Friday’s Sports In Brief
CLEVELAND (AP) — While riding his bike over a bridge across the Cuyahoga River near Progressive Field, Indians owner Paul Dolan rarely paid much attention to the eight giant stone figures that seem to guard the city.
They have new meaning,
After more than 100 years, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team is getting a new name — Guardians.
The Indians are going, going, soon to be gone.
The ballclub announced Friday that at the end of the 2021 season, the Indians will transition from the name they’ve been known as since 1915 and replace it with Guardians, one they hope inspires a new generation of fans.
The name change, which has its supporters and critics among Cleveland’s fan base, ends months of internal discussions triggered by a national reckoning for institutions and teams to drop logos and names considered racist.
The organization spent most of the past year whittling down a list of potential names that was at nearly 1,200. It was a tedious process, which included 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders, front office personnel and a survey of 40,000 fans.
Dolan has said last summer’s social unrest, touched off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, spurred his intention to change the name — a move that came a few years after the Indians stopped wearing the Chief Wahoo logo on their game jerseys and caps.
Cleveland’s new name was inspired by the large landmark stone edifices — referred to as traffic guardians — that flank both ends of the Hope Memorial Bridge, which connects downtown to Ohio City. As the team moved closer to making a final decision on the name, Dolan said he found himself looking closely at the huge art deco sculptures.
The team did not reveal the names of any of the other finalists, but Brian Barren, Cleveland’s president of business operations, said trademarking issues eliminated several potential candidates.
The NHL draft turned into a Michigan maize and blue affair Friday night. And there’s a Hughes sibling reunion set to happen in New Jersey.
Whatever challenges the coronavirus pandemic presented scouts in grading prospects, many of whom played shortened seasons, was unable to put a dent on the Wolverines’ hold on the top rankings. Four players with ties to Michigan were taken among the top five selections.
The run began with defenseman Owen Power going No. 1 to the Buffalo Sabres followed by center Matthew Beniers being selected second by the expansion Seattle Kraken. It marked the first time since 1969 that teammates went with the first two selections.
Things developed so quickly, Beniers was in the middle of an interview when he watched a third Michigan player, forward Kent Johnson, get selected fifth by Columbus. The trio made Michigan college hockey’s first program to have three teammates selected in the first round.
That wasn’t all, however. Luke Hughes, who is committed to playing at Michigan this season, was chosen fourth overall by the the Devils, where the defenseman is united with brother Jack, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft.
Hughes watched the draft on his family’s living room couch with both of his NHL-playing brothers, rounded out by Quinn, who was selected seventh overall by Vancouver in 2018. Jack Hughes immediately jumped up and began hugging Luke upon hearing Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald announce the pick.
SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens stunned the rest of the NHL on Friday night by taking Logan Mailloux with the second-to-last pick in the first round of the draft.
Mailloux, who was criminally convicted in Sweden last year for sharing an explicit photo of a woman performing a sex act without her consent, asked teams not to select him. A player cannot remove himself from the draft.
“We will work closely with him and give him the support he needs,” general manager Marc Bergevin said. “I know he’s been remorseful about the incident, which we truly don’t agree with it in all sense of the world, but he’s a young man who made a serious mistake of judgment and we really have to work with him.”
Mailloux said in a social media statement this week, “I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character” to be drafted this year. Bergevin made it clear Mailloux, 18, was eligible to be taken.
The number of NFL players in the COVID-19 vaccination process has reached 80%, with nine teams having 90% or more of their players in that category.
Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s medical director, said Friday that nearly all Tier 1 and Tier 2 team employees — those who deal directly with players — have been vaccinated. Five teams are at less than 70% of players who have either received one vaccination shot or both. He is optimistic the number of vaccinated players will continue to rise as training camps open.
Sills cited teams having strong advocates for vaccination among players and coaches, as well as the educational materials available.
On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to the 32 teams warning that forfeited regular-season games could occur for a COVID-19 outbreak caused by nonvaccinated players.
Dawn Aponte, the league’s chief football administrative officer, reiterated that games will not be postponed to avoid roster issues because of the flexibility built in: COVID-19 replacement players; expanded practice squads to 16 players; a three-week minimum stay on injured reserve instead of six weeks; no limit on activating players from IR.
That means 272 games on time within 18 weeks “safely and responsibly,” she said.
BLAINE, Minn. (AP) — Adam Hadwin missed the weekend cuts in his last three tournaments, continuing a disappointing stretch as he dropped to 120th in the FedEx Cup standings.
The 33-year-old Canadian has put himself in position to get back in contention for the playoffs with a strong run at the 3M Open.
Hadwin shot a 6-under 65 on Friday for a share of the lead with Ryan Armour at 10-under 132. Armour shot 65.
Hadwin and Armour were two of few players in the afternoon to go low as wind started to play a role following a hot and humid morning with heat indexes reaching 100 degrees.
Bo Hoag (66), Chez Reavie (67), Jhonatton Vegas (69) and Roger Sloan (69) were a shot back. All four played in the morning.
Second-ranked Dustin Johnson bogeyed the 18th hole after putting his tee shot in the water and missed the cut. He shot 72 to finish at even par. The cut was 2-under.