Monday Morning Coffee

July 20, 2020

The return of the NBA is almost here, but in the meantime, we are learning all kinds of interesting things about The Bubble. Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell says he is going to write “How Many More?” on the back of his jersey. This could mean a lot of things. If I had to guess, this means how many more NBA hoes from Instagram is he going to sneak into the bubble? We know he’s the only one that follows some woman on Instagram named Anna Mya. Of course Harrell denied it on Twitter, but this is just about as suspect as anything Fox News or CNN says these days. This is just a reminder that some guys within The Bubble are going to be selfish and threaten to bring down the the whole thing, simply because they can’t keep it in their pants for a few weeks. I guess some people will do anything to make sure Lebron doesn’t get another ring. All joking aside, I know Montrezl had to leave The Bubble to attend to a family emergency, so hope all is ok with his family on that end.

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Speaking of protecting the sanctity of The Bubble, you’ve probably heard by now there is an NBA snitch hotline to report violations in The Bubble. I’m sure when Chris Paul keeps calling the line to rat out every player, he’ll have to sit through a recording that says “press 1 to report inappropriate booty calls, press 2 to report not wearing mask, press 3 for improper Postmates deliveries, Press 4 for unscheduled haircuts, Press 5 to report any violations by a Laker player.” We all know that Patrick Beverly looks like a crack dealer, so pretty soon somebody is going to report him for dealing. Someone already snitched on Dwight Howard for not wearing a mask in public, and we’re already wondering who it is. I wouldn’t be shocked if it was Doc Rivers, who was joking around that he plans on reporting tons of violations until his team is the only one left standing. What makes this so hilarious is that Doc is actually the kind of guy to do this, so I wouldn’t put it past him at all. Doc would do everybody dirty if he had the chance.

Meanwhile in the NFL, it’s going down in DC! Everyone thought we were just going to hear about a new name change. Instead, we get to hear about sexual harassment in the workplace from a bunch of clueless employees, and even more rumors about sex parties and drugs surrounding Coach Jay Gruden. You may recall that Patriots Owner Bob Kraft was involved in some prostitution a couple of years ago, except nobody seemed to care because his team was winning games. I guess people will actually care about this one since the Redskins have been terrible for a long time. As for the name change, I personally like the name “The Washington Foreskins”, as a tribute to all the dicks that are politicians in DC. This one is quite fitting as well:

To College Football, where we’re still trying to figure out if we’re having a season or not. In the meantime, The Athletic provided some more perspective on Clay Helton’s job security for those USC fans that were hoping that he would be fired sometime soon. The University is facing a $300-500 million operating shortfall through June of 2021, which makes a $20 million buyout for Helton and his staff difficult to swallow. That means that if there is a football season, the Trojans are going to have to move forward with Helton and his staff. The NCAA said that if there’s games, they might limited to “essential personnel”. I guess that means Helton can sit this season out. That big operating shortfall is the result of the fallout from the Gynecologist scandal, the admissions scandal, and the FBI investigation of the college basketball program. USC says they were already planning on reduced capacity this season at the Coliseum. However, didn’t they already plan on that when they decided to bring back Helton?

If there’s one thing this pandemic has exposed, it’s what kind of poor leadership exists across so many different organizations. The latest to be exposed is NCAA President, Mark Emmert. We’re just weeks away from what would be the start of the College Football season, and we’re still wondering if there’s going to be a season or not. Meanwhile, Emmert just emerged from a witness protection program last week to tell us “there is a problem”. That’s like a weather man telling us it’s raining when there’s a hurricane outside. What a worthless leader. It’s pretty hard to be transparent with people when you’re already one of the most corrupt organizations in the country, which is part of the problem here. However, it’s amazing that the President of the NCAA is incapable of unifying every single conference President, helping determine what exactly the plan is for college sports in the next 12 months, and if there are contingency plans in place.

Imagine if if you worked for a company that told you “Ok guys, see you in the office next Monday at 8 am,” and didn’t even mention anything about the virus or health and safety protocols going into work. You would probably think your employer doesn’t give a damn about you. That’s exactly what the NFL owners are doing. Considering we already thought NFL owners didn’t give a damn about the health and safety of their players in the first place, this really isn’t much of a surprise. According to JJ Watt, what the players are asking for isn’t very much either. At this point it’s just common decency.

Finally, the next time you read Monday Morning Coffee, you will have actually have seen the return of the MLB and the start of NBA exhibition games. It’s so close I can taste it. It’s so close, yet I’m still nervous they won’t be able to pull it off. Nevertheless, I’m dying for it to come back, not just because it’s therapeutic for all of us in the entertainment it will provide, but more than anything it’s unifying. Perhaps once it returns, we won’t have to politicize everything. Then again, perhaps that’s wishful thinking since everything in 2020 is political.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 13, 2020

The latest Woj Bomb was one I don’t think any of us saw coming. He told Missouri GOP Senator Josh Hawley to F-off after he called out the league for their soft stance on China. This is hilarious because it’s the most fake suspension and slap on the wrist I’ve ever seen. It’s also easy to suspend him when there’s no NBA news to report. ESPN might as well be CNN or MSNBC these days, which is why I can’t wait for sports to come back. I don’t blame Woj for doing what he did because he bought himself a lot of equity with all his NBA sources, and the entire league. He knows where his bread is buttered, and he doubled down on it. That’s smart. However, don’t try to tell me the guy is objective, or that there’s any objectivity left in reporting. An actual reporter would see an email from a Senator calling the NBA out for their political position and report on it, not react to it. If there’s anything we learned from 2020, it’s confirmation that no news is without its spin. Like I told you a year ago, Woj hates the Lakers. This indirectly confirms it.

