Thursday Sports in Brief


BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Big league players will still hear the roar of the crowd even though the stands will be empty when the baseball season opens next week.

Major League Baseball will play crowd noise from its official video game through ballpark sound systems during games. Stadium sound engineers will have access to around 75 different effects and reactions, according to MLB, which has provided teams with crowd sounds captured from ”MLB The Show.”

Clubs started using the sounds during summer camp games and will be able to test them further during exhibition games.

FOOTBALL

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Washington Post reported Thursday that 15 female former employees of the city’s NFL franchise said they were sexually harassed during their time with the team.

In a statement, the team said it takes issues of employee conduct seriously and added, ”While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly.”

Meanwhile, three members of the front office are no longer with the organization, and owner Dan Snyder hired a District of Columbia law firm to review the club’s culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct. Beth Wilkinson of Wilkinson Walsh LLP confirmed to The Associated Press that the firm had been retained to conduct an independent review.

BASKETBALL

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – NBA scoring leader James Harden of the Houston Rockets practiced with his team for the first time in more than four months Thursday, saying his arrival at the league’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World was delayed by family issues.

Harden came to Disney earlier this week, satisfied his league-mandated quarantine requirements and got cleared to participate.

Harden has been working out, but said Thursday was his first time playing actual 5-on-5, contact-laden basketball in more than a month.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – The New Orleans Pelicans say top overall draft choice Zion Williamson left the club on Thursday to attend to an urgent family medical matter.

The Pelicans say Williamson intends to rejoin the team in the Orlando area for the resumption of the season, but the club did not specify when he would be able to return or whether he’ll miss any of the club’s eight remaining regular-season games.

Williamson will have to quarantine again when he returns to Central Florida, a period that will last at least four days and could be significantly longer if he is not tested daily during his absence from the team.

ATLANTA (AP) – The WNBA commissioner says the league has no plans to insist that Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler sell her stake in the team.

”We’re not going to force her to sell her ownership,” Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in an interview on CNN on Thursday. ”She is not a current governor, she is not involved in the day-to-day (operations), and we are aware there are interested parties who want to purchase the team. We have a Board of Governors -she has not served as a governor since she became a senator, so since October of 2019.”

Loeffler, a Republican U.S. senator running for re-election in Georgia, objected to the league’s initiatives to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, asking the league commissioner to scrap plans for players to wear warmup jerseys with ”Black Lives Matter” and ”Say Her Name” and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.

HOCKEY

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Parts of Rogers Place were flooded early Thursday night, with the Edmonton Oilers saying the damage wouldn’t affect plans to use the arena as an NHL hub when the season resumes.

Oilers Entertainment Group spokesman Tim Shipton said the storm that also brought hail caused leaks in one of the entrance hallways and smaller leaks elsewhere.

”We are assessing the damage and at this time are confident that it will not hamper our planning and preparation and we will be ready to host the return of NHL hockey as hub city,” Shipton said.

GOLF

SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) – The LPGA Tour will not have spectators for the opening two events in Ohio when it resumes in two weeks.

Commissioner Mike Whan had said the Marathon Classic was contemplating capping attendance at 2,000 fans at Highland Meadows for the Aug. 6-9 event.

The tournament said it met with county and state health officials and decided Thursday to play without spectators. The tournament still have two pro-ams – only of them on the tournament course – and the amateurs will be tested for the coronavirus before they can play.

The LPGA Tour is scheduled to resume July 30 with the Drive On LPGA Championship, a one-time event hosted by Inverness Club, site of next year’s Solheim Cup. The Marathon Classic is the following week, and then the LPGA Tour goes to Scotland for two weeks.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

The NCAA handed down its latest guidelines for playing through a pandemic while also sounding an alarm: The prospect of having a fall semester with football and other sports is looking grim.

If the games can go on, the NCAA says college athletes should be tested for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before they play, players with high-risk exposures to the coronavirus should be quarantined for 14 days and everybody on the sideline should wear a mask.

The nation’s largest governing body for college sports released an updated guidance Thursday to help member schools navigate competition, but it comes as the pandemic rages on. Around the country, the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise and many states have slowed reopenings or reinstated social-distancing restrictions on some businesses.

SOCCER

MADRID (AP) – Real Madrid has clinched its first Spanish league title in three years.

Madrid secured its record 34th league title with a 2-1 win over Villarreal on Thursday, opening an seven-point gap to second-place Barcelona with one round to go. Barcelona lost to 10-man Osasuna at the Camp Nou Stadium.

Karim Benzema scored twice to give Madrid its 10th consecutive league victory. It is the only team with a perfect record after the coronavirus-enforced break.

It was Madrid’s first league title since Cristiano Ronaldo left to join Juventus two seasons ago, and the first since coach Zinedine Zidane returned from a short break.

OBITUARY

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Boxer Travell ”Black Magic” Mazion was killed when his car slammed head-on into an oncoming car on a highway near Austin, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The crash happened about 9:40 p.m. Wednesday when a car Mazion, 24, was driving veered and crossed the median on Farm-to-Market Road 1431 near the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, according to a DPS statement. Mazion’s car slammed head-on into a car driven by Richard Salter.

Mazion was killed instantly, while Salter, 61, of the Austin suburb of Lago Vista, died later at a hospital in nearby Round Rock.

Mazion, a junior middleweight prospect, was 17-0 with 13 knockouts. His last fight in San Antonio at the Alamodome in January. He was nine days shy of his 25th birthday.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Tony Taylor, a former Philadelphia Phillies infielder and coach, died Thursday. He was 84.

The Phillies said in a statement that Taylor died from complications of a stroke suffered in 2019. He batted .261 with 2,007 hits, 1,005 runs and 234 stolen bases in 2,195 career games.

Taylor, an All-Star in 1960, was inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame in 2002. He was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2004.

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

Source: Yahoo Sports

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