Wednesday, June 10th, 2020


“These things have been going on for decades stacked on centuries and it’s got to a point where I’ve never seen the group more determined…We know it’s a very long battle, but we’ve got the stomach for it and we’re into it.” – Rick Carlisle on fighting racial injustice

“We have to make sure, for the legacy of (George Floyd) and his family, that this movement now continues the energy, continues the inertia, and we take some big — maybe uncomfortable — but some big steps forward.” – Robbie Earle

 “I support Bubba (Wallace) and I support NASCAR that the Confederate flag should not be at our sites and in our sport…It has been motivating for me to listen and learn.” – Jimmie Johnson

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 10, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • NBC Sports Premier League analyst Robbie Earle
    • Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba
    • PGA TOUR golfer and 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge winner Kevin Na
    • GOLF Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee
    • NBC Sports motorsports commentator Steve Letarte


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

    • Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle
    • NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson
    • Director Judd Apatow of The King of Staten Island
    • Co-Founder of Thirty Five Ventures & Kevin Durant’s Business Partner Rich Kleiman


Following are highlights from The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN:

Rick Carlisle on the NBA coaching community coming together to discuss racial injustice: “A couple of weeks ago when the George Floyd incident happened, we got our entire 30 head coaches together within a six-hour period. There was a real feeling of anger and the need to get together and talk about what was going on in the world, to try and use the platform we have to try and do something to make it better. So, within six hours, we got a Zoom call, founded a committee, the NBCA committee on racial injustice and reform, led by Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks. The committee is composed of some of our outspoken people on this topic over the years — Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, J.B. Bickerstaff, Stan Van Gundy, David Fizdale, Brett Brown, Doc Rivers, and Quin Snyder. As President of the Coaches Association, I’m not on the committee, but I’m on all the calls. We’ve had four calls with the committee and we’re going to mobilize as a coaching group, partner with a local organization or two in our local markets, learn the lay of the world around all of the different problems we are having today, and likely partner with the Obama Foundation. We’re planning to be in this fight for the long haul. We’re interested in making a difference, educating people on racial injustice. These things have been going on for decades stacked on centuries and it’s got to a point where I’ve never seen the group more determined. We’re excited to get started. We know it’s a very long battle, but we’ve got the stomach for it and we’re into it.”

Carlisle on George Floyd’s death: “That image frozen in time will live in perpetuity. It’s got to be a major reminder that these things have to stop. Stephen Jackson, not only was he a tremendous basketball player, he’s a passionate guy, and a guy with a great heart. He had a couple great years with Indiana as a player and this has been tragic to see this happen and see his reaction to this, but he has handled it with a tremendous amount of grace and fortitude.”

Carlisle on the NBA’s plan to resume play: “I know there is an asterisk next to everything in terms of the level of fluidity we are dealing with here, but we are excited to get back playing…We’re all going to have a laser-like focus on everything we are doing…We are dealing with a far different set of circumstances, we have a lot of smart people in this league, on all these teams and we will work through it meticulously.”

Jimmie Johnson on conversations he has had with Bubba Wallace: “Bubba is a great friend of mine, I’m really proud of how courageous he has been throughout all of this. His voice, his friendship and relationships in the garage area has really garnered a ton of support and has helped educate those within our industry on a deeper level. The unity to create a common voice is so needed and impressive.”

Johnson on social injustice: “We need to soften people’s minds and help motivate people to have a deeper understanding of the injustices and inequalities that are out there. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and a right, and I have an opinion and a right to have the stance that I do…I support Bubba and I support NASCAR that the Confederate flag should not be at our sites and in our sport…It has been motivating for me to listen and learn.”

Johnson on racing without fans at tracks: “Pre-race, post-race, there’s so many parts of my experience now that without a doubt I notice the fans aren’t there. Going to these huge venues with only essential personnel and actually racing — not being a practice or testing session — is really bizarre. When you’re in the car and at work, and the eyeline is focused on competition and you’re caught up battling your competitors and the car itself, you kind of lose sight of that. I am thankful I am not in a sport where you feed off the energy of the fans, that would be a huge adjustment to get used to.”

Johnson on his bucket-list following his NASCAR retirement after this season: “I have a bucket-list of cars and tracks that I still want to experience. Ultimately, I am in a sport and have had enough success, that hopefully I can call my shots (and say) here’s the top four or five races I want to experience…I’ve always wanted to race and drive in INDYCAR. I’m not interested in oval (tracks), so the INDY 500 would be out, but to experience one of their cars on a road course would be really amazing to me … I’ve always had a big interest in dirt sports car racing and there’s a longer runway for that kind of racing for me…so sports car racing is something I want to look really hard at.”

