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Tom Goldman

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I wait all week to say it's time for sports.

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

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And now it's time for sports.

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A semi-full slate of college football games is scheduled for this weekend as a season unfolds....anxiously.

Already, two of the five major Division 1 conference have decided not to play this fall because of the coronavirus.

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The pandemic had already shortened the baseball season. And now less than a week into it, there are big problems with the coronavirus.

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The Summer Olympics in Tokyo were supposed to start Friday.

The Games were, of course, postponed until next July because of the coronavirus outbreak. It forced thousands of athletes to pause and re-order their training schedules.

But some decided a year was too long to wait.

The run-don't-walk Major League Baseball season begins Thursday night.

Normally it's a 162-game stroll. But the Washington Nationals vs New York Yankees opener, in D.C., represents the beginning of a 60-game sprint through a pandemic shortened schedule.

Florida continues to see record coronavirus cases and, at the same time, delays in getting test results.

But that's not the case for NBA and Major League Soccer athletes playing in the Orlando area. Their season restarts have included frequent and quick COVID-19 testing.

The discrepancy is raising ethical questions about the process.

Not helpful, and potentially dangerous

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been criticized for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, including opening the state early, in the beginning of May.

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Washington's NFL team is changing its name. In a statement today, the Redskins confirmed they are retiring that name and their logo. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman is following this story. Tom, good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Morning, Steve.

Not long ago, a Major League Baseball season seemed improbable, with owners and players fighting about how to restart in the middle of a pandemic.

Now, the fighting is over, at least publicly.

And the Majors are a little more than two weeks away from playing ball. If all goes well.

Updated at 7:54 p.m. ET

Ready or not, the NBA restart is a go.

It appears the league is as ready as it can be to play three months of basketball inside a protective bubble near Orlando, Fla., while on the outside coronavirus cases currently soar.

Whether it's a success – at this point all one can do is dust off the oldest of clichés.

Time will tell.

NASCAR has finished its investigation and says it still doesn't know who tied a noose that was discovered this past weekend in the garage stall used by African American stock car driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

What's in a name?

In the current climate, a lot. And enough to force change when that name offends.

On Tuesday, the University of Cincinnati board of trustees voted unanimously to take down the name of Marge Schott from the school's baseball stadium, effective immediately.

The board cited Schott's "record of racism and bigotry" in making its decision.

The FBI has joined NASCAR in an investigation into who left a noose in the racetrack garage of African American driver Bubba Wallace.

The incident happened Sunday in Wallace's garage area at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Stock car's top drivers are there for the annual Talladega race. It was postponed Sunday because of bad weather and rescheduled for Monday.

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And now it's time for sports.

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Updated at 2:16 p.m. ET Saturday

Major League Baseball will shut down and disinfect all 30 teams' Spring Training facilities in Florida and Arizona, as the coronavirus continues to make its presence felt.

The league says players and other personnel will need a negative test for the virus before they can get back into the facilities after the deep cleaning.

Before the announcement late Friday night, several teams made the decision on their own to shut down.

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Is the NFL newly woke?

Many say for a league that's been criticized for lagging behind on issues of race, it seems that way.

Friday, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the NFL will observe June 19th as a recognized holiday. The day, referred to as Juneteenth, commemorates the effective end of slavery in the U.S. Goodell made the announcement in a memo to league offices in New York City, New Jersey and Los Angeles.

Dear NFL Colleagues:

The Great Sports Freeze of 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, appears to be thawing. Despite increases of COVID-19 cases in nearly half of the country, sports and leagues are marching ahead with plans to reopen.

As nationwide protests against police brutality and racism demand change to current laws and institutions, the ripple effects are reaching historic symbols of white supremacy.

The effort to dismantle, relocate or rename symbols is happening in the sports world as well.

Athletes have gotten involved in a potential name change at the University of Cincinnati.

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Sports are part of the fabric of American society, and often they've provided a medium for athlete protest. In recent years, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the face of the movement. In 2016, he began kneeling before games, during the playing of the national anthem, to protest police treatment of minorities and social inequality.

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NASCAR returned to action yesterday, but, sports fans, this country's other major pro sports remain shut down because of the coronavirus. Momentum has been building for them to restart. Here's NPR's Tom Goldman on whether it's too soon for a comeback.

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Finally, it's time for the return of big-time sports.

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As communities start to emerge from COVID-19 shutdowns, so do recreational opportunities.

Carefully.

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