So how was your “Damar Hamlin This Puts Everything Into Perspective Week”? 

Mine, unsurprisingly, was loaded with contradictions with the exception of those “Love For Damar” T-shirts handed out so NFL sideline personnel could attest to their fealty, in assorted sizes, in front of TV cameras. 

But what most counted didn’t appear on my TV screen. 

Saturday’s early-afternoon Michigan-Michigan St. men’s basketball telecast on Fox was loaded with MSU supporters chanting ridicule, insults and taunts at the visiting Wolverines. Must’ve missed that “Perspective” memo. 

Next was Chiefs-Raiders on ABC/ESPN where early in the first quarter after sacking Raider QB Jarrett Stidham, DT Chris Jones performed a ridiculous all-about-me dance that left him about 30 yards from the play. But why would Jones, a seven-year pro, know any better now than before Hamlin’s heart- and game-stopper? 

On ABC/ESPN, guess what the pandering trio of Steve Levy, gasbag Dan Orlovsky and no-one-home Louis Riddick said about Jones’ self-aggrandizement minutes into the first game after Hamlin was saved. 


Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker (7) celebrates
Quay Walker shoved a Lions medical attendant, despite the NFL’s high-profile Damar Hamlin moment only days before.
AP Photo

Same pandering booth silence as before we were told that Hamlin’s national near-death episode “Puts everything into perspective.” Not even a gentle suggestion that this game, on this day, was a good time “to cool it,” to save it for the mirror. 

Sunday it grew worse. After Steelers’ LB Alex Highsmith sacked Browns’ QB Dashaun Watson, Highsmith was on his back when teammate Demarvin Leal bent to perform mock CPR on Highsmith, as if Highsmith were in coronary arrest. 

What was going on in Leal’s Texas A&M-educated, socialized, full-scholarship head? 

With eight minutes left in a tight playoff-elimination game against the Lions, Packers’ LB Quay Walker was ejected, for a second time this season, this one for shoving from behind a medical attendant who’d rushed onto the field to treat a Lion in sudden distress. 

The player who was down, RB D’Andre Swift, had just taken a vicious, illegal, forearm to the head from DT Jarran Reed, who also risked ejection from the game yet wasn’t flagged. 

So now, along with Hamlin, our “thoughts and prayers go out” to Swift, and because “this puts everything into perspective,” the NFL and NFLPA will send him a couple of “Love For Damar” T-shirts. 

Kay’s ugly threats not OK

Is hosting sports radio shows detrimental to mental health? 

What goes on in Michael Kay’s melon that makes him eager to be seen, heard and known as a terribly insecure, tissue-skinned, self-anointed, easily unhinged big shot? Why does he do such conspicuous, memorable, irreversible harm to himself? 

michael kay threatens to fire a producer on his show
Michael Kay’s megalomaniacal fit didn’t feel like much of a gag.

This week, the producer of a different ESPN-NY radio show, Ray Santiago, took a shot at Kay’s three-man, tough-to-take simulcasted show based on its poor ratings. 

Infuriated, Kay could’ve handled it off the air while ignoring it on the air — as he should have with previous personal and personnel issues. Instead, Kay, demanding a “one-shot” — a TV closeup on him — went into his unguided missile mode

“Ray Santiago made a comment about ratings? Do you realize, Ray, that all I’d have to do is make one phone call, and you would be on the unemployment line? You have the nerve to say something like that about this show? One phone call, which I’m considering making, and you will be fired!” 

He added that he’d never again promote Santiago’s show. Still in the throes of a megalomaniacal fit, he continued to turn on himself with irony: 

“Remember Ray, I am really, really sitting on the fence right now about getting you canned, opening your mouth when you shouldn’t have.” 

Of course, with Kay likely having inspected his performance after it was too late, revisionism set in, thus he later explained that he was just kidding around: “It was performative, because I’m such a good performer on the air.” 

How did he explain the smoke that came from his ears? ESPN’s “no comment” in response to his tantrum was serious. Perhaps Kay was the only one in on his gag. 

In the one-and-done jettisoning of Cameron Maybin from Yankees telecasts, YES network owes him an apology for making him such an easy target in the largest TV market. 

YES’ eagerness to display its racial and ethnic diversity through the quick-fix hiring of Maybin and Carlos Beltran was transparency at its worst. 

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks to Cameron Maybin
Cameron Maybin’s tenure at YES lasted one season.
Getty Images

That hurt all of us — Maybin and Beltran, terribly unready for such in-game analyst gigs, with viewers stuck to suffer both bad ideas. 

And that’s how forward becomes backwards. 

Memo to ESPN: Show the game 

Not even the national championship game, while it was still close, could inspire a network to stay on the field rather than focus on the crowd. 

Monday, with Georgia up, 10-0, TCU completed a long second-down pass. On first down it had gone into a hurry-up offense. After the completion, we could see that TCU would sustain its hurry-up as QB Max Duggan began to sprint toward the new line of scrimmage. 

But that’s when ESPN chose to cut to two consecutive crowd shots. And then, risking the view of the snap, ESPN cut to another crowd shot! 

On ESPN’s SEC Network, Saturday, play-by-play man Dave Neal said it as nothing unusual: Florida guard Kyle Lofton started “for four seasons at St. Bonaventure.” 

In fact, Lofton started in all 116 games the Bonnies played the previous four seasons. 

So why, on this day, was he playing for Florida? How did the pandemic limit his eligibility? Explain it! Please! 

Lofton is listed as a “graduate transfer,” thus he must be enrolled in a UF graduate school. So in what academic field is Lofton pursuing his masters or PhD? Or was Lofton recruited to UF via another NCAA loophole that makes a mockery of student-athletics? 

But ours is not to question why, ours is to bet the game, all game, every game. 

In the open to Sunday’s Jets-Dolphin, Fox’s 20-year windbag, Daryl Johnston, spoke of Miami’s starting QB Skylar Thompson, noting that Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel “loves his skill sets” then listed a bunch. 

No drawbacks, all the “skill sets” to be a top NFL QB. 

So why was Thompson Miami’s third-stringer? Why was he drafted 247th?  

Reader Sean Fowler suggested Roger Goodell might’ve considered a good neutral site for the Bills-Chiefs AFC Championship to be Frankfurt. Follow the Deutschmarks! 

Wonder if NBC is aware that after seven hours of watching Sunday NFL games, the last person we need is non-stop know-it-all (often in retrospect) Cris Collinsworth? 

Jack Hughes celebrates after scoring the first of his two goals in the Devils' 4-2 win over the Penguins.
The Devils’ jersey situation seems to be getting out of hand.
NHLI via Getty Images

The Devils this season have more different uniforms than most folks have Sweet’N Low packets. 

NBC’s Dan Hicks, Sunday from the PGA event in Hawaii, casually mentioned that “Xander Schauffele had to pull out, early, but does get $200,000 in last-place money.” 

Hey, Coach Saleh! May we have our receipts back?


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Tyler Cowan