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!
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
Hi Everybody...OMG, do we have a ton of news to jump into, from Dale Jr. to Clowney running a 4.5 in Indy to Syracuse @ Duke, which I attended, to the U.S. Olympic hockey team to Nene's injury which is just now being digested...here we go...
Rob (San Antonio)
Mr. Wilbon, as someone whose opinion I have a great deal of respect for I would appreciate your answer to this question. The league is discussing issuing penalties for use of the "N" word on the field. Ryan Clark stated Mr. Rooney forbid the use of the word in the locker room whether by the players or the music being played. Ryan stated at first they quit using the word but it eventually crept back in because the word is a part of the regular vocabulary of the players. What are your thoughts on the word and how can it use be enforced on the field? I understand context but how can one person use it among friends and another be penalized for it?
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
IO know this is a strange place to start, probably, but there are so many questions in the que about it I think I should address it. The OTL on the "N-Word" is something I participated in, along with many others including Ryan Clark, and while I had much trepidation about the show and my involvement going in, I found it fascinating and informative and emotional...The producers did a wonderful job with a subject that's virtually impossible to get one's arms around. Look, I'm on record as saying I use the word all the time...with friends and family and I'm not apologizing for it nor seeking permission...I don't know how you legislate this. Seriously...it's uttered on probably 75 percent of the snaps in the NFL and has been for a long time...AND (cont'd)
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
...this is going to come from a league whose commissioner ignorantly says that "Redskin" is essentially a term of endearment. How would the league and its commissioner reconcile those two positions, saying the N-word is good for 15 yards but Redskins good for business? This is a very, very complex issue. And how many black people, since there aren't any black owners, will be involved in making policy? As Ryan Clark said, so a white owner is going to vote to have a white referee tell black players "you can't use the word" 'Nigga' on the field of play when addressing another black person, even though "Nigger" is one of the vilest words in the languuage...Sorry to those of you who are jolted by the use of the word but not using it doesn't work. "N-word" is some necessary attempt to avoid it or sanitize it...Anyway, I don't think the league is the agent to make this change, but I'm sure there will be strong opinions from the other direction on this and I welcome hearing those, too.
Brian (Washington D.C.)
Hi Mike,I've been hoping for a return to the playoffs this year for the Wizards. Not just a return, but with a decent seeding, a chance for them to win a first round series. But now Nene is injured, and may be out for the rest of the season. Without Nene, do you think the Wiz will even make the playoffs?
mike wilbon (2:22 PM)
Wow...this news about Nene's injury being a season-ender is really bad for the Wizards. He's probably the second most important player on the team, behind John Wall. Not the second best player. Bradley Beal is the second best player...But Nene's presence in that lineup is undeniable. They're so much stronger with him...With Nene and Gortat, I think the Wizards are the only team in the East (not counting Miami, of course) that physically can stand up to the Pacers...The Wizards aren't ready to beat the Pacers or Heat in a series, and could lose to anybody in a first-round series because most of them are so new at it (especially Wall and Beal)...But overcoming this is going to be so difficult.
Thoughts on Clowney's 40? More athletic than Lebron james?
mike wilbon (2:41 PM)
Maybe. 4.53 is the official time, we're hearing now...same as Kaepernick...faster than Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. To put this is greater context, Clowney is right there in terms of speed with Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas, the two fastest pass rushers of consequence, probably, in NFL history. Those two guys disrupted defenses for a decade each. Now, none of that 4.53 thing tells us whether Clowney plays hard enough, studies the game hard enough, is coachable enough...any number of things that speed cannot predict or forecast...BUT, I'd take the guy in a heartbeat...You think playing in the NFC West against the offense the Niners and Seahawks trot out there that the Rams wouldn't be smart to counter w Long, Quinn and Clowney???
