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The Neutral Zone

On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern, Brock Richardson and his panel of sports experts engage in a lively roundtable discussion about Parasports and professional sports news and newsmakers.

The Neutral Zone

On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern, Brock Richardson and his panel of sports experts engage in a lively roundtable discussion about Parasports and professional sports news and newsmakers.

November 1, 2022

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Are you ready? Let's go.

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From AMI Central.

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Now circling in the neutral zone.

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Here's a pitch on the way.

Speaker 5:
36 yards for the win.

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This...

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 Here comes the big chance with the shot.

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Is...

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Is this the tiger?

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The Neutral Zone.

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Score! Home run. Yeah!

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This is as good as it gets.

Announcer:
 Now here's your host, two-time Paralympian Brock Richardson.

Brock Richardson:
So if you've been with us on the program, let's say from its inception, there has always been this running joke that I pay attention to no time cues. Nothing. I could write them on the script and we either start early, start late, or whatever we decide to do. So this week I decided not to write any times on the script and we're just going to wing the time. So technical producer Mark Aflalo and I were kibitzing just before we pushed record, and I said, "Here we go again. Starting seven minutes early." And he said, "Well, that's fine. We can sit and wait." And I said, "No, push the go button." And he did. And we're here. Joining me this week is Josh Watson. Josh, how are you?

Josh Watson:
I'm good, Brock. It was a busy weekend of sports and looking forward to another busy week this week.

Brock Richardson:
Yes, agreed. I do have another weird question off the top of the show. So also joining us to indulge in my next weird question is Cam Jenkins. Cameron, how are you?

Cam Jenkins:
Doing good. You know as the taping today is Halloween, so I thought I'd dress up as Cam the Canadian, so I guess I'm a hoser eh? And I was out there shovelling. We don't have any snow yet, but I was shovelling some rain to get it out of the driveway. So yeah, just shovelling some rain and yeah, just doing Canadian things on Halloween.

Brock Richardson:
Can you describe for the audience what you're wearing?

Cam Jenkins:
Oh well, I got my Canada jersey on Go, Canada Go. And then I've got my, what I call a brotherhood of the hat, or I didn't call it that somebody else did, but Canada, especially this time of year in the mornings it can be really cold. And then the afternoon really hot and then really cold again. So yeah, I'm just wearing a toque of some sort to keep me warm during this episode.

Brock Richardson:
Fair enough. It looks good. I am doing my best impression of an athlete wearing a Raptors jersey, and that is my costume for this week because I'm not as adventurous as one Cam Jenkins. And yeah, that's about the size of the costume that I've got on. And it looks to me like Josh Watson is doing the best impression of himself this week. Have I got that right, Josh?

Josh Watson:
Pretty much, pretty much when you have a day job and you get the pleasure of doing this as more of a hobby, then you don't always have time to come up with a good costume. So I figure the tiki heads in behind me are probably spooky enough for a Halloween episode, so we'll go with that.

Brock Richardson:
Fair enough, so weird question of the day is, and if you haven't been tuned in, I've been asking these strange questions off the top of the program just to spark some conversation and today's is not so much a weird question. I'm just curious what you guys think about this one. So I was at a Thanksgiving party over the weekend, which was past Thanksgiving, and I'm curious, does it bother either of you, Cameron, starting with you, does it bother you when people have parties or holiday parties after said holiday? Yes or no?

Cam Jenkins:
Well, in this case, no, because are you talking about the Canadian Thanksgiving or are you talking about the American Thanksgiving? Because if it's the American Thanksgiving, I think it's a couple weeks before, so it could be beforehand for that. So I think you really got to cater to who you're with. So if there's a bunch of Canadians, bunch of Americans do it halfway in between and yeah, it's all good. And at the end of the day, who's really going to complain about a get together? If there's food and drinks, no matter when you have it, who's going to complain? I know I'm not.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, no, this was a celebrating the Canadian Thanksgiving just due to everyone's schedules. This was when it worked out and yeah, didn't really bother me any I like me some Turkey and absolutely and sweets and everything that goes along with it. Josh, what's say you?

Josh Watson:
Well, considering that I was at the same Thanksgiving party over the weekend, I don't have a problem with it at all. If someone else is taking the time to invite me and I was strictly told just to bring myself and eventually got there, I don't have a problem with it at all. I mean, when you consider families are getting larger and you sometimes have friends that you consider family, it's hard to get everybody on the same schedule. So I mean I know in your case you've got your family, you've got your wife's family, you've got your worker's family there, Catherine, who we all know. So you've, you've got a lot of things to juggle. And so sometimes things have to happen a lot earlier and sometimes they have to happen a lot later. I sometimes can't get my whole family together just because we're all going in different directions and most of us now have significant others, so it's really tough. We had a lot of fun and like I said, I was the striker. I got there eventually after taking a Sunday drive that I didn't intend. So yeah, it was all good.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, it was a good time. Josh missed the farm entrance by a bit and ended up in a completely different town.

Josh Watson:
A bit? You're being generous. I missed it by about a 20-minute drive.

Cam Jenkins:
That happens. Country though, GPS doesn't necessarily work too well or if you have the wrong address, these things happen.

Josh Watson:
Well, I was going to say it works fine as long as you put the right address in.

Cam Jenkins:
Yeah, there you go. I had a friend that I was talking to the other day, same kind of thing. They were supposed to go somewhere to drop something off and they had the wrong address in the GPS and you know how it's getting late at night or the darker earlier at nighttime and in the country it was really hard to find more so because they had the wrong address. And then when they got the right address, it was funny, I guess the person had a flashlight and they were blinking it on like an SOS so they knew where to go.

Josh Watson:
Didn't need one of those coming in, but probably could have used it coming out since I almost drove down a cart path but that's a story for another episode.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, it was one of those things. Josh called me and said, I'm here and I passed it off to the people that live there and the first reaction was, you're where? I don't even know where that is. So it took them a while to figure out where Josh was located.

Josh Watson:
One of them knew where I was, the other one did not, so that's okay.

Brock Richardson:
It was kind of a version of where's Waldo, but it ended up being where's Josh Watson?

Josh Watson:
You went to where?

Brock Richardson:
He's here now and we love him and it's time to get into our headlines for this week. Let's do it.

Speaker 5:
Neutral zone Headlines. Headlines.

Cam Jenkins:
During a recent press conference in San Francisco, Serena Williams said that the chances of a return to tennis are very high despite announcing her plan to retire back in August. Well, what is it with athletes that seem to be retiring now and unretiring Tom Brady is the same way and I don't know, is it a matter of that they just missed the sport so much that they don't want to retire? Or is it they just don't want to give that up? It's really interesting, but I'm really getting tired of these fake announcements of retiring and then them unretiring within moments later.

Brock Richardson:
I think for me it's the retiring and then unretiring, or as Serena put it, evolving and then unevolving all in the same time. If you want to take a break, go ahead, but I don't know. You need to let a little more time elapse, in my opinion. A big congratulations goes to the 2022 Canadian blind hockey team for winning the second ever series between Canada and the United States. In the three games series, Canada outscored the United States by a total of 19-2. Big congratulations to Team Canada, well done and will be having some of their athletes on very, very soon.

Josh Watson:
St. Louis Cardinal's pitcher, Adam Wainwright has signed a one-year extension with the team and has announced that at the end of the 2022, 2023 season, he will retire. Wainwright has been a stalwart for that St. Louis Cardinals team for a number of years. He's been their ace for as many years as I can remember. It's going to be quite the whole for them to fill, but knowing the way that they produce pitchers, I'm sure they will find a way.

Cam Jenkins:
Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri has been fined $35,000 for approaching this scourge table and making inappropriate remarks to the game official. Man, you got to love Masai Ujiri he sticks up for the Raptors so much. Everyone remembers his F Brooklyn comment when they were in the playoffs for that. And he is just loved in the city of Toronto for the way he is and you know, you got to love it when he is just so abrupt in his love for the raptors and the love for the city of Toronto. So Masai Ujiri keep being you and keep getting fined.

Brock Richardson:
Those are your headlines for this week. Let's check on our Twitter poll questions. This one from last week, the question was, how do you think the Toronto Raptors will do this year? Make the playoffs and win at least one round is tied for 44% and then the other ones is NBA champions had nobody and then missed the playoffs had 13%, so that was last week's Twitter poll. This week's is surrounding Serena with the rumours circulating. Do you think Serena Williams will actually make a return to tennis? Your choices are simple, yes or no. You can cast your votes at our Twitter handles coming at you right now.

Speaker 1:
And welcome back to the Neutral Zone AMI broadcast booth. And we are set to get this ball game underway. The first pitch brought to you by Brock Richardson's Twitter account at Neutral Zone BR. First pitch strike. And hey gang, why not strike up a Twitter chat with Claire Buchanan for the Neutral Zone. Find her at Neutral Zone CB. And there's a swing in a chopper out to second base right at Claire. She picks up the ball, throws it over to first base for a routine out. And fans, there is nothing routine about connecting with Cam and Josh from the Neutral Zone @NeutralZoneCamJ and @JWatson200. Now that's a winning combination. And this Organ interlude is brought to you by AMI Audio on Twitter. Get in touch with the Neutral Zone. Type in @AMIaudio

