When Sports Re-Open (Part II)
2 months ago, America was shut down and sports was the last thing on anyone's mind. Well, except for mine. With kidney stone surgery putting me in bed, I craved sports. I endlessly scrolled through platforms like Netflix and Hulu, thinking that if I looked hard enough, maybe there'd be a new, secret Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames NHL game on. In hindsight, pain medication may have re-wired some of the synapses in my brain.
What didn't cloud my judgement was the greed of major North American Sports leagues. I knew that one day sports would return. During the depths of the pandemic, I tried to make some educated guesses as to when I could watch sports again. I was surprising close in multiple cases.
MLS will return relatively unencumbered in August, but could shut back down around October. You may have missed it, but MLS was 2 games deep into their season when they closed their doors. With half empty stadiums over the summer and no playoffs possibly in their future for this season. Look for the 25 team MLS to look slightly different in 2021 with up to 3 teams either moving or folding. -Beacon of Speech, April 5, 2020
MLS is returning in the middle of July with an MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida with all teams participating. Then, all teams will resume a modified home schedule at the end of July/beginning of August. Hey, look at me, I'm Carnac.
The NHL is the hardest pro sport to predict because it is run by idiots (Gary Bettman specifically). What should happen and what will happen are 2 totally different things. I remember one of the times that the NHL owners locked out the players, Gary Bettman said that the owners were ready to shut down the league for "years" because if they didn't play, the owners were still coming out ahead because they weren't losing money. So with that being said, if the NHL just came out and said "we're done. We'll try and start things back up in October." I wouldn't be happy, but I would understand. At least cancelling the Stanley Cup for a pandemic is a good reason to shut things down....the right way to resume the 2019-2020 season, if that's the way you want to do it, is to cancel the regular season and go straight to a limited and modified Stanley Cup Playoffs. -Beacon of Speech, April 5, 2020
The NHL said 'we don't like your idea, Fred Hunt. We have a better plan.' That would be an EXPANDED postseason. Starting at the end of July, the NHL will start their 24 team playoff with 7 teams being done for the season. Instead of home and away series, games will be played at 2 neutral cites, one in the East, one in the West.
Not the best plan, but hey, for the NHL, it could have been worse. Why don't I like it? If they don't start until the end of July, if you do the math, we are talking about a Stanley Cup Final starting on September 20. When do you think the 2020-2021 season will start in that case?
MLB schedule-makers are frantically trying to piece together a 70 or so game season that starts August 1 and ends September 30, including some 7 inning double-headers. The problem with MLB is that if you just scrap the whole 2020 season, it might actually be a better business model for the owners than trying a 70 game season and having no one show up at the ballpark. - Beacon of Speech, April 5, 2020
Shockingly, Major League Baseball really is considering scrapping the 2020 season. The MLB owners say they are going to lose BILLIONS in 2020. If they play that 70 game season, instead of a 48-50 game season, that is an additional loss of $10,880,000 per team, or the cost of a decent No. 4 starter. MLB owners are arguing for the shortest season possible, with at least 8 owners advocating starting baseball back up in 2021. If Rob Manfred doesn't force, at least, a 70 game season, which would be IN THE BEST INTEREST IN BASEBALL, he should be kicked square in the balls.
The NBA, right now, as we speak, is considering a made for TV game of.... H-O-R-S-E. Seriously, I kid you not. You know why? Because the players don't want to play real games. I am not saying whether I blame them or not, I'm saying that I'm not going to speculate what an NBA 2020 Playoffs is going to look like because it ain't happening. You may argue that they want to play and I'd respond, "they want to get paid." - Beacon of Speech, April 5, 2020
The NBA had a plan. They were going to take the 22 teams with the best win-loss records and have a modified end of season/playoffs that would run for a month and a half to two months. Of all sports, the NBA seemed to have the clearest plan to reclaiming the most amount of missed games, with all rescheduled/playoff games being at the Disney Complex in Orlando. The players would stay in Disney Motels and they would be in their own NBA bubble. With the exception of cellar dwellers like the Cleveland Cavaliers, who would be done for the year, there was real optimism for crowning an NBA Champion and finishing the 2020 season.
Just when I was about to concede that I was wrong, Kyrie Irving renewed my faith in the NBA Players as being the most spoiled professional athlete. Kyrie Irving and up to 100 fellow players expressed concerns about Orlando, citing coronavirus statistics. Just when I started to believe that Irving may actually be worried about the health of his fellow players, he started to ramble on as to whether it was a good idea to play basketball with all of this social unrest. Then Irving proposed that players should leave the NBA and start their own league.
Flat Earth Irving thinks that his contract comes from a magical spigot because he knows how to play basketball. You know what? Go ahead. Start your own basketball league. I dare you.
I TRIPLE-DOG-DARE YOU.
Avery Bradley says no re-start until there's a plan to address black causes in place.
No sport, pro or college, is better positioned to absorb playing in front of no fans and still make a boatload of money than the NFL. On the same token, the NFL is more beholden to television than any other sport. Of all the sports, the NFL is most likely to play all of their games, either with or without fans in the stands. Just like any TV production, you can pipe in sounds like fans for the viewers at home. -Beacon of Speech, April 5, 2020
Last year, the NFL made about $5 BILLION in TV money alone. In comparison, MLB just signed a $5 billion TV contract for 7 years....combined. The NFL could play on a chalked, empty field with 2 cameras and have 15 million viewers. I would be stunned if the NFL missed one regular season game. It could be raining coronavirus from the sky and they would still play.
