S1: The following podcast includes explicit language, in other words, Margaret a little blue in here, hope you can handle it.
S2: Hi, I’m Josh Levin Slate’s national editor and this is Hang Up and listen for the week of June. Twenty, twenty, twenty one. On this week’s show, we’re going to talk about Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib decision to come out becoming the first active NFL player ever to do so. We also discussed Chris Paul, Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton, Paul, George Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chris Middleton, Trae Young, some of them being there are still alive in the NBA playoffs at the time. I’m recording this and finally we’ll take a tour through the week in Sports Idiocy with stops at the Tour de France in the College World Series. Please join us, won’t you? I’m in Washington, D.C. I’m the author of The Queen, the host of One of the Slow Burns and the new podcast One Year. The Trailer is out today. Team, I’ll get through this quickly so you can go and listen to it. Also in DC, Stefan Fatsis, author of the book Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic. A Stefan which year? One year, 1977, July 8th. Wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you, Stefan.
S3: It’s a good year. I remember that year. You guys don’t remember that year,
S2: Yankees, et cetera. Correct? Probably not covered in the podcast, but that’s that’s an unspoken overlay. Just think about that with us from Palo Alto, Slate staff writer, host of Florentines and Trae and the upcoming slow burn season six. No trailor yet. It’s Joel Anderson. We’re in on that trailer for the trailer.
S1: Yeah, well, if you guys can hold on another three or four months, they’ll be, what, eventually? OK, yeah. Give we’ll give one year of the spotlight for the time. Let’s let people just have enough time to sort of, you know, savor that. I think it’s a slow burn. Six. That’s right.
S3: Until last week, defensive end Carl Nassib of the Los Vegas Raiders was probably best known for a scene in the HBO series Hard Knocks, in which he explains the magic of compound interest to a group of astounded Raiders teammates. Now he’ll forever be known as an NFL pioneer, the first player to come out as gay while playing in the league. Nassib, who is twenty eight and entering his sixth year in the NFL, made the announcement in a one minute video posted to Instagram. Let’s listen to the whole thing.
S4: Lots of people. I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house here in Westchester, Pennsylvania. Just want to tell you a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life. I got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, you know, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate. And I’m going to start by donating one hundred thousand dollars to the Trevor Project. They’re an incredible organization. They’re the number one suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America. And they’re truly doing incredible things. And I’m very excited to be a part of it to help in any way that I can. And I’m really proud to see what the future holds beyond Carl.
S3: Nassib is very large and verdant backyard and the birds chirping. What’s striking to me about the video is how something so powerful that could have an enormous impact on huge numbers of people feels so casual. I don’t know Carl Nassib Joel, but he seems like a good dude with both the on field talent and the disarming and congenial personality to handle whatever scrutiny might come from being the first out active NFL player. Or maybe there won’t be much scrutiny. What do you think?
S1: I do think that there will be a little bit of scrutiny, a little bit of attention. You know, probably when he gets back to training camp, when the season starts, they’ll be, you know, the sort of news stories that you’d expect just sort of covering his journey, how his team treats and, you know, how the front office treats them, that sort of stuff. I think that’ll probably be congratulatory. You know, people will be very proud of themselves for being as accepting as they are. And then the real challenge will start. Will he feel integrated within his locker room still? Will he get more opportunities? Like let’s just say that the Raiders cut him for whatever reason because he’s an average football player. That means he’s great. I mean, the fact that he’s an average NFL player means he’s actually a great football player. But it doesn’t mean that he has career stability in the way that, like Aaron Rodgers or somebody does. Right. So let’s see like what other opportunities he gets when his contract comes to the end with the Raiders. And let’s see if he gets any opportunities in football after. And I think that’s sort of the thing that struck me. And if you listen to today’s episode of What Next, they interviewed Dave Kopay, who was the first football player to come out. I think he came out after his career was over, though, and he mentioned that he wanted to. Get into coaching. He wasn’t able to do that and had to get into the family business, and I think that’s one of the things that, like people sort of forget that it’s not just about football is your playing career, but a big part of it. Is that how you stay attached to the game afterward? And I think it’s really crucial to look at some of the players who’ve come out as gay after their careers are over and whether or not they’ve been able to make a living for themselves within the game. And I can’t think of that many. I’m sure there are some, but they may not be open or they may not be openly gay or they may never come out. And I think that that says a little something about what the culture is like within the NFL. So I think it’s too early to tell. I think that he’ll probably play a little ball early and will be really excited about it and then, like, the rubber will have to meet the road. But Josh, I don’t know, maybe maybe I’m a little pessimistic. I don’t know.
S2: The thing that was so striking to me about the video besides the backyard, as you so aptly pointed out, Stefan was the really studied way in which he was casual. He talked about in interviews how he’d been thinking about doing this since he was a teenager. And so that. What was that? What’s up? Just wanted to say just wanted to take a second to say I’m gay. Like, it wasn’t just what’s up? Just wanted to take a second to say I’m gay and Joel. I mean, this wasn’t Michael Sam’s coming out announcement, but I was reminded of the contrast of the draft night video where Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on national television and what a huge moment that was and just how different this was and how clear it was to me, how stage managed this was to make him seem, quote unquote, normal and non-threatening. And what’s up, guys? I’m just your NFL pal Carl like I’m not any different. And so there is something really powerful about that. But Stefan, I could definitely tell that this was a guy who felt like he needed to stay within a certain lane and a certain box and maybe that’s the lane that he feels most comfortable in. It seems like he’s not a guy who wants to call a lot of attention to himself. And so maybe that is what will allow him to succeed and thrive in the NFL. But this did not. Yeah, this casualness did not seem casual to me.
S3: Maybe Carl Nassib just felt like casualness was the right approach. That’s the message he wanted to convey. His personality certainly indicates that he doesn’t want this to become the defining characteristic of who he is, even though it will, of course. And he knows that contrast it without two women athletes came out this week, Shikari Richardson thanked her girlfriend offhandedly after making the Olympics. That was it. And Cumi Yokoyama of The Washington Spirit, who plays for Japan’s women’s soccer team, came out as a transgender man. They made the announcement in a video.
S1: Yeah, I mean, there is something to be said for, like, you know, the climate around sports. Right. And it does appear that people are becoming a tad more accepting. And I’m sure that it’s much better to grow up identifying as LGBTQ in twenty twenty one as opposed to like nineteen ninety one. Right. But that doesn’t mean that all the hurdles have been close. And you know, I vividly remember this because I covered Michael Sam when he was coming into the NFL in 2014 and everybody was sort of congratulating themselves. You know, he won the Oscar award for the Spurs. He was hailed as a hero. And then within two years, he wasn’t a professional football player anymore. And I know that there are a lot of people that think that he wasn’t a very good football player. And in fact, I heard from former NFL players that hit me up over the weekend after I was tweeting about it to say, oh, he wasn’t really good. You know, he wasn’t a very good player and it had nothing to do with, you know, him being gay. But actually, I think to me that that’s sort of a tale that people were so defensive about, the idea that maybe the NFL is not one hundred percent meritocratic and quite as accepting as people think it is. And, you know, to that point, it says something that is twenty, twenty one. And this is the first player that is an active NFL player that has felt comfortable enough to come out and say, I don’t think that people should be any less diligent. We should not be resting on our laurels here. Now that Carl Nassib has done the hard work of coming out, it’s up to everybody else to hold the NFL accountable and see that there that there’s something beyond their rhetoric, that there’s something beyond, you know, offhanded tweets about, oh, yeah, we’re so proud of you. We’re ready to accept you, blah, blah, blah. Like I mean, the real work is to come now. And I guess we’ll just find out how committed they are to that.
