New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder has opted out of the 2020 NFL season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 32-year-old Solder, who started every game for the Giants the past two seasons after signing a four-year, $62 million deal after leaving the Patriots as a free agent, cited his son’s ongoing fight with cancer, the recent birth of a baby boy and his own history with cancer. The move will save New York $16.5 million in salary cap space. The Giants drafted tackle Andrew Thomas of Georgia with the fourth pick overall in the recent draft . . . Chiefs running back Damien Williams, the leading rusher for an offense that led the KC to a Super Bowl title, has also opted out of playing season. The Chiefs selected a running back, LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire, in the first round of the draft . . . eneral manager John Lynch has reportedly agreed to a new five-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers that will keep him locked up through the 2024 season. The new deal for Lynch comes about six weeks after coach Kyle Shanahan replaced his original six-year deal signed in 2017 with a new six-year contract that takes him through 2025 . . Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley will earn an average of more than $7.5 million a year under a contract extension through the 2025 season. The 36-year-old Riley enters his fourth season with a 36-6 record, three Big 12 championships and three appearances in the College Football Playoff . . . Virginia Tech star cornerback Caleb Farley will not play for the Hokies if there is a season, becoming the most notable major-college football player to opt out because of concerns about the coronavirus.
No fans for US Open at Winged Foot GC
The outlook for fans attending a major men’s golf championship this year grew bleaker Wednesday when officials announced 2020 US Open scheduled, for Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot GC in Westchester County, N.Y. would be conducted without spectators. Next week’s PGA Championship, in San Francisco, the first golf major championship this year, had already barred fans from attending. That leaves The Masters, in November, as the only men’s major yet to prohibit spectators. Leaders at the Augusta National Golf Club, which runs the Masters, have not publicly commented on their decision-making regarding fans. In April, this year’s British Open, scheduled for July, was canceled. The PGA Tour scrapped plans to have spectators at an Ohio tournament this month and has said it will not host fans at its remaining events this season. On the LPGA Tour, which is resuming this week after a lengthy layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the first five events will be absent of fans. “Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the U.S. Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” Mike Davis, the USGA chief executive, said in a statement. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that “while the tournament will look different this year with no fans and enhanced safety protocols, this event is a welcome sight for sports fans across the country and will help restore a sense of normalcy as we build back better than before.” The US Open was originally scheduled for April . . . In bogey-free rounds, Brett Krikorian (Indian Ridge CC) and Mike Calef (Pine Oaks) fired 4-under-par 68s at Framingham Country Club to share the first-round lead in the Champions division of the 53rd Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament. In the Lowery (Senior) division, Boxford’s Frank Vana Jr. shot the low round of the day, a 5-under-67, while Jamaica Plain’s Anne Walsh (The Country Club) leads the Women’s division with an even-par 72
MJ details $100m pledge to Black community
Hornets owner Michael Jordan has started sharing details of where some of his $100 million pledge to the Black community will be allocated. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted Peoples and Families Movement will each receive $1 million, while Black Voters Matter, which works to increase voter registration and turnout, will get $500,000 . . . Rookie sensation Zion Williamson has been listed as a game-time decision for the New Orleans Pelicans’ opening night game against the Utah Jazz Thursday. The No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, who has been cast as one of the headliners of the NBA bubble, departed Disney World July 16 because of what the Pelicans called an “urgent family medical matter.” Williamson returned Friday, cleared a mandatory four-day quarantine period and practiced Tuesday and Wednesday . . . In the WNBA, Tiffany Mitchell (24 points) powered the Indiana Fever past the Phoenix Mercury, 106-100. Arike Ogunbowale (20 points) led five players in double figures as the Dallas Wings earned a 93-80 win over the New York Liberty, overcoming a 33-point effort from Liberty rookie Sabrina Ionescu . . . Lou Henson, the plain-spoken coach who took New Mexico State and Illinois to the Final Four during a 21-year career that included nearly 800 victories and a feud with fellow Big Ten coach Bob Knight, died Saturday at age 88. He was buried in a private service Wednesday . . . Irene Pollin, who co-owned the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Capitals along with late husband Abe, died in her home in Amherst,, Mass. at age 96 . . . South Carolina’s top scorer and rebounder AJ Lawson is returning to school for his junior basketball season, announcing he is withdrawing from the NBA draft. The 6-foot-6 guard from Toronto started all 31 games last year, averaging team highs with 13.4 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Barty withdraws from US Open
No. 1-ranked Ash Barty says she has withdrawn from the US Open because she is not comfortable with traveling during the pandemic. Barty is the biggest name yet to opt out of the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 Grand Slam tournament in New York because of the global health crisis. Barty, who won the French Open in 2019 for her first singles major, said she’s yet to decide on whether to play the clay court major. The French Open was postponed earlier in the year and rescheduled to start Sept. 2 . . . Mike Gillespie, who played on and coached College World Series title teams with Southern California, died at 80 in Irvine, Calif. following complications from recent lung issues and a stroke. An infielder/outfielder on USC’s 1961 CWS championship team and the 1960 runner-up squad, Gillespie coached the Trojans from 1987-2006, leading the USC to five Pac-10 titles, 14 NCAA Regional appearances, four CWS berths and the 1998 CWS crown. He won 763 games at USC and coached 30 future major leaguers, including Aaron and Bret Boone, Geoff Jenkins, Morgan Ensberg, Mark Prior and Barry Zito . . . The Chicago Blackhawks are banning headdresses at home games as part of their pledge to honor the Native American community. The move comes after conversations with Native American partners to establish new policies and initiatives. While the team will play the remainder of its games this season in an empty arena in Edmonton, Alberta, the no headdresses policy begins as soon as fans are allowed back at Chicago’s United Center for games or events . . .