Sports Are Back. Here Are Some Athletes Who Are Not.


About a half-dozen N.H.L. players are skipping the playoffs, but the league avoided losing any of its biggest stars. A few of those sitting out are regulars, but the others are primarily minor leaguers who got a few games with the big-league club.

The league lost only one big-name player, but he is a very big one. Vela, the reigning most valuable player after a 34-goal season, decided to stay home with his wife, Saioa, who is pregnant, rather than join the league’s bubble in Florida.

The league also lost two full teams, Nashville and Dallas, from its opening tournament because of a spate of positive tests.

The league completed a brief season on Sunday without one of world soccer’s biggest stars. Rapinoe opted out of the season in early June, becoming the first marquee athlete in any sport to do so. She did not explicitly state her reasons.

Two other players who helped the United States win the World Cup last year, Tobin Heath of the Portland Thorns and Christen Press of the Utah Royals, also chose not to play, both citing concern about the virus.

And like M.L.S., the league lost an entire team, the Orlando Pride, after several positive tests.

It is still unclear the extent to which the league will be impacted, because players have until early next month to decide on their status. But about 20 have reportedly bowed out. With 32 teams and large rosters, it seems clear more players will sit the season out than in any other league.

The Patriots have been hit harder than any other team. Hightower, a linebacker, said, “This wasn’t an easy decision, or one I made lightly, but I do feel that it’s the best decision for my family at this time.”

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