Bills’ big off-season catch could opt out over coronavirus concerns — Ottawa Sun

Adding an electrifying receiver such as Stefon Diggs was going to significantly improve the Buffalo Bills’ chances of unseating the New England Patriots atop the NFL’s AFC East Division. But now the Bills can’t be sure when they’re going to get him. Less than three weeks before veterans are expected to report to training camps, […]

Bills’ big off-season catch could opt out over coronavirus concerns — Ottawa Sun

Adding an electrifying receiver such as Stefon Diggs was going to significantly improve the Buffalo Bills’ chances of unseating the New England Patriots atop the NFL’s AFC East Division.

But now the Bills can’t be sure when they’re going to get him.

Less than three weeks before veterans are expected to report to training camps, the NFL and NFLPA are reportedly discussing ‘opt-out’ possibilities for players uncomfortable about returning to the game during the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on his Twitter feed, one of those players is Diggs, who in March was acquired from the Minnesota Vikings by Bills general manager Brandon Beane (along with a seventh-round pick) in a mammoth deal for a first-round pick, a fifth, a sixth and a 2021 fourth-rounder.

“I miss football,” Diggs wrote in a series of posts on Tuesday night. “I love football … with all of me. But there’s so many unanswered questions with this upcoming season, I’d be lying if I said I was comfortable in starting back up.

Appearing on NFL NOW on Wednesday, plugged-in NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero said the league and union anticipate that opt-outs would be available for players “who either have a pre-existing condition, family (members) with pre-existing conditions (or) just general concerns over COVID-19 (that) would not want to play this season.”

He added that GMs have been told a specific date would be set for opt-outs, but it has yet to be determined.

A handful of MLB and NBA players have already decided the money and their job isn’t worth risking their health and, in turn, the well-being of loved ones.

Diggs is not the only NFLer to express his concerns over playing through the pandemic, but at this point he may be the most prolific.

It’s certainly not an ideal situation, but right now sports-starved fans will take a watered-down product rather than no product at all. Even, quite likely, the desperate-for-success Bills Mafia.

SECOND AND LONG

By the time you read this, veteran Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson might already be suspended. Enough influential media members are calling for it after social-media posts by Jackson, including one anti-Semitic message that he attributed to Adolf Hitler, were called “offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling,” by the Eagles themselves. Jackson later issued two separate statements of apology with “a promise to do better.” Don’t bet on them saving him … Instead of waiting for a final determination from medical experts, the government and the league, teams have started to make their own plans for hosting games this season. The Baltimore Ravens announced on Wednesday that, based on the current social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols, their capacity at M&T Bank Stadium will be fewer than 14,000 seats per game — if fans are allowed to attend at all. The stadium’s capacity is 71,008 … The defending- champion Kansas City Chiefs also announced they will kick off the 2020 season and open defence of their title against the Houston Texans on Sept. 10 by moving forward with a reduced capacity plan, without revealing the number they have in mind.

DOWN THE SIDELINES

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has just one week to sign a long-term contract, or he’ll play on the franchise tag ($31.4 million US) this season and the sides can’t discuss a long-term deal again until 2021. Complicating matters could be the 10-year extension Patrick Mahomes signed with K.C., earlier this week that will earn him in the neighbourhood of a half billion dollars. Prescott has previously stated his desire to be the highest paid QB in the league. Unless they’re having clandestine meetings, it sounds like the Cowboys and Prescott’s reps haven’t had serious discussions since March … If the Cowboys wind up using the tag on Prescott in 2021, it would cost them around $38 million, a 120% increase on his 2020 salary. If they use it a third year, Prescott’s ticket would jump to more than $54 million … Who says you can’t put a price on sentiment? Not Josh Gordon, the career leader in suspensions for violations of the league’s substance abuse policies. The 29-year old receiver is selling the ring he was presented for his contributions in 11 games with the New England Patriots championship team in 2018. (But not the Super Bowl, because he was suspended.) Gordon, who is currently applying for reinstatement, has placed the ring with Heritage Auctions for its memorabilia auction next month. The precious bauble has an estimated value of $100,000.

