The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
Top NBA executives are having their base salaries reduced by 20% for the foreseeable future, a person with knowledge of the details said.
The reductions affect the roughly 100 highest-earning executives, as the NBA joins the NHL and NASCAR in cutting salaries while competitions are on hold because of the coronavirus.
The cuts are effective immediately and affect NBA employees both inside the league headquarters in New York and in global offices, the person told The Associated Press. The person was granted anonymity because the reductions were not announced publicly.
Health benefits remain unaffected and there are no changes for the rest of the organization, including support and administrative staff.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the first player to test positive. The league is still discussing scenarios for resuming play once allowed.
—AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney reported.
LeBron James has different handshake rituals with all his teammates. It’s common for him to remember them and keep using them for years, even when those teammates become opponents later after they go through trades or free agency.
Those days, he says, are gone now.
The Los Angeles Lakers star appeared on the latest “Road Trippin’” podcast with former teammates Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Lakers broadcaster Allie Clifton and insisted his handshake days are over, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I ain’t high-fivin’ nobody for the rest of my life after this,” James said.
Handshakes, medical officials have said, are one of the ways the virus can be spread from person to person. So even when the NBA returns, James believes that some tenets of social distancing will remain in place on the court.
“No more high-fivin’ after this corona (stuff). Nope,” James said. “Wait until y’all see me and my teammates’ handshakes after this (stuff).”
Five-time NFL MVP and former University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning dropped in on one of his alma mater’s online classes to boost the spirits of students having to finish their coursework virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tennessee communications professor John Haas was conducting an online class when Manning’s face suddenly appeared on the screen.
“I just wanted to drop in and say hello to all the fellow communications students there,” Manning said. “I realize this is a unique time and probably not the ideal way you guys expected to spend your senior year, but I just encourage you to keep a positive attitude, keep working like you’re doing and try to take advantage of a little bit of the extra time that you have to accomplish something else or help out somebody in need – a lot of people (are) hurting out there during this time – be thankful for what you have and just know the University of Tennessee is proud of you and is going to support you every way (it) can and Dr. Haas and his department is going to do the same thing.”
The University of Tennessee tweeted out Manning’s video appearance. The video also showed some students saying, “Thank you, Mr. Manning,” after the retired quarterback finished speaking.
The NFL has released a public service announcement in conjunction with an announcement of a donation of more than $35 million in COVID-19 relief aid.
The PSA is narrated by Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. It features more than 50 current or former players and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who has tested positive for COVID-19.
All 32 franchises are represented in the video. Each player used his phone to film messages, asking viewers to stay home to help limit the spread of the new coronavirus across the country. They provide examples of what they’re doing at home, from gardening to staging impromptu dance contests.
D.J. Augustin became the latest Orlando Magic player to try to help those affected by the coronavirus, donating to an effort to get food to health-care workers on the front line fighting the pandemic.
Augustin donated to Krewe of Red Beans in his hometown of New Orleans. The organization brings food from restaurants in the city to those health care professionals.
Augustin’s family was forced from their home while he was in high school due to Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged New Orleans.
Also Thursday, Magic forward Aaron Gordon — who has already made a donation to help homeless children in Central Florida — announced a separate donation to help kids in his native Bay Area of California. Gordon announced he was donating to a group called My New Red Shoes, which provides well-fitted shoes and clean clothing to children in need.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors held a half-hour talk on Instagram to discuss all things related to the coronavirus with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
More than 50,000 viewers were logged in for much of the talk — among them, former President Barack Obama, a very big basketball fan.
Curry asked Fauci when it might be time to start thinking about sports again. Fauci told Curry “when the country as a whole has turned that corner,” and the curve that shows how the virus is still spreading nationally starts coming down.
That, Fauci said, is when “we can start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality.”
Obama added his thoughts by posting in the comment section during the talk, saying “Listen to the science. Do your part and take care of each other. Thank you, Steph and Dr. Fauci.”
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says it is unlikely that there will be any more spring football practices, and that considerations will be made for what teams will be able to do after the coronavirus pandemic, whether that comes in May, June or even later.
Among the possibilities could be minicamps or maybe non-mandatory captains’ practices.
“This is a new day, and I think it’s going to have to be almost entirely dictated by the circumstances, once those circumstances are known,” Bowlsby said Thursday. “We have a lot of kids that are home right now and they’re not getting regular workouts like they would get in school.”
While way too early to project how things will play out into the scheduled start of football season, Bowlsby said: “It’s hard to imagine looking up into a grandstand and seeing people sitting six feet apart,” or having no fans at all there.
