The national talkies find issues of contention; Cowherd, Le Batard, Rome, Patrick, Stephen A, Schefter


The opinions keep coming. No games, but sports issues continue to surface.

While league commissioners are rightfully trying to find formats and venues by which to resume or commence play, they’re running into pushback, no matter how creative the ideas might be.

In the Bay Area, Santa Clara County executive officer Dr. Jeffrey Smith suggested that high school, college and professional sports might not return to the South Bay for at least another seven months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The South Bay is where the 49ers and Sharks call home.

This week, Los Angeles Times award winning columnist Bill Plaschke penned: “Ignore the leagues, mute the coaches, and listen to the science regarding COVID-19. There is a realistic chance the sports world will be benched until 2021.”

Still, thoughts percolated from national broadcasters including:

Colin Cowherd (Fox Sports Radio)

  • Colin Cowherd strongly disagrees with Magic Johnson’s contention that “Lebron James is currently the No #1 overall athlete in the world.”  While he recognizes Lebron’s athletic prowess, Cowherd believes that Kyler Murray, current quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals is the best athlete in the world. He makes the point that Murray was the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and also the ninth pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.
  • He is critical of individuals, so-called NFL experts, who attempt to project whether the NFL season will begin as scheduled. Colin feels that “NOBODY KNOWS” what will happen and that the country must get through April and May before even discussing how the 2020- ’21 season will ultimately pan out.
  • Cowherd takes issue with the 2010s’ NFL All-Decade team which was released this week and headlined Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. While Cowherd agrees with the nomination of Brady, he was surprised by the fact that Rodgers was on the list in lieu of Russell Wilson. In his opinion, Wilson is “a better runner, better teammate, and he NEVER misses a start.” Cowherd offers a strong statement: “Wilson is the most underrated player in league history.”

Jim Rome (CBS Sports Radio)

  • Rome points out that in today’s suspension environment, “To fill the massive void of content and empty space left behind without sports, personal anecdotes and stories from players are providing some sense of news and information to individuals.”
  • He thinks that the real action in sports is following the trash talking Patrick Beverley. Rome feels that even if sports were live and vibrant, he would still be starting off his show briefly discussing the NBA 2K Tournament.  If “Patrick Beverley is bumping his gums, he [Rome] would definitely be listening.” The NBA 2K Tournament is being run by ESPN to help fill the on-going void.

Dan Patrick (Fox Sports Radio)

  • In an interview with Damian Lillard, Dan Patrick asks the Blazers’ star point guard how he’s been spending his time through the ongoing sports stoppage. Lillard has “watched everything on Netflix.” The only thing he hasn’t gotten around to watching is the most popular show currently available on the programming service, “Tiger King.”
  • Patrick asks Lillard whether he thinks dunks will be allowed during the NBA HORSE competition which will be on ESPN and streamed on the network’s mobile app, starting this Sunday, April 12. Lillard believes that the game should not involve dunking, but it should rather focus on trick shots and long-range jumpers.
  • Lillard is asked by Patrick as to which players he thinks are most likely to reach Kobe Bryant’s mark for 81 points in a single game. Lillard’s answer: Devin Booker, James Harden, Klay Thompson or himself.

Adam Schefter (ESPN):

  • Schefter brings NFL Players Association Medical Director, Dr. Thom Mayer onto the podcast to discuss how the NFL is dealing with the COVID-19 virus and other issues concerning the health of the players. Mayer, along with medical professionals from the CDC, White House, and several high-level institutions, established a brain trust to protect players and provide them with a safe workplace. The brain trust advises the league and individuals on how to stay safe and what precautions to take.
  • NFL Media Analyst, Michael Lombardi says that for the draft and scouting to be streamlined, bias has to be eliminated from the process. When visiting college campuses, the mission of scouts today is to assess players’ characters and their love for the game of football. It’s one thing to appraise players’ talent on the field by studying film. But will, determination and character are best appraised by one on one visits.
  • Just how Schefter organizes information, making sure it is reliable before posting or tweeting it, a scout’s job is to acquire knowledge about players and to accurately turn it over to the team’s personnel executive. It’s not the role of a scout to predict the order of the draft.

Dan Le Batard (ESPN)

  • ESPN baseball analyst, Jeff Passan, joined the show to share his thoughts on how MLB can resume play. Passan insists that the only feasible option that MLB season has is to bring all teams and players to a biodome in Arizona to play 7-inning baseball games.
  • While some players may not want to travel to a neutral site and be separated from their families for several months, players also don’t want to have to miss out on a full season’s paycheck. It would result in a huge financial hit for the MLB and for the TV networks.
  • Le Batard asks Passan as to what will happen with baseball (or sports in general) if one player has COVID-19 within the bubble? Passan agrees with Le Batard that it is a realistic question. Whether the answer is to just have robust testing in the facility or to simply quarantine the one infected person, scientists and medical officials must find a way to ensure that the coronavirus pandemic will not restart its course.
  • Stugotz and Le Batard laugh about the Cleveland Browns in the offseason. Someone on the team, whether it be Baker Mayfield or Odell Beckham Jr. will get into trouble amidst the virus.
  • The men are surprised that in the 1,000 word farewell letter written by Tom Brady in the Players’ Tribune that he did not mention Bill Belichick once. In a two hour interview with Howard Stern, Brady said that he knew at the start of the season that it was his last with the Patriots.

Stephen A. Smith (ESPN)

  • He believes that “it is implausible” for all thirty MLB teams to head down to the Phoenix Area for several months of baseball. It is not realistic for players to go and leave their families after all that has gone on with COVID-19 in the country.
  • Unlike Cowherd who believes that Russell Wilson is more productive than Rodgers, Stephen A. had a different stance. He thinks that Rodgers’ success, despite a weaker wide receiver core and other lackluster support, makes him a better quarterback.
  • Smith believes that Brady did not leave New England because he wasn’t going to be able to negotiate a contract for the amount of money he wanted. He left for Tampa Bay because Coach Belichick was no longer willing to commit to Brady as the Pats’ quarterback long term.
Blake Taub

Blake Taub majors in Sport Management at Syracuse University in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. He looks forward to a fruitful career in sports. When not at Syracuse, Blake resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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