How Golf & Soccer are Providing the Template for the NFL’s Return

| June 22nd, 2020

The PGA Tour returned to action a week ago at Colonial.

European soccer seasons have restarted.

And yet Dr. Anthony Fauci sounded concerned about the possibility of the NFL arriving in September, as planned:

Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.

The NFLPA’s head medicine man was forced to respond. From a piece at PFT:

“Dr. Anthony Fauci’s words carry important weight as he has served our country with expert guidance and moral clarity through many crises,” Dr. Thom Mayer said in a statement. “As we have communicated to our players throughout the spring, we know that there are significant challenges to the operation of football during a global pandemic. So far, we have been guided and made decisions based on the best available science and current slate of infections and hospitalizations. Our joint task force is comprised of experts in multiple areas who are working everyday with health and safety in mind.

“In addition to stringent protocols and workplace safety, we continue to reinforce the importance of widely available testing. It is not just a key to restarting football, but also a matter of public health. While the information we currently have indicates it will not be an issue in the near future, we all agree that ethically, we cannot as a non-essential business, take resources away from our fellow Americans.

“We will continue to update you as we move forward through the summer.”

Let me state something out front. I not only live in New York City, the hardest Covid-hit location in the world, but I live in Woodside, Queens, just about a mile from Elmhurst Hospital, the building that saw some of the worst carnage of this virus. My friends and I have often joked (it’s called gallows humor) that we live in “Coronaville”. When antibody testing became readily available locally, everybody took the test. And I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that 75% of the men I know who took the test, tested positive for antibodies. Some of my friends got very sick. But thankfully nobody went to the hospital and had the death tube shoved down their throat.

I state this information to make it clear I understand the seriousness of this illness. And beating this illness is far more important than playing some football games. But that’s not the choice. The choice isn’t football or death. We can continue being vigilant against Covid-19 and have professional sporting contests. And that’s being proven by the two other sports that have returned to full-time action: golf and soccer.

So what can the NFL learn from these two sports? I’ll tell you.

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Trubisky Talks, But Now Enters Fight for His Football Life

| June 15th, 2020

Chicago Tribune: Mitch Trubisky confident he can win Chicago Bears job.


NBC Sports: Trubisky still feels the Bears are his team.


The Athletic: How Bears QB Mitch Trubisky is trying to reach a ‘different level’.


Chicago Sun-Times: Mitch Trubisky – Nick Foles trade left me “kinda pissed off”.

We hadn’t heard much from Mitch Trubisky since the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Scratch that, we hadn’t heard ANYTHING from Mitch Trubisky since the conclusion of his disastrous 2019 season. The protesters were getting too close and the Bears sent their beleaguered young quarterback into the bunker without his fifth-year option. By the time he returned to ground level, a former-Super Bowl MVP was sitting behind his desk.

When Trubisky met (virtually) with the press last week, he said all the things you’d expect to hear, and are referenced in the headlines above. He hasn’t given up on being the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears. He believes he can be a better player. He’s not ceding ground to well-phallused Foles. Even though his voice seems incapable of rising above a sort of aw shucks monotone, there was certainly more resolve than we’d previously heard, more determination.

Will it matter? Probably not. Trubisky’s problem has never been that he doesn’t want to be great. He’s not JaMarcus Russell. He’s not Cade McNown. Since the day he arrived in Chicago the organization – both publicly and privately – has done nothing but praise the kid’s intangibles. He’s a good person, a great teammate, a hard worker.

The problem is he’s not any good at playing quarterback.

We’ve detailed where he struggled in 2019. Reading defenses. Getting into the right protections and plays. Deciding when to keep the football and get easy first downs with his legs. Hitting wide open receivers for big plays down the field. By every conceivable evaluative metric for quarterbacks, Trubisky ranked no better than 28th in the league, and often ranked below several backups.  He was objectively bad. If he played any other position, or the Bears had a serviceable option on the roster, he would have been benched well before Thanksgiving.

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Thursday Lynx Package

| June 11th, 2020

Is there a lot going on in Bearsland? No. But here’s some interesting stuff to read.

