MIAMI (AP) -- With six teams idled Friday by the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to union leader Tony Clark about the importance of players following the sport's coronavirus protocols.
Manfred and Clark talked about what needs to be done to finish the season, a person familiar with the conversation said. The person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The conversation between Manfred and Clark, first reported by ESPN, comes amid growing evidence that the spread of infection threatens to overtake efforts to play ball.
Concerns have been expressed about lax behavior by players on the field - such as spitting or high-fives - and off.
NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL suspended wide receiver Antonio Brown for the first eight regular-season games of the 2020 season.
Brown, who does not have a contract with any team, was suspended Friday under the league's personal conduct policy.
Brown, who played one game last season for the Patriots before being released, can be signed by any team and would be eligible to participate in all of his club's preseason activities. The suspension would take effect when teams make their final cuts on Sept. 5.
As part of the discipline, Brown was directed to continue his program of counseling and treatment. He also was advised that any future violation of the personal conduct policy will ''likely result in more significant discipline.''
Kearse is eligible to participate in all preseason practices. He will be allowed to return to the Lions' active roster on Monday, Sept. 28, following the team's Week 3 game at Arizona.
Formerly with division rival Minnesota, Kearse signed a one-year, $2 million deal with Detroit as a free agent. He spent four seasons with the Vikings after being selected in the seventh round of the 2016 draft, and was mostly a backup who played regularly on special teams.
The Pac-12 set Sept. 26 as the start date Friday for its 10-game, conference-only football schedule, joining the Southeastern Conference in pushing back its season by three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pac-12 announced July 10 it would eliminate nonconference games to give its 12 member schools a better chance to manage complications and disruptions caused by the health crisis. The plan approved by university presidents adds an additional cross-divisional game to each team's slate, creates two open dates and moves the conference championship game back two weeks from Dec. 4 to Dec. 18 or 19.
The title game, originally set to be played for the first time at the new NFL stadium in Las Vegas, will now be hosted by the division winner with the best record.
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - New York top draft pick Sabrina Ionescu injured her ankle in the second quarter against Atlanta and did not return to action in the Liberty's 84-78 loss to the Dream on Friday night.
Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in April's draft, was bringing the ball up court and rolled her left ankle when she got tangled up with Atlanta's Betnijah Laney with about five minutes left in the opening half. She finished with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
According to NBA TV, Ionescu sprained her ankle and underwent X-rays.
YORBA LINDA, Calif. (AP) - Drag racing great John Force and his four-car NHRA team are remaining parked for the rest of the 2020 season.
John Force Racing announced Friday that it won't compete in any of the final 12 events this year, citing sponsorship issues and making a financial decision to ''live to fight another day.''
''We can't fight now. We can't race right now. But with what I have, with the help of my sponsors and my own personal money, I can maintain,'' said Force, a 16-time series champion. ''I have to protect my family, my employees, my teams and my sponsors. What I built was a team that could win. All I have to do is get to next year. It will look different.''
John Force Racing skipped the first two events, both in Indianapolis, since the NHRA's return amid the pandemic. His absence was a blow to the series.
BERLIN (AP) - Benedikt Howedes, a defender who helped Germany win the World Cup title in 2014, retired from soccer on Friday citing family reasons.
The 32-year-old Howedes left Lokomotiv Moscow by mutual consent last month while the Russian league was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Howedes played 44 times for the German national team from 2011-17 and played every minute for his team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
A federal appeals court Friday threw out Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, saying the judge who oversaw the case did not adequately screen jurors for potential biases.
A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new penalty-phase trial on whether the 27-year-old Tsarnaev should be executed for the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
''But make no mistake: Dzhokhar will spend his remaining days locked up in prison, with the only matter remaining being whether he will die by execution,'' Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson wrote in the ruling.
An attorney for Tsarnaev said they are grateful for the court's ''straightforward and fair decision: if the government wishes to put someone to death, it must make its case to a fairly selected jury that is provided all relevant information.''
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton no longer faces charges of domestic assault and public intoxication for an incident with his girlfriend in February.
Middleton faced a date in Knox County General Sessions Court in August, but the misdemeanor charges have been dismissed. His attorney Gregory P. Isaacs confirmed the dismissal first reported by Knox News on Friday.
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound senior is a junior college transfer. He started six of 13 games with 28 tackles in 2019, his first season with the Vols.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks again faces criminal charges, this time after being accused of stealing purses from a western Missouri property.
Saousoalii Siavii Jr., 41, is charged in Cass County with second-degree burglary and a misdemeanor count of stealing, the Kansas City Star reported.
A warrant was issued for Siavii's arrest in June after police say he took two totes, with several purses inside, valued at more than $150 from a shed on someone's property in Belton.
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