Meanwhile, the the NBA bubble in Orlando is underway, and it only took two practices for Rajon Rondo to fracture his hand. All that lifting he did during quarantine couldn’t even help his hands, which must be made of glass give all the injuries he’s suffered. This will give some more minutes to JR Smith and Dion Waiters. Speaking of JR Smith, he’s giving us some nice Instagram footage. So far, this guy looks like he’s a lot of fun and was born to be a Laker. As long as he’s not slamming shots of Hennessy before games, and forgetting how much time is on the clock in the final minutes of the game, this could work out well.

https://twitter.com/LegionHoops/status/1281455887463268355

As for the rest of the league that got to Orlando and quarantined for a few days before practicing, lots of people started posted pictures of their food. This included Troy Daniels, who’s first meal looked like it was prepared by the same cooks at Fyre Fest. What’s hilarious though is that the dude didn’t even show the Italian Grilled Chicken, White Fish, Parmesean Polenta, and the Pasta with Bolognese. Let’s not feel sorry for the dude. However, I’m pretty sure Lebron and AD are going to be staying in some grand suite and eating filet and lobster every night. The initial pictures and videos of life inside the bubble is interesting though, especially when these opposing teams have to constantly interact with one another. I can’t wait for Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverly to start fighting over the last bag of hot Cheetos in the vending machine down the hall at night.

We’re getting closer to Major League Baseball, and Mookie Betts is going to play for the Dodgers. Well, at least for 60 games. This guy has no choice but to play if he wants to become a free agent after the season. Then again, the more and more you hear owners whining and complaining about how much money they are losing, the more I’m having a hard time seeing someone pay him the monster deal he’s looking for. In some ways, he’s getting screwed and you have to feel at least a little bad for him. However, that bodes well for the Dodgers to retain him, because a 2-3 year deal with big money is an Andrew Friedman special. Friedman will be looking at Mookie the way you look at Taco Bell at 2 am after 6 or 7 drinks.

On the other hand though, Dodger and Angel players have been disappearing from workouts like Natalee Holloway. Both Joe Maddon and Dave Roberts refuse to disclose the reasons why. Andrew Friedman is clearly not as good of a liar, explaining that many of the absences they can’t explain due to HIPAA laws. At one point, the Dodgers were missing Gavin Lux (who is back now), Kenley Jansen, A.J. Pollock, Pedro Baez, Scott Alexander, and Keibert Ruiz. Of that group, obviously Jansen is the most critical, and we learned late yesterday that he and his son test positive for COVID. The Angels are missing 10 players of their own including
Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, Jared Walsh, Julio Teheran. One can only believe that it’s COVID that has taken the players out for the time being. If it’s not an Angel pitcher needing their arm replaced, it’s COVID that takes them down. That pitching staff just can’t catch a break, and I’m skeptical it will be easier for them in this shortened season.

Finally, the NFL and College Football just don’t seem to understand this whole Coronavirus issue. The NFL just announced that jersey swaps will no longer be allowed between players after the game. That’s great thinking Roger Goodell, I’m sure that will stop the deadly virus in it’s tracks. What’s next? He’s going to make sure there is hand sanitizer and wipes in every huddle? If they are going to play football, it needs to be in a bubble to have the best chance to work, and without fans. As for colleges, the Big 10 and the Pac-12 just cancelled their non-conference schedules. Good job guys, I’m sure those non-conference games against those crummy division I AA teams are far more contagious than those conference games. Give me break. Either these kids are going to school in person and playing sports, or they aren’t doing either. I’m not like the chances of seeing football anytime in 2020, simply because of the stupidity of the leadership. Don’t worry though, the whole country could turn into flesh eating Zombies and the SEC will still play football.



Monday Morning Coffee

Mike Trout is the Masked Face of Baseball

July 6, 2020

This is where baseball might have a problem. It’s biggest star and best player, Mike Trout, might not want to play this year. I can’t blame him either, since he has a baby on the way, and might not want to risk being quarantined from the baby for two weeks. Suddenly Angels baseball isn’t so promising this year as it felt about two weeks ago, now that the game’s best player might not play. It’s quite a coincidence that he’s having a baby, because the entire MLB Players Association are a bunch of baby’s for not wanting to go into a bubble for a 60-game season. What happened to “let us know when and where”? Simply playing without fans isn’t going to stop spreading the virus if players can just go wherever they want before and after games. Pick 2-3 cities. Let the players bring their families to limit the travel, and let’s try to play ball.

Speaking of players sitting out, you can include Dodgers Pitcher David Price in that group as well. Price informed the Dodgers and their fans over the weekend that he won’t be participating this year. Again, I don’t blame the players for opting out, but I blame the Players Association for not agreeing to stronger player safety standards. You certainly can’t hate on the guy since he just gave $1,000 a week to every Dodger minor leaguer for the month of June. It’s actually kind of embarrassing that one of the richest franchises in baseball, the Dodgers, can’t come up with this money themselves. It’s disappointing he won’t play, but the Dodgers have plenty of depth to absorb the loss. Whether or not Andrew Friedman’s computer can pick the correct guys is another story.

