Sports enthusiasts should be on the edge of their seats. Despite a recent wave of COVID-19 spreading across states, such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS seasons are set to resume in the next few weeks.
This past week was filled with ups and downs. The ESPY Awards on Sunday, June 21st, were inspiring and motivating and a great way to kick off the week. But on a sad note, the country was taken by shock when a noose was found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage before his race at Talladega. Thankfully, an FBI investigation revealed Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime. Watching NASCAR racers and fans unite was a sight to remember and emphasized the fact that even in times of hardship, individuals have what is necessary to embrace and to support one another. Celebrated gymnast Mary Lou Retton once claimed, “A trophy carries dust; memories last forever.” No one will remember who won the 2020 Talladega race. What people will look back at is the way in which racers and fans came together to find strength in one another during times of need.
Let’s check in with the talkies on Twitter:
Rich Eisen (Rich Eisen Show on NBC Sports Network) – @richeisen
- Eisen turned 51 on Wednesday, June 24th, and many birthday wishes filled his page. Eisen expressed his prayers for both Florida and Texas where COVID-19 cases are increasing. He also praised NASCAR on the way in which it handled the Bubba Wallace incident.
“Congrats to NASCAR
What a day
What a finish
New fans abound, I hope
Remarkable show of love and support for Bubba Wallace whose interview was amazing.”
Hannah Storm (ESPN) – @HannahStormESPN
- Although Bubba Wallace was not the victim of a reported hate crime, Hannah Storm had some powerful words for her followers after the incident and felt relieved by the news that “Bubba Wallace was not the victim of the reported hate crime…but he was victimized by the ordeal of being told that it was so. He’s a hero who is transforming his sport. The support was beautiful and needed. Nothing changes that.” Storm also retweeted a poignant post from the Dalai Lama relating to how helping others and being of service to fellow human beings is what signifies a meaningful life, not just accumulating money and fame.
Dick Vitale (ESPN Analyst) – @DickieV
- As always, Dick Vitale had a great deal to say about the upcoming college basketball season. He emphasized that with the addition of 6’7” Josh LeBlanc, the LSU Tigers will “be one of the top teams in a loaded SEC for the 2020-21 season.” Vitale also projects the Creighton Bluejays will be in the running for the Big East title if star player, Marcus Zegarowski, stays healthy. Aside from collegiate hoops, Vitale had some high praise for Kevin Love on Love’s decision to donate $500,000 to the UCLA mental health effort. On a sad note, Vitale shared a video that relayed how an 11-year-old child by the name of Will DeGregorio recently passed away due to bone cancer. Vitale encouraged his followers to donate to The V Foundation and to learn more about Will’s story
Stephen A. Smith (ESPN) – @stephenasmith
- Stephen A. Smith was visible on social media this week. First, on Tuesday June 23rd, Smith shared his feelings on Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. Stephen A. is not backing down, insisting that Jones has an obligation to speak up on social injustice and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. On another note, Stephen A. opined that JR Smith would be a fantastic fit for the LA Lakers roster and that the team should sign him.
Stephen A. on Jerry Jones: “If you can’t speak up now, I don’t ever want to hear from Jerry again.”
Dan Le Batard & Stugotz (ESPN) – @LeBatardShow
- Dan Le Batard and Stugotz didn’t disappoint this week. I’m sure one could guess what their Twitter was filled with this week. Yes, you got it right, more poll questions. One of the humorous questions posed on Thursday, June 25th, was “Do you know the back of your hand well?”
Mike Golic & Trey Wingo on ESPN – @GolicAndWingo
- Golic and Wingo discussed how athletes are beginning to feel empowered on issues that impact them and the platform that athletes have to spark change. The men feel that MLB has been harmed by all of the negotiations and that “the last two months did more of that than shutting it down will.” Golic and Wingo also emphasized ESPN senior writer Ryan McGee’s point that “The challenge for NASCAR is going to be to keep their eye on the ball when it comes to racial diversity and racial equality and supporting Bubba Wallace.”
Jim Rome (CBS Sports) – @jimrome
- Jim Rome had a series of exciting guests on his show this week, some of whom included NASCAR racer Ryan Blaney and professional golfers Chris Kirk and Keegan Bradley. Rome posted snippets from his intriguing conversations onto his Twitter account; Rome and Blaney discussed how NASCAR rallied around Bubba Wallace after a noose was found in Wallace’s garage.
Ryan Blaney: “We’re all in this together…it goes away from a competitive and sports standpoint. That’s just humanity, and caring for your fellow human being.”
Skip Bayless (FOX Sports) – @RealSkipBayless
- Bayless voiced one of the most well-crafted and meaningful messages on his social media platform this week.
“The racists keep clinging desperately to symbols of the past, born of hate and slavery, passed down by generations of parents teaching children. But now so many Americans of their same color have been awakened and are saying, “NO! ENOUGH!” Now they are a dying breed.”
Shannon Sharpe (FOX Sports) – @ShannonSharpe
- Sharpe had an array of comments and posts this week which focused on social justice issues. On Wednesday June 24, Sharpe shared a video of yet another instance in which an African-American male, Antonio Smith, was wrongfully arrested by police. Smith “did everything asked of him, complied, provided I.D and yet here we are.” Instead of arresting the correct man bothering customers outside a Walgreens, police made the mistake of attempting to arrest Smith. Since then, Smith has filed a lawsuit requesting for compensation and punitive damages in the amount of $700,000.
Colin Cowherd (Fox Sports) – @ColinCowherd
- Colin Cowherd basically covered every sport this week on his Twitter page. From the NFL to college football and from MLB to NASCAR, Cowherd let his voice be heard. Cowherd was emotional when speaking on Bubba Wallace’s 14th place finish at Talladega and the camaraderie among racers: “It looked like a movie yesterday on TV. Great race, great story.” On-the-field front, Cowherd believes that Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and USC are the four college football programs in America that are “just different.” He considers these four powerhouses to be the top tier of college football schools. Last, Cowherd insists a 60-game MLB season is the way to go.
“60 games means more urgency for every game…We’re getting changes the sport needs.”