Monday’s Sports in Brief

National Sports

TENNIS

BEIJING (AP)Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied saying she was sexually assaulted, despite a November social media post attributed to her that accused a former top Communist Party official of forcing her into sex.

Lianhe Zaobao, a Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper, posted video of Peng it says was taken Sunday in Shanghai in which she said she has been mainly staying at home in Beijing but was free to come and go as she chose.

”First of all, I want to emphasize something that is very important. I have never said that I wrote that anyone sexually assaulted me. I need to emphasize this point very clearly,” Peng told the newspaper’s reporter.

The reporter did not ask how or why the lengthy and highly detailed Nov. 2 post appeared or whether Peng’s account had been hacked.

PRO FOOTBALL

Several asymptomatic, vaccinated NFL players tested positive for COVID-19 on the first day of ”targeted” testing, a person familiar with the results told The Associated Press.

Overall, 47 players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the most in a single day since the pandemic began. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of privacy issues, didn’t specify how many of the players are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated.

Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce, Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and Lions quarterback Jared Goff are among the players who landed on the reserve list. Bosa will miss this week’s game, according to coach Brandon Staley.

Players who test positive must quarantine until they’re cleared to return. Under the NFL’s revised protocols which went into effect Monday, asymptomatic, vaccinated players can return in less than 10 days.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A New Jersey man who posed as a former New England Patriots player in order to buy and sell Super Bowl rings that he claimed were gifts to Tom Brady’s family will plead guilty to fraud, federal prosecutors said Monday.

The plea agreement by Scott V. Spina Jr., 24, of Roseland was filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court. Spina will plead guilty to five felony charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California announced.

In 2017, Spina bought a Patriots’ 2016 Super Bowl championship ring from a Patriots player who then left the team. Prosecutors said Spina paid the player – identified only as T.J. – with at least one bad check and sold the ring for $63,000 to a Southern California broker of championship rings.

PRO HOCKEY

The NHL is beginning a leaguewide shutdown Wednesday amid a rise in positive COVID-19 test results among players, and with 10 of the league’s 32 teams’ schedules already paused and their facilities closed.

The league announced that it will open its annual holiday break two days earlier than scheduled and have it run through Saturday. The decision, reached in coordination with the NHL Players’ Association, means five additional games scheduled for Thursday will be postponed, bringing the total this season to 49.

Two games slated for Tuesday are still set to go on as scheduled. Teams will then report back for COVID-19 testing and practice on Sunday, a day before games are set to resume. Players and members of each team’s traveling party will be required to test negative before being allowed back in their respective facilities.

The decision to begin the break early comes a day after the NHL and NHLPA issued a joint statement announcing they were attempting to avoid a leaguewide shutdown by making decisions on a team-by-team basis. The holiday break was previously supposed to run from Friday to Sunday.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) – Premier League clubs decided against pausing the season despite 10 fixtures being postponed in the previous week due to the most widespread coronavirus outbreaks to date across squads.

While more than 90% of players in the Italian and Spanish leagues have been fully vaccinated, the Premier League disclosed that only 77% of its players had received two doses. In its first update on vaccine take-up in two months, the league also said 16% of players had not received even a single dose.

Coronavirus cases across players and staff hit another high in the last week, more than doubling from 42 to 90. It reflects a spike in infections across Britain – up some 60% in the last week – with more than 90,000 daily cases reported in three of the last four days.

BASEBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Mark Kotsay has been hired to replace Bob Melvin as manager of the Oakland Athletics, a person with direct knowledge of the agreement said.

Kotsay is being promoted from third base coach to manager, taking over the club he played for as an outfielder in four of his 17 major league seasons. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made by the team. One is expected Tuesday.

Melvin left Oakland to manage the San Diego Padres in late October. The 46-year-old Kotsay was most recently the A’s third-base coach and formerly was a bench coach under Melvin, who came aboard midway through the 2011 season to replace Bob Geren.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories