Nets to require fans, employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend games

Fans of the New Orleans Saints learned earlier this week that they will have to show proof of either a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test to attend home games this season per a mandate declared by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. 

© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets and home venue the Barclays Center confirmed Friday they’ll abide by similar guidelines 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. “Beginning Monday, Sept. 13, individuals ages 12 and up will be required to show proof of at least one vaccine dose.”

Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will have to wear approved face coverings inside the arena when not actively eating and drinking, and both customers and employees “will be subject to COVID-19 testing protocols, subject to any applicable vaccine exemptions.” 

The Nets also released a statement: 

A statement regarding our vaccination policy at @barclayscenter.

For more information: https://t.co/Z2oX5KY8I5 pic.twitter.com/CZkFSeymDh

— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 13, 2021

On Thursday, the United States Tennis Association announced paying fans will not be allowed to attend qualifying matches for the U.S. Open in New York because of the pandemic. “The decision regarding the qualifying tournament, though heartbreaking, will have no impact on fan access to the main draw,” USTA spokesperson Chris Widmaier added. 

The main draw of the U.S. Open is scheduled to begin Aug. 30. 

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More must-reads:

  • U.S. Open qualifying rounds closed to spectators due to COVID-19
  • Fans must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test to attend Saints games
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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.

NBA

Here is what has happened over the last couple of weeks in the NBA:AUGUST 8The NBA announced Sunday afternoon that the summer league game between the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers had been postponed due to health and safety protocols. Because the Wizards have several players in contact tracing, they didn’t have enough of them available to play Sunday night against the Pacers. 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 19Chicago Bulls star guard Zach LaVine will not travel with Team USA to Tokyo on Monday in preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Team USA announced that LaVine can’t travel with the rest of the team from their training camp site in Las Vegas to the eastern metropolis after being placed in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Read more here.JULY 17Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. Read more here.JULY 15After Team USA guard Bradley Beal entered the coronavirus health and safety protocols in Las Vegas on Wednesday, a second player from the U.S. roster joined him. According to Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Jerami Grant has also been placed in the protocols. Grant hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19, says Charania. That suggests the Pistons forward entered the protocols for contact tracing reasons, which would result in a shorter isolation period as long as he continues to register negative tests. Read more here.USA Basketball confirmed Thursday that Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal will miss the Summer Games due to COVID protocols. Read more here.Team USA Basketball announced on Thursday that its upcoming exhibition game against Australia has been canceled due to COVID protocols. 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 21The Salt Lake City Summer League will return in 2021 after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Summer League in Utah will feature just three NBA teams. The Grizzlies, Spurs and Jazz will participate in the event on Aug. 3, 4, and 6 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. Read more here.JUNE 16LeBron James isn’t happy about the rash of high-profile players who have suffered injuries during the postseason. The Lakers star sounded off on the NBA via Twitter on Wednesday, saying the league did not allow players to get an adequate amount of rest before the 2020-21 season began. The offseason was shorter in general due to COVID-19’s impact on the 2019-20 schedule. Read more here.JUNE 12This year’s condensed season offered little time to rest between games and was played under the threat of pandemic postponements, but the consensus among players and coaches is that it was much easier than the resumption last summer in Orlando, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. 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.MAY 24On Saturday, it was reported that LeBron James violated protocols by attending a promotional event last week. However, James was not suspended or required to isolate. Still, some felt that the NBA had gone easy on James by not placing him in protocols with the playoffs looming. In an apparent effort to respond to that skepticism, the NBA issued a statement stating that medical experts determined that the event James attended did not create a risk of spreading COVID-19. In addition, the league said that a number of similar violations during the season were handled the same way, a clear rebuttal to the theory that James received preferential treatment. Read more here.MAY 22According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, an NBA spokesperson said that James violated the league’s health and safety protocols earlier this week. The four-time NBA champion attended a promotional event for a tequila he has invested in. The event took place before the Lakers played the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament. Read more here.As the CDC continues to loosen restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated, the NBA is following in its footsteps. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, coaches who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear facemasks while coaching games. Read more here.MAY 19There has been talk for the past year that the NBA could expand to new cities in order to help recoup some of the revenue that was lost during the pandemic, and it sounds like that is going to happen. Michael Grange of Sportsnet reported this week that it is “widely believed” that the NBA is planning to expand to 32 teams. The league has not added a franchise since the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, but expansion talks seem to have accelerated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Grange added that it is “almost a given” that Seattle would be the home of one of the teams, as the arena issues that forced the SuperSonics to leave for Oklahoma City in 2008 have since been resolved. Las Vegas has been mentioned as a potential spot for the second team. Read more here.After being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA Las Vegas Summer League will be held from August 8-17 this year, a source tells Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Read more here.APRIL 19The NBA has not permitted personnel to travel internationally to scout players since October due to COVID-19 concerns. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports the league office will be eliminating such travel restrictions for individuals who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Personnel who do travel internationally for scouting purposes must “comply with all applicable government regulations” and adhere to NBA health and safety protocols. Read more here.On Monday, the NBA confirmed that free agency will begin on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. ET, when clubs can first start negotiating with out-of-contract players. Teams will be permitted to officially sign free agents on Aug. 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET. Read more here.

