Coronavirus: Here's what's happening in the sports world on Thursday
Colorado Avalanche announce player tested positive, fully recovered now
The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
- Avs player tests positive for COVID-19
- NFL commits to April draft
- NBA execs lose portion of pay
- Indy 500 put off until August
- LeBron James breaks silence
- Tokyo Games organizers facing logistical challenges
- WNBA draft to be virtual event this year
Avalanche player tests positive for virus, fully recovered
A third NHLer was revealed to have tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.
The Colorado Avalanche announced one of its players has self-isolated since his first symptoms and is now fully recovered and "back to normal."
Two members of the Ottawa Senators previously tested positive for the virus. All three players were unnamed.
The Avalanche visited San Jose on March 8, one day after the Sharks hosted the Senators. The Colorado players used the same visiting locker room of the Senators.
NFL commits to April draft
Commissioner Roger Goodell told NFL teams on Thursday that the draft will go on as originally scheduled for next month.
The draft will still take place April 23-25. It was originally scheduled for a big outdoor production in Las Vegas, but those plans were scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, Goodell said that "public health conditions are highly uncertain" and there was no guarantee of significant improvement by moving it to a later date as reasons for not moving the date of the draft.
The draft, which has become a huge extravaganza since leaving New York in 2015, will be scaled down and "televised in a way that reflects current conditions."
Prospects and their families will not be at the draft. It is possible the draft will more resemble a studio TV show.
NBA executives take pay cut
Top NBA executives are having their base salaries reduced by 20 per cent for the foreseeable future, a person with knowledge of the details said Thursday.
The reductions affect the roughly 100 highest-earning executives, as the NBA joins the NHL and NASCAR in cutting salaries while competitions are on hold because of the coronavirus.
The cuts are effective immediately and affect NBA employees both inside the league headquarters in New York, and in global offices, the person told The Associated Press. The person was granted anonymity because the reductions were not announced publicly.
The reductions were first reported by ESPN.
Health benefits remain unaffected and there are no changes for the rest of the organization, including support and administrative staff.
Staple of Memorial Day weekend will be missing
The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won't run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
The race will instead be held Aug. 23.
It was an inevitable decision but still had to be difficult for Roger Penske, who completed his purchase of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in January and has already pumped millions into capital improvements to ready the historic venue for its first 500 under new ownership.
IndyCar was supposed to resume racing May 9 on the road course at Indianapolis.
That race will now be run on July 4, a day before NASCAR races at The Brickyard.
LeBron breaks silence on NBA shutdown
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James shed light on a variety of topics facing the NBA should it attempt to resume the 2019-20 season later this year.
Appearing on the Road Trippin' podcast, James expressed concerns for NBA players competing against someone who was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
"So what happens when a guy who is tested positive for corona and you're out there on the floor with him and it's a loose ball?" James said on the 51-minute podcast, which was hosted by former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye as well as current Lakers studio host Allie Clifton.
James also expressed displeasure with the notion of playing games without fans, which likely would be the NBA's first step back to action since it suspended the season earlier this month.
"One thing you can't just do is go straight to the playoffs," James also added. "Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position."
Help on the way for Louisiana businesses
Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he and his wife, Brittany, will donate $5 million to help Louisiana businesses and communities contend with challenges brought on by the rapid transmission of the coronavirus in the state.
Brees, who posted his pledge on a social media account on Thursday, says the money will help several restaurants in which he has an ownership stake as well as a major hospital chain and charities like Second Harvest Food Bank to deliver about 10,000 meals per day to people in need.
Brees says he hopes to fund the program "for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need," adding, "Let's all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together."
The quarterback and his wife run the Brees Dream foundation, which has spent tens of millions helping to fund charitable endeavours in New Orleans and surrounding areas along the Gulf Coast. Most of those efforts have focused on improving learning and recreational opportunities for children as well as health and wellness for children and seniors.
Olympics need dates for opening, closing ceremonies
Nothing much can get done until those dates are worked out by the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government and Tokyo organizers.
"We must decide this soon, otherwise it will be hard to decide on other things to follow," Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, told his 30 senior directors seated in a large meeting room on Thursday.
Two days after the unprecedented postponement was announced, the group gathered for the first meeting of what is being called the "Tokyo 2020 New Launch Task Force." They must put the Olympics back together after they were torn apart by the coronavirus pandemic.
WNBA draft going virtual route
The league announced Thursday that its draft will still be held April 17 as originally scheduled, but without players, fans or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The WNBA draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. "Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount."
Logistics of the draft are still being worked out with ESPN although Engelbert confirmed she would announce the picks that night on the league's broadcast partner's network. She just isn't sure where she'll be doing it from; it could be her house, the league offices or another location.
Baylor senior Lauren Cox, who is projected to go in the first few picks, is happy the league is proceeding with the draft.
"I'm excited that the draft will still be happening, but I'm a little disappointed I won't be able to be up in New York to experience everything with the other players," she said.
Turkish boxer, trainer test positive after Olympic qualifier
The Turkish Boxing Federation says national team member Serhat Guler and trainer Seyfullah Dumlupinar tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from an Olympic qualifying competition in London.
The federation says the boxing team went to a training camp in Sheffield on March 3 to prepare for the competition and travelled to London on March 11. All team members stayed at the same hotel and ate at the same cafeteria.
The IOC is running the qualifying competitions for boxing because governing body AIBA has been suspended.
The Turkish team competed on March 15 and 16 and returned home on March 17 after the IOC halted the competition. All team members were quarantined on return.
Rafael Nadal, Pau Gasol encouraging donations in Spain
Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol have launched a campaign to encourage donations in the hope of raising 11 million euros ($12.1 million US) to help Spain fight the coronavirus.
The tennis and basketball stars said in videos posted on social media that they are supporting a Red Cross fundraising effort to help with the public health crisis.
Nadal and Gasol say they have made donations and urged others to follow their lead. Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas quickly said he would pitch in.
Nadal says "I believe that we are who we are in large part thanks to your support and now we have to be there for you."
Spain has 56,188 infections and more than 4,000 fatalities from the virus.
With files from CBC Sports, Field Level Media