SAM’S THE MAN

Players always say their priority is winning, but few mean it. More important to them is grabbing as much money as they can get. And then there’s Sammy Watkins. After earning $52.5 million over six NFL seasons, Watkins accepted a pay cut of $4.75 million from the Chiefs to a $9-million salary (that, with incentives, could push the number to $16 million) in order to have another shot at a championship in K.C.

He could have sought a bigger payday based on his 2019 post-season alone. In three games, he had 14 catches for 288 yards an a touchdown, including a Super Bowl performance that saw him pull in five passes for 98 yards — including a big catch to set up a score in the comeback against San Francisco.

“I’m at the stage of my life now where, at first, I was like: ‘Man, I want to get paid big money again.’ But then I realized: How much money do I need?” Watkins told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “My family is taken care of well. Do I want to go to a team and lose, get 1,000 yards (and) go to a team that’s sorry, whatever the case may be?

“Or do I want to come back with one of the best coaches, the best quarterbacks, the best organizations, the best team, the best wideout group, arguably, and come try to fight for another championship?

“I sat my agent down (when) he was trying to shoot for these big (contract) numbers, and I’m like: ‘Man, let’s just take heed of winning. I know how it felt to win.”

EXTRA POINTS

A report on CNBC.com on Wednesday afternoon said Amazon has notified sellers that they have 48 hours to remove items relating to Washington Redskins merchandise. Fanatics, which administers NFLShop.com, will continue to be a place to purchase Redskins stuff … After a breakout season in 2019 and “unproductive” negotiations on a new deal, the agent for 49ers running back Raheem Mostert said on Twitter that his client is now requesting a trade.

dbrennan@postmedia.com0 

Curlers dismayed as Grand Slam of Curling season postponed until April of 2021, trimmed to two events — Winnipeg Sun

Curlers who make their living on the cash bonspiel circuit expressed sadness, disappointment and deep concern over the postponement of the Grand Slam of Curling season, which was announced Wednesday. Read More

Curlers dismayed as Grand Slam of Curling season postponed until April of 2021, trimmed to two events — Winnipeg Sun

San Antonio Spurs: Patty Mills to Donate Salary to BLM — The Hardwood Nation

San Antonio Spurs G Patty Mills has announced that he will be donating the remaining prorated amount of his NBA Salary to various Black Lives Matters Organizations. That amount is valued at a little over 1 million dollars. In 63 games this season, Mills averaged 11.7 points and 1.8 assists per game for the season. […]

San Antonio Spurs: Patty Mills to Donate Salary to BLM — The Hardwood Nation

How much the NHL could make by restarting its season — Fortune

With the NHL set to return to action on Aug. 1, the league has a chance to recoup some of the revenue lost during the coronavirus shutdown.

How much the NHL could make by restarting its season — Fortune

The National Hockey League is gearing up for a return. On Monday, the league and its players’ union announced an agreement to finish the 2019–20 season with a 24-team postseason tournament starting Aug. 1. The plan hinges on strict health and safety protocols, including daily COVID-19 testing for players and staff, but, as of now, the NHL is set to resume action for the first time since March 12.

The decision isn’t without controversy. The novel coronavirus pandemic is still raging across the U.S., leading the NHL to reportedly center the remaining games in two Canadian hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton. A week before the restart was agreed upon, Sportsnet reporter Eric Engels, quoting players anonymously, said, “One player said a majority of the players do not want to return to play this summer. Estimated 75%.”

Engels quoted another saying: “Calls with the NHL [Players’ Association] have been ‘a joke’” and that they merely revolved around the financial incentives. This speaks to the point that while the spirit of competition and a sense of closure is important to some, there are financial stakes hinging on the season’s completion, as well.

The NHL would stand to lose out on roughly $1 billion if the season was not completed, according to projections from the Associated Press and other outlets. As of now, total revenues for the 2019–20 season sit at $3.9 billion, the Los Angeles Times reported. The season before, the NHL brought in just over $5 billion.

A big part of that revenue comes from a hefty television deal with NBC. The NHL signed a 10-year national deal with NBC in 2011 that nets the league $200 million annually in the U.S. alone. The NHL also has a national TV deal with Canada’s Rogers Communications worth $4.9 billion over 12 years, beginning in 2013. These totals don’t count various deals signed with local broadcasters, as well. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, completing the playoff tournament could net the NHL roughly $500 million altogether in TV revenue.

There are stakes beyond this season when it comes to TV revenue. The NBC deal is set to expire in 2021, and the NHL will be looking for the best possible leverage when it comes to negotiating a new contract.

For now, it looks like the NHL will get some of that leverage back with plans to finish the season in place. Players are set to return to training camp on July 13, and there will be a chance to see how fans respond to watching empty-arena games for the remainder of the season.

The NHL is not the only league looking to finish what was started: NBA players have reported to Disney World in Orlando to compete in a similar style tournament, and MLB recently announced a schedule for a shortened season. Meanwhile, major soccer league competition in Europe has been underway for several weeks now, albeit in empty stadiums, to finish the teams’ respective seasons.

Giants’ Hunter Pence echoes concerns of baseball’s stars: ‘I don’t think there’s any certainty here’ — Times-Standard

SAN FRANCISCO — When Hunter Pence is at his best, his energy feeds crowds, his words inspire teammates and his at-bats become lively examples of what makes baseball so fun and compelling. For much of his career, Pence has been a clubhouse’s resident optimist, but even one of the sport’s most positive presences chose sobering…

Giants’ Hunter Pence echoes concerns of baseball’s stars: ‘I don’t think there’s any certainty here’ — Times-Standard

Chicago Blackhawks to keep nickname, logo in continuing tribute to namesake — The Latest News

[ad_1] Chicago’s NHL team says it will not change its nickame or logo because both pay tribute to the person for whom the club is named. The Blackhawks said in a statement Tuesday (per the Chicago Sun-Times) that the team name honors Black Hawk, a member of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, “whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native […]

Chicago Blackhawks to keep nickname, logo in continuing tribute to namesake — The Latest News

Chicago’s NHL workforce says it won’t change its nickame or emblem as a result of each pay tribute to the particular person for whom the membership is named.

The Blackhawks mentioned in a press release Tuesday (per the Chicago Solar-Instances) that the workforce identify honors Black Hawk, a member of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, “whose management and life has impressed generations of Native Individuals, veterans and the general public.”

“‘We have fun Black Hawk’s legacy by providing ongoing reverent examples of Native American tradition, traditions and contributions, offering a platform for real dialogue with native and nationwide Native American teams,” the workforce added.

Black Hawk died in 1838, nearly 90 years earlier than Chicago entered the NHL in 1926. The workforce’s authentic proprietor, Frederic McLaughlin, named the squad after his U.S. Military unit in World Struggle I, the 86th Infantry Division, aka the Blackhawk Division. The division itself was named for Black Hawk.

N’s NAME CHANGE OPTIONS FOR . . . Redskins | Indians

The Blackhawks’ announcement got here amid latest requires different skilled sports activities franchises, notably the NFL’s Redskins and MLB’s Indians and Braves, to alter their nicknames. The Redskins are exploring a reputation change after public stress from sponsors and one of many workforce’s house owners. The Indians likewise are choices. The Braves usually are not contemplating a brand new identify (per The Athletic), however they might think about not initiating the Tomahawk Chop chant.

There was a lot much less clamor for the NFL’s Chiefs and NBA’s Warriors to alter their names.

“We acknowledge there’s a superb line between respect and disrespect, and we commend different groups for his or her willingness to have interaction in that dialog,” the Blackhawks mentioned of their assertion.

The U.S. has granted more than 1,000 travel ban exemptions to pro athletes — NBC National

The exemptions come as the U.S. clamps down on other travel to the country. The administration this week announced new rules for international students that may force many of them to leave the country.

The U.S. has granted more than 1,000 travel ban exemptions to pro athletes — NBC National

Ryder Cup Rumors: Golf Competition Will Be Postponed Due To COVID-19 — NESN.com

The COVID-19 pandemic reportedly has forced another major sporting event to change course. One of golf’s biggest international competitions, the Ryder Cup, will be postponed, according to ESPN. The Worldwide Leader reported the PGA of America will make it official Wednesday. The event, which currently is scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan,…

Ryder Cup Rumors: Golf Competition Will Be Postponed Due To COVID-19 — NESN.com

‘This is not a two-week thing’: Phillies’ Scott Kingery details perilous COVID-19 battle —

Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY Published 5:48 p.m. ET July 7, 2020 CLOSE What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale discusses how players are responding to MLB’s delay in COVID-19 test results. USA TODAYScott Kingery first felt the symptoms of COVID-19 on June 11. He’s still nowhere near ready to contribute to the Philadelphia Phillies. That’s the…

‘This is not a two-week thing’: Phillies’ Scott Kingery details perilous COVID-19 battle —

 HomePolitics‘This is not a two-week thing’: Phillies’ Scott Kingery details perilous COVID-19 battle

‘This is not a two-week thing’: Phillies’ Scott Kingery details perilous COVID-19 battle

NWNAdmin  July 7, 2020  

Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY
Published 5: 48 p.m. ET July 7, 2020

What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale discusses how players are responding to MLB’s delay in COVID-19 test results.

USA TODAY

Scott Kingery first felt the symptoms of COVID-19 on June 11. 

He’s still nowhere near ready to contribute to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

That’s the message the 26-year-old third baseman imparted after a nearly monthlong battle with the virus – a struggle that included an inaccurate test, a draining bout with severe flu-like symptoms and an enduring concern about his long-term welfare. 

Kingery was among a group of seven Phillies who were delayed in reporting to the team’s “summer camp,” though due to privacy concerns, the team did not confirm nor deny the health status of the group. Tuesday, general manager Matt Klentak announced Kingery and pitcher Tommy Hunter tested positive last month, while outfielder Mikie Mahtook tested positive upon intake testing in Philadelphia.  

Tuesday, Kingery opted to tell his story to NBC Sports Philadelphia, detailing a hellish month that began with a cough at his home in Phoenix.

“I tried to play it off but it didn’t go away,” he told NBC Sports of the symptoms that began on a Thursday. “Saturday around 10 a.m., I got chills so bad I couldn’t move without my whole body shaking. That night, my fever spiked so high that I sweated through my sheets. It left an imprint of my body. My fever broke Sunday morning and I actually felt a little better. But then three or four days later, I lost my sense of taste and smell for a few days. That was really annoying.” 

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“For a week, I was so tired. Low energy. Fatigue. Then I experienced shortness of breath for a week. I felt like I laid on the couch for three weeks without moving. I was tired just going up the stairs.”

Kingery, 26, is one of nearly 40 major league players publicly identified to test positive for the coronavirus before or on their way into camps as Major League Baseball aims to launch a 60-game season beginning July 23.

According to data collected by USA TODAY Sports, 16 teams have at least one player who has been identified as testing positive, while at least two other teams have acknowledged positive tests without the player self-identifying. 

Tuesday, two left-handed pitchers – Jesus Luzardo of the Oakland Athletics and Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox – were reported to test positive, which at the least will probably prevent them from starting the season on the active roster. 

Kingery, like Atlanta Braves All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, provides a cautionary note that the virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans is not like any other injury, even for elite athletes. 

He told NBC Sports someone among a group of ballplayers with whom he worked out in Arizona tested positive and Kingery got tested at an urgent care facility. Five days later, and in the throes of the aforementioned fever, he still didn’t have his result; he eventually called and was told it was negative. 

The Phillies shipped him a test kit and this test turned up positive. He recently tested negative for the virus and must pass one more test before joining his teammates in Philadelphia.

As MLB struggles to meet the health and testing protocols it laid out to stage this season, Kingery understands why the precautions are so detailed – because the consequences are significant.

“I want people to know this is not a two-week thing if you get it,” he told NBC Sports. “You’re not supposed to do any physical activity for 10 to 14 days after a positive test. That could be a month. That’s a huge part of the season so you don’t want to get it. You have to take the precautions and protocols seriously.”

Sixers’ Joel Embiid Is ‘Not A Big Fan’ Of NBA’s Return-To-Play Plan — NESN.com

The NBA’s return-to-play plan is in effect, though some players, like Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, still aren’t entirely in favor of it. The NBA plans to restart the 2019-20 season July 30 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., with 22 of the league’s 30 teams in attendance. A lengthy list of…

Sixers’ Joel Embiid Is ‘Not A Big Fan’ Of NBA’s Return-To-Play Plan — NESN.com