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    Major League Soccer and its players' union reached an agreement that allows play to resume with a summer tournament in Florida following the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The deal was announced by the Major League Soccer Players Association early Wednesday following tense talks that led to some players skipping voluntary workouts and the league threatening a lockout. MLS and the union agreed Feb. 6 to a five-year labor contract, but the deal had not been ratified when the season was stopped on March 12 after only two matches had been played by each team. The deal was announced after the killing of George Floyd set off sometimes violent demonstrations across the U.S. over police brutality and injustice against African Americans. “There are problems we face collectively that are both more urgent, and more important, than competing on the field.,' the union said in a statement. “We hope our return to the field will allow fans a momentary release and a semblance of normalcy.' The revised CBA, a six-year deal through 2025, includes across-the-board pay cuts and reduced bonuses. The union said players had ratified the deal. Details of the Florida tournament were still being finalized.. The league’s 26 teams and limited staff would be based in the Orlando area and matches played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. MLS and the union had been negotiating cuts, and some teams had said they were resuming small voluntary group training sessions outdoors. Players from Atlanta, Miami, Minnesota and Vancouver did not report to voluntary training Monday. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • NHRA drag racing will resume its season in July with back-to-back events at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis with limited spectators allowed. The events will be run on July 11-12 and July 18-19 and admission offers will be extended to NHRA members and 2020 U.S. Nationals ticket holders. “Because we are an outdoor sport, we feel comfortable opening these Indianapolis events to a limited number of fans who are the lifeblood of our sport and following the guidance of the state of Indiana to resume racing,” said NHRA President Glen Cromwell. The revised 2020 schedule will consist of 19 total events — two of which were completed before the season was suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. The season will conclude with the championship finale November 13-15 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The revised schedule announced Wednesday is subject to change due to COVID-19. Sixteen of the events on the revised schedule will be condensed to two-day competition schedules for the Mello Yello drag racing series classes due to economic and logistical factors. It will include one day of two-round qualifications on Saturday and final eliminations on Sunday. The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series classes will begin racing on Friday. Events in Chicago; Norwalk, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Epping, New Hampshire; and Sonoma, California, as well as spring events in Las Vegas and Charlotte, North Carolina originally on the calendar have been canceled. The NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta was moved to August 28-30. The revised schedule: July 11 - 12 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis July 18 -19 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis July 31-Aug. 2 Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle Aug. 7-9 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Denver Aug. 14-16 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minn. Aug. 21-23 Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, Kan. Aug. 28-30 NHRA Southern Nationals, Atlanta Sept. 3-6 Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis Sept. 11-13 Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa. Sept. 18-20 NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Charlotte Sept. 25-27 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla. Oct. 2-4 AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, St. Louis Oct. 9-11 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn. Oct. 16-18 AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Dallas Oct. 23-25 Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals, Houston Oct. 30-Nov. 1 Dodge NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas Nov. 13-15 Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.
  • A person with knowledge of the situation says the NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league’s board of governors on Thursday. All 22 of the teams coming to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play eight games to determine playoff seeding before the postseason begins, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly. The Western Conference would have 13 teams going to Disney, and the Eastern Conference would have nine. In the West, Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix would still have a mathematical chance of earning a spot in a play-in series. In the East, Washington would have to close to within four games of Orlando or Brooklyn to trigger a play-in series on that side of the bracket. There are still some elements of the restart plan that could be changed, and other matters are still being negotiated — such as how much of a percentage of their contracts that players will lose because some regular season games will be canceled. The NBA has suspended its season on March 11 “until further notice” after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus. That move came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Majors, the coach of Pittsburgh’s 1976 national championship team and a former coach and star player at Tennessee, died Wednesday. He was 85. Majors died at his home in Knoxville, according to his wife, Mary Lynn Majors. “He spent his last hours doing something he dearly loved: looking out over his cherished Tennessee River,” she said in a statement first given to Sports Radio WNML. Majors compiled a 185-137-10 record in 29 seasons as a head coach at Iowa State (1968-72), Pitt (1973-76, 1993-96) and Tennessee (1977-92). That followed a standout playing career at Tennessee during which he finished second to Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung in the 1956 Heisman Trophy balloting. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987. Tennessee retired Majors’ No. 45 jersey in 2012. “Dynamic on the field. Fierce on the sidelines. Distinguished Tennessean,” Tennessee's football program tweeted. “We mourn the loss of legendary player and coach Johnny Majors — a man who left an indelible mark on Tennessee Football.” Majors starred for the Volunteers from 1954-56 as a single-wing tailback and punter and twice was named the Southeastern Conference player of the year. He went on to a successful coaching career and had his greatest year in 1976, when he led Pittsburgh to a national championship with a team featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett. “He led us to our greatest glory and changed Pitt forever,” Pitt's football program tweeted. “Thank you, Coach. Rest in peace.” During the 1956 season, Majors rushed for seven touchdowns, threw five TD passes and punted and returned kicks while leading Tennessee to a 10-1 record and Sugar Bowl appearance. Majors finished his Vols playing career with 1,622 yards rushing and 1,135 yards passing. He proved even more successful in the coaching ranks. Majors began his head coaching career in 1968 at Iowa State. Three years later, he led the Cyclones to their first bowl bid in school history. He posted a 24-30-1 record at Iowa State from 1968-72 before Pitt hired him away. The Panthers were coming off a 1-10 season when he took over and had won a total of 23 games in the nine years preceding his arrival. Majors went 33-13-1 in four years there and led Pitt to a 12-0 record in 1976. “It was a team without a real weakness, one of the greatest college teams of the last two decades,” Majors wrote in his 1986 book “You Can Go Home Again.” “I realized even then that I was a very fortunate man. Few people in our profession ever have the experience of working with a team that good.” After that title-winning season, Majors returned to his alma mater to take over Tennessee’s program. In his book, Majors said that “it was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make.” Majors went 116-62-8 at Tennessee from 1977-92 and led the Volunteers to SEC championships in 1985, 1989 and 1990. Tennessee earned a bowl bid in 11 of his last 12 seasons on the job. Majors missed the first three games of the 1992 season while recovering from heart bypass surgery. The Vols, coached by offensive coordinator Phillip Fulmer, got off to a 3-0 start. Majors returned for the fourth game, but he was forced out and replaced by Fulmer after Tennessee finished the regular season with an 8-3 record. Majors returned to Pitt the following year and went 12-32 as the Panthers’ coach from 1993-96. Majors was born in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and grew up there and in nearby Huntland. His father, Shirley Majors, was a longtime football coach at the University of the South in Sewanee. The younger Majors was an assistant coach at Mississippi State and Arkansas before becoming a head coach. His death came two days after that of former Auburn coach Pat Dye, who died Monday at the age of 80. Majors went 4-5-2 against Dye, including a 38-20 upset of then-No. 1 Auburn with Bo Jackson in 1985 when Majors was the SEC coach of the year. ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • Chris Archer won't pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020 and his time with the club may be over. Pittsburgh announced Wednesday that 31-year-old Archer underwent surgery to relieve symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. The procedure was conducted on Tuesday in St. Louis, and the Pirates said Archer will not be available this season if Major League Baseball finds a way to put together a truncated schedule. The Pirates were banking on a bounce back year by Archer, who is 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA in 33 starts since he was acquired from Tampa Bay at the 2018 trade deadline for outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow. Archer has struggled to find any consistency with the Pirates, while Meadows became an All-Star last season and Glasnow also blossomed. Archer's contract includes a $9 million salary this year, but he will receive only a portion due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pittsburgh holds an $11 million club option for 2021, with a $250,000 buyout. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The German soccer federation will not punish players who protest against the killing of George Floyd and racism. Several players in Germany have made statements with gestures or messages on their clothing since Floyd died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck. The federation, known as the DFB, said Wednesday it opposed punishing any players because it believes their anti-racism messages match the federation's own principles. “The DFB has made a strong stand against any form of racism, discrimination or violence and stands for tolerance, openness and diversity, values which are also anchored in the DFB's statutes,” federation president Fritz Keller said in a statement. “Therefore the players' actions have our respect and our understanding.” The statement named four players who protested during last weekend's games — Achraf Hakimi, Jadon Sancho, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram — but made clear the same approach would apply to any future protests. The federation has not revoked a yellow card given to Sancho. The federation said Monday that the Borussia Dortmund forward's booking was for the act of removing his shirt, rather than for the “Justice for George Floyd” message written on his undershirt during Sunday's 5-0 win over Paderborn. Other players protested by kneeling, like Thuram, or by showing messages on an armband, like McKennie, or on boots, like Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams. Only Sancho received a booking. There were also social media statements, such as one from United States national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who is on loan at Fortuna Düsseldorf but isn't playing because of injury. Germany's approach has the backing of FIFA. The governing body of world soccer said Tuesday that such demonstrations “deserve an applause and not a punishment.” Hungary has taken a different approach. Its soccer league gave a written reprimand to a player of African origin, Tokmac Nguen, who displayed a message in solidarity with Floyd after scoring a goal for Ferencvaros on Sunday. UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, is also set to allow messages related to Floyd and anti-racism when the Champions League resumes. Players are normally prohibited from espousing their views during a match. The laws of the game state that “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment is forbidden. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Formula One races won't be canceled if a driver tests positive for the coronavirus or if a team withdraws, CEO Chase Carey says. F1 wants to avoid a repeat of the season opener in Australia in March, which was canceled when the McLaren team withdrew after a staff member tested positive for the virus. The season is now set to start with two races in Austria on July 5 and 12. “A team not being able to race wouldn’t cancel the race. I don’t think I could sit here and lay out the consequences. But we will have a procedure in place that finding infection will not lead to a cancellation,” Carey said on the F1 website Tuesday. “If a driver has an infection, (teams have) reserve drivers available.” F1 teams have a tougher time returning to competition than teams in many other sports because of the dozens of people who usually travel to a race and the regular international journeys involved. Carey said team members will be tested for the coronavirus before they depart for a race and then every two days. Teams will live in a “bubble” system, likely with “sub bubbles” to keep people apart if they do different jobs, he added. “Clearly we recognize our sport is one which at times, we can’t have two metres between every individual on a team,' he said. 'When a car pulls into a pit and has to change four tires, there won’t be two meters between every individual. We need to make sure we have procedures to manage all those risks as soon as possible.” ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: ___ Major League Soccer players have approved a new collective bargaining agreement that will allow for the league to return this summer with a tournament in Florida. The Major League Soccer Players Association has announced the ratification of the CBA. Players had approved economic concessions for this season. The league countered the proposal from the players and set a Wednesday deadline for ratification. The MLSPA says “today’s vote also finalizes a plan to resume the 2020 season and provides players with certainty for the months ahead. It allows our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love.” The new CBA runs through the 2025 season. The sides had agreed to a five-year CBA in February but that had not been ratified when the coronavirus pandemic began. The season was suspended March 12 because of the pandemic. Teams had played just two games. Details of the Florida tournament were still under consideration but the league’s 26 teams and limited staff would be sheltered at hotels with games played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. ___ English soccer team Tottenham says a person at the club has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Premier League club did not identify the person. It was the only positive case after the Premier League tested a further 1,197 players and club staff. The testing is taking place ahead of the planned resumption of the league on June 17. The competition was suspended in March. ___ The Premier League says one person was found to have the coronavirus after the fifth round of testing of players and staff at soccer clubs. The league did not identity the person. Testing is taking place ahead of the planned resumption of the league on June 17. The competition was suspended in March. ___ The PGA Tour has announced a deal with Sanford Health to conduct COVID-19 testing of players, caddies and essential personnel five days before the season resumes. That applies to every stop on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and the developmental Korn Ferry Tour. Sanford Health is based in South Dakota and is title sponsor of a PGA Tour Champions event. The company has three mobile testing units it will deploy across the country. Each one has a driver and three lab technicians. A unit will be at tournaments from Saturday through Thursday before leaving for the next closest event. The tour says results from the PCR tests are expected back in a manner of hours. Senior vice president of tour administration Andy Levinson says it also allows ample testing without taking away resources from the community where the tournaments are played. The tour expects about 400 people to require testing at tournaments upon the restart. No spectators are allowed for the first five events on the PGA Tour. The first event is the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, on the PGA Tour. The smaller Korn Ferry Tour has an event at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida. ___ The Official World Golf Ranking will restart next week when the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour hold official tournaments for the first time in three months. The ranking was frozen on March 15 as golf joined the rest of sports worldwide in shutting down sports because of the coronavirus pandemic. The European Tour does not resume until July 22. That leaves some players unable to earn ranking points. The OWGR board says major organizations such as the USGA and PGA of America have agreed to incorporate the March 15 ranking into whatever qualifying criteria they have involving the ranking. Rory McIlroy remains at No. 1 going to Colonial next week in Fort Worth, Texas. ___ A part-time student worker in the Iowa State athletic department has tested positive for COVID-19 and four athletes are experiencing symptoms. ISU says the student worker notified the athletic department of the positive test last weekend. The four athletes from two sports began experiencing symptoms after being in close contact with individuals outside the athletic department who have been infected. Those athletes are in quarantine and awaiting test results. Athletic director Jamie Pollard says “the potential for infections and positive test results has always been very real for an organization like ours and we’ve been thorough and diligent in planning for such incidents.” The Big 12 is allowing Iowa State and other conference schools to have football players return June 15 for voluntary workouts. ___ A Ukrainian soccer team has found 25 cases of the coronavirus among players and staff. The Ukrainian soccer association says the cases at Karpaty Lviv came from tests on 65 people. None of the players or staff members have been named. The Ukrainian league restarted last week without Karpaty. The team’s first game was canceled because of suspected virus cases and the league has now postponed two more matches. The league’s planned end date in mid-July is now in