Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1:30 p.m. ET!
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you buying the Welker play as dirty? Or just bitterness on the part of Belichick?
Mike Wilbon (1:57 PM)
Hi Everybody! Thanks for chatting on the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday...I probably shouldn't start with this question, not in the spirit of Dr. King, but a LOT of people are asking about it...And I believe Belichick went WAAAAAY over the line with his characterization of the Welker hit as a dirty play. It just seems petty and vindictive because, remember, Welker used to take public shots at Belichick after the coach benched him in a playoff game. That was humiliating for Welker and it was on between the two of them thereafter...I don't think it was a hit with intention to injure; I just don't...And Belichick never gives you anything at a press conference...nothing...ever...and now this! Its calculated and mean-spirited...Wow...
It seems like many "experts" (some of which you share a network with) and Pats fans are bringing out every excuse in the book today. These same folks who picked the Pats to beat the best statistical offense ever with a bunch of scrubs are now saying oh they only won because the Pats had scrubs. The same people who are yelling that Welker took a cheap shot aren't saying anything about Edelman doing the exact same thing to DRC the prior possession. The game wasn't even close. The Pats scored two late touchdowns when Denver was sitting in prevent milking the clock. The fact is Denver played great yesterday and the Pats were dominated in every facet of the game. As someone who has picked the Pats to represent the AFC, what are your thoughts on the game? Thanks Michael
Mike Wilbon (2:00 PM)
Look, Denver was MUCH better than Denver yesterday, even though there would have been some drama had the Patriots made that 2-point conversion...But there wasn't because the Broncos D stopped 'em...Manning was better than Brady, the Broncos supporting cast was better than New England's...Denver was better in every way, and I was one of the people who thought the Patriots would win. The win was convincing. What the hell is there to debate or why would you care what alibi anybody put forth. Denver's better. Period.
Hi Michael. Any thoughts on how Fox handled the interviews with Richard Sherman: going off Erin Andrews so quickly without giving her the opportunity to follow up; Michael Strahan later telling Sherman that he scared Andrews; how do they affect Andrews' credibility and ability to do her job?
Mike Wilbon (2:05 PM)
I thought Erin did what she could. Stay with it? Sherman ran off! Stay with what? And I thought Strahan was fine to simply suggest Sherman behaved like a cave man...What do you want, a 60 Minutes treatment? It's a football game, Sherman behaved like a clown, and did it again later (though to a lesser degree) with Ed Werder...This is what Sherman does. It bothers me because Sherman is too smart a guy to act like a pro wrestler in public time after time. Then again, like a pro wrestler, maybe he's doing this intentionally and knows there's a market for it and he's adopting a character...I don't know Richard. But it's tiresome...at least I find it tiresome. I'd like to hear a guy who's that smart actually tell me what really happened without the Randy (Macho Man) Savage...
Reggie Miller notoriously did the choke (albeit towards Spike) please don't tell me Sherman is classless or some other moniker. Its entertainment and if you can't laugh at that get out of here.
Mike Wilbon (2:07 PM)
I don't much care about the choke sign...But at some point you ought to stop patting yourself on the back and credit the opponent...in other words demonstrate some professionalism. Sherman didn't do that. I'm fine with trash talking, okay with the choke sign...I'm good with just about anything that happens on the field in the name of competition. But when the game is over, demonstrate some class.
Mr. Wilbon, do you think SF should have used a time out instead of trying a pass in the interception play? I know for the outcome they should have, but before that it seemed like they were not managing the clock as well as they could.Thanks.
Mike Wilbon (2:18 PM)
The 49ers did have 2 timeouts and could have used one BUT I got the sense Harbaugh wanted to score AND wanted to leave as little time for Seattle's offense as possible...I don't buy the sentiment that Kapernick was rushed or didn't make a good decision. He attempted a throw to his best receiver on the most important play of the game and the ball was 6 inches short of where he wanted it to be, in part because the best player in that position today (Sherman) made a great defensive play...So, I can't find a whole lot of fault in that scenario, even thought he Niners would like to have the play back...