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Who put Rob Manfred in charge of baseball? This guy looks more and more clueless everyday. Last week he appeared on the Dan Patrick show, saying that the MLB was never going to agree to playing more than a 60-game season. How is this guy a former attorney? He completely forgot that the Players Association was threatening to file a lawsuit against his owners for not negotiating in good faith. He just incriminated all the owners. Of course a couple of days later, he back peddled on these comments knowing his mistake, saying he meant the current course of the virus is the cause of the 60-games. Good one Rob. I wouldn’t trust you to make a turkey sandwich at this point. 2020 has revealed some of the dumbest people are in some of the most powerful positions.

In the latest twist to the drama going on at UCLA, an adult entertainment webcam company, CamSoda, is offering UCLA $205 million over 10 years to fill the void left by Under Armour. Since the NCAA prostitutes student athletes for their own profit, might as well be upfront about it and go all in. At least UCLA would have the honesty card to hold onto here. What’s to hide here? We all know college and pro athletes will sleep with anybody, and these adult webcam companies love college girls. Sounds like a super brand to me. In all seriousness though, this would never fly, but it really is an amazing offer, and incredible CamSoda has that kind of money to throw around. Considering how bad the financial situation is at UCLA, you gotta wonder if they at least considered it for 5 minutes.

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Speaking of College Sports, I just can’t see how College Football is going to happen. Many colleges and universities aren’t even committing to having their students on campus in the fall. With that being the case, how can they allow their students to play football? Oh wait, it’s only so they can make the NCAA money. You can attempt to put professional athletes in a bubble, if they agree to it. You can’t do that in college sports. There’s also too many schools and conferences that would need to align on how to go about creating student athlete safety guidelines, and I struggle to see them doing that. Then of course there’s the SEC, which would probably still try to play football if an alien invasion were taking place. This conference and all its teams are in their own ultra right wing universe, that doesn’t seem to give a damn about the virus. They’ll play their own conference schedule if they want to, and know that people will watch. They might even put people in the stands. I don’t even hear of any contingency plans being discussed, so I’m having major doubts that we’ll be seeing college football anytime in the next 6 months, with the exception of maybe the SEC.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 29, 2020

Lots to unpack in this edition of MMC, starting with the Lakers. Avery Bradley is opting out of Orlando. Can’t blame the guy for putting his family first, but this is a tough blow for the Lakers. However, it’s not a crippling blow to their title hopes. This means more minutes for Alex Caruso, which is a great thing. JR Smith will also be a welcomed addition, who should be signed by the time you’re done reading this article and drinking your Starbucks coffee. Most NBA fans can only think of the bonehead play he made during the NBA Finals, but the guy can actually make big shots and play defense. I think the bigger question is if he can be trusted in the bubble for 3 months. However, if he can keep it together in Cleveland for a couple of years, he can keep it together in the bubble. Have you been to Cleveland? The bubble is like the Ritz Carlton compared to Cleveland. As for the schedule, the fact the Lakers have a tough one for the first 8 games isn’t a big deal. They only need to win a couple of games to clinch the top seed, and that will help them get ready for the postseason.

Vince Carter is calling it quits. This dude played so long, he’s actually the last active player to appear in a Nintendo 64 game. Carter was far more polished as a player when he was with the Nets, but many of his incredible highlights came with the Raptors. The man has a bright future on TV if he so desires. He also had perhaps the best dunk in a game that we’ve ever seen.

Baseball is back! The owners and players finally came to an agreement on getting back on the field. Baseball literally hates their own fans though. I genuinely don’t understand why there wasn’t a grown up in the room to point out that they were all collectively giving fans the middle finger, despite the fact that fans are their ultimate source of revenue. It’s stupid and infuriating. These guys make Congress look like best friends. However, I’m more concerned about the lack of health and safety regulations in place. Baseball players as it is have filthy habits, and are just a step away from dropping their pants and peeing in the dugout. We also know that baseball is historically full of cheaters and frauds. That means it’s no surprise that even baseball analyst Jeff Passan is a fraud. See below for yourself.

As for the Dodgers and the shorter season, I’m definitely nervous. In 4 of the last 7 years the Dodgers have won the NL West, they’ve been within 4 games of .500 at the 60 game mark. If they are that close to .500, they might not actually make the playoffs this year folks. You think the Dodger overuse their bullpen normally? They are going to use the hell out of the bullpen now. Except the new 3-batter minimum rule is really going to be trouble for Andrew Friedman’s computer. He better start that software upgrade now to be in time for his squad to make the playoffs.

I was kind of excited that the Angels are basically tied for 1st with 60 games to play when you think about it. Except then you realize that their pitching still sucks, and they have 40 games to play against their own division. Shohei Ohtani needs to be healthy and great, because the rest of the staff is very average, and held together by chicken wire and duct tape. Weird things can happen in a short season, but the Angels better plan on scoring a lot of runs if they want to make the postseason.

