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Kings rookie Kyle Guy is urging people to follow public health orders after losing a loved one to the coronavirus.

Guy shared his grief in a moving tribute to his grandfather Saturday on Instagram. Guy said his grandfather died Friday night, apparently after contracting COVID-19 in the global coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 57,000 worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

“Last night my grandpa passed away to be with the Lord,” Guy said. “Covid-19 has destroyed a lot of families. I urge and beg you all to take this seriously. You don’t want this to be what wakes you up.”

The Kings selected Guy with the 55th pick in the 2019 NBA draft after he helped lead Virginia to the NCAA championship. Guy was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after scoring 24 points in an overtime victory against Auburn in the championship game.

Guy was a prized recruit out of Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, where he earned Indiana Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American honors. Guy said his grandfather was always a source of inspiration for him.

“When I was 7 or 8 my grandpa had me sign a piece of paper saying he’d be my manager (jokingly) if I ever made it to the NBA,” Guy said. “Something as small as that was always on my mind while I tried to make that dream come true. I know he’s up there waiting for his cut … and one day, I’ll give it to him.”

Guy, a 6-foot-1 guard, appeared in only two games for the Kings before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus outbreak, but he was excelling for the team’s G League affiliate in Stockton. Guy appeared in 37 games for the Stockton Kings, averaging 21.5 points, 4.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 40% from 3-point range.

Hundreds of well-wishers responded to Guy’s Instagram post with prayers, love and support, including teammates Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes and former teammates such as Frank Mason III, Wenyen Gabriel and Dewayne Dedmon.

“Appreciate those who have reached out and been praying over our family,” Guy said. “Stay safe and continue to LISTEN to the rules put in place for this worldwide pandemic. We will get through this.”

Pay dispute continues

English Premier League players failed to reach an agreement with clubs to take 30% pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, escalating a bitter public row as their union claimed the government would lose out on more than 200 million pounds (around $245 million) in tax.

“This would be detrimental to our NHS (National Health Service) and other government-funded services,” the Professional Footballers’ Association said in a statement.

Taking on the Premier League as a whole, the PFA said the 20 million pounds being given to the NHS by the world’s richest soccer competition was “welcome, but we believe it could be far bigger.”

The union’s strident stance came after further talks Saturday involving clubs and the league as Liverpool became the latest Premier League side defying political anger by using a government bailout scheme to furlough some non-playing staff.

The government said it was “concerned” by the standoff between players and their clubs.

Liverpool, which leads the league by 25 points, followed fellow 2019 Champions League finalist Tottenham, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Norwich in furloughing staff.

Under a job retention scheme implemented to help businesses survive the national lockdown, staff can be put on furlough and receive 80% of their salaries from the government, up to a maximum of 2,500 pounds ($3,000) a month.

Liverpool said it would top up salaries to ensure staff still received the full amount but that still means using public funds to pay some staff. Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher called that a “poor” move, saying “respect and goodwill is lost” by the club.

Race organizers back go-ahead

Cheltenham Festival organizers have defended their decision to go ahead with the meeting last month after fears were raised that the mass gathering of people for the annual horse racing event helped to spread the coronavirus more widely around Britain.

Tens of thousands of people attended the four-day event in southwest England as no government social distancing measures were in place at the time.

Sporting events were being canceled elsewhere in Europe at the time but it was only as the Festival was reaching its conclusion that the English Premier League was halted. A national lockdown was imposed later in the month by the government in a bid to contain the pandemic.

There is no data on the number of people who contracted the coronavirus who also attended the Festival. But there have been a few reports of racegoers saying they later had COVID-19 symptoms.

Cheltenham organizers have insisted the event “went ahead under the government’s ongoing guidance throughout,” pointing out other sports continued in Britain at the time.

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