SOCCER-US WOMEN’S TEAM LAWSUIT
Judge strikes down part of USNWT suit
UNDATED (AP) — The US women’s soccer team has suffered a partial loss in court.
A federal court judge in California has dismissed the team’s claim of unequal pay in a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. However, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner has ruled that claims of unequal travel and medical staff can go to trial.
Players claim they have not been paid equally under their collective bargaining agreement to what the men’s national team receives under its labor deal. The women’s team filed suit in March 2019, asking for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Klausner left intact claims the USSF discriminated in its use of charter flights, hotel accommodations, medical support services and training support services.
Players intend to ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Klausner's decision, a move that could delay the trial into 2021 or later.
A trial is scheduled for June 16 in federal court in Los Angeles.
AP sources: MLB, umpires reach pay deal
UNDATED (AP) — Two people have told The Associated Press that replay reviews could vanish in Major League Baseball in 2020 as part of a deal with umpires that contemplates a possible “monastery setup.” Off-the-field movement could be restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The agreement, struck late Thursday night, covers how umpires would be paid for a season shortened or wiped out by the virus outbreak. The two people spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.
Umps are guaranteed 50% of their salaries for May, but would be paid nothing else if no games are played in 2020. Umpires generally make between $150,000 and $450,000.
The AP sources say the new agreement gives MLB the right to not use instant replays of umpires’ decisions during the 2020 season. Most calls have been subject to video review since 2014 and it’s become a big part of games, with about half the challenged calls resulting in a reversal.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The NBA has announced the postponement of its upcoming draft lottery and draft combine amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Both events were scheduled to take place in Chicago this month. The NBA said it will provide more information on each event at a later date as the league continues to monitor the pandemic and consult with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials.
— The Oakland Athletics say former minor leaguer Miguel Marte died this week of complications from COVID-19. Marte was 30. The Dominican-born first baseman, catcher and right fielder played in the Oakland farm system from 2008-12, going as far as Class A.
— Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller says he has tested negative for the coronavirus, two weeks after he said he had tested positive for COVID-19. The Super Bowl 50 MVP is an asthmatic and was under the care of team doctors and quarantined at his Denver area home over the last two weeks.
— Indianapolis Motor Speedway could host the first major sporting venue to have fans back in the stands this summer. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has announced a five-stage plan to reopen the state with the final phase tentatively scheduled to include a return to sporting venues on July 4. That’s the very day an IndyCar-NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader is scheduled to be run on the sprawling track.
— Major League Soccer is allowing players to return to outdoor team training fields for voluntary individual workouts starting next Wednesday. MLS suspended the season because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, closing all team facilities but asking players to remain in market with their teams. The league-wide moratorium on group and team training remains in effect through May 15. MLS says individual workouts must follow certain detailed health and safety protocols.
— Three people at German soccer club Cologne have tested positive for the coronavirus in the latest blow to the league’s hopes of resuming games this month. Cologne didn’t name the people who tested positive and didn’t say whether they were players. Tests have been carried out this week on players, coaches and other staff at various clubs ahead of a planned return to full team training, then to competition.
— Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque (zhorj luh-RAHK') has tested positive for COVID-19. Laraque played 12 NHL seasons, including eight with the Edmonton Oilers and two with the Montreal Canadiens. He also suited up for the Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins.
— The European Masters golf tournament scheduled for late August in Switzerland has been canceled. Organizers say the decision came after the Swiss government extended a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people through August. However, organizers say the course at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club will open to the public on May 11 as part of the easing of social restrictions.
NFL owners to meet via video conferences
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL has switched its mid-May owners meeting to remote video conferencing because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league previously canceled its annual meeting in March in Florida, where owners would have voted on potential rules changes. Those votes were expected to occur at the California meeting in two weeks. Among the rules to be discussed is allowing pass interference to be part of the video review system. That rule was adopted for one year and has gotten poor reviews from coaches and players.
The NFL continues to plan for a preseason and regular season as scheduled.
In other NFL news:
— The Jaguars have declined to pick up the fifth-year option in running back Leonard Fournette’s rookie contract. The decision was not surprising after the team tried to deal Fournette over the last month. The former LSU star is coming off a career year. He topped 1,600 yards from scrimmage in 15 games last season, carrying 265 times for 1,152 yards and catching 76 passes for 522 yards.