S2: You mentioned Michael Sam and him not being in the NFL anymore or not. Getting the chance to really be in it very much in the first place, and it’s very reminiscent of how when Colin Kaepernick started to kneel suddenly he wasn’t a good quarterback anymore. And the bigger towel on that, I mean, I think there’s honestly no argument to make that Kaepernick shouldn’t be in the NFL on merit. But like, there’s even a worse argument that Eric Reid shouldn’t be in the NFL. I mean, the dude was like one of the best safeties in the NFL, was playing in an incredibly high level. And then suddenly, once he supports Kaepernick and starts kneeling, he’s not good enough to be in the NFL either. And it is extremely common for people who have never heard of Carl Nassib, who have never watched him play to all of a sudden be like in that guy’s not that good. Or, as you said, Joel. Maybe we’ll look at his stats this year and say they’re only playing him because they want the good publicity. I mean I mean, these are things that will be inevitable. And it is fascinating to me that the NFL just clearly thinks this is a very positive thing for its image, tweeting out congratulations, tweeting out a video saying kind of remarkably like football is gay. Why lesbian, beautiful, queer life culture, transgender, promoting the Trevor Project. I mean, this is the National Football League. I mean, that’s that’s amazing. It is amazing that should be celebrated. But what is the institution of professional football going to support this guy? Again, the great point the Joel made on a day to day basis when there is not a public service announcement, what are the kind of rank and file players? What are the coaches? And I know that not to play into stereotypes, but football coaches. I mean, come on. You know what I’m talking about.
S1: I mean I mean, they’re overpaid gym coaches. I mean, you know what I mean? Like, I mean I mean, we’re not talking about a bastion of aggressiveness among coaches. I don’t know that
S3: I’m going to push back a little bit and say that there are a lot of assistant coaches on NFL staffs who are in their 20s and 30s who are more progressive. You know, you’re in locker rooms, Joel. In my short time in an NFL locker room 15 years ago, 15 summers ago, it would not have shocked me if players were not wholly supportive of a player who decided to come out. I think that we underestimate the progressiveness of the NFL workforce overall. And I think that the sort of steps that the NFL has taken in the last week, issuing a statement from Goodell putting out this this video, which has it’s just white lettering on a black background. There’s no voiceover. There’s some music and an occasional cheer in the background for the audio track. But that was a remarkable thing. And I do think that will have some trickle down in as much as it is an institutional message to teams and front offices that this is something that is not a big deal that we need to support.
S2: So you believe that that’s more sincere than, for instance, the messages in the end zone about racial equality? You’re more willing to believe this than that?
S3: I am more willing to believe that this is easier in some ways for NFL teams to deal with, because ease is all front offices really care about NPR, but I think
S2: they were genuinely progressive, not that they just cared about
S3: is. Well, I’m talking about players being progressive, not necessarily the teams, but I think in this case, the teams do have an incentive to just sort of say this is no big deal and we support these causes. I don’t think this is a big lift, whereas I do think that because of the national conversation about race and about policing, that was more fraught for these leagues. You know, what is it like? 70 percent of the American public in surveys now support gay marriage. This is a safer bet for the league in terms of its fan base. Carl Nassib has a 16 and a half million dollars guaranteed on his contract. This is not an easy cut for the Raiders. He is a productive player. He’s not a superstar. But they signed him to a three year, twenty five million dollar contract with more than 16 guaranteed he is an established player and that makes a difference to,
S1: well, Stefan. I think the thing is, is that I do agree that we often underestimate players in this equation that they have played with and know of players within their own locker rooms that are, of course, right. But I mean, I think it’s. Something that, like only one player that has been an active NFL player has felt comfortable enough to come out like to me, that’s the.
S2: I was going to say the exact same thing, like, shouldn’t we be listening to what we’re not hearing from all the gay players that are certainly in the NFL? Like they must know something. I mean, some of it Joel it must be fear. And we know that fear isn’t always 100 percent rational. But if it was this unbelievably progressive and safe environment, then this wouldn’t have been the first guy like this to ever happen. And also, like JJ, what sent a nice message Nassib Penn State teammates say one, Barkley said nice message. There weren’t that many players that did that like
S3: his teammates did. But you’re right where the story starts. I didn’t see Tom Brady,
S2: Tom Brady, whereas whereas this was not an overwhelming response in the way that it might have been.
S1: Well, think about it, too. I mean, there are no coaches that we know of that are openly gay. There are no general managers that we know that openly gay, not no owners that we know that. OK, you know what I mean? Like, I mean, I feel like there’s still so many levels to this where people either they are and don’t feel comfortable enough to come out within this culture. Right. Or, you know, like I guess maybe they were just waiting on somebody else to to do it and come forward. Or maybe it’s so maybe it’s part of the culture already with the NFL and there are gay people that are on staffs up and down the front offices or whatever, and we just don’t know about it.
S2: But maybe they’re supported by like a number and not on Twitter the way that we would say.
S1: Yeah, but I just kind of feel like the fact that, like you said, Josh, that this is absence, absence of public support so far, sort of to me as a tell it like I said, the fact that, like, a guy couldn’t come out until twenty twenty one, in spite of the fact, because you said Stefan, that 70 percent of people say that they support gay marriage. Right. But I don’t think that that has to mean anything. And I also think that, like, when people ask you a question on a survey that’s totally different, then, oh, do I want my teammate to be gay or do I want to shower next to a guy that is gay? And I think that, like, if you dig into that and people are actually honest, I mean, what did
S3: you guys expect? I mean, did you want, like a full blown press conference? I mean, isn’t this the right way for something like this to be handled when an athlete is comfortable making a statement and doing it in in their own way? I mean, Jim Buzinski writing in Outsports said that, you know, he noted that there was a planned nonchalance to this, that this announcement was made. And he wrote The dead part of the off season six weeks before training camp, late in the work day on the East Coast, without fanfare. Even the Raiders players reactions were positive, but with a sense of a shrug, meaning this was not going to be the dreaded locker room distraction. I mean, yeah, it’s not training camp and it gives the team and Nassib teammates a Nassib himself, you know, a few months to work the room and get adjusted to it and plan for what’s going to happen when players return to Kamp. So I said a few months, I mean a few weeks. But isn’t this the way that this should be done? I mean, did we expect no particular way?
S2: It should be done. It should be done. However, anybody wants to do it.
S3: Exactly. And this was the reason why. Wasn’t why, why?
S1: Why the NFL hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt. That’s what I guess what we’re saying. Right, that like, OK, like, you know, there’s a response or not a response or not enough of a response or too much of a response to whatever the response is, would it is right now. And we’re just saying, let’s just hold off, because the NFL hasn’t done anything to show that it actually is like an ally to the LGBT community. What else would
S3: you like the NFL to do?
S2: Here’s what I would say also that back to the Michael Sam thing, and I invoked your name Joel, because you wrote a great BuzzFeed feature about Michael Sam and his family that people should read if they haven’t. But I feel like he paid the price for kissing his boyfriend. And I feel like, again, maybe Carl, Nassib wants to announce this in a way that makes him feel or look really safe and normal. But like, you know, JJ, what is like sharing his wedding photos and all of the summer of Aaron Rodgers is just like him, you know, cavorting around with Shailene Woodley in Hawaii and whatever. So there’s just a way in which Carl Nassib has to be that straight. NFL players have the freedom to do whatever they want and present themselves however they want. And so I don’t think that the NFL is there yet for gay players. And I also feel like it’s going to be really hard for a Carl Nassib to navigate this as somebody who was just I think he just. Did a great job in that video being like I’m just like a normal football dude, but also here’s one hundred thousand dollars for the Trevor Project, like he’s going to feel and want to be this role model, an ally for all of the people for whom this is going to be so important that he exists and is out and proud. But he also is not going to want to be like the gay NFL guy who and the only thing that people know, and that must be just incredibly hard to to navigate that is somebody who wants to fit in. But as the only player, like, how is he going to possibly be able to do that and also do the work and the service that he clearly wants to do.
