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Atlanta United

    Before the first-ever Major League Soccer match, a group of San Jose Clash players went to a local restaurant for some pregame bonding. Four of them threw up after the meal, but it had nothing to do with the food, recalled Eric Wynalda. 'It was just the nervousness,' he said. “These were guys that had never played in a professional game. We were just starting to feel the magnitude of what was about to happen, that we were going to be playing a game that the world was going to be watching.” Wynalda scored the first — and only — goal back on April 6, 1996, when the Clash hosted D.C. United in the inaugural Major League Soccer match. The nationally televised event attracted a sellout crowd of 31,683 to Spartan Stadium. Monday marks the game's 24th anniversary, a bittersweet moment amid the coronavirus pandemic that has put the league's 25th season on hold indefinitely. Then-United coach Bruce Arena said the game was important for what it represented. “I recall that whole buildup, how proud we were when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was played and they introduced teams. It was something we all waited for, for many years, to have a professional league back in the country,” he said. Actor Andrew Shue, who starred on the TV series “Melrose Place,” performed the coin toss. Shue was actually a good player and appeared in five games for the LA Galaxy in the league’s inaugural year. Wynalda's goal in the 87th minute gave the Clash the victory on the warm evening. “I’m just so glad that I scored and we finished that game 1-0 and it didn’t give all the haters an opportunity to say, 'Oh look, soccer’s boring, 0-0,'' Wynalda said. “It was a wonderful moment and it really was the kick-start.” From The Associated Press story at the time: “Wynalda, who earlier had failed to convert two good scoring chances, dribbled through two defenders and slammed a shot with his right foot past Washington's goalkeeper, Jeff Causey, and into the corner of the net.” It went on: “Most of the sloppy game was played at midfield and there were few good scoring chances, giving ammunition to critics who charge soccer does not have enough offense to succeed in the United States.” Wynalda played in three World Cups and scored 34 goals in 106 appearances with the U.S. team over a 10-year span. A National Soccer Hall of Famer, Wynalda now coaches the Las Vegas Lights of the USL Championship league. Jeff Agoos, now a senior vice president of competition for MLS, was a defender for D.C. United in the inaugural game. Agoos went on to a 10-year playing career in the league. “I give Eric an incredible amount of credit for what he was able to accomplish in the end. I do remember at the end of the game, in the shower and coming out of our locker room, feeling obviously disappointed in the result,' Agoos said. “But I felt like the worst outcome we could have had was a 0-0 game, and that everybody had complained about soccer as boring. What Eric did, and what the team did, what the Clash was able to pull off — the fans, they wanted to come back. They wanted to see another game. And we really created a lot of momentum.” Arena, himself a Hall of Famer and former national team coach, went on to coach teams to five MLS Cup titles. Now the coach of the New England Revolution, he said he's looking forward to the league's next quarter-century. “I was at a ceremony with (MLS Commissioner) Don Garber and I told him for the 50th anniversary, you know, we’re going to have a bottle of Champagne and celebrate where the league's going to be at,' he said. 'Who would ever think MLS would be 25 years old? And I know it’s going to make it to the 50th anniversary as well.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • President Donald Trump talked to many U.S. pro sports leaders about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, saying he was looking forward to the resumption of competitions “as soon as we can.” “I want fans back in the arenas,” Trump said later in a briefing at the White House. “I think it’s ... whenever we’re ready. As soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air.” A person with direct knowledge of the call said Trump believes the NFL season — scheduled to begin Sept. 10 — will start on time with fans in seats. But that seemed too optimistic for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was asked if he thought the NFL season would start on time. “I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said. The NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball were all represented by their commissioners — Adam Silver, Gary Bettman, Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred, respectively. None of those leagues released public comment. A second person with knowledge of the call said some commissioners, Silver included, stressed to Trump that they are working on multiple season-resumption plans but cautioned nothing can move forward without clearance from public health officials. The people spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because no discussion from the call was to be revealed publicly. Others on the call included PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan, Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, UFC President Dana White, World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert and Breeders’ Cup President Drew Fleming. National Women's Soccer League Commissioner Lisa Baird was not included in the call, and that league was not pleased. “As a leader in women’s professional sports, the NWSL would welcome the chance to participate in any future discussions between the top sports leagues in the U.S. and the White House,' the league said. Trump addressed Little League players on Saturday, tweeting to tell them, “hang in there! We will get you back out on the fields, and know that you will be playing baseball soon. We will get through this together, and bats will be swinging before you know it.' Trump said the need for social distancing is affecting his 14-year-old son, Barron. The president described his son as a good athlete and soccer fan. “We have to get back,” Trump said. “We have to get back. Remember that. We have to get back and we have to get back soon.” ___ AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer, AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi, AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson and AP Baseball Writers Ronald Blum and Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-Sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Latest on the effects of the new coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: Major League Soccer has extended its training moratorium through April 24 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Team facilities are closed to players and staff — except for players requiring treatment that cannot be administered at their homes. Players are expected to remain in market with their teams during the moratorium to avoid the spread of the virus. The league will consider individual requests for players to travel to another city by car. MLS teams were two games into the season when it was suspended on March 12. A Philadelphia Union player with mild symptoms recently tested positive for the virus. ___ Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay area has been closed for live racing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Alameda County Public Health Officer ordered the track to close, which resulted in the cancellation of Thursday’s card. Golden Gate says it “is abiding by the instructions issued two weeks ago by the California Horse Racing Board to operate under the sanction of the local health authorities.” The track says there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Golden Gate. Santa Anita near Los Angeles has been without live racing since March 27 under a similar order from the Los Angeles County Health Department. Both tracks had been racing without fans and limiting attendance to horsemen and necessary racing and track employees. Both are owned by The Stronach Group. Horsemen representatives and The Stronach Group have maintained that racetracks are essential businesses in need of continued operations, providing care to animals, and that afternoon racing involves far fewer participants than morning training, which is allowed. Over 1,200 horses are stabled at Golden Gate, with 400 workers living on site to care for the animals. ___ NASCAR has delayed the debut of its next generation stock car that was scheduled to hit the track next season. The car will now be delayed until 2022 because the coronavirus pandemic has slowed development. The Next Gen project has been years in the works as an industry-wide collaboration to cut costs and improve competition. ___ The California State Athletic Commission has canceled all combat sports events through May due to the coronavirus pandemic. Several dozen events were scheduled for May, mostly in Southern California. The affected events include a UFC show scheduled for May 16 in San Diego. The event was scheduled to feature lightweights Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker in the main event. The Bellator mixed martial arts promotion had already postponed its two events scheduled for California in May. Golden Boy Promotions also had already canceled a boxing show scheduled for April 25 outside Palm Springs, headlined by light heavyweights Sergey Kovalev and Sullivan Barrera. ___ Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli say they will pay their 2,100 part-time employees across all of their sports and event management companies through June 30 for work that was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. The Samuelis’ Anaheim Arena Management company operates Honda Center, the Ducks’ home rink. They also own two large ice hockey complexes in Orange County — including Great Park Ice, the massive new winter sports facility that houses the Ducks’ training complex in Irvine, California. The Samuelis own the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls. Their company even operates JT Schmid’s, a popular restaurant and bar just across Katella Avenue from Honda Center. Henry Samueli is a former UCLA professor who became a billionaire after co-founding Broadcom, a semiconductor company, with one of his students. The Samuelis purchased the Ducks from the Walt Disney Company in 2005, two years after creating Anaheim Arena Management to oversee Honda Center’s operations. ___ The Ottawa Senators are making temporary layoffs and salary reductions because of COVID-19. The team’s parent company says the full-time workforce will be reduced starting Sunday, when the NHL club’s season was originally scheduled to end. Those not laid off could be placed on furlough. Others could have their salaries reduced. Health benefits will continue uninterrupted. “We will pull through by staying committed together,” owner Eugene Melnyk said. “I look forward to the day when it is safe to reopen our doors and welcome back employees, fans and community partners.' ___ Former baseball All-Star Jim Edmonds says he tested positive for the new coronavirus and for pneumonia. “I am completely symptom free now and doing really well, and so I must have had it for a while,” Edmonds said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I appreciate everyone who has said well wishes and wished me the best.” The 49-year-old played 17 major league seasons from 1993-2010, mostly for the California and Los Angeles Angels (1993-99) and St. Louis Cardinals (2000-07). He hit 393 home runs. ___ Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has donated $15,000 to provide hygiene products to students and families in the East Cleveland City School District during the coronavirus pandemic. Landry partnered with Meijer to supply families with soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and other personal care products. “Although we are facing unprecedented challenges right now, it is important to remember that we are all in this together,” Landry said. “I love the City of Cleveland, and I want to make sure our communities have the support that they need to stay safe and healthy.” The partnership estimates more than 1,300 families will receive supplies to support their health and wellness while schools are closed until at least May 1. Landry has been active in the Cleveland community since joining the Browns in 2018 after four seasons in Miami. ___ The Atlanta Braves are marking what would have been opening day at Truist Park with a virtual “At Home” opener. The team will host a 90-minute, online celebration Friday that features interviews with manager Brian Snitker, general manager Alex Anthopoulos and star first baseman Freddie Freeman as well as messages from other Braves players. Operatic tenor Timothy Miller will perform the national anthem, joined by popular between-innings features such as Beat The Freeze and the Home Depot Tool Race. The “At Home” opener will serve as a lead-in to Fox Sports South airing a replay of the Braves′ 2019 home opener against the Chicago Cubs. Like sports around the world, Major League Baseball is on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. The Braves are two-time defending National League East champions. ___ Get ready for a full week of the Masters on television. With this year's tournament postponed because of the new coronavirus, ESPN and CBS Sports will broadcast the final rounds of some of the more significant Masters. ESPN starts it off at 3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday with the final round from 1986. That's arguably the most popular Masters of all, when Jack Nicklaus shot 30 on the back nine to win his sixth green jacket at age 46. ESPN will show the the 2012 Masters, when Bubba Watson won his first green jacket, at 2 p.m. Thursday. That's followed by Tiger Woods' record 12-shot victory in 1997 at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, ESPN features 2013, when Adam Scott won, at noon and 2005, with Woods and his memorable chip-in on the 16th, at 6 p.m. CBS takes over on the weekend, starting with a one-hour production of 1975, when Nicklaus won over Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller. That begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and is immediately followed by 2004, which was Phil Mickelson's duel with Ernie Els. On Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m., CBS will show the entire round from last year, when Woods completed his comeback from back surgeries to win his fifth green jacket. Masters.com and @TheMasters social media will complement the broadcasts with content never before seen from famous final rounds. ___ The Russian Sports Ministry says a major training base near Moscow has shut down after a coach and an athlete tested “provisionally positive” for the new coronavirus. The ministry says the athlete was hospitalized and the coach self-isolated at home. All training is shut down at the sprawling Novogorsk base, a key focus of Russian Olympic preparations across multiple sports, and it has been disinfected. Athletes have either been isolated or sent home to self-isolate. The ministry didn’t name the coach or athlete. However, the coach was identified as artistic gymnastics head coach Andrei Rodionenko in comments to state news agency Tass by Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation president Irina Viner-Usmanova. Separately, a Russian boxing coach who was at last month’s Olympic qualifying tournament in London said he tested positive. The Russian Boxing Federation said Anton Kadushin had been at home since returning from the competition. Previously the Turkish federation said one of its boxers and one of its coaches had tested positive after the tournament, which was cut short due to the virus outbreak. The International Olympic Committee said at the time it was “not possible to know the source of infection.” ___ The CEO of World TeamTennis says the league has sent $1,000 each to about 60 players and coaches as a 'gift' to help them deal with the financial hardships presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Carlos Silva said in a telephone interview Thursday that the payments were not an advance of salary for the nine-team league, which was founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. Explained Silva: 'It wasn't so much about the money, but a way to say, 'Thank you,' and just so they could use it for some rent or some groceries or anything they might need.' All professional tennis events have been postponed or canceled until early July because of the COVID-19 outbreak. There will be some tennis to watch on TV this weekend, though: A WTT all-star event featuring 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys and other players will air Saturday on CBS. It was filmed March 1. Silva said WTT is still planning to launch its three-week season on July 12, but will continue to monitor the situation and offer