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Monday’s Sports in Brief

Monday’s Sports in Brief

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Sports

Monday’s Sports in Brief

NBA MIAMI (AP) — The NBA has pushed back the possible reopening date of some team practice facilities for at least a week until May 8 at the earliest, saying Monday the extra time was needed in part to make sure player training options would be safe and controlled in an effort to try to…

Monday’s Sports in Brief

NBA

MIAMI (AP) — The NBA has pushed back the possible reopening date of some team practice facilities for at least a week until May 8 at the earliest, saying Monday the extra time was needed in part to make sure player training options would be safe and controlled in an effort to try to mitigate the threats caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

And when those facilities reopen, the rules will be strict.

The May 8 date is far from firm, the NBA said, warning teams that it “may push this timing back if developments warrant.” The league planned on giving teams the option of reopening facilities as early as Friday, though ultimately decided more time was needed across the league for many reasons.

But whenever those practice courts open — local government clearance would be needed first in all cases — there will not be an immediate return to normal. A person with knowledge of the league’s plans said players would have to wear face masks inside facilities except when working out, that any staff members present would have to wear face masks and gloves, and that a minimum distance of 12 feet would be required as a buffer between players and staff members working with them.

The exception in that 12-foot case would be when medical or athletic training personnel are in contact with players. The person spoke to the The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were not publicly released.

NHL

Longtime NHL forward Joel Ward announced his retirement on Monday.

The 39-year-old Ward last played in the NHL in 2018 for the San Jose Sharks. He went to training camp with Montreal in 2018-19 but was unable to get another shot and decided officially to end his career in an announcement on the Player’s Tribune.

Ward said he considers himself lucky to have played 726 career games after going undrafted and now wants to focus on being a dad to his 1-year-old son Robinson.

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Ward started his career with Minnesota in the 2006-07 season and also played for Nashville, Washington and San Jose in his 11-year career.

He scored 133 goals and had 171 assists in the regular season. He had some of his best moments on the biggest stage of the playoffs.

TELEVISION

NEW YORK (AP) — The HBO television show “Real Sports” is returning from a suspension forced by the coronavirus before the real sports themselves begin again.

Host Bryant Gumbel will preside from his Florida home in Tuesday’s episode of the sports news magazine, which is attempting to navigate technical issues and strike the right balance in dealing with a pandemic that has changed every viewer’s life.

The March episode was canceled, both because some necessary travel proved impossible and the worry that some segments would appear tone deaf at a time when the sports world was put on hold, Gumbel said.

April marks the 25th year that “Real Sports” has been on the air, and it barely made its anniversary month.

The host will appear Tuesday in a roundtable with sportscasters Mike Breen, Joe Buck and Jim Nantz. The show will have a story about quick pivots, such as a company that switched from manufacturing lacrosse helmets to protective gear for medical workers, and another piece on sports entities that moved too slowly to cancel events.

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Sports

Monday’s Sports in Brief

AUTO RACING CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Larson’s racial slur cost him his two primary NASCAR supporters. It likely will cost him his job soon. McDonald’s and Credit One Bank ended their sponsorship of Larson a day after he used the N-word during a live stream of a virtual race. The decision came hours after…

Monday’s Sports in Brief

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Larson’s racial slur cost him his two primary NASCAR supporters. It likely will cost him his job soon.

McDonald’s and Credit One Bank ended their sponsorship of Larson a day after he used the N-word during a live stream of a virtual race. The decision came hours after NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing suspended Larson indefinitely, his team doing so without pay.

Without funding from McDonald’s and Credit One Bank, Ganassi seemingly will be forced to dump Larson in favor of a different driver.

NASCAR ordered Larson, who is half Japanese, to complete a sensitivity training course before he can be eligible for reinstatement.

Larson apologized in a video posted on his social media accounts.

NFL

The NFL and its players union agreed to conduct “virtual” offseason workout programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic until every team is permitted to open its facilities.

Clubs can hold voluntary classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programs using online platforms, according to a memo sent to the teams that was obtained by The Associated Press.