S3: I mean, a lot of the players, the most of the players that have come out after retirement have gone on to be active in LGBTQ areas. Esera Tuaolo, Wade Davis. I mean, almost all the NFL players that have that have come out have made it a part of their lives. And Carl Nassib is just saying, I’m going to make it part of my life. Now, will it be difficult for him? He must anticipate that. I’m also sure that he talked to his teammates and he talked to the Raiders front office. This didn’t happen in a vacuum. And part of that plan nonchalance was the preparation, the groundwork that he had to have laid with his employers and his teammates to try to make sure that this is done in a way that everyone would feel comfortable with. You know, and in terms of like, well, the burden on him, he’s accepting that burden because he is the first you know, he said in that video, I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, he’s going to do what he wants to do to cultivate a better place.
S1: I’ll just bring up one more one more player. I’m not going to say his name. It was from not long after the Michael Sam situation. And I’m not going to say his name because it’s just a little uncomfortable. And I don’t know, you know, we can’t confirm a lot of this, but there was a top NFL safety. I think the pro football focus had him ranked like the fourth best strong safety in the NFL in the off season. There were pictures of him holding a man in a way that suggested that they were in a romantic relationship on some sort of tropical vacation. He never played in the NFL again and he just disappeared. And you can probably look it up if you want to look this guy’s name up. But I’m very dubious of the NFL. And I mean, there’s still blackballing Colin Kaepernick. Eric Reed still can’t get a job. That guy disappeared from the NFL. I’m happy for Carl Nassib look forward to him playing well and football and potentially becoming an activist and a leader for so many other LGBTQ youth. But the NFL is the wild card here, and they haven’t done anything to prove that we should trust them or that they’re going to do right by that guy. And that’s, you know, I guess we’ll find out. They’ll have to their deeds are going to have to back up their words regardless
S3: of what the NFL does. What Carl Nassib did is incalculably important for LGBTQ people, for kids, for athletes who are unlikely or less likely to to play because of their fears. So this was a huge moment in sports. And I think we should focus on Carl Nassib rather than the NFL.
S2: Next up, the NBA playoffs. As of Monday morning, the Phoenix Suns are one win away from making it to the NBA finals of three games to one over the wireless Clippers. And in the east, the Milwaukee Bucks won Atlanta on Sunday night, taking a two to one series lead over the Hawks. Let’s start with that Eastern Conference series, because Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young are two extremely different players who are very similar in one important way. They both at times have been harshly criticized for having enormous holes in their games when they could keep their teams from winning a title. It would be unfair to say the Giannis can’t shoot, but by the standards of NBA MVP, the guy really cannot shoot. And it would be unfair to say that Trae Young can’t play defense. Well, actually, that was more than fair for a very long time, but he seems to be somewhat better now. We’re nice people. So let’s go back to the good stuff Stefan. As we’ve seen in the series, both guys are amazing at almost everything that a basketball player can do. So what do you see when you watch them play?
S3: I see the thing that’s common to superstar athletes. They do things all the time that look like aberrations and they do them seemingly without effort. I love Giannis first and foremost because he’s Greek and like my other Greek crush Stefan City bus, he exudes a goofy earnestness and in a sense that I find really endearing. I mean, did you see that video the other day of Giannis? Making fun of himself was delightful. Giannis doesn’t seem tough enough to be great, to be as great as he is. And then he drives the lane and like half a step or changes his mind midair and switches from a finger roll to a dunk. And come on, Josh with the. He can’t shoot, he can’t shoot threes. Well yeah but he barely takes any and he doesn’t need to. He’s going through some weirdness from the free throw line. Yeah. But not like Ben Simmons. And so in my Giannis defense mode here in the last seven games Giannis is averaging thirty three points and twelve rebounds with more than respectable conventional and advanced shooting metrics. The last like sixty years for players of average more than thirty and ten in ten playoff games in a year. Kareem, Hakeem, Shaq and Giannis. So come on, he’s unbelievable. And Trae Young is kind of the opposite. I think less joy and humility than the impression that he’s saying fuck you all the time and does stuff like those floaters in the lane that look like they should be stoppable. But obviously, Avent Trae Young is the annoying dude that you want on your team and can’t stand watching when he’s on the other team because he’ll get under your skin. Joel, we should talk some more about Giannis for Trae Young is proving that he’s much more than a volume shooter. Is he just getting better? Who does he remind you of?
S1: Well, you know, I watch Trae in college in that one season in Oklahoma was a revelation, right, to be as productive as he was. Even then, it was hard to see how you wouldn’t have an impact in the NBA. And the comparisons to Steph seemed inevitable. Steph Curry for people who are referring to. But the comparisons to Steph seemed inevitable because of his physique and his audacity. But I actually compare him most to James Harden in that he’s not a particularly accurate shooter, but his usage is mitigated by the fact that he’s always getting to the free throw line and at critics use that against him like they think that he’s like exploited some loophole in the game by like drawing fouls and people get pissed at him or whatever.
S3: But got you’re an apologist for drawing those fouls.
S1: Yeah, no, I think that’s great. Look, I think this is I don’t have a problem with that. I think that’s a style and ethics argument, but not one about effectiveness or efficiency. And until the refs adjust their calls, then that’s exactly what Trae Young should be doing. I like that I rooted for it when James Harden did it, and I like it now that Trae Young is doing it. It maybe you guys can can tell me if I’m right or wrong here. I’m going to say we and I acknowledge that I haven’t and won’t set any real boundaries for who’s included in that group. But I think that I’m talking about media from like Skip Bayless to like beat writers. It’s the athletic that people are way too critical of NBA stars for their on court play. Like, I mean, these guys are incredible. Like but the thing is, is during the playoffs, all of their weaknesses get magnified. And then we focus on something like Giannis, Chris, shoot TREIS. Not great at defense, but like, dude, they’re playing against not only the best athletes in the world, but the best of the best in high stakes competition. And so, of course, the weakness, like a course, is going to be more difficult for Giannis to hit. Threes, of course, is going to be more difficult for Trae Young to stay in front of his. You know, this
S2: is because he’s facing the toughest competition. There’s nobody within five feet of him type. I take your point, but I’ve got to push back on him. He’s also shooting airballs on three Stefan and and at the free throw line. The thing that’s so incredible about Giannis is that he can look so mortal and bad. And these. Isolated moments and yet be so great and unstoppable and awesome when he’s at his best, which is that he’s normally at his best, you know, what I said in the introduction was that there is always and this is getting right at the point that you just made Joel there’s this kind of obsession with like figuring out the thing that’s wrong with everyone who’s great and the reason why they won’t succeed. And there’s usually a kind of narrative around, oh, LeBron lost in the finals to the Mavericks and then he got a better jump shot and post game. So then they won. But it seems possible, less so for the Hawks. But like it seems possible that the Bucs will win the title. And Giannis isn’t going to figure out how to become a great jump shooter by the time they make it to the NBA finals, if they make it. And that doesn’t that just speak even more to his greatness than a player who is so flawed because he is so unflawed in other ways? Like what could be more impressive than that in some sense? I know you agree with me, Stefan.
