Come on in, as long as you’ve washed your hands for 20 seconds first.
I’m wrestling with the same thoughts a lot of you are. Man, this is serious. Eh, according to this guy, it’s not that bad. What are we gonna do, sit in our houses for a year? What about the economy? The media is so alarmist. Holy crap, the stories coming out of New York are bonkers. Maybe this thing is serious.
I started my radio show on Friday calling for more Dana White voices – what I call “bulldogs” – to present a more aggressive, economy-first approach to our current situation. The UFC president came out firing on a podcast last week when he said, “I don’t give a f*ck what you think, what you like, or don’t like. On April 18th, you either want to turn on the TV and watch this fight or you don’t.” White was referencing UFC 249, which he vows will happen, despite pushback from media members and fans.
After weeks of listening to panicked media personalities, cautious medical experts like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, and hysterical Twitter mobs, I was searching for someone with a take-names-and-kick-ass approach, rather than start-netflix-and-social-distance.
That was mostly about my own frustration. My girlfriend is out of work, having been furloughed from her service industry job, meaning we’re out half of our income. There are no sports, and there doesn’t look to be anytime soon (besides UFC 249). But, perhaps most frustrating to me was a perceived lack of tough conversations being had about whether the economic collapse that will follow extreme social distancing measures will be worse than COVID-19 itself. It wasn’t that Dana White’s rant addressed my concern specifically, it was that his comments could serve to open the door for mainstream conversations.
What I should’ve given more thought to is that our president is the ultimate “bulldog.” If there’s anybody in power that puts economy first, it’s the man whose main political selling point could’ve been record-low unemployment rates leading up to the 2020 election. He even tweeted this last week:
There was a moment during Sunday’s White House briefing during which Trump admitted that he’s pondered treating COVID-19 like the flu, and bulldozing through the situation while keeping the economy open like normal. He looked over at Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx with a slight smirk, and recalled their stern reaction to that idea.
If Trump, the king of deregulation, is willing to listen, and put public health over the economy after listening to the top experts in this country, I guess I can just shut up and turn on Netflix. It should be noted that after a lot of reading over the weekend, it seems that most economists agree that opening things up too early, and having to go into an even more extensive shut-down as a result, makes the risk unworthy of the potential reward.
Nevertheless, this is America, and we lead the world in innovation specifically because we can have tough discourse like this surrounding hugely important topics.
Speaking of innovation...
If this doesn’t make you proud to be American, I don’t know what will.
But, what about sports?
Mark Cuban, Mike Florio, and others suggest single-site, Olympic-style venues to finish off seasons – It is kind of silly to assume that we’d all sit on our hands for the next several months, isn’t it? The American ethos is rooted in taking action, and sports have carried the torch for American values in a way that few other institutions can. So, it’s no surprise that real conversations are starting to pick up among the most influential figures in sports for projects that would allow leagues to finish, and start, their seasons during this pandemic. Mark Cuban said on The Herd with Colin Cowherd that he’d like the NBA to take the lead on this, getting healthy players into a confined area, disinfecting them, and broadcasting games with potentially robotic cameras.
Mike Florio, founder of ProFootballTalk, suggested that the NFL sink its teeth into the reality that games may need to be played without fans this year. While Donald Trump was hopeful in his Sunday briefing that things could return to normal by May, Florio argued the inevitability of a player encountering an infected person during the season, and contracting COVID-19. It’s a great point. Even if we slow things down by May, COVID-19 isn’t going away, and with the proximity of NFL teams, if one player gets it by chance, a lot of players could get it.
So, Florio, and others, have suggested that the NFL find a centralized COVID-19-free location, and set up shop. Brilliant, but expensive. First, owners would lose lots of money without fans in their stadiums for their normally scheduled eight games. Second, the NFL would have to rent out new rooms and facilities for all its players and coaches, or build those facilities itself.
Would the NFL have the cash to do this? Presumably, yes. Its revenue is upwards of 16 billion dollars. But, would the cost of moving to or building a centralized location to play the season be greater than the expense of losing a season’s worth of TV money? I’d guess that based on the approximately $1 billion the NFL gets from each of its four major broadcasting partners, it would absolutely be worth it.
We don’t know how the NFL will play its games, but we know the draft will be held – Roger Goodell is in trouble for being a big meanie yet again after he sent this memo to teams regarding the April 23 draft date:
Once again, the NFL puts its fans ahead of its employees. Thank god. We need to keep this train moving, and if it means that teams can’t conduct their seventh psychiatric test on a cornerback they hope is still available in the 6th round, so be it. Will Steve Keim get to find out whether Dane Jackson would rather be a horse or a dog? Nope. But, will you and I find out whether the Cardinals will take CeeDee Lamb or Jedrick Wills Jr. with the 8th pick on April 23rd? Yes, and for that we are forever indebted to Goodell. Isn’t it funny? Adam Silver does anything in his power to please the NBA’s players instead of its fans, yet he’s the guy the media loves. Silver refuses to take truly punitive measures against his load-managing stars, but he’s a hero because his league is in such an ill-prepared financial spot that he and his top-100-earning executives need to take 20% pay cuts? Give me a break.
By the way, are the Cardinals seriously considering taking CeeDee Lamb with the 8th pick? - Bob McManaman thinks so, and he rarely misses on this stuff.
Steve Keim, let’s take a walk, I want to show you something.
See that? That’s your quarterback punking Baker Mayfield, who just last year was the NFL’s golden child. Why was he able to do that? Because the Browns prioritized sizzle over stability, forgetting about their offensive line, and adding Odell Beckham Jr. to an already volatile situation.
Don’t be the Browns.
Your offensive line gave up a tie for the most sacks in the NFL, and it has literally not been upgraded at all this offseason. In fact, it’s the one remaining position of need that the Cardinals have not addressed since the start of free agency.
I’m hoping that McManaman was fed some very useful disinformation, designed to entice a Jets, Raiders or 49ers to trade up for Lamb.
Where to eat: Cousins Maine Lobster – We found this place on a whim, as we were driving home on Saturday afternoon. Any chance I get to eat a lobster roll, I pounce, and I’m glad I did this time. These guys are all over the country in food trucks, and serve wild-caught, sustainably harvested Maine lobster. We found them between a Circle K and a Taco Bell, but when I bit into this thing I felt like I had just gotten off the ferry in Nantucket. Seriously, this is as fresh and delicious as lobster rolls come, and I’ve had them all over the East Coast. They also got the bun right, which should be a toasted “New England style” bun, meaning that the sides are cut off like a slice of white bread, not rounded.
They were parked off Indian School and 24th street in the Arcadia area, but they travel throughout Arizona. You can go to their website to find out where they’ll be located over the next 7 days.
That’s all for this weekend folks. We will find our way back to normalcy, and we’ll be stronger on the other side of this.