August 01, 2020

Are Marlins to blame for own COVID outbreak? If so it would mirror America's struggle. Third in our trilogy of columns on team's week from hell; plus Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 22 out now!, Augie and Isaias & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 1. Welcome, Augie. Be nice to us. You, too Isaias!  2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins postpone opener due to virus outbreak, Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 22 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 22 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 22 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 22 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 22 Greg and Chris are joined by special guest co-host Juju Gotti, the Atlanta rapper, for a fun and veering conversation. New episode also includes Greg's Mail Sack, the top 10 Miami sports stars of all time, and the Mount Gregmore Name Game (E's). Hear all that and more in new Ep22! 

OUR TRILOGY OF COLUMNS ON THE MIAMI MARLINS' WEEK FROM HELL:

Miami Marlins (1)3RD/LATEST: ARE MARLINS TO BLAME FOR OWN OUTBREAK? IF SO IT WOULD MIRROR AMERICA'S STRUGGLEThe COVID-19 outbreak that has derailed the Miami Marlins season so soon after its delayed start perfectly mirrors America’s struggle to contain and get past this coronavirus pandemic that has turned 2020 upside down. The lesson: It only takes a relative few, on a team or in a nation, to mess things up for everyone. Half of the Marlins roster — 17 players and two coaches after one more test-positive Thursday — have been hit by the virus. The infection total for the other 29 MLB teams combined: Zero. How can that possibly be? If what USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said on the radio is true, a very few unnamed Marlins went out partying in Atlanta after an exhibition game a week ago Tuesday, in violation of health and safety protocols, contracted the virus and unknowingly spread it. I would emphasize the word if there. MLB is investigating that report, according to ESPN. The team has made no statement on its truth but also is investigating the cause. Meantime, CEO Derek Jeter (pictured), manager Don Mattingly, team captain Miguel Rojas — anyone who fancies himself as leading this team — should be profoundly embarrassed if the cause is proved to be self-inflicted. If a few players’ rule-breaking selfishness caused this outbreak, the Marlins would owe their fans an apology. Last season’s 57-105 record was bad. This outbreak, no matter its root, is every-way worse. For our full latest column, visit Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle

Marlins2ND: AS MARLINS COVID OUTBREAK WORSENS, SPORTS SHOULD RETHINK PLAYING AT ALL AGAIN IN 2020: Maybe the Miami Marlins have done sports a huge favor. Maybe this is the slap in the face, the slap of reality, that every league commissioner in America has needed. Because maybe this is when the perils of playing in a pandemic begin to seem more and more like, well, like insanity. Then again, maybe I’m dreaming. That sure seemed the case when the MLB commissioner’s first words on the Marlins’ COVID-19 outbreak that postponed their Monday and Tuesday home games was that this could be "managed." "I don’t see it as a nightmare," said Rob Manfred, a man paid to put his team owners’ financial bottom line ahead of the health and safety of his players and coaches and their families. "We think we can keep people safe and continue to play." How did that work out for you with Miami, Rob? Or are at least 17 Marlins players and coaches testing positive three games into the start of the season not enough to make you rethink the risk? One of the infected players is team captain Miguel Rojas, it was reported Tuesday, after Rojas had begun the season 7-for-10. This is a nightmare, Rob. This should be enough to make all sports rethink the risk. For this full column, visit As Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020

Mattingly1ST: MARLINS ARE NOW 'EXHIBIT A' AND SCARY LESSON ON PERILS OF PLAYING IN PANDEMIC: For all the world to see, the Miami Marlins just became Exhibit A for all that can go wrong when you try to play games in a pandemic. It is this baseball club, in one of America’s continuing coronavirus/COVID-19 hotpots, that you look to now when you wonder if this whole sports restart — for our entertainment and so leagues can make money, not necessarily in that order — is worth the risk. The worst that can happen, happened. The Marlins (masked manager Don Mattingly is pictured) suffered a virus outbreak infecting half the team on the first road trip of the season. At least 12 players and two coaches have tested positive — forcing Monday night’s scheduled home opener at Marlins Park to be canceled. It is an historic happenstance in a year unlike any in American history as the U.S. virus death toll grimly approaches 150,000 while sports start back up in empty stadiums and arenas. The Marlins’ next game, when and where it will be — all to be determined. For this full column, visit Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Our most recent other columns:

Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That

When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report

Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps

And: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is -- And Knows It By Heart  /  Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns  /  and Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear  /  Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision  /  Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope  /  The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1  /  Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020  /  Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back  /  Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction  /  Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?  / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred  /  and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Special Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

July 06, 2020

Washington Redtails, test positives and Makur Maker: the new Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No.1 and what else ranks where; plus the face of Miami sports in 2020 (new column), Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 19 out now! & more

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 6. Hope you all had a happy and safe (!) Fourth of July weekedn. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The 2020 Face of Miami sports, time to cancel sports for rest of year, Cam Newton and Belichick, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 18 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 19 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 19 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 19 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 19 we chat with the University of Miami's new Chief Diversity Officer for athletics, Dr. Renae Myles Payne, whose job takes on magnified relevance as America protests for social and racial justice. She talks about the anger, frustration and fear of many of her own Hurricanes athletes. For the fun  stuff, we bring you the latest installment of Greg Doesn't Know Movies, plus the Mount Gregmore Name Game B edition. Greg also talks Tuscaloosa COVID-19 parties and the (supposed) return of sports. Here it all in the new pod now!

TuaTHE FACE OF MIAMI SPORTS IN 2020. OUR TOP 20: In our latest column we decide who is the face of Miami sports in 2020 among current athletes from our five major pro teams: Dolphins, Heat Marlins, Panthers and Inter Miami. We list our Top 20 choices and arrive at a No. 1 that may surprise you. (Could it be the guy pictured at left?) For the full column and Top 20 list, please visit The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1. 

Most recent other columns: Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 5-6): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NFL: Redskins finally weighing name change: Under increasing pressure at a time of demand for social justice, the Washington Redskins now say they are considering a nickname change (Redtails, anyone?) after pressure from main sponsor FedEx, the D.C. mayor and Native American groups. Baseball's Cleveland Indians are now considering a new nickname, too.

2. HEAT: Third Miami player tests positive as camp nears: Three Heat players have now tested positive for COVID-19 as the team readies for its July 9-29 training camp in the bubble in Orlando. If it happens, 22 teams will play eight games to end the regular season starting July 30 (Heat open August 1), followed by the playoffs.

3. MARLINS: Fish  begin spring work with four test-positives: Four players from the 60-man pool were absent after testing positive for COVID-19 as Miami began spring work at its stadium, preparing for a 60-game season set to start July 23 or 24 and run through September.

4. INTER MIAMI: No test-positives as Miami arrives in Orlando: All Inter Miami players tested negative on arrival (after one had earlier been positive), and the expansion team is set to restart its season this Wednesday night vs. Orlando City SC. Inter Miami's game will now be the first in the MLS Is Back tournament, after the league said Saturday it would postpone the scheduled first match after nine FC Dallas players tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Orlando.

