20 Questions with Jason Gay

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I had the privilege of interviewing Wall Street Journal sports writer Jason Gay. He’s not only a great writer, but he’s very funny. For example, in his recent article, “Last-Minute Gift Shopping for Derek Jeter,” he said, “I’m a terrible procrastinator. Jeter is days away from retirement and I still haven’t bought the dude a gift. Have you?” I was excited when he agreed to respond to 20 questions for my blog, so here goes.

True or False Questions

Q: The Seattle Seahawks will repeat as Super Bowl champions.

A: True. They will win Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, Best Supporting Actor and Employee of the Month at Panera.

Q: The New York Knicks will advance past the first round of the playoffs.

A: False. They will also lose in first round of the Australian Open.

Q: A non-QB will receive NFL MVP this season.

A: Rachel Nichols seems to be the leader at moment and she isn’t a quarterback.

Q: The Spurs will return to the NBA finals this season.

A: Yes but don’t hassle them, they’re 74 and napping.

Q: At least one rookie QB from this recent class will make a Pro Bowl.

A: The Pro Bowl was discontinued in 1982.

Q: Oregon will win the college football playoffs.

A: Don’t be insane, there are no playoffs in college football, have you lost your mind?

Q: Michael Crabtree is a mediocre wide receiver.

A: This question feels left over from a January episode of First Take.

Q: Kevin Durant will leave Oklahoma City when he becomes a free agent in 2016.

A: I think Kevin Durant will leave Oklahoma City in 2014. Do you just want him to stay in the city limits his entire life? What happens when they play the Mavericks?

Other questions

Q: Who will be remembered in a more positive way? Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter?

A: Yogi Berra.

Q: Will Lebron James be able to win four or more titles with his new team in Cleveland to tie Michael Jordan with six total rings?

A: Who needs six rings?

Q: How do you think the Jameis Winston fiasco involving all his troubles be 

handled? Is the media overreacting, or are we underreacting?

A: We’re reacting.

Q: How far can Johnny Manziel go in his career? Will he be successful in the NFL?

A: He will win somewhere between zero and 20 Super Bowls. Book it.

Q: What do you think the NFL should do about the domestic violence rampage?

A: Join the 21st century?

Q: Who is your pick to win the World Series?

A: Maple Leafs.

Q: When will you get back to watching football?

A: Did already, if you consider the Jets football.

Q: Favorite time of day to write.

A: Deadline.

Q: Favorite place to write.

A: Tie: top of the Empire State Building or back of Larry Ellison’s mega yacht.

Q: Favorite all-time athlete.

A: Vin Diesel.

Q: Favorite article you’ve ever written for the Wall Street Journal.

A: Vin Diesel Has a Cold.

Q: Hardest thing about writing for a living.

A: Trick question! Nothing.

What would you ask Jason Gay?

You can read Jason Gay’s Wall Street Journal articles here or follow him on twitter at @JasonWSJ.

About Me:

I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

NFL Not So GOODell

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Throughout the last couple of weeks, multiple NFL players have gotten into trouble. Yes, every year NFL players get into trouble before, during or after the season. But this year, in just the first couple of weeks of the new season, several NFL players have been accused of or arrested for domestic violence.

The tape of Ray Rice’s assault of his then fiancé (and current wife) was seen for the first time by the NFL (yeah right), which led to Rice being cut from the Ravens. Unfortunately, his wife dropped the charges against him. Still, Rice has been suspended indefinitely and is now a free agent.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was put in jail and released on bail for abusing his four-year-old child. At first, the NFL reinstated him, but after powerful negative reactions, mainly by the governor of Minnesota, Peterson was placed on the exempt list and will not be allowed to play until things are figured out. If he’s found guilty of the charges against him, he could serve a maximum of two years in prison.

The Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend during the summer. Like Peterson, he has been placed on the exempt list.

The 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, accused of felony domestic violence, has not been charge with the crime. He has played all three games so far this season and has not missed any practices. Although he hasn’t been formally charged with the crime, it seems that it’s still being investigated.

