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Basketball: NBA chief Adam Silver hopes fans can return to stadiums next season but admits future is clouded with uncertainty

ORLANDO (AFP) – National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday (Sept 30) said..

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ORLANDO (AFP) – National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday (Sept 30) said that he hoped the sport would not return to a "bubble" environment next season but admitted league officials were keeping all options on the table.

Speaking ahead of the opening game of the NBA Finals, he said plans for the new season remained opaque, with no fixed start date and uncertainty surrounding issues such as fans in stadiums.

The NBA is nearing the end of an unprecedented 2019-2020 season which was thrown into chaos when the coronavirus pandemic swept across the world and sent sport grinding to a halt in March.

The NBA restarted after a four-month hiatus in July, with 22 teams based at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, housed in a secure bubble aimed at shielding players and staff from Covid-19.

Silver told reporters on Wednesday he hoped the bubble format would be a one-off, but said it remained a possibility for next season.

"I'm hoping, ideally, that we would not return to a bubble environment, but it's something we're going to have to continue looking at," Silver said.

The league was monitoring the progress of the National Football League (NFL), which kicked off earlier this month with teams playing in their home stadiums and operating under strict safety protocols.

"Will we able to operate as the NFL is operating right now?" Silver said. "Will we need to operate in some kind of bubble or campus, and if we did maybe it's for a portion of the season? Can people continue and thrive in this environment?"

PHYSICAL, MENTAL TOLL

Silver added that the league was also uncertain as to a possible start date, with officials anxious to ensure players received a proper off-season break.

"I've said previously that the earliest we would start at this point is Christmas," he said. "That's been a traditional tentpole date for the league. But it may come and go.

"The greater likelihood is we may start in January. But if we start in January, it means training camps have begun three weeks earlier. And the players need a break physically and mentally. There's no question about it."

Allowing fans into stadiums next season would hinge on whether widespread rapid Covid-19 testing was available.

"As for fans, it's certainly our goal, but it's dependent on some additional advancements. Rapid testing may be theRead More – Source

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Giants knock out Cowboys to stay alive in NFC East as questionable decisions doom Dallas

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In fitting fashion, an NFC East elimination game concluded with a running back sitting on his fumbled ball. Yes, sitting.

New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman coughed up the ball with 58 seconds to play, but officials ruled he secured it just enough to maintain possession after he literally sat on it. The Giants held on for the final minute of the game, winning 23-19 Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The Dallas Cowboys have been eliminated from playoff contention.

The NFC East title will be decided by a “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles. Washington is in if it ties or wins. The Giants (6-10) will advance if Washington loses.

Neither the Giants nor the Cowboys played a clean game. Dallas’ offense stalle

The Giants, despite an interception and two fumbles (one lost), terrorized the Cowboys offensive line and sacked Dalton six times — hitting him a total of nine times. Dalton’s pressure prohibited the Cowboys from jelling in the passing game as they had a week earlier in their 37-17 win over the Eagles.

The Giants snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory. The Cowboys, finishing their season at 6-10, snapped a three-game winning streak.

d repeatedly, and its defense let up two early touchdowns.

But head coach Mike McCarthy will shoulder the blame for two questionable decisions.

On third-and-16, with 7:02 to play and the Giants up by 1, Giants receiver Dante Pettis did not appear to secure the catch on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Daniel Jones. Dallas chose not to challenge the play that immediately preceded the Giants’ 50-yard field goal. That, and the decision not to go for 2 after running back Ezekiel Elliott’s third-quarter touchdown, doomed the Cowboys.

Neither team converted a third down for the first 24 minutes of the game, and ball security made a difference. The Cowboys’ final drive ended on quarterback Andy Dalton’s interception in the end zone.

The Giants, despite an interception and two fumbles (one lost), terrorized the Cowboys offensive line and sacked Dalton six times — hitting him a total of nine times. Dalton’s pressure prohibited the Cowboys from jelling in the passing game as they had a week earlier in their 37-17 win over the Eagles.

The Giants snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory. The Cowboys, finishing their season at 6-10, snapped a three-game winning streak.

NFC East eyes will turn to the Sunday night game to determine whether a six- or seven-win team advances to the playoffs.