5. NCAA: Did Makur Maker just change college basketball?: A nationally coveted five-star basketball recruit named Makur Maker just chose Howard University, an historically black college that was 1-15 last season in the MEAC, over powers such as UCLA. Season changer. Game changer. Sport changer?

6. NFL: League cuts preseason, stirs anthem debate: Hey something good has come out of the global pandemic! The NFL is reducing its excruciating preseason from four meaningless exhibtions to two. Also, NFL mired in controversy over report it will play the so-called Black National Anthem before games opening week. Relax, white folks. Put down the gun, Karen. Song's been around for decades. And it'll play before the Star-Spangled Banner, not in place of.

7. MLB: ASG cancelled; might sport lose trout, too?: Baseball announced a 2020 All-Star Game would not be played. The sport's planned July 23-24 restart wobbles as more players test positive or opt out. Now, the game's biggest star of all, the Angels' Mike Trout, says he is undecided whether to play the season, which, unlike other sports, will involve traveling and likely crowds in some stadiums. 

8. PANTHERS: NHL eyes two hub cities in Canada for restart: The NHL has singled out Toronto and Edmonton as the two hub cities where games will be played when a straight-to-playoffs season resumes in late July. Playoff-bound teams including the Florida Panthers will begin training camp in their home cities this coming Friday.

9. WNBA: Maya Moore's sacrifice pays off: As WNBA players return to practice this week, star Maya Moore fell to her knees in emotion when, after 22 years in prison, Jonathan Irons walked out of Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man and exonerated this past week. Moore quit basketball in her prime to crusade for Irons' innocence.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 141-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 90 games of regular season. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 19. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hope y'all had a safe and happy Fourth of July, happy being a relative term in the wrenching gauntlet that is 2020 ..... Death. Taxes. And Joey Chestnut winning the Nathan's July 4 Hot Dog Eating Contest ..... As NASCAR runs at Indianapolis today, Jimmie Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 ..... Cubs pitcher Jose Quintana lacerated his thumb while washing dishes. Jose. You make big-league money. Look into this really neat invention. It's called a dishwasher! ..... Happy to hear Oklahoma State socked football coach Mike Gundy with a huge pay cut over questionable behavior in the race relations realm ..... Bryson DeChambeau won the PGA Tour event in Detroit by three shots Sunday. He led the field in both driving distance and putting. Look out ..... UFC's 'Fight Island' debuts this coming Saturday with Jorge Masvidal now in the main event vs. Kamaru Usman ..... 'The Basketball Tournament' is underway, and nobody but the participating teams gives a bleep ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 19 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,185 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup, always presuming the world is still around then.

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

June 29, 2020

As sports lurches toward the (re)starting line -- or is that edge of a cliff? ... the latest (updated) Hot Button Top 10! See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 18 is out now & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 29. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why sports should not abandon the Star-Spangled Banner, Baseball has restart plan but is sports walking into a giant mess?, Noose in Bubba Wallace's garage, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 17 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 18 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 18 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 18 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 18 we talk baseball but also get funny/personal with ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, chat with somebody else named Greg Cote, introduce a new segment called the Mount Gregmore Name Game, and praise the South African nation of Botswana. Why?Only one way to find out, right?

Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need  /  It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America  /  Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Columns from this past week: Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction  /  Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?  / and Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 28-29): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Finally! MLB has announces a restart plan: After owners and players failed to agree on anything, MLB exercised its power and imposed a 60-game season, with Opening Day expected on July 23 or 24 and the regular season running through September 27. Players are to report for spring training July 1. Teams will play 10 games each vs. their four division rivals, with interleague play making up the other 20 games. Teams are to play home games in their own stadiums and travel for road games despite that adding coronavirus risk to the equation.

2. HEAT: NBA sets restart dates for Miami, rest of league: Unless the whole grand plan collapses under the weight of the coronavirus -- the NBA tested 302 players and found 16 positive for COVID-19, reportedly including the Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. -- NBA games will resume for real (sans fans) on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus in Orlando, where teams will report July 7 to begin preparing. The Heat's return will be on Saturday, August 1 vs. Denver. Teams will play eight regular season games, which, combined with their record at the time of stoppage, will determine playoff seedings. There are negotiations ongoing to allow players to wear social-justice messages on their jerseys.

3. NFL: Patriots sign Cam Newton: New England reportedly has agreed to a one-year deal with Cam Newton to replace departed Tom Brady. In other news, the Pats have been fined $1.1 million and lose a third-round draft pick over their TV crew filming the field and sideline during a Browns-Bengals game. 

4. NASCAR: Confederate flag, noose overshadow the racing: NASCAR banned Confederate flags from its tracks and properties in the wake of the national George Floyd protests, angering many race fans who still think it's 1863. Oh, and a noose turned up in the Talladega garage of Bubba Wallace, the Cup SerIes' only black driver, but an investigation found it had been there for years, not intentionally left for him. Um, OK. And whhhhyyy had it been there for years!?

5. NFL: Preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game is canceled: There won't be a Cowboys-Steelers game to christen the NFL preseason this August, after it was canceled this week. As of now, the regular season still is set to start on September 10 (the Dolphins open at New England on the 13th), but whether any or a limited number of fans will be in stadiums is open to doubt. Training camps remain set to open July 28. For now, at least.

6. SOCCER: NWSL ushers in return of pro sports: The National Women's Soccer League Challenge Cup began Saturday in Utah -- marking the return of professional team sports leagues in the U.S. for the first time since March shutdown for the cornavirus pandemic. All players from the first game, North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns, knelt during the national anthem in an empty stadium to protest racial injustice.

7. PANTHERS: NHL close to naming hub cities for restart: With the Panthers and other NHL teams set to open training camp in their home cities July 10, the NHL expects this week to name the two hub cities where the direct-to-playoffs season will be played and finished, starting in late July. Hub city finalists are Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Toronto and Vegas.

8. SOCCER: Next Women's World Cup headed Down Under: FIFA announced its 2023 Women's World Cup would be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The United States has won the past two WWC's. Let's gooooo States!