S3: I totally agree with you. I mean, Giannis does things on the court at will that just you can’t believe. I mean, I think part of it for me is like the personality thing. I mean, because he does feel like, you know, I see him as the eighteen year old that came into the NBA that couldn’t speak English and was skinny and gawky. And the way this guy and he’s only twenty six has evolved and grown in the sport is amazing. I mean, he’s got another potentially, you know, ten years in this league. And if we’re criticizing the fact that he, you know, only shoots 30 percent from beyond the arc and he only does it four or five times a game, I mean, who gives a shit? Maybe he’ll get better. Maybe as free throw shooting will return to seventy five percent, which it was earlier in his career. But these are, you know, like you said, Josh. These are things that we pick at that are ultimately given how well the bucks seem to be playing and how the bucks have other pieces around Giannis that have that are helping to carry the team to seem kind of irrelevant right now.
S2: So two quick things about the East before I move us to the west. The thing that’s so interesting to me about Trae Young is that when you watch him, the things he does feel so remarkable and feel like they should be singular, but he is in fact so similar to Steph Curry and Damian Lillard like. And it just makes me wonder if in five or ten years they’re going to be even more of these guys who are doing things that now just seem like they shouldn’t be legal, that are just so crazy, pulling up from 30 and doing the side step threes and the step backs and that all of the floaters that he does to it seems like if you had told me like twenty years ago, if somehow you had been able to show me these highlights and told me that there is a guy doing the stuff, I was like, well, there’s there’s obviously not going to be anyone else like that in the NBA is doing those things. And then the other thing is the Bucs supporting cast had been so disappointing in recent playoffs and Khris Middleton has just been so good. And it’s just funny to me to imagine a world in which Khris Middleton is actually acknowledged as like the superstar that he has because he just seems like the guy based on like his manner and his style of game that just like needs to be underrated by America. That’s just like what we do. But I guess he’s like a Rip Hamilton type. Maybe my guy got some respect when the when the Pistons won their their title. So maybe he will Tiafoe in the West, the Suns are up three one. Paul George Joel is like maybe the guy you were thinking of when you’re talking about people nit picking star players. And to me he wasn’t now.
S1: No, I mean, I think all all of them get picked, but continue with Kirsan
S2: and I here’s an analogy that occurred to me. I mean, if you think this is true, Paul, George is like the second best hand in poker. He’s so good. He’s just good enough to get you beat. And it’s never good to have the second best hand because you’re, like, going all in with that second best hand and then somebody just comes over the top of you at the end. Like, I think that at least in this moment feels like, sadly, Paul George’s lot in life, where he’s just a great NBA player, he’s just one tier below the super great players, even like his teammate Kawhi Leonard. Do you feel like that? And I don’t mean that as a criticism of him. I just think it’s and part of it could just be circumstance that’s just like it’s happened to him that he’s like missed some key free throws and shots and things like that. But I’m trying to make that happen, Paul. Or does the second best poker hand?
S1: I don’t I’ve never played poker before and don’t know how to play poker, so I’ll have to accept that analogy. I do think that I both feel bad for Paul George, that he gets criticized in this way. But I also think that he has to own some of that because, I mean, I don’t know the genesis of the play off his nickname, but I assume it came from him. It’s like a
S2: podcast, Jay, and you just have a bad press
S1: just like that idea. Yeah, right. Exactly. So, I mean, I just feel like it’s kind of an unfortunate nickname. And he’s not I mean, when he started off early in his career and he was with the Indiana Pacers and they really challenged those, you know, LeBron James Heat teams, everybody thought, oh, wow, this guy’s like amazingly talented. He’s going toe to toe with LeBron and almost knocked off those Heat teams twice in the playoffs. So you’ve got a
S2: couple years earlier in your career to, like, lose impressively before you start getting mad at you.
S1: Yeah, and see, that’s the thing, man. I think because I just was saying this stuff afflicts every NBA star, and that’s a lot of the reason I became a LeBron James fan, chief among them. Besides the racism unleashed post decision, was this narrative about him not being clutch, about him not being MJ, not being Kobe. And it all seems so reductive and stupid. And we do this in one way or another with all of our superstars like Magic Johnson was called Tragic Johnson. Michael Jordan was too much of a ball hog to ever be a champion. Shaq was too distracted with Hollywood and rapping to commit himself to the game. LeBron wasn’t was oh,
S2: I don’t know, he was distracted by. But he admittedly came to training camp out of shape. But that’s it. Yeah, we want to we don’t want to get off track here.
S1: He was still great. It’s really great. It’s still a great
S2: to defend him to the end of the end of the
S1: year. Exactly. Katy was unreliable. CP three is too much of a scold and beholden only to his fill of the game. James Harden is too selfish. We do this with everybody. Right? And so like Paul, George is just getting his it just happens to be that like he nicknamed himself playoff and so that his failures and his shortcomings of that much more glaring
S2: failure of branding Stefan.
S3: That’s why I love Giannis I’m going to go back to Giannis because I think we’re on the edge. We’re on the west. Oh, no, no. I’m going back to Giannis crystal ball. I wanted to say that. I’m going to say now is that so? The fans have been on him and it’s been very entertaining when he goes to the foul line and people are doing a fast count down or count up for how many seconds he’s taking. A lot of it seems to bother him. He’s lovely. He’s adorable. Yeah.
S1: Yeah. I mean, he is he’s he’s a lovely guy. I you know, James Harden made that criticism of him that he has no skill. People get really upset if they think that you have some sort of ill gotten gains. This is like, oh, you just dunk. And that’s all you do is like with shit. Why would you do anything else if you can’t dunk and you can overpower people with your athleticism? Is that like Giannis came into the Giannis came into the league and was like this massive physical force, like he was a fairly skinny kid, like he worked for that body. So if he wants to use it to impose his dominance on players, I think he’s well within his right. Thank you. On behalf of Giannis, I like to give him the permission for that.
S2: All right. Let’s talk about the Suns, who to me are the favorite to win the title
S1: all over the place, over the bucks, really. Although once you get that from you, you said they were the favorite. How did you make that decision?
S2: Because I, I think get and nobody can stop me from saying it. So they’re running into here is, as we know, Chris Paul speaking of players that get criticized, has never made the finals and has run into some Quaids. I don’t want to say hilarious because they’re not they’re not at all funny, but just like interesting obstacles over his career, around injuries like he was vaccinated, but still managed to get put in Covid protocol and missed the first couple of games that come to finals. He had that weird injury in the first game of the Laker series. So I’m just wondering, like, is he going to spontaneously combust if I like, what is going to happen to keep Chris Paul out of the finals? But now the reason that I think the Suns are going to be the favorite is that they seem like the most coherent team to me with the most reliable set of players. And I feel like people, including myself, are starting to understand that DeAndre Ayton is a guy that is a force. And he speaking of like time travel, he’s somebody who feels like he’s come from an earlier era of the NBA to like wreak havoc on a league that is not prepared to deal with the traditional big man. But like Devin Booker is the scorer, Chris Paul is the point guard. DeAndre Ayton is the center. McHale Bridgers is like the glue guy three. Shooter, hustla defensive player Jae Crowder can do all those things, too, in a slightly more annoying way. So this just to me seems like a team that you like know what you’re going to get out of them if Chris Paul is healthy and on the court. And they do have I think in Devin Booker, the guy who and not for like narrative reasons, but like you doesn’t need a guy who can score and in these games who can get his own shot and be the best player on the court and in the game. And he’s definitely good enough to be that guy on a championship team, I think.
S1: I mean, I think the thing is, is that and maybe Stefan Kamp here to this because he’s a Giannis fan. I think the books are just frustrating to watch. And that’s why you’re giving the Suns that this advantage because, you know, we’ve seen so much beautiful basketball dominate the last half decade. Like we watched the Warriors, the Cavs had Bron and Kyrie. I mean, sort of the only aberration amongst the string of champions was the Kawhi Raptors. And everybody kind of understands that. Well, the Warriors fell apart and Kawhi in the Raptors took advantage. But the bucks don’t look like anything that we’re used to watching recently, whereas the Suns feel like a throwback where they’ve got these fixed positions. The point guard to score the big man, the do everything wings, the bucks are sort of like a throwback to those early two thousand teams like the Pistons and, you know, the Nets and like somebody like the Spurs, those those
S2: teams that are like Pistons. Who are you casting as Giannis?