Tony (Richmond, CA)
The Jets are reportedly interested in signing McCown? Do you think the Bears will be able to keep him now? If so, what is the ceiling on how much Chicago is willing to pay?
mike wilbon (2:44 PM)
The Bears NEED to keep McCown, period...so they need to pay him more than the Jets offer and get on with it. Jay Cutler has missed games due to injury each of the last three years. So, is he now going to be healthy just because he's gotten a new contract?
Brian (New Orleans)
Will, or better yet, should Kobe return this season?
mike wilbon (2:45 PM)
I'm starting to think he will not return...Haven't asked him lately, and I don't think he knows anyway, not yet...He might want to come back for a dozen games or so to just see where he is and how he's feeling going into the summer...But even if he returns its not going to have any real impact, at this point, on a truly bad Lakers team. I hope he comes back healthy next season...
Hi Micheal Do you think the Bulls will make the nba playoffs this year?comments.
mike wilbon (2:46 PM)
have you seen the Eastern Conference? Yes, the Bulls will make the playoffs. The question is whether he'll finish 3rd, 4th or 5th in the conference...The injury to Nene is of major consequence to the Wizards who are in that mix as well...
Take off your hat as fan of the amazing international ice hockey tournament known as the Winter Olympics. Now, quick, you're commissioner of the NHL. Do the pros get to participate four years from now, or not?
mike wilbon (2:47 PM)
I would stay. I would. But the NHL, my bet is, just played in the Winter Games for the last time. I think like the NBA they'll go to a World Cup tournament and get out of the Olympics...
Mike you worried your Bulls about to lose the 4th seed to the Wizards yet?
mike wilbon (2:48 PM)
Not with Nene injured. I hate seeing this. He's an important player to the Wizards and just a nice fellow to sit and chat with about basketball...Maybe he can have some miraculous recovery...
Don (Lindenhurst, IL)
As well as the Bulls have played at times this season without Rose, it's still very hard getting invested in the season with knowing no matter what they don't match up well with Miami or Indiana anymore. Please give me something positive to look forward to going forward!
mike wilbon (2:52 PM)
See if they can win their first round series and push Miami or Indy to 6 games in the second round. That would be a really successful season without Rose and Deng. To go to the second round of the playoffs without the team's two best players? Is it what we hoped for in November? No, not at all. But this is pro sports. I'm still watching every game...not with the breathless anticipation I did that first month, like the Bulls-Pacers game when Indy was undefeated and the Bulls crushed them by 20 and Rose hit 5 or 6 threes and seemed to be getting noticeably better...So, I understand your disappointment...But hell, I followed the Bulls back when they had no chance of getting to the second round, so this is a bridge hopefully to something better next year and beyond. You think the Bears wouldn't like getting to the second round of the playoffs, having not reached the post-season for three straight years?
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Do you think Jason Collins playing last night let some of the steam out of the Michael Sam story, or will it be even larger deal since the NFL is king?
mike wilbon (2:54 PM)
I don't think the Jason Collins story is a big deal at all anymore, not at all. Collins has played in the NBA about a dozen years, so everybody in the league already knows and likes and respects him...It's more like the attitude about Sam at Missouri where he was already know. They didn't know him for his sexuality; they actually KNEW him. Same with Collins in the NBA...Sam will be a much bigger story. Much. Collins may not be in the NBA in two weeks.
Mike (San Diego)
You're assuming the Texans take Manziel. Imagine Watt and Clowney on the same line. Yeesh.
mike wilbon (2:55 PM)
Oh, no question. Yes, you're right...
Brian (New Orleans)
We are starting to kick off Mardi Gras down here. Ever been?
mike wilbon (2:59 PM)
I haven't. I've been there the day before and the day after but never during...Not really my scene, but I appreciate that its perhaps the greatest party in America...I need to do it one year. I've been to New Orleans, oh, 25-30 times in my life for Super Bowls, Final Fours, reginal finals, Saints games, Hornets games, Sugar Bowls, other college games and God knows what else...I LOVE the restaurants, LOVE so many of them. The best meal of my life came during a Super Bowl week when TK and I were with then-Commisioner Paul Tagliabue among others and sat in Emeril's kitchen...He asked the following question: "Anybody have any food allergies?" When it was determined nobody did, Emeril said, "Then let me take it from here." Should have been my "Last Supper." Greatest meal of my life. But no, never been to Mardi Gras...Will that top my dinner with Emeril?
