Tuesday Morning Sports Update

 

The Detroit Lions have signed first-round pick Jeff Okudah. The Lions also announced Monday that they signed second-round selection D’Andre Swift along with fifth-round picks Quintez Cephus and Jason Huntley. Detroit drafted Okudah, a former Ohio State standout, with third overall pick and made him the highest-drafted cornerback since Shawn Springs was selected from the same school by Seattle in 1997. The Lions are hoping he becomes a game-changing talent to help a defense that ranked No. 31 in the league last season.

 

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross is skipping the team’s Monday morning workout because he is awaiting his completed result from his Saturday coronavirus test.
The team says five other Tier 1 individuals also missed the workout for the same reason. Tier 1, according to baseball’s 2020 operations manual, includes players and other on-field personnel. “Out of an abundance of caution, we think it makes sense for the six of us to wait for clarity,” Ross said in a release. “Situations like this have not been a worrisome indicator of a positive test result to date.”

 

The Detroit Tigers have cut ties with Zack Godley, giving the right-hander his unconditional release. Tigers’ manager Ron Gardenhire says the move was made Monday to give the 30-year-old Godley a chance to sign with another team. Godley is 37-30 with a 4.68 ERA in five major league seasons. Godley won 15 games in 32 starts for Arizona in 2018, but made just nine starts last season for the Diamondbacks. Toronto claimed Godley off waivers in August and he made six relief appearances for the Blue Jays. He was 4-5 with a 5.97 ERA in 2019.

 

Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets says he has tested positive for coronavirus, and that he plans to eventually join his team at the restart of the NBA season. Westbrook made the revelation Monday on social media. As recently as Sunday, the Rockets believed that Westbrook and James Harden — neither of whom traveled with the team to Walt Disney World near Orlando last week — would be with the team in the next few days. In Westbrook’s case, that now seems most unlikely.

 

Hard-throwing St. Louis Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks has opted out of playing this season, citing pre-existing health concerns. The 23-year-old Hicks was diagnosed in high school as having Type 1 diabetes. Hicks, who routinely throws over 100 mph, is recovering from Tommy John surgery on June 26, 2019. The right-hander’s availability for this season was uncertain. Hicks had been taking part in workouts at Busch Stadium, leading up to the Cardinals’ opener on July 24 at home against Pittsburgh.

 

The Patriot League has joined the Ivy League in canceling fall sports, including football, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Division I conference says it has still not determined whether winter and spring sports competition will be held and that it will consider holding fall sports in the second semester. The Ivy League made a similar announcement last week. The Patriot League is the first conference in the Football Championship Subdivision that competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision’s playoffs to suspend its season.
Army and Navy compete in the Patriot League in many sports, including basketball, but not in football. The Patriot League said Army and Navy are exempt from the fall sports cancellation, which also includes women’s soccer and volleyball.
Athletes will be permitted to practice and train with coaches and in team facilities “provided health and safety conditions support such activities,” the conference said.

 

Southeastern Conference athletic directors met in person Monday at league headquarters in Alabama to discuss the prospects for a football season with COVID-19 cases spiking throughout much of the South. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement afterward that it’s “clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve.” The Big Ten and Pac-12 have said they would only play conference schedules this fall in football and other sports. Sankey said SEC leaders “believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.”

 

With NFL training camps set to start at the end of the month, the league believes it is one step closer to addressing player safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. It has come up with face shields for the players’ helmets. The face shield was designed by Oakley, which already provides visors for the players. The union’s medical director had suggested that players wear face masks to help control the spread of the virus, but players shot down that idea. The face shield has received a better response than the mask suggestion.

 

Corey Crawford was absent when the Chicago Blackhawks practiced for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, casting doubt on the goaltender’s availability for the resumption of the NHL season. Coach Jeremy Colliton says the 35-year-old Crawford was “unfit to play or to participate.” NHL teams are limited as to what they can say about missing players in the COVID-19 world. There was no further word on Crawford’s situation.

 

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement Monday, marathon organizers and city officials cited the challenge of staging the large-scale Oct. 11 event while COVID-19 concerns endure. As of Sunday, Chicago’s health department reported 55,184 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,682 deaths due to complications from COVID-19. Chicago’s event typically draws about 45,000 runners and wheelchair athletes, and more than one million spectators.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she is personally disappointed at the cancellation. The Boston Marathon and New York Marathon have also been canceled because of the pandemic.

 

The University of Texas has rejected calls by its athletes to change a school song that they believe has racist undertones. “The Eyes of Texas” has long been criticized for its connection to minstrel shows with characters in blackface in the early 1900s. The school says the song will remain. Texas interim president Jim Hartzell says the Texas community has the power to determine “what the ‘Eyes of Texas’ expect of us, what they demand of us.”