FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 29th, 2020

TONY DUNGY ON THE SITUATION IN MINNESOTA; MATT RHULE ON BEING A FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACH — QUOTES FROM TODAY’S LUNCH TALK LIVE WITH MIKE TIRICO AND THE RICH EISEN SHOW ON NBCSN

Tony Dungy Speaks with Mike Tirico About the Situation in Minnesota

 “I’ve probably actually physically met 20 of them. There’s probably 70 guys I’ve never actually shaken their hand or said hello to.” – First-year Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule on meeting his team

“In the bottom, the relegation situation, that’s really where we’re going to show you some television gold.” – NBC Sports’ Rebecca Lowe on Premier League’s return

“The game is getting harder to officiate. The players are getting faster and it’s a tough game to officiate…Give them a tool to get the major calls right.” – Mike Pereira on advantages of a potential Sky Judge

STAMFORD, Conn. – May 29, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • NBC Football Night in America analyst Tony Dungy
    • Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule
    • Philadelphia Flyers left wing James van Riemsdyk
    • Former motocross racer and Motorsports Hall of Famer Ricky Carmichael
    • NBC Sports’ Rebecca Lowe

 

The Rich Eisen Show followed Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN, as host Rich Eisen was joined by:

    • FOX Sports NFL Rules analyst & former NFL official Mike Pereira
    • The Athletic’s David Aldridge
    • Actor Mike O’Malley from TNT’s “Snowpiercer”

 

Following are Tony Dungy’s comments to Mike Tirico on Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN about the situation in Minnesota:

Tony Dungy, a University of Minnesota alum and Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator from 1992-95, on the situation in Minnesota: “It’s tough. My heart is just breaking right now. I spent eight years there — four years as a student, four years as an assistant coach with the Vikings. My brother still lives in the Twin Cities area and it’s just hard to watch this. You see people who are frustrated, they’re upset. Maybe not handling things in the best way, but they’re very frustrated and they’ve seen this kind of cycle. We’ve got to do something to not only give them hope, but to restore love and respect to everybody and that’s what I’m praying for.”

Dungy on protesting: “I remember when Dr. King got killed. You walk outside and you’re just, ‘Boy, I can’t believe this.’ And then you go back inside, and you watch TV and you see all the places all around the country with similar type things here — burning, looting, just frustration. Anger coming out. I guess what I come back to, just a couple of years ago on the show, we had a lot of young men from the NFL who were protesting peacefully, and they were taking a knee during the National Anthem. The thought then was, ‘Hey, let’s hear from people. Let’s find out what’s going on.’ And I don’t think we treated it that way and so now you get this. Well, how can we react? How can we respond? That didn’t work and you’re seeing anger come out. Anger is not the way to solve things, it really isn’t.”

Dungy on if having access to video inflames these situations a lot quicker than in the past: “It definitely does. You can see it almost instantaneously. You see the visual picture, you don’t have to have somebody describe it to you…It’s hurtful to explain to my young boys this is wrong. But in the words of my dad, what are we going to do to make this situation better? How can we help?”

Dungy on protesting and police relations: “There are people who feel like the only way I can help is to show my anger and frustration, and that is part of it. We have to have these voices heard, but we also have to do it in a respectful way. We have to show love to everybody and figure out how we can move forward. I have friends on the police force here in Tampa, my uncle was the Assistant Chief of Police in Detroit, Michigan in those ‘60s…‘60s and ‘70s, a rough time. So, I know we can’t point a finger at every single policeman. We can’t just blanketly say the police department does this, police do that. We have to look at individual cases and we have to figure out a way that we can get some response and some satisfaction to the families of George Floyd and to the people who are saying, ‘No one hears our voice.’”

Dungy on how to protest in a peaceful and effective manner: “That’s what really hurts. I’m very familiar with that neighborhood in South Minneapolis and driven by there hundreds of times. There’s a lot of minority community leaders, there’s minority businesses, and to see that area just get taken down like this, it’s very sad. So, how do you get your voice heard? How do you express your feelings? How do you come up with solutions and do it in a way that moves forward? That’s the frustrating thing, but that’s what we have to come up with. That’s what people, I think, have to understand. My dad used to tell me all the time, ‘What are you going to do to make it better?’ You go back to those 1972 and ’75 (seasons) and I’m in college playing against Warren Moon. I’m leading the Big 10 in passing, Warren’s leading the Pac-10 in passing and neither one of us gets drafted. What are you going to do to make the situation better? Well, I chose to go to the NFL and see if I could make a career and become a coach. Warren went to the Canadian league and showed people that he was good enough to play and came back and had a Hall of Fame career. So, I think you have to look at different ways to strike out and do it in a positive way. Make a difference, have your voice heard. It does get frustrating, there’s no question about it, but frustration can’t be the driving emotion.”

Dungy on the role of sports and athletes in times of crises involving race: “I think we do have a responsibility. I know when I came to the Steelers, Mr. Rooney, our owner, he talked about not just playing for the Steelers, but being part of the community. Being part of the community means stepping up at times when we need. Yes, it means community service, but sometimes it can be speaking up and saying, ‘You know what people, we need to stay calm. We need to stay peaceful.’ Leadership — we need to listen to these voices. I saw a tweet from Zach Ertz, I saw one from Carson Wentz, I’ve seen one from J.J. Watt. Guys saying, ‘Hey, we have a voice.’ And that’s awesome. You applaud that. That’s what these guys, to me, were doing. We did a piece on Kenny Stills and Mike Thomas in Miami, and they were responding to something that happened in Minneapolis. Kenny Stills has ties to Minneapolis. Philando Castile was shot by a police officer four years ago and that was part of what they wanted to get across and that’s what they told us on our show, ‘Hey, we need to be a voice for those who may not have as strong a voice as we do.’ I think that’s very appropriate for our sports figures.”

Dungy on if sports do a good job of bridging a racial gap in 2020: “I think it absolutely does because you have communication. You have guys sitting in the same locker room and, unfortunately you can’t do that now because of this pandemic, but it would be very, very awesome to have guys in the locker room discussing this situation now. What can we do? How can we as a 53-man group help make the situation better. If the Minnesota Vikings were right there in Minneapolis right now, it would be some awesome discussion between those leaders. In a sports locker room, you can have that back and forth together with mutual respect and that’s what I think we need.”

Dungy on advise to coaches: “Definitely come together, definitely address it. Hear every voice and try not to react with emotion and anger, but react with the thought going forward — how can we build respect in our country? How can we build respect for one another and go forward? How can we make things better?”

Following are additional highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Matt Rhule on Panthers owner David Tepper:I think he’s just a difference maker in terms of the way he thinks. Weekly, if not daily, he’ll call me with a question, as we go through these difficult times, of something else to think about. I’d like to think I have contingency plans. Well, he always puts something in front of me to make me say, ‘I better think about that.’”

Rhule on meeting his new team: “I think of the 90 guys we have on the team, I’ve probably actually physically met 20 of them. There’s probably 70 guys I’ve never actually shaken their hand or said hello to.”

Rhule on making the transition from college to the NFL: “When you’re in college, you’re in control of everything, and when you come to the National Football League, you’re not. You’re not in charge of how everything works…At the college level, you can get away with being a tyrant or saying, ‘Hey, just do it because I said so.’…I really saw the impact of personal relationships…I think that will serve me really well here at this level.”

Rhule on turning the Panthers around: The hardest jump is to go from good to great. Going from bad to good is not quite as difficult.”

Rebecca Lowe on new Premier League schedule: “They are extending Saturday and Sunday so that will be a rather long day in the studio, but it’s exciting …All you have to do is sit there. We’ve basically got you covered for the months of June and July.”

Lowe on what to watch for upon the PL’s return: “Liverpool to win the trophy after thirty years plus one hundred days, which is actually the time from the last game to the first game in this pandemic break…(I’m) also interested in Sheffield United, who are newly promoted, sitting there in seventh position and an unbelievable season they have had so far. How high can they finish? And then look below Sheffield United, Tottenham and Arsenal are at 41 and 40 points, who should be much higher up. And in the bottom, the relegation situation, that’s really where we’re going to show you some television gold.”

James van Riemsdyk on this year’s NHL playoff format: “I think in the past, we’ve kind of liked the re-seeding model a little bit better than the pure bracketed style, but I think we’re still trying to sort through what we think is best for this situation.”

van Riemsdyk on advantages of round robin formatting for the top seeds: “Look at a team like Boston, for example. They had such a great regular season to date, and we want to make sure that they’re…placed properly and acknowledge the season that they’ve had so far.”

van Riemsdyk on his comfort level returning to the ice:You realize how again, everyone is prioritizing the safety aspect…Nothing that we do will come at the expense of that. So, just knowing that that’s our thought process, I think it makes me comfortable.”

Ricky Carmichael on the athletes competing in Supercross: “These guys are incredible athletes. Power-to-weight ratio and what these guys are able to sustain — the heartrates, the cardio, mentally…and the risk involved…Someone who is able to tune into the broadcast, they will see…these fine riders and what they’re able to do on a 230-pound motorcycle is absolutely incredible.”

Carmichael on becoming a racing analyst: “I just want to be able to share my experiences with the viewers and give some insight on the broadcast of what these guys are going through. I kind of act as if I have my helmet on and what I would do in certain circumstances and try to relate that to the general fan watching or someone who has never watched.”

Following are highlights from The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN:

Mike Pereira on the difference between withdrawing a proposal and tabling a proposal for the fourth-and-15 rule: “If it’s withdrawn, it can’t be brought up until next year and is basically dead. If it’s tabled, they will have to look at a few more things. I think they brought up some good points…such as giving teams more opportunity to get the ball back if they are behind.”

Pereira on the tabled fourth-and-15 rule: “There’s too many unknowns about the thing. I get worrisome of what would be a fix? You could look at a fix, at maximum, it could take you to the 40-yard line and couldn’t go beyond that. That’s unrealistic to shut down a play midstream because you make it beyond the 40-yard line. To me, the Sky Judge proposal is more important, but it’s getting less discussion as we go forward.”

Pereira on the advantages of having a Sky Judge: “The game is getting harder to officiate. The players are getting faster and it’s a tough game to officiate. Who gets all the criticism? The officials. Give them a tool to get the major calls right…Let’s just hand them a different aid so their overall performance improves.”

Pereira on the NFL removing last season’s pass interference replay rule: “It’s simple, there is no way to make a judgement call like replay and attach two different standards to it. You want to call it one way on the field, but if it gets challenged or reviewed, you call it a different way in replay. It probably could have worked if you used the same standard.”

David Aldridge on prioritizing the importance of sports: “It’s very difficult for me to be all about sports with everything that is going on in our country. We all are understanding that sports are important to people. I want sports and the games to come back because it will help a lot of people, but I know there are people not thinking about that right now. I would like people to know that entertainment and distraction is not what everybody has in the front of their consciousness.”

Aldridge on the status of the NBA’s return to play: “I think the NBA union is much better in terms of cooperation with the league than the baseball union is. That just seems to be spiraling out of control in baseball. For basketball, there’s a joint committee coming up with scenarios…They aren’t anywhere near finished yet, but they are working together.”

Aldridge on potential site for NBA playoffs: “The union has signed off on Orlando being the site for the playoff tournament.”

Aldridge on how the NBA players union is helping team owners: “Basketball players put money in escrow for the owners in case the season would be cancelled for whatever reason. So, the owners have some financial certainty on the losses for this year.”

Aldridge on the potential site of an NBA Finals: “I think right now, there has been talk of Houston being a possibility. (Disney Executive Chairman and former CEO) Bob Iger has been pushing very hard for Orlando and Disney World. I think most players and their agents are pointing in the direction of Orlando.”

Aldridge on what he learned watching “The Last Dance”: “I can’t say I learned anything…That’s because I’m old and was there for most of it. There are things you forget, like Dennis Rodman going to Vegas during the season. It just re-emphasized to me the phenomenal job Phil Jackson did coaching for those three years because it could have gone off the rails 100 times.”

Mike O’Malley, a Patriots fan, on Tom Brady: “Of course, I’ll root for Tom Brady in Tampa. Tom Brady has brought New England fans and, in fact, NFL fans, so much joy in terms of how he performed. I know a lot of people don’t like him because he won a lot of Super Bowls and beat their teams. As someone that rooted for the Patriots growing up, he has brought so much joy to our family.”

O’Malley on Rob Gronkowski reuniting with Tom Brady in Tampa: “I think Rob Gronkowski was not thinking about going back and playing and I really think he was retiring. I would like to talk to him and find out what the inside story was.”

–NBC SPORTS–