COVID-19 & Sports

On a special social distancing episode, Graham video chats with nearly 20 guests from around the world about the impact of COVID-19 on sports. From the recently-recovered Sean Payton to former Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone, guests discuss the conditions under which sports might return and spread a message of optimism and community.

COVID-19 & Sports


Sean Payton on surviving COVID-19

Sean Payton discusses learning he was positive for COVID-19.
The New Orleans Saints head coach walks through his symptoms, his position in the world as someone who can now neither receive nor transmit the virus and how he would like to help others recover. Plus, Payton discusses limiting social interactions as he and his team prepare for the NFL draft.

Sean Payton: “That is so Drew Brees”

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton says that all people have been exposed to setbacks. He lauds his team, including quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, who recently donated $5 million to Louisiana’s COVID-19 relief efforts.

Sean Payton on NFL draft during pandemic: We’re lucky

Head coach of the New Orleans Saints Sean Payton talks about how his team is using technology to continue preparing for the NFL draft during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean Payton on how his family is handling COVID

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton describes how his family is holding up during the quarantine pandemic, including his son who is a freshman at Texas Christian University. Payton details similarities between the COVID crisis and 9/11.

Joe Buck on COVID: Who knows what the fallout is?

Broadcaster Joe Buck talks about how COVID-19 has affected sports, as both a professional and a fan. Buck ruminates on the role of sports in this trying time and how the pastimes might return. Plus, he weighs in on whether or not the NFL will really start their season on time.

Joe Buck says life during COVID is ‘hectic’

Sportscaster Joe Buck talks about being a father to two young twin boys later in his life. He says that although he’s heard others say they enjoyed parenting more the second time around, he said he loves it just the same. Plus, Buck comments on Tony Romo’s move from quarterback to broadcaster.

Joe Buck in quarantine: calling a sex tape?

Sportscaster Joe Buck is doing his best to stay busy while staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is keeping his skills sharp with his ‘quarantine calls,’ commenting on the more common parts of life, from dogs playing to cooking or playing cards, and some not-so-mundane videos sent by fans.

Joe Buck: Sports may come back to empty stadiums

Sportscaster Joe Buck says that the idea of fans will be ‘packed into a stadium’ when sports return is a tough sell.

Lion Whisperer on COVID: All of South Africa shut down

The Lion Whisperer, Kevin Richardson, says that in the wake of COVID-19, his sanctuary has come to a grinding halt. Volunteers have left, staff is under stringent restrictions, and tourist visits are a non-starter. The animal conservationist discusses the impact South Africa’s quarantine orders may have on tourism, and his industry’s outlook for recovery. Plus, Richardson details the impact the virus has had on animals.

Dikembe Mutombo: Nobody knows when NBA will resume

NBA legend and philanthropist Dikembe Mutombo says things have to slow down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that may mean no basketball for the foreseeable future. The Global Ambassador for the NBA speculates that fans may be more conscious about their surroundings, much like after 9/11. Plus, he talks about wanting to get lockdown advice from his pal Yao Ming, and gives a social distancing tip to viewers.

Lion Whisperer is ‘stupefied’ by Tiger King

Conservationist and animal advocate Kevin Richardson weighs in on Netflix’s hit docuseries “Tiger King.” Richardson, known as the ‘Lion Whisperer,’ expresses his shock at the magnitude of welfare issues facing the big cats in the series, and how it reinforced to him the problematic state of big cat ownership in the U.S. Richardson says that in order to make a difference, the laws need to change.

Dikembe Mutombo on the Congo: 200 ventilators for 90 million people

NBA legend and philanthropist Dikembe Mutombo funded and built the first modern medical facility in the Congo, where he was born and raised. Now his hospital is fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic. Dikembe says although his hospital has more ventilators than any other, and his staff has the equipment they need, he is still worried.

David Blaine: People could use a bit of magic

Magician David Blaine is quarantined in Los Angeles, away from his daughter. Blaine debuted his TV special months early because ‘people could use a bit of magic,’ but in his daily life, he is seeing a lot of struggle, from friends who are sick, and the healthcare professionals who he has been performing for since he was a teenager. Blaine acknowledges the silver lining of the pandemic: cleaner air, cleaner water, a more sympathetic community. But he says he thinks a bigger pandemic is coming and people should better prepare.

Annika Sorenstam: Everything is on hold

Golfing great Annika Sorenstam says that the world is going through tough times. The mother of two used to travel for sponsor outings, tournaments, or charity events. Now, while following quarantine advice, she is homeschooling her two young children. Sorenstam says they are looking at the situation positively, as a way to spend time together they wouldn’t otherwise have had.

Annika Sorenstam on golfing with President Trump

Golf legend Annika Sorentam recounts the round of golf with President Donald Trump that concluded with her being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sorenstam said she was honored, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the presentation ceremony has been delayed.

Annika Sorenstam on COVID: This is a big wakeup call

Golfing great Annika Sorenstam was at the Players Championship when the PGA decided to cancel everything. Sorenstam had already seen changes in how sponsors and players were interacting with each other, and lauded the organization for quickly acting in the face of the COVID threat. Sorenstam also speculates on what sport will look like in a post-COVID world.

Dr. Myron Rolle: One year before sports are back

Former Tennessee Titan Dr. Myron Rolle says it could be a year before sports could, or should, return to normal. The neurosurgeon and Rhodes Scholar details some of the hurdles facing the medical community, and how it could impact fans as they return to the stands.

Dr. Myron Rolle on COVID: It’s going to get bad

Dr. Myron Rolle, neurosurgical resident at Massachusetts General and former NFL football player details what it is like working in a hospital that is seeing an increasing number of patients affected by COVID-19. Rolle talks about the dangerous situation facing healthcare providers, and the physical and mental toll it is taking.

Myron Rolle on U.S. handling of COVID

Dr. Myron Rolle, neurosurgical resident at Massachusetts General and former NFL football player discusses the United State’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. Rolle also gives insight to the impact caring for the victims of the virus may have on front line healthcare workers.

Kelley Earnhardt: I’m glad Mom got to read my book

NASCAR owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller discusses the process of writing her book Drive: 9 Lessons to Win in Business and in Life. Miller talks about working with a writer, and being glad that she was able to share part of the book with her mother, the late Brenda Jackson, before the latter died of cancer.

Kelley Earnhardt: NASCAR delayed another 45 days?

Kelley Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports, on the moment she realized it was not going to be business as usual. Earnhardt talks about having to tell her employees they would not be returning to work, and the impact the virus may have on NASCAR’s racing schedule.

Bernie Ecclestone: COVID is F1’s biggest threat

Bernie Ecclestone discusses the biggest threat the Formula One has ever faced: COVID-19. The former CEO weighs in on the possibility of mass layoffs, what it would take to bailout the sport, and when races might be rescheduled. Plus, Eccleston offers some hopeful words to those struggling in this time of crisis.

Kelley Earnhardt: Dale Jr. misses racing

NASCAR owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller says that when her sport returns, it may be different for fans. Earnhardt says that races have continued during the pandemic, using digital iRacing. Earnhardt’s brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has been on the digital racer since its debut nearly 20 years ago. She says the technology is filling a gap for him, but he still misses racing.

Bernie Ecclestone: I tried to get my family out of England

Former Formula One Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone has been spending his time during the COVID-19 pandemic on his cattle and coffee farm in Brazil. Ecclestone talks about how his family is coping with this crisis.

Bernie Ecclestone offers words of encouragement

Former Formula One Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone offers words of encouragement for those struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dick Pound: Postponing Olympics was best option

The longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, Richard Pound, discussing the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pound, who is an attorney, says that the Olympics can serve as an example of how the world can combat and overcome in a time of crisis.

Bernie Ecclestone: I’d vote Mr. Putin in charge of the world

Former Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone weighs in on how world leaders, including President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Nicklen: COVID is nothing compared to climate change

Award-winning photographer and conservationist Paul Nicklen sees two sides to the impact of COVID-19. He has friends who have lost friends, he has personally lost some of his livelihood. But he has also sees the skies and the water clear, and the planet getting a “much needed breath of fresh air,” thanks to stay-at-home orders in place around the world. Nicklen discusses how climate change and viral pandemics affect the world, and whether we have seen the worst yet.

Brett Hull: NHL recovery will be slow

Executive Vice President of the St. Louis Blues Brett Hull realized things were going to change when the NBA decided to forego the remainder of their season. The former professional hockey player said that now sports have to find a way to be relevant to their fans, in order to keep their businesses afloat. For the NHL, that recovery might be slow.

