July 20, 2020

New Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 21 out now! Stars Miguel Rojas, David Beckham, Greg's wife; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), defending D-Wade, other recent column links & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 20. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Defending Dwyane Wade, Marlins' Miguel Rojas on MLB in a pandemic, Good riddance Redskins nickname, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 20 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 21 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 21 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 21 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 21 we chat with Miami Marlins captain Miguel Rojas about Opening Week in a pandemic, and also about fun stuff. New episode also stars Greg's wife complaining about an odd habit of mine; the Mount Gregmore Name Game (D's); and some gossip about David Beckham that's blowing up the British tabloids. Hear all of that and more in new Ep21! 

Our columns from this past week:

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

Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 19-20): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur 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: Play ball? It's (finally) Opening Week for MLB: Ready or not, smart or not, the truncated 60-game season-in-a-pandemic is upon us. Miami opens this Friday with three in Philadelphia, then opens at home next Monday July 27 vs. Baltimore. No fans allowed for the foreseeable future, but it'll sound like there are, sort  of. MLB will play crowd noise from its official video game through ballpark sound systems during games. Somewhat bizarre, if you ask us.

2. DOLPHINS: Team will ban all fans at least through preseason: COVID-19 continues to pound South Florida particularly hard, which led the Miami Dolphins to announce they will bar fans from attending all training camp practices as well as preseason games. Also, no tailgating will be permitted throughout the season. The club still hopes a limited number of fans might be allowed in Hard Rock Stadium for regular season games starting in September. Training camp is supposed to start next Tuesday July 28, which I'll believe when I see it.

3. NFL: Washington drops 'Redskins,' now faces new scandal: Better (decades) late than never on dropping the racist Redskins nickname. Now, though, 15 women who previously worked for the organization have alleged sexual harassment, verbal abuse and a toxic culture under Dan Snyder's ownership. Astonishingly, the NFL says it will rely on the results of a (supposedly) independent investigation by lawyer hired by Snyder. Hmm. Meantime, NFL announced 72 players leaguewide had tested positive for COVID-19 in advance of the planned July 28 opening of full training camps. In a conference call with teams this week the NFL did not waver on its intention to start the season on time, although how many if any fans will be permitted remains to be determined. 

4. INTER MIAMI: Still a faint prayer of advancing in MLS Is Back tourney: Inter Miami, with two one-goal losses since the season resumed, must beat New York City FC this Monday and then get lucky with other results to advance to the knockout stage of the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando. Tournament runs through August 11, after which the regular season will resume. Meantime, Fort Lauderdale CF — Inter Miami's lower-tier USL League One team — kicked off its inaugural season vs. Greenville on Saturday night, the first professional soccer game at the team’s new stadium in Fort Lauderdale on the old Lockhart grounds.

5. HURRICANES: Three football players test positive as camp nears: At least three University of Miami football players tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the cancellation of a scheduled Thursday workouts. Full training camp is supposed to start August 7, supposed to being the key phrase there.

6. HEAT/PANTHERS: Our other local teams 12 days from resuming seasons: With Inter Miami already back at it and Marlins playing again beginning this Friday, So Fla's other two spring and summer teams prepare to both resume their seasons August 1. Heat training camp ends July 29 in the Orlando hub. Cats have been practicing locally and travel to the Toronto hub July 26.

7. GOLF: Tiger returns, ending long layoff: He finished tied for 40th, 15 shots behind winner Jon Rahm in the no-fans Memorial in Ohio. The good news? At least Tiger Woods, 44, rallied to make the cut in his first PGA Tour event since February and first in the pandemic.

8. DWYANE WADE: Tough week for D-Wade after Twitter misstep: Wade tweeted support for Nick Cannon after ViacomCBS fired the TV host for anti-Semitic comments on his podcast -- and got buried for it. Tweet deleted, then the clarification/apology. Wade f'd-up but deserves benefit of doubt as a man of character consistently promoting inclusion and condemning hate speech.