Speaker 2:
The wonderful thing about what we get to do here on this program is we get to talk all things para sports, pro sports, and from time to time wires might get crossed with our guests. And in fact, that is what has taken place for today. We were supposed to have Rhonda, who is the executive director of Ontario Blind Sports. She was going to come on and tell us about the gala, which is happening on the 12th of November, and she's unable to join us at least at this point.
So we're going to switch gears and discuss other para sport event that is taking place very soon, and that is the Cruiser's Cup. And one Josh Watson is going to be taking part in said event. And Josh, I'm going to start this conversation off with you because, I know that you take part in league games and you take part in tournaments. The two major tournaments, and correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe the two major tournaments are the Cruisers Cup in Brampton and the London Blizzards event in London, Ontario. How do you prepare differently, if at all, for a league game versus a tournament?

John Watson:
Well, first of all, you are two for two. Those are the two major tournaments in the calendar year for para ice hockey.

Speaker 2:
Yes.

John Watson:
Yes. Bravo. Well done. In terms of preparation, I mean, I'm a goaltender, so in my mind, my job is pretty much the same. I stop the little black puck and that's that. It doesn't really matter whether it is a league game or whether it is a tournament.
The only major difference with a tournament is that you're often dealing with multiple games in a short period of time. And so you have to, as a goaltender, understand that the first game of the tournament might be rough because the team might not be used to playing at that time or on that day. And you also, on the flip side, sometimes your team might come out of the gate really strong, but then as the weekend goes on and you play three hockey games in a day and a half, the team might wear down and might not be as sharp by the time the last game comes around. And so you have to mentally prepare yourself for more mistakes might happen, more chances might come your way in that game because you do have a team that is more tired and who has had more taxing of a time than you normally would during a league game.
A league game is pretty standard. You know going into the week who you're going to be facing. Because you've played them before, most of the time you know what to expect. You know who the shooters are on the team, you know where the shots are likely to come from, so it's a little easier to prepare for a league game. A tournament, you don't always know your opponent going in, in terms of who you're playing, but you might not play them in the league normally, so you end up having to just feel your way through more often than not.

Speaker 2:
And Cameron, I guess my question for you, and I want to get your perspective on this as well, Josh, but we'll start with Cameron. You are also a goalie in your own right in para ice hockey. To Josh's point, can you, and I'm going to put this bluntly, can you feel when your team is falling off the rails before the wheels completely just fall off the rails? Or does it happen at the snap of a finger where it's like, uh-oh. They were playing well and there goes the 18-wheeler off the end of the road and here we go. Take a deep breath, we're buckling in for the ride. Is there a difference? And if so, can you elaborate for me?

Cameron:
Yeah, strap on your sledges and hang on for dear life. It really happens in both instances, in my opinion. It can happen in a game where you come out like gangbusters and you've got a lot of energy and then it's almost like you exert too much energy and then all of a sudden you just go [inaudible 00:05:30], and that's the end of it.
As the weekend goes on too, as the more games you play, especially on, usually on a Friday, there's usually one game, if I remember correctly. And then on a Saturday there's two, maybe three games depending on whether you make it in the playoffs. And then Sunday is usually the gold medal games or the bronze medal games, those types of games. So especially on that Saturday, getting near the end of the day, you just see people that were able to keep up with other people that are coming down on me, so it's not a breakaway, but then by the end of those games sometimes, the other people are just zipping by and it's like, oh, here we go, another breakaway on Cam.
So yeah, it really happens both ways. And it's just the good conditioned players, and a lot of the times, especially in tournaments, you'll have some of the Paralympic people or Paralympic hockey players on teams that you're going against. For those people, they're really well conditioned, so it's always a... I don't even know what word to use, but it's always interesting when they're playing against you and you're trying to stop a puck.

Speaker 2:
Josh, is there a moment where you're looking out of your crease, and you're like, uh-oh, the wheels are just coming off and I'm seeing the rubber fall off the wheels and there's blown tires everywhere. Can you see that before it just becomes a complete mess on the ice?

John Watson:
Well, it really depends. I find that my teammates are pretty good. They're usually a good mix of different abilities, let's say. So it's very rare that I will actually just see a precipitous drop off. It's more a case where the puck will get dropped and all of a sudden the centerman passes back to one of his defencemen up to one of his wingers, and all of a sudden there's a breakaway and you're just looking around like uh-oh, this didn't start the way we expected and you just know that you're going to be in for it.
I mean, it's challenging. It's not easy, but you have as much of a role to play in it as your team does in front of you. You just have to, when you see that, you just say, okay, that was the first one. I have to pull us out of this, because clearly we weren't quite ready to start. And that's okay, that happens in life. We sometimes come into a game thinking, oh yeah, this is going to be great. This is going to be good. And then all of a sudden something bounces a funny way or somebody's faster than we thought they were. And it's like, uh-oh. This is-

Cameron:
Shoots it from center ice and scores on me?