  • Adam Jahns goes back on the hockey beat! His incredibly fun piece for The Athletic details the week of celebrating that followed the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup triumph. The opening lines set the stage: “Everyone who went to the Pony Inn in the early hours of June 10, 2010 remembers what they saw and experienced when they left the Lakeview bar. What’s still up for debate is when the party ended.” (I also have a lot to say about the string of layoffs from this particular outlet but I’ll save those out of respect for those who are now out of work.)
  • Why did Matt Nagy end the virtual off-season program early? Kevin Fishbain tells you that and more. Side note on this: most of the league did the same thing. As a buddy of mine told me via text: “There’s only so much you get done on your phone.”
  • This incredibly rare white grizzly has emerged in Banff. Why experts hope you never see it. Sometimes a headline forces your finger to push the link and that’s what happened with Alex Boyd’s piece in the Toronto Star. It’s a pretty compelling read with super Canadian passages. “The message from park officials and bear researchers alike is crystal clear: Do not seek out the bear, and if, by chance, you happen to see it, give it space.”
  • Data has already told our readers why Nick Foles will be the starting quarterback in 2020. Now, NBA coach Doc Rivers is agreeing with him. Have to be honest, his logic is pretty damn logical.
  • Brad Biggs features a ton of Jordan Lucas quotes in his piece for the Tribune, and Lucas delivers some of the most eloquent remarks on a truly difficult issues. “I really don’t think there’s anything more to explain. I think everything that has been put out there for every media consumer to see, every person on social media, I think it’s pretty easy to see what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I don’t think there’s any gray area. I don’t think there really was before, but if there was, definitely not now. We just want peace. We just want justice. We want to be treated the same way as everybody. And that’s just the cold, hard facts of the thing, you know?”



An Open Letter to George McCaskey and the Bears

| June 8th, 2020

Editor’s Note: This terrific letter was not written by me. But I agree with each and every word and was happy to attach DBB to its message.

8 June 2020

To Virginia McCaskey, George McCaskey, Ted Phillips and the Chicago Bears organization,

As lifelong Bears fans and members of the Bears community, we read the statement your franchise issued June 1 regarding the police murder of George Floyd, and we appreciate the organization’s identification of white supremacy and bad policing in Floyd’s immoral death.

Now it is time for you to say more.

George McCaskey wrote in his statement that following George Floyd’s murder, “we are witnessing the anger and frustration play out in protests across the nation, including Chicago.” He talked about addressing the murder in team meetings, and continuing the organization’s support of four Chicago community groups.

These are wonderful commitments. And listening to Akiem Hicks speak about those team meetings, which he said created “healing” in the locker room and “changed my perspective on life,” it sounds like they hit their mark for many of the players.

But a sports franchise’s statement needs to hit its mark with the public with the same tangible strength. 

The images and stories of police violence in Chicago this past week — against protesters, press and passerby — are horrific, yet not surprising. As Mayor Lightfoot noted, Chicago has a deep history of police violence, specifically against Black people. In the past week, we’ve seen an officer running over a 16-year-old girl in Roseland, officers shoving, brawling and clubbing protesters, and officers pepper spraying reporters

Then there were the officers who dragged a woman from her car Sunday afternoon in a mall parking lot, where she was shopping with friends, and beat her, kneeling on her neck.

Since protests in Chicago over Floyd’s killing began Friday, May 29, 344 complaints have been made against the Chicago Police Department, according to the head of the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, for excessive force, denial of counsel, improper search and seizure and verbal abuse.

Incredibly, one of those complaints is from Ghian Foreman, president of the Chicago Police Board, the independent civilian-led board that decides disciplinary cases involving police. Foreman’s complaint alleges that officers struck his legs with batons at least five times while he marched on 47th Street to protest police brutality.

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“I Understand What I Don’t Understand”

| June 5th, 2020

I call it The Beige Beast.

It is a beat-up 2005 Chevy Cavalier that belonged to my dead grandfather. It’s got a front right bumper hanging on for dear life. It waived goodbye to 200,000 miles on the Merritt Parkway, bringing me back from a round of golf in Danbury, Connecticut in March. It passes inspection because sometimes miracles do happen and horns do blow.

Earlier this year, before the world put the emergency break on, my theatre company was running an after school program in an Asbury Park, NJ middle school. My uncle lives a few towns over so I decided to swing by there for lunch before heading to A.P. I found myself on a back road and the thing hadn’t been paved since about 1971. When The Beige Beast hits a pot hole, it feels like a crash. The impact is jarring. I know the next pothole hit could be the kill shot so I was swerving to avoid them and that involved a shitload of swerving.

Usually I’d notice if a cop was behind me.

This time I didn’t.

Lights. Siren. Pulled over.

He scuttled up to my passenger side.

The window is broken on that side so I had to open the door to speak to him. It had to look shady.

I gave him an expired insurance card but explained that I could show him the Geico app to prove the insurance wasn’t expired, just the card. That had to SOUND shady. He took my word for it and never asked to see the app.

He asked why I was swerving and I explained my pot hole issue. He joked, “I thought you might be looking at your phone.” I said I wasn’t and was only like five minutes from my destination.

And that was it.

“Keep her straight the rest of the way,” he said. He then walked back to his cruiser and we went about our days. I told my uncle the story and I never thought about it again until the last few days.

Because I’m white.

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