Rich Kleiman on the NBA resuming play: “I feel like it is likely. The NBA is as diligent and prepared a league as there is. Adam (Silver) has been able to lead the NBA through ups and downs and always does it with grace. You don’t think he will make any decision without covering any angle and seeing everything twice. I don’t think you announce that unless you’re fully intent on going ahead with it…Like anything else in the world right now, always with a qualifier because everyone wants to make sure it is safe.”

Kleiman on the NBA players’ potential protests once play begins: “Historically, the NBA players have been on the forefront of speaking out, about being on the side of right, advocating and some of the astute minds. I’ve always felt this way, I see it in business, philanthropy, social activism and I expect nothing different. We are living in a scary, yet exciting time in that it feels like for the first time ever that the line between right and wrong has been truly drawn and people can’t hide from that.”

Judd Apatow on directing LeBron James in Trainwreck: “He showed up so prepared, his acting was great, and he is genuinely funny. It’s not a performance where I had to try and squeeze it out of him. He was riffing like a guy who had been doing comedy and improv for the last ten years.”

Following are highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Robbie Earle on the level of competition during next week’s Premier League return: “I think for the first game or two we might not see quite the intensity we used to see…I think over a very short space of time we will see good levels of football, good intensity, and teams really going for it.”

Earle on protests in London and Europe: “Many times I think we felt that racism is happening in our streets, in our city, maybe in our state. But what we have seen over the last two weeks is people have responded to the George Floyd incident with a movement that has gone global. In Europe or other countries — we have seen it in China, in all parts of Asia, in Africa, South Africa — we have seen a movement where people are saying this injustice is enough and we have to do something about it. What is really going to be interesting is we have seen some very high, high profile, prominent young black players making a stance, having a say, amplifying their voice and their celebrity to join this movement. I am talking about the Raheem Sterlings, and the Marcus Rashfords, and Tyrone Mings, the big center back for Aston Villa who is an England international. It will be interesting to see how maybe some of those players, and a number of the teams who have supported the Black Lives movement, maybe celebrate or have something that they do during the course of the games because the eyes of the world will be watching the start of the Premier League. It’s the best league in the world, it’s the richest league in the world, it’s the most-watched league in the world, and starting from next Wednesday, June the 17th, there’s going to be a huge focus and magnifying glass on that league. I just wonder, and I will be quite interested to see, if some of the players use that position, use that platform, and amplify the voice that they are trying to do, and say enough is enough. We have to get to the stage in this fight where — talking is important — but we have to see change, we have to see the action. George Floyd was buried yesterday…and we have to make sure, for the legacy of him and his family, that this movement now continues the energy, continues the inertia, and we take some big — maybe uncomfortable — but some big steps forward.”

Earle on England’s Football Association’s stance on allowing players to support social causes: “That is huge for the FA to do that. To give license to players to express themselves, how they feel, how clubs are feeling, to make an expression that will go over the world, it is huge for the FA. It is interesting over here in New York, we have seen the NFL retract on the position they took with Colin Kaepernick. It will be interesting to see when other sports come back what their stance is on it. But for English football to do this is a real step forward. It is a move forward and I am pleased to say many corporations, broadcasters over in the U.K., are getting behind the players and the movement themselves and saying that they want to play their part in equality for Black and Asian and ethnic minorities in the U.K.”

Earle on if it is any better for black players playing now than it was when he was playing: “We had a former international player, who played in the Premier League on The 2 Robbies podcast with me and Robbie Mustoe last week, Jan Age Fjortoft. We were talking about the situation and I said from the time I started in early ‘80s to the ‘90s, to be honest…in those situations, you had to keep your head down. You couldn’t put your head above the parapet. You would be often seen as somebody with a chip on their shoulder or difficult to deal with and that would be a characteristic that would stay with you through your career. So, because of that, as a player in those times, you used to just bite your tongue, sort of smile, get on with things and not make too much noise about it. What has been really pleasing with these young players, and some of them are in their early 20s and still maturing into men and who they are going to be, but they have taken the stance, they have taken the platform — we now have social media, we are now in a different world, a different generation, where people are prepared to listen. What has been encouraging when we have seen demonstrations, not only in the U.S. but all over the world, is it’s  been every denomination of people from different classes, different backgrounds, different cultures and because of that diversity, because the messages are being heard and discussed at a different level than we have in the past, that gives me hope that we can start to move forward and make some serious changes that, not only this country, but the world needs to do for society.”

Matt Dumba on the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance: “It started coming together in November actually. Just a group of guys talking, kind of expressing to each other that there is probably a need for this in the league. As of the last two weeks, I think I have talked to these guys every day for over an hour. There has been some really good talks and I think we have an opportunity to do big things in our sport and help a lot of kids. I think that is one of the main focuses, is eradicating racism and making sure our game is for everyone.”

