Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss how the recent walkouts by NBA players for social injustice could impact the 2020 college football season.
DAN WETZEL: The NBA shut down. Could college football get shut down? Could some teams boycott? I think if you say no, you’re crazy. First off, this is 2020, OK? Unprecedented is just, that’s just the daily thing. It’s total chaos in this country right now. It’s just, this is what we do. There will be another incident with police. I don’t know when. I hope there isn’t, but it’s like saying there’ll never be another mass shooting in this country.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, give me a break.
DAN WETZEL: There’s gonna be. It just, we don’t know when. And I don’t know how long this is going to stretch out. I don’t know if the NFL is going to get involved. But if that’s what the players want to do or if that makes meaningful change, I’m not criticizing. I’m looking at it from our perspective of, is there going to be a season.
But certainly in a lot of places, there is a great love of college football among the populace, and a lot less love of NBA basketball. So I’m not sure that you’re really hitting any, you know, I found on social media last night when I was looking, the people angriest about the NBA not playing were the people who had already said they never will watch the NBA.
Most of the NBA fans are like, yeah, good, that’s cool.
PAT FORDE: Right.
DAN WETZEL: Like, I’m completely outraged, I’m really not going to watch ’em now! But you know, I’d never would’ve thought an NFL team would skip a practice, and not only did the Lions do it, and now a bunch of people did it, but here we are. So who knows? I think a lot of college football teams are maybe a little fortunate that this is happening this week when it isn’t a game week though.
PAT FORDE: I think you’re right, I think you’re right. I think that it would be naive to assume that there aren’t at least conversations going on of, should we do this, how would we do this, would anybody else do it with us if. And I am totally randomly just throwing something out. You know, if Georgia Tech says we’re not going to play, well, is Virginia going to join them? Is Virginia Tech?
You know, the ACC has that kind of first weekend, September 10 they start. Could there be a league-wide thing where they say, yeah, we’re not going to do it? I don’t know if it’s going to happen. And you’re right, Dan, the time for the emotions to come down a little bit could change things. But if you are sitting there as either a fan or an administrator or a coach and thinking, oh, that’s never going to happen, then you’re naive. You better be in touch with what your players are thinking.
PETE THAMEL: I fully expect there to be protests. I really think, again, the power of possibility from what the NBA did the other night will reverberate in a lot of different areas. And I think you’re naive to think you won’t see it in college football, you won’t see it in college basketball. However those sports do emerge from this, from the upcoming months.
DAN WETZEL: You talked to Barry Alvarez, right, and he was supportive of these demonstrations.
PETE THAMEL: Sure, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: These actions, right? The Wisconsin AD.
PETE THAMEL: Probably one of the five most prominent Wisconsin sports faces in the last generation. You know, like obviously, Giannis probably prominent now, but in terms of the state of Wisconsin, understanding the state and what they mean. And you know, Barry was, he had heard about the Bucks, and by the time I called him, he hadn’t heard about the Brewers yet. And he just said he was proud of it. He was like, the country needs it, and he knew how much sports means to people in Wisconsin, and he really thought it would resonate. You know, he was clearly cognizant and very respectful of a very significant moment.