Τρίτη, 17 Μαρτίου 2020

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March 17, 2020 at 02:00AM

WrestleMania moved; to air live with no fans

WresleMania will no longer take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. It will instead air live from the WWE training facility in Orlando.

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Woodley among fighters who react to UFC postponing next three events

With Dana White's announcement that the next three UFC events were being postponed, fighters took to social media to share their thoughts.

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NFL Delays OTAs, Bans Free-Agent Meetings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

March 17, 2020 at 02:28AM

The NFL also banned meetings between teams and free agents in its memo on Monday.

The NFL has barred in-person interviews with free agents and is requiring local physical examinations for them rather than team-conducted exams.

In a memo sent to the 32 franchises on Monday, the league also banned travel by team personnel to meet with free agents as well as those players traveling to team facilities. The league’s business year begins Wednesday, and the period in which players’ representatives could negotiate with clubs began Monday — though no deals could be finalized.

All offseason activities such as meetings, practices and minicamps, have been delayed indefinitely as a safeguard against the new coronavirus. No players can enter a club facility through March 31, with the exception of those receiving medical treatment.

The restrictions were first reported by ESPN.

Earlier, things just got hotter on offense in the desert.

The first day that players’ representatives could talk with teams wound up being more about trades than free agents — with one of the NFL’s biggest stars,

DeAndre Hopkins, headed to Arizona.

In a stunner that overshadowed several other trades and a slew of offers to unrestricted free agents, the Texans sent their three-time All-Pro receiver to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a second-round draft pick this year and a fourth-rounder in 2021.

Several Cardinals players not surprisingly reacted positively to the move on social media. Quarterback Kyler Murray, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, responded with a “ LET’S GET RIGHT! @DeAndreHopkins ” while wideout Christian Kirk added “ 10 + 11 + 13 = SCARY SIGHT. Welcome to the squad bro let’s eat! ”

The NFC champion 49ers got into the bartering, too. They dealt top defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft, which, incidentally, won’t have any public events next month in Las Vegas — if it is even held there as originally planned.

A person familiar with the deal said Buckner will receive a new contract worth $21 million a year from the Colts. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal and contract can’t be finalized until the start of the league year Wednesday.

The trade came just after San Francisco opted to keep another standout lineman, Arik Armstead, who got a five-year deal worth $85 million.

“I’m excited to continue my career with the 49ers, the organization that gave me a chance by drafting me five years ago,” Armstead said. “They have given me the platform to give back to my community and play the game I love at the highest level, and I am just getting started.”

The NFL’s business year is just getting started, as planned, despite the spread of the new coronavirus. For now, all moves are being done remotely with basically a ban on travel within the league.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

Also traded was Baltimore tight end Hayden Hurst to Atlanta, which is losing TE Austin Hooper to Cleveland in free agency. The Ravens received second and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft, and the Falcons got a fourth-rounder.

Fourteen franchise tags were handed out, the most since 2012, with only one quarterback, the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott. The other biggest names among those franchised were Titans running back Derrick Henry; Bengals receiver A.J. Green; Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones; and Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett, the league leader in sacks in 2019. The move by Tampa Bay with Barrett almost assures that quarterback Jameis Winston is headed elsewhere.

Franchise tag values range from $26.824 million for a quarterback, to $17.865 million for a running back to $17.788 million for a defensive end/edge rusher; to $5.019 million for kickers.

Running back Kenyan Drake got a transition tag from Arizona, but with Johnson traded to Houston, he has an open path to the starting job.

In case you’re wondering, no word out of the Tom Brady camp on a potential landing spot for the six-time Super Bowl champion should he leave New England.

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Amid Coronavirus Concerns, IOC to Discuss State of Olympics on International Call Tuesday

March 17, 2020 at 01:57AM

The IOC has scheduled a call for Tuesday with the heads of all national federations to discuss the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had upon the Tokyo Games, multiple sources have told Sports Illustrated.

The International Olympic Committee has scheduled a call for Tuesday with the heads of all national federations to discuss the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had upon the Tokyo Games, multiple sources have told Sports Illustrated.

The teleconference, which will be led by IOC president Thomas Bach, comes amid mounting concerns about whether the Summer Olympics can go on as scheduled, with the Opening Ceremonies slated for July 24. Japanese officials have proclaimed that the Games will be on time, but that stance could become more difficult to maintain as the ripples of the COVID-19 outbreak continue to spread.

A follow-up call between USOPC chief executive officer Sarah Hirschland and the heads of all U.S. national sports governing bodies is expected to take place Wednesday, sources said.

The

possibility of delaying the Games, while far from ideal, seems to be more real every day. While it remains to be seen whether Olympic broadcast partner NBC would champion a postponement that pushes the Tokyo Games into conflict with football season, it might be the best alternative for much of the world in terms of ensuring fan and athlete safety and producing fair competition.

“Of course the IOC and the whole world wants a successful Olympics,” British runner John Learmonth told The Guardian this week. “But for that to happen I strongly believe the event needs to be postponed—unless the authorities can guarantee it will be business as usual, which I don’t believe they can.”

Even if the global pandemic is considered to be under control by July, the current crisis is wreaking havoc upon national qualifying trials to make Olympic teams, and on the training of aspiring Olympians. Many countries have had to postpone or cancel qualifying trials, and the United States is no exception. USA Wrestling, for example, recently postponed its trials that were scheduled for April 4–5 at Penn State.

Late June is the critical window for American trials in numerous high-profile sports. Track & Field trials are June 19–28 in Eugene, Oregon; swimming trials are June 21–28 in Omaha; and gymnastics trials are June 25–28 in St. Louis. If training for those events is significantly compromised, it would stand to reason that the USOPC would be in favor of a postponement of the Games.

Meanwhile, there is an underlying tension as athletes seek to continue training amid community restrictions and guidelines. There is an unprecedented premium being places on athletes and their coaches to strike a balance between social responsibility and continuing to chase long-held Olympic dreams

In the United States, national team members in multiple sports—including many medalists and household names—are scrambling to find workout space as facilities close, both on college campuses and elsewhere. The U.S. Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid are allowing athletes currently on campus to remain, but have prohibited any new arrivals at a time when those facilities normally are in high demand.

In swimming, especially, altitude training at the OTC in Colorado during the spring months of an Olympic year is highly prized in preparation for the Trials. But for now simply finding any open pool has been difficult, rendering many of America’s best swimmers vagabonds.

Rick Pitino: 'I Deserved to be Fired' by Louisville After FBI Probe

March 17, 2020 at 01:46AM

Pitino was fired in September 2017 amid an FBI investigation into Louisville's basketball program.

Iona head coach Rick Pitino said he "deserved to be fired by Louisville," on Monday. 

Pitino was fired by Louisville in September 2017 amid an FBI investigation into the school's basketball program. He sued Louisville for nearly $40 million after his dismissal, but dropped the case after reaching a settlement in September 2019. 

"Looking back now, I deserved to be fired by Louisville," Pitino said on WFAN in New York on Monday. "I made excuses. I should have just said, ‘I hired them, I take full responsibility, the axe has to fall on me.' Which it did. And move on. I wish I would have just handled it that way.”

Pitino returned to the college ranks on March 14 as he was hired by Iona. He joined the Gaels after one season with Greek team Panathinaikos B.C.

The 67-year-old joins Iona with a 770–271 record in college basketball. He is a two-time national champion, most recently winning the NCAA Tournament with Louisville in 2013. 

Cardinals, 49ers, Colts All Do Well With Trades on Day 1 of Legal Tampering

March 17, 2020 at 01:40AM

Plus, why DeAndre Hopkins was traded, offensive linemen get paid and the Bears are still looking for a quarterback.

Sometimes I wonder if the league should just hire someone to swoop in at the end of any big decision-making process to ask, “Are we doing the right thing?” I think it would have saved them a lot of trouble the last few years…

• And while we’re there, I couldn’t find a single team official—not one—who thought the league did the right thing

going forward with free agency on Monday. The work continued, of course, if it was a little disjointed. One team held a morning conference call with its football staffers to get its ducks in a row ahead of the tampering period opening. Another conducted some decision-making processes via video conference. To those I talked to, the whole thing felt weird and, as one NFC coach put it “totally unnecessary” to start free agency under these circumstances. But since it happened, we’re going to cover it.

• The jaw-dropper of the day, of course, was the Texans’ trade of star receiver and three-time First-Team All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. Houston packaged the 27-year-old with a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals for RB David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-rounder. Sounds like a short return for a great player, right? Well, it is. But Hopkins’s name has been whispered as a trade possibility in NFL circles for two years, and part of it involves his feeling that he’s underpaid. And then there’s the relationship between Hopkins and the team. While things weren’t nearly as off-the-rails as they’d gotten with Jadeveon Clowney, I’m told there was friction between Hopkins and the coaches that contributed to all of this. Which sure seems like it’s Arizona’s gain.

