Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. ET!
Keith H (Seattle)
Any thoughts from the British Open? Also, I'm wondering if Tiger would be better off healing rather than playing. This is already a lost year.
Mike Wilbon (2:21 PM)
Hi there everybody...The NFL is ON THE FIELD instead of ON THE CLOCK, which is great, in my opinion. I'm looking at SportsCenter's live coverage of New York Giants training camp...I know the Bears report tomorrow...The cool thing about this summer, what with World Cup and all the NBA Free Agency news is that football just shot onto the scene two minutes ago...We didn't have to have all the junk I hate, the conversations about OTAs...AND, the British Open was a very nice distraction, too. My only thought about the British Open is Rory McIlroy, wow! That's the only thought to have, right? he was great from wire to wire with a minimum of mistakes...Wow. He's the face of golf now, what with a 3rd Major Championship. Everybody else is chasing him and that includes Tiger Woods...I actually thought Tiger played better than I expected. He HAS to play at some point, has to...and if he's no worse for wear then he was better off playing again, trying to get a feel and rhythm...I don't really expect much from Tiger at all this summer/fall...But Rory is the headliner now. I don't feel the need to pronounce how many Majors he's going to win or project forever and ever...But he's the guy you want to see, the person who is going to be the focus of all the coverage, the guy the sport needs to be a star the next three or four years as the game transitions from Tiger/Phil to an entirely different field of guys...
How is it that Tony Dungy continues to get away with making anti-gay comments?
Mike Wilbon (2:41 PM)
Tony has just released a statement attempting to clarify his remarks. He said he has said several times the last few months that he believes the media attention that comes from the attention devoted to Michael Sam will be a distraction BUT that he does not believe Sam's sexual orientation will be a distraction. So, he's trying to draw a distinction between the two points and I don't know if this statement does that. There will be continued discussion of Dungy's remarks, I am betting. Now, we know that Sam was selected near the very bottom of the draft...If not for Jeff Fisher chances are Sam wouldn't have been drafted at all. And my bet is almost all of the 31 other coaches in the league feel the way Dungy does, that the distraction from the intensity of the media attention will create a frenzy. We KNOW Sam's presence will create a media circus. This is a bit of evidence of that, right? We know where Tony Dungy is in terms of his religious beliefs and this is where I think the clash will come in regard to Sam's presence in the NFL, specifically. The influence of the religious right in football is enormous (as opposed to say the NBA or MLB where it matters little) and the belief of many in that sub-culture is that homosexuality is a sin an should not be tolerated. Dungy's views, I think, are held by a lot of people in pro football...I don't agree with those views; in fact I disagree with them vehemently...Still, the exist, they're widespread in the culture of football in America and I actually believe (as Dungy does) that this isn't going to go as smoothly as many think. I hope we're both dead wrong...
Charles Barkley revealed his one handed driver shot, How bad is Chuck's golf game and what is your most embarrassing golf moment?
Mike Wilbon (2:47 PM)
I played in the Tahoe event about 10 years ago and on my second hole--No, 11, which I think is a par-3, the caddie told me, "Don't hit hit the ball at the flagstick...hit it right of the stick...Do NOT hit the ball at the flag stick!" So, I hit it flush, I'm admiring the shot, the gallery gives me a huge roar and the ball, which lands 2 inches from an ace (I still don't have a single hole-in-one) comes to rest six feet away...leaving a downhill putt that made my caddie wince as we walked up the hill. No "Nice shot, Mike" nothing...He knew the putt and TOLD me not to hit it there...I 4-putted.From 6 feet.The first one raced past the cup and stopped about 20 feet away...So, I hit a ball 2 inches from the cup and wound up with a double bogey-5 on a par 3...So I've been there. I was playing, I think, with Digger Phelps and Brian Urlacher...I still have nightmares over it...Okay, I've avooided the Barkley part of the question because Charles is my friend...because I know how good he was before paralyzing himself by going to see too many celebrity teaching pros. I know how much he wants to pull out of this 10-year nightmare--Charles used to be about an 8-handicap...I know, you can't believe it--and just MAKE A SWING!!! But he can't. I feel for him...And I try not to laugh, which makes me about the only one.
I truly appreciate the greatness of Tiger Woods and all he has done and continues to do for the game. However, in my opinion, him missing the cut was a good thing. It gave everyone the opportunity to focus on the great play of a new generation of American players in Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, etc and some older players like Jim Furyk who continues to play such great golf.
Mike Wilbon (2:49 PM)
he didn't miss the cut, Ron. He just had a terrible second round, shot 77 I think...He played the weekend...There was just no reason to pay attention to what he was doing because he was so far back in the pack AND because Rory was killing it. I think it was good for Tiger to simply play four days of golf. Clearly, he needs playing time, as they say in the other sports. And lots of it.
Chris (Milwaukee, WI)
Hi Mike, What are your thoughts of the smaller college football schools playing in the spring?
Mike Wilbon (2:51 PM)
This is the June Jones suggestion, that the small colleges can't be relevent playing in the fall...Because Americans are so football obsessed my first inclination is to feel its a pretty good idea, that it'll get TV time and viewership from all the people who want football 12 months a year and can't have it...But I need to hear more arguments on each side...
over/under 7 wins for the Northwestern Wildcats football team.
