Week 12 Sports Update

NBA: As states begin to lift stay-at-home orders put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the NBA says it will relax league restrictions next month, clearing the way for players to train at some team facilities. Beginning on May 8, players will be able to train and receive treatment at team buildings — as long as it can be done safely and as long as the facility is in a jurisdiction that isn’t under a shelter-in-place order, NBA officials said.

“The potential rules changes would allow teams to make their practice facilities available for use by the team’s players for workouts or treatment on a voluntary, individual basis if the team’s facility is in a city that is no longer subject to a government restriction,” the league said in a statement.

In any area where a team can’t open its facilities, the NBA adds, “the league will work with the team to identify alternatives.”

The NBA’s move to reopen facilities, while a significant step, does not mean a decision on the league’s return to regular season games is imminent. It has been shuttered since March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the league’s first active player known to test positive for COVID-19.

MLB: “The most realistic time range for Opening Day — somewhere between mid-June and July 4, in the view of most officials — would allow for an 80- to 100-game regular season, with the schedule running through October. An expanded postseason at neutral sites might follow, with the World Series ending in late November or early December.”

The goal for both owners and players is to maximize the number of games in the season and thus maximize revenues. At this point, playing half of the 162-game slate feels ambitious, but with larger rosters and perhaps more frequent scheduled doubleheaders it’s theoretically doable.

Obviously, any postseason that stretches into the vicinity of Thanksgiving and beyond is going to require the use of ballparks in warm-weather locales or at least with retractable roofs. With cold-weather, outdoor teams like the Yankees, Twins, Nationals, Cubs, Mets, Phillies, Indians and others plausibly aiming for contention, arranging for neutral sites in advance will be a necessity.

NFL: Four teams will carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads in 2020 as part of the International Player Pathway program.

Isaac Alarcon, a former Mexican college football national champion, will join the Dallas Cowboys. David Bada, a former defensive end for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League, will join the Washington Redskins. Australian Matt Leo, who played football for the Iowa State Cyclones, will join the Philadelphia Eagles and former Austrian U19 national team running back Sandro Platzgummer will join the New York Giants.

The four NFC East clubs will carry these players on their roster until the end of training camp. At that time, the players are eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, granting the team an extra practice squad member that is ineligible to be activated during the 2020 season.

The NFC East was chosen to receive these players in a random draw.

Week 11 Sports update

NBA: John Wall, in conjunction with the John Wall Family Foundation, surprised doctors and nurses at UNC Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina and MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. with a donation of 2,300 N95 masks to aid their efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Wall also partnered with Chick-Fil-A to provide approximately 600 meals for front line workers and first responders at each location.

Both locations hold a special place in Wall’s heart. Wall lost his mother, Frances Pulley, to breast cancer in December. In the months leading up to her passing, Pulley received the majority of her medical care from MedStar Washington Hospital Center and spent her final days at UNC Rex Hospital in Wall’s hometown of Raleigh.

The donations of masks and meals at both locations were made in Ms. Pulley’s name.

MLB: With the spread of the novel coronavirus threatening Major League Baseball’s 2020 season, the league and the union continue to seek ways to salvage the year as best they can. Predictably, that has entailed any number of proposals and contingency plans, including those that would see teams either all isolated in Arizona, or split between Arizona and Florida. On Monday, multiple league sources informed CBS Sports about a different idea that has been discussed in recent days. 

In this arrangement, the league would have teams stationed in one of three hubs: Florida, Arizona or Texas. The clubs would then make use of the local major- and minor-league (or spring training) facilities and play regular season games behind closed doors without fans.

One source even expressed guarded optimism about the idea’s chances of coming to fruition.

Ballparks in St. Petersburg (Florida), Phoenix (Arizona), and Arlington (Texas) each have roofs, retractable or otherwise, that would safeguard against rainouts and other extreme weather, allowing for multiple games to be hosted at those sites per day. Theoretically, MLB could also ask teams stationed in Florida and Texas to drive three-plus hours to other MLB parks (Houston’s Minute Maid Park and Miami’s Marlins Park).

It’s unclear if MLB would assign 10 teams to each metropolitan area, or if it would opt for an unbalanced approach that would see 12 teams in one area and eight in another.

NFL: The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft ticked along methodically at first but it eventually brought the sparks that everyone had been expecting, with the biggest move of the night courtesy of the Packers, who traded up to take Aaron Rodgers’ heir apparent in Jordan Love. Day 2 was more active in terms of trading, with the biggest perhaps being saved for last, as the Saints dealt away all four of their Day 3 picks to slide into the end of Round 3 for tight end Adam Trautman.

Keep it locked here for live updates, breaking news and rumors ahead of the draft as well as the picks themselves with takeaways and more once the third day of the draft gets underway. During the hours leading up to Day 3 we will be providing more analysis and the latest rumors and hopefully a few completed trades. Happy draft weekend!

Week 10 Sports Update

NBA: When are the NBA and live sports going to come back? That’s one of the main questions everyone across the country is wondering right now as we sit in isolation trying to stay safe from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, the answer is that no one knows, not even NBA commissioner Adam Silver. 

Early on Monday evening, Silver joined TNT’s, Ernie Johnson for an interview that was broadcast on the NBA’s Twitter feed and he answered plenty of questions about what’s going on behind the scenes at league offices right now. Perhaps the most interesting thing he said is that the league likely won’t have any clarity or the ability to make decisions about returning to play until at least May. In fact, Silver said in some ways he knows less now than he did right after suspending the season. 

NFL: The Arizona Cardinals made a massive move on March 16, trading for star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. On March 20, the team announced the trade that sent running back David Johnson, a second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-rounder to the Houston Texans for Hopkins and a fourth-round selection. More than two weeks later, the deal has yet to become official with both players needing to pass physicals till the swap is formally complete. Despite the delay, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a video conference Tuesday that he’s not worried about the deal getting scuttled.


MLB: MLB is considering playing games as early as May, ESPN reported. Other reports say the league is considering having all teams play in Arizona, where half of MLB teams hold their spring training in the Phoenix area. The stadiums are all within about 50 miles from each other, allowing teams to quarantine in a hotel and not have to travel very far for their games. The games, of course, would be played without fans. ESPN also reported that the league is discussing using an electronic strike zone so the plate umpire would not have to be right on the catcher and hitter. Still, the league says it has yet to seek approval for any specific plan from government officials or the MLB Players Association so far.

“The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus,” according to MLB’s statement. The MLB Players Association had no comment to this story.