Coronavirus pandemic doesn’t stop low-brow sports voices

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Discretion — the act of being discreet — isn’t tough to grasp.

In simple terms, it’s the art and act of looking around to weigh circumstances before you open your big mouth, lest you needlessly hurt someone’s feelings and/or get punched in your big mouth.

Personally, I’ve long been in the habit of perusing the room for Estonians before telling an Estonian joke, especially the old ones such as, “Two Estonians walk into a bar, one’s carrying a tuba.”

In other words, as asked by reader Ray McKenna: Isn’t there a better time for NFL players and their agents and media to announce how many millions of dollars players just signed for — given this is a time when the rest of world is going broke, careers are being destroyed, savings drained and businesses shuttered along empty streets due to a deadly disease in the air?

Is there no discretion to practice, to even consider? Can’t someone sign for undisclosed terms and leave it at that? Or save such news for a more appropriate, tasteful time? While thousands are being laid off, we can all rejoice that the defensive back’s new deal will pay him a guaranteed $20 million.

To a similar end, NBC News is full of it. For the past three weeks it has warned that this is not a drill, the coronavirus has placed the world in immediate peril, that it must be taken deadly seriously, reminders can’t be issued strongly or often enough.

But then Sunday evening NBC Nightly News suddenly cut off a live interview with a medical expert — cut him off with a jolt — so that NBC could air, on time, “Little Big Shots,” a taped show starring talented but precocious and occasionally obnoxious kids. This was NBC’s priority.

The next morning on NBC News’ “Today” show, worse: Al Roker was speaking live with American Medical Association president Dr. Patrice Harris, who — among other significant, here-and-now virus matters — spoke of what she personally told the White House about the pandemic.

This was an important woman with important things to say at an urgent time. Yet she was suddenly cut off and dumped by NBC and Roker as if she had exceeded her time to recite a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies.

A pile of commercials followed until “Today” returned for a recorded feature about distilling bourbon in Kentucky.

Discretion.

Wednesday, ESPN’s foul-mouthed, attention-starved, cheap-thrills pixie-vandal Katie Nolan stole some lowbrow attention by saying, “Eff Tom Brady.” Then, for emphasis, she said, “F–k you, Tom Brady.” Why that made news, I don’t know, but we’re certainly pleased she shared with us such deep, intelligent thoughts.

Monday on ESPN Radio-NY’s “Bart and Hahn Show,” Alan Hahn was about to report some legitimate breaking news: The IOC had finally agreed to postpone the Olympics due to the pandemic. Discretion and professionalism dictated he get right to it.

But Hahn and Bart Scott couldn’t get the job done, as both were caught in a junior high school session making fun of the name of the IOC executive who made the announcement, Dick Pound.

Michael Wilbon
Michael WilbonGetty Images

Scott, despite Pound’s 33-year front-and-center presence as an IOC exec, apparently had never heard of him, but made classless clown naughty-naughty with his name.

And, as a matter of discretion within a global pandemic, Noah Syndergaard’s shoulder surgery qualifies as an immediate and “essential” medical procedure? Yet there’s nothing more painful and debilitating than foot bunions, to be immediately treated at the Hospital for Special Routine Surgery.

Hey, ESPN, Zion has
nothing on D-Man

No one seems to outgrow ESPN faster than ESPN employees who grasp and appreciate historical context. From ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, Tuesday on Twitter:

“So people voting in this greatest college basketball player poll on ESPN select Zion Williamson, who didn’t get to the Final Four, over Danny Manning, who led his Kansas team to a title. People know NOTHING unless they saw it this morning on SportsCenter. Sad.”

Williamson played less than even one season at Duke. Manning played four seasons at Kansas. But these are the kinds of “fans” ESPN and its polls target.


Virus Miscellaneous:

Reader Joe Dooley writes that the Yankees have been practicing social distancing in their down-close, expensive box seats since 2009.

ESPN on Sunday will run through all MLB teams’ outfielders to give their coronavirus “catch probability percentages.”

Reader Dan Kenny is crying out for immediate help: “In these days of quarantine and fever, I can’t believe I’m gonna say this, but I wish I had a Knicks game to watch.” See? He’s delirious.

FAN boots solid pair, but keeps the babble

It stands to modern reason that two of WFAN’s underplayed weekend cards, Richard Neer and Chris Moore, this week both got the hook.

Moore — reflective, interesting, thought-provoking and humorous — is now a host with no show, and no near future promise of one, essentially jettisoned. Neer, 32 years the host of Saturday morning “let the callers speak” relief sessions, has been relegated to late-night shifts.

The rearrangement, especially with the loss of sports gambling advertising revenue, seems to be a nickels-and-dimes decision. Neer and Moore will be replaced by feckless, humorless, uncreative weekday time-filling regulars, plugged in for no extra pay. Mike Francesa, despite his lengthy and maudlin Farewell Retirement Tour, will be heard Sunday mornings.

Colin Cowherd
Colin CowherdGetty Images

Thus a vast wasteland — a sports radio paradise wasted — has grown vaster.


FS1’s Colin Cowherd, the Son of Francesa-stein, continues to terrorize villages.

Cowherd on Tuesday declared the Patriots will no longer pursue QB Teddy Bridgewater to replace Tom Brady. Cowherd’s learned, breaking news discovery was made a full week after Bridgewater signed with Carolina.

Francesa has had his own issues with Bridgewater. Before the 2013 draft, “Let’s Be Honest” claimed sources had told him that Bridgewater, out of Louisville, “will be the sleeper quarterback in this draft.”

Not that Francesa ever made good on this or any of his scores of other bogus claims, but Bridgewater wasn’t eligible for the 2013 draft.


Reader Jim Hall — his late father, Jim, was Bob Sheppard’s backup and replacement as the Yankees’ and NFL Giants’ stadium announcer — has a better idea.

Starting soon, SNY and YES could choose from their vault of old Mets and Yankees games, win or lose, to air those played on corresponding dates with the day’s date. Say, if it’s April 12, a Yankees or Mets game played on that date in any video-archived year would appear.

I sense that in addition to providing seasonal context, they’d be more appealing than those currently seen on both networks.