We’re still on Chip Kelly watch at UCLA, and the latest turmoil around the Bruins is that Under Armour is pulling out of their contract. The first thing I thought of was that they were doing this to because they were reevaluating having a strong relationship with a school who’s football coach had questionable feelings toward African Americans. You know that Jock Talk LA was going to jump all over this if that was the case. However, the reality of it is that Under Armour said it’s terminating the deal due to “marketing benefits” they did not receive. That could mean a lot of things for a struggling company like Under Armour. However, it also suggests that “marketing benefits” mean having a winning football program. That’s something that Chip Kelly isn’t bringing. Considering that Under Armour is essentially paying Kelly’s salary, this is a massive problem. This also doesn’t help the massive deficit that has already piled up for UCLA Athletics, which was nearly $20 million last year. Dan Guerrero was basically the CEO of Enron for this athletic department. Good luck to Martin Jarmond, because he has a tough job to do. That should start with replacing the coach of the team that is supposed to be the biggest revenue driver of the athletic program.

Oh so you thought the Dak Prescott saga was over did you? You thought that you would never have to hear about this drama again between the Cowboys and their star quarterback? It’s only just beginning folks. Wait until the middle of next month when he doesn’t actually agree to a deal, and we get another year of this conversation. I’m sure you’re so pumped to to be hearing about exciting things like franchise tenders, transition tags, and salary cap nonsense. You’d probably rather be watching CNN or Fox News. That’s how bad it is.

Finally, the hockey gods helped the Kings out in a big way on Friday night, awarding them the #2 pick in this year’s NHL Draft. That means the Kings are going to get another really good prospect to go along with what many consider to be the best prospect group in the NHL. This is great for the Kings, but it’s a little bit bittersweet that they didn’t get the #1 overall pick, since it’s going to a “placeholder team” that is still playing and currently has a chance to go to the playoffs. Had the Kings had the #1 pick they would have drafted Alexis Lafreniere, who would have been an instant star and franchise player. Frankly, after the Kings dropped from 2nd to 5th in last year’s lottery, it felt like the NHL owed them the #1 pick. Then again, I forgot that this isn’t the NBA, and they don’t rig the draft lottery. However, having a placeholder team winning the lottery is like having a seat filler win an Oscar.

Monday Morning Coffee

NBA news: League considering 70-game season as part of July restart

June 22, 2020

The NBA is getting closer to coming back. However, there’s a lot of health and safety obstacles to overcome. Coronavirus cases are spiking in Florida, but that’s exactly where the NBA’s bubble will take place. If anybody can pull this off, it’s the NBA, because the personnel numbers are smaller than any other sport. However, it’s going to take discipline that I don’t think everybody is going to have. I assure you that there’s going to be players that try to bring in women into the bubble to satisfy their social agendas. That move could compromise the health and safety of the whole bubble. I also can’t wait to see how this health and safety protocol hotline works out. I’m sure Lebron will be reporting that Giannis and Kawhi aren’t following safety protocols while playing doubles ping pong. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving floated the idea of the players start heir own league in the spirit of racial injustice being a central issue for this country. Who voted for this dude as an NBA PA leader? Forget earth, I think it’s really Kyrie’s brain that is flat. This is why NBA players need to stay in school longer.

Another week has gone by and baseball still doesn’t have a new labor deal. This disaster is squarely on the shoulders of Rob Manfred. This guy needs to step up and force both sides to get a deal done, but hard to believe this buffoon could make that happen. His legacy currently includes the existing CBA disaster, the sign stealing scandal, killing the minor leagues, shortening the draft, a juice balls controversy, calling the World Series trophy a “piece of metal”, and the Dodger TV blackout. Other than that he’s doing great! Manfred is the guy who tries to negotiate at a garage sale and ends up paying a higher price than what the item was marked at. And you expect the guy to negotiate a deal between the players and owners? This dude said he was 100% sure a season was going to happen a week ago. Tell these idiots on both sides to stop negotiating in public and maybe there’s a chance.

Ok fine, I’ll play along and pretend like the Dodgers are going to play some kind of a season this year. Everybody wants to tell us that the Dodgers are arguably the best team in the baseball on paper. Too bad they don’t play on paper, and they don’t give paper championship trophies. A season that is only 48 or even 60-70 games gives everybody a chance. That actually reduces that Dodgers chances of winning a World Series. Plus, Andrew Friedman’s computer usually doesn’t finish it’s software update until about game 60 anyway, so the Dodgers might really be screwed.

As for the Angels, if there’s a season that’s gotta be great news. The Halos haven’t been in first place this late in the season since the Titanic sank. If there’s 16 teams in the playoffs, all you have to do is go about .500 to make it. I think even the Angels are capable of that with a new manager in Joe Maddon, Anthony Rendon at 3rd base, and a healthy Shohei Ohtani at the front of their rotation. Arte Moreno shouldn’t be able to screw this one up too bad.

I told you weeks ago to keep an eye on the Chip Kelly situation at UCLA. Now the noise is growing louder. Last week, 30 players signed a document in favor of having a 3rd party evaluator determine health and safety protocols and protect them from injustice from the oaching staff. The story and the document are pretty damning, considering there are quotes from players saying they don’t trust Kelly and his coaching staff. There’s also quotes suggesting that Kelly and his coaching staff do not relate to the African American men on the team. Chip Kelly is like the kid that peaked in high school, and then became a loser in real life after that. The guy can no longer be a head football coach in college or the NFL. It’s over, and it’s getting worse by the day. I’m all for not having a knee jerk reaction to things, but it’s obvious he doesn’t care about his job, and now you have the questions about how he feels about black players on top of that.

