Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / McCallie running back B.J. Harris (5) heads downfield for a 49-yard gain against Montgomery Bell Academy during the TSSAA Division II-AAA BlueCross Bowl state title game on Dec. 5, 2019, at Tennessee Tech. Harris rushed for 88 yards on 15 carries to help the Blue Tornado win 28-7. Harris is one of five Chattanooga-area players has ranked in the top 1,000 college football prospects for 2021.

The credibility conversation

Mike Wilbon went on a rant on PTI on Wednesday.

It centered on the credibility of Stephen Jackson, the former NBA player who came to the defense of DeSean Jackson, after the latter Jackson's anti-Semitic social media posts and his convoluted and confusing apologies.

Stephen Jackson was friends with George Floyd. He has become a vocal part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and has made a lot of positive contributions in those efforts.

But Jackson's support of the Eagles' WR's post with quotes attributed to Hitler were surreal. And in some ways more offensive than the original post, which again, referenced, you know, Hitler.  

It was highly energized, as well as contradicting.

I encourage to read the wide array of various statements Stephen Jackson made, that ranged from praising DeSean never said anything wrong — well other than the fact that Hitler didn't actually say the quote that DeSean posted and attributed to Hitler — to saying confrontational to "Proud Black Man Speaking. Love for all who have love for all" with a bunch of emojis and hashtags.

Love for all who have love for all? Those were his words right after he posted on Instagram (all sic understood) "Your races pain doesn't hurt more than the next races pain. Don't act like your hardships or more devastating then ours. And u wonder why we fighting for equality. Common sense ain't common. Truth Hurts. Never waste time explaining to people who never supported u anyway. Free Game."


On the other side of Jackson's rants and hatred is this from Kansas City offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz, who is Jewish.


ESPN radio — again

There has been a lot of discussion about the massive overhauls on the ESPN national radio lineup.

Here's some of the big picture talking points from the fallout that seem meaningful.

The outpouring of support and the personal stories of how nice a guy Mike Golic Sr. is were awesome in their awesomeness. It's fun when someone you have felt a connection with because of what they do for a living turns out to be as good a dude as you hoped.(Conversely on a random question Thursday, does how this all played out kind of tarnish the once-sterling reputation of one Mike Greenberg? Discuss.)

Speaking of that, I am very curious how Greenie operates by himself for two hours each day. He has risen to the top of his profession by being very vanilla and being more traffic cop than investigator. And he's the best point guard on radio or TV, steering the conversation in proper directions and make sure the various star analysts around him get plenty of shots.

It really feels like Greenberg's show will be very guest-heavy, right? In some ways I have the opposite questions about Max Kellerman for two hours by himself because he is an opinion-giver and conversation dominator.

That's fine and can work extremely well for supreme talents like Cowherd or Rome and someone like Will Cain.

And that last name is an important one, because as ESPN continues to trend toward what Clay Travis calls "WokeCenter" replacing Cain's conservative voice is critical, and Kellerman is not conservative and Greenie is centrist.

Not to support Travis' stance, but it's pretty telling that in its new lineup, ESPN needs diversity provided by a conservative white person. Think about that for a moment.

Then there is this story, which is circulating in multiple spots, that asks the question simply: "How in a lineup-up overhaul, do you cut an hour from your most-popular and highest-rated show?"

It makes you wonder after the two-year extension the LeBatard Crew signed expires at the end of 2022, what will be the destination of LeBatard and Stugotz and the gang.


No news is no news

You know the rules.

When TFP sports editor and high school sports guru Stephen Hargis writes on high school sports, we read and link Hargis' headlines on high school sports.

Here is more on the TSSAA's lack of action Wednesday in terms of making a decision about the upcoming football season.

While there are clear issues about this — the TSSAA has had some leadership questions for a while now — I can understand trying to explore every option.

No decision in some circles feels like the worst possible decision, but the only optimistic hope you can have is that the TSSAA feels strongly that in the next few days Tennessee governor Bill Lee will clear high school football across the board.

Let's hope that is the case, as long as you know, it's safe.

But you have to think that as the clock continues to tick, by this time next week, you have to believe that a plan needs to be in place, right?  


This and that

— The Ivy League has cancelled fall sports. Uh oh.

— How starved are we for sports programming? Forget the stories about the heavy betting on international ping-pong and actually watching Cornhole and wondering how it will turn out. Two stories from the last 24 hours crystalised the depths of our sports void. First was the live Tweeting from The Athletic Braves beat ace David O'Brien during a simulated game, and following along felt like listening to a World Series game. Second, and more staggering, was a commercial for ESPN programming next week in which ESPN will have a nightly installment for a wait for it little bit longer the 2021 Madden Rankings. Seriously. July 13-17. Video game rankings. Stick it 2020.

— You know the rules. When TFP college football expert David Paschall writes about college football, we read and link Paschall's prose on college football. Here is Paschall on the latest Georgia commit. Nothing blockbuster for sure, but rules are rules people, and when you start picking and choosing which rules to follow, well, that's when the terrorists will truly win. (Side note: I know some Georgia fans — hi Alejandro — who are flummoxed by some coaching moves Kirby and Co.  on Saturdays in the fall. But there is no doubt that Kirby's Crew is aces on the recruiting trail. None whatsoever.)

— Respect. Tyler Perry has committed to paying the funeral expense of the 8-year-old girl shot in Atlanta over the weekend.  

— Opposite of respect. They are burning statues of Melania Trump in her home country of Slovenia. I believe we should stop the statue industry all together. Thoughts?

— In some ways, Buster Olney's predictions on Golic or Wingo — which had neither Golic nor Wingo by the way — on Thursday were negatively positive. Yes, that's what Corona has done. It has put me in a place that at 8:22 on a Thursday, the phrase negatively positive makes perfect sense to me. Follow along. About 10 days ago, Olney put the odds for baseball to start at 5 percent and to crown a champ in 2020 at 0 percent. Thursday to Mike Golic Jr. and Jason Fitz, Olney said he has talked to every team this week and gives the odds to start between 30-to-40 percent and still thinks there is no shot for a World Series. See? Negatively positive. (Or should it be positively negative? Is it too early to start drinking?)

— On a plus side, details in this ESPN story are positively positive as Marly Rivera is reporting that only 66 positive tests — 58 players, eight support staff folks — came from the 3,740 MLB Corona tests. That's 1.8 percent. Man, good news is like so much better than bad news.


Today's questions

On a toss-up Thursday, saw this over/under from David Purdum, the ESPN betting beat ace, that relates to the news of the weekend with Patrick Mahomes' record-setting deal.

The Westgate SuperBook has set the over/under on 1.5 Super Bowls for the Kansas City Chiefs from next season to the 2031-32 season in which Mamohes' deal runs through.

So, whatcha got? Over or under 1.5 Super Bowls for Mahomes and the Chiefs in that time? (And because fo the time of protests and pandemics that are lives revolve around, there are stated caveats that best stand whether seasons are canceled or if the team's name is changed. Seriously.)

Elsewhere, today is July 9.

Tom Hanks is 64 today. O.J. Simpson is 73. Both are super famous; one is a weeeeeee bit more respected, though.

Fred Savage — the kid some of us will forever remember as Kevin Arnold from "The Wonder Years" — is 44 today.

Side question: When you hear Fred Savage's name, do you think Kevin Arnold or the kid hearing the story "The Princess Bride" from his grandfather Columbo?

While we are here, saw this story Wednesday that they are remaking "The Wonder Years" revolving around a Black family.

Rushmore of 1980s TV shows they should reboot? Go and remember the mailbag.