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 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:58 PM)
Hey everyone, I just heard from Mike that he'll be able to stick around from 2-2:45 p.m. ET today for his chat! World Series, Bears-Lions, NBA, send in your questions!
Buzzmaster (2:18 PM)
Hang on folks. We're waiting for Mike. He's traveling today.
mike wilbon (2:26 PM)
Hi everybody...just back from Chicago so lets jump right into Bears-Lions, Suh's hit, whatever, much of it I'm sure from last night at Soldier Field...wish I could have seen the NLCS Game 7 but couldn't...oh well...Must have been a great TV night last night with the NFL, MLB and the final debate...I'll take Soldier Field on Monday night...
Chris Miller (Sebring, Ohio)
Actually, another question I have is that Brandon Marshall Tweeted that the Suh hit was cheap. What do you think about that? I think that if they stopped Suh, then it wouldn't have happened, "protect your QB!"
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
I did NOT think it was a cheap shot. It was hard. It was violent. Guess what? That's football. If you don't want to get hit, or slammed or planted in the turf, play golf. That's what I do. I spent a lot of time in the Bears locker room last night and Brandon Marshall was the only guy I heard say it was a dirty play. Cutler didn't say that, neither did any of the players I talked to about various things (Urlacher, Henry Melton, Nick Roach...Lovie Smith went the other way on it, didn't think it was dirty and said so...Look, Suh is violent. But the Bears, of all organizations, should understand violent hitters, being the franchise that gave the world Butkus and Dent, among many, many others.
Michael, the WS doesn't have the two best teams, but it probably has the two best managers (if not, two of the top 4). In what sport do you think managers are the most pivotal to the success/failure of a team?
mike wilbon (2:32 PM)
Oh every sport...probably college football and basketball most of all because the players at that level are so pliable and they don't control the program or what happens on the floor to the extent they do later. At the pro level, football without a doubt. Just look at the Saints right now. My dear friend Dan LeBatard loves to make the case that coaches are virtually useless, which I think is literally insane. Pro basketball is a players league, for example, but look at the guys who've won all the titles...And look at how many teams with great players don't win...Now, I think you can be a terrific coach and go nowhere when you don't have good players. But I'm a believer in great coaching/managing making all the difference in the world...And Jim Leyland has to be one of the best managers/coaches in the last 25 years, right?
ole ball coach (Columbia )
Wilbun.....how was lunch today dadgumit.
mike wilbon (2:33 PM)
just turkey/swiss/mayo on multigrain with a diet ginger ale...That's it. No Barkley...Don't cry for me, though; it's about the time of year I get to hang out with Charles quite a bit, either in Scottsdale where we both live (him more than me) or on the road someplace...Lunch is a lot less funny today though...isn't that strange?
pedro cottondale florida [via mobile]
can anybody beat da heat in da finals this year
mike wilbon (2:34 PM)
"Can?" yeah, OKC or the Lakers...either one...Will they? Hmmm...I think the Heat will be very, very difficult to beat.
So Warren Moon thinks the criticism of Cam has a racist angle? Will anyone call out Moon for this absurd statement? Assertions like this marginalize incidences that actually are racist. Cam's attitude and lack of filter are HIS problem. But of course racism is the easier, cheaper explanation so let's just throw it out there.
mike wilbon (2:37 PM)
And so I should call you out for ruling out race being involveed in any and everything. I'm as offended by your outrage as you are his. I don't trust anybody EVER who says, "I don't see color" because that's a lie. We ALL see color...how we handle that determins a lot. Can we IGNORE it, or not give a damn, or try to minimize what our grandparents saw or felt? yeah, all of the above...But your sanctimony also might suggest something to those of us who feel differently than you. I think less than ever race enters into the discussion of a black QB. LESS THAN EVER. Doug Williams would kill to get the treatment Cam Newton is getting. Got it? Now, is it absent? Hell no. And if you can't accept that, we'lll just agree to disagree.
Chris Miller [via mobile]
I don't know if these are going through but I was wondering about what the Browns need to do to fix their constant issues?
mike wilbon (2:39 PM)
Find the right GM who drafts the right players and hires the right coach who hires the right assistants. I'm not trying to be a smart ass...Look, its the same answer as "What do the Cubs need to do to fix their constant issues?" You can fill in the blank with various teams and its still the same answer that begins with the selection of people. You think all will be right if they juggle the lineup, change the depth chart? It won't be.
