Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, NESN.com will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.
It’s been a while since I’ve really been taken aback by something until yesterday.
I woke up Thursday morning, and like usual one of the first things I did was check in with Twitter to catch myself up on the news. Except this time, sprinkled in with tweets from the various sports, food and interior design accounts I follow was something pretty shocking.
Right there on my feed was a video of a young, unarmed black man named Ahmaud Arbery getting murdered by two white men while jogging in Georgia back in February. Actual footage of him being shot dead, senselessly, just mixed into the timeline with tweets about the NFL schedule release and dog pictures.
Throughout this pandemic, we’ve all been trying to go about our days as best we can to make ourselves feel somewhat normal. But when something like this happens (ugh, again), you just can’t.
Two men, a father and son, on Friday were arrested and charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Arbery, (I’ll remind you again that this shooting took place all the way back on February 23). It barely took Twitter any time to figure out who the suspects were, so what took so long here?
Well, professional athletes are banding together to put some pressure on the criminal justice system to get to the bottom of this. Friday, 60 players signed a letter from the Players’ Coalition urging United States Attorney General William Barr to investigate the death of Arbery, who would have turned 26 Friday.
Among those athletes were New England Patriots, past and present, including Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Stephon Gilmore and the McCourty Twins, to name a few.
Good on these athletes for demanding justice for Arbery.
Here are some other notes about what went on in sports Friday:
— NBA commissioner Adam Silver hopped on a phone conference with the NBA players’ association and covered a LOT of ground on what the league is looking at for its return. The talking points were broken by Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, and I summarized their reports about how the league wants players to prepare for the possibility of not playing in front of fans until 2021, that Disney World and Las Vegas are the two locations being considered for a return and the reasons the NBA isn’t in a rush to make a decision on the season.
— Major League Baseball also is considering a few changes to its season, including limiting travel, expanding rosters, calling for more divisional play and expanding the playoffs.
— The NFL schedule was released Thursday night, so naturally much of Friday was spent breaking it down. And of course, winners and losers had to be determined. The Patriots schedule has been deemed the hardest, though that statistic is based off of last year’s teams. Still, they have their work cut out for them.
How do you guys feel about the Pats just using this adversity as an opportunity to tank to draft Trevor Lawrence in 2021? Bill Belichick would never, right?
— The Patriots signed more of their 2020 draft picks, and now just two remain unsigned.
— Meanwhile, Joe Burrow may be the only No. 1 overall draft pick in history to be living in his parents’ basement in a “Star Wars” themed bedroom, and trying to visualize that is pretty funny.
— Remember two nights ago when the misogynistic contents of Brendan Leipsic’s Instagram DMs were leaked? Yeah, well the Washington Capitals have since placed the 25-year-old forward on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. Karma.
Have a great weekend everybody. Enjoy Sunday, celebrating Mother’s Day and the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s “flying goal” that won the Bruins the 1970 Stanley Cup.
Tweet of the Day
Happy birthday to Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker. Marcus Smart got him a really thoughtful gift to celebrate the big 3-0.
— marcus smart (@smart_MS3) May 8, 2020
Stat of the Day
All eyes will be on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. Hopefully Brady doesn’t need the extra rest in his 21st NFL season.
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will play six games with fewer days rest than their opponent this season, the most such games in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/LE36BWOz4s
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 8, 2020
Video of the Day
So Jimmy Butler is pretty funny off the court. Warning, he uses some profanity in this video, but the clips of him riding around in a McLaren with a Formula 1 driver are gold.
Jimmy Butler is comedy off the court 😂
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 9, 2020
Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images