Sports On Pause

Richard Deitsch and Donnovan Bennett host a podcast about how COVID-19 is impacting sports around the world. They talk to experts, athletes and personalities, putting big news into perspective, highlighting great journalism and offering a window into the lives of people we normally root for in entirely different ways.

Recent Episodes
EP-31: It’s Time To Shift Our Focus
Aug 28, 2020
Aug 28, 2020
EP-31: It’s Time To Shift Our Focus

Sports are no longer on pause because of COVID-19, but in recent days we’ve seen sports pause as athletes have used their power to protest systemic racism and police violence against Black people. 

In what we hope is the final episode of the podcast, Donnovan and Richard discuss why it’s important for them to shift their voices from the virus to social violence as well.

But stay subscribed, because if the worst happens and the coronavirus returns in force, Donnovan and Richard could be back to discuss its impact on sports. Let’s just hope it’s not necessary. 

Thanks to all of you for listening and supporting. You can still hear Richard on Writers Bloc and Donnovan on Free Association.

Sports On Pause is produced and sound designed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Donnovan Bennett and Richard Deitsch. Archival support for this episode was provided by Adrian Cheddie.

Audio Credits: ABC, CNN, ESPN, Fox Sports Wisconsin, KENS San Antonio News, NowThis News, Reuters and Sportsnet 590 The FAN.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Media Inc. or any affiliate.

Aug 21, 2020
EP-30: Reimagining Sports Venues

COVID-19 has changed the way everyone thinks about the physical spaces we work in, live in and visit. And that goes for sports venues as well. What does the future hold for those in terms of construction and safety? Richard and Donnovan are joined by two guests to discuss. 

Ryan Sickman is the Global Director of Sports at Gensler, an architecture, design and consulting firm. He talks about the willingness of fans to change their behaviour at events, what franchises will focus on when fans do return and rethinking the overall experience. Daniel Putterman is the CEO of Kogniz, a software company that specializes in using AI to track fevers from a distance, identify exposure risks and enforce social distancing rules and personal protective equipment requirements. He explains the tech, its accuracy and implementation, and the privacy measures involved.

COVID-19 Resources: (1) HBO: Hard Knocks (2) Bloomberg Businessweek:  Bill Gates on Covid Vaccine Timing, Hydroxychloroquine, and That 5G Conspiracy Theory

This episode is scripted, produced and sound designed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Donnovan Bennett and Richard Deitsch. Archival support for this episode was provided by Adrian Cheddie.

Audio Credits: Fallout and Sportsnet.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Media Inc. or any affiliate.

Aug 14, 2020
EP-29: The NFL Will Start... But Will It Finish?

The NFL is moving ahead on its season amidst a pandemic and social unrest around racial injustice. Like Major League Baseball, there will be no bubble involved. But unlike MLB, there will be fans in some venues. Can the league pull it off? Richard and Donnovan are joined by two guests to get some perspective.

Jim Trotter is a veteran NFL reporter. He discusses whether an NFL bubble would have been feasible, why some teams chose to have fans in the stands while others didn't, the impact of a college football shutdowns on the league and how transparent it will be around COVID-19 results.

Sam Acho is a linebacker and a vice president of the National Football League Players Association. He sheds some light on the opt out process that 66 players took, the importance of stars players being social activists and if he feels the public has a different view today when it comes to players kneeling during the American national anthem.

COVID-19 Resources: (1) Scientific American: How to Evaluate COVID-19 News without Freaking Out (2) STAT NEWS: How a Zoom forum is changing the way ICU doctors treat desperately ill Covid-19 patients

This episode is scripted, produced and sound designed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Donnovan Bennett and Richard Deitsch. Ryan Walsh and Jeff Azzopardi provided production assistance, and Adrian Cheddie handled the bulk of the archival content heard on this episode.

Audio Credits: ABC, ESPN, KTNV Las Vegas and NBC.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Media Inc. or any affiliate.

Aug 7, 2020
EP-28: Inside The NHL Bubbles

As players in other sports opt out and test positive, bubbles are proving to be the way to go to keep everyone involved safe from COVID-19. The NHL has had two positive tests since mid-July and none in its bubbles, the TV product has been pretty much exactly the same — minus fans in the stands — and the early game play has been better than expected. 

So how did the NHL pull this off?

Steve Mayer is the league’s Chief Content Officer — the person responsible for creating the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles. He joins Richard and Donnovan to discuss the planning process, operations, borrowing from other leagues, fulfilling team requests, "#WeSkatefor Black Lives" and crisis management.

Then Sportsnet senior hockey writer Chris Johnston takes listeners inside the Toronto bubble from a media perspective: his day-to-day, entering the bubble, challenges getting exclusive interviews and his thoughts on the overall play thus far.

COVID-19 Resources: (1) WIRED: Covid-19 Data in the US Is an ‘Information Catastrophe’ (2) WIRED: Anthony Fauci Explains Why the US Still Hasn’t Beaten Covid (3) THE Sydney Morning Herald: Please stop calling healthcare workers ‘heroes’. It’s killing us

This episode is scripted, produced and sound designed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Donnovan Bennett and Richard Deitsch. Archival support was provided by Adrian Cheddie.

Audio Credits: NHL Network, Sportsnet 650, WCMC, WFLA and WXDX.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Media Inc. or any affiliate.

Jul 31, 2020
EP-27: Major League Baseball Is In Trouble

Just about a week into the season and already the Miami Marlins have seen their campaign paused due to a major COVID-19 outbreak and other series are being postponed due to positive tests around the league. Richard and Donnovan discuss the trouble Major League Baseball is in with two guests.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle shares her thoughts on the outbreaks, if we’ll see more players opt out, what type of safety protocols are in place for media in Oakland and if commissioner Manfred has done enough to ensure the safety of MLB players and staff. 

Epidemiologist Zachary Binney is back. He questions MLB’s use of contact tracing, discusses when it will be safe for the Marlins to play again, what types of behaviour players should be avoiding and if an MLB bubble would have been best.

COVID-19 Resources: (1) Sportsnet: The inside story of Raptors’ Black Lives Matter face masks (2) Wellcome Collection: A history of medical masks (3) National Geographic: Buddy, first dog to test positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., has died

This episode is scripted, produced and sound designed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Donnovan Bennett and Richard Deitsch. Adrian Cheddie provided archival support and Jeff Azzopardi assisted in the production of this episode.

Audio Credits: ABC Good Morning America, ABC Sports Radio and MASN.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Media Inc. or any affiliate.