The 2020 sports universe feels like an elastic, swirling and conjoined though atomizing chaotic vortex. Full disclosure, this leaves me stumped but energized, and therefore comprehensively scatterbrained. All of this is a convoluted way to emphatically express that I cannot pick any one single topic for this week’s piece. So here are twenty five single-sentence declarations about a lot but not everything unfolding across our current sports landscape. I have – ostentatiously and ridiculously – dubbed this list my, “Twenty five for week twenty five of Twenty Twenty.”
1. #BlackLivesMatter: This is inspiring and astonishing; and I’ve never felt more optimistic about America’s overall chances at – FINALLY – making progress toward equality in sports and throughout the country.
2. NASCAR: Banning the Confederate battle flag from all tracks and infields was long overdue but a powerful and visceral gesture, and absolutely, unequivocally the best move for the sport.
3. During the English Premier League’s return, replacing every player jersey name with Black Lives Matter was a profound act of solidarity felt across the world.
4. Stephen A. Smith’s moments on First Take this week: the most provocative of his segments felt like the right kind of tough talk, the performance felt eerily similar to (These topics are not in any way the same.) the time Kyrie Irving got called out for emboldening fringe internet flat-earth theories during a post-game interview.
5. Disney: They own ESPN and so they might actually recoup some meaningful chunk of their lost theme park ticket sales.
6. The NBA: Watch out for the most completely competitive NBA playoffs in recent memory.
7. The LA Galaxy made the right call by releasing striker, Aleksandar Katai, after his wife’s racist social media comments.
8. Oklahoma State should fire Mike Gundy.
9. Dabo Swinney should feel infinitely blessed Trevor Lawrence actually knows how to lead by example.
10. LAFC: The organization launched a petition to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday – go sign it.
11. Although Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, made a massive ameliorative gesture in signing a bill that will allow state and private college athletes to earn endorsements and receive their long overdue financial compensation, to me, the man remains a symbol of backward thinking for his reluctance to follow CDC guidelines during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and his cold, bigoted comments about Andrew Gillum during their 2018 race for the Florida Governorship
12. Echoing LA Chargers head coach, Anthony Lynn’s recent comments, some NFL team should sign Colin Kaepernick this offseason because even Jameis Winston has a job in New Orleans.
13. However minor and abbreviated, Ken Griffey Junior’s part in ESPN’s “30 For 30” documentary, “Long Gone Summer” was also the best.
14. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci is right in his comments this week that MLB should not allow the playoffs to run into November.
15. Loose cannon comment: If the NCAA plays the bulk of or all of its regular football season with no fans in attendance, the Washington State University Cougar Football team will win their first PAC-12 North championship.
16. Loose cannon comment #2: The Seattle Mariners might actually make a serious run at this year’s World Series, if it happens.
17. Loose cannon comment #3: The University of Washington Husky Football team will not win more than six games this season.
18. Loose cannon comment #4: Cam Newton should just take the year off.
19. Loose cannon comment #5: The PAC-12 should fire Larry Scott, abandon plans to work with Apple TV, bring in a new conference commissioner, then partner with Amazon Prime Video to form the PAC-20, and then(!) ultimately overtake the SEC as the most prestigious and powerful conference in college football within the next decade.
20. As Ronaldo’s Juventus side fell to Napoli on penalties in Coppa Italia final, I could not help but think the Gli Azzurri triumph symbolized profound economic progress for all of Serie A and professional soccer.
21. I wish I had even just an infinitesimal dram of what I can only surmise is, ESPN’s star baseball reporter, Jeff Passan’s staggeringly high composure and patience because the man must be near, if he’s not already, crawling out of his skin, since for literal months now, he has been tolerating and reporting on nothing but the MLB ownership and MLBPA’s twisted bickering; plus some fun segments on the KBO.
22. Forthcoming: The Basketball Tournament feels like March Madness mixed with the XFL.
23. I still miss the XFL.
24. Loose cannon comment #6: The XFL will return with twice the amount of teams and games.
25. My overall feelings on Major League Baseball’s tumultuous 2020: I mean…just….WTF?