Update on the latest in sports:
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MLB PROPOSAL
Analysis shows a lot of money at stake
NEW YORK (AP) — There’s a lot of money at stake as Major League Baseball and players continue to battle over plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season.
An analysis by The Associated Press has determined the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers would each save more than $100 million as part of management’s proposal when compared to the players’ plan.
Set to earn $36 million each, Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole would get $25.3 million under the union’s plan and $5.6 million under the teams’ proposal.
The Yankees would pay players $155 million under the union’s plan and $48 million under management’s proposal.
MLB has proposed a six-tier sliding scale of cuts starting at 10% and rising to 90% for the amounts of salaries above $10 million, followed by prorating based on an 82-game season. Players proposed prorating for a 114-game regular season schedule stretching through October without any further salary reductions.
Players agreed on March 26 to accept prorated shares of their salaries during a shortened season, part of a deal that guaranteed $170 million in advances and service time even if the season is scrapped.
UNDATED (AP) — Some NFL players say they’re scared about returning to practices and games during the coronavirus outbreak.
But they also say they trust the health protocols the league’s medical staff is developing so that practices can resume, and games can return. Those safeguards will certainly include frequent tests for COVID-19.
The offseason programs have all been conducted remotely since the NFL shuttered team facilities in March in response to the pandemic.
Coaches have been allowed back into the buildings but players who aren’t recovering from injuries likely won’t be allowed back until training camps begin in July.
In other news concerning the coronavirus pandemic:
— Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were among the clubs who stepped up their preparations for the Premier League’s return by holding practice matches on Saturday. Man. U held an intrasquad match and Arsenal rolled past second-tier Charlton, 6-0. Clubs are attempting to build up players’ fitness before the league resumes on June 17 following a 100-day suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
— The pandemic caused a delay to the Spanish League season with 11 games remaining, but it also allowed Barcelona striker Luis Suárez to rejoin his team when the schedule resumes on June 13. Suárez had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Jan. 12 and hasn’t played since. The club said Saturday that he will be available for Barcelona’s first match in almost three months, at Mallorca.
Coaches speak out on Floyd…More negotiations scheduled before season resumes
UNDATED (AP) — A pair of Florida-based NBA head coaches spoke out Saturday about their hopes the league visibility will be an asset again in the hope for actual social change following the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Miami’s Erik Spoelstra (SPOHL’-struh) says he doesn’t think anyone is ready to move on, and we shouldn’t. Said Spoelstra: “If anything, many times before, so tragically, there would be a similar incident of social injustice like this and then two weeks later people forget about it. This will be an opportunity for the entire association to land in one spot … to keep this conversation going and use our platform to make sure that this doesn’t go away.”
Orlando coach Steve Clifford also seems convinced that the league’s players and coaches will take some sort of action when the season resumes. Clifford said he thinks everybody’s priority and hope right now is that they can all be part of the change that’s so necessary in the count. He added that, “We’ll have a collective platform where everyone can collectively send a message condemning racism, racial injustice, calling for police accountability. There will be a platform and I think we’re all thinking that way.”
The Players Association voted unanimously Friday to approve a plan in which 22 teams move into the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida, next month. Those teams are currently sitting in a playoff slot or within six games of a postseason berth.
The season is set to resume July 31, with playoffs starting in mid-August and leading up to an NBA Finals that could stretch until Oct. 12.
The NBA has told teams that playoff seeding will be based on winning percentage, and that any tiebreakers necessary after that will follow the usual procedures.
Elsewhere in the NBA:
— The Chicago Bulls’ new top basketball executive isn’t ready to make any announcements about the coaching staff. Arturas Karnisovas still has not met in person with head coach Jim Boylen. And that’s something he would like to do before going public with any decisions. Boylen’s future is the biggest issue hanging over the Bulls, whose season ended when the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team format to restart the pandemic-interrupted season next month in Orlando. The Bulls have missed the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. Boylen has a 39-84 record in just under two years.
NASCAR looks to steer clear of protests over George Floyd
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — The only African American driver in NASCAR’s Cup series is expressing frustration that so many drivers were reluctant to speak out concerning the outrage over the death of George Floyd.
Bubba Wallace said on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast that “a few drivers — a very few — have given their opinion on the day’s matter” and said he appreciated that. Wallace added that “the silence from the top drivers in our sport is beyond frustrating” … saying, “everybody thinks redneck, Confederate flag, racists”, and that he hates it because he believes that NASCAR can be so much more.
Wallace said he encouraged other drivers to take up the cause in a sport with a checkered racial history. Fans have an affinity for displaying Confederate flags, and driver Kyle Larson was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing two months ago for casually uttering a racial slur during a virtual race.
Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson reached out to Wallace to ask what he could do, saying that’s a big question for him right now.
“When you sit down and listen, you realize there’s a lot of injustices taking place across a broad spectrum. As a representative of our sport and just a citizen, it’s really time to listen.
Broncos march for Floyd
UNDATED (AP) — Broncos coaches and players marched and spoke out against racism and police brutality at a protest in downtown Denver on Saturday.
The players wore black shirts with the fist of power image and “Justice for George Floyd” emblazoned on the front. The words, “If you ain’t with us, you against us” were inscribed on the back.
All wore face masks in accordance with coronavirus mitigation efforts. Most of the players’ masks were black with the phrase “I can’t breathe” in white lettering.
Safety Kareem Jackson was instrumental in organizing the team’s appearance at Civic Center Park on the 10th day of demonstrations sparked by the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man in Minneapolis who died after a white police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Hot start for IndyCar season at Texas that is usual midpoint
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — IndyCar drivers are finally back on the track for what usually would be the midpoint of their season. The open-wheel series is having an all-in-one-day event at Texas Motor Speedway to open its season nearly three months later than expected because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The heat index was around 100 degrees during a two-hour practice session.
Qualifying was set for later in the day before the 200-lap race on the 1 1/2-mile oval that night.
The massive grandstands can hold more than 100,000 fans. But they were empty since no spectators are allowed. Texas was supposed to be the ninth of 17 races on the schedule.