This week, NBA teams will be heading into the bubble down in Walt Disney World outside of Orlando, Florida to prepare for the resumption of the season. Players have to be feeling the concern of heading into an unknown that has never been done before. And on top of that stress, this is all being done in one of the USA’s COVID-19 hot spots.
New Orleans’ Pelicans guard J.J. Redick addressed those concerns to the media last week in terms of the comfort level or lack thereof that players feel.
On Monday’s episode of First Take, Stephen A. Smith, Jay Williams, and Dominique Foxworth debated Redick’s concerns and this question was asked: Is it fair to ask players to return under current circumstances?
“That would depend on whether or not it’s fair to ask anybody to go to work in this day and age. If it is unfair to ask anyone to work in this day and age, then of course it is unfair for the players,” Smith answered. “But, if other people are asked to go to work, then it is not unfair for them…We have an economy.”
During his initial argument, Smith made the point to emphasize that this isn’t just a game when referring to the NBA returning in terms of the jobs that are on the line for those who aren’t players.
“It’s not just about games and that’s the thing that drives me crazy and I am not talking about players. I’m not pointing my finger at the players at all. I’m just addressing those who have this mentality: the health of players are at risk just to play a game. It’s not just a game to thousands upon thousands if not millions of people that the games affect economically and monetarily…It’s a reality that isn’t going anywhere. It’s not a popular thing to say, but I am not trying to be popular. I’m trying to be real.”
Foxworth, a former NFL defensive back and later COO of the NBA Players union, agreed with the premise of dealing with unfairness, but told Smith it was wrong that players have to go to work because others have to go to work since he brought up his friends who are lawyers or have office jobs do not have to go to work. However, he did bring up the point about the NBA not being more than just a game:
“The fact of the matter is this isn’t essential,” Foxworth said. “It helps us all, we love it, we like entertainment. I agree there are people around these teams that don’t make a lot of money and need this opportunity. This ain’t essential. You have the opportunity to say I don’t want to go…It’s not fair to ask them to expose themselves.”
This is another conversation that is tough to have, as Williams suggested, because of the unfairness that exists not only for the NBA players, but people working in essential businesses.
“When you compare health to the economy, protecting health is not getting in the way of economic recovery. Protecting health is the route to economic recovery. There are levels of unfairness and I don’t like this whole conversation all the way around.”
Smith brought up the key word in the question: ask instead of force “because it is a request.” So, the wording of the question can sometimes be a key factor. He added that the unfairness for the players was the lack of a backup plan by the NBA.
“If we want to talk about the unfairness of what the NBA proposed, it’s the fact that they don’t appear to have a backup plan. Had he mentioned that, that would have resonated even more so.”
The games are still going to go on later this month as Kendrick Perkins brought up on Twitter on Monday, but the unfairness topic is something that has to have been brought up amongst sports fans with their friends and families and it’s a debate that won’t stop anytime soon as we learn more and more about the bubble.
Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys
The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.
Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.
Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:
Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.
NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer
“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”
According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.
Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.
The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.
The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options.
A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.