TAMPA, FL – The following is a 1-on-1 conversation between USF Football Head Coach Jeff Scott and Spectrum Sports 360’s Chris Torello.
Chris Torello: “So, coach, obviously a difficult time for you being that this is the first year of a program and you were looking forward to get out on to the field more. What did you see when you were able to get out on the field?”
Jeff Scot: “Number one I saw a team that was excited about a new start. There is something special about a fresh start and new beginning. Just the energy and excitement level from our players was evident to myself and our staff. I felt like a 16-year-old who got a new car, went out to the driveway, put my seatbelt on and turned the car on, but before I could even put the car in drive the ‘check engine’ light came on and now my parents are telling me its going to be in the shop for two months. That’s how it feels like – it was just a tease.”
Chris Torello: “How’s the communication and the relationship building going with those guys? I know you had some time going into this, so how is that going?”
Jeff Scott: “It’s going good. I think we are the sixth youngest coaching staff in Division-1 college football. So, maybe that helps a little bit now that we are coaching through technology. The biggest message to our coaches and our players is we need to find a way to make this an advantage for us. No doubt it’s a challenge, but our attitude and the way we respond to this challenge is going to determine our success on the field next fall. We need to really respond in an uncommon way and have a great attitude, make no excuses, and everybody do their part while we are away.”
Chris Torello: “A couple of your players have been out there training, working with some different guys. Does it kind of excite you that guys are stilling finding time in the day, safely, to go out there and get their work in a little bit?”
Jeff Scott: “There is definitely a balance there. We are telling our guys number one: we want them to stay safe and definitely practice the social distancing and all the recommendations out there. When there has been opportunity to get out on the field by themselves, they’re ready. Just like its been frustrating for the coaches, its frustrating for those players because they have been working extremely hard these last three months to get in position to go out and practice. And now they are being told they can’t practice because of everything that is going on. So, they are itching to get back out there and once it’s feasible and safe I know they will.”
Chris Torello: “Have you found at all, a little bit of downtime with your family, watch Netflix, have you read a book, take us into that a little bit?”
Jeff Scott: “I think for myself and all our other coaches moving down here to Tampa we have had more time than you typically would to help our wives and kids and unpack boxes and just getting everything set up. So, one silver lining is that we have been able to spend time at home.”
Chris Torello: “Have you been able to watch Netflix at all? There is this show, ‘Tiger King’ have you heard about this one?”
Jeff Scott: “My wife just told me about it and said we need to be watching. I just got the internet hooked up to the TV in my living room so I think we are going to start watching some Netflix in the evenings.”
It’s not often that an NFL receiver will publicly call out his quarterback for something, but that’s exactly what Michael Thomas did to Drew Brees on Wednesday. The Saints receiver clearly wasn’t happy after seeing an interview that Brees did with Yahoo Finance. During the interview, the Saints quarterback was asked what his thoughts were on the subject of players potentially kneeling again during the national anthem for the 2020 season.
Brees then made it very clear that he’s against that form of protest because he views it as disrespectful to the American flag.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said. “Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played, and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.”
Brees also added that standing with your hand over your heart is an equally good way of showing unity.
“Every time I stand with my hand over my heart, looking at that flag, and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about, and in many cases, it brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed,” Brees said. “Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and everyone, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it’s not. We still have a long way to go, but I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution.”
Since making the comments, Brees has faced some major backlash, including some that came from two of his own teammates: Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
As for Thomas, although he called Brees out, he also gave his quarterback the benefit of the doubt.
Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins posted a very emotional video on Instagram in response to Brees’ comments and said that if he didn’t understand what was wrong with what he said, then he is “part of the problem.”
LeBron James was one of many athletes who were surprised by Brees’ comments.
Back in the NFL, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers posted a photo of himself linking arms with his teammates, saying, “A few years ago we were criticized for locking arms in solidarity before the game. It has NEVER been about an anthem or a flag. Not then. Not now. Listen with an open heart, let’s educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action.”
Richard Sherman, like Jenkins, added that Brees’ comments are “part of the problem.”
Tyrann Mathieu, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Jamal Adams and Hall of Famer Ed Reed, who grew up just outside of New Orleans, weighed also weighed in. (NSFW language in Reed’s video)
A few hours after making his comments, Brees attempted to clarify his remarks.
“I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice,” Brees said, via ESPN.com. “I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”
Brees was asked about the possibility of players kneeling because there’s a chance that some NFL players could end up making the decision to kneel during the national anthem this season as a way to protest racial injustice and police brutality against minorities.
Colin Kaepernick started the protest in 2016 and his actions have been lauded by some NFL coaches and players around the league following the death of George Floyd in May. The African-American man was killed in Minnesota last week after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
On Sunday, the MLB Players Association submitted a proposal to Major League Baseball for a 2020 season that would include, among other aspects, a 114-game regular season and expanded playoffs. It took the league a few days to respond, but on Wednesday owners rejected the union’s proposal and said they would not send a counteroffer, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The owners are said to want a shorter regular season, perhaps as short as 50 or 60 games, with an emphasis on getting to the postseason quickly. The hope is to have the postseason completed before a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus can sweep the country, thus ensuring the league pockets all of the money from playoff television deals. (The union, as part of its proposal, included the potential for mass deferrals if the postseason was canceled due to a renewed spread of COVID-19.)
It should be noted that refusing to make a counteroffer is a well-known negotiating tactic, one commonly employed in baseball circles by agent Scott Boras, and that the league’s stance does not necessarily mean the 2020 season is endangered. Still, this was eyed as a pivotal week if the two sides wanted to begin play sometime in early July, and so far there’s been limited momentum toward a deal.
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that commissioner Rob Manfred would be willing to force a shortened season with prorated salaries if the two sides could not strike an agreement. That season would be about half as long as the players’ desired length.
While the sides remain apart on the money and season length, it appears they’re closer than not when it comes to the health component. Indeed, the players are expected to get “much of what they want on health and safety,” according to SNY’s Andy Martino.
Originally, the league had sent the union a 67-page proposal that laid out its vision for testing and safety protocols. That document included guidelines on travel, clubhouse arrangement, and players’ etiquette when on the road. The union subsequently offered revisions, with players reportedly wanting more access to workout and recovery equipment.
MLB had originally intended to launch its season on March 26.Two weeks prior, the league was forced to hit pause, alongside every other in-season professional sports league, due to the spread of COVID-19.
A person with knowledge of the situation says the NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league’s board of governors on Thursday.
All 22 of the teams coming to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play eight games to determine playoff seeding before the postseason begins, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly.
The Western Conference would have 13 teams going to Disney, and the Eastern Conference would have nine. In the West, Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix would still have a mathematical chance of earning a spot in a play-in series. In the East, Washington would have to close to within four games of Orlando or Brooklyn to trigger a play-in series on that side of the bracket.
There are still some elements of the restart plan that could be changed, and other matters are still being negotiated — such as how much of a percentage of their contracts that players will lose because some regular season games will be canceled.
The NBA has suspended its season on March 11 “until further notice” after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus. That move came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.
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