Finally, the NFL is totally delusional. Every sport is doing everything they can from a health and safety protocol standpoint to try and have a season. Meanwhile, the NFL is pretending like it’s 2019, and preparing for business as usual. Now all of a sudden, everybody in their league is testing positive for COVID, and they are scrambling to shut down everybody’s facilities. Zeke Elliott test positive for COVID. That’s as surprising as knowing that Tara Reid got drunk and sloppy at happy hour. These guys are crazy to think they are going to be able to have fans in attendance at their games. Even Sean McVay has no idea how his players are supposed to be social distancing, yet playing football at the same time. These sports leagues aren’t built to be shutdown for a while. The revenue losses and impact to the leagues will be devastating. For that reason, they need to try and have a season. But to pretend like they can proceed like business is usual is foolish. Kyrie Irving must be running the NFL.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 15, 2020

Suddenly I’m getting nervous that sports might not be coming back. The NBA in particular. Kyrie Irving is trying to rally the players against re-starting the season in Orlando next month to instead, focus on solving racial injustice. He’s even got Dwight Howard on his side. I realize that Kyrie’s heart and intentions are in the right place, but the man’s emotions are more volatile than the Dow Jones. Those emotions are causing him to miss the point: NBA players and pro-athletes have a voice against racial injustice because they are playing ball and using that platform. So why shutdown that platform when you need it most? This is why you can’t trust a guy who thinks the earth is flat to lead this effort. Dwight Howard on the other hand gets a pass because the mother of one of his children passed away recently, so if he doesn’t want to play I can understand that. With that being said, not playing would be a grave mistake of both social and financial consequences, and I refuse to believe that NBA players will actually follow through on this idea. Not even 20% of the league was on Kyrie’s call Friday, and I doubt that all of them even agreed with what he was saying.

Then there’s baseball, which appears to be ending its disastrous labor negotiations. The players decided to do so because they believe the owners aren’t negotiating in good faith. Hard to argue with them knowing that Commissioner Rob Manfred can implement whatever length of a season he wants, and it will likely be around 50-games. The sticking point is that no matter how long the season is, the owners only want to pay the players for 50-games and no more. No matter what side you believe is right, both sides look like crap, and have no self-awareness. Each side keeps making dumb public statements trying to win over the public. Nobody buys it. If Rob Manfred really had any vision or guts, he would implement something that both sides wouldn’t be happy with. Instead, having this dude in charge is like having your 10-year old negotiate a divorce between two parents. Even if you put the money issues aside, it’s going to be hard enough to re-start the season in the midst of the COVID-19 resurgence. Plus, even if we get some Mickey Mouse of a season this year, I can guarantee a strike will happen in the near future given the lack of trust on both sides. MLB should just rebrand their league as MBL. My Bottom Line.

Reggie Bush is being welcomed back to USC! After 10 years of being exiled from the history of USC due to archaic NCAA rules, the Trojans welcomed him back with open arms. Even in the midst of all the scandals going on at USC, this just feels right. Just because Bush got caught accepting gifts doesn’t actually change what happened on the field. We know he was still great. He also made the NCAA tons of money while he comparably received very little. Aunt Becky’s kid wants to know when she will be welcomed back by the Trojan family.

Ray Ciccarelli is quitting NASCAR because they are banning the flying of the Confederate flag. Yea I know, I had to Google him as well to see who he was, but I can see why he can identify with them. Both he and the Confederate Army have 0 victories. Even if Ciccarelli wants to stand by his claim that flying the flag doesn’t make you a racist, what it does make him is completely clueless when it comes to American history. You’ve gotta give a lot of credit to NASCAR for taking stand against it, even thought they knew it might not be received well from a lot of their viewers.

Do you realize how absurdly awkward this whole topic of racial injustice has become? Think about this: we have a President of The United States who has not addressed the country during civil unrest because his base is largely racist. We have organizations like the NFL and NASCAR who have had to make “difficult” decisions around denouncing racial injustice because it might alienate some of their supporters. Think about how ridiculous all this sounds in 2020. Did I say 2020? I guess all kinds of absurdity is possible this year. I mean to say think about how ridiculous this sounds in this day and age. We are still dancing around people who are racists and protecting these dinosaurs who are out of touch with society. It’s like 2020 is the year people learned they need to wash their hands and that racism is bad. I know lots of people want to “stick to sports” but this is impacting every aspect of life right now, including sports.

Monday Morning Coffee



June 8, 2020

The NBA still has a lot of things to work through, but they are well on their way to beginning play again at the end of July. Unfortunately for teams like the Lakers and Bucks, they won’t get the benefit of home court advantage because there will be no fans. That’s a shame because home court means a lot in the NBA playoffs, and would have in a year like this. At this point, the Lakers will be lucky to get Jack Nicholson and a fan to be named later sent to Orlando to cheer them on. Maybe the NBA will throw in some free parking and open bar at Disney World, but that’s about as good as it’s going to get. Still, I like the Lakers chances in this kooky format the league was forced to come up with. I don’t think skills are going to be sharp with this much time off, so if you are a team that relies on shooting you might be in trouble. The Lakers rely on defense and getting easy buckets in the paint, which should serve them well.  

Apparently NBA players will be allowed to bring their families into the bubble in Orlando. For those of you unfamiliar with the Wide World of Sports in Disney World, it’s a park within the park. I’m curious which member of the NBA Players Association negotiated this. If anything it feels more like something the owners proposed, thinking they were doing the players a solid. In reality, the players can’t be happy because it will interfere with their social agenda. Then again, how do the players expect to sneak all those Tinder girls and their side pieces into the bubble in the first place? COVID was a tough blow, but now it’s going to be another tough couple of months for NBA side pieces. Keep your thoughts and prayers with them in this difficult year.

