Workers at the San Antonio Food Bank on Thursday achieved an impressive feat: feeding 10,000 households (a record) via a drive-thru distribution method on the South Side. And those workers received some praise and words of encouragement from a special local sports figure. Gregg Popovich called the Food Bank on Monday to deliver a quick pep talk…
And those workers received some praise and words of encouragement from a special local sports figure. Gregg Popovich called the Food Bank on Monday to deliver a quick pep talk to the workers. The Spurs head coach lauded them for all their efforts so far and noted just how important their job is. “He said, ‘We are just entertainers playing a sport that doesn’t mean much, but you guys are serving the community,’” Food Bank president and CEO Eric Cooper said Tuesday, via the San Antonio Express-News’ Tom Orsborn. “Our staff and volunteers really appreciated it.” Workers even got a chance to ask Pop a few questions, some of which helped lighten up the mood. “Someone even asked him why he benched Timmy (Duncan) in Game 6 (of the 2013 NBA Finals against Miami), and I was like, ‘Oh, man,’” Cooper said. “But he was just a real blessing to the staff. He gave us some good insights about leadership and getting through tough times. It was cool to see.”
Twitter can be a cruel, dark place for NFL teams revealing new jerseys — just ask the Atlanta Falcons. However, the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday proved jersey reveals don’t always need to be met with a dreaded social media ratio. The Browns unveiled new jerseys inspired by the franchise’s history, particularly its iconic 1960s look.…
The Browns unveiled new jerseys inspired by the franchise’s history, particularly its iconic 1960s look. Of course, Nike overhauled the Browns’ jerseys in 2015, much to the chagrin of The Dawg Pound. And, believe it or not, reactions to the “new” threads were (mostly) positive.
When Kevin Durant chose to come to the Warriors, he chose to join an established team and locker room culture. This core — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green — had come up together, grown together, and there was already a way things were done, a way they played the game, a culture that was not going to change and bend to Durant (as opposed to how things went in, say, Brooklyn).
From the start, that seemed to lead to some friction, some culture clash.
“I tried to make a few points, saying I didn’t begrudge him for having leverage with his contract, and insisted that I had good reason to write what I wrote. KD wasn’t impressed and accused me of trying to “rile up Steph’s fans.”
He expressed that this was a constant theme in the Bay. All of us local guys just wanted to kiss Steph’s a– at his expense. This was KD’s consistent lament. He would frequently squabble in direct-message conversations with the Warriors fans of Twitter, frequently accusing them of favoring Steph at his expense.
This has led to hot takes everywhere, especially all over the ESPN talking head shows. If you care about such things, it’s easy to find out what they said on air.
I will make two points.
First, Durant was the best player on that team. Curry is unquestionably an elite, top-five NBA player whose gravity is what the Warriors built their offense around. Curry is a franchise-changing player. Durant was better, he could get buckets as well or better than Curry, and was a significantly better defender. Durant was the two-time Finals MVP for a reason, when the opposing defenses were elite and could interrupt the Warriors offense, Durant was the guy who could just get his shot one-on-one and make it work. Durant, before his injury, was the best player on the face of the earth (for my money).
Second, that was Curry’s team, culture, and city — and that was not changing. Durant had to know that walking in the door. Durant is too smart not to have known it, and chaffing against it only reinforced the image some want to give him of a whiner. Fair or not. Curry was drafted by the Warriors, developed with the Warriors, the fans grew attached to him through that process, and he gave back to the community ingratiating himself. Curry is a likable guy, someone whose public image is approachable and down to earth. Curry also won, both MVPs and a ring, with an entertaining team, all before KD arrived. Curry was always going to be the fan favorite. Always. And in the locker room, he helped set the tone long before the Warriors core got together with Durant in the Hamptons to convince him to come West.
Did it eat at Durant that some fans would never recognize him as the best player on that team? Maybe, I am not psychic and I’m not going to guess what KD is thinking. For some fans, Durant was always going to be the guy who parachuted in. How unbelievable he was as a player would never change those minds.
With the NBA “angling” to cancel its season, it’s time to look to next season, whenever that may be. If the Brooklyn Nets want to live up to their expectations and win their first-ever NBA Championship, these are the moves they must make in order to have the best chance of accomplishing that goal. Hire […]
The feeling around Woodbine Racetrack these days, other than a growing sense of despair and hopelessness, is: ‘Why them and not us?’
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns, there’s no racing at the west-end oval, so there’s no money. A great many track workers are unemployed and are struggling to pay rent, buy food, even to find a place to live. Most of them don’t make much money when they are working. Many do not have savings, nothing to fall back on, few other work skills. Some small-time trainers and owners are on the verge of financial ruin.
These aren’t the people who are working from their home offices, ordering food and booze online, and taking time out to go on social media and lecture others about social distancing and staying home.
These are people who, if they’re not at the track working, they’re busted. These are the people who are worried, deeply worried, that their industry is on the brink of collapse.
“People are scared,” said owner and horse player Tommy Massis. “People are going to go out of business.”
And yet, there are tracks in North America — Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn, Will Rogers Downs, for instance — as well as tracks in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong that are up and running and functioning somewhat normally, with strict social distancing in place and with no spectators in the stands. Grooms, hot walkers, trainers, jockeys and owners at these tracks are making money and staying afloat.