John Watson:
Yeah. Or you get that fluke shot from the blue line that just kind of floats in mid air. You stick your glove up, you're going to catch it, you're going to catch it, you're going to catch it. Uh-oh.

Cameron:
You didn't catch it.

John Watson:
How'd it go by?

Cameron:
Oh man, that hurts.

John Watson:
And that's when you wish the ice would melt and you could hide. But you know what, it happens. You're a team, you win as a team, you lose as a team. I'm not one that's ever going to say... I'm going to let my teammates know like, "Hey, that was your guy. I need you to be better." But I'm also going to say to them, "You know what, I have a responsibility in this too, and I didn't do my job." That's just how it goes. And it's very rare that my team will be good or bad in front of me and I'll be the opposite. Usually if we're all out to lunch, so to speak, then it's every single one of us, including me. You know you're going to hear about it when you get to the bench, but it just, that's life that happens.

Cameron:
And I think it really depends for goaltenders, too, I always remember for me, the type of team that we're playing, because they do try to make it even by having the same kind of team play against you. But sometimes there's just that better team that is so much better and they're in the wrong division for whatever reason.

John Watson:
Exactly.

Cameron:
And then I end up getting a huge workout and then I'm so tired, I can't lift my glove or my blocker or I'm moving my head like this to try to stop the puck just with my head at the end of the day.

John Watson:
Sometimes that's all you got left.

Cameron:
There's games like that, too. Exactly. Sometimes all you have is the head to go to the side and try to stop the puck. It just really depends on the circumstances and the type of team you're playing. But Josh is so right. It's a team effort at the end of the day and you've got to work together to try to get that win, get that W.

Speaker 2:
Yep, I agree. I had the luxury, we're going to put it as a luxury. I had the luxury to play both individual and team in my career. And I always found that team was fun, but it also held a level of more pressure on me as a team. Because I could literally be shooting the lights out as an individual, and I'm like, yes, I'm going in to team playing well and I'm doing this and I'm doing that, and you take one bocce ball and it's like, wow, I missed that by about seven feet and I just didn't have that. And I'm being a little bit facetious when I say seven feet, I don't think I ever missed something by that much.

John Watson:
I don't think your court is that big, is it?

Cameron:
Maybe you're using the wrong colour bocce balls at the end of the day.

Speaker 2:
Yes. Could be that as well. It could be that as well. People have their preference of their favourite colour bocce ball, that's for certain about that. But yeah, it's tough as a team member because you do automatically feel like, oh man, if I don't do my part, then I'm going back into the dressing room with my tail between my legs saying, uh-oh, I did this. And as a goaltender, that's got to be the feeling at times because no matter how much of a good situation it was in front of me or a tire fire, at the end of it all, I'm the last line of defence and I was the one that let the goal in.
And so at times you got to feel like, listen, I'm sorry guys. I made a mistake and I could have done this or that better. But that's where your teammates have got to say, "Well no, I blew my responsibility here, here and here." And everybody's going to take accountability at the end of it all. So I think that's good points there for sure. Josh, I want you to talk a little bit about your event this coming weekend as we record. Who you're playing, if you know, and what you're looking forward to?

John Watson:
Well, it'll be the first game action that we've had this season so far, because the league season hasn't quite started as of yet. Now in terms of games themselves, the tournament is taking place in Brampton. It's November 4th to 6th, and it's going to be at the Susan Fennell Sportsplex, which is formerly known as South Fletcher's Sportsplex, which is just, I'm going to say, south of the Sheridan College campus in Brampton. It's a nice central location.
The first games of the day actually start just after lunch. Our game is at 1:15 in the afternoon on Friday the 4th, and it's against a team from Markham. We're looking forward to that. I haven't played Markham in a few years, so we'll see what they have to offer us this year. And then Saturday the 5th, we have two round-robin games. One is going to be at 10:45 in the morning against the Elmvale Bears who...

Cameron:
It's always a tough fight.

John Watson:
They are. They're a good strong team, so we'll see what happens. And then the final game of the round-robin is at 2:15 in the afternoon and that's against a team called the Rocket de Montreal, which is another very strong team.

Cameron:
[Inaudible 00:14:21]. Absolutely.

