Episode 345 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina features an interview with Green Light Podcast host and former Super Bowl champion Chris Long, and our weekly Traina Thoughts segment.
Long talks about why it would've been nice to see more star NFL players offer public support for Carl Nassib after the Raiders defensive lineman announced he is gay. Long also explains what the locker room reaction will be like for Nassib and why Nassib's announcement is important.
Additionally, Long discusses how he'd handle having teammates who refuse to get vaccinated, why he'd debate Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley and why players who won't get vaccinated are out of luck.
In honor of the Fourth of July weekend, Long power ranks Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day and also weighs in burgers vs. hot dogs vs. sausage.
In this week's Traina Thoughts segment, Jimmy and WFAN's Sal Licata talk about Tom Brady's personality, Scottie Pippen's wild interview with Dan Patrick, the Yankees' woes and Free Britney.
Jimmy Traina: I think in August, when training camps start and we get ready for the NFL season, I think the biggest story in sports is going to be how many NFL players are not vaccinated. Now, I will say this. I've seen some numbers recently that are much more impressive than I thought they would be. Half the NFL teams have 51 or more players vaccinated. That's a pretty good stat. So maybe I'm overblowing it. But when I saw what happened with the Bills where they have a ton of players who are not going to get vaccinated—and I'm sure there are many other players who are not. I'm just wondering if you could tell me as a former player, if you're in that locker room and I guess there's still going to have rules here, like if you're not vaccinated, you can't eat with the team. And it seems like they're going that way where they're going to sort of separate nonvaccinated and vaccinated players. Can a team leader say to someone, hey, listen, we got to do it. I'm at the point where I don't think—forget what your profession is, NFL player or not. If someone doesn't want to get vaccinated and you tell them you should get vaccinated, they're not going to listen to you. If someone I work with, if one of SI.com colleagues doesn't get vaccinated, it has no effect on my life, but in a team sport where you need to be in locker rooms, in film rooms and on airplanes, do you think you can change someone's mind about it?
Chris Long: Maybe somebody who doesn't have the information and trusts me, I can take a swing at it. But, you know, as a leader, I think a lot of what you have to do is not tell people what to do, it's to convince them what to do. It's to sell something to them, like being a leader is being a salesman. And some people might be like, well no, you got to just tell people what to do. Well, I've been there in the NFL, and I just know these are a bunch of grown men. And the convictions that I have, whether they're well-informed or not well-informed, are not any stronger than other guys' convictions. And so I think if you're on the plane and there's this anti-vaxxer dude, if I'm sitting next to Cole Beasley I'll debate him. You know, like I'll debate him or I'll tell him to stop whining about it. And if you're not going to get a shot, when you make a bold stance, like, just shut the f--- up and be bold, dude.