now.
Hubbard suggested Monday he may boycott the program after Gundy was photographed wearing a T-shirt promoting the One America News Network, a far-right news channel that has been praised by President Donald Trump.
Gundy is seen in a photograph on Twitter wearing the shirt with the letters OAN. In a tweet responding to the photo, Hubbard said: “I will not stand for this. This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”
Gundy’s comments led the school’s president and athletic director to issue statements of concern and support.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa athletic director Gary Barta gave a vote of confidence to longtime football coach Kirk Ferentz on Monday after deciding to cut ties with a strength coach accused of mistreating African American players.
Ferentz has dealt seriously in addressing former and current players’ concerns about the program’s culture, Barta said. He also pointed to Ferentz’s on-field success, player development and the team’s record of community service.
Iowa announced a separation agreement with Chris Doyle, at the center of allegations he and other assistant coaches made racist comments and belittled players. Doyle will be paid more than $1.1 million by the university, which also said a Missouri law firm, Husch Blackwell, will conduct an independent review of the allegations against the football program.
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA on Monday announced plans to play a reduced season, with a 22-game schedule that would begin in late July without fans in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league is still finalizing a partnership with IMG Academy in Florida to play all the games at the facility in Bradenton or other nearby locations. Players and team officials for the league’s 12 teams would be housed at IMG and hold training camps there.
Engelbert, who said she had a site visit at IMG, hopes to have teams in Florida by the first week of July to start training camps. The season had been postponed indefinitely in April because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The WNBA would use its regular playoff format. The playoffs would begin in the middle of September and end in early October.
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — Robert Morris is leaving the Northeast Conference to join the Horizon League.
The school announced Monday that it will become the 12th member of the Horizon League on July 1. Robert Morris, located Pittsburgh’s western suburbs, will join the league in 10 sports, including men’s and women’s basketball as well as soccer and track and field.
“This is the next great step forward for our student-athletes,” school president Dr. Chris Howard said in a statement.
The Colonials have become an NEC power in men’s and women’s basketball in recent years.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant has joined the ownership group of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union.
Durant, a 10-time NBA All-Star, has a 5% ownership stake, with an option for 5% more in the near future, the Union announced Monday.
“I’ve always been a soccer fan and have wanted to get into it in a meaningful way. My team and I felt an instant connection with the Philadelphia Union ownership and staff and their vision for a partnership,” Durant said in a statement.
The Union and Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures, a firm he runs with sports executive Rich Kleiman, will partner to grow the team’s profile and community outreach through the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.
Attorneys filed a lawsuit against the NCAA in federal court Monday that seeks to prevent the association from limiting the amount of money athletes can make off their names, images and likenesses.
The antitrust lawsuit by attorneys representing two current college athletes also seeks damages for potential past earnings athletes have been denied by current NCAA rules. Arizona State swimmer Grant House and Oregon women’s basketball player Sedona Prince are the plaintiffs.
They are suing the NCAA and the Power Five Conferences — the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference — for unspecified damages. The suit seeks class-action status.
The latest legal challenge comes as the NCAA is the process of changing its rules to allow college athletes to earn money from third parties for things such as social media endorsements, sponsorship deals and personal appearances.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Morgan Burke, the longest serving athletic director in Purdue history, died at his home Monday after battling a rare disease for the past year. He was 68.
University officials said in a statement Burke had been diagnosed with amyloidosis, an ailment caused by the build-up of an abnormal protein which prevents the body’s organs from functioning properly.
Burke took over as athletic director in 1993 and held the title until he was named the university’s vice president for special projects in 2016.
Burke’s tenure was characterized by his contention that he cared as much about winning in the classroom as much as he wanted to win on the athletic fields.