According to the police, Cardinals running back John Dwyer was arrested a few nights ago for domestic assault against his wife and his son. While he has been deactivated, no charges have yet been filed. He will most likely be suspended indefinitely, if not eventually put in jail.

The NFL and Roger Goodell have been under a lot of scrutiny for their selective harshness towards certain cases or players and their laid back attitude towards others. Although the NFL has had a lot to do and the media and fans are not happy, team owners remain in support of Goodell. Although the NFL has its policies, not all of them are fair or necessarily fit the crime.

I feel that the NFL should create firm guidelines and rules for the following. If you are a first offender to DWI you should pay a $15,000 fine, then a $30,000 fine, then a $60,000 fine. For domestic violence you should be dealt with by law enforcement and suspended indefinitely. For a drug violation you should serve a one-game suspension for the first offense, a two-game suspension for the second offense, a four-game suspension for the third offense, an eight-game suspension for the fourth offense and banned for the season for the fifth offense. If a player is arrested, he should automatically serve a two-game suspension and pay a $15,000 fine. That cannot be tolerated. Any other violation of the law should be dealt with only by law enforcement. The NFL should not have a say in its players’ personal lives based on it thinks, and its rules should be based on laws.

As for the continuing trend of NFL players getting into trouble, there is truly nothing the NFL can do to stop it. However, it can make clear guidelines for everyone to follow so that players know what their punishments will be ahead of time. Hopefully the NFL and Goodell will figure out how to deal with this whole mess soon.

How do you think the NFL should handle these situations in the future? 

About me:

I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

Interview with Sean Elliott

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With the NBA season coming up next month, I took the opportunity to interview former NBA All-Star and current San Antonio Spurs full-time color commentator and broadcaster for Fox Sports One, Sean Elliott. I had the pleasure of meeting Elliott in person following a Spurs game last December. He couldn’t be nicer, and I knew he’d offer great insight for Second Take With Spencer A. about the upcoming basketball season. Here are some highlights from our phone call:

Zied: What will be the biggest challenge for the Spurs in order to defend their championship crown?

Elliott: The biggest challenge will be that they have a target on their back. After winning a championship, every game you play the following season, you get other teams’ best shot and every team will circle “Spurs” on their schedule to see how they stack up against them.

Zied: If LeBron James, returning to Cleveland to play with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, wins more rings, will anything be taken away from his legacy?

Elliott: Nothing will be taken away, not at all. He’s cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players in the game. He can win more championships, and no player can win on his own without great teammates.

Zied: How many more years do you see the Spurs contending for a championship? With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili on their ways out, how much do you think they have left in the tank?

Elliott: A lot surprisingly, with the way they train in the offseason. Greg Popovich is the best coach at managing players. He won’t play old guys like Duncan and Manu as much, he’ll be relying on his bench. I see another two years of title contention.

Zied: With Kawhi Leonard winning the finals MVP last season, how much potential does he have? All-Star? Superstar? Hall of Famer? How much better can he get?

Elliott: It’s his 3rd year in the league, and he came out as a sophomore in college. I like to stick to the four-year college rule, meaning I consider his rookie season last season. When I played, it took me three years to feel confident. My fourth year was my first All-Star Game. Leanard has a high superstar ceiling because he does something different from most players; he plays exceptional defense.

Zied: Who do you think will be the best NBA player coming out of this year’s draft?

Elliott: That’s truly a hard question to answer. I like sticking with the guys who show talent. Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins are good players with tremendous upside, but Joel Embiid (when healthy) could be the most dominant.

Zied: With the re-signing of Carmelo Anthony, an improved Amar’e Stoudemire, a new point guard, center, and coaching staff, how far will the New York Knicks be able to go this season?

Elliott: It all depends on the stars. Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire have to play at an extremely high level on offense, but especially on defense. They need major improvement on D, but I think they will improve on the defensive end under Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson. They’ve won championships by defending. I believe the Knicks have a solid chance of making the playoffs this season, but don’t expect anything too crazy.

What’s your opinion?

2014 NFL Predictions

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With the NFL season beginning September 4th, everyone from SI.com to Foxsports.com to ESPN.com is weighing in on what they think will happen during the upcoming season.