9. ESPN: Backstory on LeBron's 'The Decision' premieres: ESPN's 'The Decision" (about LeBron James' show to reveal he was taking his talent to South Beach 10 years ago) debuts tonight at 9, yet another reminder ESPN Is desperate for content in the void of live sports. Spoiler alert: The idea for the controversial show was not LeBron's, his agent's or ESPN's. The idea came from a 38-year-old Pistons fans from Columbus, Ohio, identified only as "Drew" in a Bill Simmons mailbag column published by ESPN in November 2009. So there.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 133-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 84 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 17. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has pledged $13 million over the next four years to fight systemic racism through the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), the nonprofit foundation he began in 2015 ..... Vince Carter has retired after 22 NBA seasons, surprising analysts who thought he'd retired around 2012 ..... Canes legend Ray Lewis donated personal protective equipment to the UM football program ..... Family of thr late great Dolphin Jim Kiick have donated his brain for research. Good for them! ..... Somebody named "Chez Reavie" leads by four shots entering today's final round of he PGA Tour's coronavirus-depleted Travelers Championship. Even money Chez blows it? ..... Countdown 10 days until Inter Miami resumes its inaugural with a July 8 match vs. Orlando in the MLS Is Back tournament being held sans fans in that city ..... The debacle-in-waiting, UFC's Fight Island, is set to debut July 11 ..... WNBA players begin reporting next week ..... The new, independent 3-on-3 pro ice hockey league set to debut next year, called 3ICE, has launched an online merchandise store. Buy now. That crap will be a minor collectors' item once the league folds ..... FLorida Panthers announced the launch of an all-access, behind-the-scenes online series, "Panthers Uncaged," chronicling team's preparation for NHL's upcoming 24-team postseason. First episode is this Wednesday on team's Facebook, IGTV, PanthersVision and YouTube channels ..... Shaq and Gronk had or are having some sort of virtual party, but HB didn't care enough to find out details ..... Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown reopened on Friday with enhanced health procedures including masks and social distancing ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 18 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,192 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

Previous most recent columns: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

Select earlier columns from 2020: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

June 22, 2020

Dan Le Batard and Papi in Greg Cote Cote podcast's Father's Day special. It's new Episode 17, out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), links to recent columns & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Hapdad1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 22. Hope it was a Happy Fathers Day for all my fellow papis and padres! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Team that signs Kaepernick will be champion of the streets, Should sports play it safe and take rest of 2020 off?, America's Pastime is letting America down, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 16, Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 17 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 17 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 17 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 17 we Father's Day with ESPN's Dan Le Batard and his dad Papi -- in Papi's first interview since he walked away from his fulltime role on Dan's Highly Questionable show. Why did he leave? Might he return? Join the conversation. That and more in new Ep17! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My columns from this past week: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need  /  It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America  /  Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 21-22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MLB: America's Pastime continues to whiff on restart plan: MLB Players Association proposed a 70-game regular-season schedule (July 19 through September 30) that was immediately rejected by commissioner Rob Manfred, with no counter-proposal, as sides continue back and forth with no solution in sight. All sports move forward to playing again, except one. Sad, baseball. Sad.

2. HEAT: Butler recalls racism in team's Town Hall: As NBA players prepare to arrive July 7 in Orlando for restart of the season, Heat held a town hall about race on Juneteenth, on Zoom, with coach Erik Spoelstra and several players. Notable was Jimmy Butler remembering this from age 16 in Houston: "A white man and his son, who is no older than maybe 6 -- I'm walking with my brother, and we hear the kid turn around and say, 'Hey, Dad, those are those n-words that you are telling me about," Butler said. "The kid doesn't know any better. The first thing that popped in my head was, 'You had to [have] taught him that.' [The kid] doesn't know that. My daughter, I have to teach her that the stove is hot. You are choosing to teach your kid hate."

3. INTER MIAMI: Local team among wave of sports test-positives: An unnamed Inter Miami player tested positive for coronavirus as the team prepares to restart its inaugural season July 8 in Orlando in the MLS Is Back tournament. Recent test-positives in sports also have included Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott, two Tampa Bay Bucs, driver Dale Jarrett, a PGA Tour player and 28 Clemson athletes -- almost all in football. All MLB spring training sites have temporarily closed because of the threat.

4. HURRICANES: UM sports names Chief Diversity Officer: As the football team prepares to reassemble July 13, Miami athletics announced that senior associate athletic director for administration Renae Myles Payne will be UM's first Chief Diversity Officer, a newly created position.

5. HORSE RACING: Tiz The Law christens delayed Triple Crown season: Favorite Tiz the Law won Saturday's no-fans Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., as expected, as thoroughbred racing's delayed Triple Crown season finally commenced. The "Run for the Carnations," usually the third and last race, led off the triumvirate of races for the first time.

6. MARLINS: Jeter finds optimism in protests: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter took part remotely in an MLB Network special on race. "Something needs to change. It gets to a point where you say enough is enough," Jeter said. "The one thing that I was optimistic about is, for the first time, you're seeing people across all 50 states and roughly 20 other countries -- people of all different races and different nationalities -- out there in agreement that now is the time and things do need to change, because it's been going on for too long."

7. MIKE GUNDY: Oklahoma State coach called out by player: Oklahoma State's weird football coach got called out publicly by running back Chuba Hubbard for wearing an OAN T-shirt. (On the bright side, at least he wasn't also waving a Confederate flag at the time). One America News, for the uninitiated, is an extreme far-right "news" network prone to conspiracy theories and Black Lives Matter-bashing. Gundy said oops I won't wear the shirt any more.

8. GATORS: Florida retires 'Gator Bait' cheer: The Swamp no longer will resonate on football Saturdays with the "Gator Bait" cheer and song -- both done away with due to their roots in racism. In a related story the SEC said no more championship events will be held in the state of Mississippi until it removes the Confederate flag from its state flag.

9. NASCAR: Dale Jr. leads newest Hall of Fame class: As NASCAR runs at Talladega Sunday, former driver and perennial fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins two others as latest inductees into the sport's Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. Junior never did win a series championship, but popularity evidently counts for something.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 125-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 77 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 16. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hey, other than the racial stereotypes and all, it was a good run, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben! ..... Webb Simpson won the PGA Tour event at Hilton Head on Sunday ..... NHL, would you name the two bleepin' hub cities already!? ..... Former U.S. national men's soccer coach Bruce Arena suggested The Star-Spangled Banner should not be played before sporting events. Where's the Trump Tweetstorm!? ..... July 11 is set as date for first of four UFC July fight cards on its Fight Island, located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi ..... Serena Williams committed to the U.S. Open starting Aug. 31 even as some others players hesitate. Meanwhile, dumb people spray painted "White lives matter" on a statue of Arthur Ashe ..... That July 28 reporting date for NFL teams? Believe it when we you it ..... WNBA announced a commitment to return to play with a focus on social justice, in a shortened season to be played sans fans on the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, near Tampa, with reporting in early July ..... Tony Hawk was in the news, but I didn't care enough to Google why. Something about a 52-year-old man on a skateboard makes me sad ..... Shaquille O'Neal and Ron Gronkowski will host a virtual, live-streamed party this Saturday on TikTok and www.ShaqVsGronk.com. I'll be sure to miss it ..... Rams and Chargers will be featured on this season's Hard Knocks starting Aug.11. Assume the camera crew will be in masks? ..... Josh Gordon is seeking NFL reinstatement for what feels like the 45th time ..... Ray Ciccarelli, the unsuccessful NASCAR truck-series driver who threatened to quit over the sport's Confederate flag ban, is now hedging on that. His fans are happy. Both of them ..... Still for rent: A slightly used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 17 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,198 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

OTHER MOST RECENT COLUMNS: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / and R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer

Select earlier recent columns: MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards has ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (video) and The Ballad Of 1440 (audio).