• As for where Hopkins is going, there are three key points to make on the Cardinals’ big swing. First, assuming the receiver gets the new contract he wants, this is Arizona taking advantage of having a star quarterback on a rookie deal—an edge that the Eagles, Rams and Chiefs rode all the way to the Super Bowl over the last few years. Second, as good as Kyler Murray is in broken-play situations, Hopkins gives him a counterpoint that should be just as much of a problem. Imagine having to track Murray in the open field with Hopkins running through your secondary. That’s a problem. And third, the move frees GM Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury to augment the offensive line or bolster the defense with the eighth overall pick—where they’ll be prime position there to pluck one of the class’s elite tackles. All in all, this is a really, really nice move by Arizona.

• The other big trade of the day really illustrates how the 49ers do business, sending DeForest Buckner to Indy for a first-round pick. The team’s already got Dee Ford at $18 million per year, and knew they had three guys on rookie deals who’d wind up getting into that neighborhood eventually—Nick Bosa, Buckner and Arik Armstead. And going into the offseason, they considered trying to tag-and-trade Armstead, like the Seahawks did with Frank Clark and the Chiefs did with Ford last year. In the end? They could get more for Buckner, and bring back Armstead for a little less than it cost to keep him. So looking at it globally, the Niners keep one player from the strength of the team, albeit the one most believe is the lesser piece, and get the 13th pick in the draft. That pick will either be a high-end, cost-controlled player or, if they trade down, multiple guys who are economical. Altogether, I’m sure the Niners hated to move on from Buckner—for the first three quarters of the Super Bowl, he and Bosa were the best players on the field on either team. But as far as sustaining the roster, this was the best way for San Francisco to pull the levers it had available.

• And I like the move for the Colts, too. GM Chris Ballard has hoarded cap space the last three years, and moved judiciously with his money, doing well with second-tier signings on the veteran market. The reason? It’s hard to find true blue-chip players out there—mostly because teams hold on to players like that. And a player like Buckner wasn’t going to be there for him in free agency, nor was he going to be available with the 13th pick. So with a roster that’s pretty well-rounded, he filled a big need with a dominant player. Now, he’s got to find himself a quarterback. And there are options (Philip Rivers, Nick Foles and Marcus Mariota) that would be nice replacements or competition for Jacoby Brissett. Just look at the young talent on the roster. The Colts could be pretty good next year.

• The Bears’ quarterback situation remains muddled, but it may not be for long. My understanding is the focus has been on Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and Jacksonville’s Nick Foles. And which one lands there as the competition/replacement for Mitch Trubisky could well boil down to where GM Ryan Pace finds a better deal. Foles played for new quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo in Philly, where the head coach, Doug Pederson, is a former Matt Nagy co-worker. And Dalton played for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in Cincinnati.

• Give new Browns GM Andrew Berry credit—the issues the “analytics” front office had coming out of the gate in 2016 in Cleveland (Berry was a top lieutenant to Sashi Brown) haven’t been apparent in 2020. Quickly, he was able to land a top tight end (Austin Hooper) and a solid tackle (Jack Conklin) with background in the Shanahan-style system that new coach Kevin Stefanski plans to implement. And they also brought in a quarterback, in Case Keenum, who has background with Stefanski and the Shanahan system and should be a fantastic resource for Baker Mayfield.

• Once again, offensive linemen got paid. Jack Conklin came in at $14 million per year, Graham Glasgow got $11 million per, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Ereck Flowers are now at $10 million, while guards Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney got tagged at a franchise number driven by a more lucrative market at tackle. That’s following previous offseasons during which guys like Nate Solder, Trent Brown, Andrew Norwell and Ryan Jensen set new standards at their respective positions. The reason? There aren’t enough functional linemen out there. So if you’re even a good one, you’ve got a serious supply/demand dynamic working in your favor.

• It was four years ago that Titans GM Jon Robinson, still in his first year, dealt away promising, but troubled receiver Dorial Green-Beckham for Eagles swing tackle Dennis Kelly. Green-Beckham had 15 games left in the NFL. Kelly, conversely, has had incredible value as Conklin’s battled injury problems, and now figures to replace him at right tackle, coming in at half the price of Conklin for the next three years. Kelly’s still just 30. And at the very least, he gives Robinson and Mike Vrabel flexibility and time in finding a long-term replacement for Conklin. Which illustrates what a great under-the-radar move that 2016 trade was.

• Credit to the Saints for finding a way with David Onyemata. I figured he was good as gone, with New Orleans having so many mouths to feed over the next couple years. But the team got creative, and is keeping one of the more underrated picks in the string of stellar draft classes that Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Jeff Ireland have reeled off the last four years. (It also makes you wonder about Sheldon Rankins’s future with the team).

• Buckle up! More action left to be had on Tuesday…

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

Αγία Παρασκευή: Αίσιο τέλος με την εξαφάνιση των δύο ανήλικων κοριτσιών - Newsbomb.gr

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