June 13, 2020 Update on the latest sports Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSTV money gives NFL leg up if fans can’t fill team’s coffersUNDATED (AP) — Timing favored the NFL over other major pro sports leagues in trying to figure out how to keep the coronavirus pandemic from wrecking the 2020 season. US Olympic leaders eye change on protests amid wary athletesDENVER (AP) — U.S. Olympic leaders are open to changing a longstanding rule restricting protests at the Olympics. But the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is also facing backlash from some of its own athletes who feel they’ve been kept out of the loop.The USOPC is forming an athletes’ group to look into racial issues that have been exposed across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. But the committee made the move before consulting with the group that is supposed to represent athletes on the U.S. team. That upset some athletes.Both the athletes and the USOPC are working out their differences. And both agree that attacking the problem of racism and social injustice is more important than internal squabbling. In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic:— Major League Baseball has told its players the league wants to know by the end of the day Sunday whether players will accept its latest offer. MLB offered players 80% of their prorated salaries and a 72-game schedule beginning July 14 in an effort to start the pandemic-delayed season, according to details of the proposal obtained by The Associated Press. Teams cut their proposed schedule each time they make an offer due to the calendar, unwilling to delay the World Series past October.— New Zealand has become one of the first nations in the world to welcome hordes of fans back into a packed sports stadium thanks to the nation’s remarkable success in eliminating the coronavirus. As countries around the world try to reopen after lockdowns, Saturday’s match marked a milestone of sorts. After instituting a strict lockdown, New Zealand has had no new cases of the virus for more than three weeks and all those who contracted it have now recovered. Earlier this week, the country removed just about every virus restriction, although the border remains closed.— Pakistan cricket’s celebrated allrounder Shahid Afridi has tested positive for COVID-19. Afridi tweeted Saturday that he had “been feeling unwell since Thursday” and his body “had been aching badly.” He announced that “unfortunately I’m COVID positive” and asked for prayers for a speedy recovery. Afridi quit international cricket in 2017 and has since played in Twenty20 leagues around the world. USOPC-PROTEST PROBLEMS America’s most popular sport has another big advantage if the games are played: TV money.While NFL owners could lose billions collectively with limited capacities in stadiums or no fans at all, the league is well-positioned financially because of lucrative media contracts approaching $10 billion in a full 2020 season.Fitch Ratings recently affirmed its “A-plus” credit mark for the NFL and its properties in part because of the league’s media deals. Fitch says the NFL estimates each team’s media revenue at $250 million per season. The number gets bigger later in the contract, and each deal is set to expire in the next two years.So it’s safe to say more than half of the league’s $15 billion in annual revenue comes from the TV deals shared equally among all 32 teams — unlike Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL.MLB’s attempts to get the baseball season started are being held up in part by a disagreement over how to compensate players in the likelihood that owners will have no fan-related revenue.
Matt Karatsu | Daily TrojanOn Wednesday, USC finished up a short week of practice in preparation for Friday’s game against No. 16 Washington State. The team worked on red-zone efficiency and readied for potentially inclement weather while continuing to deal with a slew of recent injuries.Bracing for harsh weatherThis Friday, USC could see a potentially rainy, windy evening in Pullman, Wash. In order to prepare for that prospect, the team practiced with wet footballs on Wednesday.“It looks like we may get some rain there in the second half,” head coach Clay Helton said. “We worked [in] some precipitation, which will be the first time for us this season.”Helton insisted that his team will be able to handle the harsh conditions, despite the lack of experience dealing with rain in sunny Southern California.“We’ve been fortunate,” Helton said. “Stat of the day is: Since 1923, we’ve only had 16 rain games in the Coliseum, but [I’ve] been here for two of them, in 2010 and 2016. At the end of the day, professionals don’t make excuses; they’re supposed to be the answers.”Injury UpdateAs USC grinds through 12 straight games without the reprieve of a bye week, the pileup of injuries always seemed inevitable. A third of the way into the season, after facing four challenging opponents, the accumulation of wear and tear has already become a major factor. The Trojans spent most of their short week trying to get key players healthy and back on the field.“I don’t think anybody is 100 percent right now after these first four games,” Helton said. “I think we all have bumps and bruises right now at all positions.”Helton offered several injury updates on the offensive side of the ball. Junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett and freshman receiver/return specialist Velus Jones both came back to practice on Wednesday after dealing with minor injuries, but their fellow pass-catcher redshirt senior Steven Mitchell Jr. remained out with a groin injury suffered against Texas. Mitchell Jr. is the team’s second leading receiver with 223 yards and two touchdowns.“I watched him run today and he is getting closer,” Helton said. “If it’s not Saturday, it will be next week.”Helton also offered new information about redshirt sophomore tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe, as he’s been out with a hip injury since the season opener against Western Michigan. Tight end is a particularly thin position for the Trojans without Imatorbhebhe and now with the departure of freshman Cary Angeline.“We’re all hoping that he plays this year,” Helton said. “We’re hoping to forecast for the Notre Dame game week. He’s getting closer but this is an investment that we made. We wanted to get him back 100 percent, and until he’s that way, I’m not going to put him out there.”Junior Tyler Petite is now by far the most experienced tight end on the depth chart. He turned in his best performance last week against Cal with four catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.Improving red-zone efficiency Currently, the Trojans’ lack of success in the red zone has been one of the team’s biggest crutches. Over the first four games, the team is 73rd in red-zone efficiency, tied with Ball State and Idaho. During this week of practice, USC worked on that specific area of the game.“The last two weeks, we haven’t been great [in short yardage offense],” Helton said. “Everyone can see that. We worked hard in the red zone today and at finishing drives, because third-down and red-zone efficiency is going to be the key in this game. You’re not going to be able to kick field goals while they’re scoring touchdowns.”