Union urges NFL to adopt daily COVID-19 testing for vaccinated players
There’s a decent chance that the COVID-19 pandemic will play more of a role during the 2021 NFL season than last year. We’re seeing relaxed protocols from the league as it relates to fully vaccinated players with Week 1 of the campaign slated to get going Thursday evening. It has already led to some COVID-related issues for teams. That includes star guard Zack Martin and the Dallas Cowboys with their opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers mere days away. Despite being fully vaccinated, Martin tested positive for the virus and will miss the game.NFLPA president JC Tretter of the Cleveland Browns touched on this recently.
It was learned earlier on Wednesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had placed star wide receiver Antonio Brown on the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of this Sunday's matchup at the Los Angeles Rams. © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Antonio Brown is dealing with a breakthrough case of COVID.
ESPN's Adam Schefter (h/t Jenna Laine) has since updated that Brown tested positive for the coronavirus. Along with Brown, inside linebacker/special teams captain Kevin Minter and practice squad receiver Travis Jonsen are also on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
"Kevin and A.B. are both on the COVID list. With A.B., we've got plenty of guys with a proven track record at that position," Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters. "Kevin will be missed as far as special teams, but we've got some young guys ready to roll."
Winners, losers of Buccaneers' season-opening victory vs. Cowboys: Bad day for Ezekiel Elliott, other RBs
It was only the NFL's first of 272 regular-season games, but the Buccaneers' thrilling win over the Cowboys had important stakes for multiple parties.Given the result, it's pretty obvious to everyone who the primary winner and loser was from Week 1's opening matchup. But let's not stop there! It only takes a little extra digging to reveal several other W's and L's from the first NFL game that counts in more than seven months.
Brown, Minter and every other Buccaneers player are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning they can return to team activities if they stay asymptomatic and produce two negative virus tests 24 hours apart. Nevertheless, Arians added he's preparing as if both Brown and Minter won't be available against the Rams.
Brown leads Tampa Bay with 23.0 yards per catch on six receptions and is second on the team with 138 receiving yards this season. He caught one touchdown over the first two games of the campaign, both Tampa Bay wins.
The Rams are also 2-0 on the campaign.
Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸
Did Chris Godwin commit OPI on key catch? Cowboys, Buccaneers weigh in on controversy
Chris Godwin's fourth-quarter catch proved to be a critical turning point for the Buccaneers, but some wondered whether the receiver pushed off.A push? Offensive pass interference? Anything flag-worthy about the contact exchanged on the 24-yard reception that set up the Buccaneers’ game-winning field goal?
- Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski admits he actually does watch game film
- Tom Brady agrees that taunting penalties are ruining the game
- The 'Most TD receptions in a season' quiz
Related slideshow: COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues (Provided by Yardbarker)
COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues
It's been more than a year since sports in the United States came to a screeching halt amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the NBA, MLB and NHL seasons suddenly were put on hiatus.The NHL, NBA and MLB resumed and completed their seasons, but outbreaks complicated baseball's return. The NBA's 2020-21 was completed, but the league was forced to postponement many games.The NFL was able to complete its 2020-21 season — despite COVID-19 outbreaks causing schedule reshuffling throughout the campaign. Over in the college ranks, the NCAA was able complete its college football season. On January 11, the Alabama Crimson Tide won the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. However, college basketball programs continue to experience issues.With news breaking so often, we’ve gathered the latest stories fans need to know.
Here is what has happened over the last couple of weeks in the NBA:SEPTEMBER 14According to Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, NBA players will not be forced to receive one of the available coronavirus vaccine shots because the National Basketball Players Association "has refused to budge on its demand that players not be required to take the vaccine." The NBA and NBPA did not offer a comment to ESPN, but the Worldwide Leader added approximately 85% of the Association's players were vaccinated as of earlier this month. ESPN reports the NBA and NBPA are still negotiating health and safety protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players for the 2021-22 season. Read more here.Additionally, unvaccinated players will face strict protocols. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that non-vaccinated players will have to test negative on game day twice if they plan on suiting up. Vaccinated players will not undergo regular testing. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 10After spending the 2020-21 season playing their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Raptors will be returning home for the 2021-22 campaign. A team spokesperson confirmed to The Canadian Press (link via Sportsnet.ca) that the Raptors have received government clearance to play at home this season. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 2ESPN has obtained a memo from the NBA that proposes stringent protocols for the upcoming season for players who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. The memo states that unvaccinated players "will have lockers as far away as possible from their vaccinated teammates and will have to eat, fly, and ride buses in different sections." Read more here.SEPTEMBER 1Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that unvaccinated players in certain markets with COVID-19 protocols in place will not be able to play home games this coming season. Said markets include New York City and San Francisco. The new protocols do not include non-vaccinated opposing players, who are exempt from them. Read more here.AUGUST 28The NBA and National Basketball Referees Association reached an agreement that will require all officials to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the upcoming season, the league announced Saturday. Referees with a religious or medical exemption will not be required to get the vaccine. Officials also agreed to get any recommended booster shots. Referees who choose not to be vaccinated and are not exempt will not be allowed to work any games during the 2021-22 season. Read more here.AUGUST 27The NBA told teams that non-playing personnel who work within 15 feet of referees and players during games must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Oct. 1. Coaches, front-office members, trainers, broadcasters, scoreboard operators, photographers, and anybody else who has direct contact with players either on or near the court or behind the scenes are named in the league directive. Read more here.AUGUST 13The Brooklyn Nets and home venue the Barclays Center confirmed Friday the will make fans show proof of either a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test to attend home games for the upcoming NBA season. "In accordance with the mandate recently announced by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Barclays Center will soon be requiring all employees and guests to be fully vaccinated," information on the arena's website states. Read more here.AUGUST 4According to the Associated Press, 491 people deemed confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases could be linked with Milwaukee playoff games. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services does note, however, that it can't be determined how many individuals caught the virus either at the arena or at viewing gatherings. Read more here.JULY 6Adam Silver admitted that the compressed schedule could have had an effect on the unusually high number of severe injuries this season, saying “I have no doubt the physical stress and mental toll has contributed to injuries,” according to USA Today’s Mark Medina. He admitted that, considering the extraordinary circumstances, it’s hard to say whether the choices they made were the right ones, per Medina. “Quite frankly,” Silver said, “we might not know for quite a while after this pandemic is over, whether we made the right decision or not.” Read more here.JUNE 10The NBA’s 2021-22 regular season will tip off on Oct. 19, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. In addition, training camps begin Sept. 28, the playoffs start April 16, 2022, the NBA Finals tip off Jun 2 and the 2022 draft will take place June 23. Read more here.
Here is the latest MLB news from the past couple of weeks:SEPTEMBER 17A large COVID-19 outbreak hit the Boston Red Sox clubhouse amid the team's final playoff push, and one player was understandably upset after 12 players and two staffers tested positive for the virus. In an interview with The Boston Globe's Alex Speier, reliever Adam Ottavino shared how uncomfortable he was being around the team during the start of the outbreak. Read more here.The Red Sox announced they’ve reinstated ace Chris Sale and closer Matt Barnes from the COVID-19 injured list. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 15Per SNY, the Mets were able to offer fans some good news Wednesday. Ahead of Wednesday's matchup against the Cardinals, Mets flame-thrower and one-time All-Star Noah Syndergaard threw live batting practice at Citi Field for the first time since he was temporarily shut down in late August after he tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.The Diamondbacks announced they have reinstated Merrill Kelly from the COVID-19 injured list. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 11Zack Greinke was placed on the COVID-19 injured list on Aug. 31. Greinke provided an update Saturday, saying he, his wife and two sons all tested positive for COVID-19, adding that all four are fully vaccinated. Read more here.Just four days after Danny Santana was reinstated from the COVID-related injury list, the Red Sox announced they have sent the utilityman back to the COVID-IL. Santana has tested positive for COVID-19, MLB.com’s Ian Browne reports. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 10As reported by Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale is going to miss his start on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox after testing positive for COVID-19. Read more here.The Red Sox activated star shortstop Xander Bogaerts from the COVID-19 injured list before Friday evening’s game against the White Sox, reports Chris Cotillo of MassLive. He has been out since testing positive for the virus on August 31. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 9The Red Sox have placed 11 players on the COVID-19 IL since Aug. 29 as an outbreak spread through the clubhouse, with numerous players testing positive. Boston outfielder Hunter Renfroe told WEEI’s “Merloni & Fauria” that the issues were bad enough that the league told the team to stop testing and focus instead on treating symptomatic players, a directive the Red Sox ignored. However, MLB and the Red Sox both deny this claim. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 7The Red Sox announced a series of roster moves before Tuesday night's game against the Rays. Utilitymen Enrique Hernández and Danny Santana were both reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 5The Boston Red Sox have placed right-hander Nick Pivetta on the COVID-19-related injured list, the team announced prior to Sunday's game against Cleveland. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 3The Cubs confirmed ahead of their Friday afternoon game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates that manager David Ross and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer both tested positive for the coronavirus. Fortunately, both men are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and currently feeling fine. Both are quarantining for a minimum of 10 days per health and safety protocols. Chicago bench coach Andy Green will serve as interim manager in Ross' absence, beginning with Friday's matchup at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have not yet reached the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold required by MLB for the loosening of some virus-related restrictions, but all players were cleared to participate in at least Friday's contest. Read more here.Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran has tested positive for COVID-19, manager Alex Cora told reporters, including Steve Hewitt of the Boston Herald. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 1MLB Network's COVID-19 vaccine policy is officially in effect. The policy makes it mandatory that all MLB Network employees are vaccinated against the coronavirus, but two members of the team are reportedly unwilling to get the shot. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Al Leiter and John Smoltz, both of whom are analysts for MLB Network, refused the vaccine and will no longer be able to appear in-studio as a result. However, they'll still be a part of the network, making a "compromise" with executives to stay on in their roles while working from home. Read more here.Boston Red Sox infielder Yairo Munoz is the latest player in the organization to test positive for COVID-19, manager Alex Cora announced. Read more here.AUGUST 31According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Boston manager Alex Cora told reporters that right-handed relief pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura is the club's latest player to test positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.The Astros are placing starter Zack Greinke and corner infielder Taylor Jones on the COVID-19 injured list, Mark Berman of Fox 26 was among those to pass along. Read more here.Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts has tested positive for COVID-19, the team informed reporters, including Chris Cotillo of MassLive. He was removed in the second inning of Tuesday evening’s game after the team became aware of the result. Read more here.AUGUST 30The Red Sox are placing closer Matt Barnes on the COVID-19 injured list, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN. Read more here.The Red Sox confirmed that left-handed pitcher Martin Perez tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.The Giants announced they’ve placed starting pitchers Alex Wood and Johnny Cueto on the COVID-19 injured list. Wood has tested positive for COVID-19, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters, including Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Cueto has not tested positive, but he’s feeling virus-like symptoms. Read more here.AUGUST 29Christian Arroyo, who recently returned to the lineup on Aug. 23, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne. Red Sox strength coach Kiyoshi Momose has also tested positive for the virus, according to The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey. Read more here.New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Tim Healey of Newsday. Read more here.AUGUST 28The Athletics placed Seth Brown on the injured list after a positive COVID-19 test, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. Read more here.AUGUST 27The Phillies placed Zach Eflin, Luke Williams and Andrew Knapp on the COVID-19 injured list. The three players were all fully vaccinated but have apparently tested positive for the virus, relays Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Read more here.
Here is what the NHL has been doing over the past couple of weeks to prepare for he league's resumption:SEPTEMBER 22GM Steve Yzerman told reporters including Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that Tyler Bertuzzi, the Red Wings’ third-highest paid forward, has declined the COVID-19 vaccine, and the team anticipates that he will not travel with the club to Canada this season. Because unvaccinated players are not expected to be paid for games/days missed due to COVID-related absences, including those caused by government restrictions and quarantines, Bertuzzi will forfeit $170K just for the eight game days the Red Wings have scheduled against Canadian teams. With travel days added (along with days in between games on their Western Canada trip from March 12-17) he could forfeit quite a bit more. That said, the Red Wings didn’t actually confirm that Bertuzzi will be suspended during those trips, meaning there is still a chance he could receive his full salary. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 21Despite signing a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets just over a month ago, Zac Rinaldo is not invited to their training camp. When speaking with the media Tuesday, Blue Jackets president John Davidson explained that Rinaldo has chosen not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and because of that, will appear at the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters training camp instead. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 16According to Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday the league expects 98% of players will be fully vaccinated before the 2021-22 season begins. Only 10-15 players are expected to be unvaccinated. Read more here.One of the changes to the COVID protocols in the NHL for the upcoming season is the ability for teams to suspend players without pay who are “unable to participate in club activities” due to being unvaccinated. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to Postmedia’s Patrick Johnston that Section 50.10(c) of the CBA will apply in this scenario, which means that teams that suspend an unvaccinated player under these protocols will receive corresponding cap relief for the day(s) for which the players are suspended. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 14According to Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, the club is 100% vaccinated entering the season. General manager Kyle Dubas said earlier this week that the team was fully vaccinated. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 13The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Monday that assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre is being replaced by Cleveland Monsters associate coach Steve McCarthy because Lefebvre refuses to receive one of the available COVID-19 vaccine shots. Due to NHL protocols, Lefebvre would be unable to perform his duties without getting vaccinated. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 3The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly finalizing an agreement with the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation for participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, according to Sports Business Journal. As part of the agreement, NHL players who participate in the Olympics will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports, the league retains the right to withdraw participation if the COVID situation worsens or if its regular schedule has been disrupted by outbreaks, leaving no room to reschedule games. Read more here and here.ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported Thursday that the NHL had informed teams of health and safety protocols for the 2021-22 season. One of the guidelines states that anybody with a job that requires being within 12 feet of players must be vaccinated against the coronavirus to participate in the campaign. As an apparent reaction, San Jose Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson announced he is stepping away from his role with the organization, as he is unable to get the vaccine due to a medical exemption. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 2Gone are the days of bubbles, regional divisions, CPRA lists, and taxi squads, but the NHL won’t be quite back to normal this season. The league will still have a COVID Protocol for the 2021-22 campaign and the details have been released this evening, courtesy of Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The biggest piece of the new protocol, and one that is sure to cause at least some controversy among players, is a mechanism for suspending those who unvaccinated. Read more here.AUGUST 14NHL players were "strongly encouraged" by the NHL Players' Association last week to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and warned of potential consequences if they do not do so, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo and Katie Strang. Players could potentially lose out on pay if they are unvaccinated and contract COVID-19 during the 2021-22 season. Teams might also withhold pay if an unvaccinated player can't accompany his team on road trips where local or federal authorities require vaccination to enter, The Athletic adds. Read more here.AUGUST 4Last year was tough for many prospects, but perhaps none quite as much as Marco Rossi. Dealing with complications from COVID-19, Rossi was not only held off the ice but told he couldn’t even train, allowed on only short walks. His account of the situation is absolutely harrowing, as he told Michael Russo of The Athletic that “every time before I went to sleep, I was so scared that I won’t wake up anymore.” For a 19-year-old kid who was selected ninth overall and could have potentially made the jump immediately to the NHL, it was devastating. Now, after a long recovery period, Rossi is ready to return to action. Russo and colleague Scott Wheeler both report that the young forward will take part in the Olympic qualifiers later this month, suiting up for Austria. The games take place between Aug. 26-29, while the training camp will open on Aug. 16 and include two exhibition matches. Read more here.
The latest from the world of golf since competition resumed:AUGUST 17Jon Rahm heads into the FedEx Cup playoffs ranked No. 1 in the power rankings after he had to miss the Olympics due to testing positive for COVID-19. Read more here.AUGUST 4American golf star Bryson DeChambeau missed out on competing at the Summer Olympics after he tested positive for COVID-19. The 27-year-old is set to play in this week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and told reporters Wednesday he doesn't regret remaining unvaccinated against COVID-19. DeChambeau added he lost "eight to 10 pounds" during his quarantine and needs to regain some clubhead speed before he can reclaim his best form on the course. Read more here.With COVID-19 cases surging throughout the United States due to different variants, the PGA Tour is going back to its previous guidelines of mandating that all individuals wear masks indoors at events regardless of their vaccination statuses. Read more here.JUNE 5Jon Rahm was on his way to what looked like a clear victory at the Memorial before being forced to withdraw Saturday under crushing circumstances. Rahm had a six-stroke lead, and after he finished his round, he spoke with officials before becoming visibly emotional. As it turned out, Rahm had tested positive for COVID-19, and was being informed of that fact. Under PGA Tour protocols, the positive test meant Rahm had to withdraw from the tournament despite his huge lead. Read more here.
What's the latest from the world of NASCAR:APRIL 25NASCAR will not require drivers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, president Steve Phelps said Sunday, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). "It is important, in my opinion, that people get vaccinated," Phelps said before the race at Talladega Superspeedway. Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin are among the few NASCAR drivers who have made it known that they received the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more here.MARCH 11More and more states, cities, and communities are opening outdoor and indoor events to paying spectators despite continued COVID-19 concerns. During a Thursday appearance on ESPN's "First Take," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that the existence of at least three coronavirus vaccines should permit growing numbers of fans to safely attend sporting events over the next several months. Read more here.
Here is the fallout from the most recent news from the NCAA:SEPTEMBER 21The Western Michigan Broncos will be without head coach Tim Lester for this coming Saturday's home game against the San Jose State Spartans. Per Tyler J. Davis of the Detroit Free Press, Lester confirmed in a released statement that he has tested positive for COVID-19 after he experienced "mild symptoms" on Sunday and will be away from the team until some point next week. "Thankfully, due to being fully vaccinated, I am feeling OK," Lester explained in the release. "Our program has practiced, and will continue to practice athletic department safety guidelines and protocols. ... I look forward to overcoming the adversity from this positive test result." Read more here.SEPTEMBER 7According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball coach John Calipari revealed Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of this summer's NBA Draft despite being fully vaccinated against the virus. During a virtual news conference, Calipari explained he experienced only mild coronavirus symptoms and urged individuals who haven't yet received one of the safe and available vaccines to get the shots. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 4Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced in a statement Saturday morning. Kiffin is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but said in his statement he began experiencing symptoms Thursday. Read more here.Wisconsin starting linebacker Leo Chenal has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to missing Saturday's game against Penn State, Chenal will also miss next week's scheduled game against Eastern Michigan. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 1Dabo Swinney was irate when circumstances related to COVID-19 forced the cancellation of one of Clemson’s key games last year, but the coach seems optimistic that things will run more smoothly this season. Swinney shared some of his thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine while speaking with the media on Tuesday. He said there are “very few” people with the Clemson program who have not been vaccinated, which “gives you a whole lot more comfort level.” Read more here.AUGUST 30"In the event a team is unable to begin or complete a regular season conference event due to the unavailability of participants (due to COVID-19, injuries or other reasons), that team will forfeit the contest and will be assigned a loss in the conference standings," the SEC announced in a release. "The opposing team that is ready to play will be credited with a win in the conference standings. Both teams will be deemed to have played and completed the contest for purpose of the conference standings. If both teams are unable to compete due to the unavailability of participants (due to COVID-19, injuries or other reasons), both teams shall be deemed to have forfeited the game, with a loss assigned to both teams and applied to the conference standings. Both teams will be deemed to have played and completed the contest for purpose of the conference standings." Interestingly, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey can declare a game a "no contest" if "extraordinary circumstances warrant" such a decision. Read more here.AUGUST 27Add the Mountain West Conference to the list of leagues not intending to shift or delay schedules during fall seasons because of issues related to the coronavirus. Any game where both teams can't safely field squads because of COVID-19 will be ruled a "no contest." The Mountain West is not enforcing any minimum roster thresholds. Read more here.AUGUST 23The Big Ten joined the other power conferences on Monday by announcing its COVID-19 policies for the upcoming fall season. "The conference has determined that if one of its member institutions is unable to play a conference contest due to COVID-19, that contest shall be declared a forfeit and will not be rescheduled," the Big Ten declared in an official statement. "That contest shall be considered a loss for the team impacted by COVID-19 and a win for its opponent in the conference standings. If both of the two competing teams are unable to participate in a scheduled conference competition due to COVID-19 and as a result the competition is unable to occur on the calendar day on which it is scheduled, the competition shall be considered a 'no contest.'" Read more here.AUGUST 19The ACC is the latest conference threatening to make football teams and other athletic programs forfeit during upcoming seasons if they're unable to compete because of COVID-19 issues and/or concerns. The conference added that in a situation where both teams involved in a matchup can't play because of coronavirus-related setbacks, both will be charged with forfeits and losses in the conference standings. Read more here.AUGUST 17The Big 12 announced its COVID-19 policy on Tuesday. The conference will force forfeits for teams that are unable to field squads because of COVID-19 issues or other setbacks. Read more here.AUGUST 12For the 2021 season, the Pac-12 decided to go back to counting games canceled due to player availability as forfeited losses, regardless of whether COVID-19 plays a role. "Any forfeited contest shall be regarded as a conference loss for the team making the forfeit and a conference win for its opponent," the conference said in a statement obtained by ESPN. Read more here.
Here is what has happened most recently in the world of tennis:SEPTEMBER 1While speaking with reporters Wednesday, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka explained she believes it's "bizarre" ATP and WTA players aren't facing a vaccination mandate. "I don't see the point of stalling it, because we all want to be safe, we all want to continue doing our jobs, and I know there is a lot of discussions about it," Azarenka said about governing bodies forcing players to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to be eligible to participate in tournaments, per Aishwarya Kumar of ESPN. Read more here.AUGUST 27The United States Tennis Association announced Friday that fans 12 years of age or older must show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to attend the U.S. Open. Read more here.AUGUST 12While the main draw for the U.S. Open is scheduled to begin Aug. 30 in New York, the event's qualifying rounds are held the week before and are typically open to the public. However, the United States Tennis Association confirmed Thursday that spectators will not be allowed to attend qualifying matches because of fears and issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
Pro wrestling news over the past few weeks:JANUARY 11WWE champion Drew McIntyre tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in quarantine. As Joseph Currier of the Wrestling Observer noted, this is the first time that WWE confirmed the identity of a roster member who returned a positive coronavirus test since the start of the pandemic. According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com, multiple wrestling brands that have national television deals are currently dealing with COVID-19 issues. Read more here.SEPTEMER 24Back in March, Roman Reigns decided to opt out of WrestleMania 36 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During an appearance on "WWE After the Bell" with "SmackDown" announcer Corey Graves, Reigns explained his choice, saying that it was entirely based on keeping his family safe. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 2Legendary wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shared on Instagram that he, his wife, and his two baby daughters all tested positive for the coronavirus. The Rock says they got the virus from close family friends. He said overcoming the virus was harder than recovering from injuries he’s dealt with in the past. Read more here.
What's new in boxing:SEPTEMBER 8Oscar De La Hoya posted a video on social media Wednesday after being released from the hospital. De La Hoya said in the video that he was hospitalized for three days after contracting COVID-19. He says that COVID hit him “really hard” despite him being in great physical shape. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 3Oscar De La Hoya tested positive for COVID-19, TMZ reports. Evander Holyfield has agreed to take De La Hoya’s place and fight Vitor Belfort on Sept. 11. The fight will need approval from the California State Athletic Commission. TMZ reports that the fight will be moved to Florida if California will not sanction it. Read more here.De La Hoya shared a video from a hospital bed on Friday. The 48-year-old confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. De La Hoya said in a follow-up tweet that he has been receiving treatment and is confident he will make a full recovery. He is still aiming to fight before the end of the year. Read more here.JULY 8The third match between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder that was scheduled for July 24 has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among Fury’s camp. Fury tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing symptoms. The 6-foot-9 heavyweight champion received one COVID-19 vaccine dose but did not get the second shot, according to boxing reporter Dan Rafael. Read more here.