doubt. Karpaty says everyone who tested positive is in isolation and that training has been canceled for a two-week quarantine period. Karpaty player Egor Nazarina told Ukrainian TV channel Futbol that he didn’t believe anyone at the club had displayed symptoms of COVID-19. ___ The top health official in the Valencia region says Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini was irresponsible for traveling to Spain for a Champions League match with symptoms of the coronavirus. Ana Barceló says Gasperini “lacked responsibility” and “shouldn’t have made the trip” from a high-risk area knowing that he had COVID-19 symptoms. The 62-year-old Gasperini told Italian media he started feeling sick on March 9. That was a day before Atalanta played at Valencia in the second leg of the round of 16. Experts say the first leg on Feb. 19 in Milan was one of the biggest reasons why the virus was so deadly in Atalanta’s home city of Bergamo. The match has been dubbed “Game Zero” by Italian media. Barceló says the revelation by Gasperini shows that authorities were right by ordering the second leg to be played without fans. ___ The West Indies says three cricket players have turned down the chance to travel to England for the postponed three-test series that will be played in bio-secure environments amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cricket West Indies says Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul “all declined the invitation” to join the squad and “will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection.” West Indies players must travel a month before the first test in Southampton starting July 8 in order to quarantine and begin training. The other tests will be played in Manchester starting July 16 and July 24. ___ The chief executive of the European Tour says the fate of this year’s Ryder Cup will be decided by the end of the month. Keith Pelley says in an extensive interview with the McKellar Journal podcast that the European Tour and the PGA will have “conversations” about the Ryder Cup now that the revamped schedules of both tours have been announced. Pelley says there will be “a direction at the end of the month.” The Ryder Cup is still on schedule for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin despite massive disruption to the sports schedule because of the coronavirus outbreak. It could be held without fans but golfers like Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are among those saying they are against that idea. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Two people familiar with the situation say the WNBA plans to hold games at just one location if there is a season this year and that the MGM Resorts in Las Vegas and the IMG Academy in Florida are the top candidates. There is still not date when the 2020 season will tip off. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the possible locations haven’t been publicly announced. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told the AP last month that the league was considering a handful of scenarios that included playing at one or two sites. Details of the logistics of how the league and its 12 teams would operate at either location remain unclear. Engelbert told the AP once again on Tuesday that the league has talked about a number of options, but declined to confirm whether IMG Academy or MGM topped the list of possible destinations. “We’re looking at the pros and cons of a number of different locations,” Engelbert said. The commissioner reiterated once again that health and safety of the players and teams was a top priority. The league postponed the start of its season in April because of the coronavirus pandemic. The WNBA was supposed to begin play on May 15. If the league goes with MGM Resorts it would have a few options of where the games could be held, but one would likely be ruled out: Mandalay Bay. That is the home court of the Las Vegas Aces, who are owned by MGM Resports. The league wouldn't want to give the Aces even more of a competitive advantage. IMG Academy is in Bradenton, Florida — about 100 miles from Disney World near Orlando where the NBA is negotiating to restart its season in July. The commissioner did confirm one of many topics of discussion with the union: Players were paid Monday and will receive another check in a couple of weeks. The players, who earn a base salary between $57,000 and $215,000, are usually paid nine times during an Olympic year, but were paid one 12th of their salary this week. The plan is for players to receive checks over 12 pay periods. The league and union will evaluate where they are at the end of the month as far as starting the season and whether players will continue to get paid next month. Normally players would be paid every two weeks starting on June 1 with their last checks coming at the end of the regular season. ___ Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg
  • Longtime Sacramento Kings TV broadcaster Grant Napear resigned Tuesday after he tweeted “ALL LIVES MATTER” when asked by DeMarcus Cousins for his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement. The 60-year-old Napear also was fired by KTHK Sports 1140 in Sacramento. He had co-hosted a show on the AM radio station with former Kings player Doug Christie. Bonneville International, the station's parent company, said Napear's “recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement do not reflect the views or values of Bonneville International Corporation. The timing of Grant's tweet was particularly insensitive.' There have been demonstrations across the country since George Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and saying that he couldn’t breathe. Cousins was drafted by Sacramento and played for the Kings for six-plus seasons before he was traded to New Orleans in February 2017. Cousins, who has been criticized by Napear in the past, tweeted at the broadcaster on Sunday night: “ what's your take on BLM? ” Napear responded: “Hey!!!! How are you? Thought you forgot about me. Haven’t heard from you in years. ALL LIVES MATTER...EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!” Cousins posted that Napear's response was expected. Former Kings forward Matt Barnes then called Napear a closet racist. In response to criticism from another Twitter user, Napear said he apologized if his comment came across as “dumb.” “I’ve been doing more listening than talking the past few days,” Napear posted. “I believe the past few days will change this country for the better!” ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports