As professional sports leagues continue to work on returning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ESPN will be hosting a special edition of SportsCenter on Monday night.
SportsCenter Special: The Return of Sports will be a two-hour event, according to a press release from ESPN. Mike Greenberg will host the broadcast, which will feature the commissioners of the six major American pro sports leagues: Rob Manfred (MLB), Don Garber (MLS), Adam Silver (NBA), Roger Goodell (NFL), Gary Bettman (NHL) and Cathy Engelbert (WNBA).
Additionally, current athletes Calais Campbell, Damian Lillard, Patrick Kane, Brianna Turner and Alejandro Bedoya will be heard from, as well as MLB manager Joe Maddon.
The show will begin at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Greenberg will speak with each league commissioner about his/her sport and the approach to return. Topics will include the health and safety of players and workers, the economic impact and plans going forward, games without fans and potential broadcast innovations, the consequences and legacy of “asterisk seasons,” and the potential long-term impact of COVID-19.
In addition, the ESPN special will discuss social justice reform efforts among leagues, teams and players that have come to the forefront following the death of George Floyd and with worldwide demonstrations calling for justice, equality and the condemnation of racism.
It will be interesting to hear Silver talk about the plans for the NBA’s Orlando bubble, as well as how the league will handle players continuing to speak out and protest after the death of George Floyd.
The same can be said for Goodell, who has seemingly done a public 180 on his feelings on NFL players peacefully protesting during the national anthem.
Also, Manfred might be the least excited about this upcoming program, given the labor strife going on in baseball and the copious amounts of criticism he has taken. This event could be like pulling teeth for the commish.