Brittney Griner's Russian Detainment + A Poisonous Champions League Quarterfinal | Crooked Media
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March 29, 2022
Brittney Griner's Russian Detainment + A Poisonous Champions League Quarterfinal

In This Episode

Jason Concepcion and special guest Jamel Johnson (Air Buds, Sorry We Love Football, NBA Storytime) talk to University of Illinois law professor Peter Maggs, who helps explain the legality of Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia. Wall Street Journal sports reporter Joshua Robinson breaks down the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals and why Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich was poisoned during peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. To finish up, Take Survivor makes its triumphant return featuring four first-time competitors!


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Jason Concepcion: You can’t in your adulthood, all of a sudden start rooting for Duke that is like a sign that you’re a psychopath. Hello. You know who it is, that’s Jason Concepcion, we’ve got a great show for you today on the Takeline program. Joining me today is one of my favorite people, truly one of my favorite people in the world. I think one of the funniest human beings on the planet. Jamel Johnson, one of the biggest sports fans I know also. Jamel Johnson, how are you?


Jamel Johnson: Hey, how you doing?


Jason Concepcion: Also joining us will be a University of Illinois Russian law expert and law professor. Peter Maggs he’s going to walk us through the continued imprisonment of WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia. Josh Robinson of The Wall Street Journal will join us to talk about the UEFA Champions League ahead of the competition’s quarter final this coming weekend. And finally, we’ve got a great, great great version of Take Survivor for you at the end of the program, the triumphant return of Take Survivor. Let’s get into the program first. It is Sunday, and as we are taping this like a half hour ago, the UNC Tar Heels throttled St. Peter’s peacocks. The 15th seed, the hard charging 15th seed that had everybody talking has throttled them out of March Madness out of the tournament, setting up an iconic matchup in the Final Four UNC versus Duke in Mike Krzyzewski’s final year. Tre’vell Are you watching March Madness and do you have any thoughts about any of these teams?


Jamel Johnson: Yes, I am watching March Madness. You knew Duke was going to make a run just based off the way their regular season ended. Come on. Oh you. Oh, Coach K lost at home? Oh no. Oh no, it can’t end like this. You know.


Jason Concepcion: You know, we’re going to see the. I expect it any time soon. We’re going to see the take. Oh, that was the wake up call that Duke needed. The lost. You know, that loss against UNC at home. That was exactly what was necessary for Duke to kind of get their act together and do this. I’m glad and I’m glad. Listen, St. Peter’s a great story. I’ve enjoyed it.


Jamel Johnson: You believe that?


Jason Concepcion: It was fun. It’s what March Madness is, is what people turn into March Madness to see. They tune in to see like Matt Stainbrook, who was driving an Uber while playing center for for Xavier. Like put up 15 and six in an Elite Eight game. That’s what they tune to. They tune in to see, you know, dudes who look like they should be the bully in an 80s action comedy spearheading a 15 seed to the Elite Eight. Thats what they tune in to see


Jamel Johnson: C’mon Little Sam Rockwell? Little Sam Rockwell was the heart of the nation.


Jason Concepcion: They tune in to see that. And now that it’s over, now that it’s done, I’m glad it’s over because I really feel like the way the world is. We need UNC Duke, like I need that, I need it. I think the networks need it. CBS needs it. Hubert Davis needs it. Hubert Davis very emotional after the game. Mike Krzyzewski. Like, let’s send him out with one of the iconic match ups in sports for the final time under his tenure. I mean, it really is like one of the great rivalries in sports writ large anywhere in the world. So I just I’m glad that we have it. I’m glad that we have it.


Jamel Johnson: I am a University of Maryland Terrapins fan, so both of these ball clubs can eat my shorts, I hope it ends in a tie.


Jason Concepcion: Come on, who would you? Who would you be pulling for? If you would. So are you going to watch it? You’re going to watch it.


Jamel Johnson: Of course I’m watching it.


Jason Concepcion: Come on, Jamel


Jamel Johnson: What do you mean?


Jason Concepcion: who would you vote? So you’re just like hoping that both teams like die of dysentery?


Jamel Johnson: Well, well, tie, they have day that game ends a tie because of dysentery, but no deaths.


Jason Concepcion: I mean, I got to go for UNC


Jamel Johnson: Yeah I guess I’m rockin with UNC. Why not


Jason Concepcion: I’m gonna rock. Hubert Davis is a Knicks legend. Hubert Davis. I got to go for my guy, Hubert Davis. I’ve never I’ve never pulled for Duke ever in my life.


Jamel Johnson: Yeah rolling with Duke is out. Can’t happen


Jason Concepcion: I can’t start now. You can’t. You can’t. In your adulthood, all of a sudden start rooting for Duke. That is like a sign that you’re a psychopath.


Jamel Johnson: And this is why St. Peter’s is the story, and I wish they won the whole thing. Isn’t it funny how the D1 athletes who didn’t have to go to high school for real? Always find a way to get the perfect amount of motivation to win the tournaments like shut up, man. You guys are all getting drafted. Even if you didn’t make the tournament, you’re all getting drafted. These kids, this is their last shot. They might get to assistant manage a used car lot based off their play in this tournament. They need this.


Jason Concepcion: They do need it. It was like the classic, scrappy underdog thing to we’re going to make a million mistakes. But like some live action recreation of Hoosiers, we are just going to be in your sneakers for the entire game. And it’s just one of those things where, like, if you’re a 15 seed, you have to win every effort category. You got to win rebounding, you got to win second chance points, you got to do all that stuff and you can’t ever let it get to double digits because who’s going to score the ball like to get you there? And so again, I enjoyed it, but I’m glad that they lost here because teams like that, the loss is always a double digit blowout.


Jamel Johnson: Yeah, it ends in a kick in the head, but at least we get a new low budget Black basketball film soon. In about four years, there’s going to be a movie on bounce TV about this team. Come on the roster. 94 percent Black roster Black coaching jersey this movie. This story was made for Bounce TV. I can’t wait to watch it. Can’t wait to see what role Taraji P. Henson plays in the project. This shit is going to rock.


Jason Concepcion: I’m waiting for Shaheen Holloway to all of a sudden start coaching a bigger program. It feels like I hope that doesn’t happen. I hope he stays there. And because that was just it was really fun. What an incredible ride that was for like six days to just be like, I don’t know. I’m like rooting for this kid with a mustache right now. That’s all I know.


Jamel Johnson: Yeah, I hope it lasts forever, man. I mean, you know, we’ve seen some smaller schools build. I mean, I don’t know where Butler is currently, but there is a path. There is a path for St. Peters to take and build on this. And I hope they do. Man, don’t poach Oklahoma. Leave this man alone. You don’t need him. You’ve got football. It’s fine.