9. NASCAR: Sports welcomes back fans, health risk be damned: NASCAR held its All-Star Race in Bristol, Tennessee this past Wednesday and let roughly 20,000 race fans attend, the most since the pandemic hit in March. Chase Elliott won the race and its $1 million prize, but shame on NASCAR for not doing as much as it can to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

10. WNBA: Women's hoops opens under Delle Donne cloud: The WNBA opens its season this coming Saturday July 25 in the Bradenton bubble amid the controversy involving Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne, reigning MVP and the league's best player. She requested a medical waiver to not play and still be paid because she suffers Lyme Disease, requiring she take 64 pills per day -- but was turned down. Mystics will pay her regardless, but, c'mon WNBA!

Missing the HB10 cut: No, Canada. The Toronto Blue Jays have been prevented from playing games in Canada this season due to he coronavirus ..... Power couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez have enlisted other investors in their bid to buy the New York Mets, all the proof you need that their pockets are way too light and that their bid won't succeed ..... Arsenal reached the August 1 FA Cup final by upsetting Manchester City on Saturday. Gunners will face winner of today's Chelsea- Man U match ..... ESPN announced the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz would be only two hours, not three, starting in August. Did the stock market plummet? ..... Dolphins coach Brian Flores says it is "hard to say" whether rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa will be physically ready to start the season. Which is just about the same as saying absolutely nothing at all ..... Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers have split up. OK who was cheating on whom? ..... Um, can somebody please explain to an apparently unenlightened Jorge Masvidal that QAnon is a far-right ideology that purposely and dangerously promotes utterly false and usually patently absurd conspiracy theories? ..... Speaking of James Harden (!) ..... The Golden Eagles, with a roster of mostly alumni from Marquette, won The Basketball Tournament (what genius came up with that name?) and its $1 million prize ..... #FreeWoj ..... The Buffalo Bills' stadium needs a new name sponsor, and a bidet company called Tushy is bidding. Decorum prevents us from noting that Tushy Stadium sounds like a pretty crappy name ..... A realtor in Alexandria, Virginia has trademarked all the likeliest new nicknames for the former Washington Redskins. As Stugotz might says: "Heady play!" ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 21 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,171 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. In front of crowds again by then, we hope?

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).

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

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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).

June 27, 2020

Here's why embattled Star-Spangled Banner should remain in American sports. New column; plus Baseball has return plan. But is sports walking into giant mess?, Le Batard and Papi on new Greg Cote Show podcast, Noose in Bubba Wallace's garage & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 27. 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 Episode 17 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: DAN LE BATARD, PAPI STAR IN NEW 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. Episode 17 is a Father's Day special 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.

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

Our 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

HERE'S WHY EMBATTLED STAR-SPANGLED BANNER SHOULD REMAIN A PART OF AMERICAN SPORTS: You thought kneeling during the national anthem was controversial? How about eliminating the national anthem? Erasing its place at sporting events altogether? It is a conversation we will be having. The signs already are here. A debate will arise from the ongoing nationwide Flagmovement for social justice and against police brutality and racial inequality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and others. Symbolism matters in all of this. It is why Confederate statues are toppled and why Aunt Jemima got retired. It’s why we leaped to a false conclusion over the noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage. Sometimes, overreaction is better than no action at all. Now, the maelstrom of conscience the nation is in will lead some to wonder what the "Star-Spangled Banner" has to do with games, anyway? It already has. And if you ever doubted that we are polarized, far more divided than united, all the evidence required is that even the national anthem might be seen as a lightning rod of controversy. Former U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Bruce Arena, to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman: "I think it puts people in awkward positions. We don’t use the national anthem at movie theaters and on Broadway, other events in the United States, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to have a national anthem before a baseball game, an MLS game." This week we saw the first team to take Arena up on his suggestion. The Tulsa Athletic of the lower-tier National Premier Soccer League announced it no longer would play the national anthem before matches, and would replace the "Star-Spangled Banner" with another patriotic song, Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land." What sports will be this summer in its restart from the coronavirus/COVID-19 delay could be the excuse sports needs to move from the national anthem as an every-game routine. No fans in the stands would be that excuse. MLS already has said it would not play the anthem before games in empty stadiums. Whether this becomes any sort of trend, we shall see. I hope it does not. Unlike many of my media brethren, I support continuing to play our national anthem before sporting events. To read our full most recent column, please visit Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction.

MlbBASEBALL JOINS IN WITH RESTART PLAN, BUT IS SPORTS WALKING INTO A MESS IT WILL REGRET? LATEST COLUMN: Step aside, Fubon Guardians and Rakuten Monkeys. Thank you for your service, Hyundai Unicorns and Kiwoon Heroes. Riveted as we have been by the Chinese and Korean brand of baseball, the Yankees and Dodgers will take it from here. Baseball is back! Sort of. Sports is back! Or at least this bizarre, pandemic version of it. MLB finally has a resumption plan to belatedly join the NBA, NHL and MLS in summer restarts, and the NFL and college football still hope to play as scheduled this fall — but with an asterisk as big as a cardboard golf check attached to every sport as 2020 plays out. So our leagues and teams move forward. But are they stepping into a giant mess they will regret? For our full recent column, please visit Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?

NOOSE LEFT IN BUBBA WALLACE'S NASCAR GARAGE TAKES UNEXPECTED TURN: [Update: FBI found that the noose in Wallace's garage was being used to hold a door open and had been there since October -- not placed with Wallace in mind. "It was still a noose," said Wallace] Original post: It took a single coward in the cover of darkness, or was it a few? It took this one act to remind us how far we have not come, how far we have yet to go. It took this one gut-churning symbol of hatred and inequality to verify to all why America is in the streets right now — exactly Bubba Wallacewhy a national movement is marching for change. A noose, placed in Bubba Wallace’s garage. A noose, at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, placed in the workspace of the NASCAR Cup Series’ lone Black driver. A noose, someone’s answer to the man who led and won the fight to see NASCAR recently step forward and ban Confederate flags at all of its tracks. A noose, in 2020 America, and suddenly we are in the 19th century again, where men in pointy white hoods carried torches, where 41 persons of color were found hanged in Gainesville, Texas, in 1862, where 30 years after that the governor of South Carolina, Benjamin Tillman, said, "We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will." Wallace never saw the noose, only the unimaginable prejudice and gall that put it there. A member of his team found it late Saturday night and immediately informed NASCAR. "Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism," Wallace wrote on Twitter. "We will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate." This is why Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem. This is why thousands nationwide — Black and white — march for George Floyd and for Breonna Taylor and for all of the other victims of the systemic racism that can foment deadly police brutality. To read our full recent column, please visit Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred.

My 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 recent columns: 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 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 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 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 13, 2020

Return of sports promises historic TV smorgasbord in fall. New column; plus Homestead is NASCAR test lab for fans again, revealing chat with Ron Magill in latest Greg Cote Show podcast, R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, our George Floyd-related columns & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 13. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 15 & 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  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

ReturnofsportsNEED GOOD NEWS? WE ARE HEADED FOR AN HISTORIC TV SMORGASBORD OF MAJOR SPORTS! (MAYBE): Into the Great Unknown: America, 2020. As summer turns into autumn and winter, what will life be like and what part will sports play? The "unknown" right now is far more certain than the "great." Pandemic. Protests. Politics. Sports must find a way to matter amid all of the stuff far more important. Or is it that sports matters expressly because of everything else weighing on us? Save us, sports? It is something to look forward to — that feeling in and of itself a valuable commodity in 2020. Imagine. Playoffs leading to the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final, MLS Cup and World Series, all being contested in the midst of NFL and college football seasons. It can’t be known yet, because end dates for basketball, hockey, soccer and baseball restarts haven’t been set. But it’s possible, even likely. Then you mix in the delayed Kentucky Derby, the Masters and U.S. Open golf, tennis majors and more. Imagine. LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Alex Ovechkin, Carlos Vela, Mike Trout, Justin Verlander, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods — everybody, all at once. It could be an unprecedented TV smorgasbord ahead, with week after week of major sports and the biggest stars to watch almost every night as leagues finish truncated seasons with asterisk champions while football plows on, unstoppable as time. Might be nobody there cheering at any of the games. Just us in our living rooms. But we will take what we can get. We’ll hope the coronavirus doesn’t rise up and shut everything down again, and that our sports smorgasbord actually happens. More of that Great Unknown. To read our full most recent column, please visit Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord.

NascarnofansHOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY WILL BE TEST LAB SUNDAY AS NASCAR GRADUALLY WELCOMES BACK FANS: This racetrack in the middle of farmland 30 miles south of Miami helped us heal and get back to a sense of normalcy once before. Fate and the most unforeseen circumstances imaginable have cast Homestead-Miami Speedway in that role once again, 25 years later. The motorsports mecca was born of the ashes and rubble of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, rising like a phoenix to open in ’95 as a symbol that one far-flung agricultural community would survive its deadly devastation. Now it is amid the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that South Florida’s major racetrack embraces its role. "We were a sign of hope three years after a catastrophic force of nature," said track president Al Garcia this week. "Now, we again feel a lot of pride, but a lot of responsibility, to be another sign of hope, a step to whatever the new normal will be." Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 culminating race weekend in Homestead will be the first major professional league sporting event since the pandemic to welcome fans in the stands. Not a full crowd of paying customers, as caution continues to prevail, but up to 1,000 guests. "Putting our toe in the water," as Garcia put it. For our full recent column, please visit Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans.

KthomasAMERICAN GYMNASTICS LOSES HISTORY-MAKING PIONEER WITH DEATH OF MIAMI-BOEN KURT THOMAS: In Strasbourg, France, in 1978, at the gymnastics world championships, the medal ceremony for the floor exercise was delayed before starting. Nobody knew why. It was because The Star-Spangled Banner had not been queued up to play. That was because organizers never thought they would need it. With good reason, they never thought an American man would medal — let alone win gold.Kurt Thomas changed all of that. To read my recent column in full, please visit R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer.

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 (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.

May 05, 2020

DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. DOLPHINS LEGEND PASSES AWAY AT 90. With my fond remembrance column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast, links to most recent columns & more

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 4. Welcome, May! You can't be any worse than March and April. Can you!? Hang in, stay apart and eventually we rise together! 2) Visit BIMD: Face Masks! for our latest Back In My Day from the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. 3) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram! Follow both at TheGregCoteShow. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hall of Famer Andre Dawson on owning funeral home amid COVID-19, Miami sports today had coronavirus never happened, Dolphins' Tua-led 3-year plan, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 10 OUT NOW!: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and Episode 10 is out now! Find a new episode every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 10 episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Our podcast is a variety show: Sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when necessary) serious. In new Episode 10 (obviously recorded prior to the news of Shula's death), we celebrate our anniversary podcast, welcome guest Andre Dawson and bring you a new edition of "Greg Doesn't Watch Movies."

DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P.

The iconic former Miami Dolphins coach -- and winningest coach in NFL history -- passed away Monday morning at age 90. Click on the headline above for my remembrance column.

Shula

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured most recent columns:

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 PickGreg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock DraftHackers, Barking Dogs, Crazy Pressure: Why Virtual NFL Draft Is Biggest Ever For DolphinsDolphins' Grier Says He Has An Idea On Top Pick. He'd Better Be RightCoronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft EverAmid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential'A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For DolphinsBaseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / and NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 3-4): 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. NBA: It now seems next season may be delayed, too: As the NBA tries to figure out if, when and how it will resume and finish its 2019-20 season, there reportedly is growing ownership support for also delaying the start of the 220-21 season at least five weeks, until December.

2. NFL: King Sport set to release full 17-week schedule: The NFL, declining to bend a knee to the coronavirus, plans to release its 2020 schedule late this week with no changes and expectations of fans in attendance. Season is scheduled to begin Sept. 10 with full 16-game schedules ... for now.

3. DOLPHINS: Fins trade 1st-round bust Harris: In 2017 he arrived as a No. 1 draft pick. He just left in a trade to Atlanta for a 2021 7th-round pick. So it's official then. Edge rusher Charles Harris slips quietly and sadly into Miami's Draft Bust file.

4. NFL: Dalton to Cowboys, Winston to Saints: Quarterback wheel keep-a turnin' as Cincinnati releases veteran Andy Dalton after nine years and he signs with Cowboys, after free agent ex-Buc Jameis Winston agrees to one-year deal with Saints. Cam Newton remains the best available proven arm. What say, Belichick?

5. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 74-plus games lost: Marlins 34, Heat 19-plus, Panthers 13, Inter Miami 8. Marlins have missed first 34 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 eight.

