Gary Payton, Warren Sapp and Dawn Lupul hit the hot topics on the latest episode of the BetUS Unfiltered podcast.
The crew kicked off the show with an enlightening debate about the Black Coaches United advocacy group and its statement urging college athletes to consider avoiding colleges in Tennessee after Senate Republicans from the state wrote a letter asking schools to prevent student-athletes from kneeling during the national anthem.
“We’re all free people,” the Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Payton said. “Everybody should be able to do what they want to do. Leave these kids alone. Let them do it and let them play the sports.”
Sapp took things a step further, pointing to a bigger issue he says is at play in the sports arena.
“Why is it always something when a Black athlete wants to express our freedom as Americans?” Sapp said. “When LeBron wants to talk about politics, they tell him to shut up and play.
“It’s always freedom until a Black man is exercising those freedoms,” Sapp continued, adding, “America is a racist place, so we need to change it. And the only way we change it is by facing the history that we’ve whitewashed for too damn long.”
Later, the cast covered the increasing number of college athletes entering the transfer portal — and did so with interesting insight.
“These are the best days of your life, so that’s why you take your time and you pick a school because this is where you want to attend,” Sapp said. “It’s got nothing to do with your mama, your daddy, your uncle who hooked you up, your coach at AAU, none of that. This is all about you.
“These kids are being pacified since they were 13 years old – you’re the greatest 13-year-old in America,” Sapp continued. “And they need to be told, ‘You’re going to have to go to the back of the line and work your way up.’”
Payton said he encountered a similar experience during his college days – and didn’t go running for another university when things didn’t go his way.
“I went to Oregon State,” Payton said. “Everybody thought that was a small school, but my mama wanted me to go there, so I went there. And I’m not going to say after one year, ‘Man, let me transfer to UNLV because they’re better.’ No, I’m going to stay right here and make this team what I did, because I committed to them.”
Watt Are You Thinking?
Sapp made no bones about his opinion of the new Arizona Cardinals’ standout J.J. Watt and his free agency process after leaving the Houston Texans.
“This stinks,” Sapp said. “Here it is again – the great white hype.
“J.J. Watt has played just 15 games, two seasons of the last five, three back surgeries – what?” Sapp continued. “This isn’t a big story. He’s just one of those catered guys that we like to talk about a lot, but there ain’t nothing to J.J. Watt but a swim move and looking for a boot on the sack. J.J. Watt wants the celebrity, he wants this and that, but what he doesn’t want is 16 games.”
Payton also said the Watt free agency process left him with a sour taste in his mouth.
“I think J.J. Watt was going to Arizona from Day One,” Payton said. “He was just trying to do it like LeBron did when he (went to Miami). That deal was on the table a long time ago, and these guys had already talked. This is about IG – Instagram – and he probably got 100- or 200,000 more likes because of this circus.”
Gary and Warren also tackled several major NBA headlines during the show, including the alleged racist treatment of Jeremy Lin in the G-League, the resurgence of the New York Knicks, and which pro teams have the least hope for the future.
“The Minnesota Timberwolves – I just don’t get it what they’re trying to do,” Payton said. “Ever since Flip (Saunders) died, they haven’t been the same basketball team. … I don’t think they’re going to ever get better. I don’t think they’re making the right decisions, I don’t think it’s happening, and they’re going to have to do something very quickly or they’re going to have a lot of losing seasons.”
Sapp looked closer to home for a model of NBA ineptitude.
“There’s a city I was raised in that’s built around a Mouse, that had the most powerful force in the universe in there and then they let him walk out and go to LA,” Sapp said, alluding to Shaquille O’Neal’s departure from the Orlando Magic during the 1990s. He then took aim at the DeVos family, which owns the Magic franchise. “Them Amway people make too much money, and they don’t really give a damn what product they put on the court in Orlando. They really don’t.”
The fellas also discussed the NBA logo, the push to replace Jerry West with Kobe Bryant and why the mark should just stay exactly like it is.
“We had Wilt Chamberlain, we had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we had Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan – a lot of players worthy of being the logo,” Payton said. “As I said last week, leave the logo alone or just have the NBA out there. I don’t think anyone should be representing (the league) by themselves.”
The Glove’s Fit
After an in-depth March Madness preview, a visit, and some betting pick from professional bettor Paul Bovi, Payton closed the show with his first edition of The Fit with The Glove. In this episode, Gary took aim at the future of sports and the role race and discrimination won’t play in it.
“I want all sports to be as one, and we need to unite to make that happen,” Payton said. “I have been very disappointed with what we’ve seen lately in sports, about the Anthem, about color, about Coronavirus or what you’re calling players. We have to stop this. … Let’s stop talking about it, let’s be about it.”