MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEATH-SPORTS REAX
Goodell: 'Tragic events' call for 'urgent need for action'
NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says an urgent need for action remains following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests around the country that have followed.
From New York to Los Angeles and several cities in between, thousands protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men.
Floyd was a handcuffed black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. Officer Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests have prompted many sports figures to speak out in recent days.
Price to give to Dodgers minor leaguers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — David Price hasn’t thrown a meaningful pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he’s showing himself to be a generous teammate.
A club spokesman has confirmed that Price will give $1,000 each to 220 Dodgers minor leaguers as a goodwill gesture. Those players will continue to receive $400 a week from the Dodgers at least through June.
Price has yet to play a regular-season game for the Dodgers because the start of the season has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. He was acquired in a February trade with the Boston Red Sox.
The 34-year-old left-hander is on a $217 million, seven-year contract that runs through 2021.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Floyd Little fighting cancer
UNDATED (AP) — Pro Football Hall of Famer Floyd Little has been diagnosed with cancer. That word from a former Syracuse Orange teammate who has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Little’s treatment costs.
Pat Killorin created the Friends of Floyd page last Sunday to help raise money for costs associated with curing what he calls “a treatable but aggressive form of cancer.”
Little was a three-time All-American at Syracuse from 1964-66 and was selected sixth overall in the 1967 combined AFL-NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. He spent his entire nine-year career with the franchise and rushed for 6,323 yards and 43 touchdowns. In 1971 he led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,133 and yards from scrimmage with 1,388. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Little is 77.
In other NFL news:
— Former Chicago Bears star safety Roosevelt Taylor has died at 82. Taylor was an All-Pro in 1963 when the Bears won the title. He played his first nine NFL seasons with Chicago, 1961-69, appearing in every game. Taylor led the league in interceptions in 1963 with nine. He finished his NFL career with 32 interceptions, 23 with the Bears.
Florida’s Nembhard withdraws from NBA draft, transfers
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida point guard Andrew Nembhard is removing his name from the NBA draft, but he’ll be playing elsewhere.
Nembhard has decided to transfer after averaging 11.2 points, 5.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds for the Gators as a sophomore last season. Nembhard entered the NBA draft last month and hired NCAA-certified agent Jaafar Choufani so he could retain his college eligibility. He took a similar approach after his freshman year and eventually returned to Florida after not getting invited to the NBA scouting combine.
Nembhard will have two years of college eligibility remaining.
Premier League gets approval for June 17 restart
UNDATED (AP) — The English Premier League has been given government approval to press ahead with its June 17 restart, although players will have to stay apart during goal celebrations and disputes to maintain social distancing. Further details of the league’s plans for dealing with coronavirus cases have been disclosed with clubs likely to have to play even if they only have 15 fit squad members. The league says there have been no positive results in its latest round of COVID-19 testing.
The Spanish league says full team training sessions will resume Monday, ahead of the first match to be played following the coronavirus stoppage. La Liga said the government gave authorization on Saturday for squads to practice together. Until now, players had been limited to individual training before progressing to small groups.
Bayern Munich beat Fortuna Düsseldorf 5-0 for its fourth straight win since the resumption of the Bundesliga in empty stadiums. The champions moved 10 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund.
Ukraine’s Premier League restarted Saturday, but one game was called off when an unspecified number of soccer players and staff tested positive for the coronavirus. The league is playing its first games since March 15, with Kolos and Desna kicking off the opening match.
Also in European soccer, a former sports minister in France says the government was too hasty in calling off soccer leagues this season. Patrick Kanner thinks the leagues were pressured into canceling, saying in a French radio interview that they weren’t given any choice and could have possibly resumed play in June. France is the only one of Europe’s five major soccer leagues to cancel its season.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— NASCAR holds its fifth Cup Series race in 14 days Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. The field was set by a random draw and Brad Keselowski has the pole. He will start first for the second time in five races. NASCAR is trying to make up eight points races postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
— Gilbert Burns dominated former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley to win a unanimous decision on Saturday night in the mixed martial arts promotion's return to Las Vegas. The event was held without fans at the UFC Apex, a small gym with broadcast facilities on the promotion’s corporate campus. The UFC used minimal personnel to stage the fight, and the promotion said everyone involved was subject to strict health and safety protocols.
— United States Tennis Association officials continue to work on plans to hold the U.S. Open as scheduled. Among the possibilities are charter flights to ferry players and limited entourages from Europe, South America and the Middle East to New York. There could be negative COVID-19 tests before traveling, centralized housing and daily temperature checks. USTA chief executive for professional tennis Stacey Allaster tells The Associated Press that all plans remain fluid, and no decisions have been made. Allaster added that if the USTA board does decide to go forward with the Open, she expects it to be held at its usual site and in its usual spot on the calendar.
— The South African government says it’s maintaining a ban on all contact sports because of the coronavirus. That means the country's professional rugby teams and its world champion Springboks will remain out of action. The sports minister’s announcement Saturday came as South Africa prepares to further ease lockdown on Monday and open up most of its economy as part of a phased relaxation of restrictions. Professional non-contact sports competitions will be allowed in some regions. Rugby teams can resume training if protocols are in place, including mandatory screening.
— The Austrian Health Ministry has approved safety conditions for Austria to host two Formula One Grand Prix races in July. The first 10 races of the season have either been postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but F1 could finally return with back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on July 5 and 12. The double-header would have no spectators and only a limited number of people involved.
— Four-year colleges facing budget shortfalls because of the coronavirus outbreak have eliminated nearly 100 sports programs. Critics say some of those sports might have survived if decision-makers had considered the benefits those sports brought to the schools as a whole. Former University of Idaho president Chuck Staben argues athletes in sports that award partial scholarships often pay more than the value of their scholarships for tuition. He says that's especially important at a time when enrollment declines are accelerating because of the pandemic.
— Major League Baseball wants to ban mascots if the sport resumes this season. But mascot guru Dave Raymond thinks that’s a bad idea, saying “every mascot should be essential because of its ability to connect and distract with fun.” Raymond was the first Phillie Phanatic and has since become a mascot consultant.
— The coach of Italian soccer club Atalanta says he acquired COVID-19 and was concerned for his life in mid-March. Gian Piero Gasperini tells the Gazzetta dello Sport that he started feeling sick on March 9. He says, “I didn’t have a fever but I felt destroyed and as if I had a 40-degree (Celsius, or 104 Fahrenheit) fever.”
Sprinting great Morrow dies
SAN BENITO, Texas (AP) — Three-time Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Bobby Joe Morrow has died at 84 of natural causes, according to his family.
Morrow won his three gold medals in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics while a student at Abilene Christian University, capturing the 100 and 200 meters and anchoring the champion 400 relay team for the United States. He matched the world record of 20.6 seconds in the 200 and helped the relay squad set a world record.
Earlier in 1956 he successfully defended his AAU 100-yard title and swept the sprints for Abilene Christian at the national college championships. He was honored as “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated and won the AAU's James E. Sullivan Award the following year.
Morrow was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1989.