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Nationals players shoot down virtual World Series ring ceremony

Evan Lewis

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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on sports events around the world

(Reuters) – The Washington Nationals said on Saturday they have altered plans for a virtual World Series championship ring ceremony amid the COVID-19 pandemic after players expressed a preference to receive the jewllery in person.

The Nationals, who beat the Houston Astros last October to win their maiden World Series title, will still go ahead with unveiling design of the ring on Sunday as part of a weekend that includes the release of a documentary about their 2019 season.

“When team leaders discussed the plan this week with the players, the players collectively decided they would prefer to receive their rings when the team could be physically reunited. We support that decision,” the Nationals said in a statement.

The Nationals originally scheduled to present the rings to players ahead of the second home game of the 2020 season in March but Major League Baseball delayed the start of the campaign because of the coronavirus.

The May 24 date of the virtual ceremony was selected as it marked a year from when the Nationals took the first step in a stunning turnaround after a 19-31 start to the 2019 season.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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Silver walks back idea of restrictions for older NBA coaches

Evan Lewis

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Silver walks back idea of restrictions for older NBA coaches

After initially saying that older coaches might not be able to return to the bench this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reversed course Thursday night.

FILE PHOTO – Basketball – NBA – Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks – AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France – January 24, 2020 NBA commissioner Adam Silver during a pre match press conference REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Health experts have stated that people age 65 and older are most vulnerable to COVID-19, and the NBA has three head coaches in that category: the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, 71; the Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni, 69; and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry, 65.

Silver initially said in an interview with TNT on Thursday, “There are people involved in this league, particularly coaches, who are obviously older people. … We’re going to have to work through protocols, for example, and it may be certain coaches may not be able to be the bench coach.

“They may have to maintain social distancing protocols, and maybe they can be in the front of a room, a locker room … with a whiteboard, but when it comes to actual play, we’re not going to want them that close to players in order to protect them.”

Gentry promptly told ESPN regarding Silver’s comments, “That doesn’t make sense. How can I coach that way? … (It’s not right that older coaches) should be singled out.”

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the NBA Coaches Association, then got in touch with Silver.

Carlisle told ESPN, “(Silver) admitted that he jumped the gun with his statement to TNT. The health and safety of our coaches is first and foremost. It’s entirely possible that an NBA coach in his 60s or 70s could be healthier than someone in their 30s or 40s.

“The conversation should never be solely about a person’s age. Adam assured me that we would work through this together to help determine what is both safe and fair for all of our coaches.”

Both D’Antoni and Gentry told ESPN they wouldn’t mind if the league made all coaches wear facemasks on the bench, but they didn’t want the league to force only the oldest coaches to wear masks.

Earlier Thursday, the NBA announced plans to restart the regular season on July 31, with 22 teams playing at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. The teams will play eight regular-season games ahead of the playoffs, which could end as late as Oct. 12, the scheduled date for Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

The NBA season was suspended March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

—Field Level Media

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Former Dodgers star Carl Crawford arrested on assault charge

Evan Lewis

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Former Dodgers star Carl Crawford arrested on assault charge

HOUSTON — Former Los Angeles Dodgers star Carl Crawford has been arrested after his former girlfriend accused him of assaulting her during an argument over a man she had begun dating.

An arrest affidavit filed Wednesday by Houston police states that the ballplayer-turned-record producer went to the home of Gabriele Washington on May 8, produced a handgun from which he unloaded the ammunition in her presence, then demanded information on her latest dating relationship.

Washington told investigators Crawford pushed her to the floor, slammed her head against a wall and choked her. Crawford is free on $50,000 bond.

When her year-old daughter walked up, she distracted Crawford, who is her father, and Washington ran to call police. Crawford then fled but followed up with threatening cellphone texts to Washington, according to the affidavit.

A message to his attorney, Rusty Hardin, seeking comment was not returned immediately.

Carl Crawford
Carl CrawfordGetty Images

The incident happened a week before a 5-year-old boy and a woman drowned in the backyard pool at Crawford’s Houston home.

From Houston, the 38-year-old Crawford was a four-time All-Star outfielder. He last played in the major leagues in 2016 with the Dodgers.

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NFL players deliver challenge to league in Black Lives Matter video

Evan Lewis

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NFL players deliver challenge to league in Black Lives Matter video

Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Jamal Adams joined numerous NFL players in a social media video asking the league to “listen to your players” and step up in defense of black lives after the death of George Floyd.

The Giants and Jets stars were joined Thursday night in the video — which shifts from player to player — by Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and others in response to Floyd, who was black, being killed at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.

The league released a statement May 30 and additional social media posts addressing the issue on Thursday. The players, who do not mention commissioner Roger Goodell by name, wanted to hear more.

“On behalf of the National Football League this is what we, the players would like to hear you state,” the players say in the video. “We the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We the National Football League admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We the National Football League believe Black Lives Matter.”

The video also includes Cardinals stars D’Andre Hopkins and Patrick Peterson, Texan quarterback Deshaun Watson, Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, Redskins defensive lineman Chase Young, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu.

It asks the league how many times do we need to ask for you “to listen to your players?” They say they will not be silenced, assert their “right to peaceful protest” and that they are Floyd.

“What will it take? For one of use to be murdered by police brutality?” the players say. “What if I was George Floyd?”

The NFL, in addition to its original statement from Goodell stating its commitment to “continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners,” went further Thursday. In a Twitter post on the league’s official account prior to the players’ video being released, the league said, “This is a time of self-reflection for all — the NFL is no exception. We stand with the black community because Black Lives Matter.”

In posts that followed, the league stated that it has supported programs to address systemic racism and plans to donate an additional $20 million to those causes, but knows “we can and need to do more.”

The post comes after Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has since apologized twice, angered teammates and players around the NFL by saying he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag” While a number of Brees’ teammates, including Thomas, said they accepted his apology, Adams did not, tweeting the apology was “bulls–t.”

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