1. It’s so damn good to be an untouchable.
When you’re an un-fireable personality, you can let it fly and say exactly how you feel without repercussions. There are very few untouchables in sports media. You can count them on one hand.
Enter Sir Charles Barkley.
In an interview with CNBC, the NBA analyst unloaded on people who are not vaccinated and weighed in specifically on athletes who have not gotten jabbed.
“The only people who are not vaccinated are just a--holes,” he says.
Barkley expanded on that straightforward point, saying, “Can you imagine if one of these guys that are not vaccinated, if they get one of these players’ kids, wives, girlfriends, moms and dads sick and they die over some unnecessary conspiracy bulls---? I think that would be tragic.”
As for leagues stacking the deck in order to convince players to get vaccinated, Barkley says, “There’s s--- you can’t do at work and there’s s--- that you have to do at work. So every workplace has rules, and I think one of the rules [should be] that guys have to be vaccinated.”
Obviously, some agree with Barkley, and some do not, but what I love about this take is that he isn’t worried about the backlash. He simply does not care what social media will say about him.
Here’s what else is significant about Barkley’s comments: As I’ve said here in Traina Thoughts and on the SI Media Podcast, COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be a huge sports story as college football and the NFL get close to starting their seasons.
No sports fan wants vaccines to be the biggest story every day, but here we are.
Nearly 17 months into the pandemic, we’re still getting story after story about players either testing positive for COVID-19 or refusing to take the vaccine.
Of course, this then leads to cycles and cycles of arguments about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. And the “arguments” get more outrageous and bizarre every day.
For example: Former NFL player. T.J. Ward, basically blaming Washington coach Ron Rivera for getting cancer after Rivera expressed his frustration with only 50% of his team getting vaccinated.
Ron Rivera, who is a cancer survivor—which means he’s at high risk when it comes to COVID-19—says he would like his players to get vaccinated. This led to Ward's saying, “At some point, you gotta pay for them vices.”
Ward also says Rivera needs to “expect responsibility,” so I’m not sure we need vaccine advice from Ward.
But this is where we are, and it’s only going to get worse.
2. I have ranted many times on the SI Media Podcast about the abundance of streaming services and my preference for cable. It's good to see Giannis is on my side.
3. There are errors, and then there are ERRORS. Check out what Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger did against the Giants on Tuesday night.
4. Joey Votto is a big Ted Lasso fan, but he doesn't want to be Roy. He wants to be Jamie.
5. The Yankees stink this season, and one of their biggest problems has been driving in runners from scoring position with fewer than two outs. Last night, the team's legendary radio broadcaster, John Sterling, had enough of the ineptitude, and it led to a tremendous call.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast dropped Thursday morning, and it features an interview with Lindsay Czarniak. The veteran sportscaster talks about her daily Olympics show on Peacock, On Her Turf, shares her thoughts on women trying to break through in sports media and discusses the Maria Taylor–Rachel Nichols controversy.
This episode kicks off with the weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. We talked about the forthcoming Peyton-Eli Monday Night Football broadcast, Tom Brady’s White House visit, Ted Lasso and the worst songs of all time.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Thank you for this, Bill Burr.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.