Drew Brees is taking sharp criticism from fellow high-profile athletes after the Saints’ quarterback reiterated his opposition to kneeling during the National Anthem. Asked by Yahoo to revisit former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 kneeling protest against police brutality against minorities, Brees said he will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States. He added that the national anthem reminds him of two grandfathers who served in the armed forces during World War II.
Brees said that “In many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, and not just in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the Civil Rights movements of the ’60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.” Critical responses to Brees’ statements appeared on social media from major professional athletes including the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Jenkins was Brees’ teammate when the Saints won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season.
Major League Baseball is no closer to starting the 2020 that it was when the union made its latest proposal on Sunday. A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that MLB has rejected the players’ offer for a 114-game regular season with no additional salary cuts. The person added that management did not plan to make a counterproposal.
MLB proposed an 82-game schedule last week and further reductions in player salaries as the sport tries to salvage a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Management has told the union it has no interest in extending the season into November, when it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the postseason and jeopardize $787 million in broadcast revenue.
Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote a letter Wednesday to chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer that was obtained by The Associated Press. Halem mentioned that players are unified in their view that they will not accept less than 100% of their prorated salaries, and management has no choice but to accept that representation. Halem said that based on the players’ salary position and the significant health risk of extending the regular season past September, management does not have any reason to believe a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible.
NBA fans could receive very good news within the next 24 hours or so. A person with knowledge of the situation says the league has told the players association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league’s board of governors today.
The person says the 22 teams would play eight games near Orlando to determine playoff seeding before the postseason begins there. The Western Conference would have 13 teams heading to Florida, while the East would be represented by nine teams. The 22 teams are those within six games of a playoff spot at this point. Playoffs would start in August, and the NBA Finals will likely stretch into October, according to the person.
Indiana football players will start returning to campus on Monday and can resume voluntary workouts on June 15 as part of a phased-in plan announced by the athletic department. Coach Tom Allen expects about 65 players to travel to Bloomington, Indiana, next week. Another 25 players are slated to come back June 29 with the third and final group set for July 6. Each player must complete a daily medical check and agree to abide by a series of CDC guidelines, too.
Two more Oklahoma State football players have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to campus for voluntary workouts. That brings the total to three, all athletes. Senior associate athletic director Kevin Klintworth wrote on his Twitter account that of the 150 staff, administrators and athletes tested, three had asymptomatic positives.
A part-time student worker in the Iowa State athletic department has tested positive for COVID-19 and four athletes are experiencing symptoms. ISU says the student worker notified the athletic department of the positive test last weekend. The four athletes from two sports began experiencing symptoms after being in close contact with individuals outside the athletic department who have been infected. Those athletes are in quarantine and awaiting test results.
Players from all levels of college baseball are set to compete in the three-day, four-team Collegiate Summer Baseball Invitational in Bryan, Texas. ESPN2 will televise two games tonight. Games tomorrow and Saturday are pay-per-view. The players, coaches, umpires and other event staff arrived in Bryan on Monday and were tested for COVID-19. They are being quarantined at a hotel through Saturday and allowed outside only to go to and from the ballpark. The players were split into four teams and are mostly from Division I schools, but junior colleges and NAIA schools also are represented.
The PGA Tour has announced a deal with Sanford Health to conduct COVID-19 testing of players, caddies and essential personnel five days before the season resumes. That applies to every stop on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and the developmental Korn Ferry Tour. Sanford Health is based in South Dakota and is title sponsor of a PGA Tour Champions event. The company has three mobile testing units it will deploy across the country. Each one has a driver and three lab technicians. A unit will be at tournaments from Saturday through Thursday before leaving for the next closest event. The tour says results from the PCR tests are expected back in a manner of hours. Senior vice president of tour administration Andy Levinson says it also allows ample testing without taking away resources from the community where the tournaments are played. The tour expects about 400 people to require testing at tournaments upon the restart. No spectators are allowed for the first five events on the PGA Tour. The first event is the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, on the PGA Tour. The smaller Korn Ferry Tour has an event at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida.