When’s the Right Time for an Athlete to Hang It Up?

Get your red wine bath ready, Tarlin and Mike are back after a SXSW panel, a Good Morning America appearance, and a bout of Covid-19(!) to talk about the age-old question of what’s the right way to hang it up at the end of a long and successful sports career. Don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been here for (nearly two!) years and we’re not planning to retire any time soon.

We begin with Tarlin recounting conversations with his Dad about Tiger Woods playing past his prime and how he should’ve retired on top like Jim Brown. From there, we span multiple sports looking for heroes who have faced the end of their playing careers in various ways. What can we learn from Barry Sanders or Andrew Luck, who left their sports early? What can we learn from Shaq or Patrick Ewing or others who stuck around longer as their physical abilities began to fade? And what about GOATs who retired and then unretired like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Tom Brady? Plus we show our range by covering Shaun White, Jimmy Connors, Kelly Slater, Serena Williams, Sue Bird and more. We even talk Carl Lewis both as a track star and as a National Anthem singer in a free-flowing romp through the greener pastures of sports retirement. Don’t miss it!

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SXSW Running It Back Highlights Show

In a special bonus episode, we bring you highlights from Mike and Tarlin’s live panel in Austin at the SXSW EDU conference. We’re joined by Terri Givens and Dan Harrison in an exploration of storytelling, sports as a microcosm of the broader world, and the mythic elements of sports in our culture. We focus on recent conversations about the Rooney Rule and the Flores Suit before showcasing some of our favorite moments on the podcast.

We remember how this all got started with highlights from our very first episode on the Last Dance Bulls, before sharing moments from our Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Simone Biles, and Tiger Woods episodes before we wrap. We also reference our episodes on Scottie Pippen and Naomi Osaka in a free-ranging conversation that weaves together a lot of what we’ve been talking about over the past two years.

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NBA All-Star Escapism and the NBA Top 75

Tarlin and Mike are back, talking solace in basketball this time on the heels of the NBA All-Star weekend in Cleveland. We reminisce over All-Star Weekends from times gone by, including 1988 and 1992 before fast-forwarding back to the present to talk about a dismal Slam Dunk Contest, the 3 Point Shooting Contest, and the display put on by Stephen Curry during the actual All-Star Game on Sunday. In front of most of the 76 Greatest Players of all time and despite those that couldn’t make it, Steph showed to be the star among stars. And the NBA is being transformed in the process.

We look for lessons in the Top 75 and in ESPN’s as the wet jump shot may be replacing the stunning dunk as the signature move in the NBA today. We discuss all of this, riff on variations of the screenplay for Space Jam 3, and even propose five modern players on the Mount Rushmore of the modern game. Listen in. You might hear some surprises.

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The Flores Suit Pre/Post Super Bowl Hangover Edition

Tarlin Ray and Mike Palmer are back to talk about the Flores Suit against the NFL and to follow up on our previous conversations about the shortage of Black Head Coaches in the League. Tarlin almost gets irate but keeps it on a simmer as we revisit questions about why Eric Bieniemy (of The State), Byron Leftwich, and Brian Flores still don’t have head coaching jobs even as Lovie Smith and Mike McDaniel have gotten the nod since our last episode.

What can we learn from the Flores suit and the response to it? How does this connect back to Curt Flood and Free Agency in Major League Baseball? And what behind-the-scenes references to Ben Simmons and James Harden is Mike using to “motivate” Tarlin before we start taping?

We cover all of this even and even share a few tricks of the trade as we start to pivot towards the NBA now that we’re shaking off our NFL Hangovers on our latest search for lessons from the sports stories that are capturing the global imagination.

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The NFL’s Black Head Coach Problem

As of the release of this episode, Mike Tomlin is the lone Black Head Coach remaining in the NFL. Tarlin and Mike run it back to our ongoing conversation about the Rooney Rule and soft affirmative action in the NFL referencing Tomlin, Art Shell, and Jim Caldwell. We talk Eric Bieniemy and Byron Leftwich. We reminisce and look for lessons from the careers and legacies of Tony Dungy and Bill Belichick. And ultimately, we celebrate Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s recent hiring as GM of the Minnesota Vikings.

