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U.S. sports commissioners to speak Monday on ‘The Return of Sports’

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June 15 (UPI) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will join the NBA’s Adam Silver, MLB’s Rob Manfred and three other American professional sports league commissioners on The Return of Sports Monday on ESPN.

The two-hour discussion, which starts at 9 p.m. EDT, will be hosted by Mike Greenberg. Commissioners Gary Bettman (NHL), Cathy Engelbert (WNBA) and Don Garber (MLS) will join Goodell, Silver and Manfred to provide fans with insight about how players and workers will return to play amid the coronavirus pandemic, economic issues the leagues face and social justice reform after the death of George Floyd.

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Baltimore Ravens star Calais Campbell, Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard, Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, U.S. soccer’s Crystal Dunn, WNBA star Brianna Turner, the Philadelphia Union’s Alejandro Bedoya, Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, WNBA star Chiney Ogwumike and ESPN’s Taylor Twellman will also be part of the broadcast.

“We are living through unprecedented times in this nation and around the world, and I look forward to speaking with many of the most powerful people in the industry about the role sports can play in helping to bring about unity, healing and meaningful change,” Greenberg said.

NASCAR, UFC and the PGA Tour are the only sports leagues in the United States that have returned to live events after suspensions due to the pandemic. The NBA, MLS, NHL, WNBA and NWSL have plans for resumed seasons and/or tournaments this summer. NFL teams have met virtually during off-season workouts and still are on track to start the pre-season in August. MLB team owners and the players’ union are in negotiations to decide the format and player salary rates for a potential 2020 regular season.

Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league, Spain’s La Liga soccer league and professional baseball in South Korea have all resumed their seasons amid the pandemic.

Greenberg will anchor the show from ESPN’s studio in Bristol, Conn. The guests will participate from remote locations.

“Since sports came to a halt three months ago, we’ve all been eagerly awaiting their return. In this SportsCenter special, fans will hear directly from commissioners, managers and athletes about the decisions they’ve made and the challenges they’ve faced throughout this unprecedented time, and what the resumption of sports will look like over the coming weeks and months,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN executive vice president of event and studio production.



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Watch: Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. belts longest home run of 2020 season

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Dylan Carlson (3) is congratulated by teammate Tommy Edman after hitting a two-run homer against the Milwaukee Brewers in St. Louis on Thursday. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 4-2. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo



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College football: Mountain West, Mid-American conferences vote to start seasons

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Sept. 25 (UPI) — The Mountain West Conference intends to play an eight-game college football schedule that starts Oct. 24 after altering initial plans to postpone the season until spring 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mountain West board members met Thursday and approved the plan to resume football competitions. The conference issued an indefinite suspension for fall sports Aug. 10. The Mountain West’s plan before the pandemic struck was to start the season Aug. 29.

The conference announced in early August that it would postpone games until the weekend of Sept. 26, before its latest agreement for an October kickoff.

Nevada, Hawaii, San Jose State, San Diego State, UNLV and Fresno State comprise the Mountain West’s West Division. Boise State, Colorado State, Air Force, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah State are in the Mountain Division.

The conference championship is planned for Dec. 19. All competitions are subject to state, county and local approvals, as well as COVID-19 testing and safety protocols.

“This is a great opportunity to get our student-athletes back on the field of competition in a cautious and regulated fashion,” Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said in a news release.

The conference said each member institution will determine stadium capacities based on state, county and local health ordinances. Individual football schedules will be announced later.

On Friday, the Mid-American Conference followed suit and announced it will begin its football season on Nov. 4 and play a six-game, conference-only schedule.

The MAC on Aug. 8 became the first FBS conference to postpone the fall football season due to the coronavirus. The league said its championship game will take place on Dec. 18 or 19.

The university presidents unanimously approved the decision based on the recommendation of the conference’s medical advisory panel.

“I am pleased to inform our student-athletes, coaches and fans that the Mid-American Conference will resume the fall football season,” MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement Friday. “Our decisions, in August and again today, have been guided by an overriding concern for the well-being of the student-athletes, institutions and the community at large.

“Our medical advisory group, presidents, directors of athletics and others have worked hard to develop a plan that provides the opportunity for student-athletes to compete. We will be diligent in monitoring the dynamic health environment across the conference footprint and the country.”

The announcements from the MAC and MWC came after the Pac-12 announced Thursday it will play a seven-game, conference-only football schedule beginning in early November. No fans will be allowed to attend on-campus Pac-12 football games.

The Big Ten announced Sept. 16 it would resume football activities and start its 2020 football season Oct. 24, meaning all 10 FBS conferences will have fall football seasons this year.



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Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward, wife Robyn welcome fourth child

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Sept. 23 (UPI) — Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward and his wife, Robyn, welcomed their fourth child Wednesday.

Robyn Hayward announced the birth of their first son — Gordon Theodore Hayward — with a post on social media Wednesday. The announcement came only a few hours before the Celtics played the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“Our little man is finally here! This is Theo, Gordon Theodore Hayward,” she wrote on Instagram. “If you ask @gordonhayward his name is GT, but if you ask me and the girls his name is Theo. I miss you bunches @gordonhayward and can’t wait for you to meet him. We’re ready to watch you tonight!”

Gordon Hayward, 30, initially planned to leave the NBA bubble for the birth of their first son, but he decided to remain with the Celtics after discussions with his wife. If he had left the bubble, he would have been subject to another quarantine period — forcing him to miss at least two games.

The All-Star forward had some time off earlier in the Celtics’ playoff run because of a sprained ankle, and he spent some of that time with his family before returning to the league’s bubble near Orlando, Fla.

“I think his ankle’s fine right now,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Wednesday after the birth was announced. “I don’t think he’s thought about it all afternoon. … Very, very happy to hear the news.”

The Heat hold a 2-1 series lead over the Celtics. In his return from an ankle injury that sidelined him for about five weeks, Gordon Hayward had six points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series.



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