Monday, June 8th, 2020


“Anytime there’s any great movement of any kind, it was done by young people…I want to give our players a voice, whatever voice that is…They have to get behind what they’re passionate about.” – Dawn Staley

 “I think the greatness of this country comes from you can take a knee during the National Anthem, and you can protest peacefully, and you can try to make this country better…I’m looking forward to what we can do in a positive direction.” – Cris Collinsworth

 “I thought it was kind of a watershed moment…but is he going to get buy-in from the owners in the NFL?” – Peter King on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s video

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 8, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • South Carolina women’s basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Dawn Staley
    • NBC Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth
    • NHL on NBC and NBC Sports horse racing analyst Eddie Olczyk
    • com college sports writer Pat Forde
    • NBC Sports motorsports commentator Leigh Diffey, who called Saturday’s INDYCAR season opener in primetime on NBC


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

    • NBC Sports NFL insider Peter King
    • MMA fighting journalist Ariel Helwani
    • Actor Josh Gad


Following are highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Dawn Staley on her family’s experiences with racism: “One of the reasons I took the job at South Carolina was because of my parents, who were both born here in the state. A lot of people don’t know why my mother left the state. I did share that in The Players’ Tribune because I think it’s appropriate. I don’t think I’ve shared it any other place besides there. My mother was sent to the store by her mother to get some meat. The butcher went to the back to get some meat versus the meat in the refrigerator that you can see. My mother didn’t want to take the meat from the back. My mother was a headstrong woman…she’s deceased now, but she was known for her strength, and discipline. She was a cook and understood exactly what she wanted. She said she wasn’t going to take that meat back to her mom and the store owner showed her out and told her to never come back to his store. That is a small town…so once he instructed her not to come back to his store, my grandmother knew she needed a plan of action and out of the state of South Carolina and up north in Philadelphia.”

Dawn Staley on how people can help the next generation to live peacefully and co-exist: “Here’s what I like that’s happening. We are having hard conversations and everybody that raises their voice for Black Lives Matter movement or not, they’re being called on it. Whatever side you choose, you are being called on it whether the masses like it or not. That’s one. We do have to have these hard conversations. I’ve had plenty of conversations with some of my white friends who did not know, and I honestly feel like they really did not understand until something like this came about. So, we had hard conversations about what it is, and they will never know to see through a black person’s eyes, to have the perspective of a black person, to hear about their perspective. We see race. I see race. I see when I’m going to a restaurant and I’m the only black person. That gives me pause, but it doesn’t stop me from going. I feel like voting is a big thing in our world today. Anytime there’s any great movement of any kind, it was done by young people and I feel like young people are starting to align themselves with lawmakers who feel like they feel and who can, historically, vote in the favor of some of the things that they feel are in forefront of their lives, their young lives, today. I want to give our players a voice, whatever voice that is…They have to get behind what they’re passionate about.”

Staley on the season ending due to the coronavirus: “Our players are incredibly resilient, and this was by far the best experience that I’ve had coaching a team. A team full of players who are of great character…They just held each other accountable from day one to the last day. All of their surprise and anger was geared towards knowing that our seniors wouldn’t be able to see this thing through. They knew they would have an opportunity in the future to hopefully play in another NCAA Tournament. They are just truly upset that the seniors didn’t get a chance to finish off their careers.”

Cris Collinsworth on Commissioner Goodell’s video: “I think it’s, quite frankly, something we’ve all been waiting to hear a little bit. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in those three or four years and how prescient the whole thing with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee was to the events that happened with George Floyd. It’s such a unique time, but if you believe in the greatness of this country, you also believe that this is opportunity, that this is a chance to do some of the good stuff that we saw during the civil rights movement, that we saw during the Vietnam War protests, where I think everybody would agree in retrospect that all of that was historically correct, and I think that these protests are going to be historically correct as well, and that we’re going to see some real positive change.”