McCarthy’s eyes will turn to his second season in Dallas after an underwhelming first.

 

Read from source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/cowboys/2021/01/03/new-york-giants-nfc-east-dallas-cowboys-out/4116818001/

 

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Wisconsin drops trophy after beating Wake Forest in Duke May’s Bowl

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 The Wisconsin Badgers captured the Duke’s Mayo Bowl and the trophy that came along with it.

And then they broke it.

While dancing around to celebrate his team’s 42-28 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday, quarterback Graham Mertz dropped the football-shaped piece of Lenox crystal, leaving it shattered on the floor of the locker room after it fell off its base.

“We just wanted everybody to have a piece of that trophy,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst joked.

That would seem appropriate.

Mertz accounted for three touchdowns and Wisconsin turned four second-half interceptions, all by different players, into 21 points to turn a close game into a near-rout of the Demon Deacons. Five players scored touchdowns for the Badgers.

Mertz, a redshirt freshman, threw for 130 yards and ran for two short TDs as Wisconsin (4-3) finished a rocky 2020 season on a high note.

“Yeah, I dropped it,” Mertz said sheepishly. “That’s on me. It happened.”

The Badgers might be willing to forgive him.

With the game tied at 21 late in the third quarter, Noah Burks intercepted Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman on a pass in the flat when the intended receiver failed to turn his head around. Burks returned the ball 41 yards to set up a 14-yard scoring strike from Mertz to Mason Stokke on a wheel route, giving the Badgers their first lead.

Hartman, who had thrown only one interception all season, was picked off on the next three possessions as well.

Scott Nelson had a 60-yard interception return and Collin Wilder returned a pick 72 yards to set up short TD runs that gave the Badgers a 42-21 lead, resulting in Hartman getting benched. Jack Sanborn had 11 tackles and an interception and was named MVP of the game.

“It felt like one led to the other,” Sanborn said. “After three picks, we said, ‘Collin you have to get one’ – and then Collin went and got one.”

Sanborn said the Badgers picked up on some of Hartman’s tendencies.

“Throughout the game, similar concepts coming up,” Sanborn said. “We kind of knew where he wanted to throw the ball. He was making throws early in the game. But we got a tell on where he wanted to go with the ball.”

Hartman finished 20 of 37 passing for 318 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

“All of a sudden the dam opened the floodgates and wow, I never thought we would lose a game like that,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said.

Clawson said he felt Hartman was telegraphing his passes.

“I think he held on to targets too long and Wisconsin broke on his eyes and his arm actions,” Clawson said.

Wake Forest (4-5) outgained Wisconsin 518-266 on offense, but the Badgers had 176 return yards off interceptions.

Hartman threw three touchdown passes to Jacquarii Roberson to give the Demon Deacons a 21-14 lead early in the third quarter against the nation’s No. 1-ranked defense.

The game was played in front of no fans other than family and friends due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Manchester City’s ‘compromised’ Covid-19 security bubble forces postponement of game at Everton

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An uptick in positive Covid-19 cases at Manchester City has forced the postponement of the club’s English Premier League game at Everton on Monday.

“After the latest round of Covid-19 testing, the club returned a number of positive cases, in addition to the four already reported on Christmas Day,” said City in a statement on their website.
“With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond.
“Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, have decided to postpone the fixture.”
On Christmas Day, City confirmed that forward Gabriel Jesus and defender Kyle Walker, as well as two members of staff had tested positive for Covid-19.
Monday’s game had been slated to kickoff at 8 p.m. local time at Goodison Park in Liverpool.
An alternative date and kickoff time has yet to be decided, according to Everton.
The Premier League says further testing will be conducted on Tuesday.
Meanwhile Crystal Palace and Leicester City shared a 1-1 draw on Monday as the Premier League’s intense festive schedule of matches continued.
Kelechi Iheanacho missed a first-half penalty for the visitors as second place Leicester, who had drawn 2-2 with Manchester United on Saturday, looked to close the gap on Premier League leader Liverpool.
Wilfried Zaha’s superb finish then gave Palace the lead, before Harvey Barnes’ low shot late on secured Leicester a point, moving Brendan Rodgers’ side on to 29 points, three behind the Premier League defending champion.

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