Canada has strict COVID-19 protocols in place regarding travel, and the Toronto Raptors were unable to find a way around those regulations for the start of the 2020-21 season. As a result, they will be playing their “home games” elsewhere.
The Raptors announced on Friday that they will begin the 2020-21 season playing in Tampa Bay rather than Toronto. Canada currently requires anyone crossing the border to quarantine for 14 days, and they are not making any exceptions for the Raptors or the NBA.
You can read the full statement from the team below:
While disappointing for fans in Toronto, the news is not a surprise. The Blue Jays had to find a place outside of Canada to play their home games for the same reason, so the Raptors knew this was always the most likely outcome for them.
The State of Michigan announced a new round of coronavirus restrictions this week that went into effect on Wednesday, and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s wife Kelly is furious over them.
Kelly Stafford shared a video rant on her Instagram live Thursday in which she unloaded on Michigan officials. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has mandated a “three-week pause” that calls for the temporary closing of restaurants, bars, theaters, stadiums, etc. Stafford believes the decision is crushing small businesses and the local economy.
“I’m so over it. I’m over living in a dictatorship that we call Michigan,” she said. “I understand there’s a pandemic and I understand it’s very scary. I’m scared of it too. If you’re at risk, do not leave your house until there’s a vaccine. But shutting down all these small businesses, things that people have worked their life for, shutting them down again is not the answer because they will not make it. So once we are able to leave our house and once this dictatorship decides to let us have some freedom, there will be nothing left.”
Stafford acknowledged that people are going to call her “ignorant” and disagree with her, but she said she does not enjoy “living in a place where they tell me what I can and cannot do.” You can hear her full comments below:
Matthew and Kelly have had personal experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Lions quarterback has twice been placed on the NFL’s COVID/reserve list this year. The first time was for a false positive test, which Kelly unloaded on the NFL over. She then had an interesting reaction to her husband being placed on the list again earlier this month due to being labeled a high-risk close contact.
The NFL has implemented a seemingly endless list of COVID-19 protocols in hopes of preventing the spread of the disease, and Aaron Rodgers wonders whether or not some of them are necessary.
Rodgers was asked about the coronavirus guidelines during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Tuesday. The Green Bay Packers star emphasized that he is not trying to downplay the protocols, but he wonders how much of what the NFL is doing is based in science.
“I think there’s a lot of questions of are we doing all this based on science and it’s all necessary?” Rodgers said. “There are some interesting conversations to be had down the line about all of that. … I’m just wondering what is this based on.”
Rodgers went into some specifics. He questioned why players are allowed to interact and shake hands after games but need plexiglass between lockers and can’t eat lunch together. The two-time NFL MVP feels some of the protocols are “definitely for the optics of it.”
“I think there’s some double standards — you can dap up a guy after the game but you can’t eat at the same lunch table as a teammate,” Rodgers said. “You can go down to practice and hit each other and be in close contact but you have to have plexiglass between you and the guy next to you in the locker room. Some of those things to me don’t really add up.”
If you remember, Rodgers hinted months ago that he is not in favor of stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. It’s no surprise he feels similarly about some of the NFL’s protocols.
The NFL has issued some harsh disciplinary action against teams and coaches for not following COVID-19 protocols. One team owner unloaded on the league over the punishment this week.
You can hear Rodgers’ full comments below:
One of college basketball’s biggest names has tested positive for COVID-19.
Michigan State announced Monday that basketball coach Tom Izzo has tested positive for the virus and is experiencing what he calls “mild symptoms.” Izzo said in a statement that he intends to follow the advice of the team medical staff with the aim of returning to practices as soon as possible.
Izzo will be subject to a mandatory 10-day isolation period. Michigan State’s schedule is in flux due to the pandemic, but as long as there are no complications, he should be cleared in plenty of time to coach the team normally.
Izzo has been working his normal schedule in recent months. He also spoke to the Spartans’ football team recently.
Trevor Lawrence’s positive coronavirus test will keep him out next week against Notre Dame.
Dabo Swinney confirmed after Saturday’s win over Boston College that Lawrence will not play next Saturday. No further information was given.
Guidelines indicate that a 10-day quarantine is necessary for those who test positive for COVID-19. Lawrence could have played against Notre Dame under that timetable. However, that was always going to be dictated by Lawrence’s symptoms and passing the relevant protocols. Via ESPN’s Andrea Adelson, Swinney said Lawrence simply would not be able to pass all those protocols in time to play.
Clemson will likely go with DJ Uiagalelei once again. Uiagalelei started in the Tigers’ slim win over Boston College, going 30/41 for 342 yards and two touchdowns.
