The Brooklyn Nets finally acted decisively with their star guard Kyrie Irving when they told him if he does not get vaccinated against Covid-19 he is not going to be on the team.
Earlier, Nets head coach Steve Nash had foolishly indicated Irving would play in arenas where unvaccinated players were allowed to play. Right now, New York and San Francisco are the only cities that do not allow unvaccinated athletes to compete in indoor facilities, but Toronto is on the verge of joining them.
Irving’s reasons for not getting the Covid vaccine remain cryptic, to say the least, but it is in keeping with his brand of always marching to his own drummer. Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins said he was concerned about the vaccine’s effect on his future health, which is understandable, even to those like me who see vaccinations as the only way to eradicate this virus which has upended our lives. For the last two years, Irving said something incomprehensible about standing up for the voiceless.
Wiggins last week relented and got the vaccine. He admitted he did so because he knew his NBA career was in jeopardy since he is a marginal player at this point. Irving is in a stronger position since he is one of the NBA’s elite players when his mind is focused on basketball.
Most Nets fans are hoping Irving will get the vaccine so he can help the team in its quest to win an NBA championship. My guess is that even if he got the shots, he would find other reasons to miss games that would have nothing to do with physical injury.
The New York Yankees appeared to be sending a message to manager Aaron Boone by dismissing both the team’s hitting coach, Marcus Thames, and third base coach Phil Nevin, who may have sealed his fate when he instructed Aaron Judge to try to score from third base in the American League Wild Card game. Judge was out by a mile and that was all she wrote for the Yankees 2021 season.
The San Diego Padres, who are in the market for a manager, were interested in speaking with Boone. On Tuesday, the Yankees announced they signed Boone to a three-year deal, figuring he would be snapped up if they let him go. As Mets fans will tell you, finding a good manager isn’t easy.
Ironically, the Boston Red Sox may have helped both Boone and his equally beleaguered boss, general manager Brian Cashman, by upsetting the Tampa Bay Rays, who easily won the 2021 AL East division title, in the American League Division Series.
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The annual Sports Business Journal World Congress of Sports conference returned to New York for the first time in years last week. As always, movers and shakers were in attendance.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted he is worried younger fans lack the patience to enjoy watching an entire basketball game, as many prefer just watching game highlights. Most television executives whose networks have broadcasting rights deals with the National Football League have made similar complaints about the NFL’s Red Zone cable channel for that very same reason. They feel Red Zone erodes their ratings.
Silver’s Major League Baseball counterpart, Rob Manfred, admitted regional sports networks, especially those run by ultra-conservative Sinclair Broadcasting, have taken on too much debt. These local sports broadcasting cable outlets, known in the business as RSNs, had a license to print money not so long ago. Cable cord-cutting has severely hurt their bottom line.
Ageless St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright appears to be headed to both the National Baseball Hall of Fame and to a broadcasting booth when he decides to hang up his cleats. Fox Sports hired him as an analyst for the recent Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros American League Division Series. Wainwright not only provided insight on pitching, but he displayed a profound good sense.
The New York Giants were manhandled by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, 38-11. Giants QB Daniel Jones had suffered a concussion the previous week in Dallas, and he wasn’t cleared to practice with the team until 48 hours before the game. There was absolutely no reason for Jones to play on Sunday for a variety of reasons, with his long-term health being paramount. I would have written this even if he had the game of his career on Sunday.