Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
Anthony Edwards was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 1 pick Wednesday night in an NBA draft delayed multiple times because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Edwards became the 11th straight one-and-done player to be the No. 1 pick, coming in a year when there was no clear obvious choice. He averaged 19.1 points for the Bulldogs, tops among all freshmen.
Commissioner Adam Silver announced the pick from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The draft was originally scheduled for June 25 before multiple delays caused by the virus pushed it back and out of its usual home at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Boxes of hats were shipped to the top prospects to put on the one they needed after their name was called.
Edwards watched while seated next to portraits of his late mother and grandmother. They both died of cancer.
The Golden State Warriors took Memphis center James Wiseman with the second pick. The 7-foot-1 Wiseman averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in three games before he was suspended for eligibility reasons and eventually left the program to prepare for the draft.
LaMelo Ball then went to the Charlotte Hornets, the next stop on a lengthy basketball journey that sent the guard from high school in California to stops as a professional in Lithuania and Australia.
The Chicago Bulls took Patrick Williams of Florida State, the ACC sixth man of the year as a freshman, at No. 4. Cleveland followed with Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, another freshman, to round out the top five.
The NFL is placing all teams in intensive protocol starting Saturday to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as the number of cases rises around the country.
Use of masks will be mandatory at all times at team facilities, including during practice and in weight rooms. Meetings must be held either virtually or in the largest indoor space with approval by the league. Meals have to be made available for grab-and-go to avoid players and staff congregating in cafeterias. Time spent in the locker room also has to be limited.
Clubs operating under the intensive protocols have reduced close contacts by more than 50% since the fifth week of the regular season, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press that was sent from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to teams on Wednesday.
“These sustained reductions and the resulting health and safety benefits make it appropriate to implement the intensive protocols on a mandatory, league-wide basis,” Goodell said in the memo.
The NFL said Tuesday there were 17 new confirmed positives among players and 35 among other personnel during testing from Nov. 8-14. That brought the league’s total to 95 players and 175 other personnel since Aug. 1, not counting new cases this week.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he “wasn’t real, real happy” about the negotiations leading to the most recent NFL labor agreement.
The NFL Players Association sent out a tweet last week noting that kicker Mason Crosby was the Packers’ new player representative, with linebacker Oren Burks, guard Lucas Patrick and cornerback Jaire Alexander as alternates. Rodgers had been serving as the team’s player rep.
“I think it’s time for somebody else to take that role who wants to spend a week of their life sitting in meetings and going through all that,” the 36-year-old Rodgers said. “To me, it’s just not what I want to do at this point in my career.”
Rodgers had been one of the 14 dissenting votes earlier this year when player representatives voted in Indianapolis to send a new collective bargaining agreement to the full union membership. The agreement included a 17-game regular season, higher salaries, larger rosters and bigger pensions for current and former players.
Union members voted 1,019-959 in favor of ratification, which only required a simple majority.
Rodgers said in February via social media that he had dissented based on conversations he’d had with teammates in the locker room. He cited the risks involved in adding a 17th game and the need to add more offseason recovery time, among other factors
NEW YORK (AP) — Mets second baseman Robinson Canó was suspended for 162 games by Major League Baseball on Wednesday after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug for the second time in his decorated career.
The 38-year-old Canó will miss the entire 2021 season and lose $24 million in salary. The eight-time All-Star hit .316 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in this year’s pandemic-shortened season.
Minus Canó, New York could move good-hitting Jeff McNeil into a regular spot at second base. The suspension also will surely prompt calls by Mets fans to sign free agent DJ LeMahieu, an AL MVP candidate this year with the Yankees.
The penalty came less than two weeks after Steve Cohen bought the Mets for $2.4 billion, a move that created an avalanche of positivity for a team that has reached the playoffs just three times in the last 20 years.
The commissioner’s office said Canó tested positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. He was penalized 80 games in May 2018 while with Seattle after a positive test for Furosemide, a diuretic that some athletes have used to mask other substances.
Canó was set to head into the eighth year of his $240 million, 10-year contract. He will not be eligible for the playoffs if the Mets make the postseason.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs says president Kevin Flanery will retire at the end of this year after 11 years in charge of the home of the Kentucky Derby.
Flanery began as Churchill Downs Incorporated’s vice president of national public affairs in December 2005 before becoming the track’s 13th president in July 2009. He has overseen the expansion of suites and viewing areas and other upgrades, including the installation of permanent track lighting.
Flanery said in a release that growing up in the track’s surrounding area provided an appreciation for what Churchill Downs means to the industry and community. He thanked horsemen and guests for the opportunity to impact the history and added that he was “honored to work with a team that constantly strives to protect the legacy of the Kentucky Derby while creating experiences that resonate in our modern world.”
Bill Mudd, CDI’s president and chief operating officer, will serve as interim president until a successor is named from a search that will begin immediately.
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