The panel looks at how advancements in technology could tip the scales for sports on the fringe.

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Technological innovations have changed the way we consume sports, allowing us to access them on-demand, and helping us contextualize the feats before us in ways we never could before. But more importantly, they’ve levelled the playing field. Before, athletes and sports depended on mainstream networks and outlets for coverage, growing or stagnating based on the access they received. Now, mass exposure is simply a viral tweet or Instagram story away — which is exactly what happened for kitesurfer Kevin Langeree. In the past, he would have needed an expensive film crew to capture his exploits out on the water, something that wasn’t feasible for a niche sport like his. Instead, Langeree used a small camera that fit inside his pocket to film his his movie “Hidden Lines”, which turned him and his sport into overnight sensations. …


The panel looks at whether or not a player’s social media history should factor into a team’s draft decisions.

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In the digital age, nobody’s safe from their past social media posts re-surfacing, especially not pro athletes. Recently, MLB players like Trea Turner, Sean Newcomb and Josh Hader learned this the hard way, after it was discovered that they sent racist and homophobic tweets when they were teenagers. These events have only illuminated sports teams’ “fears” of social media, as discussed by the Honolulu Star-Adviser. How should teams be evaluating a player’s online and social media history when considering things like drafting?

Sandy Mui, GrandStand Central’s Facilitator of Special Projects

For better or for worse, teams should be evaluating a player’s online and social media history the same way many employers do in other lines of work. That means things like an athlete’s online and social media history should actually matter to sports teams, and these things should be factored into the drafting decisions they make. Just look at it as another variable for sports teams to consider when determining an athlete’s fit on the team. (In Brooklyn Nets terms, this would mean that “culture” fit Sean Marks mentions so much.)

Let me break it down for you in an analogy. Think of an athlete trying to get drafted, as an average Joe seeking a job. After all, playing full-time for a sports team is the dream of any athlete who is looking to get his/her big break in sports. Now, picture yourself as that average Joe. Wouldn’t you be worried about potentially career-ending tweets your future employer uncovers from your account? It wouldn’t necessarily mean you’re undeserving of the job if you tweeted something dumb as a teenager, but you should be worried about the weight that tweet might carry in the employer’s decision. …


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The world of sports is a rich one, filled with compelling characters and stories. But for too long, traditional outlets have depended on old and formulaic approaches to covering it. Recaps. Mock Drafts. Power Rankings. Puff pieces. Inflammatory quotes made to lure people in and ultimately disappoint them. Enough of the bullshit clickbait. It’s time to go deeper. To ask bigger questions. To have real discussions, debates and push the limits of how we think and talk about sports. It’s time to use the power of sports to explain, explore, empower and unite. …


The panel looks at the double standard between “player loyalty” and “team loyalty” in today’s game.

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The concept of “player loyalty” has always been a hot-button issue in the NBA. We’ve seen many players like Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Gordon Hayward criticized for abandoning the teams they began their careers with, while teams that trade away fan favorites get away with the “The NBA is just a business” excuse. What accounts for this double standard, and should the idea of “loyalty” in the NBA be retired altogether?

serge, GrandStand Central Staff Writer

The older CBA agreements were inherently structured to give teams more power in retaining the talent at hand, giving players less agency and putting teams in the power position when it comes to negotiations. We still see remnants of this today, such as through allowing the current team to offer a better max deal or even re-sign players over cap with the Bird rule. It’s only recently that we’re seeing players exercise the power they have to make their own moves. This definitely created patterns that, at least until now, helped establish an illusion of loyalty.

Now that players have diversified streams of income and more flexibility when switching teams and negotiating contracts (1+1 structure pioneered by LeBron), the playing field is leveling. Think about it this way: most of our parents have stayed with one company from day one. They got in, received permanent employment and rose through the ranks. Were they loyal? Probably to the paycheck. Now, the world of work is changing, and here I am writing an article while mailing out five invoices for a freelance business that I have during my lunch break on my contract job. It’s the same with the NBA. …


The panel looks at the underlying factors and differences between the NBA’s and NFL’s stances on progress and protest.

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Ever since Colin Kaepernick stirred a divided conversation by kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, we’ve seen just how different the NBA and NFL are in their stances on social issues. A New York Times article highlighted many of these differences between the leagues — the NFL’s lack of guaranteed contracts compared to the NBA’s smaller and more unified workforce, the contrasting designs of the logos, the way the leagues market themselves, etc. What do you think is the biggest difference holding the NFL back from social and political entanglement, and how can that be fixed?

serge, GrandStand Central Staff Writer

Where do I even start? The fundamental difference is the flat-out face recognition of the athletes. This is the point that has been beaten to death already across a variety of think-pieces in the media, so I’ll be brief. Put any team’s (that isn’t the Eagles) offensive or defensive lines in front of me without helmets, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you who is who or what teams they play for. Do that with the bench lineups in the NBA, and I’ll at least be in the ballpark.

