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Hot Button: Indians next to seek name change … Browns’ Njoku seeks trade … NBA, players agree on uniform messages

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hot Button is a 'round-the-clock feature that covers anything across the scope of sports. We're here to bring you everything hot: news items, highlights, takes — everything but hot meals — whether local, national or international. Better yet, it’s interactive. Share your thoughts in comments, and even post your own links to interesting, safe-for-work, sports stories.

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Saturday, 7/4: The Indians released a statement Friday announcing they are beginning the process to potentially change the team name.

Many fans are suggesting a return to the name Cleveland Spiders, a National League team in the city from 1889 to 1899. The current franchise became the Indians in 1915 after a nickname formerly given the Spiders by fans because of a popular Native American player on the team. The legendary Cy Young began his major league career with the Spiders, winning 240 games in nine seasons with the club. — Bob


Friday, 7/3: Browns tight end David Njoku has formally requested to be traded from the team. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said they've asked for a trade to be finalized before training camp.

The Browns have indicated they want to keep Njoku. The team picked up Njoku's fifth-year option for 2021, which will pay him just over $6 million. But Njoku is unsatisfied with his situation, particularly after the Browns signed Austin Hooper in free agency.

Njoku was selected by the Browns in the first round, 29th overall, in the 2017 draft, and he signed a four-year, $9.25-million deal. He played just four games in 2019 due to a broken hand, making only five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. For his career, he has 93 catches for 1,066 yards and nine touchdowns in 36 games.

Negotiating ploy? Unlikely. Njoku has frequently expressed displeasure with the organization. However, he has little leverage here, being under contract. — Bob 


Friday, 7/3: The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Union agreed Friday that NBA players can wear approved messages on their uniforms when the league resumes play at the end of July.

Included in the list of 29 messages, which can be displayed above the numbers on the back of uniforms, are "Black Lives Matter," "Say Her Name," "I Can't Breathe," "Freedom," "Ally," and "Mentor." — Bob


Friday, 7/3: Angels center fielder and three-time MVP Mike Trout is still unsure if he will play the 2020 season, having a pregnant wife during the coronavirus pandemic.

Needless to say, he didn't exactly get any support from his manager, Joe Maddon, who, to be fair, seems to question the courage of anyone who opts out:

Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake has already announced he will not play in 2020, and Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has informed the team he is undecided, with both players citing family health concerns. — Bob


Friday, 7/3: The Redskins issued a press release Friday announcing they are undergoing a "thorough review" of the team's name just one day after receiving intense pressure from investors, shareholders and corporate sponsors to change it.

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss offered her opinion to fans who resist a name change:

Thursday's post is still active a few posts below, if you want more detail on the events that led to this decision. — Bob


Friday, 7/3: Two days after announcing that the season opening match between Louisville FC and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will be televised on ESPN 2, the USL Championship and ESPN announced that Hounds' home opener against Indy Eleven on Wednesday, July 22 at Highmark Stadium will also be televised live on the network. Match time is 7 p.m.

Unlike the match in Louisville, however, there will be no fans in attendance at Highmark Stadium. It will be a completely different vibe without the Steel Army. So it goes. — Bob


Friday, 7/3: In a predictable move Friday, Major League Baseball officially canceled the 2020 All-Star Game, which was to be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Dodgers will now host in 2022, while the 2021 game will remain in Atlanta, as scheduled.

This is the first season an MLB All-Star Game will not be played since 1945. — Bob


Thursday, 7/2: Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom officially finished his cancer treatment for Ewing's sarcoma Thursday and rang the bell on the hospital unit, a traditional congratulatory send-off when a patient concludes their treatment protocol.

Terrific. Best wishes on his continued recovery. — Bob


Thursday, 7/2: The National Basketball Association looks to be favoring Chicago as a second bubble city for the eight teams not invited to participate in the truncated regular season and playoffs in Orlando, Fla.

The players' union is insisting the eight teams have an opportunity to participate in practices, scrimmages and games, though the details of what that may look like is far form resolved. — Bob


Thursday, 7/2: The Redskins are under renewed pressure by investment firms and the city of Washington, D.C. to change their name, which many deem racist. The city has stated they will not allow the team to relocate within the city limits unless the name is changed and certain investors are asking Nike and FedEx to pull sponsorships to pressure the team to make the change.

FedEx released a statement later Thursday that they requested the team change its name. Nike pulled all Redskins apparel from its website. Team owner Daniel Snyder has been adamant over the years to keep the name, believing it honors Native Americans. Snyder has made overtures to return to D.C. at a new stadium to be built on the grounds of the old RFK Stadium, which is scheduled for demolition in 2021. The Redskins currently play at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

The franchise was founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves, the same name as a National League baseball franchise, but switched to Boston Redskins in 1933 to align closer with the more popular Red Sox. The team moved to the nation's capital in 1937. — Bob


Thursday, 7/2: The National Women's Soccer League received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program to cover player salaries, it was reported Thursday.

The PPP loans were established as part of the economic relief package passed by congress to help during the coronavirus pandemic. — Bob


Wednesday, 7/1: WNBA legend Maya Moore has worked for two years to help free Jonathan Irons for a crime he did not commit, and Wednesday she realized that dream:

Moore, 30, left the Minnesota Lynx before the 2019 season to work full time to help free Irons, whom she met doing prison ministry. Irons was imprisoned at 18 years old with a 50-year sentence for burglary and assault he allegedly committed at 16. He served 22 years of that sentence before a retrial overturned his conviction.

Moore was drafted first overall by the Lynx out of UConn in 2011. She was a six-time all-star with Minnesota, leading them to four WNBA titles. She was named the WNBA MVP in 2014. She currently has no plans to return to the league, citing a commitment to her ministry and dedication to criminal justice reform. — Bob


Wednesday, 7/1: Iceland doesn't do anything by half, so when they decided to reveal the new crest for their national men's and women's football teams, they went with a movie-trailer quality video:

Skál! — Bob


Wednesday, 7/1: It was a memorable night in the China Professional Baseball League on Wednesday when the CTBC Brothers set a historic home run record in a 20-0 win over DK's favorite, the Rakuten Monkeys:


Five three-run homers by one team in one game is not only a CPBL record, it's never been achieved in Major League Baseball history. It's interesting to discover there's a CPBL equivalent to Richard Rodriguez— Bob


Tuesday, 6/30: Barry Larkin, Terry Pendleton and Mike Schmidt are among Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player winners calling for the removal of the name of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, MLB's first commissioner, from the trophy's plaque over Landis' troubling history on racial issues.

The MVP award is formally called the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Award. Landis, then a federal judge, was hired as commissioner in 1920 to help clean up the influence of gambling in the sport in the wake of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. There are several anecdotal accounts that Landis was against the game's integration, interfering with exhibitions between major-league or barnstorming teams and Negro League teams and players.

There was never an official rule excluding Black players from the Major League Baseball and, after being accused of racism by Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in 1942, Landis explicitly pointed out that the rules do not prevent Blacks from playing and that signing players was at the sole discretion of managers and owners. At best, Landis did nothing to promote integration; at worst, he tacitly worked, along with every owner, to prevent it.

The award is issued by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and any changes to the award must go through that organization, though it seems unlikely to be controversial if players are in favor of the change. — Bob

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