Mike - I think the rain, and the cruddy field, may have saved the Bears season. If Cutler goes down like that on Turf he may have been done. So does his "tough" game change the perception of him among the national media? Or are we still going to hear from the body language experts every time the Bears play?
mike wilbon (2:43 PM)
His body language and toughness are two different things. One has nothing to do with the other. Cutler is pretty damn tough, and Cutler can be sour...These things can both be in play. I like it when he goes off now and then, which I wrote in a column a couple of weeks ago for ESPNChicago.com...By the way, are you a turf expert? It wasn't desert dry but it hadn't rained a drop during the game and the tarp had been covering the field when it did rain. Are you George Toma? Jay got lucky. Every player playing football gets lucky 100 times a year that he isn't rolled up on from behind or lands in a way that somehow misses by two inches from resulting in a broken collarbone or ripped up ACL...I'm damn glad he seems to have escaped serious injury...I started wondering (okay, this is the neurotic Bears fan in me) if the Bears should hold out Cutler Sunday and let Jason Campbell start vs. Carolina. I don't care how great the Bears defense is right now--and it's the best in the league--the Bears can't win a Super Bowl without Cutler...though I think Campbell can hold the fort better than 90 percent of the backups out there.
Faithful knucklehead (Beverly, Ma)
What did you think about Suh's hit on Cutler?
mike wilbon (2:44 PM)
See above. It was a hard, nasty, violent hit, the kind that Chicagoans have come to love over the years more than any other NFL fans. But it didn't seem dirty to me...and that's the last we're going to mention of that today.
Was reading your post yesterday when you were talking of Sir Charles, I met him a while back and wanted to echo your sentiments. Charles is the most generous, and humbled athlete that I ever had the opportunity to meet.
mike wilbon (2:45 PM)
Thanks for that!
as a cowboys fan i have a very uneasy feeling that the giants are gonna come into our house and punch us in the mouth.... if giants win i recalling jerryworld, to "the house that eli built"
mike wilbon (2:46 PM)
The Giants do seem to pay closer attention some weeks. I think this is one of those, especially since they lost opening night to the Cowboys in the Meadowlands. And the worst part for Cowboys fans: I don't think the Boys can do anything about it.
Mike newyork [via mobile]
What do you see the ravens doing during the bye week to rebound from that blowout loss to houston?
mike wilbon (2:46 PM)
They've got to rally that defense. Perhaps T-Sizzle can do it. And they've got to get Joe Flacco to back up all his "elite QB" hogwash...Don't say it, play it. I don't know if Flacco can...But if he can't, I see the Ravens being a 9-7 team at best...
Mike -- Point being there is plenty of legitimate criticism to point at Cam. And it's not even so much his play though he's regressed from last year. It's his bizarre press conferences and "woe is me" pontificating. Definitely not the sign of a leader. Citing racism as the reason for criticizing makes it seem as if no criticism is warranted... as if it's just being manufactured. If you want to explain it away as him being young and immature I get that. But to blast the doubters as being fueled by racism is pretty reckless, no? I mean even Steve Smith called him out recently.
mike wilbon (2:51 PM)
There is criticism warranted; Moon didn't say it wasn't. Question is, is the LEVEL of criticism warranted? I think it is. And by the way--and now I'm about to bring up race--when a white player says, "put it on me" he's usually lauded, prasied to the Heavens. When a black player does it there's some skepticism about his motives. Do I see race making a difference in those observations? Hell yes, I do. Now, back to Cam. He's played lousy. Absolutely lousy. But don't tell me the coaches there and other players there don't deserve to share in the blame. Again, I'm thankful we're at the point where this is less an issue than it's ever been...I was covering Doug Williams when the "N-word" was thrown out there like it was hit middle name...and we're talking the late 1980s, not post-Reconstruction...it's different now. Lots of bigots have died off or been embarassed and people are raised differently now and don't tolerate that, regardless of what their ethnicity is. ON THE OTHER HAND, you want to come to my office and see my mail and see how many bigots there are out there who help drive the national discussion? You want to see Warren Moon's mail? See, I KNOW what it looks and sounds like and you don't. So don't be so dismissive. Having said that, Cam has been lousy so far this season, period.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Charles is a really funny guy, but he is also incredibly insightful. I feel the same way about his commentary as you do about Magic's.
mike wilbon (2:52 PM)
Oh trust me, I feel the same about Charles, too...Again, I feel truly fortunate that I get to interact with both of them essentially ALL THE TIME...
Did Charles and Tiger ever kiss and make up?
mike wilbon (2:58 PM)
No. Tiger hasn't been in touch with Charles since the incident/accident...It's like he's denying a part of his life existed...I don't get it. Charles introduced me to Tiger years and years ago...He was like a big brother to Tiger...I don't get it...I'm not going to play pop psychologist and try to tell you what Tiger is/was thinking...I just don't get it.
Way to duck the Cam Newton thing. Apparently Whitlock was writing about you too in his column today.
mike wilbon (2:59 PM)
You too smug to say what you mean and put yourself out there? Duck what? I mean seriously, people like you are why I need to stay off Twitter and am reluctant to chat, because of what I perceive to be some kind of intellectual superiority. I'd love to sit with somebody as insecure and threatened as you seem to be for 30 minutes. it wouldn't be much of a debate.