The NBA has the highest percentage of black players in major professional sports, but the NFL has the MOST black players in professional sports. To my knowledge, there is no groundswell of players of any race that don't want to play NFL games. This past week, President Trump said that if the NFL or MLS players knelt, he wouldn't watch their leagues.
Listen very closely, Donald Trump is jealous of the NFL. It is that simple. They wouldn't let him join their club when he tried to merge the New Jersey Generals into their league. Donald Trump does not give a rat's ass about MLS. I'll tell you what, let's make a bet. If Donald Trump can name 1 MLS player off of the top of his head, both the player's name and the team he plays for, I'll take a 1 year break from Beacon of Speech. If he can't, he can give me a million dollars.
That's how sure I am Trump doesn't watch MLS.
NASCAR is back already? Who cares. Didn't care then, don't care now. Don't care if there's no fans in the stands, don't care if the grandstand is full.
"But we got rid of the Confederate Flag." - NASCAR
Okay, granted I didn't see that coming, but I still won't watch NASCAR.
College Sports is going to turn into anarchy. How do I figure? Let me use Ohio State as an example. Every time Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith even skirts controversy, he plays the 'I'm in charge of 37 different varsity sports at Ohio State, not just football.' Technically, he's right. -Beacon of Speech, April 5, 2020
And this is where we are going to focus on who, specifically, is getting screwed in America. And again, we are going to single out Ohio State Football. Now many in America are clamoring for college football players to be paid. We are not one of those outlets. Right now, there's 109 players on the Ohio State Roster. If college football players were to be paid, how would you discern how much each one of those players got paid for the season? Does the backup, freshman punter make as much as Master Teague III? What would be the formula for getting paid through your school? It would be impossible to implement a plan that would work for the biggest Big 10 and SEC schools, but would also work for the minnows in the MAC and Conference USA.
The best plan to get money into college student's hands is for the colleges to continue to pay college athletes in scholarships, BUT allow the athlete to market his or her own name. (Similar to the Olympic Athlete Model.) Back to the Ohio State example, that backup punter gets his scholarship and he's happy. Master Teague III, who's one of the best college players returning to campus this fall, can make millions in local advertising because he owns the name Master Teague III. He can come out in a suit, holding a football in his hands, and toss it to a local car dealership owner in a commercial. Master Teague says "buy (insert your favorite car brand here)" and he makes a boatload of money.
Why hasn't that happened yet? Because the NCAA can't police that. That's really not fair to the biggest college football athletes. Why am I talking about this topic right now, in this article? Because Gene Smith, Athletic Director of THE Ohio State Buckeyes, who should have been fired for the third time this week....
I - Gene Smith should have been fired by Ohio State when Jim Tressel was fired.
II - Gene Smith should have been fired in relation to the Zach Smith Case
.....is making Ohio State Football players sign a "Pledge" to play football this Fall. The "Pledge" was essentially a waiver that the football team members wouldn't sue THE Ohio State if players contracted coronavirus. Back to the NBA and NFL examples, both sets of athletes are being paid to play and are protected by unions and agents. At the end of the day, they are highly paid employees. The college football player, we are told, is a student-athletes first. Is it in the best interest of the student to be sent by Ohio State to play football in Oregon, on the tail end (or second wave) of a pandemic? The travel. The motel rooms. The large crowds. Of course it's not. Gene Smith's job as Athletic Director is to protect student athletes, not have them sign waivers to protect the school, which, in this case, is acting like a giant corporation.
For the pros, the owners make money and the players make money. Not so in college football....
You know what, let's take sports out of it for a moment. My partner at Beacon of Speech works at Iron Mountain. When the first coronavirus wave hit, there was no plan. They were considered essential employees and kept working. No masks, no days off, no working from home, no social distancing. Their only guideline was that if you didn't feel safe entering a building, you could call your supervisor. Well the coronavirus wasn't ebola, there were no people laying in hallways, bleeding from their orifices. He had no recourse to do anything.
Once there was public pressure, then Iron Mountain began implementing Covid-19 safeguards as dictated by the State of Ohio. No matter what the business, there is the basic premise that you work in exchange for money. Using the Iron Mountain example, they did the bare minimum to protect their employees. The NBA, as employers, decided to suspend operations and send their employees home for three months. The NBA didn't mess around, one player tested positive for coronavirus and they shut things down IMMEDIATELY. Google told their employees that they could work from home until 2021.
Editor's Note II:
Number of Google Offices in Ohio? Zero
The point is, there is a wide range of reactions from employers to Covid-19, some compassionate, some not so much. For a professional athlete to complain about working conditions is an insult to workers who punched in at places like WalMart, Costco, McDonald's.... or even Iron Mountain. Places that never closed. But an Ohio State Football Player is NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF THE STATE OF OHIO. You are arguing that Master Teague III could make millions in the NFL? You know who else could make millions after they graduate? An Ohio State Medical Student. I hope that college student-athletes can turn being exploited by the NCAA into a victory over the NCAA in the form personal licensing rights.
In this political climate, it is an abomination that Gene Smith is not having his feet held to the fire for looking out for the Institution instead of the Athlete. (Which, in many cases, is black.)
When it comes to paid professionals, unless you are a Black Google Employee, few employees in America are coddled MORE than the NBA employee.