I don't recall Goodell ever weighing in on the "Redskins" issue. Snyder is the only one to say it was no big deal. Kind of an important distinction to make.
mike wilbon (3:11 PM)
Then you need to google, Bro. You think I'd make it up? The commissioner DID comment and in some detail, not once but twice. Just because you're not paying attention to this stuff on a daily basis doesn't mean I'm not...
Mark (halifax) [via mobile]
Hey Mike, when talking about the eastern's third seed, you never seem to mention the raptors as having a shot. Is there a reason why you think they will be unsuccessful? Or just not enough to have an opinion on them?
mike wilbon (3:11 PM)
I usually do mention the Raptors, who've been very impressive this season...Maybe I didn't just now, but that's my bad...I should include the Raptors, no doubt. I'm surprised they've taken off the way they have since trading Rudy Gay. That seems to be a trend, doesn't it?
Mike, let's say Carmelo decides he does not want to leave NY or he wants to go somewhere else whether he opts out of the final year of his contract or not. The Bulls need to go after the superstar that is about 3 hours to the west of Chicago where he can leave his team after next season and give them nothing in return (I think you know who I'm talking about). Will Gar Forman and John Paxson do it? I think they absolutely need to if Carmelo doesn't come, they have assets to make a trade if that's what's needed.
mike wilbon (3:16 PM)
Who are you talking about? No, I don't know who you're talking about. Kevin Love? What are you, from New York? You don't realize Chicago is about a 7-hour drive from Minneapolis, not three hours by either car or plane!!! I'd love to see Kevin Love in a Bulls uniform although I'd hesitate to use the word "superstar" to describe him. He's never been in a playoff game. LeBron and KD are superstars...maybe even Dwight Howard, who led his team to the Finals...But Love? Not yet. Were you talking about somebody else and I misinterpreted?
why don't coaches get traded more often? like jim harbaugh isn't worth a 1st rounder or 2 who is an unknown pospect?
mike wilbon (3:17 PM)
Okay, I gotta run and do PTI...Lots to talk about on all platforms today...Thanks for chatting...See you Monday! Have a great week...
I think one thing people fail to realize is the desensitization people of my generation (early 20s) have with the N-word. My parents, who are fairly old relative to my peers' parents, always taught me that word was an absolute no-no; but I can assure you growing up and going through school, the N-word was said by black and white alike. I'm white and went to a high school that had a fairly even number of black and white students, and that word was thrown around like any other curse word might be. You might think it's reprehensible that white people are growing up with this word as a part of their culture and day-to-day lexicon, but it's a fact (at least where I'm from), and trying to legislate a word as common as the N-word is to a lot of players is going to be almost impossible, especially coming from an older generation (NFL owners) where the connotation associated with the N-word is entirely different from the one kids my age associate with it. People can lament the notion my generation doesn't understand the history behind the word, and certainly there are a number of folks (regardless of race or nationality) who despise that word or at least know when and when NOT to use the N-word as you do, but simply put: my generation doesn't view the N-word the same way as the media, owners, or league. For whites and blacks where I'm from, it's the same as saying "dude" or "bro." There's very little chance players in the NFL care enough to police each other and prevent that word from being used--especially when the command is being administered by a league that spews hypocrisy on the race issue day in and day out by supporting the "Redskins" name.
mike wilbon (3:20 PM)
I'm publishing this because I think its food for thought and very perceptive and honest...Thanks for sharing...For those of you who have time, the OTL on the N-word is on ESPN right now. Switch from me to that show, with Jason Whitlock, Ryan Clark, Common, Richard Lapchick, Jamelle Hill and some really smart high school kids who give voice, in part, to what Matt from Indy is saying above...Again, thanks for engaging...MW