Drew Brees really stepped in it last week with his comments around anyone “disrespecting the flag”. His comments were certainly insensitive and hurtful to many. In fact, the next day, Travis Rodgers, Keyshawn Johnson and LZ Granderson not only condemned Brees on ESPN Radio 710 for his comments, but basically wrote him off saying they were done with him. While there’s no disputing the fact that his comments were insensitive, if you are just going to write people like Brees off after incidents like this, you’ll never see progress. It saddens me to have seen someone like Brees get completely crucified publicly, given everything he’s done in the New Orleans community. If anything, Brees has the ability to be a powerful voice in both the black community and the white community, leading the charge against racial injustice. In fact, not only did he apologize several times since then, he’s made it a point to publicly call out President Trump regarding his stance on this issue. Since then, LZ has written a very good article in the LA Times regarding the difference between being “non-racist” vs being “anti-racist”, which addressed Brees specifically. The type of action he’s taken in recent days seems a lot more “anti-racist”, and pretty impactful. Hopefully LZ, Travis, and Keyshawn can recognize this.

I’m not trying to stir the pot, but I’m going to stir the pot right now. Keep an eye on the Chip Kelly situation at UCLA. Let’s start with the fact that Kelly already has a growing perception that he’s a guy who barely cares about his job, and is just enjoying a fat paycheck. I also found it interesting that while in the NFL, several comments from his former players insinuated that he was either racist, or at least does a poor job relating to young African American men. Some of his former players in Oregon seem to disagree with this idea, but his tweets last week around George Floyd’s death brought this incident back to light. Kelly made some vague statements around unity, which three former players publicly criticized. It’s hard for me to imagine that Chip Kelly is a racist, but there is a quietly growing narrative that he’s having difficulty recruiting at UCLA because of this noise. Oh by the way, UCLA has a new Athletic Director, Martin Jarmond, who is the first African American Athletic Director in school history. Not so convinced? We are now living in a world where an LA Galaxy player was just cut because his wife made some racist comments on Twitter. The complexity of these situations is growing exponentially.

Chip Kelly

For years my cousin has been fuming about the fact that in the mid 90’s, he walked into a club in Miami and saw Dennis Rodman in the bathroom. He tried to talk to him and he completely ignored him. He saw Michael Jordan in the bathroom an hour later in that same club, and talked to Jordan, raving about what an engaging guy he is. I told him, Rodman probably was just having a bad day. I guess he was having a bad day too on Saturday night, since I saw him at Gulf Stream restaurant in Newport Beach. I was with someone who asked to take a selfie with him, and he said “Wooooooow! Noooooooooo!” Then walked away. To be fair though, he was hitting on a table with 7 girls in the minutes prior to that.

Finally, Barstool Sports has a very entertaining Instagram account, but they are 100% full of crap. They came out with a graph showing America’s favorite food chains by state. This is supposedly based on 2020 data from the Public Information and Statistics Society. Not even an NFL player suffering from CTE in California would choose Denny’s over In-N-Out. I don’t even think there is a Long John Silvers in Maine, and there’s no way Sbarro is the most popular in New York. Chuck E Cheese? Nobody is picking that as their favorite restaurant with a rat as their mascot. Barstool Sports is either just messing with us, or getting their data from CNN. Just another example of why 2020 is so screwed up.

Barstool Sports on Twitter: "What's the favorite fast food chain ...

Monday Morning Coffee

June 1, 2020

If you want to know just how creative NBA players need to be to exercise these days, all you have to do is take to the streets of LA and find Lebron and his teammates going for a bike ride to get their cardio in. With gyms and NBA practice facilities closed for long stretches, most NBA players idea of cardio is walking to their refrigerator to slam another snack. Instead, it sounds like Lebron and many of his teammates have been finding creative ways to stay in shape, and it looks like they might benefit from it a great deal when the season resumes in Orlando in July. Another thing they might benefit from is a 1-16 seeded playoff system, if the NBA goes that route. That would mean that the Lakers would be on the opposite side of the bracket as the Bucks, Clippers, and Celtics. I hope this happens just so I can see NBA Twitter’s head explode when they complain about the benefits the Lakers are getting. I’m sure all those people who mocked the Lakers for months for playing hard every night will say it was rigged, or argue an asterisk is needed if the Lakers end up winning an NBA title.

To baseball where everything is a mess, beginning with the Angels. In the last 10 years, Owner Arte Moreno can’t seem to do anything right. This man probably thinks Del Taco is too expensive for a meal, while an unreliable player like Josh Hamilton is worth $125 million. His latest blunder is just nine days before the draft, furloughing the area scouts who spent the past year evaluating draft-eligible players in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Area scouts are the among the lowest paid in baseball, and if they live in Orange County, they might as well be buying food stamps. They also so happen to be among the most critical personnel for a team that is putting the focus on rebuilding and player development. How are small market teams like the Brewers and Twins able to pay their scouts during this time, yet the Angels are not? Imagine these scouts jumping on with other teams just before the draft, and how much of a competitive disadvantage that would be for the Halos. Arte Moreno’s work from home stint clearly isn’t going very well.

As for baseball, the owners and players still can’t get out of their own way. The owners and players wouldn’t even trust each other with a cup of coffee, so it doesn’t look like they’ll be coming to an agreement anytime soon. There’s plenty of blame to go around. I blame the owners for not being reasonable on asking the players to take bigger pay cuts when they already agreed to one, and those players don’t reap the benefits of more successful revenue years. On the players side though, I blame them for being babies about safety and not more accommodating. The NBA and NHL players are committed to playing in another city for the rest of the season. Baseball players really can’t do this? They can even have their families with them. Baseball has never been the same since the season that was cancelled due to the strike in 94. Since there is even more to do now, people will care even less about it when it comes back if they lose another season. I put the majority of the blame though on Rob Manfred, who probably isn’t even qualified to lead a group of boy scouts.

Last week was obviously a rough week for the country, and served as a reminder for how hard it is to be black man in this country, and how much work we have to do to unite the country. However, we also learned that even in a riot, nobody will steal a Kirk Cousins jersey….

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I watched the Lance Armstrong ESPN 30 for 30 last night and I found it rather ridiculous. Whenever someone says “let me tell you my truth”, their credibility is in question instantly. I’m pretty sure there is just “the truth”, rather than your version of the truth Lance. The man’s legacy is complicated. He beat cancer, and raised a lot of money while creating a lot of awareness around it. But sadly, his cheating was a key to his success, even in a sport where everybody was cheating. He seemed inspirational on the surface, and I sure loved those Livestrong bracelets at the time. You can probably get one for less than the cost of a Happy Meal now. However, he destroyed the lives of those who dared speak truth. Stories like his leave us less able to be inspired the next time. That might be even more harmful than the rest of his peers that just cheated to try and win.

Lance Armstrong takes center stage after ESPN's "The Last Dance"

Monday Morning Coffee

The Last Dance': Michael Jordan's 'flu game' turned out to be bad ...

May 25, 2020

We are a whole week after the ending of The Last Dance, and everybody is focused on “The Flu Game”, which is really now “The Bad Pizza Game”. These dudes had 23 years to come up with a story and all they could come up with is food poisoning? Jordan’s camp forgot that this is the social media era, and when the former manager of that Pizza Hut in Utah heard the story, he completely shot it down. There weren’t five guys that delivered the pizza, and it wasn’t tampered with. Also hard to believe MJ’s camp would allow that with his always tight security. Was it altitude sickness? Maybe. Did he smoke a couple of cigars and throw back a few drinks? That’s possible too. It’s hard for me to believe that he went out to some club or bar in Park City and partied. Although nothing would surprise me, I’m thinking a couple of cigars and a drink or two combined with altitude sickness made him ill. Either way, poor judgement by MJ’s camp in thinking nobody would call him out on this story. They should have just said he had the flu and that was it and people would have bought it. Can’t wait until the next Jordan Nike shoes come out. They’ll probably be called “The Bad Pizza 12’s”.

I love how everyone is talking about what other sports figures they want to see a Last Dance style documentary on. Look people, I know we’re desperate for sports content, but there is nobody I can think of that would warrant a documentary this long and in depth. Tom Brady’s last season with the Patriots and the truth behind their breakup would be interesting, but I don’t need to see 10-parts on it. Even Tiger Woods wouldn’t cut it, unless he had footage of all the babes he hooked up with on the road for a decade. This Lance Armstrong documentary might hold my attention for a little, but don’t even try to compare it to The Last Dance.

The Match: Champions for Charity was really good television yesterday. Tom Brady was hot early, and then ice cold late. Early on it looked like Brady learned how to deflate golf balls. However by the end it looked like nobody needed the beverage cart more than him. Good thing he quit before it started to impact his football legacy. I also love the trash talking that Peyton Manning did about who he would have as his caddie: “Do you bring Eli? You could do that. Do you bring Nick Foles? Maybe.” Even Sean Payton had this savage barb while watching it.

Look i’m definitely interested in “Blackballed”, and the Donald Sterling story from the players side. However, leave it to Steve Ballmer to stick it on some subscription only platform that nobody has ever heard of. I realize that there is a 14-day free subscription, but this is a significant story in the history of the league that needs to be told. Why stick it somewhere that nobody can see? Mind you, we are in the middle of a global pandemic where people are starving for entertainment, and Quibi isn’t even one of the 50 most downloaded apps.

Gavin Newsom clearly reads Jock Talk LA. Last week, after I criticized him for being overly cautious and not allowing sports to resume anytime soon, he is now saying pro sports teams can now resume activities without fans. Sports are going to come back, but they will look as different as Khloe Kardashian now looks. I’m not saying this is financially driven, but I am saying he suddenly changed his mind once the NBA, NHL, and MLB started talking about playing their games elsewhere than California. Apparently someone in Newsom’s office refreshed their Excel spreadsheet, and informed him there’s a $54 billion deficit, and over $100 million in taxes would have been coming from a full baseball season alone. Even more would have come from the NHL and NBA. Why do you think LA is suddenly bidding for NHL games even if they don’t involve the Kings? At this point, every little bit of revenue counts to get California out of debt.

Speaking of NHL games, they are farther ahead than anybody else in planning to get back to playing and finishing the season. These guys already have a union and owner approved playoff structure. It’s got 24 teams. Imagine being such a bad hockey team that in a season where 24 teams make the playoffs, you get left out. And you won 7 in a row before this decision was made! That’s the LA Kings folks. It’s probably not worth it anyway for the Kings to finish the regular season and get their older players hurt, while also risk damaging draft positioning. However, no matter how many good players the Kings draft, they badly need to fix their system and their culture.