Will the wizards ever get over .500
Mike Wilbon (2:30 PM)
I have the Wizards finishing 4th or 5th in the Eastern Conference, so yeah, even as bad as the conference is I think to finish 4th or 5th you have to be over .500...though games like the loss to the Pistons Saturday night give me pause...I think John Wall and Bradley Beal are an electric backcourt and unlike most people I think Wall is one of the players in the league getting better every night...though yes with a backslide here and there...But I like the Wizards...I think as long as Nene is healthy and on the court they could really give, say, the Pacers a good 5 or 6 game series...Nene and Gortat are huge guys who won't be afraid of Hibbert, so the Wizards have something there...And we've seen them battle Miami respectably, though nobody in his right mind would suggest more than 5 games there either...I think the Wizards need to get into the playoffs and then we can measure what they really have...
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
How much did Sherman's outburst cost him both on and off the field? It's unfortunate that perhaps the defensive play of they year is being overshadowed by what transpired afterward. I think he was okay until the postgame interview with Erin Andrews. Your thoughts?
Mike Wilbon (2:35 PM)
Same here...My first instinct was to suggest it'll cost him...BUT then again, think about the counter-culture entities now that will line up to have Sherman be their outrageous face of whatever they're pushing...It's not a leap. I don't care for that behavior, but crazy behavior is rewarded all the time now. Wouldn't have worked 40 years ago but we're in a different place now. I've seen a great many people applaud it was entertaining and "real." Different strokes...
Michael, what sort of disciplinary action will the league take against Wes Welker for his deliberate hit to Aqib Talib's knee, which took him out of yesterday's game?
Mike Wilbon (2:35 PM)
I would think none. I didn't see anything dirty about it, although I know Bill Belichick did.
Doug (Santa Barbara)
Hey Michael! I'm finding it absurd how far people are going to justify Sherman's classlessness after the game. From taunting and mocking to idiocy in an interview . . . are we now accepting this? Why do we tolerate behavior like this, and Harbaugh's too? Is it a further slide into a "Me" generation? By the way . . . both men mentioned were at Stanford together . . .
Mike Wilbon (2:36 PM)
If I published all the comments on this that I have on my screen it would be about 60 percent against Sherman's behavior, 40 percent fine with it...Different strokes...And yes, there are people who not only tolerate it, but endorse it. Just look at what we consume today, and start with reality television.
Mike, Watch you and Tony everyday, love the show!! What would you have done if you were Erin Andrews last night? Have you ever had an NBA guy just walk off during the middle of an interview?
Mike Wilbon (2:40 PM)
Tony and I don't interview people with a microphone on live TV and essentially never have...Okay, we might have each had an exception or two...That, boys and girls, is show business. You think when you're standing in a locker room quietly talking with Richard Sherman on a Wednesday afternoon he sounds like Macho Man Savage and storms off. He doesn't...Even if annoyed he'd roll his eyes or say, "Dude, are you nuts?" But to think that everyday life talking to players, no matter what sport, look like that would be in error. Yes, I've had people walk away from me, a couple of times I can think of...And I think in every case I talked to that guy without incident again...soon. But nothing that looks like that...But it was also theater...there was nothing real about it.
Not to compare the two, but how is what Sherman did any different than anything Ali would say back in the day?
Mike Wilbon (2:43 PM)
Great point! I thought of that same comparison last night...And Ali usually did it with a wink, with some style...Sherman did not. That's as far as I'd go with it though...But what Ali did with Frazier was also roundly criticized afterward. Even Ali went too far...
I know you have touched on it a few times, but I have honestly had enough of Richard Sherman. I enjoy trash talk and players not liking each other but Sherman just seems classless. I heard a few talking heads give the excuse that it was in the heat of battle and 60 seconds after a hard fought game. That would be valid if we didn't just hear Peyton Manning in the exact same siuation handle the situation and post game (on field) interview with such class........Guess it will be good for ratings, as seahawks are obviously the bad to peytons good.......thoughts
Mike Wilbon (2:47 PM)
Well, I wouldn't think for a second that a cornerback would act the same as a quarterback...Cornerbacks talk, Bro. That's what they do. It's the nature and culture of THAT position. Now, I think doing it the way Deion did is soooo much more entertaining. But remember, people didn't like Deion at the time and thought he ran his mouth too much. But how did thinks work out for Deion? Pretty good right? This game already has Peyton Manning, so why do you need another, right? If you have someone of Manning's temperment, don't you want Sherman as an antagonist?