MLB

Here is the latest MLB news from the past couple of weeks:AUGUST 12The Milwaukee Brewers lost nine players to the COVID-19 injured list from July 27 through Aug. 7. Among them were All-Star closer Josh Hader and fellow southpaw Eric Lauer, who kept in shape by catching bullpen sessions for each other during their absences from the team. Hader was reinstated to the active list ahead of Thursday’s game against the Chicago Cubs. Lauer, meanwhile, could return Friday if he passes the required tests. Read more here.AUGUST 10The Brewers announced that right-hander Jake Cousins has been reinstated from the COVID-19 injury list. Cousins returns after the mandatory 10-day quarantine period following a positive coronavirus test. The Brewers still have six more players on their COVID list, but between Cousins, Hunter Strickland and Christian Yelich all returning in recent days, the club is slowly starting to make its way back from this outbreak. Read more here.Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly has been away from the team since July 31 when he tested positive for COVID-19 even though he’s been fully vaccinated against the virus since mid-April. Mattingly will rejoin the club Friday ahead of a home weekend series against the Chicago Cubs after the 60-year-old experienced mild virus symptoms. Bench coach James Rowson has served as interim manager in Mattingly’s absence. Read more here.The Rays reinstated  outfielder Randy Arozarena from the COVID-related injury list and placed southpaw Ryan Yarbrough on it. League rules don’t require Yarbrough’s exact situation to be made public, so it isn’t known whether or not the lefty tested positive for the coronavirus himself or if he is being held out as a precautionary measure due to contact tracing or symptoms. (Yarbrough had another brief one-day stint on the COVID-IL earlier this season due to vaccine side effects.) Arozarena returns after just a few days on the COVID-IL for being a close contact to a positive case. Read more here.AUGUST 8New York Yankees star Anthony Rizzo has tested positive for COVID-19, landing him on the COVID list and sidelining him for at least the next week of action. Read more here.AUGUST 7The Boston Red Sox announced Saturday that All-Star slugger J.D. Martinez has been placed on the COVID-19 injured list after he reported to the club that he was not feeling well. Read more here.The Brewers have activated outfielder Christian Yelich from the COVID-19 injury list, manager Craig Counsell told reporters, via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Unfortunately for the Brewers, right-hander Adrian Houser was officially placed on the COVID list. Read more here.AUGUST 6The Dodgers announced they’ve reinstated Trea Turner from the COVID-19 injured list. The All-Star shortstop came over in the Max Scherzer trade. The 28-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the trade, however, so he’s remained in isolation until Friday. Read more here.The Brewers have been dealing with virus spread throughout the clubhouse in recent days, and another pair of players has tested positive. Starter Adrian Houser and reliever Jandel Gustave tested positive and were placed on the COVID IL, manager Craig Counsell told reporters, via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Read more here.AUGUST 5The Rockies announced they reinstated right-handers Antonio Senzatela and Yency Almonte from the COVID-19 injured list. Senzatela and Almonte landed on the IL on July 16, with the Rockies dealing with coronavirus spread upon their return from the All-Star break. Both players wound up missing a little less than three weeks. Read more here.According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed ahead of Thursday’s game against the Seattle Mariners that catcher Gary Sanchez has tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.AUGUST 3Per Greg Joyce of the New York Post, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed during a Tuesday appearance on New York sports radio station WFAN that starter Jordan Montgomery has tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.AUGUST 2Mariners outfielder Jake Fraley has been activated from the COVID-19 injured list. Fraley tested positive for COVID on July 18, and he’s missed the past two weeks recuperating. Read more here.The Brewers have placed lefty Josh Hader on the COVID-19-related injured list, per a club announcement. Read more here.The Pirates announced Monday that they’ve placed righty Chad Kuhl on the COVID-19-related injured list and selected the contract of right-hander Shea Spitzbarth in a corresponding move. Read more here.Yankees ace Gerrit Cole had been scheduled to start Tuesday’s game against the Orioles but won’t take the mound after testing positive for COVID-19, manager Aaron Boone announced to reporters Monday night, via Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Read more here. JULY 31Marlins manager Don Mattingly has tested positive for COVID-19, via MLB.com’s Christina De Nicola. Mattingly is experiencing some mild symptoms but has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Read more here.JULY 30The Diamondbacks appear to be dealing with a COVID outbreak, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He lists Stuart Fairchild, Joe Mantiply, Noe Ramirez, Riley Smith and Pavin Smith as those going on the IL. Read more here.JULY 29The Nationals placed shortstop Trea Turner, right-hander Daniel Hudson, righty Austin Voth and catcher Alex Avila on the COVID-19-related injured list. Read more here.JULY 28After Washington abruptly pulled All-Star shortstop Trea Turner from Tuesday’s game versus the Philadelphia Phillies because it was learned he tested positive for COVID-19, ESPN’s Jeff Passan and others confirmed Wednesday’s showdown between the division rivals was scrapped because of a virus outbreak within the Nationals. Read more here.JULY 27The Brewers placed Christian Yelich and Jace Peterson on the COVID-related injury list. elich tested positive for COVID-19 while Peterson is on the list due to contact tracing. Stearns noted that Yelich is fully vaccinated but is exhibiting mild symptoms, though the outfielder is expected to be back after the mandatory 10-day quarantine period. Read more here.The Yankees reinstated both Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka from the COVID IL. Read more here.Trea Turner was pulled from Tuesday night’s Washington Nationals game abruptly after testing positive for COVID. Read more here. JULY 21The Orioles placed outfielder Anthony Santander and left-hander Keegan Akin on the COVID-19 injured list. Read more here.JULY 18Mariners outfielder Jake Fraley is going on the COVID-19 injured list. Manager Scott Servais revealed that Fraley has tested positive for COVID-19 and also has symptoms, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Servais said the majority of players with whom Fraley was in close contact have been vaccinated, so they’re hoping that will stop the virus from spreading further. Read more here.JULY 17Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro revealed that 15,000 fans will be admitted to Rogers Centre for the July 30 game against the Kansas City Royals. Shapiro added that the roof will be kept open as much as possible. Read more here.JULY 16MLB announced the Yankees have been cleared for Friday’s matchup following a COVID-19 outbreak that involved six players reportedly testing positive for the virus. Pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta were confirmed positive cases by Thursday night, and ESPN has said that All-Star Aaron Judge, third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Kyle Higashioka are also positive after entering the protocol Thursday. MLB did not confirm the second round of positive test results in its statement. Read more here.It was confirmed Thursday that New York Yankees pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta were positive COVID-19 cases, and ESPN reported Friday that All-Star Aaron Judge, third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Kyle Higashioka are also positive for the coronavirus. Per Bryan Hoch of the MLB website, Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters ahead of Friday’s home game against the rival Boston Red Sox that all six players positive for the virus will miss a minimum of 10 days. Read more here.As Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia explained, Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola missed last Sunday’s scheduled start at the Red Sox because he was exposed to teammate Alec Bohm, who had tested positive for COVID-19. Nola is unvaccinated, but his experience won’t change his mind on the subject. Read more here.The Rockies are dealing with COVID issues. They’ve placed four players — Antonio Senzatela, Jhoulys Chacín, Yency Almonte and Yonathan Daza — on the COVID-19 injured list. In addition to the four players, manager Bud Black and first base coach Ron Gideon are unavailable due to contact tracing. Read more here.The Blue Jays were granted a National Interest Exemption by the Canadian government needed to return home because not all personnel required for completing games in Toronto will be vaccinated against the coronavirus. This means the Jays are able to play their home games in Toronto once again, starting July 30. Read more here.JULY 15MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees are dealing with a “major” coronavirus setback. The Yankees’ Thursday game against the Red Sox was canceled as a result. Read more here.Furthermore, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports All-Star Aaron Judge, third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Kyle Higashioka are among Yankees players who are in the coronavirus-related protocols. Read more here.The Blue Jays will play home games in Buffalo through at least next Wednesday, but Canada deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Thursday the club’s return to Rogers Centre in Toronto is “trending in a very good direction.” Read more here.JULY 13It wasn’t all that long ago that MLB and the MLBPA agreed to make seven-inning doubleheaders and second-base runners to start extra innings part of the 2021 season. Now, commissioner Rob Manfred says the new rules don’t have a lasting future in the league. Read more here.JULY 9Per Brian McTaggart of the league’s website, Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was placed on the injured list ahead of Friday’s game against the New York Yankees due to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19. Houston relief pitcher Brooks Raley went on the IL because of health and safety protocols Thursday. Read more here.JUNE 30The Blue Jays reinstated left-hander Steven Matz from the COVID-related injured list. Matz tested positive for the coronavirus on June 15 and had to wait out a mandatory 10-day isolation period even though he was an asymptomatic COVID case. Read more here.JUNE 25MLB confirmed Friday that zero players, coaches and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week. Additionally, 23 clubs have now reached the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold among Tier 1 employees that include players, managers, coaches, trainers and other essential staff. For the second straight week, the league reports 86.5% of Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals have received at least one vaccine dose, and 85.4% of all Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees are considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Read more here.JUNE 18MLB announced 85.3% of all Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees are now considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, 86.5% of Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees have received at least one vaccine shot. Read more here.JUNE 16Major League Baseball has updated its COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated Tiers 1 and 2 personnel (including players and coaches), reports Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic. Most notably, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be tested for COVID-19 unless they have symptoms or have been exposed to the virus. Read more here.JUNE 7The Blue Jays announced that Buffalo’s Sahlen Field will continue to be their home park through at least July 21. Read more here.JUNE 4MLB and the MLBPA announced that only one new MLB player and one Triple-A player tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week. MLB also confirmed that 20 clubs have now reached the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold among Tier 1 employees that include players, managers, coaches, trainers and other essential members of traveling parties. Additionally, 85.2% of all Tier 1 individuals are currently considered either partially or fully vaccinated, while 82.9% of those employees are fully vaccinated. Read more here.MLB announced its “Vaccinate At The Plate” program, which involves all 30 teams hosting at least one event in June where fans not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus can receive a free ticket to a game by getting a vaccine shot at that event. Individual clubs will determine specifics for such events, including locations and dates, and those interested are encouraged to visit MLB.com/vaccine for more information. Read more here.JUNE 3The Chicago White Sox will be without rookie outfielder Andrew Vaughn for an unknown amount of time. Ahead of Thursday’s game versus the Detroit Tigers, the White Sox placed Vaughn on the injured list because of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Read more here.MAY 14The Major League Baseball Players Association has filed a grievance against the league, claiming that MLB did not negotiate in good faith to play as many games as possible in the shortened 2020 season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The MLBPA grievance seeks as much as $500M, which Sherman suggests is the equivalent of roughly 20 games of additional pay. Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report that the grievance was actually filed two weeks ago, adding that the league has argued in response that 60 games was the maximum possible due to health and safety reasons. Of course, the league itself submitted proposals for larger numbers of games, although it did so with additional salary cuts which MLB knew to be a nonstarter in talks with the union. Read more here.