— The Bears have signed veteran safety Tashaun Gipson to a one-year contract, three days after he was released by Houston. Gipson has intercepted 23 passes and returned three for touchdowns over eight seasons with Cleveland, Jacksonville and Houston. The 29-year-old Gipson had 55 tackles and three interceptions in his lone season with the Texans, starting 14 games before landing on injured reserve because of a back injury.
— Backup quarterback Nick Mullens has signed his exclusive rights tender with the 49ers. He was tendered a one-year deal in March. Mullens showed promise in place of injured QB Jimmy Garoppolo in 2018 and is eligible to become a restricted free agent next offseason.
— The Packers have signed well-traveled defensive lineman Treyvon Hester, who is joining his fourth team in as many seasons since being taking in the 2017 draft. Green Bay's only draft addition on the defensive line last week was the seventh-round selection of Miami end Jonathan Garvin.
— The Dolphins have traded former first-round draft pick Charles Harris to the Falcons for a seventh-round pick in next year’s draft. Harris was the 22nd player taken in the 2017 draft before recording just 3 ½ sacks for Miami, including a half-sack last year.
— A person familiar with the matter tells The Associated Press the Broncos have declined the fifth-year contract option on left tackle Garett Bolles. A fifth-year option for Bolles would have been worth about $11 million, guaranteed against injury. He has logged 46 holding penalties in 48 NFL games to earn the wrath of Denver fans.
Indians reliever Clase suspended 80 games for PED violation
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Indians reliever Emmanuel Clase (klah-say) has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug.
Clase was acquired from the Texas Rangers this winter in Cleveland's trade of two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. The hard-throwing right-hander was expected to have a major role at the back end of the Indians' bullpen this season.
Clase was 2-3 with a 2.31 ERA in 21 games after making his debut with the Rangers in August.
MLB owners to discuss upcoming draft next week
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball owners are about to hammer out details for the upcoming amateur draft.
A person familiar with the deliberations told The Associated Press owners will discuss a length for the draft next week and are likely to start the selections on the original date of June 10.
Teams and the players’ association agreed March 26 to a deal that allowed MLB to cut the draft from 40 rounds to as few as five this year and 20 next year. The reduction is part of a plan to deal with the coronavirus pandemic that delayed the start of the season and slashed revenue. As part of the agreement, the sides agreed to leave the assigned slot values of draft signing bonuses at the same level in 2020 and 2021 as they were last year.
That left the total of slot values for a 10-round draft this year at $265.5 million, including $29.6 million for rounds six through 10.
Bills unveil Eversley
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls have introduced new general manager Marc Eversley at a news conference Friday.
Eversley agreed to take the job earlier in the week. He succeeds the fired Gar Forman and will work under new top executive Arturas Karnisovas. Eversley spent four years in Philadelphia's front office — the past two as the 76ers' senior vice president of player personnel.
The Canadian-born Eversley becomes the Bulls' first black general manager.
NC State recruit to stay in NBA draft
UNDATED (AP) — North Carolina State signee Josh Hall is staying in the NBA draft, announcing that he has hired an agent.
Hall played at Moravian Prep in North Carolina for his senior season as well as an additional year of prep school. Prep players are eligible for the draft if they’re at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft and at least one NBA season has passed since their graduating class from high school.
Hall is a top-25 recruit for Rivals and a top-35 pick for 247sports.
In other college basketball news:
— Former tournament champion Notre Dame and Oregon headline the 2021 Maui Invitational field. The bracket was announced Friday and includes Butler, Houston, Saint Mary's, Wisconsin, Texas A&M and host Chaminade. North Carolina, Indiana and Texas headline the 2020 Maui Invitational, scheduled for Nov. 23-25.
American sprinter Deajah Stevens suspended in doping case
MONACO (AP) — American sprinter Deajah Stevens has been provisionally suspended for repeatedly being unavailable for doping tests.
The Athletics Integrity Unit said Stevens amassed three whereabouts violations in a year.
The AIU said similar suspensions were imposed on American sprinter Gabrielle Thomas and Kenyan distance runner Alex Korio Oliotiptip. It didn't specify when or where the violations occurred.
Athletes are required to provide regular updates on their whereabouts to make it possible for anti-doping authorities to carry out surprise testing outside of competition.