Collinsworth on the relationship between the NFL and players: “I think the words ‘we were wrong’ is something we don’t often hear out of the National Football League. Those are pretty powerful words in and of themselves, so that’s exciting. I think the conversation is going to be so different…In reality, I think the greatness of this country comes from you can take a knee during the National Anthem, and you can protest peacefully, and you can try to make this country better. If that’s what the Commissioner is saying, then I think that it’s going to be a really exciting year. I’m looking forward to what we can do in a positive direction.”

Collinsworth on protests and change: “I think the exciting part of what happened was that we were all excited about growth and social issues related to race, right? We were sort of, ‘Boy, this is a lot better today than what it was when I played.’…And yet the George Floyd murder — I don’t know how else to say it — the Ahmaud Arbery, the Breonna Taylor, all of these different things threw it in our face in a way that I don’t know that it’s ever been thrown in the face of this nation before, and this generation of young people stood up and said that incremental change is no longer good enough. It’s not good enough. We’re going to put a stake in the ground right here. This is it, this is the time. We’re fixing this. It’s not enough to get better, it’s time to fix this, and I found myself all week, and the last two weeks, being so proud of what these young people have done, and, frankly, a little embarrassed that I didn’t do them. That my generation wasn’t the generation that stood up and said, ‘No more.’…That’s what’s going to make this protest and this movement historically correct. I hope this is it, because you think of what this country could be, I mean, if we could fix this alone, forget all the other issues of the country, if we could fix this alone, what untapped potential does this country have? I mean it could just be unbelievable and I look forward to it. I really do. I think there’s going to be some real positive change.”

Eddie Olczyk on the NHL’s return this summer: “In talking with a lot of people in the NHL…everybody is obviously excited, but know we are still early in this process of the COVID-19 pandemic and small workout groups. A lot of teams are just staying put in areas where they are staying more comfortable. It’s the first step in 15 or 20 until teams get back together in the middle or late July. We have a format, so there’s a lot of excitement over the course of the past couple of weeks.”

Olczyk on Honor A.P. winning the Santa Anita Derby: “I was very happy because I picked him to beat Charlatan for a two-dollar investment, he got back $10. I hope people made a little wager there and (made) money. Honor A.P. with Mike Smith and John Shirreffs as trainer, the race set up perfectly well for Honor A.P. I think this is a horse that can run all day. This race was a mile and an eighth in Santa Anita… Of course, the Kentucky Derby is a mile and a quarter. I think this is a horse that people will need to take notice of. That race set up perfectly for Honor A.P.”

Olczyk on contenders for this year’s Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby: “I think we are sitting on an opportunity here where you have the opportunity to have an unbelievable Kentucky Derby once we get through the first jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont (Stakes) in 12 days. I can make a case for five or six horses, but if you ran the Kentucky Derby, I would probably think that Tiz the Law would be the favorite.”

Pat Forde on college football coaches messaging to players: “College football coaches, as a whole, are pretty cautious individuals and not ones to jump out on a social issue limb per say, but I think the times have somewhat demanded it given the racial backgrounds of the players that they work with and the ages that they work with, and the fact that football coaches like to present themselves as molders of young men. Well, this is a life-molding situation for young people, and for older people really, in the United States right now. So, I think they’ve been put in positions some of them aren’t that comfortable with, and we can see it and we can tell, and then some are more comfortable with it. I think it’s important given who they are and their stature on campus and who they work with that they get out and make their voices and their feelings heard, and hopefully they’re sincere and legitimate voices and feelings.”

Forde on Florida State DT Marvin Wilson’s using his voice to disagree with a statement made by head coach Mike Norvell: “That was very significant because it wasn’t a former player, it’s not somebody in the NFL with money and clout. This is a guy that is on the team right now…A respected member of the team, team captain. He called out (FSU head coach) Mike Norvell. There’s one thing that I think if you are a coach in this day and age, you can’t fake it with your players or with the public on who you say you are versus who you really are. You better be pretty authentic, you better be in touch with your locker room, better be in touch with what’s going on with those guys, and be able to present an honest portrayal of who you are and what’s happening because otherwise, players aren’t afraid and shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and say, ‘No, this is how it really is at our school.’”