John Watson:
We have the ability to do well, I believe, but it is going to be a challenge. We're going to play the games, we're going to see what happens and we're going to go from there. That's all you can do. I mean, I think personally, my feeling is, that the first two games are the more winnable of the weekend. If all goes well, we'll go into that last game up two and oh, but we'll see what happens. Markham has been a strong team in the past and I have no doubt they will be again. And Elmvale is always tough, so it's going to be a lot of fun. I've already warned my nine-to-five job that I'm planning to take Friday and Monday off. I have a feeling by-

Cameron:
You need to recover on the Monday with some massage?

John Watson:
Or recover from the hangover from commiserating over a bad weekend, depending on how things go. I do have a doctor's-

Speaker 2:
Be positive, Josh. Be positive. Come on.

Cameron:
Come on, you were talking about two and oh and now you're talking about... I can't even say this word.

John Watson:
You could say it is realistic. I'm just realistic. I don't want to put that pressure on my teammates. We're going to do the best we can. We always do. I love playing for this team. I mean, two of the last four years, we've come away with a medal at the end of the season. This team has ability. We just have to put it all together. It ends with me, at the end of the day. I have to play well. So I'm going to give it my best.

Cameron:
What is it, Josh, about your team that you like? What are some of the good attributes about your team and how they play? What are some of the advantages?

John Watson:
Ultimately, we do very well playing as a team, in my opinion. I mean, we have our disagreements and we have our squabbles from time to time. When we're getting shellacked badly than there's some more that sometimes get said. But at the end of it, we're all very selfless people. We know who the stronger members of the team are, and so if we are down and we really want to win a game, our coach will talk to the bench and say, "Okay, what do we want to do here? Are we going to cut down the bench and play the best players or are we going to roll lines and just see how it goes?" And so there's a lot of selfless people and there are a lot of people who do sometimes give up ice time in order to see the team succeed. You can't argue with that.
We do have a number of strong players on the team as well, which will help us in the long run. We've got some fast skaters, we've got a couple of people who have a lot of great hockey sense and just are able to anticipate plays. They definitely have bailed me out in the past when maybe a puck has hit me, and you know that feeling too, Cameron, where it hits you and you're looking around, where'd it go? Where'd it go, Where'd it go?

Cameron:
Where'd it go?

John Watson:
And then you realize that, oh, okay. My teammate got it and they've dumped it down the ice. Okay, we're good. They're just a great group of people and they all really try their best.

Speaker 2:
I'm going to outline something that your coach, Ken Hall, has said on this program a few times. He hasn't yet been on the video podcast. We did try to get him on, but probably avoiding being on the video portion of the show.

John Watson:
Or he's just really busy.

Speaker 2:
If I know Ken, he could be really busy, but he also could be avoiding us for the video.

John Watson:
Maybe.

Speaker 2:
The thing I love about Ken, I just tease Ken. Ken teased me for years about bocce, so we can tease each other.

John Watson:
You're getting him back.

Cameron:
It's time to get your revenge.

Speaker 2:
The thing I love about Ken Hall is that he said on this program a number of years ago, he would rather coach a team with heart rather than a team with a bunch of skill. And I think, and I'm not trying to be disrespectful to your team whatsoever, but there is more heart than there is overall skill on this team from what I understand. But a team with more heart can really, really play better than a team with more skill on it, because then you've got personalities clashing and all this. To me, I love the thing about Ken that says, "I'd rather coach a team with a bunch of heart than skill." And I'm glad to see that.
It seems to me that this year there's a little bit more of a balance and a little bit more skill and heart mixed together, which I will be watching your team on one of the games this weekend, and that's something I'm looking forward to. What can be added to this team that we know has a heart? Can we add a little bit more skill to see where this team can go? And that's the most intriguing part about your team that I'm looking forward to.
I've seen the All Blacks. And Claire's not here. I've seen the All Blacks, they have a ton of talent on their team, a ton of talent. But at times you'll see the All Blacks where they're gangbusters and they're running over everybody. And then at other times you'll see the brakes get put on and it's like, what happened to our team? We have so much talent and sometimes it just doesn't go the way we plan. That's sports. Welcome to life of sports. Sometimes you can have all the talent in the world and it doesn't translate. And that's just the way life is, in my opinion, in sports.
I'm very fascinated to see what takes place this weekend at the tournament. We are going to do a big panel discussion on what took place at the Cruisers Cup next week. I look forward to that conversation, Josh. Best of luck this weekend and I know that you're looking forward to a good event. I'm looking forward to one. And hopefully you can have some hardware to display on next week's episode. That would be awesome.
If you want to get ahold of us on any of the content you've heard, now or in the past, or something you want us to talk about in the future, here's how you can get ahold of us by voicemail.

Speaker 1:
If you want to leave a message for The Neutral Zone, call now. 1 866-509-4545. And don't forget to give us permission to use your message on the air. Let's get ready to leave a voicemail.