Major League Baseball is blaming Justin Turner for the fact that he celebrated on the field after the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series.
Turner was removed from Game 6 after seven innings upon MLB’s receipt of his positive COVID-19 test. Despite this, he was seen on the field celebrating with teammates after the game ended.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the league made clear that Turner ignored orders to refrain from going on the field. MLB promised a “full investigation” and blamed Turner for putting “everyone he came in contact with at risk.”
It’s clear that MLB isn’t happy with what transpired. Turner celebrating on the field after testing positive led to criticism.
It’s not clear if Turner will be punished, though, or how he even can be.
Tuesday night’s situation at the World Series involving Justin Turner has led some to wonder how other sports would handle a similar situation.
Turner was removed from Game 6 after seven innings after testing positive for COVID-19. Despite this, he defied isolation orders to celebrate on the field with his teammates after they won the title.
Such a situation would not happen in the NFL, the league said. It cited a protocol in place for the unlikely situation that a player receives a positive test result during a game.
“Game day tests for night games are conducted in mid- to late-morning,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio via email. “For the most part, it’s unlikely, but possible to get a result before or during the game.”
McCarthy added that all NFL stadiums have on-site isolation rooms. Any player testing positive during a game would be isolated there.
“If a player or Club employee develops symptoms of COVID-19 for the first time while inside the facility, that individual must be placed in a mask and immediately isolated in a separate room with a closed door,” McCarthy added. “Team medical personnel and security would ensure the individual does not come into contact with other individuals.”
It seems like a solid enough plan. That said, the league has still had some issues getting teams to abide by safety protocols. Hopefully these particular protocols won’t need to be put to the test.
The Las Vegas Raiders have had their share of issues with COVID-19 this season, but coach Jon Gruden clearly thinks the team’s handling of the virus has been exemplary.
Members of the Raiders have received multiple fines for failing to follow the NFL’s safety protocols. Offensive lineman Trent Brown recently tested positive for the virus, and the team briefly had to isolate its entire offensive line as a result.
Gruden, however, was quick to point out that the Raiders are far from the only team to have a positive test. Then he made an even bolder claim about the team’s handling of the virus.
“As an organization, we are on the cutting edge of beating the virus,” Gruden said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
It’s not very clear what Gruden is basing this on. The Raiders don’t seem any closer to “beating” COVID-19 than any other organization. In fact, the league is reportedly looking into the team’s handling of it.
Gruden was among the first coaches fined for not wearing a mask back in Week 1. Maybe he’s learned his lesson, but the Raiders definitely don’t look like they’re leading the league in handling the virus.
The NBA is fully focused on ironing out a plan and schedule for next season now that the 2019-20 season has finally come to a close. While another season in a bubble does not seem like a possibility, there could be some significant changes with the way the schedule is structured.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe report that the NBA is having discussions about beginning the 2020-21 season as early as Christmas Day. The plan could be to play fewer than 72 games and possibly not wait until fans are permitted to attend. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA could also move to an MLB-style schedule where teams play mini-series against one another to limit travel.
While the bubble in Walt Disney World was ultimately a success, there are numerous reasons the NBA would prefer to avoid doing it again. Money is the most obvious reason.
There was originally some talk that the NBA could wait until fans are cleared to attend games, but no one knows when that will be. As Wojnarowski notes, approximately two thirds of the league’s teams would not be permitted to have fans at the moment due to local regulations. If the NBA waits until those restrictions are lifted, revenue would suffer.
The NBA previously informed teams that the season will not start before Christmas Day. That may be a realistic target date.
The Las Vegas Raiders are the latest team to potentially run afoul of the NFL’s coronavirus safety protocols.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the NFL and NFLPA are looking into how strictly the Raiders followed the league’s COVID-19 safety protocols. One primary focus is on offensive lineman Trent Brown, who tested positive for the virus this week. The league believes Brown had failed to consistently wear his tracking device, and spent time around teammates without wearing a mask.
The Raiders are currently having their entire offensive line, as well as safety Johnathan Abram, stay home and isolate due to potential contact with Brown.
It could be bad news for the Raiders if they’re found to have been lax on following or enforcing NFL protocols. The league has already fined several Raiders for failing to abide by the guidelines. Coach Jon Gruden had been hit with a fine before that, too.
It’s not clear if the Raiders as a whole could face punishment if a handful of players were careless about protocols. That said, this would be a third violation within the organization. That’s not a good look at all, and the NFL may decide to take a stricter approach if it can.