6. NASCAR: No-fans racing resumes this month: NASCAR is resuming races, but sans fans, on May 17 at Darlington. Homestead-Miami Speedway also is a possible future site for races, which will be held in states that have eased restrictions. NASCAR becomes the first major American sport to resume following the massive March 11-12 coronavirus shutdown.

7. HEAT: Reopening facilities to players delayed: Miami planned to reopen arena facilities to players May 1 on a limited basis but the NBA now says such reopenings will not be before May 8 at earliest. Meantime, Magic's Aaron Gordon recorded a diss track on Dwyane Wade over Wade's '9' vote costing Gordon the slam-dunk title that Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. won. But they spoke and it's cool. Oh thank God we have detente!

8. SOCCER: MLS to allow individual player workouts: Major League Soccer, beginning Wednesday, will allow Inter Miami and other teams to open facilities to voluntary individual player workouts where that does not conflict with local policies. When the season will resume has not been announced.

9. BASEBALL: Hall of Fame's 2020 induction weekend canceled: Derek Jeter (and Larry Walker) must wait. The Hall's 2020 inductees will now be inducted the following July along with whomever is elected for 2021. Maybe by then then the one guy who didn't vote for Jeter will have come forward?

10. PHILANTHROPY: Brady experience raises $800K to fight hunger: A package that included dinner or a workout with Tom Brady after his first game as a Tampa Bay Buc, tickets to the game and his jersey and cleats raised $800,000 in the "All In Challenge" benefiting charities that feed those in need. Meantime NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Marlins CEO Derek Jeter are the latest sports kingpins suspending their lucrative salaries to reduce layoffs as the shutdown sucker-punches league and team revenues.

Missing the HB10 cut: It'll be Blake Snell vs. Lucas Giolito today at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN in the best-of-five virtual World Series to wrap up the MLB The Show '20 players league video game season. I have heard of neither finalist and cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to not watching! ..... A California federal judge ruled against the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team in its wage discrimination suit against the the sport's U.S. governing body. The judge was male. Unless that went without saying ..... ESPN's "The Last Dance" 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls is doing terrific ratings, but noted documentarian Ken Burns is not impressed. Jordan’s production company, Jump 23, is a partner on the series, meaning he has some say in how he is portrayed. "Not the way you do good journalism," complains Burns ..... Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova front "Stay At Home Slam," a live virtual tennis tournament today/Sunday at 4 p.m. via the Mario Tennis Aces video game and streaming live on the Facebook Gaming page. Ten players and celebs will be involved, including (!) Ryan Tannehill ..... ESPN on Friday had a special E:60 edition titled "Project 11," on the gruesome 2018 leg injury and slow comeback of Redskins QB Alex Smith. If it involved a replay of his injury, it was must-not-watch TV for me ..... United Soccer League teams are playing an eCup FIFA '20 video tournament, with Miami FC repping England ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast celebrates an anniversary Monday with the birth of Episode 10! ..... The Tour de France postponed ..... ESPN is looking into buying WWE. Or did that go without saying? ..... And in other news, Terry Bradshaw has recorded a quarantine country song ..... Update: Countdown now 2,247 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we've all ditched the face masks by then.

Other featured recent columns: 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 Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National Mood / 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 other columns from earlier in 2020: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / 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 / It's 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.  Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

April 27, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10: Tua! Tua! Tua! With my Tua column, your grade on the pick, and my mock vs. Mel's; plus Greg Cote Show podcast news, other column links & more

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 27. Hang in, stay apart and eventually we rise together! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram! Follow both at TheGregCoteShow. 3) Find our latest Back In My Day from Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio HERE. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins draft Tua Tagovailoa with column and poll, live results on our Mock Draft, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 9 DROPS MONDAY: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 9 is now out Monday morning. Find a new Greg Cote Show every Monday on Apple, Spotify or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all eight episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Our podcast is a variety show: Sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when necessary) serious. In Episode 8 we take a deep dive into Dolphins' NFL Draft with ESPN Fins reporter Cameron Wolfe, and, in Stugotz 2.0, he talks Grateful Dead and shares something you didn't know about Dan Le Batard.