June 20, 2020

NFL team that dares sign Kaepernick will be champion of the streets. New column; plus Should sports take rest of 2020 off?, Greg Cote Show podcast Ep-16, latest Back In My Day video, America's Pastime is failing America, Happy Juneteenth & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Juneteenth1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 20. Hope you had a reflective and Happy Juneteenth. It felt especially relevant in 2020, this celebrated commemoration, dating to 1865, of the ending of slavery in the United States. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 16 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 16 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 16 is out now! Find a new episode every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 16 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 16 we talk NASCAR banning the Confederate flag, update you on our Duck Family (bad news) and our ailing Crape Myrtle (better news), and have a conversation with an author who both wrote a new biography of Yogi Berra and was Le Batard's first editor. Fun stuff! That and more in new Ep16! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

My George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need  /  It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America  /  Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

ColinkONE NFL TEAM WILL BE CHAMPION OF THE STREETS -- THE ONE THAT DARES SIGN COLIN KAEPERNICKProtests continue in the streets as the reasons why continue in the news. Confederate statues topple along with the ideology that raised them. And, yes, if you want an oddly perfect little symbolic visual for what’s happening: Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben walk hand in hand into forced retirement, disappearing into the past. Tectonic plates are shifting beneath our feet. It feels like the beginning of actual change, the kind that can only happen when it grows from the national conscience. We could be living in the middle of a new American revolution forcing evolution. It would be about equality. It would be about time. Some might say a bottle of syrup and a box of rice being retired for the racial stereotypes of their brands is political correctness to a fault. That it’s going too far. Maybe going too far is called for when you haven’t gone far enough for most of 244 years. Another sign of progress must come now. Another step forward. In the larger picture it might be symbolic, but it also would be significant, meaningful: Colin Kaepernick, back in the NFL. Now, please. There might not even be a 2020 NFL season, let alone one with fans in stadiums, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, one brave team (or maybe just one that needs a proven quarterback as a backup?) needs to sign Kaepernick — give him the chance he’s been denied going on four years. To read our full latest column, please visit Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

SHOULD SPORTS PLAY IT SAFE, PACK IT IN AND TAKE REST OF 2020 OFF? THERE'S AN ARGUMENTShould sports resume at all in 2020? Even without fans at games? The question seems increasingly reasonable to ask as we come upon 100 days without live sports — even as we all miss the cheering, the touchstone of normalcy that our teams can offer. We all dream of the TV Faucicornucopia this fall, the promise of the NBA and NHL, of baseball and soccer all in the midst of their resumed seasons as the NFL and college football begin. It could happen. Looks like it will happen. The sports plate could be full, albeit with stadiums and arenas empty, presuming MLB ever gets its act together and reconciles on a restart plan as the other leagues have. But is that safe? Is it smart? Beyond the economic infusion, is it right? Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured), the science in the storm, the voice of reason above the fray of politics, said something interesting this week. It did not get the attention it was due because he didn’t say it from a White House pulpit. To the Los Angeles Times, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases warned of the potential dangers of a restarted baseball season going beyond the "core summer months" and into fall when the weather gets cold. "I would avoid that," Dr. Fauci said. He meant "the overlap between influenza and the possibility of a fall second wave [of coronavirus/COVID-19]." He was speaking specifically of MLB, but the NBA, NHL and MLS all would be returning along a similar timeline and playing into fall. And football would be playing in the heart of fall and winter, when concerns about a recurrence or spike in coronavirus cases would be greatest. To read our full recent column, please visit Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument.

RobmlbBASEBALL'S SHAME: AMID A PANDEMIC AND PROTESTS, 'AMERICA'S PASTIME' IS LETTING AMERICA DOWN: What an opportunity this was. Batter up. Fat pitch, grooved right down the middle. Should have been a towering home run. Nothing but cheering. Everybody uplifted. Instead? Whiff. Baseball struck out. There was every opportunity for owners and players to set aside their mutual greed, find a compromise, lead sports out of this pandemic and help a nation that needs it find its way back to normal. It would have been symbolic: America’s pastime stepping up to reclaim the mantle it lost. Baseball, there for us when we needed it most. There had been a grand plan, once, remember? Start the season around the Fourth of July. Perfect. Baseball, fireworks and apple pie. Instead, it is the other sports that have a plan. The NBA, NHL and MLS soccer all have come to agreements on reporting dates later this summer, a no-fans resumption plan. The PGA Tour and NASCAR already have restarted. Even the NFL and college football have plans in place. While MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred (pictured) fail to agree on a plan. While America’s Pastime continues to let America down. To read our full recent column, please visit Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down.

OTHER MOST RECENT COLUMNS: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV SmorgasbordHomestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / and R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': TELEPHONE OPERATORS!: The latest BIMD premiered Tuesday on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Went over well. I like it:

Select earlier recent columns: MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards has ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (video) and The Ballad Of 1440 (audio).

June 15, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, our George Floyd-related columns & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 15. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Return of sports will mean historic TV smorgasbord in fall, Homestead hosts NASCAR race, R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 15 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 16 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 16 is out now! Find a new episode every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 16 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 16 we talk NASCAR banning the Confederate flag, update you on our Duck Family (bad news) and our ailing tree (better news), and have a conversation with an author who both wrote a new biography of Yogi Berra and was Le Batard's first editor. Fun stuff! That and more in new Ep16! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

My George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need  /  It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America  /  Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 14-15): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NASCAR: After Confederate flag ban, Homestead hosts race before small crowd: The Dixie Vodka 400 ran Sunday -- eventually, after much weather delay -- at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with Denny Hamlin winning. About 1,000 invited guests from the military were in the stands, the first major American professional sport to play before any fans since the pandemic shutdown. In the leadup to the race NASCAR banned Confederate flags from its tracks in the wake of the George Floyd killing and resulting national protests. Bubba Wallace, the circuit's only black driver, ran in a car emblazoned #BlackLivesMatter, finishing 13th.

2. MARLINS: It's all pitching in historic 2020 Fish draft: Led by third overall pick Max Meyer from the University of Minnesota the Marlins drafted pitchers with all six selections in the 2020 draft -- a franchise first. Then again, the pandemic reduced the draft to only five rounds this year, not the usual bloated 40. But remember the name Asa Lacy. He's who Miami surprisingly passed over to take Meyer. Meanwhile MLB, unlike the other sports,  continues to fight with itself over a restart plan.

3. GOLF: Berger win in PGA Tour's first event in three months: Golf returned from its three-month pandemic layoff with a tournament in Fort Worth, Texas that had no spectators, began with a moment of silence for George Floyd, and saw social distancing among players. It was a strong field that did not include Tiger Woods but featured world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, but in the end Daniel Berger won in a low-watt playoff over Collin Morikawa.