periodic updates. Matches are slated to be held that day in Washington, Orlando, San Diego and Springfield, Missouri. That date also was supposed to be when the men's final was played at Wimbledon. But the All England Club announced Wednesday that its Grand Slam tournament would not be played this year. ___ The New England Patriots' private team plane is returning to Boston from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to health care providers fighting to control the spread of the new coronavirus. The Wall Street Journal reports that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker secured the N95 masks but had no way of getting them to the U.S. Team owner Robert Kraft stepped in and offered to help. The plane, a Boeing 767 painted in the team’s colors and logo, is usually used to carry the team to and from NFL games. It is expected back in Boston on Thursday. ___ The World Games that were more than a year away have been delayed to 2022 because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Olympic-style event for sports that are not on the Summer Games program had been scheduled for July 15-25, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama. But those dates now overlap with the Tokyo Olympics, which were delayed for a full year while the world deals with the pandemic. The International World Games Association and Birmingham Organizing Committee announced Thursday that the 11th edition of the World Games will now be held on July 7-17, 2022. The World Games began in 1981 and are held every four years to showcase disciplines that are not on the Olympic program, such as sumo, floorball, billiards, lifesaving, orienteering, dance sport and tug of war. Birmingham won the right to stage the 2021 competition, beating out Lima, Peru, and Ufa, Russia, to become the first U.S. host since Santa Clara, California, for the inaugural World Games. Birmingham had expected some 3,600 athletes from more than 100 nations to participate. ___ Iowa State coaches and other athletic department staff members are getting pay cuts for one year to help offset lost revenue from the coronavirus pandemic. Athletic director Jaime Pollard wrote on the Cyclones' website that his department faces a $5 million shortfall this year because of the cancellation of the NCAA and Big 12 men's basketball tournaments. The payroll cut will save more than $3 million. There also will be a temporary suspension of bonuses for coaches totaling another $1 million. Previously announced increases in Cyclone Club annual giving levels have been delayed, prices for season and individual game ticket prices have been frozen for all sports and the deadline for booster club donations and football season ticket renewals has been extended to May 29. ___ The Belgian soccer league has become the first major European competition to recommend ending its season with the current standings declared final because of the coronavirus outbreak. The league says Club Brugge would be awarded the title if the advice is confirmed at a general assembly meeting on April 15. Brugge would also qualify for next season's Champions League. Brugge is currently 15 points ahead of second-place Gent with one game to go before the season-ending playoffs. The league management board has agreed it is unclear when team training could resume and says it is “very unlikely” any games with fans attending could be played before June 30. The league says even games in empty stadiums would put stress on public health and security services dealing with the pandemic. It agreed the risk of infecting players would also damage the competition’s integrity. ___ The Senior PGA Championship in Michigan has been canceled. The PGA of America says it based its decision on Michigan’s stay-at-home order that was enacted March 23. The Senior PGA in Benton Harbor, Michigan, was to be played May 21-24. It will be held next year at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It will return to Benton Harbor the following year. ___ World Athletics says it won’t clear any Russian athletes to compete internationally amid the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The governing body of track requires Russians to apply for “authorized neutral athlete” status each year to compete outside their home country. Russia has been suspended from World Athletics since 2015 for widespread doping. World Athletics spokeswoman Nicole Jeffery says in e-mailed comments that “the ANA system only applies to international competition, so until there is competition there is no need for any athlete to apply.” She adds that “for the next two months, at least, there is no competition, so the system does not need to be active until we know when the competition schedule can resume.” World Athletics hasn’t decided how far in advance to open applications once competitions resume. High jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene and pole vault world champion Anzhelika Sidorova are among those who need their status renewed from last year. ___ British Open organizers say postponement is an option for this year's tournament at Royal St. George’s because of the coronavirus outbreak. The R&A released a short statement in response to media speculation about the staging of the event in July. Chief executive Martin Slumbers says the “process is taking some time to resolve” because of a range of external factors. Slumbers says “we are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can.” The 149th edition of the Open Championship is scheduled to take place July 16-19. The last time the Open wasn't played was in 1945 because of World War II. ___ The French Grand Prix scheduled for May 17 in Le Mans has been postponed, becoming the sixth MotoGP race to be called off because of the coronavirus outbreak. The motorcycling series has yet to start its season. The season-opener in Qatar was canceled, the Thailand, Americas and Argentina races were postponed to October-November, and the Spanish MotoGP has yet to find new dates. The next race at risk is the Italian MotoGP on May 31. ___ World Sailing has canceled the World Cup Series Final in Enoshima, Japan, in June because of the coronavirus outbreak. The regatta was to give valuable competition for the Olympic classes just over a month before the start of the Tokyo Games. The Olympics have been postponed to 2021. World Sailing and Japanese officials were in talks to return to Enoshima in 2021 before the rescheduled Olympics. ___ Brescia president Massimo Cellino says he will forfeit his team's remaining Serie A matches if the Italian soccer league resumes. Brescia is the third-worst hit province in Italy with more than 8,500 coronavirus cases and more than 1,300 deaths. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Cellino says “this season doesn’t make sense anymore.” He says “returning to activity is pure craziness. If they force us to I am ready to not put out the team and lose the matches 3-0 by default out of respect for the citizens of Brescia and their loved ones who aren’t here anymore.” Brescia is in last place in the league standings. The president of Lazio recently accused Cellino of trying to avoid relegation. Cellino says “I don’t care at all about relegation. So far we have deserved it and I have my blame in that, too.' ___ Potential hosts of soccer's 2027 Asian Cup have been given more time to enter the contest by the Asian Football Confederation. The AFC says the March deadline to show interest was extended by three months to June because many of its member federations have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Saudi Arabian soccer body said in February it wanted to host the 24-team tournament. China will host the 2023 edition. A return to western Asia is possible after the United Arab Emirates staged the 2019 tournament. The AFC is planning for a 2027 tournament but a FIFA task force drafting a future calendar of matches and tournaments will likely be asked to align continental championships. The European Championship and South America’s Copa America are on track to kick off in June 2028. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Major League Soccer plans to cut the pay of some executives and front office personnel while the season is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Deputy Commissioners Mark Abbott and Gary Stevenson will take 25% cuts in salary starting April 16, the person said on the condition of anonymity because the reductions were not announced publicly. Other cuts would range from 20% to 10% for managerial staff. Lower salaried employees, like entry-level hires, would see no reduction in pay. The cuts were first reported by Yahoo Sports. MLS does not plan to furlough or layoff staff at this time, although a hiring freeze is in place. The league employs some 300 people at its New York headquarters. The MLS move comes after the NBA cut the salaries of some 100 top executives by 20% while the season is on hold. The NHL is cutting salaries for league employees 25% starting next month. NASCAR officers will have a 25% reduction in salary, while all other employees will have their salaries reduced by 20%. The MLS season was suspended on March 12 after teams had played two matches. The Philadelphia Union announced Wednesday that a player had tested positive for the novel coronavirus after experiencing mild symptoms. ___ This version corrects that the top three executives' salaries will be cut by 25%.
  • The Latest on the effects of the new coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: A player for the Philadelphia Union has tested positive for coronavirus. It is Major League Soccer’s first player case of the virus that has caused the suspension of the season. The Union did not identify the player. He reported mild symptoms. MLS suspended all league and team activities March 12. The Union said no other club players or staff would be tested because the case fell beyond the 14-day window of possible interaction with the player. A member of the Seattle Sounders’ support staff and a sporting department employee at New York City FC previously tested positive for the virus. ___ The San Francisco Giants’ owners and executives are pledging an additional $700,000 in personal donations to support game-day employees who aren’t working with the baseball season postponed because of the new coronavirus. President and CEO Larry Baer said Wednesday the club will also reach out to players about contributing. Major League Baseball announced last month that each of its 30 teams would commit $1 million to pay event staff. Baer and team vice president and general counsel Jack Bair shared details of the Giants' plan. It strives to support those who serve the fans, “which is the lifeblood of our sport and business,” Baer said. The Giants established two new benefit programs. Each worker employed by outside companies and vendors, such as those at concession stands, parking attendants and on-site retailers, will be entitled to a one-time grant of $500 — and some 2,000 are expected to accept it. The other 1,300 people who work directly for the club in game-day operations will receive the $500 and also be part of an ongoing plan that will pay them between $100 and $250 per month based on tenure and hours worked last year for the team. Those employees also are being encouraging to apply for unemployment benefits. Baer said Giants full-time employees are working from home and ballpark projects are on hold during California’s shelter-in-place order. ___ Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward is lending a financial hand to 21 people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through his foundation, Make Them Know Your Name, Ward will pay a major expense for 21 service workers and small business owners to help offset the a big economic blow suffered by the shutdown. Ward wears No. 21. “Whether that’s rent or mortgage or just groceries for your family, I want someone to breathe a little easier knowing it’s taken care of this month,” Ward said. Ward and others will review applications and stories submitted through his foundation’s website (www.MTKYN.org) “It’s important to me that people know they’re not alone in this,” said Ward, selected by the Browns with the No. 4 pick in 2018 out of Ohio State. “We’re all in this together. That’s the Ohio way. — Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland. ___ Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel has purchased 5,000 personal protective equipment masks to be distributed to local hospitals dealing with shortages as a result of the new coronavirus. Eichel purchased the masks from Bauer Hockey, which has shifted its production from making sports equipment during the pandemic. Eichel says he is thankful to the medical professionals 'on the front lines taking care of our community.' Eichel's mother is a nurse at Boston Medical Center, though she recently took time off to care for her husband, who is recovering from shoulder replacement surgery. Eichel has a sponsorship deal with Bauer. ___ The Professional Fighters League has put its season on hold indefinitely due to the new coronavirus pandemic. The mixed martial arts promotion was expected to begin competition in May. CEO Peter Murray said the PFL made the decision to safeguard its fighters’ health. “We are adjusting our plan for the rest of this year and look forward to starting our next season as soon as it is feasible,” Murray said. “We are committed to continuing to evolve and grow the sport of MMA.” The PFL was known as the World Series of Fighting until 2017. Its competition format includes a regular season, a postseason and a championship event, making it unique in MMA. The promotion hadn’t announced a definite schedule for 2020 but has typically begun its seasons in late spring. Last year, the promotion staged six regular season events, three playoff events and a championship event on New Year’s Eve. The PFL has showcased and launched the careers of several MMA stars, including Justin Gaethje, David Branch, Jon Fitch, Marlon Moraes and current featherweight champion Lance Palmer. Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison is its current lightweight champion. ___ The recruiting dead period has been extended in all NCAA Division I and II sports through May 31. Recruiting was shut down on March 13, not long after the cancellation of all winter and spring sports because of the new coronavirus outbreak. The original suspension was through April 15. The latest decision by the Division I Council Coordinator Committee essentially wipes out spring recruiting for this academic year. A dead period prohibits in-person visits by recruits and coaches, but electronic communication is still permissible. ___ Professional athletes in Italy have been banned from training inside sports facilities in the country through April 13. The measure was included when Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte extended a nationwide lockdown for another 10 days because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown had been set to expire on Friday, and Serie A contender Lazio was among the clubs intending to resume training on Saturday, albeit in small groups. Previously, professional athletes and those training for the Tokyo Olympics had not been banned from training at facilities. But now, with the Tokyo Olympic Games postponed to 2021 and the virus still a major threat, all athletes are only allowed to train in their homes or the immediate vicinity. Serie A has been suspended since March 9 and at least 15 players in the top Italian league have tested positive for COVID-19. ___ Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is worried about the places currently hardest-hit by the pandemic, and especially worried about the places that haven’t been hit yet. Ujiri told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that he’s been in contact with some leaders in Africa, plus has spoken with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his talks with other African heads of state about their level of preparation for the new coronavirus . “I think a lot of leaders are ahead of it, and the ones that aren’t are starting to pay attention because this is an unknown, this is an unseen enemy, and we have to really, really pay attention,” Ujiri said. Ujiri is of Nigerian descent and founded Giants of Africa, a group that organizes camps and other events to use basketball as a way to promote education and growth for children on the continent. He says he’s unsure yet if his programs will go on this summer as planned. “We’re just concerned about people, about health, about listening to what the directions are going to be moving forward,” Ujiri said. When it comes to the NBA season, Ujiri said he’s hopeful play can resume. The Raptors won their first NBA title last season. ___ The NHL's Ottawa Senators say four more members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19. The team announced the update Wednesday but did not specify if the people affected were players, coaches or staff. The Senators previously had two players test positive. The four additional people who tested positive were all on the team's March road trip to California. The team said everyone on that trip self-isolated upon return March 13 and that all six members of the organization who got the novel coronavirus have recovered. ___ The Critérium du Dauphiné cycling race, one of the key warm-ups for the Tour de France, has been postponed. The race had been scheduled for May 31-June 7 in southeastern France. Race organizer Amaury Sport Organization said it still hopes to reschedule the event for later in the year. ASO also owns the Tour de France, which is scheduled to start on June 27 from Nice. No decision has been made on whether to postpone or reschedule the Tour. ___ The Boston Marathon is offering refunds for the first time because of the new coronavirus pandemic. Race organizers say anyone who was entered in the 124th edition of the race this month can still run on the rescheduled date, Sept. 14. But if they can’t make it, they can have their money back. Those who have signed up for the Boston Athletic Association 5K the Saturday before the marathon can also get a refund. More than 30,000 runners had signed up for the world’s most prestigious 26.2-mile run, which had been scheduled for April 18. It costs $205 for Americans and $255 for international residents. ___ Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks says the four players who tested positive for the new coronavirus have completed their two weeks of isolation and are now symptom-free. The Nets announced on March 17 that four players had tested positive, with Kevin Durant telling The Athletic he was among them. Marks said during a conference call Wednesday that all have now been cleared, along with the team’s entire traveling party. He said all are still practicing social distancing. Brooklyn’s most recent game was March 10 in Los Angeles. All Nets players were then tested, and the team said one player showed symptoms and the other three were asymptomatic. ___ France's national institute of sport is helping with the needs of caregivers and homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic. The Paris-based INSEP will lodge nursing staff coming far from their homes to assist medical teams in the city. INSEP and other sporting establishments in France will also receive sick people who are no longer in serious condition but need their health monitored in an effort to free up hospital beds. INSEP will receive about 100 people from homeless shelters. Also, 69 rooms at INSEP are at the disposal of France Horizon, which helps families, homeless people, migrants, refugees and people who are isolated. French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu says “the only way through this crisis is to stay united.” ___ Wimbledon has been canceled for the first time since World War II because of the coronavirus pandemic. The All England Club announced after an emergency meeting that the oldest Grand Slam tournament in tennis would not be held in 2020. Wimbledon was scheduled to be played on the outskirts of London from June 29 to July 12. It now joins the growing list of sports events scrapped in 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak. That includes the Tokyo Olympics, the NCAA men's and women's college basketball tournaments and the European soccer championship. The last time Wimbledon was called off was 1945. ___ Major League Baseball has canceled a two-game series in London between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals because of the coronavirus pandemic. The teams had been scheduled to play at Olympic Stadium on June 13 and 14. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement in a memorandum send to MLB employees. MLB said on March 19 that it had scrapped series in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. MLB played in Europe for the first time last June when the New York Yankees swept a pair of games from the Boston Red Sox in London. ___ UEFA has postponed the Euro 2020 playoffs for the second time because of the coronavirus pandemic. The games were originally scheduled for March 26-31 and have now lost their June 4-9 dates. The playoffs will decide the last four places in the 24-nation lineup for the postponed European Championship. The decision was made in a conference call with officials from the 55 UEFA member federations. UEFA says “all other UEFA competition matches, including the centralized international friendly matches, remain postponed until further notice.” ___ A German soccer club is raising funds amid the coronavirus pandemic by selling tickets for a fictional game. Third-division club Uerdingen hopes to virtually sell out its 34,500-capacity Grotenburg Stadium in Krefeld with the offer of souvenir tickets for fans. Tickets start at 5 euros ($5.46) and go all the way to 19.05 euros ($20.80) for VIP tickets. The club says “panic buying for friends and family is definitely allowed.” It’s the only time that Uerdingen will sell tickets for the Grotenburg Stadium this season. Its home arena is being rebuilt so the club has been playing home matches at the ground of nearby Fortuna Düsseldorf. Uerdingen was one of the powerhouses of German soccer in the 1980s with a best finish of third place in the Bundesliga and a run to the semifinals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1986. More recently it has dropped as low as the sixth division. The club hasn’t played a game since March 8 because of the virus outbreak. ___ The R&A is postponing three amateur golf championships scheduled for June, including the Curtis Cup. The Curtis Cup was to be played June 12-14 at Conwy Golf Club in Wales. The R&A and USGA say the matches for female amateurs from the U.S. against a team from Britain and Ireland will move to 2021. The dates were not decided. The R&A says the British Amateur and the British Women's Amateur will move from June to August, but that depends on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K. The British Amateur had been scheduled for June 15-20 at Royal Birkdale. The British Women's Amateur was to be played June 23-27 at Kilmarnock on the west coast of Scotland. The Curtis Cup captains, Sarah Ingram of the U.S. and Elaine Ratcliffe for GB&I, will remain for the 2021 matches. The teams had not been decided. Players were to have been selected later this month. ___ A hockey team and a soccer club in Russia face being removed from their leagues after government financial support was diverted to fight the coronavirus. The sports ministry in the far eastern region of Primorsky Krai says it sees no point in funding player contracts for another season if it’s not clear when competitions will resume. It wants the Admiral Vladivostok hockey club to drop out of the Kontinental Hockey League and the Luch Vladivostok soccer team to drop down two divisions into the amateur leagues. The ministry says regional funding earmarked for professional sports will instead go into an anti-coronavirus fund. Many Russian sports team rely heavily on regional governments and state-owned companies for much of their funding. Primorsky Krai is the first region to impose such drastic cuts. All major sporting events in Russia are currently suspended. ___ The Olympic flame will be on display until the end of April in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima. Tokyo Olympic and prefecture officials held an official “handover ceremony”on Wednesday at the J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima. The public will have limited access to view the flame, and organizers hope to limit the crowd size because of restrictions in place for the coronavirus. The flame arrived in Japan from Greece on March 20 and the torch relay was to have started last week from Fukushima. The flame has remained in the prefecture with Wednesday's event merely ceremonial. The Fukushima prefecture is the region of Japan that was devastated in 2011 by an earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of three nuclear reactors. Olympic officials have postponed the Tokyo Games until next year with the opening now set for July 23, 2021. ___ 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: ___ Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber is donating meals to first responders in Chicago for their efforts to keep the community safe during the COVID-19 crisis. Schwarber will provide meals to the Chicago Police Department's 19th District on Thursday as well as to Chicago Fire Department's Engine Co. 78 firefighters and EMTs over three days to accommodate shift schedules. The meals will be funded by Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes campaign and Cubs Charities. ___ Orlando Magic forward Wes Iwundu not only decided to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, he chose to help out a teammate as well. The Magic announced Monday that Iwundu donated to teammate Jonathan Isaac’s effort to feed children in Orlando who are in need. Isaac also revealed the donation on his social media platforms. Isaac announced last week that he is teaming up with J.U.M.P. Ministries Global Church to provide hot breakfasts and lunches to schoolchildren on weekdays for the duration of the pandemic. Isaac also is helping families obtain nonperishable food items once a week, things like oatmeal, cereal and instant rice. ___ The International Tennis Federation is offering interactive online courses and making videos and other content to help coaches available for free during the coronavirus pandemic. There are ITF Academy classes in English, Spanish and French, covering topics such as strategy and tactics, tennis parents and ethics in coaching. The federation is also making its 'Advanced Coaches Manual' ebook available for free instead of its usual price tag of 14.99 British pounds (about $18.50). That comes in 13 languages. ___ Golf Canada has postponed three regional qualifying tournaments for the RBC Canadian Open because of the new coronavirus. The tournaments were scheduled for May. There is no word on when they may be rescheduled. The RBC Canadian Open is still scheduled to start June 8 at St. George's Country Club in Toronto. ___ The Arizona Diamondbacks are donating an additional $500,000 to help people and organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the organization’s total contributions to more than $1 million. The franchise donated $550,000 last week and said that money was given to numerous nonprofit organizations that worked in food distribution and also helped support the children of health care workers. The new donation will help those causes in addition to more providing support for the medical and health care fields. “We are fortunate to not only be in a position to continue to give back, but to be in touch regularly with those in the medical field who can help distribute these funds in a meaningful way,” Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said in a statement. “Whether it is personal protective equipment, critical resources to support health care personnel or technology to provide virtual visits for those currently receiving care, we believe this money can make an immediate impact.” ___ Soccer agent Jorge Mendes is donating more than 150,000 masks to a Portuguese hospital with the help of José Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and other players. Mendes has raised the funds for the masks with the help of 25 people, most of them footballers. The donation will be made to the Hospital Santo António in Porto. Among the players involved were Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Nélson Semedo, Pepe and Renato Sanches. Ronaldo and Mendes had already funded other donations, including three intensive care units for coronavirus patients at hospitals in Portugal. They said they had also offered ventilators to officials in Madeira. ___ Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says the team has completely left its spring training facility, which is now being used for coronavirus testing. The National Guard is using parking lots and back fields to check members of the public at the complex the Nationals share with the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, Florida. Rizzo also said on a conference call with reporters Monday that Nationals Park in Washington 'is completely closed.' The GM said none of the World Series champions' players has shown any symptoms of COVID-19, so none has been tested for the illness. ___ Augusta National is donating $2 million, split evenly to Augusta University to expand testing for the new coronavirus and to a local relief agency to help those affected financially by the pandemic. The gift is in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), the longtime charitable arm for the home of the Masters. Chairman Fred Ridley says the $1 million to Augusta University will help with telemedicine pre-screening, triple the number of drive-through testing lanes on campus and allow for more supplies and personnel to increase testing from 100 to 1,000 or more tests daily. The gift to the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund goes directly to support relief efforts to those most vulnerable. “It is our hope these gifts will help address the many challenges brought about by the coronavirus throughout the city of Augusta and the greater region,” Ridley said. “We believe Augusta National has an important responsibility to support and protect the community who has so generously and consistently supported us for many years.” ___ The CFL has postponed the start of training camps due to the coronavirus pandemic. League commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the pandemic has made it unsafe for players and coaches to gather as scheduled. The league has not given an indication of when camps might open. Postponing training camps increases the likelihood of the CFL delaying the start of its 2020 regular season. ___ The Pac-12 Conference has extended its suspension of organized team activities through May 31 because of the new coronavirus. Virtual group activities, including film study, are allowed up to two hours per week in football and four hours per week in other sports. Coaches are allowed to recommend written, self-directed workout plans, and videos on workout plans are allowed to show proper form and technique. ___ Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart says he has been cleared by medical officials after testing positive for the new coronavirus earlier this month. In a message posted late Sunday on Twitter, Smart says he was informed of the news Friday by the Massachusetts Department of Health. He thanked everyone for their support. “Stay safe and stay together — apart!” Smart wrote. Boston played the Utah Jazz on March 6. Five days later, Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, triggering rolling shutdowns of sports around the world. Smart tested positive on March 19. He had been in isolation since then and was being monitoring by Celtics medical staff. His teammates, coaches and staff members were also tested, but those tests have come back negative. ___ The British and Irish Lions and SA Rugby have delayed the ticket ballots in Europe and South Africa and the release of the supporters' tour packages because of the coronavirus outbreak. Both were to be launched next month for the tour in July 2021. “Everyone's priorities are in doing everything they can to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are no exception,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said in a statement on Monday. “We ask our passionate rugby supporters to please bear with us during this difficult time.” The eight-match tour is going ahead as scheduled despite clashing with the postponed Tokyo Olympics. The tests are on July 24 -- the day after the games open -- July 31, and Aug. 7. ___ Atlanta United President Darren Eales says Major League Soccer still intends to play a full 34-game schedule this season, even though the league will be shuttered for at least two months because of the new coronavirus. Eales says MLS is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame. MLS was just two weeks into its season when play was halted March 12 because of the pandemic. The league has set a tentative return date of May 10, though the growing death toll in the United States could force that date to be pushed back. Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums. 'We're fortunate that we had just started our season,' he said Monday during a teleconference with Atlanta media. 