S1: Rasheed Wallace. Ben, Ben Wallace with an offensive. Ben Ben. Ben Wallace with what I’m trying
S2: to say, a force for analogy in Miami.
S1: Oh, come on. I mean, I think I mean, the thing is, is that like nobody thinks of it’s crazy to say this and I shouldn’t even say that nobody said things this. But Giannis is not a natural scorer. Like he’s not a guy that you just say, hey, man, just go out there and get buckets. He’s like a big man in a way. And it’s like it’s just but that’s
S2: the reason that they’ll lose if they lose. Right. Like if that storyline that has been true for LeBron and other players comes true, that when it comes down to it, it’s going to be on Giannis to be able to lead this team to a championship. And is he ready to do that?
S1: And I’m glad that we’ve already decided who the finals are, by the way. Oh, yeah. Yeah, the the Western Conference Finals or Eastern Conference Finals. Neither of them over, but we’ve already decided. Yeah.
S2: Why are we doing this? This notion that we shouldn’t have done that. But we’ve kind of we’ve come too far to turn back now and there’s
S3: no turning back now. I think we’re because we want that to be the finals in some way, because I think I at least want to see Giannis to that level. And like you said, Josh. I mean, I think that playing the Suns would be a much more interesting match up because of how balanced their goodness is and how
S1: broken the Clippers are. I mean, they don’t have their best player, you know, like we just you think there’s like a ceiling on how good they can be right now. Right. So and the next segment, we talk about how fundamentally stupid sports and sports fans were over the weekend. As far as sports go, it appeared things were almost getting back to normal right now, major athletic events are happening concurrently all around the globe from the euro, 20 20 to the Stanley Cup finals to the US Olympic trials to Wimbledon. But just because the calendar is full doesn’t mean people have adjusted to this new post vaccine sports world. In fact, a pair of goofy incidents from the weekend show that maybe we’re not quite ready for a return to normal. In the early morning hours of Saturday, the NCAA Division One baseball committee declared a no contest in the winner take all bracket final between North Carolina State and Vanderbilt, which was scheduled for that afternoon. But it was called off because of covid-19 protocols that meant NC State was out and Vandy was going to the College World Series championship round. This decision was made after the Wolfpack was down to just 13 players on Friday because of covid-19 related issues in the Tour de France, a female spectator created a huge crash and pile up with one of the cyclists clipped a large sign she was holding along the route. Germany’s Tony Martin lost his balance and set off a chain reaction, knocking down wave after wave of cyclist and creating a blooper reel that went viral over the weekend. The woman escaped and all of the chaos in a Tour de France official says the organization will sue her if and when they track her down Josh. Given all of the above, you’ve referred to this as our week of idiocy. So do we deserve sports any more or not?
S2: No. I mean, I’ve canceled all of them so we can we can all go home. The Tour de France thing reminded me of those viral videos that you see sometimes of like a grocery store surveillance camera where somebody takes a detergent bottle like like it’s a back then and like an entire giant display just falls over. So I can understand why she wanted to get out of there. It’s embarrassing to cause an enormous crash at the Tour de France. I wanted to read the statement that Tony Martin Levin when a German guy is named Tony Tony Martin, actually, that he wrote on Instagram, because I found this very funny to all the people next to the road who think that the Tour de France is a circus to people who risk everything for a selfie with the 50 kilometer per hour fast peloton to people who think it’s nice to show their naked, but to drunken people who push us sideways on the climbs, to people who think that it is a good idea told to sign onto the road while the peloton is passing. Stefan, I want to ask you this forcefully. Please respect the riders and the Tour de France. Use your head or stay home. We don’t want you here. You risk our life and our dreams for that. We work so hard. So Tour de France is known for having idiot for it’s like the running of the bulls except with bikes. And so part of me is like, wow, people just don’t know how to act because they’ve been inside too long and France.• wherever else. And part of me is like, we’re back to normal.
S2: Let’s do this thing.
S3: I am looking at a slide show on ABC News’s website from the twenty fifteen Tour de France. And here are some of the images. There is a guy dressed up as a devil. His he goes by El Diablo, but that’s a classic. He’s a regular classic. OK, then there’s where are these dudes? They must be in other French dude playing a trumpet, guy playing an accordion. They’ve got a table set up. They’re playing cards by the side of the road. OK, there’s somebody dressed up as an angel. There’s a woman on a horse, a bucking horse next to the road. And there’s a guy holding a
S1: bucking horse and he says,
S3: oh, no, these people are ironing as the peloton goes by
S2: instead of I mean, maybe a week of idiocy here, Joel could apply less to the fan and more to the organizers, because one thing we’ve talked about this is a kind of recurring mini feature on this show is like, what are the things in sports and in life that the pandemic will have changed like a year from now? What are we’re all, I think, going to be working from home more, et cetera and so forth. But like, this would have been an opportunity to be like maybe we could do this a little bit differently. We didn’t have fans at the start and the finish last year. But there is, I think, an appeal, an extremely understandable appeal to have absolutely everything go back to how it was before, because we want our lives to be, quote unquote normal. And there is this sort of majesty and history to, you know, in the in the best moments, having the fans along the it’s like, you know, Foggy Mountain climbs and running alongside the cyclists. And what would we be as the French people if we didn’t have this? And so I think maybe that’s the tension Joel is between, like sensibility and normalcy.
S1: Yeah, I mean, I think that it’s understandable.
S2: It’s a normal thing.
S1: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s understandable why people want to get back to the life we had before March twenty twenty. Right. That we want fans back in the stands. We want them to be along the sides of the route, whether it’s the marathon to the Tour de France or whatever. Right. That we want to reclaim that life that we lost. People felt like people do feel an acute sense of loss from what’s happened over the past year. And it’s totally understandable that we would want to get back to that. But yeah, I mean, surely there can be a smarter way of doing some of this stuff. I don’t know how hard it is to get up to the top of a mountain and hold a sign and be alongside, like I say, like
S2: we should be a planet. We should be applauding the effort. It took the position to destroy everything.
S3: It’s amazing when you see these images from the Tour de France and the people at the tops of the mountains, like how did they get there? What are you doing there?
S1: If you care enough about the Tour de France to get up there and do that, I feel like you should kind of get to be there right away.
S3: And it’s a bit hard to regulate Josh just like, you know, as much as we would like to say the Tour de France, to just say, you know, everybody stay six feet back or set up Jersey barriers alongside the hundreds and hundreds of miles through, like there’s no way to control where fans go. I guess you could stop them from going up the road at all, stop them from leaving towns and only
S2: permit maybe
S3: some air time.
S2: Maybe I retract my point that it’s a good point because, like, there are plenty of auto races and bike races that are on city streets where they just like block off the streets. It doesn’t seem literally impossible to do that.
S1: I mean, it doesn’t seem like a competitive disadvantage unless everybody falls down, too, by the way. I mean, we’re all kind of in the same spot then, you know what I mean? I mean, unless they’re
S3: so dedicated to be like the von Trapp family, you know, they’re going to be like climbing over mountains to get to the next stage of the route.
S2: Joel do you want to? Yeah, it’s a little bit more about the college World Series if we want to move on to domestic idiocy.