4. INTER MIAMI: Miami's first match in four months set as MLS details restart: Finally, a date on the calendar to circle! On Wednesday, July 8, expansion team Inter Miami will play its first match in four months, since March 7, in the no-fans MLS Is Back tournament that will see all 26 teams competing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Miami will open versus natural rival Orlando City. A rescheduled regular season will follow the tournament, with teams back in their home stadiums but likely still without fans.

5. HEAT: NBA sets timetable for resumption: The 22 teams that will resume the season, including Miami, are to report to the Orlando hub beginning July 9-11 for a training camp that will precede eight regular-season games for each, sans fans, starting July 30. Then, the playoffs. According to reports, the league is estimating the NBA Finals would begin around Sept. 30, meaning the two teams left standing would end up being in Orlando about three months. 

6. PANTHERS: Date set for start of formal training camp: The NHL set July 10 as the date to start formal training camp for the 24 teams that will resume play by heading directly to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Florida will open with a five-game series vs. the Islanders, with the season resuming with no fans in two yet-unnamed hub cities. It isn't yet known if training camps will be held in the teams' home rinks or in one of the hub cities, or how long they will last.

7. HURRICANES: NCAA outlines football teams' return dates: The NCAA Football Oversight Committee passed a recommendation that coaches may begin formally working with their teams on July 13. The committee laid out the practice guidelines to allow players to return safely prior to the traditional four-week football training camp.

8. DOLPHINS: Details emerge on buildup to NFL season: The NFL announced 28 of its teams including Miami now have a July 28 reporting date for the start of preseason training camp. No mini-camps or OTA dates will be held prior to that. The league also is discussing preseason games going from from four to two. The regular season still is set to begin as scheduled in September, but increasingly likely to start with no fans or a limited number.

9. COLLEGE SPORTS: DeSantis signs athlete compensation bill: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill enabling college students to be paid for use of their name, image and likeness. The bill goes into effect July 1, 2021 as the first of its kind on a state level. It is potentially a very big deal for a very few, and of zero consequence to the vast majority of college athletes.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 115-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 71 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 14. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Ray Ciccarelli. Who!? This was a NASCAR truck-series driver of little note -- one top-10 finish in four seasons and zero laps run in 2020 -- before he abruptly became known for the wrong reasons by quitting the sport this week to protest its ban on Confederate flags at all its tracks. Farewell, Ray. You shan't be missed ..... Former UM booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is out of federal prison and will serve the remainder of his sentence on house arrest ..... Top heavyweights Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua agreed on a two-fight deal in 2021. Fury will first complete his trilogy vs. Deontay Wilder later this fall ..... A U.S. Olympic boxer was cleared when it was determined her banned substance happened because of sex. Her name: Virginia Fuchs ..... Spanish soccer's La Liga resumed play with piped-in reactive crowd noise and visuals to give the impression of a live audience. How marvelously fake! ..... In a fishing tournament, Michael Jordan's team caught a 442-pound blue marlin. Top that, LeBron! ..... Golf's Ryder Cup is still scheduled for Sept. 25-27 in Wisconsin. Could be without fans, but both the U.S. and European teams pushing to allow spectators ..... Times tough. The UM Sports Hall of Fame started a GoFundMe page ..... Florida Panthers forward Noel Acciari is the team's 2019-20 nominee for the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy given for perseverance and sportsmanship ..... Still for rent: A slightly used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 16 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,205 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

COLUMNS FROM PAST WEEK:

Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord

Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans

R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer

Select other recent columns: MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (video) and The Ballad Of 1440 (audio).

June 08, 2020

The latest Hot Button Top 10: Sports' place in a time of America's national turmoil and challenge; plus the Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 15 out now!, our 4 George Floyd-related columns & more

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 8. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Sports' gradual return offers America needed relief, It took George Floyd to finally wake up white America, Why Goodell's response to Floyd killing is hypocrisy, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 14 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 15 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and Episode 15 is out now! Find a new episode out every Monday morning on Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find the new episode and all 15 we've done so far right here. They're free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 15 you'll get to know Zoo Miami's Ron Magill beyond just animals as he shares stories about his difficult childhood, how he met his wife, his emotional and controversial first trip to Cuba and much more. Also, Greg speaks from the heart about the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath. That and more in Ep15! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

My George Floyd-related columns:

Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need

It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America

Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic

George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 7-8): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. GEORGE FLOYD: Sports continues enmeshed in national outrage over killing: Top athletes, coaches and others in sports continue to join the national protests and speak out against police brutality after the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis followed that of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. The coronavirus pandemic threat continues and sports inches back to resuming play, but the way Floyd died in custody remains out front in the nation's conscience. Adrian Peterson said all NFL players "are ready to take a knee together" before games this season.

2. OOPS!: It was a big week for apologies in sports: Roger Goodell now says NFL should-a listened four years ago when the Colin Kaepernick-led protest began. (Oops, sorry). Drew Brees said he can't agree with anyone who "disrespects the flag." (Oops, sorry). L.A. Galaxy dropped a player whose wife made offensive Instagram posts. (Oops, sorry). FSU football coach Mike Norvell lied in saying he personally reached out to all his players. (Oops, sorry). Texts from Bills rookie QB Jake Fromm about only "elite white people" owning guns turned up on Twitter. (Oops, sorry).

3. HURRICANES: Football season without fans now looms as likely: Miami director of athletics Blake James said his "gut feeling" right now is that UM football season will start on time (Sept. 5 vs. Temple at Hard Rock Stadium), but without fans. He'd said on our podcast in early April he still was optimistic about fans. The Dolphins already have revealed a contingency plan that would permit a reduced attendance of 15,000 with social distancing in place.

4. MLB: Baseball lagging behind on restart plans: While the NBA, NHL and MLS are getting specific about plans for a late summer resumption, the National Pasttime continues to balk as owners and players haggle over money and length of season. Money, mostly, if that didn't go without saying. Baseball now seems as if it will be the last spring/summer sport to resume -- if it does at all. Really bad look, MLB.   

5. NASCAR: Engines will rev in Homestead in 6 days: Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts the Dixie Vodka 400 on June 13-14. The here will be no paying customers allowed; however, the track will invite up to 1,000 military personnel, first responders and their families as guests to next Sunday's main race -- the first people to sit in the stands for a NASCAR race since the season resumed in May. 

6. MARLINS: Fish have 3rd overall pick in draft: Thinking Marlins will be thinking power bat with third pick in the MLB Draft this week. The shortened five-round 2020 draft, done virtually, will be held this Wednesday and Thursday, with Wednesday's round 1 on ESPN (7 p.m.) and rounds 2-5 Thursday on ESPN 2 (5 p.m.).

7. NFL: Coaches permitted back at practice facilities: NFL coaches were allowed back at team facilities starting this past Friday. Players remain barred except those receiving treatment, while the maximum number of people at facilities is now up to 100. No word yet when summer training camps might begin or what delays or limits may be in place.