NHL

Here is what the NHL has been doing over the past couple of weeks to prepare for he league’s resumption: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.JUNE 20TVA’s Renaud Lavoie was the first to report that Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon has tested positive for COVID-19. Vegas has stated that McCrimmon is self-isolating and will follow the NHL’s COVID Protocol and all other local health policies. Read more here.APRIL 29There will not be a traditional Calder Cup playoffs in 2021, but that doesn’t mean the AHL will forgo postseason contests. Each of the four divisions was given the opportunity to decide a postseason format, and while the Atlantic, North, Canadian and Central will all simply award the divisional champion based on regular-season points percentage, the Pacific Division is going to have a playoff tournament. Also in the announcement comes news on the 2021-22 season, which is set to begin on Oct. 15, 2021, and conclude on April 24, 2022. The divisions will likely be put back to normal, but an announcement will come later this summer. Read more here.APRIL 27As per a report by Elliotte Friedman, the NHL is going to hold teams accountable to their actions when it comes to the COVID virus and doing their part to stop the spread. Specifically, if players break protocols that lead to multiple illnesses during the playoffs, there could be huge consequences. Essentially, if a player(s) breaks the rules when it comes to COVID protocols and it costs their team a number of players because the virus spreads, the NHL won’t first look to reschedule games. Instead, they’ll look at why the breakout and spread of the virus occurred and the team could be penalized by having to pull out of the NHL postseason. Read more here.APRIL 21According to TSN and RDS hockey insider Pierre LeBrun, the tentative date for the start of the 2021-22 NHL season is currently set for Oct. 12, with training camps hopefully able to open Sept. 22. Read more here.APRIL 20Though it had been clear for the last few weeks, Tuesday brought the death knell for the 2020-21 OHL season. The junior league announced the end of its return-to-play plans, stating that the recent extended stay-at-home order in Ontario along with the increasing cases of COVID-19 has made it impossible to hold a season. Read more here.APRIL 19The Western Hockey League, whose teams did not begin regular season play until late February at the earliest, will play no more than their shortened 24-game season this year. The league has announced that there will be no 2021 WHL Playoffs due to “the ongoing challenges with COVID-19.” Read more here.

NFL

Here are updates from around the NFL:AUGUST 12NFL teams such as the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles are requiring patrons to wear proper face coverings in indoor areas of their stadiums because of fears related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Fans of the New Orleans Saints will have to go one step further to see their team in person this season. According to a NOLA.com report, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is expected to declare that individuals will have to show proof of either a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative virus test to enter New Orleans public places such as bars, restaurants, concert venues and the Caesars Superdome, home of the Saints. Read more here.On Thursday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio updated that five clubs were still below an 88% vaccination rate as of Wednesday morning. One team had reached only 74% heading into the first full weekend of preseason games. Read more here.AUGUST 10NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted on Tuesday that the league is once again allowing for an unlimited number of players to return from the injured reserve list for the upcoming campaign. Additionally, players will be eligible to return from IR after missing a minimum of three games instead of eight. Read more here.AUGUST 9Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson still is undecided on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine despite being infected with the virus twice in the past eight months. “I just got off the COVID list,” Jackson said after Monday’s practice when asked if he would get the vaccine, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “I got to talk to my team about this and see how they feel about it. Keep learning as much as I can about it. We’ll go from there.” Jackson returned to training camp Saturday after being sidelined for 10 days following a positive COVID-19 test. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Jackson was experiencing “a lot of COVID symptoms” while he was out. The former MVP added that he was not worried about the long-term effects of getting the virus. Read more here.Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post tweeted Monday that 86% of WFT’s players are now at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, up from 36% as of early July. 59.3% of players are fully vaccinated. Read more here.AUGUST 7Since doubling down on his stance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, a hospital Kirk Cousins partners with in his hometown of Holland, Michigan, cut ties with the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, according to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. Read more here.AUGUST 6Baltimore confirmed on Friday that starting quarterback Lamar Jackson has been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Jackson missed 10 consecutive days of training camp but returned to the club’s facility Friday for coronavirus testing. Meanwhile, Ravens running back Gus Edwards also tested positive for the coronavirus in late July but returned to work Friday. Read more here.Cam Newton missed time during the 2020 season due to testing positive for COVID-19, and he said in February that his brief absence set him and the entire Pats offense back through the remainder of the campaign. Knowing Newton could be sidelined at any time due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols, a reporter reasonably asked him Thursday if he has been vaccinated against the virus, but the QB refused to answer. Read more here.AUGUST 5The NFL Players Association released new guidance on Thursday for vaccinated individuals, and Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham seems frustrated by it. In a new memo that was circulated, the NFLPA announced that COVID-19 testing will be increased for vaccinated players and staff members. The number of tiered staff allowed in the locker room is also being reduced. The release cited the fact that 32 players and staffers who are vaccinated have tested positive for COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals will now be tested each day they enter their team’s facility. Graham shared a copy of the new guidance on Twitter and said he is “confused” by it. The veteran says he was essentially “forced” into getting vaccinated to begin with. Read more here.During his first press conference after missing four practices while on the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 list, Kirk Cousins spent ten minutes dancing around questions about the vaccine. He called it a “very private health matter” and declined to share if this situation — the unvaccinated Cousins had to isolate for five days after being deemed a high-risk close contact to rookie QB Kellen Mond, who tested positive — had made him consider changing his stance on getting vaccinated. Without outright saying it, Cousins made it abundantly clear that the answer to that question is no. Read more here.AUGUST 4According to Courtney Cronin of ESPN, Minnesota starting signal-caller Kirk Cousins and backup Nate Stanley are expected to return to practice Thursday after spending five full days on the COVID-19 list. Both were deemed high-risk close contacts when rookie quarterback Kellen Mond tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.AUGUST 3Ninety percent of NFL players are now vaccinated against COVID-19, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported via Twitter on Tuesday. Read more here.Vikings owner Mark Wilf told reporters on Tuesday he is worried about only 70% of players having at least one of their COVID-19 shots and is putting in the effort to make that number go up. Read more here.Per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk, 27 teams have reached the 85% coronavirus vaccination threshold that allows for the loosening of some health and safety protocols. Nine teams have over 95% of players vaccinated. Read more here.Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was asked on Tuesday about Lamar Jackson’s positive test, and he urged the former MVP to get vaccinated. Read more here.Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson signed with the Vikings this past offseason and, per Judd Zulgad of SkorNorth.com, urged his teammates to complete their vaccination processes as soon as possible during his “All Things Covered” podcast. Read more here.AUGUST 2According to Ben Fischer and John Lombardo of Sports Business Journal, the NFL is mandating coronavirus vaccines  for league employees who don’t have qualifying disabilities or “sincerely held religious belief or practice” that would keep them from  getting one of the shots. Those who aren’t vaccinated are to begin the  process Monday and be fully vaccinated by Sept. 6 or apply for an  exception by Monday. The league’s attorneys and human resources staff  will review each request. Over 90% of the NFL’s employees in its New York City office are already vaccinated. Read more here.AUGUST 1The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the defending Super Bowl champions, and according to head coach Bruce Arians, they are nearly 100 percent defended against COVID-19. Read more here.JULY 31WFT head coach Ron Rivera sent a warning to his team after two more players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday, per ESPN’s John Keim. Washington now has six players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including Brandon Scherff, David Sharpe, Curtis Samuel and Matt Ioannidis. If this had been the case one day before the team’s season opener against the Chargers, then Scherff and Sharpe would also have missed the second game because it occurs on Thursday, Rivera noted. Read more here.JULY 30Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey told reporters Thursday that he will not pressure his teammates to get the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the 2021 season despite the consequences the deadly virus could have on the team’s season. Ramsey’s comments come after he tweeted last week that the NFL is “pressuring” players to get vaccinated. Read more here.Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill told reporters this week that he was originally not planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But when he found out how limited he would be under the NFL’s protocols for unvaccinated players, he decided to get the shot. Read more here.Troy Polamalu’s ability to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony is in question after the legendary safety tested positive for COVID-19. Polamalu announced his positive test on social media, adding that he is working with the Hall of Fame and remains hopeful of taking part in the festivities in Canton. Read more here.JULY 29NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Thursday 19 teams now have at least 90% of their players vaccinated against COVID-19, up from 18 clubs the previous day and 14 on Tuesday. Additionally, 87.9% of players leaguewide have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. That number was 86.9% on Wednesday. In a new positive twist to the data, seven teams report that 95% of players are vaccinated. Read more here.NFL Players Association president and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter had harsh words for teams that are forcing unvaccinated players to wear identifying wristbands. “So what it really comes down to is the NFL wanted to put a policy in place to try to shame unvaccinated players publicly about their status and make that known to everyone on the field,” Tretter said Thursday. “It shouldn’t be the case because it’s unnecessary. We all know who’s vaccinated and who’s not, and it doesn’t need to be a scarlet marking on people’s helmets or wrists.” Tretter also called the decision to wear wristbands “nonsensical” since unvaccinated players already need to wear masks. “No other sports league uses any sort of scarlet marking or helmet decal or wristband, because they know it’s not necessary and the teams know who’s vaccinated, who’s not vaccinated,” he said. Read more here.JULY 28Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was absent from training camp Wednesday, sparking concern among fans in Baltimore. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jamison Hensley report that the former MVP was absent due to a COVID-19-related issue. Read more here.JULY 27The NFL community was surprised to learn this past Friday that Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach/run game coordinator Rick Dennison was parting ways with the organization after he refused to receive one of the available and safe COVID-19 vaccines, but the Vikings later shared a statement with Pro Football Talk explaining the two parties were still having “discussions” on the subject. PFT’s Mike Florio now reports Dennison and the Vikings have reached an agreement that will allow him to remain with the club. Florio added that Dennison previously requested to be exempt from receiving one of the shots. Coaches can gain an exemption based on legitimate health or religious reasons, and it’s unclear if Dennison agreed to get vaccinated or is working as an unvaccinated coach who won’t be permitted to have direct interactions with players per the terms agreed upon by the NFL and NFL Players Association. Read more here.Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards won’t be a participant in the early days of training camp. Edwards tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss at least the first 10 days of camp due to the league’s coronavirus-related protocols. Read more here.JULY 26Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich is vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the 59-year-old recently tested positive for the virus, the team announced Monday. Reich, who is asymptomatic, is in quarantine away from the team’s facilities and will miss the start of training camp, which begins Wednesday. Read more here.Terrelle Pryor has not played since the 2018 season, but he said a team has offered a workout. This will come to pass only if he has received the COVID-19 vaccine, which Pryor indicated he has not done as of this past weekend, via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Read more here. Read more here.JULY 25Chad Speck, the president of Allegiant Athletic Agency, tweeted on Saturday that an NFL team showed interest in one of his clients. However, the team dropped interest upon learning the player was unvaccinated. Read more here.A player’s vaccination status appears to be crucial for free agents looking for new homes. According to NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, agents for several free-agent players said clubs are immediately asking if their clients are vaccinated. Read more here.JULY 24Bruce Arians told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times that he will fine any unvaccinated player $14,000 for not wearing a mask when he is supposed to or violating any of the NFL’s other COVID-19 protocols. The Bucs head coach added that players will not receive warnings, just fines on the spot. Read more here.We now have a better idea of why Arians made those comments. Unvaccinated NFL players will be subject to a $14,650 fine every time they violate COVID-19 protocols, league spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Read more here.JULY 23According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, NFL chief football administrative officer Dawn Aponte said Friday teams haven’t been incentivized to cut players who won’t get vaccinated. Read more here.According to Courtney Cronin of ESPN, the Minnesota Vikings and assistant coach Rick Dennison have parted ways after Dennison refused to get vaccinated. Per Cronin, Dennison served as Minnesota’s offensive line coach/run game coordinator over the past two seasons before Friday’s development and is believed to be the first coach to leave a club over COVID-19 vaccinations. Read more here.However, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio shared a statement from the Vikings later in the day showing that may not be the case. “The Vikings continue to hold discussions with Offensive Line Coach Rick Dennison regarding the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols for training camp and preseason games,” the team explained. Read more here.ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports New England Patriots co-offensive line coach Cole Popovich won’t be with the organization for at least the 2021 NFL season because of the league’s protocols regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and unvaccinated personnel. Read more here.The Cardinals confirmed they’ve placed cornerback Lorenzo Burns on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Read more here.The NFL came out on Thursday and laid down the law when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Former nine-year defensive back Darius Butler tweeted Thursday that the league was “dead a– wrong” for the memo. He says the memo is so heavy-handed that it comes off as the league effectively forcing vaccines. Read more here.JULY 22In a memo that was issued to teams on Thursday, the NFL outlined its plans for dealing with coronavirus outbreaks during the 2021 season. The biggest takeaway was that teams could be forced to forfeit if a game cannot be played due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players. The NFL has no plans to add a 19th week to accommodate games that need to be rescheduled, which means any game that is rescheduled will have to be played at some point in the 18-week season. Otherwise, the team with the outbreak will be credited with a loss. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero shared more from the memo, which states that teams with outbreaks could also face disciplinary action and be responsible for financial losses. Players also will not receive their game checks if a game cannot be played. Read more here.According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, an email sent to union members Thursday in response to the memo reads: “We remind you that the same basic rules applied last year.” Read more here.Arizona Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was among the players to react negatively to the development, although he apparently had second thoughts and deleted an initial tweet suggesting he could consider retiring to avoid receiving a COVID-19 vaccine shot. Read more here.The Giants confirmed that first-round draft selection Kadarius Toney has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Read more here.JULY 21Although Cowboys living legend Michael Irvin recently slammed his former team for not reaching the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold among players, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was more optimistic about the situation, per Kevin Patra of the NFL’s website. Read more here.According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield wore a mask inside the team’s facility during June’s mandatory minicamp, which hinted he wasn’t yet fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. While speaking with reporters at his youth football camp Wednesday, however, Mayfield indicated his situation has since changed. Read more here.JULY 19Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin roasted his former team at an event in Texas over the weekend for not reaching the vaccine threshold, connecting the lack of vaccinations to a lack of dedication to winning a Super Bowl. “If you’re not one of them teams (at the threshold), are you really thinking about winning a championship?” Irvin vented, per ESPN. Read more here.Irvin’s take didn’t sit well with Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley. He blasted Irvin’s opinion on Twitter. Read more here.JULY 17Two NFL teams have failed to get a majority of their players vaccinated ahead of the 2021 season. According to Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press, the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Football Team have the lowest vaccination rates in the league at under 50%. Read more here. The NFL and NFLPA are working on a way to identify unvaccinated players during games and practices, according to a report. Pro Football Talk says the two groups are working out the details for providing visual proof of who has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more here.JULY 12The Detroit Lions announced their plans for filling Ford Field. The Lions aren’t requiring fans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend games, and face coverings won’t be mandated. Read more here.JULY 7Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley generated widespread negative headlines and reactions last month when he took to Twitter to rant about the league’s health and safety protocols regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations among players. Bills head coach Sean McDermott recently spoke with News 8 sports director Thad Brown and admitted he discussed the matter with his receiver. Read more here.JUNE 29Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted Tuesday his team will return to 100% capacity for the upcoming campaign. The Colts added they “will continue to be vigilant about keeping fans safe and healthy, but most in-stadium protocols from last season will be relaxed or eliminated.” Read more here.JUNE 24Vaccinated players will be protected in case they later test positive. If a vaccinated player tests positive and is forced to miss a game or multiple games, any per-game roster bonuses will still be paid, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. This provision would point to an unvaccinated player being at risk of losing bonus money if games are missed because of a positive test. Read more here.JUNE 16The NFL and the NFLPA agreed to the COVID protocols for the upcoming season, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. There are going to be two sets of rules for those who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t been. Pelissero tweeted out the memo detailing the restrictions for unvaccinated players, and they’re significant. Read more here.JUNE 8NFL assistants who aren’t vaccinated by the end of this week could be prohibited from having any face-to-face contact with players and kept off of practice fields and out of meeting rooms. According to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer told reporters Tuesday that multiple assistants received their shots following last week’s warning. Read more here.