S1: Yeah, right. So after NC State’s lost to Vanderbilt on Friday night, Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent made it clear in an especially prickly postgame presser that he wasn’t going to discuss whether or not he encouraged his players to get the covid-19 vaccine. And we’ve got a clip right here. You had said that you didn’t want to indoctrinate your players into your philosophy. Did you get vaccinated yourself?
S4: I’ll tell you, Eric, I’m not going to talk about that. You if you want to talk baseball, we could talk baseball. If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you you can go talk to my head of sports
S1: medicine, Rob Murphy. So, Stefan, can you believe that politics have invaded the politics free zone of college baseball, even if all this time?
S3: Yeah. Eliot, you’ve been vaccinated for polio, the polio vaccine. I don’t want to get into politics. I mean, Jesus Christ, you’re fired, dude. Like, why do we employ people like this? You know, universities are mandating that students get vaccinated in order to go to school. Vanderbilt as mandated vaccinations. North Carolina state apparently, obviously has not mandated vaccinations as a requirement for for matriculation and for studying at the university. So this is just so painfully dumb that, I mean, my head hurts. Listening to that clip, I mean, Jesus Christ, this is uncomplicated people and congratulations, your kids didn’t get vaccinated. You got kicked out of the NCAA baseball tournament.
S2: So the NC State coach, according to a report I read on D1 baseball, that he did get vaccinated. He got vaccinated in March. And so it also seems like, according again to report reporting on D1, the baseball website, that at least some of the players on NC State who tested positive had been vaccinated. And so the thing that is the idiocy here is not that Nassib not necessarily that NC State had covid issues that the College World Series, it’s the way in which this individual handled it, not only at the press conference, but just like you can tell based on that response, that this is a guy who is not a leader of men and not a leader of anyone. I don’t want to make it make it exclusive to men. And we’ve, again, talked about this a whole bunch of times about coaches and well and their attitudes about this stuff. And for all that Stefan, Fatsis wants to convince us that, you know, we’re we’re surprisingly progressive. I mean, I feel disappointed regularly by these people. And the thing that would make this much easier to wrap our heads around is if they were all vaccinated and then maybe we could know, OK, maybe there were some breakthrough cases. And let’s think about what that means. Like what does that mean for them? What does that mean? Joel, we were talking about this a little bit before we started taping. Like, what will it mean for sports when maybe there is a herd immunity? But I still do get covid like, are we going to hold them out of games? Or in that circumstance, if you’re, you know, vaccinated, should you be allowed to play? Like, those are interesting conversations and they’re ones that we’re going to be having, I think, in twenty, twenty to twenty, twenty three. But with idiots like this who are saying it’s political and are saying if you want to have a politics conversation, talk to my director of sports medicine like people who are.
S1: That’s kind of incoherent, right? I mean, like politics, your directors,
S2: especially if you want to talk about politics, can we get the director of sports minister back then? So with that attitude, we can’t be having the. More actually complicated conversations, if we’re dealing with just elementary shit, then we can’t get to the stuff that we’re going to need to be getting to that we should be on now and we’ll need to be getting to in years to come.
S1: But I mean, that is true of everywhere in American society. I mean, like, he is firmly within a sort of mainstream. Right. Like our president was arguing.
S2: It’s so frustrating is that he has been vaccinated. Right. And he’s still doing this shit.
S3: Right. This is not a theocracy, right? Yeah. I mean, this is very also NCAA, the sort of compartmentalization of college sports. This is not hard. Like why can’t every university president basically tell their staffs that when we talk about this stuff publicly, we say it’s imperative for the health of our students and for our community that we get vaccinated as quickly as possible because I don’t think vaccinations as a condition of playing sports. This is not super difficult. The NCAA, of course, has had no leadership on this. It has had a piecemeal making and adjudication of cases, and it’s nowhere to be seen. And once again, it looks stupid and stuff. There’s no there’s no one is out there sort of making sure that the message that is conveyed to the public is consistent and it’s smart.
S1: Right. But Stefan, this is not an NCAA problem. This is a global problem. Like we’re actually having to convince people from all walks of life in all institutions, you know, whether there’s a significant minority or not or plurality of people of the importance of getting vaccinated or of encouraging people to get vaccinated like this. Like the reason things got as bad as they did in the past year is because of the very attitude that Elliot Avent has. I don’t know if I want to take it or not, but if I do, I don’t want to convince people, other people to do it because it’s a personal choice, not realizing that it is actually a public health issue and your choice affects everybody else
S3: when the message comes into play Joel. It’s got to come from the institution he’s employed by somebody. He’s not just a ball coach.
S1: But you don’t take for granted that the people within the institution actually believe that it is important to carry that message along again, like our federal government couldn’t get it right. You know what I mean? Like state governments don’t get it right, like right now. I mean, I guarantee you, if you polled the people that run the Texas state government right now, like the Republicans that run it, like you probably wouldn’t even get half of people that would believe that there is a public imperative to convince people to get vaccinations. So, like, he’s firmly within a kind of mainstream and like we’re seeing that stupidity spill over into every facet of life right now. All right.
S2: I mean, maybe end it for us by saying that I have the solution. Brett Kavanaugh just needs to write a scorching opinion that everybody can get behind and then we’ll be able to move past this. And now it is time for after balls and usually we will talk about some figure from history or some funny old timey phrase, I don’t need to explain that after ball naming concept to you. You’re the loyal listener. But today we’re just going to do a little something different. We’re going to honor someone who deserves to be honored. That is Frances Tiafoe, the American star, my favorite tennis player who has just pulled off an amazing first round victory at Wimbledon. While we were recording, I was maybe a little bit distracted, especially on matchpoint first victory over a guy ranked as highly as his opponent ever in his career. Great moment for the young man from Maryland, Stefan. It’s just it’s just a great time to be an American.
S1: Oh, he doesn’t want to he doesn’t want to convey his anti-American sentiment to the rest of the to the listeners. I guess
S3: I’m heartbroken. I have really nothing to say.
S2: Frances Tiafoe over Stefan a city pass.
S3: Sackhoff for Stefan
S2: a milestone victory. Great job out there. Frances Joel. What is your Frances?
S1: Tiafoe my Frances Tiafoe. So if you watch the US track and field Olympic trials the past two weekends, you’ve probably seen of wave of stars, old and new, Allyson Felix, Sidney McLoughlin, Trayvon Bromell, Gabby Thomas and even our old friend Gwen Berry, who finished third in the Women’s Hammer throw and resumed her courageous medal stand protest qualified for the Tokyo Games. So shout out Gwen Berry. But if you stayed up really late Sunday night, and I doubt many of you folks on the East Coast were able to do it, Stefan Josh some of you guys weren’t up at one o’clock in the morning watching Trek and had your TV tuned to the NBC Sports Network, you probably caught a glimpse of the next big thing in US men’s track and field area. Knighton who is Arean Knighton? Well, he finished third in the men’s two hundred meter final behind presumptive Olympic favorite Noailles and silver medalist Kenny Bednarik. And often, you know, we don’t talk about people that finished third or get bronze because, you know, if you don’t finish first, you finish last. But it’s a big deal. And I’ll just give you some context. No allows a few weeks shy of turning twenty four and became a professional when he was nineteen right before he enrolled at the University of Florida. Kenny Bednarik is twenty two and turn pro out of junior college two years ago, a little on the young side, but they’re firmly within the expected age window for world class sprinters. But Knighton, here’s what the announcer said about him last night before his Record-Breaking run.
S5: Before these championships started, I thought he had an outside shot of finishing top three after watching him break U.S. junior record running nineteen eighty eight. He is now the favorite. He turned seventeen in January. He’d be the youngest man to make the U.S. track and field team since Jim Ryan qualified in nineteen sixty four are the first high schooler since nineteen seventy two.