8. GOLF: PGA Tour back this week after 3-month layoff: The PGA Tour will play ts first ev ent since March 12 this Thursday through Sunday with the Colonial/Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, with 16 of the top 20 players in the world. No Tiger Woods, but all of the top five including No. 1 Rory McIlroy will compete. No spectators will be allowed. The Memorial in Ohio July 16-19 will be the first Tour event to welcome back fans.

9. SOCCER: MLS, international leagues set returns: Major League Soccer avoided a lockout by agreeing to a restart plan that begins with a tournament in Orlando later this summer including Inter Miami and all 26 teams. Talk of a July 9 start date is not yet confirmed. Players agreed to 5 percent salary cuts. Spain's La Liga will resume play this coming Saturday, and England's Premier League reopens June 17, with "virtual fan noise" to help TV viewers imagine big crowds like in the old days.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many major local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 109-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 66 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 13.  

Missing the HB10 cut: At least five Alabama football players have tested positive for coronavirus ...... Amanda Nunes! ..... Over/under on how long Conor McGregor's 'retirement' lasts: Three months? ..... OHMYGOD TETONIC PLATES ARE SHIFTING! Even Michael (Republicans Buy Sneakers Too) Jordan is actually speaking out ..... Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant says he's done for the year, even as NBA moves toward restart. K.D. hasn't played since his Achilles injury last June ..... A decision is pending whether the scheduled Sept. 25-27 Ryder Cup in Wisconsin will go on without fans, U.S. captain Steve Stricker saying that would make it "a yawner of an event" ..... For Rent: A Used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 15 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,212 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Always assuming the world is still turning by then.

Other featured recent columns: MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / and Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County. 

Other recent columns: How Can A Man 6-7 Seem So Small? That's Pierce On LeBron / No Controversy Here. Dolphins Have Ideal QB Situation / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped / and Dolphins Are Winning Rebuild With 3-Year Plan That Won't Rush Top-Prize Tua

AlsoDolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential' / Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks

Select columns from earlier in 2020Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

June 01, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10: For justice, and peace in the streets; plus our George Floyd column, new Greg Cote Show podcast with Luther Campbell drops Monday & more

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 1. Welcome June! Please be better than May. 2) I was pleased to be host last week's Miami Herald All-County Athletic Awards, an annual tradition since 1957 -- but virtual this time because of the pandemic. Watch on the Herald's Facebook & YouTube pages. 3) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): George Floyd is why Kaepernick happened, MLB players holding out for more money not a good look right now, outrage in Alamance County, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 13, our Shula tribute columns & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 14 OUT NOW!: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and Episode 14 is out now! Find a new episode out every Monday morning on Apple and Google Podcasts as well as on Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 14 episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! In new Episode 14 we welcome in as guests a pair of Miami legends -- O.G. rapper Luther (Uncle Luke) Campbell and Zoo Miami's Ron Magill. Hear Luke discuss the killing of George Floyd and Canes football, and hear Magill and I escalate our Duck War. That and a lot more in the new Ep14! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

Featured most recent other columns: George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / and Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 31-JUNE 1): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

1. GEORGE FLOYD: Sports stars join outrage over Minneapolis killing: George Floyd, a black man unarmed and handcuffed in police custody, died when a white officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. He was charged with third-degree murder. Athletes including LeBron James condemned the killing that has sparked protests across the country, some turning violent. In Atlanta, Martin Luther King's city, the College Football Hall of Fame was vandalized and looted. Trust that Dr. King would be leading the outcry but condemning the violence.

HButton22. MLB: Negotiations for restart enter crucial week: Owners want players to take a pay cut beyond pro-rated salaries based on number of games. Players say no way. Owners will have a counter-proposal this week. Hey, just get it done, baseball. Rich men haggling over money and players holding out for more millions -- in the midst of a pandemic, economic woes and record unemployment -- is not a good look, fellas.

3. PANTHERS: It'll be Cats-Islanders as NHL details resumption plans: The NHL will abandon the rest of its regular season and go straight into the playoffs when/if it plays again in 2020, with 24 teams including Florida qualifying and competing in two as-yet-undetermined hub cities likely starting in late July or August. Panthers-Islanders would be among first-round matchups, although the league and players still must agree on health/safety protocols. Meanwhile MLB, the NBA and MLS have not yet been as definitive as hockey on a restart plan.

4. DOLPHINS: Hard Rock Stadium as a drive-in theater?: The Dolphins later this year plan to invite fans to drive their cars inside the football stadium for a pandemic-friendly drive-in theater experience featuring notable games in team history, classic movies, commencement ceremonies, concerts and more. Up to 230 cars will fit. Initial reaction? Ridiculous. Upon further consideration? Brilliant!

5. NFL: Owners vote down onside kick alternative: In a virtual owners meeting the NFL said nay to a proposal  that would have presented a 4th-and-15 option to an onside kick. We predicted the no vote in calling the idea "too XFL-y." (Love it when I quote myself!)

6. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many major local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 103-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 60 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 13. 

7. AUTO RACING: The shame of Alamance County in North Carolina: Ace Speedway in Alamance County, North Carolina has opened to full crowds of up to 4,000 fans, with no social distancing and few protective masks. The track's owner, the local sheriff and those fans have been condemned by the state's governor and others for violating pandemic guidelines. The track should be shut down and the sheriff fired. 

8. RUNNING: Boston Marathon canceled for first time: America's most famous marathon, previously postponed from April to September, has now been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history. Well, canceled for 2020 as a mass-gathering event. The 26.2-mile footrace still will be held as a virtual event in September. 

9. SOCCER: NWSL will be first U.S.league to return: The National Women’s Soccer League said it will play a 25-game tournament beginning June 27 in Salt Lake City, becoming the first U.S. league in a team sport to resume play.

10. GOLF: Phil wants to continue 'The Match' charity event: Tiger 'n Peyton win charity match: It raised big money for hunger relief and did big TV ratings when Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a recent charity march. Now Phil wants to make it annual, citing Steph Curry and Michael Jordan as possible future guest.

Missing the HB10 cut: Actual headline as more random evidence we're still in a no-sports pandemic: 'ESPN hosting all-star Peleton ride.' Yes because we all hunger to watch B-list celebs in their homes, sweating on an exercise bike ..... The Basketball Tournament, an annual event with former college stars and overseas stars competing in a 24-team, single-elimination format, will go on this July on a single "quarantined campus" at one undetermined site ..... Hey anybody want Cam Newton? No, huh? ..... NASCAR is running again, sans fans, and Homestead-Miami Speedway prepares to host the Dixie Vodka 400 on June 14. Car race sponsored by a vodka. Hmm, yeah that makes sense ..... Broward College mulls dropping all eight of its collegiate sports teams ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 14 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,219 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll not still be standing eight feet apart by then.

