Friday Sports in Brief


MLB

PHOENIX (AP) — Andrew McCutchen has relished these past few days in the Philadelphia Phillies’ clubhouse, having difficult, important conversations with baseball teammates about racial injustice.

As a Black man in a sport that’s filled with mostly white and Hispanic players, he doesn’t feel it’s a burden to lead in the discussions. He’s just glad that on Jackie Robinson Day, they’re conversations that everyone is willing to have, even if the answers aren’t always clear.

Major League Baseball observed a Jackie Robinson Day like no other, with teams celebrating a man who broke the sport’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. More than 70 years later, the racial reckoning continued.

Eleven games were postponed this week as some teams joined other leagues like the NBA, WNBA and MLS in protesting social injustice.

The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros took the field Friday night and then left after a moment of silence, draping a Black Lives Matter T-shirt across home plate as they chose not to play. They will play a doubleheader Saturday.

Teams across the league were celebrating the day in various ways. As usual, players, managers, coaches, umpires and other on-field personnel were wearing Robinson’s No. 42.

NBA

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – NBA players want change that makes their communities safer. They want people to vote – hopefully in their home arenas.

And they want to keep playing basketball.

Teams returned to the court Friday after the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on commitments that made players comfortable continuing.

An emotional Chris Paul, the union president, detailed the events of the previous two days, when players upset by the latest police shooting of a Black man left them considering leaving the Disney campus and going home.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – College athletes across the country added their voices to those calling for an end to racial injustice riday with football players and others marching on campus or stepping away from practices to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

In Oklahoma, the Sooners football team walked in rows of three to the Unity Garden, where they held a 57-second moment of silence in honor of the 57-year anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ”I Have a Dream” speech. Assistant coach Dennis Simmons led a prayer before the team returned to its facilities.

Duke athletes gathered on campus Thursday with hundreds of Blue Devils staff, students and coaches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Members of the Baylor football team marched around campus Friday.

The Ole Miss football team decided not to take to the practice field Friday after a similar demonstration a day earlier at Mississippi State. Ole Miss players marched from the campus to the Oxford Square.

NEW YORK (AP) – Big Ten coaches, athletic directors and medical personnel are working on multiple plans for staging a football season – including one that would have the league kicking off as soon as Thanksgiving weekend.

The conference is in the early stages of a complicated process that also involves broadcast partners and possible neutral site venues, a person with direct knowledge of the conference’s discussions told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not making public its efforts to have a football season that starts in either late fall or winter. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the Big Ten was considering a possible Thanksgiving start to the season.

The Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 it was postponing its fall football season because of concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pac-12 soon followed suit, but six other major college football conferences, including the powerhouse Southeastern Conference, are still forging ahead toward a season that will start in September.

The Big Ten and first-year commissioner Kevin Warren have faced push back and criticism ever since, including a lawsuit filed by eight Nebraska players who want the decision overturned.

The Big Ten’s decision and the subsequent backlash have trickled into politics in this election year, with Democrats and Republicans pointing fingers over who is responsible for taking away college football in the Midwest.

Story continues

GOLF

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) – Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay made their share of mistakes at the BMW Championship and shrugged them off because that’s bound to happen on the toughest test the PGA Tour has seen this year.

By the end of another steamy afternoon south of Chicago, they were the sole survivors to par.

McIlroy had a 1-under 69 to share the 36-hole lead with Cantlay.

It was plenty tough for Tiger Woods, whose PGA Tour season appears to be two rounds from being over. He shot a 75, leaving him nine shots behind.

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) – Jackie Stoelting returned from a 14-month maternity break to take a share of the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

With her mother with her to look after son Baron, the 34-year-old Stoelting had a bogey-free 7-under 64 – playing her first nine in 5-under 30 – to join Anna Nordqvist and rookie Esther Lee atop the leaderboard.

Stacy Lewis birdied the last two holes for a 66. The former University of Arkansas player won the 2014 event at Pinnacle. She won the Ladies Scottish Open two weeks ago for her 13th LPGA Tour title and first since the birth of daughter Chesnee in October 2018.

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





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