'We have the whole calendar year to reschedule the games we missed. The emphasis is on playing all 34 games plus the playoffs.' MLS will likely schedule more midweek games and push back its MLS Cup championship game into mid-December in a bid to play a full season, according to Eales. He added that the playoffs could begin in mid-November — around the time MLS had been planning its title game. ___ General manager Brian MacLellan says no Washington Capitals players have tested positive for COVID-19 or shown any symptoms after using the same locker room as NBA players who later tested positive. MacLellan says the team hasn't had any sickness complaints from players related to the coronavirus pandemic that suspended the NHL season. The Capitals followed the NBA's Utah Jazz in the visiting locker room at Madison Square Garden in New York in early March. Two Jazz players tested positive. MacLellan said on a conference call Monday that 'we're pretty much daily checking in with players to see if they're exhibiting any' symptoms. Four NHL players have tested positive for the new coronavirus: two on the Ottawa Senators and two on the Colorado Avalanche. NHL chief medical officer Winne Meeuwisse said last week he was 'thankful' the numbers have been low. ___ The Irish Open has become the latest European Tour golf event to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The tournament was scheduled for May 28-31. There will now be no play on the tour until June at the earliest. The next possible tournament is the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco from June 4-7. The Irish Open is one of the high-profile events that make up the tour’s Rolex Series and had prize money of $7 million this year. It was due to be hosted by Graeme McDowell at the Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny. Regular tour events in Kenya, India, Malaysia, China, Spain, Portugal and Denmark have already been postponed or canceled. European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley says “we will continue to evaluate all aspects of our 2020 European Tour schedule, and discussions on the rescheduling of postponed events will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation.” ___ The governing body of swimming welcomed the new Tokyo Olympic dates without giving any detail of how to reschedule its own world championships in Japan next year. FINA’s biennial worlds were planned for July 16-Aug. 1, 2021, in Fukuoka. That slot is now taken by the Tokyo Olympics. FINA says knowing the Olympic dates “is very helpful to federations and athletes everywhere.' The governing body of track quickly committed to pushing back its world championships to 2022. But FINA has the added complication of the 2022 Commonwealth Games because many top swimmers compete in both events. ___ The governing body of triathlon says it wanted the rescheduled Olympics to be held earlier in the year to avoid the summer heat but has accepted the new dates. World Triathlon president Marisol Casado says “even though we would have preferred to move the games to earlier dates, where the impact of the heat was a bit lower, we agreed that these dates are the best solution.” All sports federations involved in the Olympics signed off on the new dates. Casado says “I am absolutely confident that we will have magnificent games in Tokyo next summer, with the help and support of all of us involved in the preparations for hosting the event.” The International Olympic Committee previously moved the marathons and race walking events to Japan’s northern city of Sapporo and scheduled most of them to start early in the morning to avoid the heat in Tokyo. Triathlon has remained in the capital even though it includes running. ___ The governing body of track and field says it supports the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics and is working with organizers in Eugene, Oregon, to move its world championships to 2022. World Athletics says “everyone needs to be flexible and compromise.” The 2021 track worlds were scheduled to be next year from Aug. 6-15. World Athletics says it will consult with the organizers of the Commonwealth Games and the European Athletics Championships. Those are other major track events scheduled to take place in 2022. ___ The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games. Tokyo organizers say the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. The IOC and Japanese organizers last week postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8. There had been talk of switching the Olympics to spring, a move that would coincide with the blooming of Japan's famous cherry blossoms. But it would also clash with European soccer and North American sports leagues. ___ 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: ___ The site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York is going to be used for 350 temporary hospital beds and to prepare food packages during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier says an area that houses indoor courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows will begin to be converted into a medical facility starting Tuesday. New York state and city officials are trying to increase hospital capacity by up to 87,000 beds to handle the outbreak. Widmaier adds that kitchens at Louis Armstrong Stadium -- the second-largest arena used for the Grand Slam tournament scheduled to begin in late August -- will be used for putting together 25,000 meal packages per day for patients, workers, volunteers and schoolchildren in the city. The USTA originally had said it was going to keep the facility open for people to take lessons, practice or play tennis. But then the group changed course and said it was shutting the site to the public. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the use of the tennis center. ___ Orlando Magic forward Wes Iwundu not only decided to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, he chose to help out a teammate as well. The Magic announced Monday that Iwundu donated to teammate Jonathan Isaac’s effort to feed children in Orlando who are in need. Isaac also revealed the donation on his social media platforms. Isaac announced last week that he is teaming up with J.U.M.P. Ministries Global Church to provide hot breakfasts and lunches to schoolchildren on weekdays for the duration of the pandemic. Isaac also is helping families obtain nonperishable food items once a week, things like oatmeal, cereal and instant rice. ___ The International Tennis Federation is offering interactive online courses and making videos and other content to help coaches available for free during the coronavirus pandemic. There are ITF Academy classes in English, Spanish and French, covering topics such as strategy and tactics, tennis parents and ethics in coaching. The federation is also making its 'Advanced Coaches Manual' ebook available for free instead of its usual price tag of 14.99 British pounds (about $18.50). That comes in 13 languages. ___ Golf Canada has postponed three regional qualifying tournaments for the RBC Canadian Open because of the new coronavirus. The tournaments were scheduled for May. There is no word on when they may be rescheduled. The RBC Canadian Open is still scheduled to start June 8 at St. George's Country Club in Toronto. ___ The Arizona Diamondbacks are donating an additional $500,000 to help people and organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the organization’s total contributions to more than $1 million. The franchise donated $550,000 last week and said that money was given to numerous nonprofit organizations that worked in food distribution and also helped support the children of health care workers. The new donation will help those causes in addition to more providing support for the medical and health care fields. “We are fortunate to not only be in a position to continue to give back, but to be in touch regularly with those in the medical field who can help distribute these funds in a meaningful way,” Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said in a statement. “Whether it is personal protective equipment, critical resources to support health care personnel or technology to provide virtual visits for those currently receiving care, we believe this money can make an immediate impact.” ___ Soccer agent Jorge Mendes is donating more than 150,000 masks to a Portuguese hospital with the help of José Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and other players. Mendes has raised the funds for the masks with the help of 25 people, most of them footballers. The donation will be made to the Hospital Santo António in Porto. Among the players involved were Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Nélson Semedo, Pepe and Renato Sanches. Ronaldo and Mendes had already funded other donations, including three intensive care units for coronavirus patients at hospitals in Portugal. They said they had also offered ventilators to officials in Madeira. ___ Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says the team has completely left its spring training facility, which is now being used for coronavirus testing. The National Guard is using parking lots and back fields to check members of the public at the complex the Nationals share with the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, Florida. Rizzo also said on a conference call with reporters Monday that Nationals Park in Washington 'is completely closed.' The GM said none of the World Series champions' players has shown any symptoms of COVID-19, so none has been tested for the illness. ___ Augusta National is donating $2 million, split evenly to Augusta University to expand testing for the new coronavirus and to a local relief agency to help those affected financially by the pandemic. The gift is in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), the longtime charitable arm for the home of the Masters. Chairman Fred Ridley says the $1 million to Augusta University will help with telemedicine pre-screening, triple the number of drive-through testing lanes on campus and allow for more supplies and personnel to increase testing from 100 to 1,000 or more tests daily. The gift to the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund goes directly to support relief efforts to those most vulnerable. “It is our hope these gifts will help address the many challenges brought about by the coronavirus throughout the city of Augusta and the greater region,” Ridley said. “We believe Augusta National has an important responsibility to support and protect the community who has so generously and consistently supported us for many years.” ___ The CFL has postponed the start of training camps due to the coronavirus pandemic. League commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the pandemic has made it unsafe for players and coaches to gather as scheduled. The league has not given an indication of when camps might open. Postponing training camps increases the likelihood of the CFL delaying the start of its 2020 regular season. ___ The Pac-12 Conference has extended its suspension of organized team activities through May 31 because of the new coronavirus. Virtual group activities, including film study, are allowed up to two hours per week in football and four hours per week in other sports. Coaches are allowed to recommend written, self-directed workout plans, and videos on workout plans are allowed to show proper form and technique. ___ Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart says he has been cleared by medical officials after testing positive for the new coronavirus earlier this month. In a message posted late Sunday on Twitter, Smart says he was informed of the news Friday by the Massachusetts Department of Health. He thanked everyone for their support. “Stay safe and stay together — apart!” Smart wrote. Boston played the Utah Jazz on March 6. Five days later, Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, triggering rolling shutdowns of sports around the world. Smart tested positive on March 19. He had been in isolation since then and was being monitoring by Celtics medical staff. His teammates, coaches and staff members were also tested, but those tests have come back negative. ___ The British and Irish Lions and SA Rugby have delayed the ticket ballots in Europe and South Africa and the release of the supporters' tour packages because of the coronavirus outbreak. Both were to be launched next month for the tour in July 2021. “Everyone's priorities are in doing everything they can to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are no exception,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said in a statement on Monday. “We ask our passionate rugby supporters to please bear with us during this difficult time.” The eight-match tour is going ahead as scheduled despite clashing with the postponed Tokyo Olympics. The tests are on July 24 -- the day after the games open -- July 31, and Aug. 7. ___ Atlanta United President Darren Eales says Major League Soccer still intends to play a full 34-game schedule this season, even though the league will be shuttered for at least two months because of the new coronavirus. Eales says MLS is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame. MLS was just two weeks into its season when play was halted March 12 because of the pandemic. The league has set a tentative return date of May 10, though the growing death toll in the United States could force that date to be pushed back. Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums. 'We're fortunate that we had just started our season,' he said Monday during a teleconference with Atlanta media. 'We have the whole calendar year to reschedule the games we missed. The emphasis is on playing all 34 games plus the playoffs.' MLS will likely schedule more midweek games and push back its MLS Cup championship game into mid-December in a bid to play a full season, according to Eales. He added that the playoffs could begin in mid-November — around the time MLS had been planning its title game. ___ General manager Brian MacLellan says no Washington Capitals players have tested positive for COVID-19 or shown any symptoms after using the same locker room as NBA players who later tested positive. MacLellan says the team hasn't had any sickness complaints from players related to the coronavirus pandemic that suspended the NHL season. The Capitals followed the NBA's Utah Jazz in the visiting locker room at Madison Square Garden in New York in early March. Two Jazz players tested positive. MacLellan said on a conference call Monday that 'we're pretty much daily checking in with players to see if they're exhibiting any' symptoms. Four NHL players have tested positive for the new coronavirus: two on the Ottawa Senators and two on the Colorado Avalanche. NHL chief medical officer Winne Meeuwisse said last week he was 'thankful' the numbers have been low. ___ The Irish Open has become the latest European Tour golf event to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The tournament was scheduled for May 28-31. There will now be no play on the tour until June at the earliest. The next possible tournament is the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco from June 4-7. The Irish Open is one of the high-profile events that make up the tour’s Rolex Series and had prize money of $7 million this year. It was due to be hosted by Graeme McDowell at the Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny. Regular tour events in Kenya, India, Malaysia, China, Spain, Portugal and Denmark have already been postponed or canceled. European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley says “we will continue to evaluate all aspects of our 2020 European Tour schedule, and discussions on the rescheduling of postponed events will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation.” ___ The governing body of swimming welcomed the new Tokyo Olympic dates without giving any detail of how to reschedule its own world championships in Japan next year. FINA’s biennial worlds were planned for July 16-Aug. 1, 2021, in Fukuoka. That slot is now taken by the Tokyo Olympics. FINA says knowing the Olympic dates “is very helpful to federations and athletes everywhere.' The governing body of track quickly committed to pushing back its world championships to 2022. But FINA has the added complication of the 2022 Commonwealth Games because many top swimmers compete in both events. ___ The governing body of triathlon says it wanted the rescheduled Olympics to be held earlier in the year to avoid the summer heat but has accepted the new dates. World Triathlon president Marisol Casado says “even though we would have preferred to move the games to earlier dates, where the impact of the heat was a bit lower, we agreed that these dates are the best solution.” All sports federations involved in the Olympics signed off on the new dates. Casado says “I am absolutely confident that we will have magnificent games in Tokyo next summer, with the help and support of all of us involved in the preparations for hosting the event.” The International Olympic Committee previously moved the marathons and race walking events to Japan’s northern city of Sapporo and scheduled most of them to start early in the morning to avoid the heat in Tokyo. Triathlon has remained in the capital even though it includes running. ___ The governing body of track and field says it supports the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics and is working with organizers in Eugene, Oregon, to move its world championships to 2022. World Athletics says “everyone needs to be flexible and compromise.” The 2021 track worlds were scheduled to be next year from Aug. 6-15. World Athletics says it will consult with the organizers of the Commonwealth Games and the European Athletics Championships. Those are other major track events scheduled to take place in 2022. ___ The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games. Tokyo organizers say the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. The IOC and Japanese organizers last week postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8. There had been talk of switching the Olympics to spring, a move that would coincide with the blooming of Japan's famous cherry blossoms. But it would also clash with European soccer and North American sports leagues. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • More than 450,000 people worldwide – including more than 61,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Wednesday, March 25, continue below: Senate approves $2 trillion Coronavirus rescue package Update 11:30 p.m. EDT March 25: After days of negotiations between the White House and Democrats, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday night to approve an unprecedented $2 trillion economic stimulus plan to respond to the negative effects of the Coronavirus, mixing direct aid to Americans will billions of dollars in emergency help for small and large businesses. “Our nation is obviously going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, just before the final vote. US deaths top 1,000 Update 11:15 p.m. EDT March 25: A Johns Hopkins University tally showed Wednesday evening that the U.S. death toll from coronavirus has surpasses 1,000. New York authorities mobilized to head off a potential public health disaster in the city Wednesday, with its emergence as the nation’s biggest coronavirus hot spot a warning flare — and perhaps a cautionary tale — for the rest of the country as U.S. deaths from the pandemic topped 1,000. A makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital, and the city’s police, their ranks dwindling as more fall ill, were told to patrol nearly empty streets to enforce social distancing. Coronavirus live updates: Mormon church suspends temple activities worldwide Update 11:10 p.m. EDT March 25: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is suspending all temple activity due to concerns over the coronavirus. The Utah-based faith said Wednesday that the temporary suspension would start at the end of the day. Alabama Governor confirms state’s first virus-related death Update 10:20 p.m. EDT March 25: Alabama on Wednesday reported its first coronavirus death as the total number of confirmed cases in the state reached nearly 400, officials said. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed the Jackson County resident died from the COVID-19 disease. The governor said she extends, “my prayers and deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones during these extraordinary circumstances.” The patient had underlying health problems and passed away in a facility outside the state of Alabama, the Health Department said. The Jackson County Commission said the person was a part-time employee at the county courthouse, and they are having the area cleaned before employees return to work. The death came as the number of confirmed cases in the state through limited testing jumped by more than 100 to 386 on Wednesday, with a third of those in Jefferson County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Hospitals and public health officials in the state continue to issue calls for people to take the virus seriously. Idaho Gov. Brad Little issues statewide stay-at-home order Update 9:15 p.m. EDT March 25: Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued a statewide stay-at-home order as the coronavirus continues to spread. Little announced the order will remain in effect for 21 days. Idaho has more than 123 confirmed cases of COVID-19 spread throughout the state. The stay-at-home order requires Idaho’s 1.75 million residents to self-isolate at home unless they are healthcare workers, public safety employees or other “essential workers” such as grocery store employees. Colorado governor issues statewide stay-at-home-order Update 8:20 p.m. EDT March 25: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he is issuing a statewide stay-at-home order in an attempt to stem the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Polis said he is taking this “extreme measure,” effective Thursday until April 11, because the restrictions taken to date haven’t been enough to reduce the spread of the virus. “If we don’t take these actions that we are taking today, and frankly, if you don’t stay home, this will create a much worse economic disaster with greater disruption, greater loss of jobs for a longer period of time,” he said at a news conference. People should only leave home when they absolutely must, he said, for grocery shopping, to seek medical care or to care for dependents, for example. Polis said state officials have measured the effect of social distancing restrictions by tracking people’s cellphone location data, real-time traffic information and other such metadata sources. New York mobilizes against onslaught Update 6:30 p.m. EDT March 25: Just days after New York leaders ordered people to stay home, authorities mobilized to head off a potential public health disaster Wednesday, with the city’s emergence as the nation’s biggest coronavirus hot spot a warning flare — and perhaps a cautionary tale — for the rest of the country. A makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital, and the city’s police, their ranks dwindling as more fall ill, were told to patrol nearly empty streets to enforce social distancing. Public health officials hunted down beds and medical equipment and put out a call for more doctors and nurses for fear the number of sick will explode in a matter of weeks, overwhelming hospitals the way the virus did in Italy and Spain. New York University offered to let its medical students graduate early so that they could join the battle. More than 1 million Californians file for unemployment Update 4:45 p.m. EDT March 25: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that more than 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits since March 13. The news comes after Congress reached a deal with the Trump administration on a stimulus package that will increase unemployment benefits by an $600 per week on top of what the state provides. Rep. Seth Moulton self-isolates after experiencing coronavirus symptoms Update 3:45 p.m. EDT March 25: U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton says he has decided to self-quarantine after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Moulton, a 41-year-old Democrat and former presidential hopeful from Massachusetts, said in a statement Wednesday that he began feeling unwell Thursday, with a low-grade fever and a tightness in his chest he’d never felt before. Moulton said he also had a sore throat, though no serious cough, along with body aches and unusual fatigue. His wife had similar symptoms, he said. Well before experiencing the symptoms, Moulton said, he instructed staff members in his offices in Salem and Washington to work from home, except for two essential workers. The House’s attending physician told him that because the symptoms are minor and a test would not change his treatment, he and his wife don’t qualify for tests, he said. Moulton said that he has been steadily improving and that unless his symptoms worsen, he can end his self-quarantine Saturday. Apple to donate 10M masks to medical workers in the US Update 3:40 p.m. EDT March 25: Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday announced that the technology company plans to donate 10 million masks to help medical workers in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 outbreak. “Apple has sourced, procured and is donating 10 million masks to the medical community in the United States,” Cook said in a video statement posted on Twitter. “These people deserve our debt of gratitude for all of the work that they’re doing on the front lines.” In a tweet, Cook said millions more masks would be donated to “the hardest hit regions in Europe.” All residents of New Jersey nursing home presumed to have COVID-19 Update 3:30 p.m. EDT March 25: All 94 residents of a New Jersey nursing home are presumed to have contracted COVID-19, according to multiple reports. As of Wednesday, 24 residents of St. Joseph’s Senior Home in Woodbridge, New Jersey, had tested positive for COVID-19, WNBC reported. The other 70 residents were presumed to have also gotten the viral infection, the news station reported. Health officials told WABC-TV that about a dozen of the home’s employees were home sick Wednesday with “influenza-like illnesses.” WNBC reported Wednesday that the illnesses left just three nuns caring for the facility’s residents. “This may result unfortunately and ultimately with the closure of that facility, a facility that has cared for the most vulnerable population in Woodbridge and the surrounding area for decades,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli told WABC-TV. Residents of St. Joseph’s Senior Home were being moved Wednesday to a CareOne home about 30 miles north in Whippany, WNBC reported. World-renowned restaurateur, ‘Top Chef’ winner dies of coronavirus Update 3:15 p.m. EDT March 25: A “Top Chef Masters” winner and beloved restaurateur, Floyd Cardoz, has died of complications from the coronavirus. He was 59. A statement released by his company says Cardoz died Wednesday. He was admitted a week ago to Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, New Jersey, with a fever and subsequently tested positive for the virus. The chef won season three of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” in 2011. He was a partner in three restaurants in his native Mumbai. In addition, he and famed restaurateur Danny Meyer operated the popular Manhattan eatery Tabla in the early 2000s. It closed in 2010. US coronavirus cases top 61,000 Update 3 p.m. EDT March 25: More than 61,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States as of Wednesday afternoon, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, the state with the highest concentration of novel coronavirus cases, announced that 30,811 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in the state by Wednesday morning. The state hit the second-hardest by the virus, New Jersey, reported 4,402 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday afternoon. California has reported 2,644 cases of the coronavirus while Washington state has recorded 2,469 cases. Officials with the World Health Organization warned Tuesday that America might become the next epicenter of the global pandemic after China and Italy. Tony Awards postponed, no new date set Update 2:45 p.m. EDT March 25: Organizers announced Wednesday that the 74th Annual Tony Awards has been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Officials said the show, which was set to air live from New York City on June 7, will be rescheduled, though they gave no new date. “The health and safety of the Broadway community, artists and fans is of the utmost importance to us,” organizers said in a statement. “We are looking forward to celebrating Broadway and our industry when it is safe to do so.' Italy poised to overtake China as country with most COVID-19 cases Update 2:20 p.m. EDT March 25: Health officials in Italy recorded 683 new COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, bringing the country’s death toll from the 2019 novel coronavirus to 7,503. The deaths are the most associated with COVID-19 in the world. Italian officials said 74,386 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country, putting it in position to overtake China as the country with the most number novel coronavirus cases. According to numbers released Tuesday by the World Health Organization, 81,747 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in China. Globally, more than 451,000 coronavirus cases had been reported by Wednesday afternoon, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Massimo Galli of Milan’s Sacco Hospital said that the infections being verified in these days result from before many of the containment measures went into effect March 11. He told SKY TG24 that in his estimation the restrictions won’t be lifted any time soon. “This is hard, but the numbers and facts say it,” Galli said. His team at the Sacco Hospital has determined that the virus has been circulating in Italy since Jan. 25-26, and that it took almost a month for it to become recognized, around Feb. 20-21. That puts Italy as of March 3 at the same place Wuhan, China was on Jan. 25, he said, noting that China is only coming out of tight restrictions now, two months later. Senators say they’ve found ‘life-threatening drafting error’ in COVID-19 stimulus bill Update 1:55 p.m. EDT March 25: A trio of U.S. senators said Wednesday that they’ve found a “a massive drafting error ... (that) could have devastating consequences.' In a joint statement, Sens. Tim Scott, R-SC, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said that, as written, the bill provides “a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work.” “If the federal government accidentally incentivizes layoffs, we risk life-threatening shortages in sectors where doctors, nurses and pharmacists are trying to care for the sick and where growers, and grocers, truckers and cooks are trying to get food to families’ tables,” the statement said. “We must sadly oppose the fast-tracking of this bill unless this text is addressed or the Department of Labor issues regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working.” Spain’s deputy prime minister diagnosed with COVID-19 Update 1:40 p.m. EDT March 25: Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, who is 62, has contracted the coronavirus and remains hospitalized to be treated for her respiratory infection. A statement from the prime minister's office said Wednesday that Calvo's latest diagnosis had turned positive after previous tests during the past two days were deemed inconclusive by doctors. At least two other members of the Spanish Cabinet are also recovering from the COVID-19 that is caused by the new virus, as well as the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. British ambassador, 37, dies after contracting coronavirus Update 1:30 p.m. EDT March 25: Steven Dick, Britain’s deputy ambassador to Hungary, died Tuesday after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to The Guardian. He was 37. In a statement released by the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and obtained by the newspaper, Dick’s parents, Steven and Carol Dick, described their son as “much-loved,” “kind, funny and generous.” “It was always his dream to work for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and he was very happy to be representing our country overseas.” Dick died in a hospital in Budapest, The Guardian reported. Canada requiring travelers to self-isolate Update 1:15 p.m. EDT March 25: Officials in Canada on Wednesday mandated that all travelers self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the country to stymie the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus. Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced the decision in a Twitter post. Previously, travelers were asked to voluntarily self-isolate. James Taylor and wife Kim donate $1M to Massachusetts hospital Update 1:05 p.m. EDT March 25: Officials in Massachusetts said Wednesday that musician James Taylor and his wife, Kim, have donated $1 million to Massachusetts General Hospital to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, WFXT reported. According to hospital officials, James Taylor was born at Massachusetts General. The hospital also served as the setting for his physician father’s medical residency. For five years, Kim Taylor served on the board of the hospital’s pediatric unit, WFXT reported. What’s in the proposed $2T stimulus bill? Update 1 p.m. EDT March 25: The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Wednesday afternoon on a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at getting money to businesses and individuals as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the country. Early Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, announced that Republicans, Democrats and the White House had agreed on a $2 trillion plan that will fund unemployment insurance programs, help state and local governments, bolster hospitals and health care facilities, make loans to businesses and send many Americans checks for $1,200. Russia reports its first COVID-19 deaths Update 12:55 p.m. EDT March 25: Officials in Russia have reported the country’s first deaths from the novel coronavirus infection, two elderly patients who also had underlying conditions. The commission directing Russia's response to the virus said Wednesday the patients died of pneumonia and were 88 and 73 years old. Russia has reported 658 cases of infection nationwide. Last week an infected patient died, but doctors said that was due to a blood clot rather than the virus itself. First fatal coronavirus cases reported in NC Update 12:40 p.m. EDT March 25: Officials in North Carolina on Wednesday announced the first fatal COVID-19 cases in the state, WSOC-TV reported. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced a Cabarrus County resident in his or her late 70s who had several underlying medical conditions as one of the patients. The other was identified as a Virginia resident in his or her 60s who had been traveling through North Carolina. 40 COVID-19 deaths reported in Georgia Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 25: Officials in Georgia said the state’s novel coronavirus death toll has risen by eight, giving the state a total of 40 deadly COVID-19 cases thus far, according to WSB-TV. As of noon local time Wednesday, 1,247 novel coronavirus cases have been reported in the state, including 394 which required hospitalization. Attorneys general urge Trump to use Defense Production Act Update 12:15 p.m. EDT March 25: Attorney General Josh Kaul of Wisconsin is leading a coalition of 16 attorneys general in urging President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act to boost production of masks and respirators in the fight against COVID-19. Kaul says healthcare workers, law enforcement and other first responders “need resources now.” The Democratic attorney general says Trump must act now and use his broad power to address shortages in critical supplies. Trump has balked at using his authority under the recently invoked Defense Protection Act to compel the private sector to manufacture masks and ventilators, even as he encourages them to spur production. First coronavirus death reported in New Mexico Update 12:10 p.m. EDT March 25: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico announced Wednesday the state’s first known death related to COVID-19. “My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends who are grieving this sudden loss,” she said in a post on Twitter. “The terrible reality is that this will not be the last time I deliver this sad news. Please take care to protect yourself and your community. Together, we will come out the other side.” 30,811 coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 12 p.m. EDT March 25: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said officials identified 5,146 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 30,811 cases. Cuomo said 12% of the patients who have been identified in New York remained hospitalized Wednesday while 3% were in intensive care units. The latest numbers make New York one of the areas worst-hit by the 2019 novel coronavirus. The state has the highest number of cases in the U.S. by far, enough to place it above all but four countries in total virus case numbers. “We have 10 times the problem that the next state has, which is New Jersey,” Cuomo said Wednesday. Health officials in New Jersey have recorded 3,675 coronavirus cases. In California, 2,644 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 2,404 cases have been reported in Washington state. “This is a really dramatic differential,” Cuomo said. “It really is breathtaking when you think about it.” Cuomo said the high case numbers were likely caused by the popularity of New York as a travel destination and the density of the city. “I have no doubt that the virus was here much earlier than we even know,” he said. Gov. Andrew Cuomo daily news conference Update 11:30 a.m. EDT March 25: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is speaking during his daily news conference and has given the latest numbers on the outbreak. As of Wednesday morning, Cuomo said the trajectory is still going up and the state has not reached the apex yet. He expects to hit it in New York in about 21 days when most people will need to be admitted to hospitals.Of all cases, 80% are self-resolved, with 15% of those who test positive needing hospitalizations. The good news is, the rate of hospitalizations has slowed. It was projected to double every two days as of Sunday. Monday the number was adjusted to 3.4 days. On Tuesday, it was again adjusted to 4.7 days.Hospitals have been ordered to increase capacity by at least 50% with the goal being 100%, which could make 85,000 beds available overall. Currently, there are about 53,000 beds but need potentially 140,000 beds. As for staffing, the state has reached out to medical personnel who are no longer working in the field for a variety of reasons like retirement. So far, 40,000 people have responded. The state has also set up a hotline with 6,175 mental health professionals signed up to help. Cuomo has spoken to New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and they are working on a pilot program to close some New York City streets because there is less traffic and open them to pedestrians to help spread out social density. In addition, while there is no official law forcing people to limit social density, Cuomo and DeBlasio are encouraging playground rules to limit people gathering. They also are suggesting no close contact sports, like basketball, for the time being. But if people don’t start doing it voluntarily, they will make it mandatory. House expected to vote Thursday on stimulus plan Update 10:55 a.m. EDT March 25: The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on a proposed plan to inject roughly $2 trillion into the American economy amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported Wednesday that the House briefly convened but representatives left before voting on the stimulus package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the House had yet to see the language of the bill. MLS extends training moratorium to April Update 10:45 a.m. EDT March 25: Officials with Major League Soccer said Tuesday a previously moratorium on team training had been extended through April 3 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Officials said MLS players were expected to stay in their clubs’ respective market to wait out the virus. The league has targeted May 10 as a potential return date. NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns says his mom has COVID-19 symptoms Update 10:10 a.m. EDT March 25: NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns shared Tuesday on social media that his mother has been hospitalized with issues that he believes to have been caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus. Towns, who plays center for the Minnesota Timberwolves, urged people to take the virus seriously in an emotional video posted on Instagram. “I think it’s important that everyone understands the severity of what’s happening in the world right now with the coronavirus, and I think where my life is right now could help, so I decided to do this video and give you an update of where I’m at,” Towns said. Loved ones making their final goodbyes to COVID-19 patients via videolink in the UK Update 10:05 a.m. EDT March 25: Britons with loved ones dying of COVID-19 are having to say goodbye via videolink due to the ongoing pandemic, The Guardian reported Wednesday. The newspaper spoke with a matron who recalled a family saying goodbye Tuesday morning to a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 via videolink. The Guardian reported the woman, who was married to the patient, was given the option to be at her husband’s side but that she declined, because their children weren’t allowed to attend. Instead, the family watched from home via videolink, The Guardian reported. “It is heartbreaking that he died without his family being able to hold his hands or giving him a goodbye kiss but at least they saw him in his final moments,” the matron told The Guardian. “If it’s something we (National Health Service staff) can do for people in this difficult crisis, it’s the least we can do. Not everybody can see or handle these things but giving that option to everybody is something we can do to perhaps make the pain go away. We know there are many more to come.” First COVID-19 case reported in Libya Update 9:40 a.m. EDT March 25: Health officials in Libya on Wednesday announced the country’s first case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, The Guardian reported. The patient was identified as a 73-year-old man who arrived March 5 in Libya from Tunisia, according to Time magazine. Officials said he recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, Time reported. The appearance of the first case in Libya stoked fears that an outbreak could overwhelm an already strained health care system. Libya is divided between rival governments and embroiled in a long-running civil war. As the coronavirus sweeps across the Middle East, Libya had been bracing for the virus to arrive, despite dire shortages in medical supplies and protective gear. Public health officials have been warning that the coronavirus could be devastating in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Libya, where years of conflict have gutted health care systems and ravaged key infrastructure. Mitt Romney tests negative for COVID-19 Update 9:25 a.m. EDT March 25: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Tuesday announced that after self-quarantining himself due to possible exposure to COVID-19, he has tested negative for the viral infection. “Thankfully I’ve tested negative for COVID-19,” the former presidential candidate wrote Tuesday in a tweet. He said that, following his doctor’s orders, he will remain in quarantine as a precaution. Romney announced his decision to self-isolate Sunday after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he had tested positive for COVID-19. Romney showed no symptoms of the viral infection. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also went into self-quarantine following Rand’s diagnosis. Death toll in Spain surpasses China Update 9 a.m. EDT March 25: Spain has now the world’s second highest tally of coronavirus deaths after a 738 spike was recorded Wednesday, the highest so far in one day. With 3,434, Spain surpassed China’s 3,285 and has more than half of Italy’s 6,820. Infections also rose on Wednesday by 20% from a day earlier to 47,610, Spain’s Ministry of Health announced. More than 5,000 people have recovered, the ministry said. The outbreak has hit Spain and put a tragic strain on its healthcare system, especially in the central region around Madrid, with one third of the positive cases and roughly half of the casualties. 4 new coronavirus cases reported in Kuwait, bringing total to 195 Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 25: Health officials in Kuwait reported four new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 195. The numbers include 43 cases in which patients recovered and six patients who were last listed in intensive care units, according to officials. Two of the new cases were determined to be related to travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom while the other two remained under investigation Wednesday. Mirka and Roger Federer donate $1.02 million to struggling families Update 8:50 a.m. EDT March 25: Roger Federer and his wife, fellow tennis star Miroslava “Mirka” Federer, announced Wednesday that they are donating 1 million Swiss Francs (about $1.02 million) to support the most vulnerable families in their home country of Switzerland. “Our contribution is just a start,” Roger Federer said in an Instagram post Wednesday. 'We hope that others might join in supporting more families in need. Together we can overcome this crisis! Stay healthy! Queen Elizabeth II ‘remains in good health,’ Buckingham Palace says Update 7:31 a.m. EDT March 25: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II “remains in good health,' Buckingham Palace said Wednesday after Clarence House revealed that her son, Prince Charles, tested positive for coronavirus. According to CNN, the queen, who is 93, last had contact with Charles on March 12 following “an investiture ceremony for public awards at Buckingham Palace.” That day, he also had a public engagement in London supporting Australian brush fire relief. Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus Update 6:37 a.m. EDT March 25: Britain’s Prince Charles, 71, has tested positive for coronavirus, Clarence House told ITV on Wednesday. “He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual,” Clarence House said in a statement. Charles’ wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative for the virus, ITV reported. “In accordance with Government and medical advice, the Prince and the Duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland,' the statement continued. Mnuchin: Trump will ‘absolutely’ sign $2T stimulus bill if it passes Update 4:38 a.m. EDT March 25: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the bipartisan, $2 trillion stimulus deal that White House and Senate leaders reached early Wednesday is “terrific.” “I’ve spoken to the president many times today, and he’s very pleased with this legislation and the impact that this is going to have,” Mnuchin said, according to The New York Times.  If the legislation passes the Senate and House, Trump will “absolutely” sign it, Mnuchin said, adding that he hopes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take up the bill “as-is.” The Senate plans to reconvene at noon and vote Wednesday afternoon, the Times reported. Eddie Bauer to make masks, donate them to health care facilities Update 3:34 a.m. EDT March 25: In response to the high demand and shortage of protective equipment during COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle-based Eddie Bauer said it will be shifting some of its production line to help make masks for hospitals. The outdoor brand announced Tuesday it will make N95 and surgical masks. “With our production capabilities and supply-chain resources, Eddie Bauer is working with our vendors to shift apparel production to make the masks our healthcare workers so urgently need,” said Damien Huang, Eddie Bauer President. “Our neighbors here in Washington state and the greater Seattle area have been seriously impacted by COVID-19. We’ve been a part of this community for 100 years, and we take our responsibility to our community seriously. While as a retailer we have been hit hard by the circumstances, we will do what we can to support health care workers and facilities in our own backyard.” The company plans to donate 20,000 masks and will start as early as next week. Eddie Bauer will donate the masks through the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services, which will ensure they are distributed to the counties and facilities with the greatest need. McConnell, Schumer announce $2T stimulus deal on Senate floor Update 2:48 a.m. EDT March 25: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took to the Senate floor early Wednesday to announce that a deal has been reached on a $2 trillion economic stimulus plan. “At last, we have a deal,” McConnell said. “After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic. It will rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation’s health care fight, and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help American workers, families, small businesses and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar.” >> Watch his full address here Schumer added: “After five days of arduous negotiations, after sleep-deprived nights and marathon negotiating sessions, we have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history.” >> Watch his announcement here According to the Los Angeles Times, the Senate is expected to vote on the bill as soon as “midday Wednesday.” “We’re going to pass this legislation later today,” McConnell tweeted shortly before 2 a.m. Lawmakers have not yet released the bill’s full text; however, CNN reported that people who earn $75,000 or less annually are expected to receive $1,200 each, while married couples who file taxes jointly and make $150,000 or less will receive $2,400. An additional $500 will be paid out for each child, according to the news outlet. The payment amounts would be less for those with higher incomes, “phasing out entirely' for individuals making $99,000 or more and couples making at least $198,000, CNN reported. The plan also includes a $367 billion small business loan program; $500 billion “for industries, cities and states”; $150 billion “for state and local stimulus funds”; $130 billion to help hospitals; and an expansion of unemployment insurance, according to the Washington Post. White House, Senate leaders reach deal on $2T stimulus proposal Update 1:26 a.m. EDT March 25: Senate leaders and the White House reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus plan overnight, CNN and the Washington Post are reporting. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal,” Eric Ueland, legislative affairs director for the White House, said about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell likely will announce the deal on the Senate floor soon, the news outlets reported. According to the Post, “many Americans” would get $1,200 checks under the legislation.  Ueland said he hoped to be able to circulate the bill’s text later Wednesday morning, CNN reported. More than 55,000 cases reported in the US Update 12:41 a.m. EDT March 25: The number of novel coronavirus cases reported in the United States rose past 55,000 early Wednesday, according to numbers compiled by John Hopkins University. The university reported 55,148 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of 12:41 a.m. EDT. In at least 35 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, 796 deaths have been reported thus far. Eleven states have reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases each: New York, 26,376; New Jersey, 3,675; California, 2,590; Washington, 2,472; Michigan, 1,793; Illinois, 1,537; Florida, 1,467; Louisiana, 1,388; Massachusetts, 1,159; Georgia, 1,097; and Texas, 1,001. Worldwide, 422,915 confirmed cases and 18,915 deaths have been reported, according to the university.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: ___ The Carolina Hurricanes are asking full-time employees to take vacation or personal days off next week with limited operations due to the coronavirus. In an interview with The Associated Press, team president and general manager Don Waddell said the request was “the best avenue to take for the next 10 days.” The team had announced this week that it would temporarily close its offices as of Tuesday while employees work remotely. Waddell said the decision would be on a week-to-week basis, though it doesn’t affect employees working under contracts. It comes as Wake County commission Chairman Greg Ford said the county plans to soon issue a stay-at-home order for residents similar to other areas of the state. The News & Observer of Raleigh first reported the plan, citing an internal email that stated employees would go without pay if they had used all allotted time off. Waddell clarified that later, telling the newspaper: “Everyone will get paid and we’ll figure it out after that.” “Everybody’s got full benefits, everybody’s getting paid this week,” Waddell told the AP. “We haven’t laid one person off. We haven’t cut one person. We haven’t cut any benefits.” The Hurricanes had previously announced plans to compensate arena and team-event staff for lost wages for remaining home games on hold with the NHL regular season suspended. ___ Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic has added his name to the list of NBA players helping out during the global coronavirus pandemic, announcing he has made a donation to the Homeless Education Fund for schools in Central Florida. School closures mean many children in the Orlando area are missing out on the free or reduced breakfast and lunch meals that they usually count on daily. Gordon has helped with causes directed toward helping vulnerable kids before, and says he’s hoping his gift can help “our most precious resource.” Several Magic players, including Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba have made donations to various causes in recent days. The DeVos family, which has owned the Magic for 29 years, is also backing a $2 million fund that will pay hourly employees of the Magic, Lakeland Magic, Orlando Solar Bears and the Amway Center who would have otherwise been missing out on income during the sports and entertainment shutdown. “Potential is universal; opportunity, not so much. That’s where we come in,” Gordon said. “Now is a great time to wrap our arms around our kids’ communities.” ___ Canadian hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer is offering to modify its production line to make protective visors for doctors, nurses and first responders. The protective equipment to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic would be produced at the company's innovation center in suburban Montreal, as well as its facility in Liverpool, New York. Bauer's vice president of products, Dan Bourgeois, says he has already received calls from Montreal police, firefighters and hospitals interested in the products. Bourgeois says the company decided to adapt its hockey visor production after hearing Premier Francois Legault say manufacturers in Quebec could have a role to play if supplies of protective equipment run low. The proposed full-face visors are made of plastic and contain anti-fogging material. With non-essential businesses ordered closed in Quebec, the company is awaiting authorization from the provincial government before going into production. ___ A construction worker at the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas has tested positive for the new coronavirus. Mortenson-McCarthy Builders said Wednesday the worker had not been in close contact with any other project worker and had been off site since last week. The worker is self isolating for 14 days and won't return to work until cleared. Fox5 in Las Vegas first reported the news. Mortenson-McCarthy says the area of the stadium where the worker was assigned and the surrounding vicinity were immediately shut down and sanitized. Work in other parts of the stadium has been unaffected and the stadium is still scheduled to be completed this summer. The Raiders are set to begin play in the $1.9 billion stadium this fall. ___ USA Diving will keep its Olympic trials in Indianapolis when the event is rescheduled. With the Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak, USA Diving formally called off the trials scheduled for June 14-21 at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus near downtown Indianapolis. The governing body said it will work with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Indiana Sports Corp to reschedule the event, though that decision can't be reached until the International Olympic Committee comes up with new dates for the Tokyo Games. All tickets that had been purchased for the U.S. diving trials will automatically be shifted to the new dates once a decision is reached. Any hotel reservations that were booked through USA Diving's site will be canceled. ___ The Seattle Sounders have established a relief fund to help support individuals and businesses in the Seattle neighborhoods of Pioneer Square, SoDo and the Chinatown-International District near the team’s headquarters and home stadium of CenturyLink Field. The family of majority owner Adrian Hanauer is making a $500,000 initial investment to the fund, which will be aimed at individuals, non-profits and small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MLS team says the fund is intended to support a range of needs, from groceries to rent assistance and monetary packages. The priorities of the fund will go toward individual shift workers and service providers that work in and around the stadium when the team has home matches; small businesses in the area to help them stay open; and non-profits that support individuals and businesses in those neighborhoods. 'The Sounders were born here in Seattle over 40 years ago, and we wouldn't be the club we have become without the support we've always found in this amazing and vibrant community,' Hanauer said in a statement. 'Now, as our world faces the new and unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, it's our responsibility to step up and give back to the community in a meaningful way.” ___ Claressa Shields’ fight against Marie-Eve Dicaire has been postponed. Shields and Dicaire were supposed to have a 154-pound unification bout May 9 in Flint, Michigan. Salita Promotions announced the postponement, citing the coronavirus pandemic. Salita Promotions said it would monitor the situation and work to announce a new date at some point. “Unfortunately, the real fight is outside the ring right now,” promoter Dmitriy Salita said in a statement. “Once our invisible opponent is beaten, we can get back to watching two undefeated champions and the two best super welterweights in the world vie for the undisputed world title as Claressa Shields continues to build her incredible legacy in female boxing.” ___ Wrestling star Jordan Burroughs has no plans to retire, announcing he is going to compete for a spot in the Olympics in 2021. The 2012 gold medalist and four-time world champion said he was disappointed when he found out the Tokyo Games would be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. He considers it a setback, not a deal-breaker. He turns 32 in July. “When I walked away from Rio medal-less in 2016, I contemplated retirement,” he tweeted. 'Not because I couldn't do it anymore, but because I knew that it would require another four years of tremendous work to get back. I was unsure if I was willing to dedicate another four years of my life to reach that stage. “Yet, here we are, and there it goes. The race that I was once afraid to embark on because of its length just moved its finish line a little further. But I'm still in the race.” Burroughs' aggressive wrestling style and success has earned him a worldwide following. He won his first world title in 2011 and took gold in his Olympics debut in London the next year. He was favored to repeat as champion at 74 kilograms in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro but finished ninth. He won the world title in 2017 and was third the last two years. ___ Churchill Downs has suspended the final three racing dates at Turfway Park following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s “Healthy at Home” executive order out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florence, Kentucky, track’s winter meet was scheduled to end Saturday. Turfway’s backside area will remain open because it falls under the “life-sustaining business” category by providing “food, shelter and other necessities of life for animals.” ___ The National Hockey League has postponed its scouting combine, awards ceremony and draft that were scheduled for June. It did not provide new dates for the events. With the NHL season on pause since March 12, the postponement of these events did not come as a surprise. The league is still working on scenarios of what hockey would look like if it is able to resume this season. ___ Organizers of the European Championships in track and field still hope to stage the event in Paris in August despite France being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic. European Athletics says it asked officials in Paris for a feasibility study for the Aug. 25-30 championships. French officials reported their work has been “severely compromised by France’s national shutdown of non-essential activities” during the health crisis. However, European Athletics says “many athletes are keen” to see the championships go ahead as planned. It shapes up as the main medal target for European track and field athletes in 2020 after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until next year. The European track body’s ruling council next meets May 7-8 by video conference. ___ The owners of the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres are committing $1.2 million to supporting local charities and health officials dealing with the new coronavirus pandemic. Kim Pegula says she and her husband Terry wanted to provide immediate assistance to 'those in need and fighting on the front lines.' Money from the teams' charitable foundations will got to the newly formed Western New York COVID-19 community response fund supporting the region's non-profit agencies. Money also is going to several local food banks and assistance for health officials in purchasing protective gear and medical equipment. ___ Rio de Janeiro’s soccer body has extended its prohibition on professional matches in the state to the end of April. The initial suspension is valid until the end of March. Rio is home to defending Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo. Brazil has more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, and 57 people have died. ___ The Boston Bruins say they are putting 68 full-time employees on temporary leave and cutting the pay of 82 others who work for the team or Delaware North, which owns the TD Garden. The moves — which the Bruins called “temporary business stabilization measures” — are effective April 1. The companies say they intend to restore jobs and compensation “once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage.” The Bruins were the last team in the NHL to offer help to gameday employees who lost work because of the coronavirus pandemic — and then only if postponed games aren’t made up. The team is owned by Jeremy Jacobs, who is the chairman of the NHL board of governors and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. According to Forbes Magazine, the Jacobs family is worth $3.3 billion. ___ Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is teaming up with Dr. Anthony Fauci for a question-and-answer discussion about the coronavirus. Curry, a two-time NBA MVP, will host the chat on his Instagram account Thursday — (at)StephenCurry30. Fauci is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Curry posted his plans on his Twitter account with an invite to all to submit questions. ___ Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is open to the NCAA allowing more football practices after spring ball was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Tigers got in nine sessions after starting practice Feb. 26 before all spring activities, including their Orange and White scrimmage, were canceled. Swinney is not in favor of extending fall camp, instead suggesting a sort of NFL-style mini-camp depending on how many spring workouts the team got before spring activities were canceled. 'Maybe if they said everybody could have 12 on-field sessions,' Swinney said. “So that means we would get only three just to make it equitable. But some of these schools who got none, they could get 12.” ___ Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward and his wife Erin, a trauma nurse, have recorded a message thanking first responders and health care workers. The message was sent to the Texas Hospital Association and Medical City of Arlington and Dallas. “We’re just trying to say thank you to all of these people on the front lines,” Woodward said Wednesday. “The first responders are first on the scene to a lot of these things. ... The doctors, nurses, everybody, they’re putting themselves at risk for all of us.” Woodward said his wife isn’t currently working in a hospital. She finished a nursing contract at the end of February in Arizona, where they live, and is going back to school for another license. The Woodwards are also joining Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his wife, Robyn, to provide meals to health care workers at Medical City of Arlington and Dallas. ___ The United Center is going to be turned into a logistics hub to help with Illinois' response to the novel coronavirus. The United Center and the surrounding area will be used for front-line food distribution, first responder staging and collecting medical supplies. “On behalf of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, our athletes, our front offices and our dedicated United Center personnel, our thoughts and support are with the people of this great city and state,” a spokesman for the United Center said in a release. “Together, we will get through this.” ___ Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, has died of complications from COVID-19, the mayor of Norwalk said. She was 83. Roman, who also served for 20 years as Norwalk's city clerk in Connecticut, died Monday night at Norwalk Hospital, Mayor Harry Rilling said. A childhood polio survivor, Roman began competing in senior track events in 1989 and won hundreds of medals, mostly in the throwing disciplines. At various times, she held the American record in the shot put in the women's 65-69, 70-74 and 75-79 age groups. She also was once the nation's top-ranked thrower and ranked eighth in the world in the weight throw in the 75-79 age group. ___ Argentine cyclist Max Richeze has been released from a hospital in the United Arab Emirates, where the UAE Team Emirates rider spent 18 days after testing positive for the coronavirus following the cancellation of the UAE Tour. Richeze wrote on Instagram that two tests for COVID-19 had come back negative and he was discharged Wednesday. That status of Richeze's teammate, Fernando Gaviria, remains unknown after he also tested positive for the virus. Two staff members for UAE Team Emirates also tested positive, and the entire team remains in voluntary quarantine. The second edition of the UAE Tour, a major early season stage race, was