S1: First high schooler since nineteen seventy two. That’s almost fifty years ago. So about a minute later Knighton was in the race of his life. He got off to a slow start in Lyles. The favorite quickly made up the stagger on the inside lane coming out of the curve night and was closer to the back of the pack than the front of it. But here’s the final half of the race, the lead off of the turn. The high school has
S6: some work to do, but no one has is in a good position. Here comes the Lyles. Can’t even Eric. How about eight nine. That’s up like that. Three top down.
S5: That is a huge win for no allows man
S1: night and hard down the stretch and finish third in a time of nineteen point eighty four seconds, which is absurd for a 17 year old in which U.S. boats under 18 world record. Yes, that same boat, he even looks a little like Hussein. He’s a six foot three hundred and seventy pounds with a similar sort of gliding, running style that looks more efficient than powerful like many of the shorter sprinters like Noailles. But that six foot three and 170 pound frame typically would have taken him somewhere else, somewhere down another more familiar path if his sprinting talent had been so hard to deny from the start. Nightmares from Tampa, Florida, which I can tell you personally, is one of the most rabid and competitive youth football environments in this country. He started out high school at Hillsborough High School, the oldest high school in town, and the alma mater of great athletes like Dwight Gooden, Gary Sheffield and Carl Everett, very big baseball school, among many others. So Knighton, as one does in Tampa, started out in high school as a football player and hadn’t even run track competitively until his coaches asked him to do it to improve his speed. His first major competition came in twenty nineteen. Now remember, that’s only two years ago. His first major track competition happened in twenty nineteen at the Florida State High School track meet. We finished fifth in the 200 meter dash. That speed made a four star recruit and the scholarship football offers started to roll in from Florida and Florida State and Alabama, among all of the others night and played all over the field. He was a quarterback. He was a wide receiver. He was a running back. He was a safety. And you’d figure that Nick Saban would have been able to close the deal on any speedy six foot three high school football player in the southeast. But nope, Knighton didn’t give him or anyone else a chance. He decided to forego his final two years of high school and turned pro. He signed a sponsorship in January with Adidas at the age of 16. And he’s not look back. He broke the ten second barrier in the one hundred meters at a meet in Florida in May. That’s just, you know, little more than a month ago. Later that month, he set the world under 18 mark for the boys. Two hundred finishing at twenty point eleven seconds. Last week, he ran a time of twenty point four seconds and the two hundred then he ran nineteen point eight in the semifinals, beating the under twenty record held by the legendary U.S. bull. Then there was last night. So obviously there’s a lot more head of area night, but at the very least he was smart enough to run right past football and into Tokyo.
S2: That’s great. And after hearing that, it seems guaranteed that some NFL team is going to draft him at some point or, well, sign him as a free agent. I bet you he plays football again. I don’t know when you think so, really. Or somebody will try to convince him to play football. Certainly for a male athlete to do this at seventeen. I mean, we’ve seen women, you know, Allyson Felix, Cydney McLaughlin, they were prodigies as teenagers. But to do this at seventeen is just I mean, there’s a reason why it hasn’t been done in fifty years. Just like what an accomplishment.
S1: I mean, that kid hasn’t even really had a chance to train like a professional yet. You know, like I mean, just think of the things you were eating and how you worked out when you were 17 years old, presumably a little different from Erriyon, but probably not that different from most 17 year olds.
S2: So Stefan also, I know you’d want me to mention Javon Harrison, LSU athlete won first place. I mean, long jump and the high jump first since Jim Thorpe in 1912.
S3: I thought you were going to save that for the bonus segment, but that would be a tease.
S2: Maybe we’ll get into a more. But like, that’s pretty it’s pretty cool, too.
S3: You know what else? If I’m going to petition to rename the after ball because of what just happened in Croatia, Spain and Euro twenty twenty, one of the most incredible fuckups that you’ll ever see on a soccer field, Spain passes the ball back from 40 yards like nearly midfield to the goalkeeper who lifts his head and the ball rose balls by him and into the net. Croatia won Spain nothing. Unni’s Samoan goalkeeper.
S2: Thank you. Stefan petition denied. That is our show for today. Our producer this week was Margaret Kelley. This is Margaret last week. No, no. You guys didn’t know. She didn’t tell you. Yeah, it’s Margaret last week. We’re so grateful for everything you’ve done for the show and wish you well in your travels. Thank you, Margaret.
S1: Yeah, we’ve really enjoyed her and I just don’t want her to leave, but she’s doing it over our wishes.
S2: So thank you Joel. Thank you Margaret. Listen to Pasha’s and subscribe or just reach out, go to sleep dotcom slash hang up and you can email us and hang up and sleep dotcom. Forget to subscribe to the show and to rate interviews on Apple podcasts for Joel Anderson and Stefan Fatsis. I’m Josh Levin remember Zelma and thanks for listening. Now it is time for our bonus segment for Slate plus members, we talked a little bit of track and after balls I had to get in my Javon Harrison mentioned I was trying to think of an analogy Stefan for the high jump long jump ball. I mean, naturally, the thing you’re going to think of is like a guy kicking and punting in the NFL. There are two totally different things. How amazing. But it’s like I think it might be just like slightly more amazing than that. Maybe he’s like the shohei ohtani of track and field, although high jump and long jump seems slightly more related than pitching and hitting. But Joel like maybe you can Clewiston about how different those disciplines are and how impressive. It’s like, look, it’s like nice that the teenager finished third is going to the Olympics. This guy is the best in America. No one in the high jump and the long jump.
S3: I guess the first question I have for you, Joel, though, is the Carl Lewis analogy.
S1: Weaker man yet, because those are two really different disciplines and he excelled at them and you really don’t see very many elite sprinters do long jumping anymore, right? Like, I can’t think of anybody yet. Yeah. And what I will say, speaking to the difficulty driven here, since I’ve followed tracks since I was nineteen eighty eight, since I was the fastest 10 year old in the country right now, I’ve never I’ve never known anybody who’s done that double. I’ve never, I’ve never known of anybody that’s like, oh yeah I do. High jump in long jump.
S2: It was so interesting about it. It’s like and I don’t know the answer to this question is just like how does how does this happen? Like what’s like day one of deciding that this is going to happen and I guess maybe Joel to the counter argument of like why this would maybe be less impressive and why why am I even comparing it? But like, you’re not maybe getting the elite track and field talent in long jump anymore. The Heidrun thing is so weird and idiosyncratic, I don’t even know how to even think about that accomplishment. But in long jump, it doesn’t feel like it’s the kind of showcase glory sport that it maybe was in the like Bob Beamon, Carl Lewis, or even like the Mick Powell Mike Conley days.
S1: I think that’s right. I think probably the what the most notable long jumper in recent memory is Marquise Goodwin, who is an NFL player. Right. I can’t really think of anybody that has, like, broken through and become sort of a national sensation. And when we you know, like you said, Mike, Michael Connelly, Michael Powell, I mean, Michael Connolly was an elite long jumper. His son is the Utah jazz point guard. But there was a time that the jump the jump was one of the premier events in track. And I don’t know what explains sort of the not demise,
S2: but jumping is really cool. It’s the coolest to people, not like not like to jump anymore.
S1: I just wonder if it’s harder to train for it now and to get coaching or, you know what I mean. Like, I
S3: know people just don’t do it as much. I remember in elementary school we every year did the running long jump and standing long jump
S2: instead of adding, like breaking and putting baseball back. And they need to put in the standing broad jump standing.
S3: That’s I used to do that in the hallway of my house and mark off my distances.
S2: When do you guys think Crossfade is going to be in the Olympics? Twenty, twenty eight. Twenty thirty two.
S1: I hope not, because I you know, I’ve got I’ve been across that guy for the last few years, but I’ve got some very I’m dubious of the explosion of Crossfade because I’m not going to say it here.