Mike Wilbon (2:56 PM)
Man, this is hard. I was the big Northwestern football fundraiser in Chicago yesterday, a golf tournament that honors our late coach, Randy Walker...Coach Pat Fitzgerald hosted the post-golf banquet and talked all about where the team is and how he feels about things. And he's neither a sky-is-falling guy or a golly gee optimist. And I feel damn good about where the team is after hanging out with the coaches yesterday BUT we've got Cal, Northern Illinois and Notre Dame on the schedule, not to mention the usual Big Ten suspects...I'm going to say over, and rest at 8...which would mean 8-4...and if somebody calls me an optimist and homer, okay, I'll live with that. I know this: the football godes owe us after all those last-play-of-the-game losses last year that left us at 5-7 (I think that was our record) instead of a possible 9-3...
Wait... the religious right is a sub-culture? Talk about not being tolerant. This is the problem with lefties... you all preach tolerance and understanding and then rip everyone who disagrees with you. Don't you see the hypocrisy in that?? I consider myself religious right and I don't dislike/discriminate again anyone b/c of their sexual orientation, race, creed, or anything else. It's a shame people like you feel the need to denigrate an entire set of people based on your own prejudices.
Mike Wilbon (3:00 PM)
You clearly don't know what it feels like to be ripped by me because I can take your head off and didn't. I said there's a religious right sub culture that doesn't agree with Michael Sam's stated lifestyle. And if you've got as problem with that statement coming on this chat, get out. Go away, cause I don't want THAT kind of intolerance. I said I disagree with Dungy. What? I have to disagree with you or I'm a hypocrite? Don't act like I falsely or inaccurately portrayed the widespread feeling of the religious right when it comes to homosexuality...You're more tolerant that that? Good. Glad to hear it. I'll stand with what I said.
Is this the year Mike Trout finally wins the MVP, after being robbed by the regressive, anti-stats media the past 2 years?
Mike Wilbon (3:03 PM)
You want to get bogged down with MVP talk with about 70 or so games remaining. Trout certainly has a BIG LEAD on everybody...Cabrera is having a terrific year and he's about 2 hot weeks from climbing back into it with Trout. And Nelson Cruz is having a really good season but I think people will be disinclined to vote for him, but will be inclined to vote for Trout because he hasn't won yet...But we're way too far out to start declaring this...No? If Trout keeps playing this way I think Cabrera is the only guy who can catch him, but would have a difficult time doing so.
Marc (Malden, MA)
I've often heard the excuse that NFL lockerrooms are filled with "men of faith" or "highly religious men" and that's why they wouldn't accept a gay teammate. Yet NFL players are consistently getting in trouble for: DUI, vehicular manslaughter, doing/possession/selling drugs, making it rain at strip clubs, fighting at strip clubs, possessing/firing guns, adultery (sometimes with a prostitute, murder, etc. So all of these things are ok with their religion? As long as they're not gay right? Why is it that their religion makes being gay wrong but all of these other things, some of which are blatant violations of the 10 Commandments, are ok?
Mike Wilbon (3:03 PM)
Your question is damn worthy comment. Thanks for this...And the people who are upset that I'm even using this will just have to be upset.
Really Justin? Just because Tony Dungy has a certain religious belief, he assumes that his comments about Michael Sam have to do with him being gay. Jump to conclusions much? Besides, Tony Dungy did a great job clarifying his remarks today. This issue is old news, move on now.
Mike Wilbon (3:05 PM)
It's old news because you say so? Because I'm seeing dozens of questions in this que about the issue, so I guess its not over to the people who want to discuss...You can back out of the conversation, but I suspect its going to rage on for a few days...I don't think there's as much controversy here as others will...But people appear interested, despite your declaration.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Mr. Wilbon, I have two questions for you. Do you agree that "he would cause a distraction in the lockerroom" is a garbage excuse and is just a smokescreen so the person won't have to give his real reason that he hates gay people? How would compare racism towards men and women of color vs bigotry towards gay men and women?
Mike Wilbon (3:08 PM)
This is a great question...and I think it's impossible to prove but people hide behind their prejuduices all the time by using more aceceptable reasons publicly. I don't know the answer. I only know what its like to be a man of color and what has been and is directed at me. There's so much less than there was 30 years ago when I first started my life as a journalist, but there's still too much intolerance out there. However it's directed people need to vigilant and stand against it.
Wilbon, can you tell me why NBA free agents don't view Chicago as a primary spot to come play? Please don't tell me about the winters because that's heresay as these guys are on the road throughout the season. Is it ownership? Is it "Jordan's Shadow"? Something else?
Mike Wilbon (3:13 PM)
The Bulls have never made a big splash in free agency. Never. They've signed guys here and there but mostly today's free agents want the Lakers or one of the tax-free Florida franchises...How many big-name free agents have gone to Midwestern cities? Plus, I think the franchise's demeanor on these things matter. The Bulls NEVER hire high-profile established head coaches and don't make a splash in free agency...I'm talking the entire history of the franchise. Now, having said all that, I LOVE what the Bulls have done this summer, from the signing of Pau Gasol to the drafting of Doug McDermott to the signing of Aaron Brooks to backup (be insurance) for D. Rose. I love what Pax and Gar have done these recent weeks...I don't know that I even want to go after Kevin Love if I have to give up Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler...Maybe. I kind of want to see what this incredibly deep collection of guys can do...They're 11 deep now...Maybe that's too deep. Front line of Noah, Gasol, Love...Hmmm. Maybe I should take that back...Nobody (still) to defend NBA 3s on that front line...I don't know...Stay tuned...
Mike Wilbon (3:14 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Thanks for chatting. We'll start the show with our views on the Tony Dungy situation...and go from there. have a great week, enjoy the summer! MW