The Latest: Pacers’ Oladipo hosts Instagram show on artists

Sports
Oleg Matytsin

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin attends an opening ceremony of the Russian Winter 2020 athletics competition in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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Victor Oladipo is going to be busy on the next few Friday nights.

The Indiana Pacers guard says he has committed to hosting a Friday night Instagram Live concert series called BASE:LINE LIVE. Each week, three independent artists will be featured on the NBA’s Instagram account for the show.

It speaks to one of Oladipo’s passions; he’s an accomplished musician.

“It lets the NBA world kind of see another side of me as far as music goes and being able to host and help independent artists get some exposure,” Oladipo said Friday, before this week’s show. “It’ll bridge the gap between music and sports and show how they kind of coexist.”

Oladipo says he’s committed to the show for the entirety of the NBA hiatus. The first show was last week, and he says seeing new artists will help his own musical path.

“I think I have real talent, and I’m just trying to improve,” Oladipo said. “Basketball, obviously, is the love of my life and I want to be the best in the world at that. But who says I can’t do both?”

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Brewers stars Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun have teamed up with Milwaukee’s 3rd Street Market Hall to provide meals to local health care workers and their families.

The 3rd Street Market Hall announced that “thousands” of meals would be prepared. The meals are going to health-care workers at four hospital networks in southeastern Wisconsin.

Various vendors at the 3rd Street Market Hall will be preparing and delivering the meals.

The first donation will take place Sunday.

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The Orlando Magic’s home arena will become a distribution center for medical equipment and supplies as part of the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the plan Friday, along with the Magic. The Amway Center, which includes the AdventHealth Practice Facility that serves as the Magic’s training home, will be used as a staging space for as long as is required. There are contingencies to continue if the need is still there when NBA play resumes.

Dyer says the arena will be a hub for equipment and supplies that will go to 50 hospitals in Central Florida as well as facilities in seven other states.

Magic CEO Alex Martins says conversations with AdventHealth and the city alerted the team to the need for such a space. “It is our honor to partner with the city of Orlando to provide assistance in the use of the Amway Center to meet AdventHealth’s and our community’s needs,” Martins said.

The Magic have been very active in responding to the pandemic, with several players donating money to various causes and the DeVos family — which owns the team — pledging up to $2 million to assist Amway Center hourly workers for lost games.

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The Arizona Coyotes will furlough half of the organization’s employees with the NHL season on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The furloughs began Friday and will last through June 30.

The Coyotes said all furloughed employees will continue to receive 100% of health benefits.

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo said the furloughs were necessary because it doesn’t appear the NHL will resume play in the immediate future.

Meruelo and Gila River Arena will continue to support the team’s arena’s part-time and hourly employees who were scheduled to work the team’s final eight home games. Similar support for the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, will also continue.

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The Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League has loaned two sanitation machines to a local hospital to see if they could help clean personal protective equipment worn by hospital staff.

The Crunch uses one of the machines in its locker room and the other to clean equipment but doesn’t need them right now with sports on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Turns out they’re a good fit at Upstate University Hospital.

Chief executive officer Dr. Robert Corona thought of the idea. He says after careful analysis of tests performed by the hospital’s infection control team, infectious disease specialists, microbiology team and other clinical experts, the hospital has developed a process for collecting used shields, decontaminating them with the Sani Sport sanitation machines, and re-using the shields.

Crunch chief operation officer Jim Sarosy says the AHL has been in touch with the other teams in the league, and he says a firehouse in Boston and the State University of New York at Cortland also have reached out to the team.

According to the website of the Quebec-based company, its customers include 28 NHL clubs, 16 in the NFL, and six in MLB.

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West Ham has become the latest Premier League club to announce its players will defer some wages as the competition is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The percentage of the wages being held back was not disclosed by the London club on Friday.

West Ham did say manager David Moyes, vice chair Karren Brady and finance director Andy Mollett are taking a 30% pay reduction.