The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals are helping organize a blood drive on March 31 at State Farm Stadium because of a local shortage.
The team — which is partnering with Dignity Health and Cigna — says nearly 200 Arizona blood drives have been canceled since March 19 because of the coronavirus pandemic and that local supply has reached “critically low levels.”
The team says the size of the stadium and the event’s layout will ensure that social distancing guidelines are met. Those who participate must register online in advance.
The Colorado Avalanche say one of their players has recovered after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. The player was at home in isolation since the symptoms first appeared.
The team says anyone who had known close contact with the player has been notified.
In a statement, the organization adds it will “continue to work in conjunction with our medical staff and public health officials to do everything we can to help the Avalanche community remain safe and healthy during this time.”
Arizona Cardinals All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones is donating 150,000 meals to food banks in Arizona and his hometown of Endicott, New York, to help families dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Jones said in a statement that “these are really tough times and it is important for me to do my part and help out both here in Arizona and back at home in New York. There are a lot of people in need and everything we can do as a community makes a difference.”
Jones set a Cardinals franchise record with 19 sacks last season.
The Chicago White Sox and Bulls have teamed up to commit $200,000 to support the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.
The fund launched by the Chicago Community Trust along with the city and United Way supports nonprofit organizations and agencies providing services to the most vulnerable during the pandemic. That includes food and basic supplies and cash transfers as well as help with rent, mortgage and utilities.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he has fully recovered from the coronavirus, two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.
Arteta, who turned 38 on Thursday, told the Arsenal website that he is ”completely fine” and that he only felt ill for a few days.
He said “it was a normal virus for me. I had three or four days which were a little bit difficult, with a bit of a temperature and a dry cough, and some discomfort in my chest.”
Arteta became the first Premier League figure to test positive for the coronavirus on March 12. The league was then suspended the next day.
The Spaniard said his wife and nanny also contracted COVID-19, but his three children did not.
He said ”we are all completely fine now.”
The San Diego Padres planned to play “God Bless America” at empty Petco Park at 1:10 p.m. PT Thursday, which would have been the scheduled time for first pitch of their opening day game against the Colorado Rockies.
With the season delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Padres planned to play the song “as a symbol of solidarity with our resilient country and all of you during this time of crisis,” the team said in a social media posting.
The Padres also said they would partner with Phil’s BBQ, a local chain with a concession stand at Petco Park, to provide lunch for UCSD Healthcare and San Diego Blood Bank employees and volunteers.
Some Padres players have been using Petco Park for workouts since Monday. They are limited to small groups and must follow social distancing guidelines.
The NCAA will distribute $225 million to its Division I members in June’.
That total is $375 million less than had been budgeted this year because the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of the men’s basketball tournament.
The NCAA says $50 million of the payout will come from its reserve fund. A $270 million event cancellation insurance policy will be used to pay off a line credit that will cover the remaining distribution.
The Green Bay Packers have extended the closure of Lambeau Field through at least April 24 to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus after Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a “safer at home” order through that date.
Packers officials said the closure would continue until that order expires or until a superseding order is issued.
This closure also applies to the Packers’ pro shop and the Packers Hall of Fame as well as any team-run public activities in Titletown, a complex of shops and restaurants near the stadium.
Packers officials said Lambeau Field and Titletown will only have essential personnel in place for non-public operations of the facilities. Most of the other Packers personnel will continue to work remotely as duties permit.
The Packers had announced March 13 they were closing their businesses to the public for two weeks. This move continues those closures.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he and his wife, Brittany, will donate $5 million to help Louisiana businesses and communities contend with challenges brought on by the rapid transmission of the coronavirus in the state.
Brees, who posted his pledge on a social media account on Thursday, says the money will help several restaurants in which he has an ownership stake as well as a major hospital chain and charities like Second Harvest Food Bank to deliver about 10,000 meals per day to people in need.
Brees says he hopes to fund the program “for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need,” adding, “Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.”
The quarterback and his wife run the Brees Dream foundation, which has spent tens of millions helping to fund charitable endeavors in New Orleans and surrounding areas along the Gulf Coast. Most of those efforts have focused on improving learning and recreational opportunities for children as well as health and wellness for children and seniors.
The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
The race will instead be held Aug. 23.
It was an inevitable decision but still had to be difficult for Roger Penske, who completed his purchase of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in January and has already pumped millions into capital improvements to ready the historic venue for its first 500 under new ownership.
IndyCar was supposed to resume racing May 9 on the road course at Indianapolis.
That race will now be run on July 4, a day before NASCAR races at The Brickyard.
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