The Raiders will have to wait another year to show off their fancy new home to their fans in Las Vegas. The team sent a letter to season ticket-holders Monday saying that after discussion with health care officials and local leaders, the decision was made not to allow fans at games this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “While the current situation is not how any of us envisioned celebrating the opening of Allegiant Stadium, when circumstances permit we look forward to sharing an unparalleled GameDay Experience in the Magnificent Stadium you helped to build,” the team said in the letter. Owner Mark Davis had said last month that he wouldn’t go to any games at the new stadium unless fans were also allowed. The Raiders had been excited to show off their new $2 billion home after spending the past 25 seasons in the dilapidated Oakland Coliseum. The team was originally scheduled to play its first exhibition game Aug. 27 against Arizona and first regular-season game Sept. 21 against New Orleans. But the exhibition season has been canceled and the Monday night game against the Saints will now be played without any fans. The Raiders broke ground on the 65,000-seat domed stadium just off the Las Vegas Strip in November 2017, just months after the NFL approved the team’s move from Oakland to Nevada. The first planned stadium event, a sold-out Garth Brooks concert, has already been rescheduled from Aug. 22 to Feb. 27 in a bid to prevent spread of the virus . . . The Raiders were busy with roster issues, as well, as defensive back D.J. Killings and defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga have chosen to opt out of the 2020 season over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. The team also shipped defensive tackle P.J. Hall to the Vikings for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2021, bringing in a reinforcement for the interior after the opt out by expected starter Michael Pierce. Hall was a second-round pick in coach Jon Gruden’s first draft back with the Raiders in 2018.
The Rock buys up bankrupt XFL
Wrestling star turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, 48, is buying the assets of the bankrupt XFL as part of a group bid for $15 million, according to a statement. The league suspended operations and laid off all of its employees on April 10. The sale is subject to bankruptcy court approval at a hearing Friday and may close around Aug. 21 . . . The Jets released 28-year-old wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who played in just one game last year after suffering his second neck injury in three seasons and had already been ruled out for this season. The Jets also officially announced that linebacker C.J. Mosley has opted out for the season due to family health concerns amid the pandemic. Among the other players also opting out are Panthers linebacker Christian Miller and Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James . . . The Cleveland Browns placed third-string quarterback Garrett Gilbert on the reserve/COVID list and activated punter Jamie Gillan, who had tested positive for coronavirus . . . The Washington Football Team cut four players and announced linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons would opt-out of the season due to coronavirus concerns. The team is also expected to sign veteran wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, according to a person with knowledge of the situation . . . The Falcons signed former Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard, who adds needed experience in a young secondary. Dennard, a first-round pick by the Bengals in 2014, has made 24 starts in 77 games . . . The Cleveland Browns placed third-string quarterback Garrett Gilbert on the reserve/COVID list and activated punter Jamie Gillan, who had tested positive for coronavirus.
MLS preparing to resume season
The resumption of the MLS regular season has been drawn up, with the first full weekend Aug. 21-23, people close to the situation said. However, Nashville SC and FC Dallas — which did not participate in the MLS Is Back Tournament because of coronavirus outbreaks shortly after arriving at the Disney World bubble — would be the first to restart by facing each other twice, Aug. 12-15 in Texas, one person said.
Bird, 39, ailing with bone bruise
Seattle guard Sue Bird, the he WNBA’s all-time assist leader, will be sidelined for a bit as she recovers from a bone bruise in her left knee. Bird, 39, missed all of last season after having arthroscopic surgery on the same knee said she got tripped in the Minnesota game and her leg got clipped a little bit and her knee got crunched . . . Corey Kispert will not pursue professional basketball options and is returning to Gonzaga for his senior season. Kispert’s decision comes two days after guard Joel Ayayi announced he will be back for his junior season in Spokane. Also returning to school for their senior seasons will be Seton Hall forward Sandro Mamukelashvili and Tennessee forward Yves Pons. Monday was the deadline for players to either return to college or remain in the NBA draft now scheduled for Oct. 16.
Women’s tour returns in Palermo
Tour-level tennis resumed after a five-month enforced break, and players at the Palermo (Italy) Ladies Open had to handle their own towels and not shake hands of opponents. The strict rules because of the coronavirus included no showers on site, and no autographs or photos with fans. Players in the singles main draw come from 15 countries, all in Europe. A limited number of fans were allowed into the 1,500-seat stadium court and had to follow social distancing measures. They watched sixth-seeded Donna Vekić of Croatia beat Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, 6-1, 6-2, in windy conditions in the first official match — for men or women — since early March . . . Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was one of four men given wild-card entries for the tuneup tournament that will be held at Flushing Meadows before the US Open. Murray, 33, won the Western & Southern Open in 2008 and 2011. The hard-court event is usually held in Cincinnati but is moving to the site of the US Open as part of efforts to hold professional tennis competition during the coronavirus pandemic. Main-draw play will run from Aug. 22-28. The US Open begins Aug. 31 . . . Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit, has been offered an ownership stake in Richard Petty Motorsports, the team he currently drives for, with an agreement is expected to be finalized within a few weeks. “There’s a plethora of drivers,” Andrew Murstein, who a co-owner of RPM, said. “There is only one Bubba.” . . . John Daly, winner of the PGA Championship in 1991, will skip the event held this week in San Francisco because of his preexisting health concerns, including diabetes, and the rising coronavirus rates in California . . . A pair of rising juniors in the ACC, Wake Forest’s Rachel Kuehn and Virginia’s Riley Smyth, each shot 4-under-par 68 to share the lead after the first round of the US Women’s Amateur at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. Shannon Johnson of North Easton, Mass., carded an 81 on the first day . . . Big 12 schools agreed to play one nonconference football home game this year to go along with their nine league contests. The 10-team conference’s championship game is scheduled for Dec. 5, but could be moved back to Dec. 12 or 19, the league announced.