Brock Richardson:
Well, this has become my favourite thing to do, The Neutral Zone, because as I mentioned, we were supposed to have a guest on our previous segment as we do. And we were going to do a postmortem, as some of the guys have put it on the Cruisers Cup. But we decided with Rhonda not able to join us, that we were going to do a preview of that event and I think some good conversation. And I got to tell you that if you have never seen para ice hockey in any format at all, I believe strongly you should go and check out this event. Cruisers, I know we're a little bit biased, but Cruisers runs a fantastic event. They do it year after year. What number is this for Cruisers Cup? Gentlemen, do we know?

Josh Watson:
I believe it's 13. Let me quickly check for you.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah.

Cameron Jenkins:
It's a lot of years.

Brock Richardson:
Regardless. It's a lot of years.

Cameron Jenkins:
I just wanted to say Brock, that in the last segment we're talking about, oh, we got to be positive, the end of the weekend, et cetera, et cetera. And now all of a sudden you're talking about, oh, we're going to talk about the postmortem. That sounds so negative.

Brock Richardson:
Yes. Well, you never know. Everyone needs a little postmortem after any event that's taken place because even though we want events to be perfect, sometimes some things happen.

Cameron Jenkins:
It could be the celebration.

Brock Richardson:
Absolutely. And I'm looking forward to having both Claire and Josh on with some hardware next week. And we will do a... Instead of postmortem, what word would you use there, Mr. Positivity over there?

Cameron Jenkins:
Oh, I would say the post-celebration of the Cruisers Cup.

Brock Richardson:
Do they actually give a Cruisers like a cup?

Josh Watson:
Oh yes. Oh yes.

Brock Richardson:
Okay.

Josh Watson:
We do not chintz out on the-

Cameron Jenkins:
It's not a coffee cup.

Josh Watson:
That's right. It is sponsored by Tim Horton's, but it is not a coffee cup.

Cameron Jenkins:
That's right. I forgot about that when I said that.

Josh Watson:
The first one was-

Brock Richardson:
[Crosstalk 00:02:37]

Josh Watson:
Actually in 2009, by the way, gentlemen. So we did miss one, I believe two years because of pandemic. But if anybody wants to do the math, it's a number of years old now, so.

Cameron Jenkins:
It's a lot of years.

Brock Richardson:
I think if my math would serve, it'd be about... Yeah, it'd be about 13.

Cameron Jenkins:
2019. That's 10, 11, 12, Yeah, 12, 13 years minus a couple. So around 11 to 13 years, give or take.

Brock Richardson:
Math here on the neutral zone. You never know what we might talk about.

Josh Watson:
[Crosstalk 00:03:13] couple of former goalies and-

Brock Richardson:
Go ahead, Josh.

Josh Watson:
Couple of former goalies and Brock, well, we figured the math out together. So sorry Brock. I sort of like threw you under the bus there. That's not true.

Brock Richardson:
That's okay. No, no, it's not... Math was never my strong suit. It was like carry the one, put it where? Somewhere up at the top.

Josh Watson:
Somewhere off in this direction. Yeah.

Cameron Jenkins:
Put it in my knapsack and let's go.

Josh Watson:
There you go. There you go. But you're right-

Brock Richardson:
Speaking of, let's go...

Josh Watson:
Go ahead.

Brock Richardson:
Let's go into the NBA. There's been some social media stuff that's taken place. NBA stars defending his social media where he talked about a film wrongfully. Let's take a listen to this clip.

Speaker 5:
Brooklyn Net's owner, Joe Tsai said he wants to sit down with Kyrie Irving and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us. But Saturday night, the net star said,

Kyrie Irving:
I'm not going to stand down on anything that I believe in. I'm only going to get stronger because I'm not alone. I have a whole army around me.

Speaker 5:
The first time Irving spoke to the media since he posted about an antisemitic book and movie called Hebrews to Negros, Wake Up Black America.

Kyrie Irving:
Did I do anything illegal? Did I hurt anybody? Did I harm anybody? Am I going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people?

Speaker 5:
In a statement Saturday, the NBA did not name Irving, but said, "Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable." Brian Clark, ABC News, New York.

Brock Richardson:
My favorite line of all this is I have an army around me. I'm not sure where this army is. And the thing I love about doing this as a video podcast. I can see Josh Watson's facial reaction to this. And as we sit here right now, the Brooklyn Nets are one win and five losses. That army seems pretty soft like porridge. Josh Watson with your head buried, what says you on this?

