Because I had asked Gregg Drinnan about any CFL scuttlebutt he might run across, he sent me an email saying that a CFL-insider had Tweeted that the league informed its players’ union that an announcement would come on June 14 and that announcement would commit the CFL to a season starting on August 5th. That would be a truncated season – – but remember that last year the CFL was dark. My response was that I hoped the announcement would be a positive one and asked if Drinnan thought the CFL could survive a second consecutive “dark year”?
Here is Greg Drinnan’s response to that query:
“I still think there will be issues getting American players over the border and into quarantine. And the stuff will hit the fan if they get Americans here and then end up with positive tests.
“I’m someone who thinks there always will be a CFL, even if we were to lose another complete season. Keep in mind that it likely wouldn’t be around in its present state (well, in its 2019 state) if not for the TV contract with TSN. But places like Winnipeg and Regina have new stadiums that need tenants. . . . I also think that in the long run this will be good for the CFL in terms of getting their financial planning back in order. In my opinion, the teams were spending too much money, especially when you consider the size of the American player pool.”
Hopefully, there will be positive news on the front coming next week …
Here in the US, Sunday Night Football is a TV-ratings monster; it has been the highest rated show on the air multiple years in a row. NBC is making a change in the coverage associated with SNF this season. NBC signed Rodney Harrison to a new 2-year deal with alterations in his duties. Previously on the studio show, Football Night in America, Harrison was in studio with his cohorts. Starting this year, he will be replaced in studio by Drew Brees and Harrison will participate and report from wherever the game site for the week happens to be. The rest of the crew for the studio show will remain intact – – Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Chris Simms and Mike Florio.
Earlier this week, there was an article on CBSSports.com with a headline that identified 4 players who should pull their names out of the NBA Draft Eligibility pool. As I have noted here before, there are almost 6 times as many players in the pool as there are draft slots to be filled. Approximately 290 of the players “in the pool” will “come up dry” so to speak. And the analysts at CBSSports.com could only identify 4 guys who should get out?
It would be interesting to try to know the motivations and the expectations of some of the players who have declared for the NBA Draft this year. I realize that for many players in college basketball, a career in the NBA has been a goal and a dream for – probably – more than a decade. I also realize that many college basketball players have been sweet-talked to in recruiting situations and in game prep situations by coaches and assistant coaches and former coaches. [Aside: I could have said the coaches had lied to the players along the line but that would be too harsh, so I chose to call it “sweet-talking”.]
The players who had declared for the Draft are 19-22 years old – generally – and most of them have never experienced the harsh reality of a candid and totally objective assessment of their playing abilities and playing potential. One can “blame the players” for having an inflated sense of self-worth here but that is unreasonable; these are barely chronological adults and deep self-awareness at that age exists in only a small fraction of humanity. [For the record, when I was 22 years old, I thought I might just win a Nobel Prize in chemistry one of those days. Yeah, right !!]
If there is indeed “blame” to be doled out here, I think it must be directed mainly toward the adults who have interacted with these young players. Most parents do not tell their kids:
“Hey, you’re really good – – but keep it in perspective kid, you’re not goanna make it as far as the NBA.”
Coaches seeking to recruit these players – or to motivate them once they are members of the coach’s team – probably do not harp on this message:
“What makes you think there are any NBA scouts here in the audience to watch you play? They have better things to do.”
I could go on and make up other “conversations” that never happened even though there may have been a time or two when sitting down with the player and trying to give him an unvarnished view of reality would have been a good and proper thing to do. If most of the players in the Draft pool can be seen as “delusional”, part of their “delusion” has been foisted upon them and reinforced by adults around them.
Just in case you think I am being too harsh on coaches who come in contact with young basketball players as they are coming through the system, let me clue you in on one high school coaching staff thatl seems to have represented the dregs of the barrel. Sweet-talking players is disingenuous and is a veiled form of self-interest on the part of the coach. Those are not admirable traits, but they are understandable behaviors given the circumstances. However, those ignoble behaviors are paragons of virtue compared to a staff of high school football coaches in Ohio who have all been fired for – allegedly to be sure:
“… forcing a player to eat pork — which goes against his religious beliefs — as punishment for missing a voluntary workout.”
Supposedly the player – who is Jewish – missed a “voluntary” workout in the team weight room. The school statement regarding the firing of the coaching staff called it a “misguided attempt to instill discipline” when the player was forced to eat an entire pepperoni pizza as his punishment. All I can say is that I suspect Rod Serling is looking down on that situation and asking himself how he missed that plot line for a Twilight Zone episode.
Finally, let me close with an observation from the noted satirist, Jonathan Swift, that may relate to those players in the NBA Draft pool who will end up undrafted:
“Happiness is the perpetual possession of being well deceived.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………