The latest from the IOC:JULY 28Sam Kendricks was expected to earn a medal for Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but that won’t be happening. Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and was not be able to compete in the Summer Games. Read more here.JULY 23Many people in Japan are unhappy that their nation is hosting the Olympics with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, and that resulted in protests taking place outside the Opening Ceremony on Friday. The Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games was held at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Friday evening. Outside the stadium, hundreds of people gathered for a march during which they chanted things like, “Go to hell, Olympics!” Read more here.
MLS and NWSL most recent developments:SEPTEMBER 7United States men's national team midfielder Weston McKennie was suspended for this past Sunday's 1-1 draw against Canada in a World Cup qualifier due to violations of the program's COVID-19 policies and dismissed entirely from the team on Monday ahead of Wednesday's qualifier at Honduras. There's now more information on the exact nature of McKennie's supposed wrongdoings. According to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, McKennie spent a night outside of the team's coronavirus bubble during the current international break. Additionally, both Carlisle and TUDN's "Hablamos Soccer" podcast report the 23-year-old brought an unauthorized individual inside the U.S. bubble and into his hotel room on a different night. As a result, manager Gregg Berhalter released McKennie back to Serie A club Juventus. Read more here.JULY 20For the second straight year, there will be no U.S. Open Cup due to COVID-19. The U.S. Soccer Federation confirmed on Tuesday that this year's edition of the competition won't take place "after not finding available match dates shared across the various participating leagues." According to Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated, a proposal to hold an altered U.S. Open Cup format with 24 clubs in May and June was abandoned, and the federation explained Tuesday it's now planning for next year instead of for the fall months. U.S. Soccer said Tuesday its board of directors will address the automatic berth for the 2022 Champions League in the coming weeks. Read more here.
Most recent news from international soccer circles:SEPTEMBER 17Multiple English Premier League clubs refused to release players to South American countries for September World Cup qualifiers because those nations were on the United Kingdom's COVID-19 red list, meaning the footballers would've had to complete quarantines that would've made them unavailable for multiple club matches. According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), United States men's national team star and Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic is one of a handful of Americans who might miss an upcoming qualifier at Panama on Oct. 10 because of red-list travel issues. Read more here.SEPTEMBER 5Sunday's World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina was suspended moments after kickoff because Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of four Argentinian players who allegedly broke quarantine rules, according to Reuters (h/t ESPN). Brazilian rules state visitors who have been in England in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The four players allegedly put false information on their immigration forms, stating they had not been in the UK. Read more here.AUGUST 25The Premier League declared Tuesday that its teams will not release players for September World Cup qualifiers held in countries on England's "red list" because footballers would miss multiple club contests due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions upon their returns to England. According to Sky Sports, the British government currently has "no plans" to change its policies even after FIFA president Gianni Infantino requested exemptions for players in a message written to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Since Tuesday's news, the English Football League and Spain's La Liga have both backed the Premier League's stance. Read more here.AUGUST 24The English top-flight confirmed Tuesday that none of its clubs will release players scheduled to participate in upcoming international fixtures held in red-list countries. Read more here.AUGUST 23Liverpool will not allow Mohamed Salah to play in Egypt's upcoming World Cup qualifying matches because of COVID-19 restrictions, the country's football association said Monday. Egypt is on England's red list, which means Salah would be required to quarantine upon his return to the country and miss two Premier League games. Read more here.The English Premier League hasn't yet had to postpone a match because of COVID-19 this season, but the top-flight nevertheless continues to encounter coronavirus-related issues this summer. On Monday, the league confirmed that it recorded 16 new positive COVID-19 tests from Aug. 16-22. Read more here.AUGUST 20Chelsea winger and United States men's national team star Christian Pulisic tested positive for COVID-19, Blues manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed Friday. The 22-year-old has been absent from training this week as Chelsea prepares for a Premier League clash against Arsenal on Sunday. Pulisic will miss that match. Read more here.AUGUST 19Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and forward Alexandre Lacazette were both unavailable for last Friday's Premier League opener at Brentford due to what were, at the time, unspecified illnesses. Ahead of this Sunday's league clash with Chelsea, Arsenal confirmed Thursday that both players tested positive for COVID-19. "Auba is now negative on COVID-19 testing, is well and following all protocols for return to play," Arsenal explained. "He will return to training and be assessed prior to Sunday’s match." Lacazette, meanwhile, is still recovering and won't be available for selection through the weekend. Additionally, Alex Runarsson and Willian also tested positive for the coronavirus. Runarsson has been ruled out for Sunday's match, while a final decision on Willian's status hasn't yet been made. Read more here.
WNBA's latest developments:JUNE 28The WNBA announced Monday that an astonishing 99% of its players are considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. "All 12 teams have met the threshold for being considered a fully-vaccinated team," the Association added in its brief statement. No players have tested positive for the virus since the regular season started on May 14. Read more here.APRIL 13The 25th WNBA season will have a much more normal feel to it than its 24th. On Tuesday, the WNBA announced the upcoming regular season will begin May 14 and feature the league's 12 teams playing at their home venues. The league will temporarily pause from July 15 through Aug. 11 due to the Summer Olympics, and teams will play a total of 32 games through the final day of the regular season scheduled for Sept. 19. The 2020 campaign was shifted to the bubble site at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fan attendance for upcoming games will be determined and announced by individual clubs, and all teams will follow local health and safety recommendations. Read more here.
esports carries on:MAY 19Esports’ popularity has experienced an uptick on both sides of the remote, as CNBC’s Bob Woods reported on May 19 that streaming website Twitch experienced a “23% surge in viewership in March,” coinciding with the time frame when much of the country started to stay home.MAY 4While the pandemic is having a negative effect on the sports world, it’s been business as usual for esports and gaming. Participants can easily play while maintaining social distancing guidelines since gaming takes place online. In fact, esports has been flourishing. Texas A&M head esports coach Travis Yang told KSAT.com that there has been a “noticeable increase” in gamers and tournaments as people were forced to stay at home.
Most recent developments among other sports:AUGUST 21After hoping to allow a decreased percentage of spectators to the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced on Friday afternoon that no fans will be welcomed to the event postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.AUGUST 4Indianapolis Motor Speedway has once again reversed course and declared that the Indianapolis 500 held on Aug. 23 will occur without fans in the stands due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.JULY 1The 2020 Mexico City Marathon announced that the race scheduled for Aug. 30 is canceled. According to Mexico News Daily, the event drew roughly 30,000 runners last year. Read more here.JUNE 26The Indianapolis 500, set for Aug. 23, became the latest American sporting event to welcome fans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles confirmed the news, stating, "We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent of venue capacity." Per Shanna McCarriston of CBS Sports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway carries a capacity of around 235,000. The official announcement also explained that individuals who do not wish to attend, such as those considered high-risk, will receive credits. Safety items such as masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed to all race attendees. Read more here.JUNE 24The world's largest marathon in New York City has officially been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jackie Salo of the New York Post. The five-borough race, which hosts more than 50,000 runners from across the globe, would've celebrated its 50th anniversary on Nov. 1. It is now set to take place on Nov. 7, 2021. Read more here.JUNE 23The Haspa Marathon Hamburg, which was postponed from April, is set to occur on Sept. 13. The race is expecting 10,000 to 14,000 runners. However, Americans might not be among thm. Action Network's Darren Rovell reported that runners from "higher-risk COVID areas" will not be allowed to participate. A higher-risk area could include the United States. Read more here.JUNE 13Approximately 20,000 rugby fans in New Zealand packed the stands to watch the Otago Highlanders take on the Waikato Chiefs in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. New Zealand lifted nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions earlier in the week, as no new cases have been reported for more than 20 days and the death toll is at just 22 in the country since the pandemic started. Read more here.MAY 28The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 20 but postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, was canceled and converted into a virtual experience. It's the first time in 124 years the Marathon won't run. Read more here.
Raiders' Carl Nassib makes history and has huge play in his first game since publicly coming out .
Not only did Carl Nassib make history as NFL's first active, openly gay player to appear in a game, he caused fumble that set up Raiders' winning TD.“And I won’t forget this one,’’ he said Monday night.