canceled with two stages left. Riders and support staff for all 22 teams were isolated, though nearly all of them now have been cleared to leave the country. ___ The All England Club says it is still evaluating whether to postpone or cancel Wimbledon because of the coronavirus pandemic and plans to make a decision next week. That's when the club's main board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting. Main-draw play at Wimbledon is slated to start June 29 and preparations for the tournament are supposed to begin in late April. The club's statement Wednesday says that postponing the two-week grass-court tournament would not come 'without significant risk and difficulty' because of the surface. Playing without fans has been ruled out. Wimbledon hasn't been canceled since World War II. ___ NASCAR says in a memo to teams that one of its employees at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago tested positive for the coronavirus. The employee was not identified and NASCAR said the individual has been receiving medical care and all potentially exposed have been told to self-quarantine. NASCAR was at Atlanta scheduled to race March 15 without spectators. But two days prior to the race, NASCAR postponed Atlanta and last weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which instead was converted into a virtual iRacing event broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with 35 drivers. NASCAR has suspended its season through May 9 and will race at least five more iRaces, televised on Fox, during the stoppage. ___ The NHL's chief medical officer expects the coronavirus pandemic to get worse before it gets better. Dr. Winne Meeuwisse says the virus is 'really just entering the rapid acceleration phase' in North America. That makes it unclear when hockey might resume. He says the league is thankful only two players have tested positive for COVID-19 so far and is hopeful weeks of isolation will prevent more from contracting the virus. Players and staff have been told to self-quarantine until at least April 4. There is no timeline for when players might be able to start working out in small groups or report to team training facilities. Meeuwisse says the trajectory of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and Canada will determine when that might be possible. Varying recommendations and lockdown regulations across the league's 31 markets could impact how the NHL proceeds. Meeuwisse and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are still unsure whether fans would be allowed in for potential games when they resume. ___ Aqueduct has extended the suspension of live horse racing through at least April 5 because of the impact of the new coronavirus in New York. As a result, the $750,000 Wood Memorial has been postponed. No make-up date has been determined yet for the major Kentucky Derby prep that was to be run on April 4. Last Thursday, the New York Racing Association suspended racing at Aqueduct after confirmation that a backstretch worker who lived and worked at Belmont Park tested positive for COVID-19. The Belmont backstretch is home to 585 workers who tend to the daily care of more than 1,300 horses stabled on the property. The pandemic has affected other prep races for the Kentucky Derby, which itself was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. The Sunland Derby in New Mexico and Blue Grass and Lexington stakes in Kentucky have been canceled, along with the UAE Derby. The Arkansas Derby was pushed back from April 11 to May 2. For now, the Florida Derby on March 28 and Santa Anita Derby on April 4 are still scheduled. ___ NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday. In a memo to teams, Goodell said restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel. The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. The league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The newly installed president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Soccer Federation used their first news conference to state that settling a lawsuit filed by women's national team players is a top priority. “A lot of damage has been done, and I think we are going to have to rebuild that trust and rebuild the relationship. It is not going to happen overnight,” President Cindy Parlow Cone said Tuesday. “It's going to take a lot of effort and time and energy from the U.S. Soccer side to rebuild that trust, not only with our U.S. women's national team players, but with our fans and everyone engaged in the sport.” Players claim they have not been paid equally to the men's national team and asked for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A trial is scheduled for May 5 in federal court in Los Angeles. “The solution here is clear, simple, and unequivocal: equal pay,” responded Molly Levinson, spokeswomen for the players. In legal papers filed this month ahead of the trial, the USSF claimed the women's team didn't have the physical abilities or the same responsibilities as the men's team. That sparked a furor that included an on-field protest by players wearing their warm-up jerseys inside out to hide the USSF crest. The outcry led to the resignation of USSF President Carlos Cordeiro and caused the federation to change its lead law firm. Chief legal officer Lydia Wahlke has been placed on administrative leave, which was first reported Tuesday by ESPN. Parlow Cone said an outside firm has been retained to review USSF decision-making that led to the briefs “to see where that process broke down.” She hopes to schedule settlement talks. 'I don't think a trial is good for either party or for soccer,” Parlow Cone said. A 41-year-old World Cup and Olympic champion, Parlow Cone had been the USSF vice president before Cordeiro quit on March 12. “The comments and the language in the last filing,' Parlow Cone said, 'I think not only hurt our relationship with our women's national team, but hurt women and girls in general, and as a former national player, they were personally hurtful to me.” Will Wilson, a former MLS executive and the uncle of retired NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, was hired as chief executive officer Monday to replace Dan Flynn, who retired in September. The 52-year-old Wilson had been co-head of the NFL division of the Wasserman Media Group, which represents players. “The wording, the comments in the filing were quite frankly shocking and very, very disappointing to me,” Wilson said. Parlow Cone said she is part of the USSF's board special litigation committee along with youth council representative Tim Turney and independent director Patti Hart. She said the committee was never given a chance to review the filings before they were submitted to the court. “There was a fundamental error in our processes,” Parlow Cone said. She drew a distinction between this month's filing and previous legal arguments by the federation. “I think it's one thing to argue that men and women play in different tournaments and play against different teams, and it's altogether a different statement to say that therefore the women carry less responsibility or have less ability,” Parlow Cone said. She said it was too soon to decide whether she would run next February to complete the final year of Cordeiro's term. Parlow Cone also said the USSF is open to having the women and men negotiate together for a common labor deal, but that decision is up to the two unions under federal labor law. Wilson, who said he received a multiyear contract, said it was not clear whether the postponement of the Olympics would cause Nike and other sponsors to decrease payments to the USSF this year. He is likely to take a role in organizing the 2026 World Cup, which the U.S. will co-host with Mexico and Canada. In addition, the USSF faces antitrust suits by the promoter Relient seeking to allow foreign leagues to play in the U.S. and by the lower level North American Soccer League, which stopped play after 2017 and wanted a promotion-relegation system. The U.S. men's national team has been without a collective bargaining agreement since December 2018. Some federation staff complained about working conditions under Flynn and his No. 2, chief commercial and strategy officer Jay Berhalter — the brother of men's national team coach Gregg Berhalter. Jay Berhalter left the USSF last month when it became clear he would not succeed Flynn. “Yes, there are issues. That's obvious,” Wilson said. “But for me it was the fact that we had to address those and find resolutions, attack the culture and really create a place that people want to be and want to work.” U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner called off a March 30 hearing to decide summary judgment motions by each side and will issue his rulings based on the written submissions. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

News

  • Two Florida law enforcement officers who tested positive for the coronavirus have died. Broward County Deputy Shannon Bennett, 39, died Friday, and Palm Beach County Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, died Saturday, officials said. Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said Bennett, a 12-year veteran of the agency, reported feeling sick March 23 while at work and tested positive for the virus at a hospital the next day. Bennett was hospitalized March 27 and had been showing signs of recovery, but his condition worsened Friday, Tony said. Tony said Saturday that he considers Bennett’s death to be one in the line of duty. The agency described Bennett as an “out and proud gay law enforcement deputy” who helped lead an outreach initiative to foster relations between the law enforcement and LGBTQ communities. He served as a school resource officer at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, where he also mentored students. Bennett was planning to get married later this year. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Ayala had been battling other underlying health conditions before contracting COVID-19. He had been with the agency for 14 years. Ayala joined the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division in 2006 as a deputy and was promoted to sergeant in 2016. “He had an outstanding career with the agency and was respected by all of his peers,' Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. Ayala leaves behind three daughters.
  • An Atlanta-area family is thankful for an act of kindness during the chaotic coronavirus pandemic. In 2013, Jamie McHenry was killed in a car crash during spring break in West Palm Beach, Florida, WSB-TV reported. Every year since his death, McHenry’s parents make the trip from their home in North Fulton County to St. George Island on the Florida Panhandle to pay their respects to their 13-year-old son at a memorial. This year, they could not go because of the coronavirus pandemic. But that didn’t mean the memory of their teen son was forgotten. A random stranger in the area heard the family’s story and decided to step in and make sure Jamie McHenry’s memorial was still decorated. The kind stranger, who posted a photo of the good deed on Facebook, wrote: “Christine and the McHenry family … we were sad to read that due to this pandemic your annual trip to SGI was canceled and you will miss visiting the memorial brick for your son Jamie. Wanted to know we are watching over it for you today and he is in our thoughts. God bless.”
  • Amoco and its parent company, BP, announced their gasoline stations will offer a 50-cent discount per gallon to first responders, doctors, nurses and hospital workers during the coronavirus pandemic. “Thank you for being on the front lines and keeping our communities healthy and safe,' the company said on its website. 'We are honored to be supporting you and helping you get where you need to go,” the company said on its website.The discount, which eligible customers can sign up for, will allow the health care workers to take the discount the next time they fill up, BP said on its website. People who want to take advantage of the discount must verify their status through ID.me, a website that “simplifies how individuals prove and share their identity online.”
  • Can’t get enough of “Tiger King”? Don’t despair. Netflix is releasing an extra episode next week, Variety reported. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” is a true-crime docuseries about wild animal owners in the United States. The documentary focuses on the self-proclaimed Tiger King, Joe Exotic, aka Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who keeps hundreds of wild animals in cages at his G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, Entertainment Weekly reported. Current zoo owner Jeff Lowe broke the news in a Cameo video posted on Twitter by Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Turner. “Netflix is adding one more episode. It will be on next week. They’re filming here tomorrow,” Lowe said in the video. Lowe joined later episodes of “Tiger King” as Exotic’s business partner, Entertainment Weekly reported. It is not clear if the new episode will be a follow-up to the show’s seven-episode run or a reunion, Variety reported. Maldonado-Passage, 57, is currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison for two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act. The murder-for-hire charges stem from a plot to have a hitman kill Carole Baskin of Tampa, Florida, and the wildlife crimes are related to Maldonado-Passage’s killing of five tigers and falsifying of paperwork. Netflix did not respond to a request for comment about a new episode, the magazine reported.
  • Georgians are still feeling the weight of the new coronavirus Sunday as the number of confirmed cases increased to 6,647 and the death toll rose to 211.  The Georgia Department of Public Health reports since Saturday 3 more Georgians have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus. The latest data released at noon shows 264 new cases since Saturday evening.  » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Of Georgia’s overall cases, 1,283 patients remain hospitalized, a rate of about 19%, according to the noon figures. That number is up from 1,266 confirmed hospitalizations Saturday evening. The rate of Georgia patients who have died of COVID-19 is about 3.1%.  The number of COVID-19 cases in the state has tripled in just over a week. Health officials announced that Georgia surpassed 2,000 cases on March 27. A statewide shelter-in-place mandate went into effect at 6 p.m. Friday in an effort to limit residents’ travel and curb the spread of the virus. The order requires Georgians to remain in their homes for all but essential activities, which include buying food, seeking medical care, working in critical jobs or exercising outdoors. » RELATED: Confusion surrounds Georgia’s coronavirus lockdown The number of cases across the state is expected to spike even more in coming weeks as plans are put in place to increase daily testing capacity. Projections suggest the state could see thousands of new cases and hundreds more deaths before the virus is contained. On Sunday, 27,832 tests had been conducted across the state with about 23.88% returning positive results.  » DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia Fulton County has the most cases with 962, followed by Dougherty County with 686, DeKalb County with 543, and Cobb with 456, according to the latest data. Fulton reported 21 new cases since Saturday evening while hard-hit Dougherty County reported 50 more. The southwest Georgia county of about 90,000 has lost 30 residents to COVID-19, more than any other county in Georgia. MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany So far, the oldest patient to die in the state was a 96-year-old Bibb County woman while the youngest was a 29-year-old woman from Peach County, according to the health department.  For most, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and those with existing health problems are at risk of more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover in a matter of weeks. Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility. Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals. 
  • As you drive toward the Marietta Square, you’ll see it to your right – a “Heroes Work Here” sign display below the Wellstar Kennestone hospital sign. Go through two traffic lights and you’ll see homemade signs of support in the front yards of some homeowners along Church Street.   From Marietta to elsewhere in metro Atlanta, residents are now acutely aware of the burden on health care workers as the coronavirus crisis plays out … and with likely many more tough days ahead before it all gets better.  What public shows of support for health care workers are you seeing in your local community? What are you and/or others doing to support those most at risk on the coronavirus frontlines? Tweet at us to tell us with your words and pictures: @wsbradio. You can also share with us on the WSB Open Mic, via the WSB Radio app.