- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2021


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The lessons learned from 2020 will be needed as the NFL moves forward, Commissioner Roger Goodell noted Thursday in his annual state of the league news conference.

Held before both in-person and virtual audiences and staged outside of the arena that is home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Goodell said developments ranging from battling the pandemic to minority coaching hires to scheduling to the NFL’s working relationship with the players’ union all will carry forward as major topics.


NEW YORK (AP) - The average Major League Baseball salary dropped for an unprecedented third straight year, even before the shortened season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Major League Baseball Players Association said Thursday the 2020 average would have been $3.89 million if a full season had been played. That was down 4.2% from the 2019 average of $4.05 million and represented a 5.2% decrease from the record average of just under $4.1 million in 2017. The average started to slip in 2018, falling by $1,436.

Because the pandemic caused players to receive roughly 37% of pay last year, the actual average plunged to $1.59 million, its lowest since 1998.


The NBA told its teams on Thursday night that it expects to finalize plans in the coming week to have an All-Star Game in Atlanta.

The game and skills competitions will be held on March 7, the NBA told clubs in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. It remains unclear when players would have to report to Atlanta and how testing will work there, or if fans will be part of the game.

The first-half schedule ends March 4, with the second half set to begin on March 11. The league said it expects to agree to terms with the National Basketball Players Association on testing protocols that will apply to all players during the break.

-By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds.


The NHL revised its virus protocols in a bid to keep the shortened season on track, but not before a fifth team was idled by COVID-19 problems.

Hours after the league announced changes visible in arenas and important behind the scenes, Colorado joined the growing list of U.S.-based teams shut down for virus concerns.

The adjustments include removing glass panels from behind benches for better air flow, making all meetings virtual and telling teams to space out locker rooms to provide 6 feet of space between inhabitants. The league said it was also considering portable air filters that would be installed by the benches.


TOKYO (AP) - The president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee said Thursday he would not resign despite pressure on him to do so after making derogatory comments earlier in the week about women.

The controversy surrounding Yoshiro Mori, the gaffe-prone former Japanese prime minister, is one more problem the postponed Tokyo Olympics really didn’t need as organizers and the IOC try to pull off the games in the midst of a pandemic. They are scheduled to open on July 23.


MIAMI (AP) - The CONCACAF Champions League will expand from 16 teams to 50 in 2023-24, restore its group stage, switch to a regionalized first-round alignment and fill 11 of 16 berths in the knockout stage from North America.

The championship match will switch to a single knockout from a two-leg, home-and-home format.

The Confederation of North American and Caribbean Association Football launched the Champions League, modeled after Europe’s Champions League, for the 2008-09 season to replace the CONCACAF Champions Cup.


The bodies of three backcountry skiers buried in a large avalanche in southwestern Colorado were found Wednesday under more than 20 feet (6 meters) of debris, and a slide near Vail Mountain Resort on Thursday killed another skier, officials said.

The bodies of the skiers in southwestern Colorado, which were located with the help of their avalanche beacons, had to be left at the site between the towns of Silverton and Ophir because bad weather prevented a helicopter from retrieving them from the rugged terrain, the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management said.


MILAN (AP) - This year’s Giro d’Italia will start in Turin on May 8, race organizer RCS Sport said Thursday.

The race will begin with a 9-kilometer (5.6-mile) individual time trial through the streets of Turin. The next two stages are also scheduled to take place in the Piedmont region.

Turin last hosted the start, known as the Grande Partenza, 10 years ago.

The Giro will return to Piedmont in the final week of the race with a summit finish at Alpe di Mera in Valsesia on Stage 19, followed by a departure from Verbania the next day.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Gamine has been disqualified from a third-place finish in last year’s Kentucky Oaks and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert fined $1,500 after a post-race test showed the filly had an anti-inflammatory in her system.

Kentucky stewards issued their ruling Jan. 30 and it was posted on the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s website this week. Baffert waived his right to a formal hearing before the stewards.

The stewards ordered Gamine’s prize money of $120,000 from the Sept. 4 race at Churchill Downs to be forfeited.


Dianne Durham, the first Black woman to win a USA Gymnastics national championship, died Thursday in Chicago following a short illness, her husband said. She was 52.

Durham was a pioneer in American gymnastics. Her victory in the all-around at the 1983 national championships as a teenager was the first by a Black woman in the organization’s history.

MIAMI (AP) - Tony Trabert, a five-time Grand Slam singles champion and former No. 1 player who went on to successful careers as a Davis Cup captain, broadcaster and executive, has died. He was 90.

The Tennis Hall of Famer’s death Wednesday night at his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, was confirmed by his daughter, Brooke Trabert Dabkowski.

Trabert won three of the four major singles titles in 1955, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals without losing a set. He was ranked No. 1 in singles in 1953 and 1955.

Trabert also won five Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles, including four with Vic Seixas.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Les Levine, a longtime broadcaster and the self-proclaimed “voice of truth and reason” when it came to analyzing Cleveland’s sports teams, has died. He was 74.

His death Wednesday night was announced by his daughter, Dr. Jamie Levine Daniel. She said he died from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. She and brother Jeremy were with him when he died.

“He fought so hard for so long, and went out on his own terms,” she said.

Levine, a fixture of Cleveland sports for more than 50 years, continued to work for several years following his Parkinson’s diagnosis. He was open about his struggles with the disease and vowed that it wouldn’t slow him.


More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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