TuadolOUR LATEST COLUMN: DOLPHINS AIM HIGH, WIN BIG WITH TUA TAGOVAILOA PICK

POLL RESULT: MIAMI L-O-V-E-S THE TUA PICK: We asked, "What do you think of the Dolphins making Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa their first pick (fifth overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft?" The verdict? A huge thumbs up. Grade A/Love it drew 72.19 percent and Grade B/Now pray he stays healthy had 17.75%. That's nearly 90% who graded A or B. Naysayers were few, with Grade D/Should-a gone Herbert at 5.92%and Grade C/Risky for a pick that high at 4.14%.

COTE BEATS KIPER!: I am not saying my Mock Draft was better than Mel's. I am saying, simply and accurately, that my mock had seven Exactos -- right player to right team -- and his had six. Boo-ya!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 26-27): 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. DOLPHINS: With fingers crossed, Miami lands Tagovailoa with top pick: Smartly, I say, the Fins gambled on Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and his injury history with the fifth pick of the NFL draft, getting (they hope) their first real franchise passer since Dan Marino. Miami also fortified his protection with three OL picks including tackle Austin Jackson. Five defensive players were drafted as well among the 11 overall picks. Also include in this draft the trade for running back Matt Breida from the 49ers. He's 25, with 1,902 rush yards and a fat 5.0 average. He'll push Jordan Howard for the start. Call it a solid B-grade draft -- a grade that could grow if Tua stays healthy and lives up to sky-high hopes.

2. NFL: Burrow No. 1 in surprisingly smooth virtual draft: Joe Burrow to the Bengals led three quarterbacks chosen in the first six picks of the three-day NFL Draft. This year, the players selected were secondary to the circumstances: A virtual draft taking place remotely from living rooms across America because of the coronavirus stay-at-home edicts. Commissioner Roger Goodell orchestrated the proceedings from his basement den in New York. There were a few random appearances by family dogs but, astonishingly, no embarrassing technological glitches.

3. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 66 games lost: Marlins 28, Heat 19, Panthers 13, Inter Miami 6. Marlins have missed first 28 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 season 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 six.

4. GOLF: Tiger vs. Phil 2.0 (with friends) is on for May: A Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson rematch is planned for May, perhaps Memorial Day weekend -- this time with quarterback buddies Tom Brady and Peyton Manning joining them. "The Match: Champions for Charity" will benefit coronavirus relief, from an undisclosed location without spectators. A Florida course is thought likely. Remember, fellas: Social distancing and no hand shaking!

5. ROB GRONKOWSKI: Gronk unretires to rejoin Brady: Did the ad read, 'Partying tight end for rent'? Gronkowski was lured out of retirement to rejoin Tom Brady in TB12's reincarnation as a Tampa Bay Buc. Even sweeter: Bill Belichick's Pats got only a fourth-round pick for him. Let's go Tompa!

6. MLB: Red Sox punished for sign stealing, too: OK it wasn't just the Astros. MLB concluded Boston also stole signs during its 2018 World Series title run. It suspended Boston's video replay system operator without pay for a year and took away a second-round draft pick. Manager Alex Cora, whom the Red Sox fired in January, previously was suspended for the year for his role in Houston's 2017 sign-stealing scandal, when he was bench coach.

7. INTER MIAMI: David Beckham raffling himself for charity: The charismatic former England captain and current co-owner of MLS' Inter Miami is giving fans a chance to play a five-a-side charity match with him and raise funds to help feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. The offer is part of the "All In Challenge" in which athletes and celebrities come up with fan experiences to raise dough. Winner also gets lunch with Becks and a spot in the owners suite for an Inter Miami match.

8. A-ROD & J-LO: Power couple's increasing interest in Mets: Seems betrothed power couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are increasingly serious about actually buying the New York Mets. Fun sidebar to that: A-Rod and Marlins CEO Derek Jeter being NL East rivals to intensify their famously "frenemies" relationship.

9. NHL: Hockey toying with four-city plan to resume: Puck commish Gary Bettman said NHL is exploring a four-city plan to restart the 2019-20 season, which was paused March 12. Arenas would be places that are not coronavirus hot spots, with home rinks of Carolina, Edmonton and Minnesota three mentioned. Bettman said he "presumes [there] wouldn't be fans."

