“Sports Weekend–What I Saw–What I Think”
NFL…The reaction to radical changes in the Rooney Rule, the hiring of minorities for head coaching and GM jobs, has come from every direction. Some positive, some negative, alot of it unknown. The NFL owners meet via Video Conference on Tuesday to consider a plan to give an award of draft pick compensation if teams hire black head coach, black GMs, black coordinators or QB-coaches. Could involve 3rd-4th-5th round draft picks. It seems shameful of ‘buying blacks jobs’ in key positions. The Rooney Rule needs to be expanded but bribing teams with upgrades in draft picks is not the right way. Improve the interview process, and they are discussing that. Mandate teams not only interview multiple black candidates for each key positions, but do something else. Have NFL teams hire a minority intern to be a key assistant coordinator. Have those teams interview hot candidates, former coaches, former players, hot college coaches, and put them on staff to gain experience. Those guys become part of the candidates pool to learn and earn their spurs to see if they can be the next head coaching candidate in years to come. Bribing teams with picks to hire minorities is not the right way to go.
NFL TROUBLE…The armed robbery charges against Giants former 1st round pick Deandre Baker and Seahawks friend Quinton Dunbar are very troubling. Armed robbery, threats to shoot people, are much deeper and worse than a DUI or a bar fight or marijuana. Both should be made examples of…and taken out of the game, lawyers and players unions be damned.
SDSU…Why there is an agenda within the ranks of the City Government is beyond me, and thus asking why this rancor that continues over the 86M purchase of stadium land by San Diego State for the beginning process of constructing a new football stadium. I have been here for 30-years, and progress on all things to improve San Diego seem non-existent. The struggles to build, expand the Convention Center, the legal war to build Petco Park, the impossible scenario to build an NFL Stadium, and now this, when the money is in place and all protocols signed off, and yet City Council wants more answers to new questions they keep creating. If this situation fails, the stain on Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s legacy will be terrible. The loss of the Chargers still looms out there, and now this.
AZTECS THREAT…AD John David Wicker’s threat to take his football team to play somewhere else after 2020 seems hollow. Unless he is opening talks to move SDSU games to Petco Park, and the Padres don’t think the calendar fits, where else is he going to play. I don’t know if Wicker thinks he has a magic bullet in his gun to make City Council agree to terms of the sale of the stadium, but this bullet seems to be a blank, unless the Padres, in need of all revenue streams, will change their mind and take SDSU money for rental of Petco Park.
TESTING-TESTING…MLB-NBA-NFL buying test kits to open up their seasons. Huge amounts of tests on every player, every staff member. But huge pressure points on stressed out labs to get the results back for each player. All this while the death toll pushes to 90,000 in our country. How to balance priorities, what’s important for society. As the lead infectious doctor in Canada said, we have 500-women facing breast cancer surgery in Toronto who need tests. And I am supposed to give those kits to the Blues Jays-Maple Leafs so they can go play games?
PADRES PAYROLL…The amount of money being lost by the pandemic shutdown of baseball is incredible. And now, not only facing just a half season of games, no fans in the stands, adds even more financial trauma on the club ownership. Layoffs and furloughs began at Petco Park on Friday. Give credit though, ownership met 5-payrolls for all employees since the shutdown, and will keep those laid off on health plans till December 31st. When you read the Padres could lose 172M-in gate revenue this season alone with no fans at Petco Park, on top of all their other financial losses, it is staggering.
BASEBALL JUST ASKING…No problem with Bryce Harper and Blake Snell and others sounding off about taking more paycuts to go back and play in a shortened season. But don’t use the risk-reward issue. To read Harper and Snell’s comments, they’d return to play in whatever risk exists if they got their full 30M salaries, but not at half price, or even a further reduction? Seems a lame explanation for want of a full payday.
A ROD-A FRAUD…So Alex Rodriguez, ever the money grabber in baseball, who was always out for himself and his next contract, now wants players to take a further paycut. This from a guy who made (441M) in salaries. Read between the lines. A-Rod wants to become an MLB owner like Derek Jeter, and thinks siding with the owners will help him enter that circle.
NBA…A real free for all now. Owners want their money, players want their money, and the talks to restart keep changing. Now the union says let’s finish the full 82-game schedule, even in a bubble, and then go do the playoff thing. So what if it goes till Labor Day. Everybody gets paid. The association is even looking a pushing the start of next season back till December, to get this season in.
HOCKEY…A different approach. Find a way to have a 24-team playoff with mini-series and get to the Stanley Cup. Shorter series, best of three-best of five, get those games in and get your TV money. The key making sure next season starts on time in October.
NASCAR….I thought it would be a disaster, but the Darlington 400 got green flagged and ran well in the first race back. Amazing work by team engineers to get cars set up to race on a very tough track, with no practice time, no qualifying. Strange no fans in the stands, but the drivers-cars were the key storylines. Tough day for Jimmy Johnson crashing out while in the lead. Amazing day to see Ryan Newman driving, 3-months after his horrific crash at Daytona at the finish line.
GOLF IS GOOD-TELECAST NOT SO MUCH…The concept was great..NBC bringing back the Taylor Made-Skins game..but the execution wasn’t. Live pics exceptional idea in an exhibition. Camera shots, production was good. Too many analysts. There was only 1-group playing not a typical Sunday on the PGA tour. Too much Bill Murray. Did we really need Donald Trump? It was trial and error, just like the NFL draft. Maybe they get better next time. Next time is Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods Champions for Charity tourney a week from now.