Anti-doping CEO: New Zoom drug testing during COVID

Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart says that some high-level and Olympic athletes are eager for performance enhancing drug testing to continue even during the COVID pandemic, but others may take advantage of USADA’s inability to enter homes to perform testing, and overall downtime. Tygart says the six months before a sporting event are crucial, meaning that postponing some events could ensure fair play. Tygart also tells us about the new virtual testing program.

Brett Hull: You have to lean on your faith

Executive Vice President of the St. Louis Blues Brett Hull gives advice on how to get through the COVID-19 pandemic: stay inside and help flatten the curve.

Chris Fowler: Leagues may fold without TV money

ESPN’s Chris Fowler says that the COVID-19 plague has people “justifiably spooked.” And for sports leagues and universities, that may translate to a loss in revenue. In order to preserve TV revenue, teams may return without fans, Fowler says. And that could be problematic for college athletics, who rely on ticketing income.

Will Tennis’ US Open happen? It’s complicated says Chris Fowler

ESPN’s Chris Fowler talks about how professional tennis might move forward, and, in short, it’s complicated. While Wimbledon uniquely had insurance to cover the cancellation of their event, others are still waiting to see what might happen.


Chris Fowler: Plague or worse, sports fans will come back

ESPN’s Chris Fowler says there’s going to be a new normal when it comes to watching sports thanks to COVID-19. The broadcaster says that it will be hard to keep fans away, but play may occur without them in the stadiums and arenas. For college football, though, the call to keep fans away is much more complicated.

Chris Fowler: College football postponed till 2021?

A lack of central governing body and what amounts to an unpaid workforce makes restarting college football complicated, says ESPN’s Chris Fowler. Furthering those complications, athletic departments will bleed red ink without the revenue generated by football.

Chris Fowler: COVID’s a slow-motion hurricane

ESPN’s Chris Fowler talks about the difference between the COVID-19 pandemic and other tragedies our country has faced.

Lon Kruger: Horses, tractors, and go fish

University of Oklahoma men’s basketball head coach Lon Kruger says that in terms of communication, reaching out, appreciating one another, the COVID-19 pandemic might be a reset. Kruger talks about how the OU team, and his own family, is navigating the quarantine.

John Paul DeJoria: From Patron to hand sanitizer

Co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits Company John Paul DeJoria has distributed 20,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to front line health care workers, and more is in the works. The American entrepreneur and philanthropist discusses the charitable work he is doing during the COVID pandemic, including a loan to the Texas government.

Lon Kruger on NCAA tournament cancellation

Oklahoma State University Men’s Basketball head coach Lon Kruger was just finishing breakfast in Kansas City before the NCAA tournament when he learned his team would not be taking the court at all. Kruger talks about the impact the tournament cancellation due to COVID-19 had on his players, and what changes may be coming for college sports.

John Paul DeJoria: This is temporary

John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits Company, discusses how his companies are weathering the economic fallout from COVID-19. DeJoria, who has gone from homeless to extremely successful entrepreneur, gives some advice to small businesses trying to weather the pandemic.

John Paul DeJoria is staying home, helping as he can

American entrepreneur and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria is usually on the go, traveling the globe. But since the COVID-19 virus took hold of the world, DeJoria has been staying home. That doesn’t mean, though, that the co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits Company, isn’t helping out, he’s keeping busy with charitable endeavors.

Dan Bilzerian: COVID hasn’t changed my life

Quarantine and social distancing are nothing new for internet personality Dan Bilzerian, he doesn’t like to leave his homes much anyways. Bilzerian talks about how he is filling his days during the COVID-19 pandemic, including writing his new book.

John Paul DeJoria: Sports will be right back at it

American entrepreneur and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria says sports fan will be ‘right back at it,’ in a couple of months. DeJoria is the co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits Company, and his daughter, Alexis DeJoria, is a drag racer who recently returned to the circuit.

Dan Bilzerian: We can’t keep weed on the shelves

Speaking remotely from his new Las Vegas home, internet personality and entrepreneur Dan Bilzerian talks about how COVID-19 has impacted his various business interests. His vodka company experienced an interruption in supply chain, but is pivoting to make hand sanitizer and masks, and in a time of increased stress, his marijuana company can’t keep its product on the shelf.