Shaq: NBA should 'scrap' 2019-20 season
The NBA has yet to throw in the towel on the 2019-20 season, but Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal doesn't need any further convincing to call the current campaign a wrap. "I think we should scrap the season," O'Neal told Mike D. Sykes, II of For The Win. "Everybody go home, get healthy, come back next year. Just scrap the season. Just scrap it. To try and come back now and do a rush playoffs as a player? Any team that wins this year, there's"I think we should scrap the season," O'Neal told Mike D. Sykes, II of For The Win. "Everybody go home, get healthy, come back next year. Just scrap the season. Just scrap it.
© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports Players are concerned over seeding and series length.
It certainly seems like an NHL postseason is on the way, as the NHLPA approved continued talks of a 24-team playoff format on Friday. However, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun echoed the sentiment of the NHLPA’s statement when he reported that there are still concerns among the players. This initial vote was merely to continue making progress on the rough format of a 24-team structure, but there are details that still need to be hammered out. Specifically, LeBrun states that the players would prefer re-seeding after each round rather than the proposed bracket format. Further, the players were told that there is still indecision over whether that initial round of teams 5-12 in each conference would be a best-of-five or a best-of-seven series. The NHLPA will need to re-evaluate a final proposal before the league can make any official announcement.
NHL’s potential post-season will challenge teams, create great theatre
The one thing that stands out about the NHL return-to-play format currently being discussed is it doesn’t include a meaningless game. Under the circumstances, it’s hard to do much better than that. The post Report: MLS outlines details for Orlando tournament in letter to teams appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.That’s because the top-four teams in each conference will still be jockeying for seeding even while receiving a “bye” directly into the playoffs. The proposed format would see Boston, Tampa, Washington and Philadelphia play each other in the East while St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas do so in the West, with the outcomes helping determine how those teams are seeded No. 1 through No.
- The idea of re-seeding does seem to be a more balanced and fair system for implementing this playoff structure. As currently proposed, the top seed in each conference would play the No. 8 or No. 9 team in the second round, while any of the other three bye seeds could wind up with an easier match-up following a bye in the first round. Especially if the first round is a best-of-five series, which would be more prone to upsets, the bracket format creates equity concerns. As Sportsnet’s Luke Fox describes, it also de-values the proposed round-robin games between the top-four bye teams in each conference. This format is also still to be finalized, but the proposal was that the results of this round-robin tournament would determine the seeding of those four bye teams. As Fox notes, if there is no real advantage to having the top seed in the bracket structure then there is not much to fight for in the round-robin.
- One of the two teams who voted against the proposed 24-team playoff format was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Alex Killorn, the team’s NHLPA rep, spoke with The Athletic’s Joe Smith about the reasons why the team did not support the decision. Killorn stated that his team did not feel that it was fair for teams that likely would not have made the playoffs under the normal circumstances to not only have a shot in this expanded field, but also to have a better chance of moving on with a limited five-game series. Tampa also took issue with the preparedness of the teams who had earned byes, a point that would be emphasized further if – as LeBrun and Fox warn – the bracket system leads to a round-robin for the first-round bye teams that lacks real meaning. These are fair points made by Killorn and the Lightning, but it seems that without the details of the playoff structure formalized yet, these concerns could be quelled by seven-game series in the first-round and re-seeding after the round rather than a bracket structure.
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Burke: 24-team format would 'almost guarantee' issue with virus
Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section. Brian Burke approves of the proposal to expand the playoffs for just this season, but he's concerned about the risks associated with a return involving 24 clubs. "Well, this year I say yes," the former longtime NHL executive said Thursday on Sportsnet's "Tim & Sid" whenBrian Burke approves of the proposal to expand the playoffs for just this season, but he's concerned about the risks associated with a return involving 24 clubs.
- Lightning, Hurricanes voted against NHL's 24-team playoff format
- NHLPA votes to proceed with discussions on 24-team playoff format
- The 'NHL postseason scoring leaders' quiz
Related slideshow: How athletes are helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic (Provided by Yardbarker)
How athletes are helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic
The sports world has ground to a halt as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused bans on large public gatherings amid orders to practice social distancing. The virus has exacted a staggering physical and economic toll on not just the United States but also the world at large. Despite not being able to play, athletes here and abroad have been pitching in to help out. Let's take a look at what some of the biggest stars in sports have been doing in response.
Evans has been one of the league’s underappreciated stars since breaking into the NFL in 2014. He is the only receiver in history to crack 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. He’s also a star in the Tampa and Galveston, Texas communities, and is donating $100,000 through his Mike Evans Family Foundation to help both areas. The money will be split evenly between Galveston and the United Way Suncoast, and will help support over 53,000 individuals in the Tampa area alone.
Now with the Buffalo Bills, Norman has pledged $50,000 to provide meals and web-based programs for school children, and has established a foundation whose overall focus is helping children in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple grocery outlets have joined in to participate and either match Norman’s donation, or pitch in to help.
Metcalf burst on the scene in his rookie season, catching 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns, and he’s continuing to deliver off the field. Metcalf is donating $50,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts, split evenly between Swedish Hospital in Seattle, and needy families in the Oxford, Mississippi area.
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Wentz, through his AO1 Foundation, announced earlier this week that he is donating $100,000 to help those dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is called “Love From The Crumb,” and is designed to supply free groceries for needy families, help deliver meals to those on the front lines fighting the virus, as well as deliver supplies where needed.
The Longhorns quarterback started a GoFundMe on March 25 to support those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as of the evening of April 5, the charitable campaign had raised nearly $80,000. Some of the groups slated to benefit from the campaign are the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Central Texas Food Bank and Austin Pets Alive.
Verlander has taken plenty of flak for his relative silence about the Astros’ cheating scandal despite previously having harsh words for PED offenders, but he’s doubtless won back some favor with the public thanks to his charitable work. Verlander, like all other players, is still receiving paychecks from Major League Baseball despite play being suspended. He pledged via Instagram to donate those checks to a different organization each week.
Pittsburgh Penguins players Bryan Rust, Zach Aston-Reese and Marcus Pettersson made a generous donation of food to a local community, purchasing 500 pizzas from a local shop and delivering them to community distribution centers in Pittsburgh’s North Side and Hill District.
Reduced access to groceries and basic necessities has been an issue in some places during the pandemic, and Landry saw to it that students in the East Cleveland Schools were taken care of, donating $15,000 for the purchase of hygiene products for the students and their families. Landry’s donation will provide products for around 1,300 families.
Skinner has worn No. 53 for the entirety of his NHL career, so it should come as no surprise that the Sabres winger had that number in mind when he pitched in to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. Skinner donated $53,000 to causes supporting the fight against COVID-19 in western New York.
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The Sabres captain is leading by example when it comes to helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic. With PPE (personal protective equipment) in short supply, Eichel is donating 5,000 masks from Bauer for hospitals in western New York.
Augustin is a New Orleans native, and while he plays point guard for the Magic, he’s helping out his hometown, one of the hardest-hit areas in the COVID-19 outbreak. Augustin made a donation to Krew of Red Beans to help feed hospital workers who are on the front lines trying to combat the virus.
Choo has quietly had a nice major league career for a decade-and-a-half and has made plenty of money in the big leagues. Choo is in the final year of a $130 million contract, and he did a good deed for Rangers minor leaguers, many of whom have little to no financial security. Choo donated $1,000 to each minor leaguer on the club, for a total of $190,000.
Marbury has always been community-minded, dating back to his affordable line of basketball shoes, and he stepped up to help his native city again, making plans to acquire 10 million n95 respirator masks for hospitals and first responders. Marbury currently plays in the Chinese Basketball Association and says he has an arrangement with a Chinese supplier that would sell the masks for a considerably lower price than New York State is currently being quoted by other suppliers. Unsurprisingly, the process has been more than a little bumpy thus far.
Mariota is giving back to his native Hawaii, as his Motiv8 Foundation is helping to pick up the tab for 1,000 free meals every day through at least April 30 at two elementary schools in the state. If need be, the program is able to run through the end of the school year, which would be an extension of one extra month. Not only is Mariota helping to provide free meals, but the program is also helping to encourage social distancing by limiting contact during meal pickup.
Many NBA players have donated their money and time to help out with COVID-19 relief efforts, and now, some who have been infected and recovered might even donate their plasma. Really.
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This one is…strange. ABC News reported that President Trump sought out former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and his fiancée, Jennifer Lopez, for advice on how to deal with the COVID-19 situation. There’s nothing really to add here, other than to reiterate that the president asked for Rodriguez’s advice during a pandemic.
Hopkins wasted no time ingratiating himself to his new community, donating $150,000 to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund. Hopkins has already made himself a hero to Cardinals fans before ever stepping onto the field or catching a pass.
Testing capacity has been a major issue during the COVID-19 outbreak, and Gallinari did his part by funding hundreds of testing kits as well as PPE (personal protective equipment) like face shields, gloves and n95 masks for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.
Davis has taken multiple steps to assist various groups that have been negatively affected by the pandemic. He is partnering with Lineage Logistics to match donations up to $250,000 to buy meals from Los Angeles restaurants to give to hospital workers and is also aiding Staples Center workers who are currently out of work because of the NBA’s stoppage by helping them fill open jobs with Lineage Logistics.
The Astros were about to be baseball’s most unpopular team before the sport was turned on its ear by COVID-19, but shortstop Carlos Correa did a massively good deed to help out, donating more than $500,000 in medical equipment to the city of Houston during the pandemic. Not only that, but once the situation is controlled in that city, the equipment will then be donated to hospitals in Central America.
Kaberle’s NHL career spanned 14 years, but he was thrust into a new job because of COVID-19: restaurant deliveryman. Kaberle’s wife, Julia, co-owns Quanto Basta, an Italian restaurant in Toronto. When it was forced to switch to takeout only, Kaberle was pressed into duty as perhaps the highest-profile delivery guy in Ontario. As for business? Kaberle’s presence certainly isn’t hurting the bottom line.
Julius Randle/Bobby Portis
Randle and Portis did their part to ensure that New Yorkers struggling to find food during the crisis had some relief. They partnered with HelloFresh to donate $180,000 in meals to struggling residents as well as $50,000 each to City Harvest, a food rescue organization.
Various MLB stars
Numerous major leaguers have done their part to help out, from Pirates players buying 400 pizzas from two local restaurants for hospital workers in Pittsburgh, to St. Louis’ Dexter Fowler matching every dollar donated to Three Square Food Bank’s Coronavirus Emergency Fund, to Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman donating $125,00 to three separate Atlanta-area charities.
Toews has a reputation as one of the NHL’s best leaders on the ice, and he backed that up with his performance away from it. The Blackhawks captain donated $100,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund and even went the extra mile, extending “Happy Birthday” wishes to a 7-year-old fan who wasn’t able to attend a Blackhawks game on his birthday because of the NHL stoppage.
Stafford and his wife, Kelly, helped out Detroit, which has so far been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with $220,000 in donations, with the money going to a local food bank, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, as well as multiple restaurants that are near hospitals trying to fight the virus.
Knowledge is power, and when Curry hosted Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for a 30-minute question-and-answer on Instagram Live, more than 50,000 viewers were watching at any given time. Considering the importance of messaging and how much respect Curry has among younger Americans, helping Fauci spread the word was a crucially important contribution.
Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, have been hit hard by COVID-19. Brees and his wife, Brittany, stepped up to help by committing $5 million to help the state, a large portion of which will go towards helping feed those in need. It was the latest in a long line of charitable donations by the Saints’ quarterback.
Much of the U.S. political discourse surrounding COVID-19 has focused on supply shortages, but Bauer is doing its part to help make PPE (personal protective equipment), shifting from making helmet visors to medical visors for first responders and medical professionals. What makes the story even better is that Bauer’s sudden pivot saved its manufacturing plant in Blainville, Quebec, which was in danger of closing because of the NHL’s stoppage.
Lawrence tried to do a good thing, and when his fundraiser page was shut down, it looked like the NCAA was once again doing something incredibly tone-deaf. That wasn’t the case, however, as Clemson’s compliance department closed down the page for precautionary reasons. The NCAA allowed Lawrence permission to relaunch the page, and he is currently figuring out the best way to proceed and pitch in.
Wilson is a hero to Seahawks fans for what he does on the field, and now he’s one for his work off of it, as he and his wife Ciara are helping the greater Seattle region by donating one million meals to Food Lifeline, an organization that supplies and distributes food to hundreds of food banks, shelters and meal programs across western Washington. This sort of gesture is nothing new for Wilson, as he and Ciara have raised over $8 million in the last six years for immunotherapy treatments to help fight cancer.
James’ affection for his hometown of Akron, Ohio, is no secret, and he donated over 1,300 meals to local families through an arrangement with Akron Family Restaurant. James also offered his support to UCLA Health workers with a message of support sent through TMZ.
After the 76ers were roundly criticized for cutting some employee salaries during the NBA’s stoppage, Embiid stepped up to help, pledging $500,000 to COVID-19 medical relief efforts, as well as pledging to help Sixers employees dealing with financial hardship because of their salary reductions.
Dr. Myron Rolle
Rolle was a highly touted recruit who went on to play at Florida State before being drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Rolle’s football prowess is arguably the least impressive thing about him; he was a Rhodes Scholar and is now a neurosurgeon in Boston. He took a video of himself heading into work, spotlighting just how serious the virus had become and putting in stark terms how tough the fight was for medical professionals.
Kuzma’s hometown of Flint, Michigan, has been through a great deal, and a majority of its residents still don’t have safe drinking water. Kuzma partnered with the YMCA of Flint to provide meals to senior citizens, the group most susceptible to COVID-19, starting March 23 and running for at least six weeks.
Food insecurity is a major problem created by COVID-19, and Heyward took a step to help families in need in the Chicago area with a $200,000 donation, to be split equally between the Greater Chicago Food Depository and MASK, an organization helping families affected by the virus.
Williamson’s rookie season got off to a late start, but he was one of the first athletes to step up to help the less fortunate after the COVID-19 outbreak halted sports. On March 16, Williamson pledged to pay the salaries of all Smoothie King Center employees for the next 30 days.
Bauer is one of MLB’s most outspoken and controversial players, but he did a good thing to help out in the early days of the crisis, organizing a backyard Wiffle ball game with major and minor leaguers. Bauer’s game, which featured mic’ed up players, raised almost $22,000 dollars in under 24 hours.
Watt’s charitable contributions are extensive, and he and his wife, Kealia Ohai, donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank, money that will help guarantee over one million meals for those in need because of the virus.
Gobert was an initial scapegoat for the pandemic, as he jokingly touched all the microphones during a press conference, downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 threat. Gobert turned out to be the first NBA player to test positive for the virus and subsequently atoned for his flippant actions by donating over $500,000 to various groups, including some of Utah’s arena employees affected by the suspension of play.
Love was one of the first athletes to step up to help arena workers, donating $100,000 to help them out within hours of Gobert’s positive test and the suspension of all NBA games. Love also spoke eloquently in an Instagram post about trying to mitigate the other negative societal phenomena related to the pandemic.
Report: Blazers preferred 20-team return-to-play format .
Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section. The Portland Trail Blazers were the lone club to vote against the NBA's 22-team return-to-play format, citing their preference for a 20-team setup as one of the reasons, sources told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. While the squad is eager to resume the 2019-20 campaign, Portland believes there were more competitive and innovative formats available to choose from, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.