Josh Watson:
Oh, where to begin, Where to begin? I mean, everyone is entitled to an opinion. That is why we have between Canada and the United States, two of the best countries in the world because you can unfortunately stand up and say whatever you want. It doesn't mean it's smart. It when it comes right down to it, and I'm not familiar with this book, I'm not familiar with this movie, but generally speaking, whether it's Kanye West or Kyrie Irving or who it is, you have to understand when you are a sports star or a celebrity, that people take your word for things. And so people will believe you even if you are blowing smoke out of, you know what.
So you owe it to your fans to at least have an educated opinion. Technically, is he right? Did he hurt anyone? That depends on how you define hurt. People can be hurt by the words you say. That's what libel is as a legal construct. He needs to think before he opens his mouth, unfortunately, and I don't feel like he did in this case, and I don't think he has in other cases that are well documented. Including him missing multiple games in the last few years because of his vaccination status. Which again, you don't want to get a vaccine, that's your choice, but you have to understand that there are consequences. And just like there are consequences to opting not to take a vaccine, there are consequences to you opening your mouth and speaking your mind.

Brock Richardson:
Cameron?

Cameron Jenkins:
Yeah, I don't know the movie that he's speaking of. I don't know the book that he's speaking of either. I'm just kind of reading the headlines, which can be very dangerous to do because in the headline you don't necessarily get all of the context either. But at the end of the day, from what I understand, it's hate speech and racism and he can influence a lot of people because there's a lot of people that follow him, that look up to him. At the same time though, people are of their own free mind to think what they want, to say what they want. And I think that it also comes down to the families maybe having a discussion around that and in their opinion, maybe why it's wrong that Irving had said that. So he's right in a lot of ways as far as he's not necessarily hurting anybody. He can say what he wants. The whole army of people, maybe that's his Twitter army of followers, I don't know. But yeah, so-

Josh Watson:
Keyboard army?

Cameron Jenkins:
I don't know. There's so many people that it's free speech, you can say what you want and hopefully people kind of see through it and it... I don't agree with it. To label a whole... And he said that he didn't, but I feel like he did label a whole type of people a certain way. That's not right to do because no matter what kind of people you're speaking to, disability, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, there's all different kinds of people within those communities. Not one necessarily. Not all people are bad, not all people are good. So you have to take them as individuals at the end of the day and look at individual people. And right now, I just don't think too highly of Kyrie Irving.

Brock Richardson:
Here's what I'll say gentlemen, and it's quite plain, but I'll say this. When you are a member of the media, when you are an athlete in the spotlight that you're in, whether good, bad, indifferent, I don't really care what version of the spotlight you're in, you have to hold yourself not to a higher account, but to a different account. Everything you say, everything you eat, everything you drink, everything you do is held at a higher account. Everything we put out on these podcasts are put out at a higher account.
We have to stand by everything we say. And if somebody comes and says, "Hey, I don't like the fact that you said xyz, and this is why," we have to come and defend, if you want to put it that way, what we said. His defence is, I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't do anything illegal. Yeah, that's true. But you also may have damaged your image. Maybe he doesn't care about his image, but I certainly care about my image. And as do the three of us around the proverbial table. We all care about our image and what we say and do. Go ahead, Cameron.

Cameron Jenkins:
At the end of the day, Brock, like we say stuff on Twitter or we go back and forth sometimes and have debates and so on and so forth. But if we say something, we don't have to reply back to anybody or we don't have to answer for it. We can say whatever we want and let all of the gray noise or the white noise around us, and we don't have to reply if we don't want to. But in this day and age with social media and trying to get more followers for the program and people listen, of course you do want to engage with your fans and with your community, but at the end of the day, you really don't have to if you don't want to.

Brock Richardson:
And I agree with you, Cameron, but I will also say this. You do not have to answer the fans, the followers, those things. But when your boss, in this case ownership, comes and says, "Hey, we need a conversation of what the image of the Brooklyn Nets is currently," that's when you owe the conversation. If our manager-

Cameron Jenkins:
But you just owe that to the owner. You don't owe that to all of the legions of fans at the end of the day.

Brock Richardson:
No. I guess that's where-

Cameron Jenkins:
But if you are with a policy that is at work, if you aren't supposed to... If you're representing the nets and you're doing hate speech or you are... There's a whole bunch of social media rules and regulations now with companies. So from that perspective, he probably shouldn't be doing that because he is representing the Nets and that could make the Nets look bad. So yeah, I'm sure there's a social media policy at work that he shouldn't be doing that.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, and I think maybe I wasn't clear in saying this, that's what I'm referring to. I'm not referring to the fans, I'm not referring to people that follow us or anything like that. I'm referring to when your boss comes knocking and says, "Hey, we need to have a conversation of A, B, and C, because this is what I want, this is what we stand for, and what you just did," whatever this is, and in Kyrie's case, basically from everything we know he is defending hate speech and a bit of racism as Cameron pointed out. I haven't seen the movie. I have no desire to see the movie based on what I've read about it, that's not what I stand for. And so to me, when you are an athlete or a member of the media, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard.
And I think in this case, Kyrie has not done that. And you want to talk about a team, Josh, that should be full of talent? We just spent time talking about teams that have lots of talent versus heart. Well, there's lots of talent on this team, Kevin Durant, lots of talent there. Kyrie Irving, lots of talent there. Ben Simmons, lots of talent there. All of those things, there's tons of talent. And then we see Josh O and Steph Curry comes back, that's going to be the answer. Is it? Because it doesn't look good right now in your organization Josh.