S2: I would think that’s what I was thinking of standing broad jump was thinking like, OK, well then you have to add pull ups to the Olympics. All right. Well, then you might as well just have Crossfade at that point.
S3: Do you think that it’s that the high jump is correlated more with the pole vault than it is with the long jump in? The long jump is correlated more with a track event because so much speed is involved?
S1: I absolutely think that yeah, I absolutely think that’s that’s what it is. Because, again, I mean, obviously the people that excel at high jump are elite athletes, but they do not typically come out of like the sprinting tradition. And like, when you look at track and you think of like who’s a great athlete, you tend to start with the sprinters. And you like when you start running like this is a basic thing, like it’s like, well, who’s fast? And you try to figure that out. And then from there it’s like, how are the other events get filled out? Right. I was like, well, you’re probably not that fast, but you’ve got really good stamina. You run for a long time, so why don’t you do that? And it just kind of breaks down from there and high jump never. I don’t even know how it kind of gets into that that mix up. You know, that is sort of fascinating, right? Like how people get good at like pole vault. Like what makes your javelin? I have a really good friend from middle school who became a sports. Yeah. The Long Stick sports. Yeah. I mean, you got to be able to afford the point. You got to have a place to put that pointy stick and flip of a bar that has like good cushioning, you know what I mean? So it’s not that
S3: there’s a reason. It’s Citius. Altius, Fortius. Right. It’s not Altius, Citius, Fortius faster comes first,
S2: sometimes throwing out good ideas left and right. You know what I also think would be a good Olympic sport is the box jump. People would totally watch that.
S1: Yeah. Oh, you mean like with your boy Myles Garrett jumping up and down. Yeah. Suns or whatever. Exactly.
S2: Like wouldn’t you watch that to see like which guy in the world, which athlete could like jump on the highest box.
S3: OK, then you could have standing box jump and running box jump.
S2: Now you’re just being ridiculous. We should talk about Quin Berry who we’ve had on the show before. We talk to her Stefan about her protest at the Pan Am games and all that that followed all the blowback that she got. And she has continued to be unapologetic, as she should be. And then when she got on the podium and she will be going to Tokyo at the Olympic trials, the national anthem started to play. And it was she felt like it was done intentionally to target her because it wasn’t being. That during every medal ceremony, I don’t know if that’s true, but, you know, she certainly has a reason to think that she’s been targeted, given the fact that she has been targeted over the years. But when the anthem started to play, she turned away turn to the side. And that has kicked up a kind of predictable amount of blowback from predictable corners. But so that was interesting to see Stefan. It’ll be interesting to see the amount of attention she gets and then what she does in Tokyo as well.
S3: She’s clearly been she knew exactly what she’s doing and she’s been unapologetic since the incident. She believed that this was a setup. The anthem was played at the start of the evening session at the trials every day. The medal ceremony for the hammer throw wasn’t supposed to happen until, I think after the anthem played and they delayed the playing of the anthem. You know, there is a reason to think that maybe it was who knows why wideout Gwen Berry on this, but she was prepared for the moment. She had an activist t shirt, activist athlete. It said on the France.•, she put it over her and she turned to the side. So good for her.
S1: Yeah. I just I worry about this because, like, I know that, like, being in the Olympics, I don’t know anything about being an Olympic athlete, but I can only imagine that it is an all consuming passion and it’s very difficult to get there. And I’ve already I follow her on Twitter and she’s going back and forth with people today. And I just I mean, I just hope that, like, it doesn’t derail what should be a really beautiful moment for her in a celebratory time. It just doesn’t seem very fun right now. And hopefully we maybe we can have her on again at some point and she can talk about that path. But it just seems like right now she’s become like the locus of like right wing media. I know that that probably is not a lot of fun and know I’m so proud of her. I think it’s a courageous stand that she’s making. But I also just hope that much like Carl Nassib that like she’s prepared for the burden of leaning into this in the way that she is because it probably can feel really lonely. And she’s talked about that, like when she was with us, she talked about how lonely and isolating some of this can feel. Right.
S2: So, yeah. And we know that she has over the years talked the talk and walk the walk about wanting this burden. But that doesn’t mean that it’s fun to have the burden. But Joel I mean, on the one hand, I think it’s feels totally right to say, like, I wish that maybe it would be good for you to get in the space where you don’t feel like you have to respond to all of these people. But for her, I think more than any other athlete in this Olympic contingent particularly, it just feels like she sees that as part of who she is and what she wants to do. And we can’t say if she would be better, more focused on her sport if she wasn’t responding to trolls or whatever. But like, this is who she is, like this is what she wants to be. This is what she she’s been doing for years now. And so for her, that to change would be not in keeping.
S1: Do you know what’s great fuel hate like as an athlete? Like I mean, it can’t be like I mean, you know, I’m saying there’s a lot of people that feed on, you know, he doesn’t get that.
S2: She won’t get the spotlight to protest the way she wants to protest if she doesn’t win. Yeah. Or if she doesn’t get on the podium, at least it’s very, very hard. She got third at the Olympic trials. And in these sports, you know, Joel, you know, you certainly know this, that on a given day in the field events, it’s just one throw. Yeah. So the fact that she finished third, she could have won gold in Tokyo or she could finish eighteenth, I don’t know. So maybe if she’s just really mad.
S1: Yeah. I mean it seems like it seems like anger would be really good for throwing something, you know, like if you what you’re like it would be useful,
S2: probably more important to have good technique, but that that doesn’t hurt
S1: what you do you want to do. You want talk about the heat just real quick about how hot it was there and how it totally derailed the finals all weekend.
S2: Is that why you were watching at 1am?
S1: Yeah, well, I mean, they had to delay a lot of the events because at least one of the athletes passed out Wikipedia a lot. Yeah. And, man, I mean, the reason you hold an event like that, in addition to the fact that he would feel at the University of Oregon is a great facility. It’s also a temperate climate. It’s great for competition, like you want to run in 50 and 60 degree weather and compete in that if you can. And it just so happened to be as hot as it’s ever been in that part of the country. And it just makes you like me and shit like working. You have these events if you can’t have them in Oregon
S2: at the time of US Olympic track and field trials in New Orleans and ninety two. Oh, that was a very bad idea. Yeah, that was,
S3: this was I mean, we’ve come a
S2: long way as this. Society, that we’re not holding Olympic track and field trials in New Orleans in the summer.
S3: Yeah, but we’ve we’ve also come a long way as a planet and now it’s one hundred and eight degrees in Eugene, Oregon, in the summertime. I mean, did you see that there monitor like like the physical surface of the track, one hundred and forty eight point two degrees.
S1: Like what is that even like like. Yeah, what does everybody even feel like under those circumstances, right?
S3: Like the inside of a cooked chicken or insanity. But in spite of that, I was watching before it got to late on the East Coast, I was watching NBC’s coverage and they were interviewing the athletes as they returned to the stadium. And they were all like, I went home, took a shower out, a 20 minute nap and some food. Right now, it seems like it’s gotten cooler and then they flash to the thermometer and it’s ninety nine degrees. And yet there were like records broken on Sunday night. Athletes are amazing.
S1: Just said to McGlaughlin, set the world record in the 400 meter hurdles. There were others. I mean, the important thing to remember is that a athletes of freak’s Olympic caliber athletes are freaks and they also train in weather like that Erriyon like they go to like really difficult climates just so that they can be prepared. I don’t know that you can simulate one hundred or forty eight degrees anywhere, though. So that was
S3: unusual training and heat training at altitude. Right.
S2: All right. Thank you. Stefan Joel Margaret. Again, appreciate you and thank you. Clippers members will be back
S6: with more next week.