Leigh Diffey on calling the Genesys 300 race from Texas without fans: “It was bizarre. I’ve never experienced it in my career, no matter what the sport because as a broadcaster…we feed off of the crowd — in motorsport to a lesser degree, but when you’re on the oval and at the top of the grandstand and you can look over the crowd, it felt really odd. As weird as it felt for us, we were impacted minimally. For the drivers, when they get out of their cars or they walk out onto pit lane to get into their cars and they look up and there’s nobody there, it was pretty surreal for them.”

Diffey on Scott Dixon, who won Saturday night’s race: “This guy is incredible. He is 39 years old…and certainly doesn’t perform as somebody approaching 40. He seems ageless to be honest. He sets himself an extremely high bar and puts a lot of pressure on himself, but he’s one of those athletes where…he just continues to produce. Age is only a number, and Scott Dixon personifies that. He already is one of the greats of INDYCAR racing and he’s living in rarified air where he’s almost touching numbers that only A. J. Foyt and Mario Andretti racked up.”

Following are highlights from The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN:

Peter King on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s video: “He pretty much did almost exactly what the players asked him to do. So, I thought it was kind of a watershed moment. Now, where it goes from here…nobody knows. He’s got 32 bosses, and this might be nice for Roger Goodell to say and think, but is he going to get buy-in from the owners in the NFL?”

King on what buy-in from owners could potentially look like: “I don’t know. No one knows. Does it mean that you can protest during the National Anthem doing anything that you want? Maybe. Does it mean that we are going to get together with players to make some sort of deal? Somehow, someway, we will do something if you will stand for the anthem at some sort of attention? I don’t know. It’s just so early in the process, feelings are so raw. Opening day is three months from Wednesday, so there’s plenty of time for people to just settle down and think about this and think about what a solution and next steps entail.”

King on next steps for players: “I think there are some players that want…some sort of satisfaction on Colin Kaepernick…In my opinion, I think I’m not saying that this ends up with Colin Kaepernick being in a uniform and helmet on opening day. I don’t know what it means, but I think that there needs to be some Paris peace talks between league executives and Colin Kaepernick…At least in my opinion, that’s where step one needs to be because there’s so many players in this league right now who are still hot that Colin Kaepernick got frozen out of a job four years ago.”

King on the NFL’s health protocols this season related to COVID-19: “The NFL is going to do everything within its power, but that doesn’t mean that some Saturday morning…when all of those people are tested, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be two or three who come up positive…I think the NFL also has to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. What happens if three or four guys on the same team test positive?”

King on the Cowboys’ contract negotiation with Dak Prescott: “It’s crazy that it’s gotten to this point…You never, ever, ever profit in negotiation of a quarterback contract when you wait…It never helps a team to wait, and yet the Cowboys waited. I don’t mean to say they get what they deserve, but they get what they deserve.”

Ariel Helwani on Conor McGregor’s retirement announcement: “He’s done this now three times where he tweets that he’s retired…But unlike the first two times, this time he actually elaborated…I think that people are distracted by the (retirement) word here and aren’t really listening to what he is saying or digesting properly what he is saying. What he told me was he is very frustrated. He wants to fight. He had a very difficult 2019, he was very confident in the fact that he would fight at least three times this year…Do I think he will fight again? Yes.”

Helwani on UFC’s relationship with its athletes: “There is a larger story here…Some of the biggest stars in the UFC are openly feuding with the company. Now, all of their reasons aren’t the same. Money is kind of the common denominator.”

Josh Gad, an avid Dolphins fan, on Tua Tagovailoa: “I was part of the ‘Tank for Tua’ group. Obviously, his injuries are cause for slight concern, but I’m just all in on Brian Flores. There isn’t anything that that man and his genius approach isn’t capable of achieving with this organization…I thought the Dolphins, just in general, had a great draft. I think they’re really smart.”

Gad on Tom Brady leaving the AFC East: “Jets, Bills, and Dolphins fans have had to live with Superman in their division for so long that it’s only fair to finally overthrow this insanity of a dynasty.”