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Rooney adjustments

The NFL leadership team voted and announced changes to the Rooney Rule, the long-standing requirement that NFL teams have to interview minority candidates for head coach or GM openings.

The controversial incentives of improved draft picks for hiring and retaining minorities in those positions were tabled. More on that in a moment.

The additions to the rule include:

> Teams will be required to interview at least two minority candidates from outside their organization for any vacant head-coaching job and str least one minority candidate from outside their organization for a coordinator job;

> The NFL relaxed its anti-tampering policy so that teams can no longer deny other organizations from interviewing their assistants. This also requires teams to submit organization flow charts so that any assistant or front office personnel interviewing for a job considered to be a step up is allowed to;

> Not unlike the expansion to offensive, defensive or special-teams coordinator spots on a coaching staff, teams will be forced to interview at least one minority external candidate for a variety of front-office spots under the GM as well;

> Each of the 32 teams will develop and operate a minority coaching fellowship program that will feature full-time positions on one- or two-year contracts and "provide NFL Legends, minority and female participants with hands-on training in NFL coaching" according to the contract.

I have a lot of thoughts on this, and have received more than a few Friday mailbag questions on the big-picture talking points on this. That will be for Friday.As for the approved changes, I strongly believe two things about this conversation this week.

The draft-pick incentive idea was bad on a lot of fronts, including in how it could potentially  demean — or even undermine — minority candidates who got those jobs and had to wonder or deal with questions about, "Did they get hired because of the draft picks?"

I also believe strongly that of the changes above the last of the four — the minority fellowship — is the most logical and will have the most impact.

Expanding the requirements of the interview pool will mean that when John Gruden is everyone's top choice, the Raiders are going to have to interview Tee Martin (like they did a couple of years ago when they hired Gruden) and then schedule an interview with Rodney Garner or Derek Mason to check the boxes.If done right, increasing the number of candidates and improving their qualifications in the process will create more qualified minorities and that goal is way more admirable than trying to address problems, be them issues of perception, reality or institutional shortcomings. 

 

NCAA vote

The NCAA will vote later today on whether or not to extend the moratorium on college sports activities beyond May 31.

There's a lot of scariness in that sentence, right?

First the word moratorium is filled with dread. Second, the star realization that extending that date into June or even July makes starting the college football season seem even more unlikely.Tear.

But there's also a lot of scariness in that decision for the NCAA too. And more than a little foreshadowing.

Consider this possible chain of events:

> NCAA votes to extend the moratorium to June 15 or some other random date as they "re-evaluate and plan to examine the circumstances and the data" at that time. That seems rather plausible and downright sensible, which makes it kind of a long-shot considering the NCAA's long-standing history of not being plausible and sensible;

> The SEC bigwigs vote on Friday, and since almost all of the states across the South have already re-opened, the SEC bosses vote to allow student athletes and coaches to come back to campus and get back to work.

Uh-oh. The NCAA — which is the governing body of college sports in name — says no; The SEC — which is the covering body of college football in practicality — says get going.

Again, uh-oh.

Now the Big 12 — which said it will not make a decision until mid-July about actual in-season dates and decisions — would almost assuredly follow the SEC and let the teams go back to campus. Same with the ACC and the Big Ten, considering the clear advantage of extra practice would mean for SEC teams.

And to be fair, yes, whenever officials open anything back up, there will be a sizable portion of our populace who believe it to be too soon. And that's fine, and it's understandable.

But if college students across the various states can use their local gyms and weight rooms, wouldn't going back to the confines, exclusivity and pristine settings of the multi-million workout facilities of the football programs actually be safer?
You have to believe the NCAA will push this decision down to each conference right?

Which on one hand continues the slide of the NCAA's power facade and shows that the Power Five run college football, which actually runs college sports.

Because if the NCAA chooses this hill to die on, it will be neutered and completely destroyed much sooner than even I thought, because we all have a really good idea how the SEC is going to vote Friday, don't we?  

 

TLD backlash

Scottie Pippen thinks he's being portrayed poorly by The Last Dance.

Duh. This is an MJ vehicle by the MJ folks. And Scottie's complaints kind of fall on deaf ears considering that a) he said if given the chance, he would sit out the final 2 seconds of the game that Phil Jackson called Toni Kukoc's number, and b) it was his statement about the surgery before the run to the 1998 title "I didn't want to (bleep) up my summer."

Those are your words Scottie. Were you misquoted?

Now comes a bent-out-of-shape Horace Grant, who called MJ a liar and says the 'snitch' accusations MJ made about Grant were false.

It also leads to a conversation of the personal circles of unknown suffering that Jordan's 'all-powerful' competitive juices created — and drew praise from MJ sycophants — during his win-at-all-cost approach that clearly impacted every relationship of his NBA-playing life.

Start with what Grant said on ESPN 1000 in Chicago: "It's only a grudge, man. I'm telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he's going to cut you off, he's going to try to destroy your character."

First, the 'so-called documentary' line is clearly delivered with intent.

Second, Grant's recall and recount of Jordan's relationship M.O. is exactly what Chuck Barkley has detailed about the ended friendship between Chuck and MJ after Barkley criticized the way MJ ran his Charlotte franchise.

Third, the big reaches of a clear my-way-or-I'm-done-with-you approach that MJ clearly used in almost every relationship may be the most clear reason why no one from MJ's family other than his momma got anything more than cursory screen time.

(Side note: It also reminded me of a story that Jackie MacMullan told about Robert Parrish, who is the only player who played with MJ and Larry Legend and was noticeably absent in TLD. Apparently, MJ went to Parrish and delivered a "This how we do it" message that ended with some sort of threat that MJ vowed to do. Parrish's response: "No you won't do (bleep) to me" and that was that.)

Maybe these are the best last words I can offer on my view of The Last Dance.

It was entertaining. It really seems far-fetched to call it a true documentary, though, with the complaints from those involved and the absence from some of the most-needed voices in Jordan's inner circle at the time.

I also wonder, considering it appears that most of MJ's relationships are with folks who owe their livelihood to the multi-billionaire Nike mogul, does Michael have a best friend? Maybe it was Gus the security guard, but after that, heck we didn't even hear from his new wife or anyone in his inner circle currently about regrets or fond memories that he shares of those times.

His life was extraordinary. And, yes having $2.1 billion would be excellent, but in some ways MJ's life seems kind of sad too.

 

This and that

— While we are discussing the lingering ripples of TLD and Jordan's Bulls, Mike Wilbon — Chicago fan boi and unabashed Bulls and MJ apologist — offered this keen insight: "I'm tired of everybody taking shots at Scottie Pippen. Last I checked, he had twice as many rings as LeBron." Yeah, OK. And Robert Horry has more rings than MJ, so you're saying. what? Wilbon is a Hall of Famer in the sports media world, but that take — Pippen > LeBron — is downright foolish.

— OK, anyone else wondering about the hypocrisy of some of the former big-leaguers who put union and money ahead of teams and loyalty during their playing days but are now calling the players out for thinking about the union and money before going back to work. A-Rod and his two nine-figure contracts, did it. Mark Teixeira, who made more than $200 million playing for four teams in 14 seasons, did it. Now Tom Glavine, who turned his back on the Braves because of pressure from the MLBPA and signed with the Mets for a few extra million as a free agent, has done it. To be clear, Glavine's big-picture point is that the players will get a lion's share of the blame if money becomes the dividing line, and I'm not saying he's wrong about that. Just saying the good for me, good for the game opposite sides of what those guys have done and are now saying is striking. Also of note: All three of those dudes are MLB announcers and are not getting paid with no baseball being played. So there's that.
 
— Well, in an effort to open up the economy — clothed or not — and in interest of extreme full disclosure comes this news. Yep, that's a story from last week when a Wyoming strip club hosted a "Masks on, Clothes off" shindig. Well, the shin, the leg, and all the rest of the dig apparently.

— Wonder how many of the Bucs would have turned out for an impromptu workout if Jameis Winston had called it? Yeah, when TB12 calls, you show up and run routes, right?
 
— You know the rules. Here's TFP college football expert David Paschall on the third-best UT football player in the Vols' wish history. That leaves two spots and a couple of cats named Reggie and Peyton seem like shoe-ins.

 

— Another day, another Paschall double-by-line in the sports section. Here's his news about CASL hanging up their Speedos for 2020 because of El Corona.


— OK, lets look for some laughs. Here's a great zoom chat with 15 former 1990s NBA superstars that certainly was convened to discuss TLD. (Of those 15, 14 of them are black. Do we need NBA diversity? Asking for a friend.) Well, the topic turned to the modern-day NBA because for some reason all the older stars feel much better about themselves by reminding everyone how physical and demanding their version of the game was. We could counter that the players were offensively challenged in some of the ways they were physically dominant. (If they want to offer the better 90s hoops > 2010s hoops, it's that the NBA was not watered-down by expansion in the early 1990s and every team other than the Hawks had two legit stars and all the players on all three All-NBA teams were legit Hall of Famers. But either way.) As for the laughs, when the players were asked who in the modern NBA has the most similar game in terms of style and make-up, 6-foot-1 and lily white John Stockton paused and dead-panned, "Giannis Antetokounmpo" as the rest of the Zoom chat busted out in laughter at the comparison between the former Jazz point guard and the 7-foot, do-it-all Bucks star known as the Greek Freak.
 

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way.

Which of the clear UT all-timers, Peyton or Reggie, will top the UT list?

Which one part of The Last Dance would you change if you had the chance?

Which way will the NCAA vote later today?

Die Hard with a Vengeance debuted 25 years ago yesterday. Which third installment in a movie series is the best?

On this National Streaming Day, which of the streaming services do you have? We have more than a few, including the entire Disney+ bundle. #WarMandalorian.

As for today, May 20, let's review.

"Every Breath You Take" by The Police was release on this day in 1983. Yeah, that song does not get recorded in today's #MeToo times.

Jimmy Stewart would have been 112 today. Man, I love George Bailey.

And in a hot-take exposed, on this day in 1926, Thomas Edison said Americans will always prefer silent movies over 'talkie.' Hmmmm, no.

On this day in 1989, Tones the cat who could drive a car, debuted on SNL. God bless Toonces (and Phil Hartman, while were here).

The Cheers finale aired on this day in 1993. Man, the final David Letterman Show aired on this day in 2015. Sad day in retrospect.
All-time Rushmore of late night TV hosts. Go, and remember the mailbag.

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