Jason Concepcion: Next up, Kyrie Irving, the Kyrie Irving saga the saga that has focused the attentions of the entire NBA watching world has finally been resolved. New York City has lifted the vaccine mandate for athletes and performers live performers, which means starting this Sunday today against the Charlotte Hornets. Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is eligible to play home games for the first time this season. Now this, you know, the unions representing New York City employees who were dismissed for not taking the vaccine are already expressing their ire at this decision and what they feel is kind of like a special exemption made for, you know, athletes and performers. But here we are. The Nets did one good thing which was not let Kyrie Irving play. And now all of a sudden, Mayor Eric Adams, who made news this week for showing an interest in giving the Newark Police Department drones, has reversed himself would reverse this decision and Kyrie Irving will play. Your thoughts, Jamel?


Jamel Johnson: You know, I know a lot of people are putting this on Kyrie solely, but there’s a lot of different factors. The legion of Skanks played a role in this. Oh, the Yankees played a role in that. The entire Bronx played a role in this. Yes. His biggest mistake was that Kyrie Irving doesn’t play for the Knicks. Yeah, that was if Kyrie Irving was playing for the Knicks, it would be Bing Bong Part three and would nobody have nothing to say they would be at the Knicks game? Like, Ooh, finally, my tickets are worth something.


Jason Concepcion: I will say that it was humorous to me following the Brooklyn Nets fan discourse that that was supporting the conspiracy theory that Eric Adams was not going to change the rule because he is a Knicks fan, which was. Honestly, hilarious, because Eric Adams is just a wild guy. You know, like you can go into it and and check that out for yourself. But as I stated, like one of the things he’s talking about is perhaps getting the NYPD drones in the run up during the election, when it wasn’t clear where he lived. He then showed off an apartment that it’s clear belongs to his son. The guy is he is a former NYPD captain. He is like one of these crazy fitness junkies that drinks like weird smoothies with three different blender stages in it. He’s a crazy guy. But here he is. He’s done this. I am a little surprised that. I’m a little surprised that he didn’t. First, I think that there was a way to to do this where you have two sets of rules, one for the Yankees and the Mets and one for, you know, NBA teams, the Knicks in the Nets by way of saying, you know, OK, baseball is played outdoors, simply simply put, it’s outdoors that the the dugout is open air. It’s not like NBA basketball where you’re inside, sweating indoors with other people, directly sweating on, like the person that is guarding you, you know, running into screens. You know, baseball doesn’t have contact, so I’m a little surprised that they did this as quickly. But we’ll see the the the tempesta regarding the the New York City employees who have been dismissed as already starting up, Adam said. We’re doing it because the city has to function. We’re leading the entire country for the most part in unemployment. And so here we are with the United Federation of Teachers has commented If the rules are going to be suspended, particularly for people with influence, then the UFC and other city unions are ready to discuss how exemptions could be applied to city workers. We’ll see if that happens. Do you think this is unfair to to the city workers who were dismissed for not getting vaccinated, Jamel?


Jamel Johnson: For sure, man. And I think what they need to do is give them all free bacon egg and cheeses. Every city employee gets one free bacon egg and cheese.


Jason Concepcion: Hey folks. Just take this voucher down to your nearest bodega and get yourself a bacon, egg and cheese on Mayor Adams, folks.


Jamel Johnson: Yeah, and only on a roll. Don’t. You not getting a hero, just a roll. But it will be free. Aside from tax, you do have to pay tax.


Jason Concepcion: There’s a story in the city website, theCity.NYC that quotes a bunch of small business owners. One of them Mary Josephine Generoso, who owns a pastry shop in Bay Ridge, said what the mayor did today, it’s pretty sickening continuing that, you know, the people who were working through the pandemic gave up their livelihoods, and all of a sudden they’re sidestep because the mayor wants to support basketball and baseball players. It’s unfortunate that this has happened like this, but I’m sure Nets fans are going to be excited. And so with that part of the conversation over. Let’s take a look at the Nets remaining schedule all the way through the rest of the regular season this Sunday


Jamel Johnson: Brought to you by DraftKings. Let’s go.


Jason Concepcion: That’s right baby! Detroit, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Houston, the New York Knicks, Cleveland and finally, Indiana. They are sitting in seventh place two games in the win column behind seven. Excuse me, they’re in eighth place, two games in the win column behind seventh place Cleveland. I expect them to make some sort of a push in clear of the play in zone. What do you think? What do you see for the New York Nets in the playoffs?


Jamel Johnson: I do see them passing Cleveland, at the very least, you know, Cleveland’s kind of on a slide end they got the head to head matchup in Brooklyn. Kyrie’s favorite place to be. Man its tough. The East Playoffs is like, you know, it’s a big log jam.


Jason Concepcion: Detroit, that’s a W Milwaukee, Milwaukee Bucks?


Jamel Johnson: That’s a. Mmmmm..Oooh, because the Bucks have been playing good. I’m going to say that’s a loss.


Jason Concepcion: OK. Atlanta. Atlanta Hawks?


Jamel Johnson: That’s a win


Jason Concepcion: Right. Houston. That’s a win.


Jamel Johnson: That’s a win. We’re just going to.


Jason Concepcion: New York Knicks?


Jamel Johnson: Oof. Ugh. Where’s the game?


Jason Concepcion: At New York? So at MSG?


Jamel Johnson: Hmm MSG damn. Ahh Nets win.


Jason Concepcion: Vs. Cleveland? Now this is going to be it. This is that’s a huge game pencil that in in the coming days. Cleveland at home.


Jamel Johnson: So I have Nets winning. I’m saying Nets win, because KD


Jason Concepcion: KD is the best and Kyrie like.


Jamel Johnson: KD is the best. There’s nothing we can do about it.


Jason Concepcion: Kyrie has been absolutely like fire breathingly dominant.


Jamel Johnson: He played for his freedom. He he played for his freedom. This is the standards that we set in this country. If you can do a in and out dribble and you can go reverse one hand, yeah, you don’t need vaccine. What if the vaccine messed up his handles, Jason?


Jason Concepcion: You’re absolutely right.


Jamel Johnson: We’re not talking about that.


Jason Concepcion: Listen, we don’t know. We don’t know the effect of long COVID on a on a crossover.


Jamel Johnson: Exactly. The reason I got vaccinated is because I don’t have to go to the rack at my writing job.


Jason Concepcion: So let’s say first round. Nets Heat. Is would be the first round matchup potentially.