At Woodbine, people are desperate for racing to begin. Desperate to work. Desperate for, at the very least, an opening date they can focus on. The 2020 thoroughbred season at Woodbine was set to begin on April 18. That’s been postponed indefinitely. As of now, only essential workers are allowed at the Woodbine backstretch, to care for the horses.
Nobody wants to put other people in danger and spread the COVID-19 virus. But for some track people on the brink of financial collapse, there’s a growing feeling that the cure is as bad as the disease, particularly if there are steps that can be taken to limit the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. Already, workers arriving at the backstretch have their temperature taken and go through a series of health checks.
“The fact that Gulfstream and Oaklawn and Tampa are still going, how does that work?” asked prominent Woodbine trainer Julia Carey. “Why can’t we operate in the same way that Gulfstream does? Everyone is fine. Everyone’s making money. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for the city. The government doesn’t have to support these people.
“(Workers) are there anyway (caring for the horses in the backstretch), there’s only a few people extra that would be coming to work (when racing begins) and they could easily work in an isolated environment where they wouldn’t be contaminating each other in any work. It could work. It has worked,” Carey added.
“When you look at the situation in the U.S. and our situation here in Ontario, the two don’t look comparable, yet the tracks in the U.S. are fighting through (the COVID-19) and some smaller tracks are even taking advantage of the situation in the sense that their daily handle are at numbers never seen,” added Kevin Attard, another prominent trainer at Woodbine. “And we’re here wondering, when?
“We are all dependent on the income derived from winning purse money. Our local horse people based here in Ontario have not seen racing since last December. That’s a long time of just paying bills to keep these horses healthy. With the uncertainty of when we will be racing still to be determined, it’s having an enormous affect financially and emotionally,” Attard added.
Horse racing is a professional sport that doesn’t benefit from lucrative TV contracts and there’s no promise of a big-money payout from a network when the next season begins. If there’s no racing, there’s no betting and there’s no money. Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson is desperate for racing to begin and he’d love to be able to announce a start date for the 2020 season. But he believes it’s wrong to throw out a random date and give people false hope when he has to wait for the city and the province to decide when the lockdowns will be lifted.
“For now, we all have to sit tight and try to patient and understanding,” said Lawson. “When the state of emergency is lifted, we can start planning in detail. We are going to be completely guided by health professionals and directives as to what might be possible.”
Opening the track again is not an easy undertaking. Deals have to be reached with all sorts of workers not employed by Woodbine but are necessary for the operation of racing, such as stewards and drug testers.
One thing that scares people in the horse racing industry – and it makes the current situation even tougher to bear -— is that a lot people don’t care if the sport dies. Horse racing has been plagued with problems for years, most recently doping scandals and far too many horses dying under mysterious circumstances at some U.S. tracks in the last year. Many people would love to see the sport go the way of the Dodo Bird.
“With a lot of people, there’s a little bit of distaste (about the sport),” said Carey. “They’ve got the PETA people going around saying how cruel we are. A lot of people couldn’t care less. But (horse racing) is huge. And it’s been around since the dawn of time.”
Major League Baseball still is going to honor Jackie Robinson on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day, despite the league postponing its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Every year on April 15, the day Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB, players wear his No. 42 across the league. He is the only player to…
Major League Baseball still is going to honor Jackie Robinson on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day, despite the league postponing its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Every year on April 15, the day Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB, players wear his No. 42 across the league. He is the only player to have his number retired by the league. Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera was the last player to wear it. But the league had to get creative with no games being played, and it found the perfect way to honor the legend. MLB Network will air “Robinson-related games and programming” beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET and ending at 10 p.m.
Ray Allen’s departure from the Boston Celtics wasn’t exactly a smooth one. To this day, he’s in a feud with certain members of the 2008 and 2010 finals teams, specifically Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. And according to Allen, his beef with Boston goes even beyond that. Allen chronicled what led to his…
President Donald Trump is looking to restart the United States’ economy as soon as possible as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to consume the country. And he’s looking for some help from the sports field to help do so. President Trump has tasked a group of professional sports leaders to help get the U.S. economy back…
President Donald Trump is looking to restart the United States’ economy as soon as possible as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to consume the country. And he’s looking for some help from the sports field to help do so. President Trump has tasked a group of professional sports leaders to help get the U.S. economy back on track, per The Hill. Those tapped for the panel include the following: — NBA commissioner Adam Silver — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman — PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan — LPGA commissioner Michael Wahn — USTA president Patrick Galbraith — MLS commissioner Don Garber — NASCAR vice chairwoman Lesa France Kennedy — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — UFC president Dana White — WWE chairman and chief operating officer Vince McMahon — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird were not included on the panel. “We need to get our sports back,” Trump said Tuesday at his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House. “I’m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old.” This new panel will be separate from the administration’s current coronavirus task force, which is tackling the country’s plan of attack and mitigation methods surrounding the recent outbreak. Trump says he will consult the new panel over the phone, though it’s unclear what exactly the scope of the project is. That said, we’re sure news like this is music to sports fans’ ears.