Golf

The latest from the world of golf since competition resumed: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.JULY 24Bryson DeChambeau will not be able to compete for Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to a positive COVID-19 test. DeChambeau’s positive test was announced by USA Golf on Saturday. Team USA shared that Patrick Reed will replace him. According to USA Golf, DeChambeau tested positive in the final testing protocol before he left for Japan. Read more here.JULY 122015 Open Championship winner Zach Johnson won’t compete at this year’s edition of the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. As Bob Harig of ESPN noted, the two-time major championship winner tested positive following the conclusion of the John Deere Classic on Sunday, before he was set to board a charter flight that included players, caddies and managers heading to the Open. Read more here.JUNE 28The PGA Tour announced Monday that it is ending its weekly COVID-19 testing program ahead of events for the 3M Open that begins July 22 and is held in Minneapolis. The Tour is not mandating players, caddies, and staff members get vaccinated against the coronavirus to take part in tournaments, but unvaccinated individuals who are deemed close contacts of an infected person will still have to test negative for the virus past July 20. Those who show virus symptoms will also have access to tests. Read more here.JUNE 25PGA Tour players who travel to next month’s British Open will be subject to more strict protocols and procedures than they’ve seen in months. According to a “Player Information Update” sent out this week and obtained by ESPN’s Bob Harig, the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, will operate under “strict government oversight.” Players will not be allowed to share accommodations and will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing even if they have been vaccinated. They also will not be allowed to visit restaurants, pubs or grocery stores, all of which have been permitted at PGA Tour events in the United States. Players may also be removed from the tournament if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. While players and their team members are subject to strict protocols, the tournament is permitted to allow 32,000 fans per day, which is the largest number of spectators allowed at any golf event since the start of the pandemic. 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.MAY 19ESPN’s Bob Harig reports vaccinated golfers won’t have to wear proper face coverings indoors at tournaments starting with next week’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas. Unvaccinated players must continue to wear masks until further notice. Harig added that the PGA scrapped its original plan to discontinue on-site testing in July and will instead maintain its current testing format through at least the Tour Championship in early September. Following that tournament, those not vaccinated will have to conduct at-home testing on their own to compete. Read more here.MAY 11Jordan Spieth won the Valero Texas Open in early April and seemed to be accumulating momentum when he finished tied for third at the Masters. He then found himself sidelined for a month due to a positive COVID-19 test result. Per Bob Harig of ESPN, Spieth told reporters on Tuesday that he first noticed coronavirus symptoms roughly 10 days after the Masters and ahead of the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. The 27-year-old admitted he endured a bad “day and a half” before dealing with “sinus stuff” and a loss of energy but added that his wife never got sick. Spieth hasn’t competed since the Masters finished on April 11. Read more here.APRIL 28England’s Paul Casey, 43, told reporters on Thursday he’s already received both vaccine shots, in part, because he’s “willing to do the things necessary to get through” the pandemic. Read more here.APRIL 20Seamus Power won’t play in this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The PGA Tour confirmed on Tuesday that Power has withdrawn from the event after testing positive for COVID-19. Read more here.APRIL 19The PGA the Tour is strongly encouraging players and caddies to receive vaccine shots but is not requiring vaccinations to participate in tournaments. Players and caddies will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and also after the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the AstraZeneca shot. The Tour intends to stop on-site testing at the end of June and will permit fully vaccinated personnel to “gather in small groups without face coverings” without facing any restrictions or punishments. Read more here.APRIL 13ESPN’s Bob Harig reported on Tuesday that the PGA Tour recently sent a memo saying that players and caddies who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to take coronavirus tests at tournament sites to participate. Players and others who elect against getting vaccine shots must still test negative for COVID-19 to participate in future PGA events per current guidelines. 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.MARCH 9Like other sports leagues and competitions throughout the United States, the PGA Tour is slowly but surely opening events to percentages of paying spectators as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue. One hot-button topic likely to be addressed by league executives and ticket brokers is the idea of so-called coronavirus “vaccine passports” that would allow fans to prove they’ve received COVID-19 vaccines before purchasing tickets to an event such as a golf tournament. According to Bob Harig of ESPN, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told reporters on Tuesday he’s currently not considering opening tournaments only to those who have been vaccinated. Monahan added that the Tour intends to continue to enforce mask decrees at events and tournaments. Read more here.

NASCAR

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.