Jamel Johnson: Ideal. Ideal for the Nets.


Jason Concepcion: Or even like it if they go crazy. It’s not. The Raptors are only two games ahead, so it’s not crazy that it then becomes Nets Celtics, which is very interesting because the Celtics have basically been. I mean, if you look at the analytics like.


Jamel Johnson: Un-stoppable.


Jason Concepcion: Theoretically the best team in the East like


Jamel Johnson: the team that nobody is, I mean, I’m sure everybody, I mean, you know, in our world, everybody’s aware, but I don’t think the general public understands how good Boston has been recently.


Jason Concepcion: They’ve been dominant defensively post All-Star. And again, the advanced stats will tell you that they are the best team in the East since the All-Star break. So either whether it’s Nets, Heat or Nets Celtics, either matchup is intriguing. I mean, do the Nets do the Nets run all the way to the to the Eastern Conference finals? What do you think?


Jamel Johnson: I mean, it’s not out of the question, because the middle is like Cleveland and Chicago are dealing with injuries.


Jason Concepcion: Yep.


Jamel Johnson: Toronto’s not real. I mean, I liked how Siakam looks right now, but his best thing is being a rap line in a Miles Bridges song, so you know, that’s not real. The the real squads is Brooklyn, Boston. And.


Jason Concepcion: Philly.


Jamel Johnson: Philly.


Jason Concepcion: And the Heat,.


Jamel Johnson: These four teams, depending on where they end up on the side of the brackets, determines everything.


Jason Concepcion: I think the Bucks have a run in them. You know,.


Jamel Johnson: Yea thats true.


Jason Concepcion: They’ve been a little they’ve been a little flip the switch type, you know, team this season. They’ve had that energy of like, Yeah, we won it. We know we can do this again when we need to.


Jamel Johnson: I just couldn’t keep a backup guard. They don’t, you know, your backup Serge situation was messed up all year. And Brook Lopez.


Jason Concepcion: That’s true. And Brook is back now. So here’s my I have no evidence to back this up other than my feeling of destiny and fate and all those things. I feel like the basketball guys can’t let this happen, right? They can’t let that. They can’t let the Nets. Thrive all the way to the chip. But I do see them getting to the Eastern Conference finals, I’m going to say. Man, I’m going to say it’s going to be like 76ers Nets,


Jamel Johnson: and I mean, the whole the heat are beefing, they got the expulsion or raising his voice, you know, not as bad for him. His blood pressure.


Jason Concepcion: You can’t do that. Erik Spoelstra, Heat legend. It was interesting to watch the the Heat fans just kind of rally around their guy Spo like, Listen, Jimmy Butler is here for a minute, but Erik Spoelstra, like, came up through through like the video team at the Miami Heat. This is the guy whose entire adult life has been in the service of the Miami Heat. This is a guy who remember when remember when LeBron bumped him? Like, This is one of those things that just happens with it, with the heat because they get their DNA from Pat Riley, they’re just like a very. They care a lot. They are


Jamel Johnson: passionate players


Jason Concepcion: They’re passionate. They want to win. They drive very hard from the coaching staff on down. And I just feel like this is much ado about nothing that I actually enjoyed. Like I’ll ever forget when when man, when LeBron bumped Erik Spoelstra, I thought he was done. I thought that was it. I thought, I think they were like nine and eight or nine and nine at that time. Like, this was the first year of of Erik Spoelstra and the the heels. And I really thought, Oh man, they’re going to fire this guy and and Pat Riley is going to come down from the front office and he’s going to coach this team because LeBron clearly wants this guy out and they stood by him, and I think they’ll they’ll stand by him again. And I think it’s probably much ado about nothing. But man. Nets are about to throw a huge wrench into the entire Eastern Conference


Jamel Johnson: above everything, I am a Kevin Durant truther.


Jason Concepcion: Yes. Talk to us. You have a special relationship. As a as a person from that area of the country from Washington, D.C.. Yes, PG County


Jamel Johnson: Yeah, I’ve been to I’ve been to some of the same carry-outs as Kevin Durant. Yes.


Jason Concepcion: Tell us what Kevin Durant means to that area.


Jamel Johnson: I mean, he’s just the best. We have all decided. We’ve all seen it. He’s the best. Nobody hoops better than him. He actually went to Berry Farms and hooped. He actually was at the Goodman League. He was actually in the hood. We actually come on. He was on D.C. assault. He, if subpoenaed about the head of DC assaults drug trafficking charges, he would not have answered any questions. We know this. And we just love him, no matter what it is, is there ain’t no matter what he can do no wrong. And it just so happens. He’s also the fucking best.


Jason Concepcion: Adding some spice to the Kyrie Irving story is that he has a player option for next season at thirty six and a half million. I guess it’s possible that he could decline and sign an extension five year extension up to two hundred and forty plus million that is on the table. But who knows what happens? I would imagine if you’re Kyrie, you take the guaranteed money because. Man, I. They are obviously a Championship contender and a real threat to win the East and win it all, and Kyrie Irving is one of the most exciting players in basketball, but I think that there’s a lot of stuff that comes with the Kyrie experience and that will be fascinating to see what happens there. Up next. Deshaun Watson had his introductory press conference. He answered a bunch of questions pertaining to the pending civil litigation that he is facing, and his answers, I’ll just say for myself, were not terribly convincing, Jamel. Your thoughts on the Deshaun Watson situation with the Cleveland Browns?


Jamel Johnson: Obviously, I I I don’t think he should be in the league at this moment. So my my first thought I knew Deshaun Watson was strange as soon as he did that, AWS ad. He was the first person to do a next gen stats ad and the way he sounded, and the words he said, made me feel off. I was just like, There’s something wrong with this dude. I don’t know what it is. Horrified to find out what it actually was. Bigger than that,  the Cleveland Browns need to let it go. I think it’s time to get the Browns out of Cleveland. The city needs to win. Too bad they have lost sight of all morals. The compass is broken.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah,.


Jamel Johnson: It began when they signed Donte Stallworth, who did kill a man.


Jason Concepcion: He did run a man down in the crosswalk in an apparent DUI DUI accident. He did do that. That did result in in that a man losing his life.


Jamel Johnson: And I just don’t understand why LeBron James isn’t enough for these people. The Browns need to be disbanded. Defund the police and disband the Browns.


Jason Concepcion: So one of the details that about the Watson cases and I say it bothers me and I think bothers a lot of people, you know, just is one of these details that I find, you know, basically incriminating, I guess you’d say, is that he employed some 40 massage therapists in the years that he was with the Texans. He was asked about that reporter said, 40. You know, I just want to go back to the 40 massage therapists. It feels like a lot, you know, for a professional athlete whose body is a temple


Jamel Johnson: That is an entire roster.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, its like.