How good was the Seahawks 49ERS game? To me it was one of the best games I've ever seen.
Mike Wilbon (2:50 PM)
One of the best I've ever seen too. Spectacular game...And what distinguished the game? Defense. Nasty, hard-hitting defense...Violence. Football the way we've known it for 90 years.
Brian (Steelton, PA)
Michael, with the hires of Jim Caldwell and Lovie Smith this offseason, how much closer are we to an NFL where race is not an issue in the hiring processes?
Mike Wilbon (2:51 PM)
Good question on the day we celebrate MLK Day (by the way, I've seen people call this his birthday, but it isn't. January 15 is Dr. King's birth date)...We're closer and closer all the time. A lot closer than when teams were scared to hire Tony Dungy 25 years ago even though he might have been the most qualified player out there...
Good to see some scores in the 20's and teens with some defense played instead of the 52-48 nonsense. Since the NFL is a copycat league, could this be the start of a trend?
Mike Wilbon (2:53 PM)
I agree...But it won't be a trend...There's no stomach for it anymore. The league is too worried about injuries, and justifiably so. But no, raise a toast to that game yesterday because its so rare that we'll see that...
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
There was a huge controversy in the 49ers-Seahawks game last night (at the expensive of Narvarro Bowman). Bowman clearly had the ball and was down, yet the Seahawks were awarded the ball and the play was not reviewable. This rule has to change, does it not?
Mike Wilbon (2:54 PM)
It does have to change. It needs to change THIS off-season. Anything you can see should be eligible for review. It's a good thing (for the sake of justice) that the Seahawks screwed up the very next snap...
Do you think LaMarcus Aldridge is an MVP candidate?
Mike Wilbon (2:57 PM)
Candidate? yes. My top five players right now in the NBA are: LeBron, Durant, George, Curry, Aldridge...So that's my five. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook are injured so I'm not including either player...Kevin Love's team is still really struggling so I have to put Aldridge ahead of Love, who is playing really well...I'm trying to justify my own picks in my head since I'm doing this off the cuff...I think I'm okay w that 5...Harden is probably in the next five...
Tommy (Neenah, Wisconsin)
Simple question for you Mr. Wilbon: Is Tom Thibodeau coaching the Bulls next season?
Mike Wilbon (3:09 PM)
Yes. Yes. Yeah, I belive he will be...The Bulls will have Mirotic and Derrick Rose back and Butler and Noah...That's four pretty damn good players...PLUS, they'll have a free agent (Lance Stephenson at the 2 and Butler at the 3???) I'm just asking...Anyway, the Bulls will have those players (I'm presuming they'll amnesty Boozer) and a quite a few draft picks...Thibs gonna get a better aquad than that to coach next year?
Was Peyton's legacy really ever in question?
Mike Wilbon (3:09 PM)
He's somewhere on the list of greatest quarterbacks of all-time if he never plays another down....
Mike Wilbon (3:10 PM)
Okay, I gotta run because TK is ordering me into PTI prep...Fun chatting with you guys today...Talk next week during the bye week...have a great week everybody! MW
Keith H (Seattle)
You may want to check out Richard Sherman's column on Peter King's MMQB site. He's not like that all the time, but he does use any slight to motivate himself. That's just how he's wired. (And if I got the chance to go off on Skip Bayless like he did earlier this year, I would too.)
Mike Wilbon (3:11 PM)
Thanks for that. I already knew he isn't like that all the time...It's almost a pro wrestling character he's adopting...
Will Gary Bettman ever grow a pair and ban staged fighting from the NHL? The league should embrace the exciting games of San Jose/Tampa Bay and Chicago Blackhawks/Boston Bruins played this weekend as an example. The way both Calgary and Vancouver handled themselves Saturday night they should feel embarrassed. I also think John Tortorella deserves a hefty fine or suspension for his silly antics.
Mike Wilbon (3:12 PM)
Amen...Thanks for that. I agree with that wholly. Completely. Love that sentiment. Glad you expressed it...