Do you think Chiefs fans will be happy now that Cassel is permanently benched? Or will the unhappiness continue once everyone realizes that Brady Quinn is just as bad and Pioli is still the GM?
mike wilbon (3:00 PM)
Ah, the latter. Nobody is every happy when the team is bad and the choices are worse!
George (Happy Valley)
Sorry about Northwestern but are you aware PSU has already won more games this year than it did the entire previous decade? Bill O'Brien has to be the coach of the year, right?
mike wilbon (3:01 PM)
yes, absolutely, no question. O'Brien has done a fabulous job. I think Tony and I are talking about this on PTI today. He is under the impression than Urban Meyer has done a better job, and he'd be damn wrong. O'Brien--and I spend time talking to coaches and various Big Ten people about this Saturday at the Northwestern-Nebraska game--has done not just a great job, but an unthinkable job under the circumstances.
Hi Mike, big fan of PTI. Off topic question: What are your thoughts on election/debate?
mike wilbon (3:12 PM)
I chceked into the first two debates...Watched 80 percent of the first one, 60 percent of the second one, none of the third one because I was in Soldier Field. Probably would have watched 25 percent last night...I'm tired of it all. I don't know who the undecides are; I've been decided. I'm tired of partisan politics in general, largely because I live in a place (Washington, D.C. 9/10ths of a mile outside the Beltway) where you CANNOT escape it. See, it's not only our national news its our local news, and I've come to literally loathe it and so many of the people in and around it. So, I can't wait for the election to be over. I hate the media coverage, most of it anyway, the tone. It's probably nobody's fault; I just checked out. And I didn't feel this way 20, 25 years ago. I used to roll around in it, read every word, indulge all of it. My dad was a political junky and news junky and I grew up hanging on the word of every pundit...Maybe after he died I soured on it for reasons that have more to do with losing my dad than politics itself. Anyway, I'm pround to be friends with the current President of the United States. He has called me a friend, so I feel I have permission, if you will, to say that. Having said that, I can't wait for the first Tuesday in November, and all that it means, to come and go. I guess you got more answer than you bargained for, didn't you? LOL
Why is everyone calling Cutler so tough after last night? Did everyone forget the playoff game that the Bears lost because Cutler refused to play hurt in a playoff game? Eli Manning made play after play after being murdered by SF in the NFC Championship game. Tom Brady played the Superbowl XLVII on a busted ankle. Both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tony Romo have played half seasons with broken ribs. Those are tough performances. Not continuing to play with a bruised rib.
mike wilbon (3:13 PM)
Cutler "refused to play." I was at that game and I KNOW that depection is, well, unbelievably inaccurate. Now, if you say he "couldn't" play or his coaches chose not to play him with that injury...yeah, a lot of NFL players took out after Cutler that day but it doesn't mean they were right...and the least you can do is GET it right.
Hey Michael. Thoughts on the AL MVP? I used to be more of an old school thinker, but I started to read writers who are more new stat friendly (Joe Posnanski, Keith Law, etc...) and they come off as logical and informed. They have me convinced that Trout should be the MVP over Cabrera. The logic of those who support Cabrera seems inadequate by comparison.
mike wilbon (3:16 PM)
The logic of anybody who selects Trout over Cabrera is inadequate and agenda-driven as far as I'm concerned, so we're on the oppostite side of that argument...Nobody had won the triple crown in 45 years...and I don't care to hear any new wave of thinking that is going to minimize things like runs batted in, considering there's nothing more important than driving in a run. it's the most important act in baseball, SCORING A RUN. I'm not going to open up this dialogue beyond what we've just done. The MVP is Cabrera, and to be brutally honest--and I covered baseball for years and followed it religiously and even obsessively from 6 to 24 before I covered it...I am totally dismissive of the argument of Trout over Cabrera...I think I'm starting to resent it, which is why I should just disengage...See, I'm trying to be a more pleasant person these days!!!
John (St. Louis)
Mike I'm from California originally and I was cheering on my Giants at a local sports bar last night. With one out left a Cardinals fan (that I hadn't said a word to all night) came up and blindsided me with a punch. One more reason to hate the Cardinals?
mike wilbon (3:18 PM)
no...one perfect reason for the fan to have been arrested...or punched to the floor, whichever...or hopefully both. Question: What did the Cardinals baseball club have to do with THAT fan?
Do you agree with the local perspective that Ray Rice absolutely must touch the ball at least 20 times for the Ravens to have offensive success?
mike wilbon (3:18 PM)
Absoutely yes...Better Ray Rice be the focal point of the Ravens offense than Joe Flacco.
mike wilbon (3:19 PM)
okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Thanks for indulging in the double header today and yesterday...See you guys Monday! Have a great week...mw