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Monday’s Sports in Briefs

June 9, 2020 GMT

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has made another try to start the coronavirus-delayed season in early July, proposing a 76-game regular season, expanding the playoffs from 10 teams to as many as 16 and allowing players to earn about 75% of their prorated salaries.

Players have refused cuts beyond what they agreed to in March shortly after the pandemic began, part of baseball’s again acrimonious labor relations. The arduous negotiations have jeopardized plans to hold opening day around the Fourth of July in empty ballparks and provide entertainment to a public still emerging from months of quarantine.

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MLB’s latest proposal would guarantee 50% of players’ prorated salaries over the regular season, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.

The proposal would eliminate all free-agent compensation for the first time since the free-agent era started in 1976. It also would forgive 20% of the $170 million in salaries already advanced to players during April and May.

There was no immediate response from the union, which is likely to view the plan as a step back because of the large percentage of salaries not guaranteed.

PRO FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL and the players’ union sent a planner to the 32 teams outlining procedures for the full reopening of their practice facilities, which were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a lengthy four-part memo to the clubs written by Commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the NFL Players Association, the league described protocols focusing on screening, testing, and infection prevention and treatment for COVID-19, including response for new infections. Also included were instructions on proper facility access, cleaning and disinfecting; physical distancing; hygiene, health education and medical services; food preparation; supplies; and team travel.

No timetable has been set for the return of most players to team complexes.

PRO BASKETBALL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — he Golden State Warriors expect to have a better idea about how Klay Thompson’s recovery from reconstructive left knee surgery is going once the team can finally reconvene after the long separation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, general manager Bob Myers is encouraged Thompson has experienced no setbacks during the extensive rehabilitation process.

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Thompson tore the ACL in his left knee on June 13 during Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors and had surgery July 2. He was reevaluated over the All-Star break and the team determined around that time that Stephen Curry’s Splash Brother wouldn’t play at all this season without the team being in the mix for the playoffs following five straight trips to the NBA Finals.

The Warriors finished 15-50 for the NBA’s worst record with Thompson out and with Curry nursing a broken left hand for most of the season. Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant departed in free agency to join the Brooklyn Nets.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the remainder of San Antonio’s season while he recovers from surgery on his right shoulder, a major blow to the Spurs’ postseason chances, assuming the season continues as planned.

The Spurs announced Aldridge had the surgery on April 24, stemming from an injury he suffered in a game at Utah on Feb. 21.

San Antonio is one of the 22 teams will that report to the ESPN Wide Wide Of Sports complex at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, starting next month, when the NBA plans to resume its season. The Spurs have been to the playoffs in 22 consecutive seasons, matching the longest streak in NBA history.

When play resumes, the Spurs will be among four teams — the others being Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento — that are all separated by a half-game in the race for ninth place in the Western Conference and potentially a berth in a play-in series. The gap between those four teams is .010 percentage points.

Aldridge , who turns 35 next month, played in two more games after getting hurt, including one on March 10, when he scored 24 points in the Spurs’ win over Dallas. The NBA suspended its season the following day because of the coronavirus pandemic.

SOCCER

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. women’s national team wants the U.S. Soccer Federation to repeal the anthem policy it instituted after Megan Rapinoe started kneeling during the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The U.S. women’s team also wants the federation to state publicly that the policy was wrong and issue an apology to the team’s black players and supporters.

“Further, we believe the Federation should lay out its plans on how it will now support the message and movement that it tried to silence four years ago,” the U.S. women’s team said in a statement posted on the Twitter feed of its players association Monday night.

Rapinoe took a knee during the anthem at a pair of national team matches in 2016. She said she wanted to express solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who silently took a knee during the national anthem before NFL games to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.

The U.S. Soccer Federation then approved a policy in February 2017 that stated players “shall stand respectfully” during national anthems. The policy remains in place, though the unions for the men’s and women’s teams believe it doesn’t apply to their players because of their collective bargaining agreements.

Kaepernick and Rapinoe each faced sharp criticism for the protest for years. But public sentiment has changed since George Floyd’s death last month.

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil withdrew its bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, arguing it cannot offer FIFA the financial assurances it needs because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Brazilian Football Confederation also said in a statement it will support Colombia’s bid against Japan and the joint candidacy of Australia and New Zealand. South America has never hosted the tournament. A decision is expected on June 25.

The confederation said the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro told FIFA it could not offer financial guarantees “due to the scenario of fiscal and economic austerity, caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The confederation “understands the position of caution of the Brazilian government, and of other public and private partners, which stopped them from formalizing the commitments within time or in the required form,” the statement added.

Brazil’s economy is expected to contract this year by at least 7.4%, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts.

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