The three-week virtual offseason starts April 20 for teams with new head coaches and April 27 for the others. It runs through May 15. Teams with a new head coach have the option to go four weeks.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers made Christian McCaffrey the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

McCaffrey agreed to a $64 million, four-year contract extension, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Panthers had not announced the deal.

At $16 million per year, the deal eclipses Ezekiel Elliott’s contract with Dallas that is worth $15 million per season.

The extension keeps McCaffrey, 23, tied to the Panthers through the 2025 season.

— By AP Sports Writer Steve Reed

NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN and NFL Network will join forces for this year’s NFL draft. They will produce a broadcast that will air on both networks over all three days.

The April 23-25 draft was originally scheduled to be in Las Vegas but has been moved due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will now originate from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

Draft hosts and a limited number of commentators will be in-studio but will adhere to social distancing guidelines. Other reporters and analysts will report remotely from home. Commissioner Roger Goodell will introduce first-round picks from his home in Bronxville, New York.

ABC will air a separate draft broadcast on Thursday and Friday before simulcasting the ESPN/NFL Network feed on Saturday.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers re-signed cornerbacks Dontae Johnson and Jason Verrett to one-year contracts.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams signed kickers Lirim Hajrullahu and Austin MacGinnis as potential replacements for longtime incumbent Greg Zuerlein. Neither kicker has appeared in an NFL game, but both have had tryouts with NFL teams.

NBA

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls fired general manager Gar Forman and officially hired Denver Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas as their executive vice president of basketball operations.

John Paxson moves into an advisory role after nearly two decades as the top basketball decision-maker.

The Bulls handed the keys to the 48-year-old Karnisovas last week, hoping he can spark a struggling franchise.

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The future of coach Jim Boylen remains unclear.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Kansas guard Devon Dotson is entering the NBA draft after leading the Big 12 Conference in scoring his sophomore season.

Dotson participated in the NBA combine last summer before returning to school. He said this time he intends to sign with an agent and remain in the draft.

The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.1 steals while helping No. 1 Kansas go 28-3 and win its final 16 games. He earned second-team All-America honors from The Associated Press.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley will enter the NBA draft and sign with an agent, leaving school after a breakout season in which he was an honorable mention All-America selection by The Associated Press.

Southeastern Conference coaches voted the 6-foot-3 sophomore Player of the Year after he wasn’t picked for any preseason all-conference teams. Quickley averaged a team-high 16.1 points. He also grabbed 4.2 rebounds per game while leading the Wildcats to the league’s regular-season title.

GOLF

The PGA of America established the Golf Emergency Relief Fund by donating $5 million and pledging to match up to an additional $2.5 million given by other groups in hopes of providing support for the golf industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PGA’s contribution included every member of its executive team voluntarily reducing his or her compensation, along with the board of directors pledging personal donations.

The PGA said the fund was being supported by other golf organizations, including the two U.S. tours, the USGA, the superintendents and golf course owner groups and merchandisers.

NHL

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with defenseman Ian Mitchell, one of their top prospects.

Mitchell, 21, was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft. He was a first-team All-American during his junior year at the University of Denver, compiling 10 goals and 22 assists during the regular season. He finished his Pioneers career with 18 goals and 71 assists in 116 games.

OBITUARY

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Authorities said former NFL quarterback Tarvaris Jackson died in a one-car crash outside Montgomery. He was 36.

The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro that Jackson was driving went off the road, struck a tree and overturned at 8:50 p.m. Sunday, Trooper Benjamin “Michael” Carswell, an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency spokesman, said in a news release. Jackson was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The wreck occurred about seven miles south of Montgomery, his hometown. The crash remained under investigation.

Jackson was hired as quarterbacks coach for Tennessee State last season after a 10-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, the mother of Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, died due to complications from COVID-19 after more than a month of fighting the virus. She was 59.

The Timberwolves made the announcement via the Towns family, which requested privacy. Karl Towns Sr., the father of the two-time All-Star player, was also hospitalized with the virus but has since recovered.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Cruz-Towns was a fixture at Timberwolves games from the start of her son’s NBA career. He was the first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Kentucky.

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