Jamel Johnson: An entire NFL roster of massage therapists


Jason Concepcion: You know most, most, most big time athletes. They’ll have like a couple, like maybe like a couple chefs or a couple trainers and like a backup one if that one’s not available, but 40 massage therapists is a lot. Watson said. Quote. Umm ugh. Let me see, 40 is just over the time. It’s not in one period of time. I have been in Houston five years. So you go to different people. Like I said before, I can’t get too far into details. But as businesses work and you move and meet different people and people have different schedules and blocks, you kind of meet people over time. OK, so let me just say that 40. I mean, if you if you divide it out and we don’t know, like, you know what the pace was here, but if you say like, OK, you were in Houston for five years, so that’s eight a year or, you know, that’s eight massage therapists, different ones per year,.


Jamel Johnson: Which is insane.


Jason Concepcion: Which is insane. And then maybe if you like you say, like, is this just over the course of the season? I would imagine, you know, over the season, it’s much more rigorous. You’re playing and you’re training, so you’d need maybe more massages. So that would be like, you know, five or six or seven massage therapists like over the course of several months of a year. Again. That’s a lot. That feels like a lot to me.


Jamel Johnson: It’s crazy, like you wouldn’t go to seven different people to get your haircut.


Jason Concepcion: No, I’d go to one and I’d have a backup.


Jamel Johnson: And if you are a person working in massage therapy and you land Deshaun Watson as a client and you want to continue working for him, you’re going to be available.


Jason Concepcion: One of the details about these cases is that Deshaun was contacting so many massage therapists that he apparently got, you know, as you would imagine, because there’s 40 of them in this suit that he got. He forgot that he had previously worked with a massage therapist, so he contacted one that he’d previously worked with and been weird with. And that massage therapist was like, Hey, yeah, sure, I’ll I’ll massage you again, but you have to stop doing the weird sexual stuff. And then he didn’t contact her again, and he went, he went. He went elsewhere, but he contacted one twice. That’s how many there are. And here’s another thing so some people were like, you know, like a Twitter and social media is not the best place to litigate this case at all.


Jamel Johnson: Yeah,.


Jason Concepcion: OK. But still keeping up with some of the comments about this and some of the people who are supporting Deshaun, like I’ve seen comments have been like, OK, but this was like, these are people that are like that are promoting their businesses and their massage therapy business on, on, on, on Instagram. So what does that tell you about what they do? That’s like shows you that they’re not legitimate. They were out.


Jamel Johnson: Yo Instagram is the only place you can advertise.


Jason Concepcion: Thank you. This is what I wanted to say. Instagram is a place where many, many people advertise and the idea that somehow, because it is a visual photographic based medium, that it is somehow a place where people are, you know, doing promoting untoward businesses or illicit services


Jamel Johnson: that’s called TikTok. Hello


Jason Concepcion: like I found all of my tattoo artists through Instagram. Every barber that I’ve ever that I’ve ever gone to in the last, certainly in the last several years, I’ve checked them out on Instagram first. Trainers, how many trainers offer their services through Instagram and indeed during the pandemic offered classes through Instagram. It’s that part of it is crazy. That is them. It is the most accessible form of marketing and promotion that people can, can use for their own small businesses that is out there


Jamel Johnson: And Facebook is done. Nobody makes Facebook events anymore. I’ve used Facebook. I’ve used Instagram ads in two thousand twenty one. I bought about $800 worth the advertisements saying this for tax purposes. But it’s absolutely true. Jason, I spent $800 and I do have receipts that I can’t find right now, but I did do it. My one actual take on this was that I thought it was super funny that they didn’t announce that he was going to be eligible to play until after Washington signed Carson Wentz. They waited one hour after. And I was like, this is sick. This is sick and disgusting stuff.


Jason Concepcion: WNBA superstar and Phoenix center Brittney Griner was detained at the Moscow airport in the weeks before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She remains in custody, was recently visited by State Department officials, who said that she is in good condition. But further details of her legal status, status of her detainment and what it might take to get her out remain opaque. To help us kind of unpack all the details and concerns around Miss Griner’s detention is a expert in Russian law professor of law at University of Illinois Professor Peter Maggs. Professor Maggs, thank you for joining Takeline.


Peter Maggs: Thank you.


Jason Concepcion: So you’ve written a number of books about Russian law. And you are an expert in Russian law, first of all, I guess the one thing I’ve been interested in is like, how does one become an expert in Russian law? My understanding of Russia is that there are the standards of rule of law and much different than than we are used to here in the West.


Peter Maggs: Well, there are different ways to do it. The way I did. It goes back to my freshman year in college and I needed to choose a foreign language, and I decided Chinese was too hard and Spanish was too easy. So I sort of flipped a coin and tricked Russia. And very few people studied Russian then, so the instruction was really good. Like a native speaker with two students, it was almost like private tutoring. So I actually learned so then when I went to law school, there was on the law faculty, one of the leading American experts of Russian law. So I studied with him and he encouraged me to go on. And when I got out of law school, we were just starting up an exchange of graduate students between the United States and the Soviet Union. And I got selected as one of the participants in this exchange. And instead of having to go to work, I got a whole scholarship from the U.S. and Russian governments. So I spent a year there and was lucky again to study with a top expert in Soviet law there. Then after that, I have been teaching it for many years, writing on keeping up with it going to Russia regularly until COVID. What I sort of shut down of international travel. And more recently, as you know, the State Department has strongly recommended against Americans going to Russia and saying, Get in, but we’re not guaranteeing you get out.


Jason Concepcion: So, yeah, so so what are some? What are some of the what are some of the hurdles that Mr. Biden is going to have to clear in order to get this resolved?


Peter Maggs: Well, everything involving Americans in Russia during the Ukraine war has some political aspect, right? So this is not like a traffic ticket I’ve got the car stopped a couple of times by traffic cops in Russia talked about it with ticket, right, trash talking. That was at times when things were good. But this is much more serious. I’ve also followed various criminal cases and you could divide them into ordinary crimes. And I guess where there’s political influence and anything involving in America these days involves political influence. Thus, you need to look at the whole political context. But even where there’s political influence, they’re going to go through the normal steps required by the Criminal Code Criminal Procedure Code, which is what they have been doing. Everything family has been by the book, so to speak.


Jamel Johnson: Do they have court? Like in my mind, Russia is just run based on dashboard cam footage.