Other recent columns: How Can A Man 6-7 Seem So Small? That's Pierce On LeBron / No Controversy Here. Dolphins Have Ideal QB Situation / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped / and Dolphins Are Winning Rebuild With 3-Year Plan That Won't Rush Top-Prize Tua

Also: Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential' / A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins / Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks

Select columns from earlier in 2020: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

May 26, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Tiger 'n Peyton and leagues inch toward no-fans resumption. See who's No. 1, what else lands where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 13 out now!, Memorial Day tribute (50,000 Names), our Shula tribute columns & more

Memday1) It's TUESDAY, MAY 26. See our annual Memorial Day tribute below. 2) I'm pleased to be hosting this year's Miami Herald All-County Athletic Awards, an annual tradition since 1957 -- but virtual this time because of the pandemic. Mark it: We'll honor Miami-Dade & Broward's best in prep sports this Wednesday May 27 at 6 p.m. on the Herald's Facebook & YouTube pages. 3) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Pierce escalates beef with LeBron, why Dolphins have perfect QB room, sports' no-fans New Normal, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 12, our Shula tribute columns, new Back In My Day video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

It's Radio ... Wednesday: I'm on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio on Wednesday this week, not today.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 13 OUT NOW!: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 13 is out now! Find a new episode out every Monday morning on Apple and Google Podcasts as well as on Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 13 episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! In new Episode 13, we rock with Brendan Benson, co-founder of The Raconteurs along with Jack White -- a group that had the No. 1 album on the Billboard charts last summer. Brendan visits to talk about his new solo album (which we sample), the night Mick Jagger and and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones visited backstage and more. Packed menu, including a celebration of Ryan Fitzpattrick's glorious pandemic beard. Don't miss it! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My most recent columns: How Can A Man 6-7 Seem So Small? That's Pierce On LeBron / No Controversy Here. Dolphins Have Ideal QB Situation / and Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 24-25): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. GOLF: Tiger 'n Peyton win charity match: "The Match: Champions for Charity" took place Sunday at The Medalist in Hobe Sound, Fla. -- Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeating Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a rain-soaked event that raised $20 million. That's one hell of a fore!-some. (Sorry). The best part? Seeing Brady not be great at something.

2. DOLPHINS: Benign comment sparks controversy because ... coronavirus: Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said he'd like to remain the starter, not immediately step aside for rookie Tua Tagovailoa. It was no big deal but was chewed over as some controversy in the void of actual sports to talk about. The Fins made Fitzpatrick available on a video conference call and his always intriguing full beard was absolutely magnificent -- quite possibly the only good to come out of this pandemic.

3. MLB: Players respond to resumption proposal: The MLB Players Association responded to the sport's 67-page set of protocols for a planned early-July restart. Union addressed protections for high-risk players, access to therapies, testing frequency, protocols for positive tests, in-stadium medical personnel and sanitizing procedures. Players also object to some proposals such as arriving in uniform at the ballparks and no showering in clubhouses. Negotiations continue, with players' objections to proposed pay cuts another major obstacle to any resumption.

4. HEAT: NBA talking late July restart in Orlando: NBA insiders expect commissioner Adam Silver to soon OK the return of players sometime in June, with games expected to resume before the end of July. The league is in talks for a single-site restart at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, sans fans.

5. PANTHERS: Cats catch a break in NHL's proposed restart: Hockey proposes to resume its season this summer with a 24-team playoff that would whittle down to a 16-team Stanley Cup tournament with seven-game series -- all played in two as-yet-unnamed "hub" locations. The players association approved the plan. The Florida Panthers were not on playoff pace when the season stopped but would be among the 24 to make it under the new resumption format.

6. INTER MIAMI: MLS eyeing Orlando tournament for return: All 26 teams are expected to convene in Orlando for a tournament from late June into July, followed by a regular season of perhaps 18 games. However some players are balking because the tournament would separate them from their families for up to 10 weeks.

7. TOM BRADY: ESPN plans nine-part Brady documentary: Drunk with delight over the reception (read: ratings) for its just-ended Michael Jordan 10-part series, ESPN announced it would air a nine-part documentary series in 2021 that focuses on Brady and his nine Patriots Super Bowls, six of them championships. It will be called "The Man In the Arena: Tom Brady," unless someone steps in to alert ESPN what a bland, weird, bad title that is. 

8. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many major local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 96-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 53 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 11. 

9. HOCKEY: Debut of new 3-on-3 league planned: A new 3-on-3 pro hockey league called 3ICE is set to debut in eight cities in June 2021, with eight head coaches already hired including Hall of Famers Grant Fuhr, Bryan Trottier, Guy Carbonneau, Angela Ruggiero, Larry Murphy and Joe Mullen. The teams are expected to be based in the U.S. northeast and midwest and Canada.

10. CHEERLEADING: Kentucky alumni back fired coaches: It's an historic first-ever HB10 appearance for cheerleading! More than 800 former Kentucky cheerleaders issued a joint statement in support of the powerhouse program's coaching staff, which was fired last week after an internal report revealed a lack of oversight and a culture of hazing. The former cheerleaders who signed the statement apparently considered the instances of inappropriate behavior, drunkenness and public nudity and said, "What's wrong with that!?"

Missing the HB10 cut: Defrocked cycling cheater Lance Armstrong, in the new documentary film "Lance" airing Sunday on ESPN, that he told "10,000 lies" over a six-year span to cover up his doping. I think he's lying. Bet it was more than that ..... The Stripchat Superdome? The Saints home stadium needs a new sponsor, and Stripchat, an adult website, announced a $15 million bid for naming rights ..... History: Vanderbilt made Candice Storey Lee the SEC's first African-American and first female athletic director ..... NFL owners, in a virtual league meeting this Thursday, will vote on a rule change that would allow teams, instead of an onside kick, to convert a 4th-and-15 play from their own 25 to keep possession. Would need 24 yay votes of 32. The guess here? Too XFL-y. Too radical for the starched NFL...... Josh Gordon, who leads the league in seeking reinstatement, is doing it again ..... MLB teams including the Miami Marlins are holding charity raffles as a part of the All In Challenge to feed those in need. Miami's winner will get to manage the team for one game alongside Don Mattingly, plus other perks, presuming there is a game at some point ..... NASCAR on Sunday runs its third no-fans race in seven days. In trying to catch up, the race schedule is now as crowded as the racetrack on a first turn ..... Hurricanes football is No. 11 nationally in ESPN's latest 2021 college recruiting rankings. They do not include transfers, so the Canes' biggest offseason get, quarterback D'Eriq King, is not factored ..... MLS expansion team FC Cincinnati hired Jaap Stam as its new coach, announcing him with a photo of someone who is not Jaap Stam. To whomever is running the club's social media, that's a red card! ..... Out there somewhere, still twisting in the wind: Cam Newton ..... The Super Bowl ring Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated to the All In Challenge raised a winning bid of $1.025 million to help feed those in need. Now that's what I call a happy ending for everybody! ..... R.I.P. longtime former NBA coach Jerry Sloan, 78 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with Episode 13 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,226 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully large public gatherings will be allowed by then?

MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE: This is the George Jones song, "50,000 Names." It was written about the Vietnam War memorial wall in particular, but the sentiment applies to all of America's war dead across time -- all of the soldiers who lost their lives and who we remember and honor today:

Featured other recent columns: As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More TrivialAnticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped / and Dolphins Are Winning Rebuild With 3-Year Plan That Won't Rush Top-Prize Tua

Also: Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential' / A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins / Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks

Select other columns from earlier in 2020: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

May 23, 2020

Annoying Paul Pierce escalates beef with LeBron. New column; plus why Dolphins have the perfect QB room, sports' no-fans New Normal, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 12 out now!, new Back In My Day video, Don Shula tribute columns & more

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 23. I'm pleased to be hosting this year's Miami Herald All-County Athletic Awards, an annual tradition since 1957 -- but virtual this time because of the pandemic. Mark it: We'll honor Miami-Dade & Broward's best in prep sports on Wednesday May 27 at 6 p.m. on the Herald's Facebook & YouTube pages. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 12 now out, our Don Shula tribute columns & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 12 OUT NOW!: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 12 is out now! Find a new episode out every Monday morning on Apple and Google Podcasts as well as on Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 12 episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Episode 11 was a special hour-long, all-star tribute to Don Shula. Now in Episode 12 my wife in her first interview reveals embarrassing things about me and we make fun of Le Batard for a gross noise he made while talking about Shula. Also, ex-Marlins president David Samson drops by. Find every podcast we've done including the new one HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

LebronppPAUL PIERCE TAKES LOW ROAD (AGAIN) IN ESCALATING BEEF WITH LEBRON. NEW COLUMN: Paul Pierce stands 6-7. By most any measure he is a big man. So why does he seem so small? He opens his mouth and shrinks to the size of an insect. A mere irritant. He has done it again. Even in retirement, the former Boston Celtics great leads the NBA in annoying. Miami Heat fans remember that during Dwyane Wade’s farewell season Pierce went on social media to note he had a better career. And there was no doubt ... that Pierce was delusional. That nobody outside of Bahston actually believed that, and that basketball history surely wouldn’t. (To underline that ESPN recently named the all-time greatest 74 players for the league’s 74 years, and Pierce was ranked 54th to Wade’s 26th. Not close). Pierce was at it again this week. This time the target of his pettiness was even bigger than Wade, as was how dumb he sounded. (That same ESPN ranking has LeBron No. 2 all time, behind only Michael Jordan). Pierce rationalized that LeBron never built a champion or sustained one in saying his top five consisted of Jordan, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant. He said it on a four-way Zoom video and as he spoke, fellow analyst Jay Williams had his head in his hands as Paul pierced the ear with indefensible nonsense. I remember that as a kid, my older brother and I would get in sports arguments all the time and I would drive him crazy by saying, "An opinion is never wrong." Except sometimes it is. It was Shaquille O’Neal who gave Pierce his nickname, The Truth. But there is no truth behind Pierce’s slight of James. It is calculated and comes from a bitter place. To read our full latest column, please visit How Can A Man 6-7 Seem So Small? That's Pierce On LeBron

RyanfitzQB CONTROVERSY? HARDLY. WHY RYAN FITZPATRICK IS PERFECT FOR TUA TAGOVAILOA AND DOLPHINS: The Miami Dolphins do not have a quarterback controversy. They have the opposite. They have an ideal situation, with just the right veteran incumbent, just the right incoming rookie and the luxury to not hurry the latter onto the field before he is entirely ready. It is one of the best situations in the NFL, in fact, for reasons we will explain. Yet the specter of controversy arose this week when old vet Ryan Fitzpatrick, appearing on an ex-teammate’s podcast, said he still wants to start; it’s why he re-signed. Well, no duh, right! He is still playing at a high level. He was Miami’s team MVP last season. He competes; it’s what he does for a living. Fitzpatrick also said he will be an "open book" for first-round rookie Tua Tagovailoa — a willing mentor. And there is zero doubt about that. But all the football world heard is that Fitzpatrick won’t step aside. This is what happens in the void of sports, of actual games and results. Sports coverage is all peripheral now. It’s why the little back and forth on Instagram between Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker and Saints counterpart Michael Thomas became bigger news than was merited this week. It is something to chew on in the void. Heck, why do you think I’m writing about it? Rhetorical question. Answer: Because I can’t write about the Heat’s playoff run or Inter Miami’s inaugural season or how the Marlins are doing — all erased by the coronavirus/COVID-19shutdown. For our full recent column please visit No Controversy Here. Dolphins Have Ideal QB Situation.

CARDBOARD CUTOUTS, ROBOTS, FAKE NOISE? WELCOME TO SPORTS WITHOUT FANS, THE NEW NORMAL?: In hibernation going on 10 weeks now, the giant bear opens its eyes in the darkness, blinks, begins to stir. Slowly it unlimbers and lumbers toward the light. By degrees, sports is returning or planning to, but not sports as we know it. America gradually reopens from the full lockdown of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that began hitting us in March; all but two states have now eased restrictions. Sports follows the timeline, but it is a Cardboard fansnew normal that we enter, and it will be with us into the summer and perhaps into fall. Maybe longer? Sports will return without fans, a jarring, almost eerie sight. Is sports even sports at all without fans? As the new normal seeps in, we understand the resumption of sports, even sans fans, will lift the country’s spirits. Our teams if only symbolically can play a role in the national healing. And so NASCAR has resumed with zero spectators. The PGA Tour is inching back. MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS all plan to resume at some point this summer but with no fans for the foreseeable future. The unknowable question is how the NFL and college football — King Sport — will be affected later this fall. We already are beginning to see what sports with no fans looks like — including the comical side of it. This is the verbatim first paragraph of a soccer story on ESPN.com: Leading South Korea club FC Seoul apologized to fans after inadvertently substituting supporters in the stands with sex dolls during their 1-0 win over Gwangju FC on Sunday. (The funniest part of hat sentence? Inadvertently). A 67-page document on MLB’s resumption, optimistically planned for the regular season to start in early July, includes music in stadiums. Fox Sports’ Joe Buck revealed his network’s broadcast of NFL games this fall, assuming no fans, would include piped-in noise of a cheering crowd along with fake images of fans in the stands. I’m just hoping somebody in the Fox control room presses the wrong button after the home team scores and instead of cheering we hear a boisterous laugh track from a 1960s sitcom. Anything goes in the temporary (we hope) age of no-fan sports. Well, except inflatable dolls, apparently. For this full recent column, please visit Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': ROBOT VACUUMS!: This premiered Tuesday on ESPN Radios' Le Batard Show. Enjoy!:

Featured most recent other columns:

As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial

Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami

Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19

Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped

Dolphins Are Winning Rebuild With 3-Year Plan That Won't Rush Top-Prize Tua

Also: Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Hackers, Barking Dogs, Crazy Pressure: Why Virtual NFL Draft Is Biggest Ever For Dolphins / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential' / A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins / Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / and NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent

And: Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Desperate Fans Turn to NFL After Reality Of First Weekend With No Games / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks.

Select columns from earlier in 2020: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.