Then Tarlin talks about the work of Guy Primus and The Board Challenge to effect the long, slow turnaround of institutions like the NFL. We admit that we can’t quit the NFL even though we know we probably should as we say goodbye to a friend of the show and talk about how we can give black head coaches more chances than they’re getting to turn the institution of the NFL around.

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Antonio Brown’s Walkoff, The NFL and TMZ Culture

Tarlin and Mike are back to find lessons learned from sports. This time we look at the spectacle surrounding Antonio Brown’s exit from the Tampa Bay Bucs game versus the New York Jets during the 3rd quarter of the game last weekend.

Why did Tarlin not want to cover the AB story? How does this situation compare to the broader challenges of working with divas and other selfish personalities on teams and in the workplace? What must it have been like to be Bruce Arians trying to talk to AB while recovering from Covid and a partially torn Achilles? And how might this relate to Mike Tomlin and lessons from other diva wide receivers like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ocho Cinco over the years?

We cover all of this while kicking off 2022 with our inimitable style. Thank you for listening.

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Running It Back 2021 Year in Review

Tarlin Ray and Mike Palmer are back to look for lessons learned from a year’s worth of podcast episodes in 2021. We think back on the 20 episodes we released and break down the topics, themes, and human stories that made for an incredible year of programming.

Whether it’s Simone Biles, the Rooney Rule, Sports Parenting, or Kyrie and the Vaccine, we talk through our conversations about what bubbled up in the collective consciousness from the world of sports and try to make sense of it all while having some fun along the way.

We thank each other and most importantly our listeners as we begin to look ahead to build on what’s now a strong foundation heading into 2022. Thanks to everyone who is listening and supporting us. We couldn’t have gotten here without you!

Subscribe to Running It Back wherever you get your podcasts. Visit us at RunningItBack.fm for more amazing lessons learned from sports.

Name, Image, Likeness, and Ed O’Bannon vs the NCAA

Tarlin and Mike return to talk about the recent changes to the NCAA regulations about college players’ ability to monetize their Name, Image, and Likenesses. We run it back to the case of Ed O’Bannon who was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA on violation of antitrust regulations based on the use of his image in an EA Sports Video Game in 2009.

In addition to Easy Ed, we reflect on what we’ve seen since the temporary measure was put in place by the NCAA in July as we think about what this means for college athletes, the NCAA, and elitist notions of amateurism. We also talk Azzi Fudd, brainstorm ideas for Space Jam 3, recall Gavin Newsome’s appearance on The Shop with LeBron James and much more.

It’s a fun romp through a significant change to college sports that is opening up opportunities for players and also for sports like women’s volleyball and other women’s sports that may not have traditionally garnered broader support and attention.

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Scottie Pippen’s Last Dance Memoir Unguarded

Tarlin and Mike are back, this time to run it back to a new perspective on the legacy of the 1990s Bulls. This time it’s from Scottie Pippen’s perspective based on his recent memoir, Unguarded. What was it like to be Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman? How did Scottie demonstrate the flexibility and adaptability that are critical to being an effective teammate and collaborator? And where did he go too far and come across as hurt and a little bit petty in his portrayal of the Bulls Dynasty from the perspective of its “Second Banana?”

We explore all of this and learn the importance of good nutrition while cycling in a whirlwind conversation that even includes some of Scotties deep and soulful DJ voice before concluding.

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Aaron Rodgers Lies about His COVID Vaccination Status

Tarlin Ray and Mike Palmer are back looking to find lessons learned from the Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay. Now that it is confirmed that Rodgers is not vaccinated against Covid-19 and that he was referring to alternative treatments when he told the media he was immunized, what wisdom and leadership lessons can be found in all of this?

We watched the Pat McAfee Show Appearance where Rodgers rails against the “woke mob” and “cancel culture” as he defends his decision to break the unjust rule of having to be masked during interviews with the press. We explore the impact on team culture when the leader lies and how it’s different when he’s truthful within the team while obscuring the truth with the media. And we make some connections to the political arena and how the “Big Lie” can galvanize the group and perhaps set up Green Bay for a deep playoff run. How does Aaron compare to Alex Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong, and other famous liars in sports? Does he suffer from “affluenza” and is a bit too quick to take on a narrative of victimization? We answer all of this and more in a free-wheeling conversation that you won’t want to miss.

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