Peter Maggs: Yes, they have courts and there are a lot of ordinary cases. Somebody wants something, he says. It’s no good. He wants his money back. There’s a child custody fight when a couple gets divorced. And many of those ordinary cases are decided at a pretty ordinary way by ordinary judges. Probably not decided, as well as in United States or England because of the United States, would make a judges are very high prestige job. And in Russia, it’s a very low prestige job. So it does not as low pay, so it doesn’t attract such good people. Once you’ve got the United States and judges sort of viewed as a bureaucrat in the overall bureaucratic system and friendship, you don’t hear from the people above you. You just do your job and you do hear people about you and they say to Trump your job,


Jason Concepcion: what is your sense of some ads? Griner has been detained because the charges relate to her possession of a controlled substance. Essentially, what is your sense? It has been suggested. I’ve not seen this reported as fact anywhere, but it has been suggested that these charges are trumped up to some degree, certainly politically motivated. What is your sense of why these charges happened in the time that they happened? And you mentioned the political angle at the point that a trial becomes political in Russia? Does that mean that basically there can be no resolution until the top political figures in the country decide that? There should be a real solution.


Peter Maggs: I think that’s true. But going back to what you said, first up, various things can happen. Two different scenarios. One scenario is some drugs are planted, and a number of opponents of the government have claimed that when they were arrested for drug offenses, that they had no idea that somebody had planted the drugs. They are. The police would arrive with a search warrant. They start searching and then they pull out some drugs. And these are real drugs because in their evidence room, they have locked up real drugs for real drug offenders. So it was a real stuff and it really was there. But the question was who put it there? Right? That’s one type of drug approach. The other type of drug offense is you’re a drug user or a drug dealer, and somehow the authorities come across what you’re doing and what you possess and you’re in trouble. And that may just be ordinary to trouble. May not have political consequences, but a big time drug dealer may get through quite serious trouble, and a small time user might still get into trouble for what you could go down to your corner. Shop here, buy legally in many states, United States, so. It’s very hard to know in general whether something is planted or something is real, if it’s planted, it’s obviously political from the point even before they find the drugs.


Jason Concepcion: But you don’t you don’t discount the possibility that something was potentially planted on Miss Griner. That is something that could have happened.


Peter Maggs: It could have happened, and I think it has happened. And just a few days ago, the most outspoken opponent of the regime, Navalny was convicted on completely different charges


Jason Concepcion: and then given another nine or 13 years.


Peter Maggs: Nine years, yeah. So we know a political conviction and bank charges could happen because it happened a couple of days ago. On the other hand, thousands of people were convicted every day in Russia on perfectly real charges, often with fairly severe penalties and occasionally, but it’s a small percent if they have a great lawyer. Good luck, they can get off if it turns out they’re not charged. For instance, if you’re charged under a controlled substance, there has to be a lab test to prove what it is. You can attack the accuracy of the lab test. A good lawyer. Another thing the length of the minimum and maximum sentence depends on the quantity of the drugs and whether you are involved with a group of people doing bad drug stuff. And again, a good lawyer can try to get this pushed into a category such as a smaller quantity or possession, and not dealing or possession and not smuggling. So typically, lawyers rarely get somebody acquitted, but they do often get it moved on to a somewhat lesser category or have some argument as to why the minimum, rather and maximum sentence should be imposed


Jamel Johnson: Does celebrity play a role in like Russian court decisions.


Peter Maggs: I think celebrity does play a role in particular if you’re famous for being an opponent of the regime. It’s going to play a real political role. On the other hand, if you’re part of their scheme to dope their Olympic contestants. Your celebrity may protect you or your following instructions to take some enhancing substance.


Jamel Johnson: Yeah, because that’s one worker’s. I mean, she’s like a Russian celebrity. She’s been playing ball in Russia for a few years. I’m wondering if that’ll get her some juice. Shout out to O.J.. I’m not going to elaborate.


Peter Maggs: Well, I don’t know which way that will go. On the one hand, she’s not a sort of undesirable character. She’s sort of a role model as someone who’s worked very hard and where she has sports. On the other hand, if you take her hostage, the more valuable the person, the more valuable the hostage you’ve got.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah. The conditions that political prisoners in Russia saw Soviet years and into the Russian Federation years is, I think, varied, but it just do you have any kind of sense what a what a prisoner of the kind of, you know, visibility of Brittney Griner would be held in? What kind of state should be should be held in?


Peter Maggs: Well, there are two stages. One is the stage before your tribe in which you’re in some sort of pretrial detention holding facility. And then in the normal course of things, you’re going to be convicted. And if it’s a long term, you’ll be sent to a labor camp and there are different levels of labor camp, depending on how serious the crime uncomfortable, more uncomfortable and most uncomfortable. It appears from what the State Department said, that she’s been held in fairly uncomfortable conditions so far. And of course, she’s probably in top physical shape so she could hold up better than many people could under trying conditions. But I think at this point there is someone deciding what to do. And so they’re going to hold her for a while at least some fairly nice conditions.


Jamel Johnson: Do you think these conditions involve a basketball court? And I’m just saying that completely, seriously, I do you think they’re making her play basketball right now?


Peter Maggs: I don’t think so. But years ago, I was on the grand jury here in my hometown and under the local law, the grand jury has to go and inspect the county jail. We inspected it, had a very nice basketball court. But usually you don’t have luxuries like that, particularly in the holding jails, holding jails, or for the average Russian, often worse than what you might get if you’re sent to serve your sentence in a labor camp.


Jason Concepcion: I think, you know, here in the West, we’re brought up just surrounded and immersed in this, you know, the U.S. law system, which we are details of, which bombard us from TV shows, from movies. And through that we get this understanding of this kind of tradition that stretches back to English common law, et cetera. What is the tradition of Russian law like? What what is the kind of if you could just like, sketch it out for us from where does it come from and what are the if there are any kind of like core philosophies behind it, you know, obviously in the English common law tradition, property rights, et cetera, those things are all very important. What are the likely important things for for the Russian system?


Peter Maggs: OK. There is a much shorter tradition in Russia, and the present legal system was formed in the latter part of the 19th century and largely followed the German model of having very specific written codes, having courts with the German model of those days. Everything works much better in Germany now. They have really great courts and so forth. Which fair? But the difference was in Russia, except for brief periods when things were quite fair in the legal system, there were long periods when things were very unfair and orders were taken from the top. And there are some brief periods in the 19th century then brief period after communism fell, where things were run pretty fairly and the much longer periods of the czars and Stalin and Putin have been ones where the courts have been quite subservient.


Jamel Johnson: OK, so Brittney Griner, I think we can all agree. Her detention is like politically motivated. They see her as like a possibly an asset.


