Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, NESN.com is publishing 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.
I love getting to write Friday’s NESN Diary regularly because it feels like I get to wind down and reflect on the week with you guys. And what an exhausting week it was.
I mean that in terms of real sports news (which I’ll get to), but also given everything going on in the nation, as protesters across the United States continue to show their outrage over the George Floyd murder.
It’s unfortunate that it took a viral video of this senseless assassination of a black man for the country to be having conversations about the realities of police brutality and racial injustice, but that’s what happened.
I have a lot of feelings about it all, but much of it already has been said a lot more eloquently and by people who aren’t a white girl. So I’ll leave it at this:
The social media unity campaigns were great, as was all the deserving money being raised for the Black Lives Matter movement. But aside from posting about it and throwing money at the problem, what other actions can you take to do your part in eradicating it? I believe there are steps each of us can take in our daily lives to make a tangible difference in the world.
Through my writing, I hope to use this platform to continue covering black athletes, their experiences and the fight their community still faces. And I get to do that through the lens of sports, one of the most diverse and adored products in the world.
By sharing these different perspectives, it’s hopefully a means of bringing people together. Or, at the very least, better understanding one another.
I think sports writers have been doing that since their inception. Some better than others, but we’re learning as we go. Let’s keep it going.
— Boston sports figures are stepping up to show they’re an ally in the effort to end racism.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh were the two latest athletes to take to the streets and march in protest. The New England Patriots scrapped football on a recent virtual team meeting to allow open discussion for players, and owner Robert Kraft and his family pledged $1 million to fight systemic racism and create “meaningful change.”
— Michael Jordan contributed to the cause as well, but he gets his own bullet point.
For anyone who criticized the G.O.A.T. for his reluctance to speak out against racial and social injustices during his playing career, he’s making up for it.
Through his Jordan Brand, he’s donating $100 million over the next 10 years to various organizations dedicated to racial equality, social justice and greater access to education for black youth. Major props.
— And with all the good we’re seeing emerge from this tragedy, Drew Brees unfortunately continued to dominate the news cycle because of this recent comments. It’s largely due to President Donald Trump backing him up today, but Brees issued another apology today, vowing to be part of the solution.
Still, it’s quite unfortunate it took the future Hall of Famer this long to realize NFL players’ kneeling protests never were about disrespecting the flag or the anthem. In fact, Colin Kaepernick went out of his way to keep it respectful.
— The NFL maybe is starting to realize that too.
The league has drawn a lot of criticism for its statements calling justice for George Floyd considering how it handled Kaepernick’s 2016 protests. But for what it’s worth, commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league was wrong for not listening to its players’ peaceful protests. Check out the full video below:
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
— Let’s lighten things up a little now. Or at least get a little weird to transition into basketball talk. Want to see Enes Kanter take a COVID-19 test? It looks like the worst time ever.
— Finally, let’s get to the other reason this week was so tiring. This time, in a good way, because basketball is coming back.
I like to write about the NBA a lot, so I have tweet alerts turned on for many of my favorite league insiders. And wow, notifications for ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania might have given me whiplash the last two days.
So here’s the deal with the return, according to their sources.
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today voted to approve the league’s proposal for a 22-team format. Dope.
In doing so, the NBPA agreed to continue negotiations on various logistics involved. According to Charania, the association stressed to players that remaining on the Disney World campus is mandatory to participate in the return, and that coronavirus testing will take place every night during the resumed season. If a player tests positive, it will mean a seven-day quarantine at minimum. Per Wojnarowski, three family members will be able to visit players at a time, but likely not until after the first round of the playoffs.
As far as a timeline for how this effects next season, that’s still to be worked out between the league and its Players Association.
Tweet of the Day:
If you’re a basketball fan and you don’t follow Josiah Johnson on Twitter, you’re making a mistake.
NBA player reps on the call like pic.twitter.com/WgRWxt2O8Q
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) June 5, 2020
Stat of the Day:
Happy anniversary to Paul Pierce and the wheelchair that helped him roll off the court during Game 1 of the NBA Finals in 2008. Thanks to the wheelchair, no one could tell he had an accident in his pants en route to an NBA title.
On this date in 2008, Paul Pierce exited Game 1 of the NBA Finals in a wheelchair in the middle of the third quarter.
Pierce finished with 22 points and the Celtics would eventually take Game 1 by a final score of 98-88.
The Celtics would go on to win their 17th NBA title. pic.twitter.com/NLScBDAxwK
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 5, 2020
Video of the Day:
Remember what I said about other people who have relayed my feelings on current events more eloquently than me? Yeah, one of the people I was referring to was Maria Taylor for this video:
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images