Mix And Match Today…

Alongside reports that some NBA players might not want to report to the NBA’s “Orlando Bubble” to resume the season and begin the playoffs, the league has sent out to all of the teams a memo that details the procedures that would be in place inside “The Bubble” and at least some of the amenities to be provided there down to the level of “barbers, hair braiders, manicurists and pedicurists.”  Ben Golliver covers the NBA for the Washington Post and he reported on this league communication to the teams and thereby to the players.  Here is a link to his report; it is informative.

I assume the issue of pay has been figured out between the NBA and the NBPA by now.  However, since that issue arose to become a huge point in the MLB season-starting plans, I wish I knew what might happen in the following scenarios:

  1. For players on the 8 teams not invited to “The Bubble”, will they be paid the pro-rata share of their contracts for games not played?
  2. For players on the 22 teams invited to “The Bubble”, will they be paid their full contract value despite not playing a full 82-game season?
  3. For players on the 22 teams invited to “The Bubble” and who choose not to report there for whatever reason, will they be paid for games played by their teams (regular season and/or playoff games)?

[Aside:  Could it be that players on teams “uninvited” would be paid for games not played but players on “invited teams” who choose not to play would not be paid for games missed?  Let us just say that situation would be “counter-intuitive”.]

Moving on …  I was pretty confident the following issue would emerge in the current environment of social change/reform and I am surprised that it took as long as it did.  Barry Svrluga is an excellent columnist for The Washington Post; in today’s edition, this is the headline on his column:

“The Redskins’ name is the shameful statue of the NFL. It’s time to tear it down.”

You can read it here.

That issue has been dormant for three or four years and the current tone of the country is clearly in harmony with any call to make a name change there.  And of course, that brings the discussion directly back to Danny Boy Snyder who is on record saying that he would NEVER (I wrote it in caps as he said anyone should) change the team name.  So, how might all that play itself out?

  • He could change the team name and try to assume the mantle of one who has – finally – seen the light.  I think that is a low-probability event because two decades of his team ownership provides precious few examples of him being willing to admit – privately let alone publicly – that he has been wrong about anything.
  • He could be forced to change the team name.  There will soon be alluring calls for “fan boycotts”.  They would work if they could be widely applied AND maintained.  That has never happened in the past.  The NFL could apply pressure to get him to change the name.  The networks could apply pressure to get him to change the name.  He wants a new stadium in the District of Columbia so the pols there can apply pressure to get him to change the name – and can engage in virtue-signaling by doing so.
  • He can dig in his heels and keep the name as it is.  History has shown that he may not like the media affixing negative images to him, but that he is able to shake them off and maintain all the flexibility of concrete.

I have said this every time this controversy has come up – – going all the way back to the 1980s before Danny Boy Snyder graduated from college.  As long as the Washington Redskins team is a cash cow for its owner(s), there is no reason for them to make a change.  If and only if the stature of a cash cow for the owners can be changed will there be any logical reason for him to make such a decision.

So, as you read and hear about calls for a name change here – and I have no doubt they will take place – ask yourself how likely it is that the pressure being applied will change the status of the cash cow.  That has always been the turning point; I suspect that it will be the turning point this time around too.

There is “restart news” in tennis too.  The US Open will take place between August 31 and September 15 in NY but there will be no fans allowed in the stands.  That decision by Governor Cuomo came yesterday and allows planning for the staging of this major tournament to proceed.  As is the custom today regarding anything as complicated as a restart of competition, there is controversy over how it will be done.  Novak Djokovic has called the precautionary measures “extreme” and he told the Serbian state TV channel that he would “most likely” restart his participation on clay.  The US Open is not played on clay – – but the French Open is played on clay and it has been rescheduled to begin on September 20 which is less than a week after the finals of the US Open.

Here is one example of what is described as “extreme”.  The protocol suggested for the US open would allow a player to be accompanied by only one person; that could be a coach or a spouse or a Zen master.  Djokovic said that he needs at least a coach, a fitness trainer and a physiotherapist for himself to compete properly.  Commence controversy…

If Djokovic sits out the US Open, that would remove two of the three biggest men’s stars from the tournament.  Roger Federer announced recently that he is on the shelf until at least 2021 after undergoing a “surgical procedure” on his knee.  Moreover, the third men’s star in the tennis constellation, Rafael Nadal, said about two weeks ago that if you pushed him for an answer then as to his desire to go to NY to play in the US Open, his answer then would be, “No.”  Nadal did leave the door open for his participation if things “improve in the right way.”

Finally, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald channeled Carnac the Magnificent here:

Answer: A 1910 Shoeless Joe Jackson baseball card just sold at auction for $492,000.

Question: What makes you say some people don’t know what to do with their money?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………