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SYDNEY (AP) — Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the U.S. Open because of concerns over the coronavirus and in honor of the “hundreds of thousands of Americans” who have died from COVID-19.

Kyrgios said in an Instagram post on Sunday that he had no problem with the United States Tennis Association proceeding with its plans to hold the tournament from Aug.

31 to Sept. 13. But he cited health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic as he joined fellow Australian and world No. 1 Ash Barty in opting out of the Flushing Meadows Grand Slam.

“I will not be playing this year at the U.S. Open. It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sport’s greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium,” Kyrgios said in the video. “But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans that have lost their lives, for all of you. It’s my decision.”

“We can rebuild our sport and the economy,” Kyrgios adds, “but we can never recover lives lost.”

Kyrgios also criticized players who have continued to play exhibition tournaments, chastising them for “dancing on tables, money grabbing your way around Europe, trying to make a quick buck hosting an exhibition.”

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Seven NFL officials opt out of season over coronavirus concerns

NFL opt-outs are not just for players.

Seven officials, including five with on-field assignments and two in the replay booth, opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 health concerns, according to NFL Network. The deadline for officials to opt out was Thursday, a week after the players’ deadline.

Line judge Jeff Bergman, back judges Steve Freeman and Tony Steratore, and field judges Greg Gautreaux and Joe Larrew are among those who will take a leave of absence. All 121 officials are part-time employees, after the league suspended its full-time officiating program in 2019.

Officials who opt out receive a $30,000 stipend — various reports indicate the average official earns about $200,000 per season in a normal year — and guaranteed job security for the 2021 season.

Officials who test positive for the virus during the season – they will be tested twice per week – will be entitled to injury pay, medical expenses and other benefits as if it was an injury sustained while on duty. The average age of an NFL official is 52.

Crews will be assigned with deference to geography this season in order to limit travel exposure risk. The league announced new officials will be hired to fill some of the spots.

“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members,” NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green said in a statement last week. “Although there will undoubtedly be some risk for our officials, we are pleased to have finalized a plan with the league that provides additional benefits and protections during this unprecedented season.”

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