Tuesday Sports in Brief

Sports

NHL

The NHL is not sending players to the Beijing Olympics over concerns that the pandemic will disrupt the league’s ability to complete a full season.

A person with direct knowledge of discussions told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the league informed the NHL Players’ Association it was exercising its right to withdraw from the Beijing Games because there was a material disruption to the season, a decision the union was not going to dispute.

The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because an announcement had yet to be made. An announcement was expected Wednesday.

The decision is an abrupt turnaround from September, when the NHL, union, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation struck a deal to put the best players in the world back on sports’ biggest stage after they skipped the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. The fast-spreading omicron coronavirus variant forced the scrapping of those plans.

NBA

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that there are no plans to pause the season, even as numbers of players entering the league’s health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus continues to rise.

Silver, in an interview with ESPN, said the league has examined multiple options but does not yet see a reason to stop play. Through early Tuesday evening, at least 84 players from 20 teams – not including some coaches and staffers – were believed to be in the protocols, though those numbers tend to change almost on an hourly basis. The count is largely based on what teams have disclosed on their most recent injury report.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP)Former San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili, SuperSonics and Suns forward Tom Chambers and Olympic and WNBA champion Lindsay Whalen are among the first-time nominees for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Among the returning nominees announced Tuesday are 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups and former UConn and Detroit Shock star Swin Cash. More than 150 players, coaches and other contributors will be considered for induction in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during the Sept. 9-10 enshrinement ceremonies.

NFL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Another 21 NFL players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, including Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, cornerback Rashad Fenton and tight end Blake Bell.

They were among nine players, including two on the practice squad, who joined tight end Travis Kelce and kicker Harrison Butker on Kansas City’s growing list.

The Chiefs also have Charvarius Ward on the list, along with defensive tackle Chris Jones, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. and wide receiver Josh Gordon. Linebacker Nick Bolton, offensive lineman Kyle Long, right tackle Lucas Niang and safety Armani Watts also were added to list on Tuesday.

On Monday, the first day under the NFL’s revised protocols, 47 players were placed on the COVID-19 list, the most in a single day since the pandemic began.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball payrolls dropped 4% in 2021 compared to the league’s last full season, and the $4.05 billion total was the lowest in a fully completed year since 2015.

Falling payrolls have sparked the labor unrest that led to the sport’s first work stoppage in more than a quarter-century this month, when the collective bargaining agreement expired and owners locked out the players Dec. 2.

Payrolls are down 4.6% from their record high of just under $4.25 billion in 2017, the first year of the just-expired CBA, according to information sent to clubs by the commissioner’s office and obtained by The Associated Press on Monday. Spending on big league players has not been this low since a $3.9 billion total in 2015.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Athletics named former outfielder Mark Kotsay their manager Tuesday to replace Bob Melvin, who departed earlier this offseason to manage the San Diego Padres.

Kotsay receives a three-year contract through the 2024 season, the team. That also includes a club option for the 2025 campaign.

Kotsay is being promoted from third base coach to manage the team for which he played in four of his 17 major league seasons – from 2004-07.

The 46-year-old Kotsay also served a stint as bench coach under Melvin, who came aboard midway through the 2011 season to replace Bob Geren.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

The Miami Hurricanes’ plans to play in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 appear to be uncertain at best, after the school announced Tuesday that its football program has entered COVID-19 protocols.

The Hurricanes did not say how many players or coaches are currently dealing with virus-related issues. The team was scheduled to resume bowl practice in earnest this week after taking last week off for finals.

Miami (7-5) is scheduled to play Washington State (7-5) in El Paso, Texas. Officials in El Paso said earlier this week that their city has seen a COVID-19 positivity rate of about 15% in the past week.

COVID-19 concerns at Georgetown and Boston College have caused both teams to suffer forfeits in their conference standings.

Boston College’s men’s basketball game at Wake Forest scheduled for Wednesday is canceled in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Georgetown’s game Wednesday at No. 22 Providence is also canceled in the Big East.

The leagues announced the cancellations Tuesday. In both cases, the forfeits will count only in the league standings and won’t affect the overall record.

OLYMPICS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Two-time Olympic short-track champion Shim Suk-hee has been suspended for two months over her text messages that authorities say ”marred the dignity of athletes,” a decision that could bar her from attending the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The Korea Staking Union said Wednesday it decided to suspend Shim from the national team during a disciplinary meeting held Tuesday.

Shim can appeal the ruling to the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee or file for an injunction with a local court. Even if either of them accepts her appeal, the Korea Staking Union isn’t obliged to overturn or lessen its penalty immediately and can hold another internal meeting to discuss whether to include her in the national team, according to the skating union.

OBITUARY

DETROIT (AP) – Kimera Bartee, a former Major League Baseball outfielder and Detroit Tigers first base coach, died Monday. He was 49.

The Tigers made the announcement Tuesday, saying Bartee died suddenly. They did not disclose the cause of death.

Bartee was an outfielder in Detroit from 1996 to 1999 and played the next two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies. He was from Omaha, Nebraska, and played for his hometown Creighton University Bluejays.

The Tigers promoted him to first-base coach during the 2021 season after he was the organization’s roving outfield and baserunning instructor, a role he had in 2020 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was previously first-base coach for the Pirates Pirates and also was an outfield and baserunning coordinator for their minor league teams.

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

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