Peter Maggs: Well, there are two possibilities here. Either the whole thing is made up and it’s totally politically motivated. Or they call her with something, and it inevitably became political given the current state of U.S.-russian relations.


Jamel Johnson: And I don’t know a lot, but I did watch Madam Secretary two times through what are the odds that they plan to use her as like a bargaining chip or they’re going to try to like trade her for like Russian operatives? We have zero discussions when the State Department came and checked on her.


Peter Maggs: They’ve certainly done that in the past many years ago. I was involved in a case where the U.S. got two Russian spies and the Russians then arrested an American businessman in Moscow and cooperating with the State Department. The guy’s business, which made the spare parts for the national gas lines to distribute gas throughout Russia, stopped fixing them when they broke. Mm hmm. So there were all sorts of things. And the U.S. authorities said this guy is just an ordinary businessman who made a case against. We’re not going to give up to spies because you made up a case. They said, We want to get your top two or three dissidents in exchange for the two new spies, which they did. Hmm. So there was bargaining on both sides and some heavy pressure from the US.


Jason Concepcion: How do you see this resolving itself?


Peter Maggs: I think it is tied to the whole resolution of the Ukraine situation, and nobody knows how that’s going to get resolved.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah.


Peter Maggs: If the U.S. said, OK, we’ll stop sending arms to Ukraine, Putin, you have it. But by the way, we’d like you to release a few Americans. He’d say, fine, they’ll be flying out first class on the next flight. Right. That’s not going to happen. On the other hand, as long as the situation is unresolved. Hmm. You want to keep all your bargaining chips. As you know, Russians are great chess players. Yes. And one pawn will decide the game between President Masters.


Jason Concepcion: Well, he is Peter Max, professional Russian law at the University of Illinois. Professor Max, thank you so much for sharing your unique insight on this very serious subject.


Peter Maggs: Thank you very much for having me.


Jason Concepcion: [AD]


Jason Concepcion: Well, ugh quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League begin this weekend first legs, we’ve got Chelsea versus Real Madrid, Man City versus Atlético Madrid, Villareal versus Bayern, Benfica versus Liverpool and to help us unpack all of that, Wall Street Journal’s Joshua Robinson are our champion of the Champions League. And first question Josh.. It has been revealed in a recent Wall Street Journal report that former, well, current. But soon we imagine to be former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who apparently has been taking a leading role in in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, has apparently been poisoned or has exhibited the symptoms of being poisoned. How did this is insane news that I never would have imagined a reading or speaking or talking about even three weeks ago, but your reaction to that?


Joshua Robinson: It’s it’s a pretty extraordinary turn of events. In all seriousness, where you know, there are so few details are known that it’s really difficult to speculate about where or why this is happening. But it does show that Abramovich is, you know, we kind of are in a situation where. You never thought a sports owner could be in this position. And the fact that this is happening is really extraordinary and tells you a lot about the journey the Premier League’s been on over the past 25 years, where you’ve got people who aren’t just interested in sports and people who going just like investing in sports, but who are real movers and shakers in the world who happen to own soccer teams because they either, like soccer, have other intentions. You know, I think about this a lot. When you come around to Man City too, you think about the money that they’ve spent. The chairman of Man City is also the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Sovereign Wealth Fund. And if Man City spends a billion dollars or $2 billion on talent over 10 years. That doesn’t really matter when you consider that the Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund runs $100 billion. It just tells you like what the profile of owner in the Premier League has changed so immensely that the people who owned clubs 30 years ago can’t even imagine that


Jason Concepcion: it’s truly insane. Another thing I wanted to add that this is new news. There is another proposal to to alter the way teams qualify for the Champions League. This on the heels of the failed bid to create a European Super League. The the so-called Swiss model, if enacted, would basically use mass to allow a team that has been historically good to get into the Champions League despite having a bad season. In other words, I would call it the PSG, the PSG tweak. Perhaps your thoughts on this?


Joshua Robinson: I’d call it more of a Man United tweak.


Jason Concepcion: I like it.


Jamel Johnson: Hey.


Jason Concepcion: Hey, hey, hey,.


Jamel Johnson: Hey, now


Joshua Robinson: you know, in case you finished fifth or sixth or seventh,


Jason Concepcion: just in case.


Joshua Robinson: Yeah, you get them in again. It’s, you know, we knew that UEFA was always going to make major changes to protect the big clubs, the Super League in that sense. And these changes were super unpopular when they first proposed them a couple of years ago. And then the Super League happened. And that gives us a cover to say, Hey, in effect, we’re the least bad option. And, you know, so they still protect the biggest clubs. It’s not the Super League. They still have the redistributive finance model, and they can say. You know, everyone they can argue, and I’m not sure I buy it, but that you do want the biggest clubs in the Champions League year after year. And you know, if a Man United misses the Champions League or, you know, in some other crazy situation, as was shaping up, perhaps to see a Barcelona misses it, you know, they can say, well, we’re still protecting this competition and making it the most prestigious thing we have.


Jamel Johnson: I hope the rule is enacted, but then they have to bring back like Newcastle or something like the I want the math to be fucked up the other way. Like now we’re all watching teams from the 80s.


Joshua Robinson: Newcastle’s working on it. Don’t worry about Newcastle


Jason Concepcion: They’ve got a cache of money in coming.


Joshua Robinson: Oh, you want. You want previous European champions like Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest back.


Jason Concepcion: Oh, I love the Nottingham Forest jerseys. Let’s get that. Get the trees back in there.


Jamel Johnson: Exactly.


Jason Concepcion: Going to these first legs. Any hope for Villareal vs Bayern Munich in your, you know, can you see any any daylight there for them?


Joshua Robinson: It’s not the kind of game the Bayern tends to mess up. They they tend to be just extremely, extremely reliable until the semifinals and then all bets are off. But I just don’t see Villareal having like the kind of strength over two legs to trouble Bayern


Jamel Johnson: is Bayern ever going to get too old.


Jason Concepcion: I know, right? Why do they keep being good?


Joshua Robinson: They are already, but you know, Bayern Germany is the kind of league and a Bayern figured out what PSG hasn’t, which is how to manage like a kind of, I would say. Tier one and a half league and like protect your best players, make sure that they’re ready to perform in Europe in a way that PSG has a bunch of guys who like don’t care about the league most of the time in a very visible way and then are not sharp when the  when the time comes. Bayern is just like a machine that runs for this part of the season. That sounds like a really, really long winter break. That helps a lot. So while the Premier League teams come in and traditionally were cooked by this time of year, Bayern was rested and tanned and fit and determinedly trying to fix that and also the squad. They’re much deeper now than they used to be. But yeah, I mean, that was the secret for the longest time, like the winter break changed everything.


Jamel Johnson: And I would be I would be super pissed if I was playing against a guy who just got off a vacation.


Jason Concepcion: I know me too.


Jamel Johnson: Like, I’ve been in the trenches for months and now I got to go to Germany like, Oh, I just I just got back from Monaco. What’s poppin?


Joshua Robinson: Right? It’s like, Are you a Premier League guy who played eight times in seven days over Christmas? And and then Bayern is like coming back from Doha. That’s that makes the difference.


Jamel Johnson: Speaking of countries, Ukraine. So they are they’ve always played kind of a big role in Champions League. You could always see Dynamo Kiev or Shakhtar Donetsk, and they would be one of these squads would be in this round. And they’re not around now, obviously, what’s the future of Ukrainian football like? Are they even going to have a league going forward?


Joshua Robinson: I mean, as we know, Ukraine has much more pressing problems than the future of the league. It’s I think that the football universe at least will be very charitable towards Ukraine. You know, going forward, they’re not going to say like, sorry, you didn’t play, so you’re shut out of everything. You know, there’s just a lot of unknowns there, and I think if you know a Dynamo Kiev or Shakhtar has to be grandfathered into European competition like a couple of years from now, then UEFA is probably going to be inclined to do that.


Jason Concepcion: Keeping in line with that line of of discussion, Chelsea versus Real Madrid is pretty fascinating match up Chelsea Thus far, the defending champion has seemed to kind of been really admirably weathering the intense interest and upheaval that is kind of swirling around the team. What do you see for that match up? And, you know, thus far, we’ve seen that it appears that there’s two American buyers that seem to be the frontrunners to purchase Chelsea is what can you tell us about those those competing bids and what perhaps the EPL is looking for the British government would be looking for in a buyer for that team?


Joshua Robinson: I mean, look, we, if an American buyer, is successful in the Premier League. We’re going to end up in a situation where nine of the 20 Premier League clubs have at least some American interest.


Jason Concepcion: And it’s so popular with the with the British audience. They love that they really love the Americaner


Joshua Robinson: They can’t. They can’t get enough the plagerists and .


Jason Concepcion: They can’t get enough of the American.


Joshua Robinson: You know, people who come in and try to run money-making business, which means not spending wildly and trying to balance the books. Fans love that. What we would get, I think, with an American buyer, but but on the other hand, from the Premier League’s perspective in the UK government’s perspective, an American buyer very easy to deal with. It’s kind of the dream situation for them because, you know, the books are easy to check in on. The sources of money are easy to document and it’s not going to be, you know, the pre vetted by whatever business they were already in. So, you know, someone who’s been who’s had a career on Wall Street already comes into the Premier League and the Premier League is like, OK, this is fine. We know, we know what they’re about. We know how they do business and it’s going to be, you know, everything appears legitimate. And non problematic. So the Premier League is happy to waive those people in, and the UK government is as well. There’s no concerns about human rights, there’s no concerns over possible government interference. So in a case like Chelsea, I think whichever whichever American bidder puts up puts up, the most money will get waved through. What it means for the club is interesting because obviously they’ve gotten used to a certain standard of living. Chelsea is quietly spending, has quietly spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent summers, even after we thought the era of Chelsea’s crazy spending from 2000s was over. They even had a transfer ban, and then they came back around in the next window and blew more than a quarter billion dollars on talent. So it’s it’s not going to be the same under under American owners just because they come in thinking they’re going to recoup their investment in a way that Roman Abramovich never cared about because it wasn’t about that. It was about winning.


Jason Concepcion: I wanted to ask you about this. You wrote a really fascinating feature on Marcus Rashford that I urge anybody who has a Wall Street Journal subscription to go out and check out. Very, very interesting guy. Anything surprise you about about your time with with Marcus?


Joshua Robinson: I really enjoyed talking to him, and it’s rare, I think, to get to get a football or these days who is willing to listen to your question and like, think it through first. And I really he’s he’s just such a considering. He considered every question and really thought about it and made an effort to say something meaningful to him, which I really appreciated. And he’s he really is a fascinating guy because the issues he’s talking about, which for anyone who doesn’t know was mainly around getting kids who and families who depended on free school lunches, access to those when schools were shut down during the pandemic and that expanded into a larger childhood hunger program. And he spoke from a place of real knowledge on this because he lived it. He was one of those kids who depended on the free school lunches while he was trying to become a professional athlete and living out his dream of playing for his the team he supported as a kid, Man United. And he’s done a lot of great work there and got himself to a position where. You know, the British government. It had a lot of very unpopular policies around this, and he created such a popular movement and such a such a clearly like right issue. You know what I mean? Where it’s just not really two sides to this, it’s you can’t let kids go hungry. And Marcus Rashford is trying to fix this. And it got to the point where he provoked government U-turns, and he’s just a really fascinating, soft spoken like speaking from the heart kind of guy. Oh, and yeah, I mean, this is a guy who’s going to have a career far beyond football and make an impact far beyond football.


Jamel Johnson: Italy knocked out of another World Cup loss to North Macedonia, the hood and the hood part of Macedonia. Defeated Italy in World Cup qualifiers there, knocked out now there’s no Italian teams in the quarters and Champions League. I mean, is this is this good for football? Did Italy just need a break? After just years of just solid defense in corruption, they just need a break.


Joshua Robinson: Isn’t it crazy that Italy in a period where they won the European Championship right there, defending European champions? But you look back at the past 15 years of Italian football, and it’s still probably goes down as one of the darkest periods in their history. So they won it, and they won the World Cup in 2006 2010 out of the group stage 2014 out in the group stage 18 and 22 don’t even qualify for the World Cup. You know, the quotes from the Italian players after the North Macedonia game were just like pure opera,


Jason Concepcion: suicidal dire stuff


Joshua Robinson: we are destroyed. And but the amazing thing is that it’s Italian soccer player. So when they say we are destroyed, destroyed, I believe them.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, they mean it.


Joshua Robinson: Yeah, yeah, they really mean it. It’s it’s a tough moment for them and it’s, you know, Italian football is in a difficult position where they, more than any other big league in Europe, depend so heavily on television money. The other parts of their income are just not there. It’s a league that also hasn’t had a major kind of across the board stadium facelift since Italia 90, the World Cup, because that’s that’s the real driver of stadium investment. So you’ve got you’ve which built itself a new stadium ten years ago, but no one else is really doing that. A lot of clubs are playing big. Clubs are playing these hulking, crumbling buildings that don’t make it appealing for fans to go to TV. Money is not is still way behind the Premier League and even La Liga, and it’s it’s just a creaking ship kind of floating at sea. That’s not that doesn’t really have a direction. You know, even the biggest clubs that have had major investment recently, per se like Inter have suddenly seen that investment dry up because that was a Chinese billionaire whose business heavily suffered during COVID and the club could not pay its lavish salaries anymore. So it’s it’s just kind of spinning its wheels to mix metaphors. And yeah, and it means that the money then doesn’t trickle down into development and to turning over the players.