NCAA athletics

Here is the fallout from the most recent news from the NCAA: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. “The Pac-12 rule provides the Commissioner with discretion to determine whether an institution is at fault or primarily at fault for an instability to play a contest based on the facts of the situation.” The Pac-12 also updated its return-to-play protocols for the season. Read more here.AUGUST 8Ole Miss football head coach Lane Kiffin said Sunday there is a 100% vaccination rate among his players, coaches, staff members and everybody within the program who will be on the practice field, according to ESPN’s Chris Low. “It’s pretty amazing and great motivation for our fans and the state,” Kiffin told ESPN. Read more here.AUGUST 5The Florida Gators endured a serious and concerning COVID-19 outbreak last fall that temporarily threatened their season and reportedly included head coach Dan Mullen, two assistants, and approximately 30 total players testing positive for the virus. According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Mullen told reporters Thursday his team will spend at least part of training camp in a hotel as fall practice begins Friday amid surging coronavirus cases throughout the state. Read more here.JULY 27Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich spoke during Tuesday’s Pac-12 media day session remotely because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. While the conference required all in-person participants to be vaccinated, Rolovich explained the university’s administration is respecting his decision and added he will follow all policies “for the unvaccinated.” “I’m not against vaccinations, and I wholeheartedly support those who choose to get vaccinated, including our players,” Rolovich said, according to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN. “I urge everyone to consider being vaccinated.” Rolovich reiterated he won’t publicly share why he’s not getting one of the available shots but said roughly 75% of the Washington State roster is either fully vaccinated or has begun the vaccination process. Read more here.JULY 22Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren explained during Thursday’s Media Day session that league presidents and chancellors agreed last month individual schools will first determine their own policies regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations among student-athletes. Read more here.Florida State coach Mike Norvell said Thursday his team is “getting closer each day” to reaching the 85% vaccination mark. “That’s something we’re working through,” he added. Norvell explained that former FSU and NFL player Myron Rolle, who currently works as a neurosurgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, spoke with players and answered questions they have about the available vaccines. Read more here.New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN’s Heather Dinich he’s considering adopting a policy that involves forfeits for canceled games due to COVID setbacks among unvaccinated players. Read more here.JULY 21Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said his team is “pretty close to 90%” for COVID-19 vaccinations. While the legendary coach explained receiving one of the shots is a personal decision for his players, he added the vaccines are the best way to ensure his team can take the field for each scheduled game. Read more here.ACC commissioner Jim Phillips explained during Wednesday’s media days session his conference hasn’t yet decided on how to handle games impacted by coronavirus-related absences and issues. Phillips strongly encouraged unvaccinated individuals to get their shots but also said the conference is leaving vaccine mandates up to the individual schools. The ACC’s medical advisory group is expected to meet in the coming weeks to discuss protocols that could potentially lead to a team being unable to play during a week of the season. Read more here.Per Harry Lyles Jr. of ESPN, Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich announced Wednesday he will participate in Pac-12 media day next Tuesday remotely because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more here.JULY 20Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday that his team is over 85% for vaccinations, which allows for the loosening of some health and safety protocols. That doesn’t mean Smart is satisfied. “It’s not about a number,” Smart explained. “It’s not about a threshold. I think everybody wants to write who’s over and who’s under. What it’s really about is being able to save our season. Being able to keep our players safe. We want to keep our players safe. We want to keep our coaches and staff safe. We want to keep our family members safe, and that comes through vaccinations.” Smart also said vaccinated coaches have addressed players about why they received the shots. Read more here.JULY 19SEC commissioner Greg Sankey explained during Monday’s media days session that six of the conference’s 14 football teams have reached at least an 80% COVID-19 vaccination rate and that the “number needs to grow and grow rapidly.” Sankey added teams are “expected to play as scheduled” and could be made to accept losses if unable to field a squad during any particular week. “That means your team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won’t be rescheduled,” Sankey said. “And thus, to dispose of the game, the ‘forfeit’ word comes up at this point.” As of now, the SEC does not intend to postpone contests for coronavirus-related reasons this fall. While speaking about this plan, Sankey strongly encouraged players, coaches, staff members, and fans to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots if they’re not already immunized. Read more here.JULY 14Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby explained players will again be tested for the coronavirus and urged those hoping to participate in the upcoming campaign to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots if they haven’t already been immunized. Read more here.JUNE 1Penn State vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour confirmed Tuesday that the lifting of statewide health and safety protocols will allow Beaver Stadium to operate at 100% capacity for the 2021 season. The Penn State announcement added that tailgating and other traditional aspects of football game days will also return. PSU is shifting fully to mobile tickets for all sports and reducing physical contact points at venues. Read more here.MARCH 6The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA, unsurprisingly, took a massive hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. When the entire country came to a halt about one year ago, Forbes estimated that the four major American sports leagues and the NCAA would lose a combined $5 billion in revenue. According to Forbes’ most recent report, the revenue losses for the NCAA and the four major U.S. sports leagues have now hit at least $14.1 billion. Read more here.

Tennis

Here is what has happened most recently in the world of tennis: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

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.

UFC

Here’s the latest from the MMA world:JULY 29Two-division champion Amanda Nunes (21-4-0) won’t defend her bantamweight title versus Julianna Pena (11-4-0) at the upcoming UFC 265 pay-per-view because Nunes tested positive for COVID-19. UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN the bout will be rescheduled once Nunes is feeling better and healthy enough to adequately train and compete. There’s no public timetable for Nunes’ return as of Thursday. Read more here.APRIL 5While speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (22-1-0) revealed that he was hospitalized with pneumonia while battling COVID-19 after he tested positive for the virus on March 19. He had been scheduled to defend his title versus Brian Ortega on March 27 but had the fight scrapped due to his positive result. Read more here.FEBRUARY 18While the UFC and Bellator MMA hosted events in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Professional Fighters League canceled its schedule for the year. That won’t be the case in 2021. As Brett Okamoto reported for ESPN, the PFL has confirmed that it raised $65 million in new financing for the upcoming season set to get underway on April 23. Read more here.

Boxing

What’s new in boxing: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.OCTOBER 8The unified welterweight title fight between champion Errol Spence Jr. and challenger Danny Garcia has been moved to Dec. 5 at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas. The bout was originally planned for Nov. 21 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, but promoters had placed holds on other venues with the hope that spectators could attend despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Seats for the upcoming boxing event will be sold in “pods” to allow for social distancing. Attendees will be required to wear masks or other face coverings when not actively eating or drinking. Read more here.

