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Saturday sports: COVID-19 postpones games; Urban Meyer loses job; Curry claims record


And as the T-shirt says, and now it's time for sports.


SIMON: COVID comes for the NFL and the NHL. A coach who reportedly called his staff losers loses his own job. And Steph Curry keeps his social distance from the basket and sets a new record. Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media joins us. Good morning, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: I'm fine, thanks. But boy, COVID has benched so many football and hockey players. NHL and the NFL have begun to postpone games. What do you foresee? Does it make sense to go on playing?

BRYANT: Well, I think that we've all made the cynical decision to just keep on going, and that's what it's been. And I think that's been the policy for a long time. It's so bad, Scott Simon, that you didn't even mention the NBA, that the National Basketball Association's Brooklyn Nets...

SIMON: Yeah, that's right.

BRYANT: ...Have decided to let Kyrie Irving play in non-New York games, and he has been one of the leading anti-vax people. And they had stuck to their guns and said that they weren't going to allow him to play until he got vaccinated. And now he's going to play as well, which just - it's just a very cynical message that life goes on, that we've kind of decided to sacrifice. The NBA is doing this. The teams don't have a lot of players - you saw with the Celtics last night with the Warriors. The NHL, the Carolina Hurricanes needed an emergency transport to get out of Canada. Colorado and Florida - they've canceled their games through Christmas. And we still have the Olympics coming up. You've got the Raiders and the Browns move their game to Monday, so everyone's in a scramble. It feels very much like the summer of 2020.

SIMON: But they just don't want to sacrifice the ad revenue?

BRYANT: Not just the ad revenue, but I think it's the politics as well. It's just the thought process. It's our mindset. The mindset is, we go forward. And I think that they've melded the two together and try to send this or make this seem like it is a good decision when I think common sense sort of all knows better. I mean, I went to the movies last night, Scott, to go see "Spider-Man" at a packed house. And I'm asking myself the same thing. Great film; what am I doing here?

SIMON: Urban Meyer released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is a coach who kicked one of his own players, embarrassed his family and his team, if not himself, with a bump-and-grind dance at a bar after a game he lost, by the way, called his coaches losers.

BRYANT: Leaving his team, not even taking the team plane.

SIMON: Right. So why was he hired?

BRYANT: Bad decision - and also started off on the wrong foot by trying to convince professionals that Tim Tebow was a professional player when everyone knows he's not. It was a bad decision from the start. It was one of these decisions where the owner, Shad Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars, seemed to think he could maybe win the local public because Urban Meyer was a legend down there with Florida. And - bad idea, and wipe it out. And I don't think he'll be coaching in the NFL ever again.

SIMON: Finally, Steph Curry became the NBA's all-time three-point leader - 2,974 over his career - actually, a couple more maybe last night, or more.

BRYANT: Five more last night.

SIMON: Five more last night. How does he do it?

BRYANT: It is phenomenal. He can do what the rest of us can't do. An unbelievable career, revolutionized the game - don't use that word lightly. He actually has changed the way this game is played. And it's just a joy to watch. And for as long as it goes, Steph Curry is really something.

SIMON: Howard Bryant, thanks so much.

BRYANT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.