10. NASCAR: Florida, Texas jockeying to resume racing first: Where will the gentlemen start their engines first? Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted NASCAR is working with Texas Motor Speedway on a plan to race there, sans spectators, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken with NASCAR about resuming races at Daytona and at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So. Which state will get the checkered flag?

Missing the HB10 cut: Greg Cote outmocks Mel Kiper Jr! You read that right. I had 7 "exacto" picks in my first round to Mel's 6. Boo-ya! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast, new Episode 9, is out Monday morning. Pluggin' it! ..... Only four Canes got drafted: LB Shaq Quarterman (4th round), RB DeeJay Dallas (4th), WR K.J. Osborn (5th) and DE Jonathan Garvin (7th). The former NFL pipeline leader is now Day 3 U. ..... Is football season in doubt? NFL Players Association director DeMaurice Smith called mass testing crucial for returning to football, while University of Arizona's president said she doubts the college season will happen .... Money-first Dana White and UFC will hold three no-fans events at an undisclosed Florida location beginning May 9 ..... Showtime has ex-NFL QB Mark Sanchez in a new digital series talking with top quarterbacks in this draft. Wait a second. Isn't that like putting top thespians in an acting roundtable hosted by Adam Sandler? ..... Chris Paul says NBA players would need at least three weeks' prep time before  returning ..... Notre Dame women's hoops coach Muffet McGraw retired after 33 seasons. Most successful Muffet ever? ..... Parts 3 and 4 of ESPN's 10-part Michael Jordan docuseries hit the screen Sunday night. I was a skeptic, but parts 1-2 reeled me in ..... Two New York fans are suing baseball over lack of ticket refunds due to canceled games. Wow. Even if their claim is legally legit, oh what a bad look! ..... Novak Djokovic, who is anti-vaccine, said he faces dilemma if tennis requires players to get vaccinated before they can return to competing. Dear Novak: Move on in to the 21st Century and give science a shot ..... Update: Countdown now 2,254 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we're allowing large crowds to gather by then.

FEATURED MOST RECENT OTHER COLUMNS:

Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Hackers, Barking Dogs, Crazy Pressure: Why Virtual NFL Draft Is Biggest Ever For Dolphins

Dolphins' Grier Says He Has An Idea On Top Pick. He'd Better Be Right.

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.

Other featured recent columns: NFL Draft, Tiger 'n Phil Not A Good Look Right Now / 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 Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby / In Midst Of Pandemic, A Horse Race / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National Mood / 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 additional recent columns: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / 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 / It's 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 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. 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.  Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

April 21, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10: It's NFL Draft Week in America! (Pandemic Edition); plus new Greg Cote Show Episode 8 podcast out now!, our annual Mock Draft drops today, Radio Tuesday, recent column links & more

1) It's TUESDAY, APRIL 21. Hang in, stay apart and eventually we rise together! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram! Follow the show on both platforms at TheGregCoteShow. 3) Find our latest Back In My Day from the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio HERE. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins GM Grier's pre-draft Zoom, why Tua and coronavirus make this weirdest draft ever, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

It's Radio Zoom-Room Tuesday!: I'm back remotely on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz today from 10 to 1 on ESPN Radio. Also listen for the local-only hour linked from the show social media accounts. 

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 8 OUT NOW: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and Episode 8 is out Monday morning! You can find a new Greg Cote Show out every Monday on Apple, Spotify or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all eight episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Our podcast is a variety show, sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when necessary) serious. In Episode 8 we take a deep dive into Dolphins and NFL Draft with ESPN Fins reporter Cameron Wolfe, and, in Stugotz 2.0, he talks Grateful Dead and shares something you didn't know about Dan Le Batard. Check it out now HERE!

Our annual Mock Draft is almost here!: Look for our 29th annual Official Miami Herald NFL Mock Draft online beginning late Tuesday, and in Thursday's print editions.

Our most recent columns: Dolphins' Grier Says He Has An Idea On Top Pick. He'd Better Be Right and Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 19-20): 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. DOLPHINS: Only four days 'til Miami selects [fill in the blank]: The NFL Draft begins Thursday night with the Fins holding the fifth, 18th and 26th picks in the first round -- but will it be Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert or a surprise to Miami at No. 5? In this case "surprise" is defined as, "What!? They didn't take a quarterback first!? You've got to be @#$%ing kidding me!" Tua, by the way, is reported to have scored a very low 13 on the Wonderlic intelligence test given all draft prospects. No worry. He's being hired to throw a football, not to explain the quantum physics of how atoms work. 