Finally, while the NHL and NBA are quickly working their way towards a return to playing, the MLB can’t even get out of their own. Funny how a month ago we heard that MLB had a plan in place to get going. It turns out their players and owners can’t even agree on what to order for lunch, let alone how to shoulder the revenue losses that are going to occur. If they can’t agree on that they certainly won’t be agreeing on a structure for the season either. Not to mention that their league’s leadership is clueless. Rob Manfred is still probably trying to figure out how to turn his computer on after beginning his work from home stint.

Monday Morning Coffee

On this Date: MJ sinks jumper over Russell for 6th championship ...

May 18, 2020

The Last Dance concluded last night with the Final Two Episodes and it was an amazing ride. It’s sad it’s over, but wow did I enjoy that. The Flu Game was a lie! It was food poisoning all along! Makes sense since I wondered for all these years how he got better so fast for Game 6. “I ate the pizza, all by myself. Nobody else ate the pizza.” I’ve never felt so connected to MJ after that quote. I would have loved to see Rodman take off for WWE in the middle of the Finals during the social media era. I never knew about the Steve Kerr story, and the man deserves a documentary himself. His only flaw is that he actually named his son “Nick”. “Nick Kerr”. I have tremendous respect for him now. What did Michael write in his poem? “Roses are red, Violets are blue, hey Jerry, just wanted to say eff you.” Thank you to Michael Jordan and ESPN for giving us 5 great Sunday nights when we needed them most.

Speaking of the NBA, Adam Silver said last week that he plans on making a decision on whether or not to continue the season in the next 2-4 weeks. Getting ready for “The Decision: Commissioner Edition”. For those of you who are saying “just shut down the season” you are overlooking just how damaging it would be financially to the NBA. These NBA owners break out in a cold sweat when they have to pay a small luxury tax bill. You think they are going to be ok losing hundreds of millions in revenue for a lost season? I know you’re all going to say they are billionaires who can stomach the loss, but they don’t think that way. Most of the players want to play too because they want to get paid as well. You may just call this nothing more than millionaires and billionaires squabbling, but it’s really just a microcosm of what we’re all trying to decide right now: is being locked down and shutting down our lives worth the other damage that comes along with it? There’s really no right or wrong answer. Personally, I’d rather see them try and come up with an attempted solution as long as it’s safe, rather than just give up.

Congratulations to Martin Jarmond, who has been named the new Athletic Director at UCLA. The good news is that nobody knows who this guy is, he has no UCLA ties, and he’s had success as a fundraiser. The bad news is that he takes over for an Athletic Director who ran up a fat deficit like he was the CEO of Enron. As if that’s not challenging enough, he takes over a football and basketball program that can’t find a way to get fans to come to their games, in a conference that’s having it’s own issues (more on that in a moment). He also has a football coach who doesn’t really give a crap about his job or the team. This job is going to be so tough that it’s going to require a young, new, fresh thinker. Jarmond appears to have the makings of that.

Then there’s the challenges USC Football has to deal with. The noise is suddenly getting louder that USC and Alabama might not play on September 5th. We’re not even talking about a game in California. This game would be in Texas, but it doesn’t matter since there might not be any football for California schools come the fall in any situation. As if USC didn’t have enough problems with a football coach that has no idea what he’s doing, a pissed off fan base, and new University leadership that has football very low on on it’s list of priorities.

Let’s be honest, the PAC-12 looks like they are screwed right now, making the challenges even tougher for the USC and UCLA athletic programs. They have a useless PAC-12 TV network that nobody can watch, and who’s revenue is sinking faster than the S&P 500. That’s making it harder and harder to recruit, not just in football, but also for the historically elite basketball programs like UCLA and Arizona. Now the safety first approach of Governor Newsome may torpedo this conference for good. Newsome is unlikely to allow gatherings in the thousands at stadiums and arenas in California for at least a year. Pro sports might be able to deal with this, but college athletic programs can’t. Not because they can’t survive financially, but rather the fact they can’t compete against schools in states with more politically conservative governors. The entire SEC is going to ignore the coronavirus and gather in the thousands this fall for games. The SEC doesn’t even need any other conference to play football against. The Big 10 and Big 12 will have many schools that are more appealing to recruits in both basketball and football. It also doesn’t help that none of the PAC-12 AD’s are working together, and simply trying to find solutions on their own. I am genuinely concerned for the long-term viability of the conference, and if you are a fan of one of those schools, you should be too.

Finally, I’ve never understood why these Major League Baseball players can’t just have a little bit of self-awareness. This has been the case historically, and the latest one of these clueless players is Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays. Snell says that he’s got to get his money. This man just signed for $50 million. Funny how he’s saying he’s willing to play for his full $7 million salary, but it’s not worth it at $3.5 million, and suddenly not worth the health risk. I don’t begrudge anybody that makes a good living like Snell, and everyone rich or poor has financial obligations they need to meet. He even has a point that the owners should be bearing the financial brunt of a cancelled season, since the owners of any business should bear the fruits of good times and the brunt of bad times. However, 95% of Americans aren’t going to buy into what he’s complaining about during a pandemic. There’s 33 million people unemployed, and millions more trying to figure out how to pay their bills. Shut the hell up Blake Snell and let your Players Association do their job.