Summer Olympics

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 will not be able to compete in the Summer Games. Read more here.JULY 24Bryson DeChambeau will not be able to compete for Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to a positive COVID-19 test. DeChambeau’s positive test was announced by USA Golf on Saturday. Team USA shared that Patrick Reed will replace him. According to USA Golf, DeChambeau tested positive in the final testing protocol before he left for Japan. 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.JULY 22Tokyo hit a new six-month high in COVID-19 cases on Thursday, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), just one day before the Olympics begin. Tokyo returned 1,979 new coronavirus cases Thursday, the highest since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15. The city was placed under a state of emergency earlier this month, but that hasn’t stopped cases from rising. The state of emergency is expected to last until Aug. 22. The Olympics end Aug. 8. Read more here.JULY 19An alternate for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team is the first American to test positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Tokyo for the Summer Olympics, ESPN reported Monday. The alternate, who remains unidentified, is one of a four-person contingent of alternates who traveled to Tokyo along with the six-person team of Simon Biles, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey. The two groups have traveled together but have trained separately, ESPN said. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement the alternate is quarantining at a separate hotel and that their identity will be kept anonymous for their privacy. Read more here.Chicago Bulls star guard Zach LaVine will not travel with Team USA to Tokyo on Monday in preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Team USA announced that LaVine can’t travel with the rest of the team from their training camp site in Las Vegas to the eastern metropolis after being placed in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Read more here.JULY 18Coco Gauff announced via Twitter Sunday that she will be withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19. Her announcement comes just days before the Games are set to begin. Read more here.Two athletes living in the Tokyo Olympic Village have tested positive for COVID-19, organizers confirmed Sunday, according to ESPN. The athletes who tested positive are not Japanese, and no names or other details were provided. Organizers also said another Olympic athlete, who isn’t currently residing in the Olympic Village, tested positive for the coronavirus. That athlete also is not Japanese. Read more here.JULY 17The first resident of the Olympic Village has tested positive for COVID-19, Tokyo Olympic organizers said Saturday, according to The Associated Press (h/t Sports Illustrated). Officials added that it was not an athlete who tested positive for the virus. They can offer only vague details due to confidentiality purposes. Read more here.JULY 15After Team USA guard Bradley Bealentered the coronavirus health and safety protocols in Las Vegas on Wednesday, a second player from the U.S. roster joined him. According to Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Jerami Grant has also been placed in the protocols. Grant hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19, says Charania. That suggests the Pistons forward entered the protocols for contact tracing reasons, which would result in a shorter isolation period as long as he continues to register negative tests. Read more here.USA Basketball confirmed Thursday that Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal will miss the Summer Games due to COVID protocols. Read more here.Team USA Basketball announced on Thursday that its upcoming exhibition game against Australia has been canceled due to COVID protocols. Read more hereJULY 14British men’s No. 1 Dan Evans has pulled out of the Olympics after he tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.Team USA and Wizards guard Bradley Beal has entered the health and safety protocols in Las Vegas, placing his participation in the Tokyo Olympics in jeopardy, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Read more here.JULY 13British No. 1 Johanna Konta was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon ahead of the tournament after a member of her team tested positive for COVID-19. The 30-year-old’s summer isn’t vastly improving as of the halfway point of July. Konta confirmed via Twitter that she won’t play in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo after she developed symptoms and ultimately tested positive for the coronavirus, which left her unable to adequately train. Read more here.

MLS, NWSL

MLS and NWSL most recent developments: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.JULY 9ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported that an MLS Players Association spokesperson says the league is “approaching 95% of the player pool being vaccinated.” That spokesperson added: “We are extremely proud of our members for doing their part in fighting the virus, and we remain supportive of all players getting the vaccine.” Read more here.APRIL 23On Friday, LAFC announced the establishment of a fully vaccinated-only section where fans can lock arms, sing, chant and not adhere to social distancing guidelines for Saturday’s match against Seattle Sounders FC. 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.

International soccer

Most recent news from international soccer circles:JULY 29COVID-19 continues to impact sports leagues located around the world. Manchester United announced Thursday that Saturday’s friendly versus Preston North End has been canceled due to positive COVID-19 cases within the team. Read more here.JULY 21On Tuesday, Premier League club Arsenal confirmed the cancellation of their preseason United States tour because of “a small number” of positive COVID-19 cases within their traveling party. Reigning Serie A champions Inter Milan were originally scheduled to face Arsenal in Orlando this coming Sunday as part of the Florida Cup competition but  announced Wednesday they also won’t be making the trip. Read more here.JULY 20Arsenal canceled their USA tour due to “a small number” of positive COVID-19 cases within members of their traveling party. Read more here.JULY 16Istanbul will be hoping the third time’s the charm. Reuters (h/t ESPN) noted Friday that UEFA has confirmed the locations for the next four Champions League finals. Notably, Istanbul was given the 2023 title match after losing a pair of such games because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.MARCH 2Brazilian soccer living legend Pele announced via social media on Tuesday that he has received what the Associated Press called his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Pele has been staying in Guaruja since the pandemic first struck Brazil in 2020, but it’s unclear where he received the shot. Read more here.

WNBA

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.MARCH 8The Associated Press reported late Sunday night that every eligible player must renounce her remaining intercollegiate eligibility and opt in for the 2021 WNBA Draft if she wishes to enter the league this year. According to the WNBA, the draft is set to occur at some point in April. Per Jack Maloney of CBS Sports, there’s still no announced date for the player selection process. Typically, players out of college eligibility are automatically entered in the draft. However, the NCAA granted athletes an extra year of eligibility because of hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AP added that rules for a player entering but then removing herself from draft eligibility this year remain unclear. Players must opt in by emailing the WNBA no later than April 1. Those competing in the Final Four have up to 48 hours after their final games to inform the league of their draft decisions. Read more here.

International baseball

What has happened in international baseball:JULY 8During a recent game against the Rakuten Eagles, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks employed 20 dancing robots to liven things up. The two kinds of robots, SoftBank’s humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ and others on four legs, engaged in a choreographed dance to the team’s fight song. Read more here.

eSports

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.

One-off events

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.

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