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Friday Sports in Brief

February 27, 2021 GMT

NBA

MIAMI (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has heard all the reasons why the league should not have an All-Star Game in Atlanta next weekend.

He has two reasons why the league should: the fans and the game’s economy.

Silver, in an interview with The Associated Press, said the fact that about 100 million votes were cast by fans for All-Star starters shows that the people who follow the game globally wanted the league’s midseason showcase to be played. And the league, he said, didn’t want to disappoint them.

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant will be out through the All-Star break because of a hamstring injury, sidelining the Brooklyn Nets star from a game for which he was chosen to serve as a captain.

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Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis was chosen by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace Durant, with Boston’s Jayson Tatum elevated to the pool of starters for the March 7 game in Atlanta.

The Nets said Friday that after a routine follow-up MRI on Durant’s left hamstring, it was determined that he needed additional recovery time.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — Three players were positive for COVID-19 among 900 intake samples among those arriving at spring training during the second week of workouts.

Major League Baseball said Friday there had been 15 positives overall among 5,236 tests thus far during spring training, a positive rate of 0.3%. Positive tests included 12 players and three staff.

Weekly monitoring testing included five positives among 13,208 tests, a rate of 0.4%. Positives included two players and three staff.

ATLANTA (AP) — Coming off a third straight NL East title and within one win of a spot in the World Series, the Atlanta Braves have extended the contract of manager Brian Snitker through the 2023 season.

The extension announced Friday includes a club option for 2024.

The 65-year-old Snitker took over the Braves on an interim basis in 2016 when the club was in the midst of a massive rebuilding job.

After going 72-90 in his first full season, Atlanta won the first of its three straight division titles in 2018.

NEW YORK (AP) — Marla Miller is stepping down after 21 years as Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of special events.

Miller, MLB’s first female senior vice president, has been in charge of planning for the All-Star Game and World Series, arranging ceremonies and entertainment, including national anthem singers.

NFL

The number of minority hires for open positions in the NFL nearly doubled to 34.6% in 2021.

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According to the league’s demographics study obtained Friday by The Associated Press, the minority hirings included: three general managers, two head coaches, three offensive coordinators, six defensive coordinators, four special teams coordinators, three quarterbacks coaches.

The minority hiring rate was 18.8% in 2020. Interview requests for minority candidates increased to 47% from 22% in 2020.

— By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi.

SOCCER

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Soccer says Ron Burkle has backed out of plans for an expansion team in Sacramento, California, that was scheduled to start play in 2023.

The league said in a statement Friday night that Burkle’s decision was “based on issues with the project related to COVID-19.”

MLS announced the Sacramento Republic as its 29th team on Oct. 21, 2019, and said then the team would start play in 2022. MLS said July 17 that Sacramento would not start play until the 2023 season because of the pandemic.

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery made history on Friday as part of a three-member investor group that was approved to purchase the team.

The ownership change follows pressure on former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican who angered WNBA players with her opposition to the league’s racial justice initiatives, to sell her share of the Dream.

Real estate investor Larry Gottesdiener was approved as majority owner of the team. The investor group also includes Montgomery and Suzanne Abair, president of Northland Investment Corp. in Massachusetts, the firm Gottesdiener founded.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

ATLANTA (AP) — The NCAA has overturned scholarship and recruiting limitations placed on the Georgia Tech men’s basketball program in 2019.

The decision from the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee announced Friday overturned the reduction of one scholarship per year for four years. It also restores Georgia Tech’s freedom to schedule official recruiting trips in conjunction with home games.

The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will reconsider the scholarship sanctions, which have not started while under appeal, at a date which has not been announced. The recruiting sanctions were vacated.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Paul Weir is stepping down as New Mexico’s basketball coach at the end of the season.

In a statement posted Friday on the program’s website, athletic director Eddie Nunez said the school and Weir mutually agreed to part ways after the season.

The Lobos (6-14, 2-14 Mountain West) will play their regular-season finale at Colorado on Wednesday and take part in the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas, starting March 10.

Weir is in his fourth season as coach of New Mexico. He has a 58-61 overall record with the Lobos, including a pair of 19-win seasons.

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