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Unseemly Signing$; 49er Fumbles; Viewing Tip; Good Govs

Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work. People are locked down inside their homes. Many are worrying where the next meal or mortgage payment will come from.

Yet the NFL continues to throw huge piles of money at its players.

In free agency signings over the last few days, four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady signed a two-year deal with Tampa for $50 million guaranteed. Former Chargers running back Melvin Gordon landed a two-year $16 million deal with Denver. The New Orleans Saints hung on to former Stanford lineman Andrus Peat with a five-year, $57.5 million deal.

Meanwhile, all over the country, waitresses, housekeepers, retail salespeople, janitors, contract workers, event staffers, and those in numerous other impacted professions are all wondering how they will pay their rent.

Is it just me, or is there something very unseemly about all this sports spending?

Niners' Miscues: Speaking of NFL signings, I've been a big fan of GM John Lynch and his team, but the 49ers dropped the ball twice last week.

First, they traded DeForest Buckner, in my opinion their top defensive player and second best player overall (behind George Kittle) for the 13th pick in the upcoming NFL draft, one universally described as weak. I know there were salary cap issues, but there had to be another way to solve them besides unloading a 26-year old All-Pro whose own coaches voted him the team's MVP.

The Niners also failed to re-sign wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, whose acquisition last season had the obvious impact of improving the play of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

They are now left with emerging star Deebo Samuel and a bunch of guys who have either been busts or perennially injured. Again, the Niners could use one of their first round picks (No. 13 or 31) on a WR--and there are plenty of promising ones available--but those guys don't always pan out. Case in point: Dante Pettis.

What to Watch: While we're cooped up in our houses, with no live sports on TV and our thirst for sports unquenched, you can consider sports movies and sports books. Our old friend, esteemed SF Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins, has provided handy, helpful lists of the top sports movies and books. Check them out online at

However, there's another option. If you were not regular patrons of the outstanding TV drama, Friday Night Lights, this is your chance to binge watch it. The series ran from 2006 and 2011 and is cherished and missed by millions of fans.

Friday Night Lights was truly a remarkable show about sports, love and life. Kyle Chandler as coach Eric Taylor and Connie Britton as his wife Tami anchored the series, but many young stars got their start here--including Michael B. Jordan, Taylor Kitsch and Jesse Plemons.

It's free On Demand with Comcast.

Good Govs: A number of our nation's governors on both sides of the aisle have distinguished themselves in this time of crisis, among them Andrew Cuomo (New York), Gavin Newsom (CA), Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), Charlie Baker (Massachusetts), Larry Hogan (Maryland), Jay Inslee (Washington), Eric Holcomb (Indiana) and J.B. Pritzker (Illinois).

Unfortunately, the leadership in the White House continues to be sorely lacking. USA Today, a pretty conservative publication, opined thusly a few days ago: "President Trump has responded to the coronavirus outbreak by (among other things) promising it would go away by itself, playing golf, blaming China, blaming the media, blaming Democrats, lying about it...and saying he’s responding to it perfectly."

Hoax Hysteria: USA Today neglected to mention that on Feb. 28, Trump called the virus a hoax. Trump's defenders are insisting he wasn't talking about the coronavirus itself but rather the media's representation of it.

Well, his exact quote was "This is their new hoax." So let's examine that. "This" referred to either the virus itself, or to the media's and Democrats' warning that a serious global pandemic was on the way. Either way, by calling it a hoax, he was denying and downplaying it. That denial and his two-month delay in responding has fueled the spread of the virus.

Bottom line: Trump has proven since his inauguration that he's incapable of telling the truth, always puts his own self-interest above the public's, and has no understanding or appreciation of the role of the media in a democracy.

But now lives are at stake. Potentially millions of them.

What we need right now is what Coach Eric Taylor used to preach on Friday Night Lights:

"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."

Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//

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