The NFL has constructed its identity around a team effort and concealing the players from the public as much as possible, whether intentional or not. It’s effectively erased individual identity for the most part, and the most recognized players — usually the quarterbacks — have also remained white, in a sense keeping the NFL as a “white sport” in the views of many critics of the anthem protests (even though that assertion is wildly inaccurate). This erosion of personality is rooted in more than just being a sport, and it’s allowed people to distance themselves from the “player as a human being” concept. …


Inspired by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ new Deaf Awareness jerseys, we put together a list of every NBA team’s name in sign language.

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Earlier this afternoon, Darren Rovell tweeted out a photo of some ground-breaking jerseys that the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (the Cubs’ High-A affiliate) will wear this season as part of their Deaf Awareness campaign:

The jerseys feature the team’s name spelled out in America Sign Language (ASL), the predominant sign language for deaf communities in the United States and Anglophone Canada. The language, developed in the early 19th century by the American School for the Deaf, works by using elements of the face, torso and hands to communicate different letters, numbers, and words. …


The panel looks at what leagues can do to prevent parents from behaving badly at their kids’ games.

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A recent article published by the Penn Live raised the question of whether parents should be banned from youth sports. The piece outlines both sides: parents are often the ones who get riled up during their children’s games, potentially leading to violent fights; but, on the other hand, children do need their parents’ presences as support.

Do parents really need to be restricted from being at their children’s games, or is there another solution?

Ben Beecken, GrandStand Central Staff Writer:

The short answer is no. It certainly feels as though a lack of parents at youth sports games could lead to even larger issues, both short- and long-term.

But let’s begin by acknowledging there is indeed an issue — if not an epidemic— when it comes to improper parental behavior at youth sporting events. There are plenty of recent examples to choose from, of course, and they often involve parent-on-parent crime.

Many schools and youth leagues have policies regarding parental behavior; a quick Google search unearthed a plethora of “code of conduct” documents. All had encouraging language regarding making athletic events positive experiences for all involved and treating referees/umpires/officials with respect, as well as not confronting the team’s coach with an issue immediately before, during or after a game. …


While it’s hard to imagine now, the league once set out to sever ties between music and the game.

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When Commissioner David Stern implemented the NBA’s dress code in the Fall of 2005 — effectively outlawing the styles and accessories that made basketball ‘urban’ — the league was looking to fracture the symbiotic relationship that had developed between basketball and hip-hop.

This connection was nothing new. Ever since Kurtis Blow referenced Dr. J and Moses Malone on his 1984 hit ‘Basketball’, NBA players had hip-hop to thank for their increasing cultural influence and notoriety. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, the two spheres grew closer and closer together, sharing the same clothing and lifestyles. By the 2000’s, the two worlds were indistinguishable. The players of that era had grown-up on hip-hop culture, often hailing from the same neighbourhoods and living under the same socioeconomic conditions as the rappers they were emulating. …


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At Grandstand Central, we’re always looking for unique, charming, thought-provoking dissidents to join our merry little band of misfits. If you’re the kind of person who can’t seem to ‘stick to sports’, and are constantly bored by the same-old formulaic approach to the games we love, we might just be the place for you.

Who we are:

Our mission at GSC is to tell the sports stories nobody else is telling, and deliver sports coverage for thinking fans. We do it by looking at the intersection of sports with politics, money, culture, tech, mental health, religion, sexuality, and science. …


It’s been almost three years since Bautista flipped the baseball world on its head, and made the case for more emotion in the game. But it many ways, the sport is more divided than ever, torn between those who want to see players express themselves, and fans who still think there’s a ‘right way’ to play the game.

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Every sport has its unwritten rules.

In soccer, when an opponent gets legitimately hurt, you kick the ball out of bounds. In football, you take a knee instead of running-up the score. In basketball, you dribble out the clock rather than heaving up an unnecessary three.

And in baseball, you’re not supposed to pimp your home run.

The chatter around baseball for much of the past half-decade has been about the ‘right way’ to play the game, and what to do about the increasing frequency of guys showing more emotion than the traditionalists are comfortable with. The old white guy chorus loves to perpetuate the idea that these unwritten rules are sacred, and that players need to enforce them through the use of force. In their minds, a fair punishment for flipping a bat is having a 95-mph weapon thrown at your head. …

Grandstand Staff

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