Josh Watson:
Yeah, there are a couple of things I would just throw in here really quickly. Number one, as someone who is putting out a tweet or an email or what have you, it's not your decision whether you have offended someone, it is the person reading it. And the second thing is, if you are a fan of someone, really, really use your mind and think about what they are saying and doing and decide for yourself, do I really support this or not? Don't just follow someone blindly because they are an MBA star, an MLB star, an NHL star.

Cameron Jenkins:
That's so true.

Josh Watson:
Have your own critical thoughts and decide for yourself if you're going to go along with what that person is saying. Because too often in this world, we are only fed by social media what the social media thinks we want to hear. And so you don't always get a-

Cameron Jenkins:
And it's so hard to know what's the truth, because a person says this and you kind of research it, or you kind of think, oh, okay, well I understand that point of view, but then another... Sometimes I get lost in the gutter of Twitter and reading all the replies, and then I'm like, oh, okay, well yeah, this person's making a good point. And then I look at another reply, oh, okay, well they're doing a counterpoint to that point, and I can understand that too. And yeah, it can go down a deep dark hole when you start to reading threads of the Twitter feeds.

Brock Richardson:
And you have, I'm going to give you guys a phrase here that I think at times is lost in the world. You have to use common sense. You have to use your own sense and not just someone, because as you guys point out, this is Kyrie Irving. You as the individual have to step back and realize where, what is my moral compass? Where do I lie on this? And you don't necessarily just pick Kyrie Irving and say, "Well, he's my favorite athlete, so whatever he says goes." Because I think sometimes you have to look at it and go, is this really what I stand for?
I'll take an example that we had on our headlines, Masai Ujiri getting fined $35,000. Cameron loves it, I don't. As a president of an organization, to me, you put people in your position to defend your athletes. As president, I don't think that's your role to do that. I don't think it's your role as an athlete to defend all the time and do all these things, but everybody has difference of opinion. Do I respect what Cameron said earlier? Yes, because I see his point, but in the crux of what took place, I don't like it. But does that mean that I take Cameron's point of view and say, "Okay, well that's because he said it, now I'm going to believe that to be the truth?" Well, no, that's not entirely true. We all have our own way of looking at things and doing things. We also have to step back and realize we respect what one another says. And I think Cameron, that's something that's lost. We don't respect people as individuals. We look at them in a different light because they're an athlete or they're big in whatever they're doing.

Cameron Jenkins:
Well, I think it also has to do with, as far as not respecting people with social media, a lot of people are keyboard warriors and they can type whatever they want knowing that nobody's going to be able to see them, because it's always harder to have a disagreement or a controversial topic when you're actually in front of somebody compared to just being a Twitter keyboard warrior and just typing that and then kind of walking away from it. There's some people that just put stuff out there just to stir the pot and then kind of walk away and then just watch the comments and fly. It's like it's unbelievable.

Josh Watson:
And there are some people who get a dopamine hit off of that because they feel-

Cameron Jenkins:
Oh, for sure they do. Yep, exactly. So I think at the end of the day, like social media, it does have a lot of good things about it, but for the most part, there's a lot of bad things about it too. And yeah, it's just, like I said, it can go down a deep dark hole when you're in that type of a conversation.

Brock Richardson:
And I'll be honest with you guys, and say, I think to both of your points, it's easy to put the phone away once you put something out there on social media, the phone computer, it's easy to put it away when you don't need that shot of adrenaline, the dopamine shot, whatever the case may be. When you're standing in front of somebody and they want to confront whatever it is you've said for one reason or another, that's when it becomes challenging. And so I think the moral of the story and the way to end this program is be very cautious of what you put on social media and who you follow. And the first thing you should do is make sure that their values and their morals align with yours. That is the end of our show for this week. I would like to thank Josh Watson, Cam Jenkins. I'd also like to thank our technical producer, Marc Aflalo. Our manager of AMI Audio is Andy Frank. Tune in next week because you just never know what happens when you enter The Neutral Zone. Have a great week. Be safe. Be well.