2. NFL: Draft is on as scheduled ... but hardly as usual: Joe Burrow expected to go No. 1 overall to Cincy hasn't changed and the dates are the same. But nothing else is. The seven-round draft is Thursday through Saturday, but commissioner Roger Goodell will be reading picks from his home in New York, teams will be making them from their own cities, and players will be spread across the country in their living rooms -- all of it televised via videos. Welcome to the Bizarro World, Pandemic Edition NFL Draft.

3. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 58 games lost: Marlins 22, Heat 18, Panthers 13, Inter Miami 5. Marlins have missed first 22 games of regular season. Heat has missed last 17 games of season and would already have hosted first-round playoff game Sunday night, based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 season 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 five.

4. ANTHONY FAUCI: Virus expert maps out return of sports: Hugely trusted Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's leading infectious diseases expert and the face of the U.S. coronavirus fight, says this on the foreseeable resumption of sports: "Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play. Have them tested like every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family and just let them play the season out." In other words, it'll be awhile before you're going to games again, Joe Fan.

5. ESPN: Much-touted Jordan docu-series begins Sunday: NBA fans are swooning in anticipation of the 10-part "The Last Dance" series, documenting Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season. I'm not all that excited, but since I get a Disney/ESPN check every week, I think it's going to be greeaat!

6. VON MILLER: Broncos star tested positive for virus: Denver Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming perhaps the most prominent active sports star to do so.

7. NBA: Ouch. Withheld pay is near: Commissioner Adam Silver said there still is no timetable for a resumption of the season, while the NBA begins reducing player paychecks by 25 percent on May 15. Fellas, let me check my wallet. If things get tight, just ask, OK? In other league news, Utah's Mike Conley won that ridiculous HORSE tournament that I'm proud to say I watched for a grand total of, like, 10 seconds. And the NBA is now selling (of course!) team-logo face coverings. 

8. HURRICANES: Mompremier taken in WNBA Draft: Miami's 6-4 power forward Beatrice Mompremier went in the second round, 20th overall to the Los Anegles Sparks -- lower than expected because of a January foot injury that cost her half of her senior season.

9. NASCAR: Rising star Larson fired for racial slur: Chip Ganassi Racing fired budding star Kyle Larson and sponsors dropped him left and right after he was heard using the n-word during a live-streamed virtual race. Unannounced but surely planned: An I'm-truly-sorry tour and an eventual second chance. Meanwhile, NASCAR still hopes to resume no-fans racing in May. 

10. GOLF: PGA Tour plots summer return: The PGA Tour is planning a mid-June return with no fans, assuring the look and ambiance of it will have all the excitement of a Tuesday practice round. Meantime, GolfTV reported exclusively that the gum Tiger Woods chews on a golf course is orange-flavored Trident. Run to the store and start hoarding!

Missing the HB10 cut: Our 29th annual Official Miami Herald NFL Mock Draft is coming. Watch for it online Tuesday. OH, and the Greg Cote Show podcast, new Episode 8, is out Monday morning! Please listen, subscribe, rate, review and stay home ..... MLB's Arizona Plan, with all 30 teams playing sans fans in Phoenix, remains the top likelihood. So bizarre ..... Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry has reopened city beaches, generating a wide range of reaction dominated by, "Jesus, what an idiot!" ..... Please remember to watch your hands often, practice social distancing and keep booing the sign-stealing Astros ..... Update: Countdown now 2,261 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we're all done with quarantine by then.

FEATURED MOST RECENT OTHER COLUMNS:

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.

Other featured recent columns: NFL Draft, Tiger 'n Phil Not A Good Look Right Now / 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 Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby / In Midst Of Pandemic, A Horse Race / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National MoodLe Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Dolphins' Most Important Rebuilding Is Yet to Come / 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 additional recent columns: Repentant Cheater A-Rod Slams Astros With Lesson On How to Handle Their Own Scandal / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / 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 / It's 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 / Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place / 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 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard ShowFins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.