Opinion Column

NFL and NBA offseason coverage eclipsing rest of sports world in America

By Torben Rolfsen

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is looking for a new team to play with next season. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is looking for a new team to play with next season. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

If you’ve tuned in to any of the numerous American talking heads sports shows on TV or radio this summer – widely available north of the border – you may have noticed something somewhat curious: non-stop offseason coverage of the NFL and NBA.

This is a relatively new phenomenon.

Just 5-10 years ago, there was a distinct quieter period of at least a couple months when the leads and focus were on baseball and other sports.

No longer.

With ESPN leading the way – including basically eliminating their hockey department – big sports broadcasters have decided to double down on their coverage of the two North American pro sports leagues experiencing the most economic growth.

What the fan is now left with is year-round coverage split distinctly into two categories: the season/playoffs, and the so-called “offseason”, which has morphed into a sort of reality show circus revolving around money, ego, politics and roster shuffling.

In the centre rings this past month have been the ongoing saga of Colin Kaepernick, and the soap opera that is the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kaepernick, of course, is the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback famous for kneeling during the U.S. anthem, and a hairstyle that looks like something went wrong at Science World.

He’s been looking for a QB job for months – even resorting to LinkedIn at one point – and has been unable to get an offer from any team (his latest “suitor” being the Baltimore Ravens), despite a track record that indicates he would make a strong backup in the NFL.

During this time, the league has gone about signing arena league castoffs, QBs who didn’t start in college, and Walmart greeters to contracts instead.

In Cleveland, meanwhile, star guard Kyrie Irving has tired of advancing to the NBA Finals every year and reportedly wants to be traded to get out of LeBron James’s shadow and join a team where he can be the number one option.

If he does get traded, it should be an easy move for Kyrie, since according to him the Earth is flat.

When are guys going to understand that not finding a way to play with other great players is a dead-end path towards a title?

Just look what happened in Oklahoma City the last few years.

(Though to be fair to Irving, he may be anticipating LeBron’s heavily-rumoured move to L.A. in a year.)

Last week, the Golden State Warriors signed free agent wing Antonius Cleveland to a training camp contract, which really reinforces the adage that you play for the name on the front of the jersey, not on the back.

But this is the new reality show of sports in Donald Trump’s America, so expect more of the same going forward.

The powers-that-be will continue flooding their coverage with this stuff because it’s non-stop promotion for the upcoming fall seasons of the two sports the money is flowing to.