FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 1st, 2020

DAVE BING ON CHALLENGES FACING CITY MAYORS; PEDRO MARTINEZ ON BASEBALL NEGOTIATIONS — QUOTES FROM TODAY’S EPISODE OF LUNCH TALK LIVE WITH MIKE TIRICO

 “The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is open and honest communication. You have to talk to people, you can’t hide. You have to be visible and show empathy.” – Basketball Hall of Famer and former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on challenges facing city mayors

“One thing if you look at our country in the past, sport has been the bonding and pulling together of our country.” – Pistons coach Dwane Casey on the importance of sports

“We are lucky enough to work in a business where diversity is prevalent. Not everybody has that and it’s important to have conversations with your organizations, friends, groups of people you may not know much about and have those tough conversations.” – Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders

“I’m hoping that both sides actually stop thinking about their own good and start thinking about the fans…Let’s not be selfish about it, let’s think about the fans.” – Pedro Martinez on negotiations surrounding MLB’s potential season

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 1, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • Basketball Hall of Famer and former Mayor of Detroit Dave Bing
    • Baseball Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and his wife Carolina Martinez, who runs the Pedro Martinez Foundation
    • Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey
    • Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders
    • NBC Sports motorsports commentator Kyle Petty

 

Following are highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Dave Bing on the Detroit riots in 1967-68 and how that compares to today: “You have to wonder what has changed? Racism is just an ugly thing that if any one of us had the ability to eradicate it, I’m sure we would in a moment. What I saw in Detroit in ’67 and ’68 was even after all of the disturbance of the burning, looting, shooting, and fighting. We had a professional baseball team called the Detroit Tigers that really pulled our city back together because they were in the midst of the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ll never forget how important sports was to bring people together. What I’m saying now, with no sports, I’m not sure what’s going to bring us back together.”

Bing on race issues in America: “The politicians that we listen to, the leaders in our different communities that we listen to…nobody seems to have an answer. The answer has to be (that) we have to get rid of this hate. The race issue is here and has been here for a long time. We have to face it dead on.”

Bing on if we have made improvements on issue of race in America: “I think it depends on the persons in the conversation. In sports, we all have one goal in mind (and) that’s a team winning. We talked about it quite a bit. The general population seems to be afraid to talk about race. If we don’t talk about it once again and talk about the impact it has, especially on people of color, we’ll never be able to solve the problem. So, it starts with conversation, but has to end with action.”

Bing, a former Detroit mayor, on the challenge of mayors to inspire a city in crisis: “The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is open and honest communication. You have to talk to people, you can’t hide. You have to be visible and show empathy. You have to understand what people are going through across your whole city. People learn to trust you in terms of what you do and don’t do…You have to respect people from an intellectual standpoint by telling them the truth, telling them what is, and telling them your plan is on a going forward basis.”

Bing on advice he would give protesters who want to voice their opinion: “I think you have to respect their First Amendment right, they have the right to protest. You would hope they would protest peacefully. What happened in Detroit and what’s happening in so many of our major cities now — the burning and looting — makes things worse because when all of this is over and all the damage that has been done on a fiscal standpoint has to be dealt with.”

Ryan Saunders, a Minnesota native, on the current situation in Minneapolis: “Obviously with George Floyd’s murder, it’s senseless and that’s what Minnesota feels right now. This is a community I grew up in and I’ve known this community, it’s a special group the way they can come together. We’ve seen a lot of bad and hard moments in this last week here. It’s a trying time for so many, but unfortunately, for a lot of people that don’t look like me, have to have these types of emotions on a daily basis.”

Saunders on his statement regarding George Floyd: “We are lucky enough to work in a business where diversity is prevalent. Not everybody has that and it’s important to have conversations with your organizations, friends, groups of people you may not know much about and have those tough conversations. That was kind of my reasoning for speaking out and I think we have to stand up in what is right.”

Saunders on conversations with his players: “We have done some larger Zoom sessions with our group and I’ve tried to reach out in the right way, whenever the right time looks like. A lot of these guys have experienced some of these daily trials and battles — one player had told me when he’s on a run, he puts his cellphone on his arm as opposed to his waistband because he doesn’t want people to mistake it for something else. That just struck me and it’s hard to hear because I’ve never had to feel that way…I’m able to walk out my home right now and go for a run and where my cellphone wherever I like to. I want to make sure I bring up as best as I can and listen to become more educated about everything.”

Dwane Casey on speaking with players about police relations: “With players, we talk about being smart when getting pulled over and making sure you are respectful. Once you are pulled over in a police situation, you are not in control, they are in control. Accept that, be respectful, ask questions, but be respectful because you don’t know if you get that bad policeman in that situation.”

Casey on how to change the perception of police officers in America: “Every city I have worked in, there have been racial issues. I tell people all the time, wherever you go, racism is in some form there. As far as an action plan, I reached out to the chief of police in Detroit to try to combine the police league and the Pistons Academy — bringing together policemen and kids in the community to try to build that bond, relationship, understanding, and the communication for young kids. I think one thing that will help in all departments is to get together with policemen in their training phase and not wait until 10-15 years. Let’s start building those relationships with policemen to understand who they are and, once they go through the technique and policy part of those programs, I think that will help build relationships down the road.”

Casey on how sports can bring people together: “I think sports, whether baseball or hockey, no matter what the sport is, there’s a common denominator and feeling of, ‘I know you and you know me.’ No matter what color you are, we are working together with one goal…One thing if you look at our country in the past, sport has been the bonding and pulling together of our country. That’s why I think it’s important for baseball to get started and the remainder of our (NBA) season to get started, to give people that common bond, something to pull for, be that glue to bring together our society, and get things back to normal. Again, a lot of people are hurting and it’s not going to go away quick.”

Pedro Martinez on his foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts in the Dominican Republic: “We knew once the pandemic actually hit the country, that somehow we needed to chip in to help the less fortunate people…What we did was create a group of more than 40 players and started raising money to buy meals and medical protection for the nurses and doctors to try to beat the pandemic a little bit easier.”

Carolina Martinez on the Pedro Martinez Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts: “Honestly, it has been a blessing for us to be able to stand up for our country…This past week has been even more impactful for us because we were able to visit really remote areas of the Dominican…and it was amazing to see how the people react when they see somebody coming with food or they see somebody coming with masks. The fact that we can sit here and be a voice for them…for me and Pedro, has been our most gratifying experience with the foundation.”

Pedro Martinez on MLB’s potential return: “I’m hoping that both sides actually stop thinking about their own good and start thinking about the fans. I think this is the perfect time to have their baseball teams out there to help forget a little bit about what is going on…I hope that the players’ association and MLB realize how important it is to bring some sort of relief to the people.”

Pedro Martinez on the negotiations and importance of fans: “The economics, which is the dark part of baseball — the business part of baseball, it is dirty, it’s dark — and I hope that they take into consideration who pays our salary, what the people do for us, how important the people are…and at least bend your arm a little bit to try to find a middle ground for the negotiations. Let’s not be selfish about it, let’s think about the fans.”

Kyle Petty on Brad Keselowski’s win at Bristol Motor Speedway yesterday following a late crash: “(Keselowski and his crew) made a decision with 40 laps to go to change left side tires and that put them in a position to run back through the field to be in a position in case something happens…That’s the one good thing about when you run a Cup race. If you’re not good enough to win, you can put yourself in position in case something happens to capitalize on it.”

Petty on Keselowski winning two of the past three races: “Winning breeds winning. Winning is a habit and no matter how you get there, once you get there, it becomes a good habit, a great habit. These guys have put themselves in position the past couple of weeks.”

Petty on NASCAR’s return to racing: “The sport has represented itself well on the racetrack. We have had some solid races, some good races. Bristol was a great race…I think they have done everything right, checked the box on everything, and I think NASCAR made huge strides and put more eyeballs on our sport…I think that’s been important for the future growth of the sport.”

–NBC SPORTS–