My predictions are based on what took place this offseason with each team. However, I am taking into account little of last year’s results.

NFC playoff teams

Division winners

Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6

Green Bay Packers: 11-5

New Orleans Saints: 11-5

Seattle Seahawks: 12-4

 

Wildcard teams

Carolina Panthers: 10-6

Detroit Lions: 10-6

 

Will miss the cut: San Francisco 49ers

I do not believe the San Francisco 49ers will make the playoffs for a multitude of reasons. They lost Aldon Smith for nine games; the aging of Frank Gore and Patrick Willis will hinder their progress as well. Navarro Bowman recovering from an ACL injury won’t help either. In addition, the 49ers lost Carlos Rodgers and Donte Whitner to free agency.

 

NFC Championship Game

Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints

 

AFC playoff teams

Division winners

New England Patriots: 12-4

Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6

Indianapolis Colts: 11-5

Denver Broncos: 12-4

 

Wildcard teams

Kansas City Chiefs: 11-5

Oakland Raiders: 9-7

 

Will miss the cut: San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers will not make the playoffs this season not because of their offense, but because of their depleted defense. Late in the season they always fall apart because their offense is not on the field enough due to the defense’s slacking. As talented as Phillip Rivers is, the Chargers don’t have enough firepower to pull through.

 

AFC championship game

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots

 

Super Bowl

New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

The winner of the Super Bowl will be…The New England Patriots! In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to repeat as champions in the NFL as the Seahawks are attempting to do. The Patriots have one of the best, if not the best, quarterback (Tom Brady), coach (Bill Belichick), and tight end (Rob Gronkowski). With the additions of Darelle Revis and Brandon Browner, the ‘legion of boom’ will be compromised and will not have enough offensive firepower to outlast the Patriots now vaunted defense. Keep in mind they have Vince Wilfork, Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Donta Hightower, Jerod Mayo in their front seven. It will be an arduous task for anyone to beat this well-oiled machine, if they stay healthy.

Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady

Think I’m right? Think I’m wrong? Weigh in with your predictions in the comments below.

 

About me:

I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

2nd Take with Spencer A

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I’m a big fan of ESPN’s First Take, hosted by Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. I love how they argue and debate. I also know that they know what they’re talking about.

Watching the show for the last three years inspired me to write my own blog and give my opinions, predictions, and thoughts about anything that has to do with sports, both on and off the court or field. I also plan to interview athletes and coaches and anyone who works in or comments on sports.

Here are some of highlights from this weekend in sports:

  • The NFL put new rules in for domestic violence cases. This should hopefully reduce crime in the NFL.
  • Aldon Smith was suspended from the NFL for nine games for using banned substances, having multiple DUI arrests, and for getting arrested at the airport for saying “bomb.” I think that’s just the right amount of time for now.
  • The potential first openly gay NFL player Michael Sam was cut from Rams, but can sign with any team’s practice squad. I think the Giants and 49ers are top contenders to sign him.
  • USA defeats Finland and Turkey in FIBA World Cup matchups. We should expect nothing less from the greatest basketball players in the world.
  • NBA star Kevin Durant signs a new Nike deal worth $300 million over 10 years.

I’m excited for September, when the NBA and NFL seasons begin and the sports world awakens from its summer break. Although it has been relatively quiet, the offseason in the NBA and NFL hasn’t been. Some highlights:

*Lebron James returned home to Cleveland;

*Carmelo Anthony signed long term with New York;

*Paul George broke his leg and will miss the season; and

*James Harden claims he’s the best player alive.

With the plethora of new coaches and players, the NBA season will surely be a special one.

As for the NFL, there will be high entertainment as well. With Johnny Manziel drama on one hand, and the intense wait for the season to start, this NFL season will kickoff well.

I don’t know about you, but I am excited! I just hope that this year there won’t be an arrest every single week in the NFL, that there won’t be as many teams regretting the huge contracts they’ve given some of their players, and that athletes will focus more on their game and less on Instagram.

What are you looking forward to most during the upcoming NBA and NFL seasons? Post your comments below.

 

About me:

I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

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