Co-owners David Sullivan, David Gold and fellow shareholders are also injecting 30 million pounds into the club.

West Ham says “the savings created by the measures above will support the entire infrastructure of the club and enable us to retain jobs and continue to pay 100% of staff salaries.”

Southampton said Thursday that its players would defer three months’ wages.

Premier League clubs as a collective had hoped squads would all cut wages by 30% but the players’ union rejected the proposal.

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The family of Kenny Dalglish says the former Liverpool player and manager has tested positive for the coronavirus but “remains asymptomatic.”

The 69-year-old Dalglish was hospitalized on Wednesday as an infection required intravenous antibiotics.

A COVID-19 test unexpectedly showed he had the disease despite previously displaying no symptoms.

Dalglish’s family says “prior to his admission to hospital, Sir Kenny had chosen to voluntarily self isolate for longer than the advised period together with his family. He would urge everyone to follow the relevant government and expert guidance in the days and weeks ahead.”

The family statement concluded by saying Dalglish “looks forward to being home soon.”

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The nationwide lockdown in Italy has been extended through May 3 but Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora is urging the country’s sports federations to develop health protocols in order to resume activity on May 4.

Spadafora urges sports authorities “not to let these weeks be lost” and to urgently make plans for when the lockdown expires.

Previously, the lockdown was set to expire on Monday.

The extension came as the number of people in Italian hospitals and intensive care wards eases and the growth in the number of new cases and deaths is narrowing.

Experts have said it will take a decrease in the number of cases to enter a so-called Phase II, allowing more freedom of movement to individuals but with precautions to guard against any new outbreaks.

Italy has suffered the most deaths of any nation, nearly 19,000, and is nearing 150,000 cases, hitting 147,577 on Friday.

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The Milwaukee Bucks have established an emergency relief fund for part-time employees of Fiserv Forum, the team’s home arena.

The Bucks Emergency Relief Fund will provide financial relief for part-time employees of the arena’s food and beverage provider, housekeeping employer and parking partners.

The relief fund also will assist part-time employees at the Menominee Nation Arena. That’s the home arena for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ NBA G League affiliate.

So far, the Bucks have provided $500,000 in financial assistance to the part-time employees, and an additional $500,000 is on the way through the relief fund.

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and All-Star forward Khris Middleton have contributed $100,000 each. All their Bucks teammates have committed to donate to the cause. Bucks ownership is matching all player donations.

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Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says one team employee — not a player — tested positive for the coronavirus and is “on the road to getting better.”

Rizzo says no players for the reigning World Series champions have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 at any point and so no one has been tested.

He said the team’s medical staff checks in each day with every player and staff member.

According to Rizzo, the employee who got the illness was at the team’s spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, and now is home and his quarantine has ended. Rizzo said the employee is fever-free and symptom-free.

Rizzo did not identify the person who was sick other than to say it is not someone who plays for the Nationals — “and we’re going to keep it at that.” The GM said the person tested positive “well after” the Nationals already had shut down their facilities in Florida and Washington.

Rizzo also said Friday on a conference call with reporters that the Nationals are partnering with chef José Andrés to distribute tens of thousands of meals per day to people in need in parts of Washington.

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Portuguese officials have defended Cristiano Ronaldo after he left home and was seen training with other people at a soccer pitch amid a national lockdown to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

The incident occurred on the island of Madeira, his birthplace. He was observed shooting a ball at a goal with someone playing goalkeeper, along with two other people. They all appeared to be several meters apart.

“Cristiano did solely a few minutes of exercize and from that comes no harm to the world,” regional health authority Carlos Ramos said.

“All citizens can go out and do some physical exercize as long as they do not gather in big groups and keep their distance from other people they may encounter while exercizing,” Ramos said. “So I think that Cristiano did only what we have seen.”

Portugal has been under a state of emergency for three weeks. People are confined to their homes, but they can leave to exercize individually. The country has more than 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 435 deaths.

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Basketball’s Sabrina Ionescu, soccer’s Carli Lloyd and swimming’s Katie Ledecky are among the athletes who will help young girls and women stay mentally and physically fit during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Women’s Sports Foundation and Yahoo Sports are launching #WeKeepPlaying, a live-stream event on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. They’ll join tennis great Billie Jean King and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in taking questions from young athletes and providing tips on resilience and training.

King says it’s about “bringing together our community of prominent women athletes and leaders to empower, support and inspire young girls — and each other — during this unprecedented time.”

Sports broadcaster Cari Champion will moderate the hour discussion, streamed on YahooSports.com.

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On what would have been the final day of the Masters, ESPN will show some masterful spellers.

The network says it will broadcast a seven-hour marathon of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Sunday.

This year’s spelling bee has been postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic. It had been scheduled for late May at its usual location, a convention center outside Washington. Scripps hopes to reschedule the bee at an undetermined time this year.

ESPN has televised the bee since 1994. On Sunday, it will first show the 1997 bee, which was memorably won by Rebecca Sealfon of Brooklyn, New York. Sealfon’s excitement when she was given her winning word of “euonym” — a name well suited to the person, place or thing named — became a classic spelling bee moment when she yelled out each letter.

ESPN will also show the 2004 bee won by David Tidmarsh of South Bend, Indiana, and the 2008 bee won by Sameer Mishra of Lafayette, Indiana.

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The French tennis federation has set up a support plan worth 35 million euros ($38 million) to help professional players facing financial problems because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The FFT says it has approved the scheme that will also benefit clubs, coaches, instructors, officials and tournament organizers affected by the health crisis.

The FFT says practical arrangements for the allocation still need to be discussed.

The ATP and WTA announced this month that the men’s and women’s professional tours would be suspended until at least July 13. Wimbledon has been canceled because of the deadly virus while the start of the French Open has been postponed from late May to late September.

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Florida State offensive lineman Andrew Boselli says he had the coronavirus and detailed some of what his famous father went through in his own fight against COVID-19.

The son of former NFL lineman Tony Boselli says in a first-person account he wrote for Florida State’s athletic department website that he dealt with the worst of the virus for about three days.

The Seminoles’ lineman wrote that he wants “everyone to know just how hard it was. I spent days feeling miserable” and his healthy 47-year-old father with no underlying health conditions “spent three days in the intensive care unit.”

Tony Boselli is now back home and Andrew Boselli says he and his family are recovering from the massive scare. He says his brother and mother also dealt with the virus.

Andrew Boselli says he’s looking forward to being around fellow students and teammates again but added a word of caution by writing “the only way for that to happen is listen to the experts and follow their guidance.”

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Turkmenistan is set to restart its suspended soccer league amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Central Asian nation will become part of a small group of countries around the world where professional soccer is being played despite the virus outbreak. That includes the former Soviet nations of Belarus and Tajikistan, as well as Burundi and Nicaragua.

The eight-team Turkmenistan league was suspended on March 24. The national soccer federation says it will resume on April 19. Fans will be allowed to attend games.

Turkmenistan has not reported any cases of the coronavirus.

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The Russian sports minister says it’s time for international authorities to “turn a new page” and forget the country’s Olympic doping ban because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Anti-Doping Agency barred Russia from the Olympics for four years after ruling last year that doping data from a Moscow laboratory had been manipulated. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is to rule on whether the ban is valid but hearings have been delayed because of the health crisis.

Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says the virus outbreak means the parties in the legal proceedings should avoid a ruling against Russia because it would fracture the Olympic movement.

He adds that “when you see that everyone is isolated and everyone is at home … people understand that now there are priorities and there are issues which go on the backburner. The priority is the future of the Olympic movement.”

Matytsin says sanctioning Russia would damage the Olympic movement and says the country is prepared to host more international sports events once the virus outbreak recedes.

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

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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