Dumba on his path to the NHL and the racism he experienced: “Being a minority in the prairies in Saskatchewan and then in Calgary, it wasn’t easy growing up. Kids, with my darker skin tone, really kind of threw the book at me to see what would stick as far as racial slurs. Knowing all that, everything my family went through, seeming my mom come away from the rink, seeing my dad, my family leaving in tears. Just talking to these guys rekindled those feelings, and when I think about it more and when I lay my head down to sleep at night feeling this, it was such strong feelings and such passionate feelings that I don’t believe any kid should to go through that or bottle that up or hide that from their parents trying to be strong. As all of us in our group did, and I am sure so many kids, minority kids, across the countries do all the time, try to take the high road but that is not a conversation white parents have with their kids. I don’t think it is a conversation any parents should have with their kids because racism shouldn’t be tolerated in our sport.”

Dumba on the Hockey Diversity Alliance speaking with Colin Kaepernick and the best advice he gave: “I think the biggest one for me was just the unity we will have to have moving forward. Bringing people in, having the right advancers, including everyone — that is what this is about. Just eradicating racism can’t be on the shoulder of seven guys. Everyone’s going to have a part in this. We are just on this committee as the seven board members, but there are so many people who are going to be behind the scenes, people who are going to want to join this and make some moves. It is limitless. We don’t want to box ourselves into anything because I think we all see it, that there can be a real change in our sport, and we can be the pioneers for this, and I hope this is just one step. This is day two of the announcement of the HDA, and hopefully a year from now we have done some big things. Two years, three years, four years…we can just watch this thing grow because it is time.”

Dumba on playing in Minnesota and watching the protests there: “It is a city that has really taken me in with open arms. I work with a group called ACES, Athletes Committed to Educating Students, and a lot of those students are from the neighborhoods and communities that are being burned down and the riots and the protests. So, I was really scared for those kids. I feel like I am a part of those communities…I want to be on those front lines, I want to be helping out just like some of my friends are…I am proud of how the community has come together now and really picking each other up.”

Steve Letarte on NASCAR’s new protocols restricting practice time: “I am hoping desperately what we have learned as a sport is, we do not need three hours of practice. It only allows the heavily funded teams to get better. The lack of practice has actually given a little bit of a challenge to the teams to try and figure it out on the fly.”

Letarte on Bubba Wallace and the NASCAR community discussing the Black Lives Matter movement: “First, speaking of Bubba specifically, I couldn’t be more proud. I call him a friend and he has really become a leader and a spokesperson in a sport that is predominately white. He is the only black driver in the sport, and he has taken a position of conversation. It is really giving me specifically a great opportunity to be quiet, to listen, to try and understand, to try and educate myself. What he has done by taking the burden of communication and conversation on for the entire sport when it comes to the stars is really commendable. The paint scheme he will run at Martinsville I think is a great opportunity and it is something that needs to be done. It will be great to see that car on the race track tonight, primetime, under the lights, at NASCAR’s oldest track at Martinsville Speedway. And the sport, in general, there was a moment before the last race during the pace laps where the cars stopped silent on pit road and the president of NASCAR, Steve Phelps, addressed the drivers and the fans over the teams radios and told us all we can do better and I was proud to be a part of NASCAR. This is a sport I have grown up in and I have encouraged everyone to be a part of and I want to make sure that encouragement is for everyone. I am learning that perhaps over time, the things that have happened in the world — it is not inclusive, and it needs to be. Everyone should be able to be a part of this sport as in everything in this country, and I am so proud of Bubba and the sport for, as you said, having the conversation. I think this is nowhere near the time people should be silent and hide from these awkward conversations, and I applaud NASCAR and (am) proud to be part of a sport that took that time, that took that moment, and said, ‘You know what? We all need to listen,’ and I listened and I will continue to listen.”

Kevin Na on his first practice round before returning to competition at tomorrow’s Charles Schwab Challenge: “It was a little bit weird, having three months off and coming back. I haven’t been able to practice a whole lot, but it was nice to be back and see my fellow competitors.”

Na on his comfort level coming back: “I feel really comfortable. It feels like everything feels normal besides the no fans part…I don’t know what to expect, but that first round is going to be really important for me for me to able to get a good start so everything will be able to go smoothly for the rest of the week.”

Na on playing without spectators in attendance: “Fans are what make the atmosphere of a sporting event. When you make a key putt or a putt to win and you hear that roar and that cheer, you remember that for a long time.”

Brandel Chamblee on what to expect in the first round of tomorrow’s Charles Schwab Challenge: “Probably a lot of enthusiasm from the players perspective…So, huge enthusiasm from the players and PGA TOUR executives I think just to get back to some semblance of normalcy.”

Chamblee on the players returning to competition after a three-month break: “Physically, they are going to be in great shape. Technically, they might be a little rusty.”