Jason Concepcion: And then finally, let’s let’s let’s get your thoughts on some predictions here now, with Arsenal threatening to finish top four. I think we all agree that it’s Arsenal’s era starting next season and every season after that right, I would say it’s upon us an era of dominance of once dominant us.


Jamel Johnson: Once they hand Valvich.


Jason Concepcion: Right.


Jamel Johnson: And just get out of the way


Jason Concepcion: and hegemony by Arteta’s men out there across Europe. But for now, give us some. Give us some your prediction for the quarterfinal semi final. Who do you see playing for it all?


Joshua Robinson: playing for it all? I think I mean, I think ultimately rail for the magic they produced against PSG will not go that much further. Stick my neck out here against the greatest Champions League team in history. But they like fundamentally, they relied too much on on just moments of magic from individuals named Karim Benzema. But it’s they’re an old team. They’re they’re not that exciting and a lot of ways. And Chelsea is so solid back to front. Yeah, that I don’t, I think over two legs they should be able to get through, you know, and assuming none of the administrative chaos seeps through into the team, which it hasn’t so far at Chelsea has to be one of the favorites to defend it. And of course, you know, fresh in town as they are, we’ll see probably into the semis, possibly a final. And then, you know, really honestly, it’s just tough for me to look past the Premier League at the moment. Liverpool City, Chelsea, I think any of those teams could win it.


Jason Concepcion: He is The Wall Street Journal’s Joshua Robinson. Joshua, thank you so much.


Joshua Robinson: Always a pleasure.


Jason Concepcion: [AD]


Jason Concepcion: Oh, yeah. You know what that sound is. It is time for the dramatic, triumphant return of Take Survivor. Joining us today, he is the producer of Takeline. He is Ryan Wallerson. Ryan, how are you?


Ryan Wallerson: I’m good, I’m good. I’m ready to play my first round and Take Survivor man.


Jason Concepcion: He is a standup comedian, a co-host of several podcasts, including Earbuds, Sorry, We Love NFL, NBA Story Time and more. He is the great Jamel Johnson. Jamel, how are you?


Jamel Johnson: I am exactly fantastic.


Jason Concepcion: He is a writer on all caps, NBA and a standup comedian. A Phoenix Suns fan. He is Aaron Edwards. Aaron, how are you?


Aaron Edwards: I’m doing good. Watching James Harden flop right in front of me. You know how things are


Jason Concepcion: he is the host of Stuck with Damon Young here at Crooked Media and also a 2020 recipient of the Thurber prize. He is Damon Young Damon. How are you?


Damon Young: I’m good. I’m just hanging it like wet clothes. Nah mean, I’m good right now


Jason Concepcion: Folks. Welcome to take Survivor. The game where only the strongest take wins. Here’s how it goes. Three rounds, first two rounds. All of you will vote for the weakest, the worst take in the round, and that person will be eliminated from the island in the final round. Y’all will be voting for the strongest pick for the winner. Don’t worry, these instructions will come back to you again before the final round. Are we ready to begin?


Damon Young: Yep, that’s go.


Jason Concepcion: First prompt. Best underdog ever in any genre, I’m talking David and Goliath, the actual biblical David versus Goliath. I am talking the The Road Runner. I am talking any genre, not just sports. Best underdog of all time, Ryan, let’s start with you. Who is the best underdog ever?


Ryan Wallerson: I’m going to go with Tom from Tom and Jerry, because while he went down pretty much all the time to Jerry from numerous numerous facets, right, he never gave up. And most of those episodes he had us thinking his kids, Damn, this really might be it for Tom. He might really get him here. And when he fucked up, when he finally came down, he would fall more times than not. It was by his own doing because Jerry, like, got into his heart light, but he was always down for the smoke because Jerry’s formidable man, Jerry is an absolute menace. Like, they’re not a lot of cats out here, cats or cows that can continue like human cats, alien cats, inanimate cats, metal cats like, Hey, I’m a go with Tom and respect to Tom.


Jason Concepcion: So that is Ryan Wallace with Tom. Ugh, Jamel, Who is the best underdog ever?


Jamel Johnson: Quick, honorable mention to the 2006 George Mason Patriots, my god, the team that got Jim Larranaga his retirement money. Shots out to Tony Skin, Everybody in PG County, we love you. Thank you for coming across the bridge. My actual answer Squints in The Sandlot.


Jason Concepcion: Whoa, whoa.


Jamel Johnson: Squints. A child, a pervert, both a child and a pervert.


Aaron Edwards: The pause


Jamel Johnson: defeats he overcomes all of the odds, devises a sinister plan to make out with the grown woman he’s obsessed with


Jason Concepcion: really does is troubling that relationship.


Jamel Johnson: Not only does it work, he marries the woman. He has several kids. They probably got a daycare now.


Jason Concepcion: Well, an incredible answer from Jamal Johnson, Aaron, best underdog of all time?


Aaron Edwards: Best underdog of all time. I’m going with the Little Saints from the motion picture. You Got Served. You heard them. You heard of it. They lost. They got washed by the dance crew that knew all of their dances. They rallied around the little homey little saint getting blasted, and they ended up pulled it off at the end. I mean, what’s better than that? Like a whole team jacks your whole thing if you come back and rally around your boy and win a whole dance competition. It don’t get better than that. I’m sorry. That’s it.


Jason Concepcion: Aaron Edwards with the Little Saints from the film You Got Served. Damon, who is the best underdog of all time?


Damon Young: I feel like this answer should be obvious, man. It’s humanity. We are the biggest underdog that this. I mean, just think about the shit that needs to happen for us to live. Like for the first 12 years of our life, we’re useless. We are defenseless. We could get eaten. We could get stabbed. We could get shot. I mean, there are viruses that are here just to kill us. I mean, there are fucking solar flares, aliens, diseases, water, white people casserole all this shit talking on on planet Earth that exists here to kill us. You know, I mean, and just the fact just just the fact of our own existence, us versus the universe, us being here is a fucking miracle. We are St Peter’s fucking St Peter’s. I want to cause we are kinesis. He’s the president of the tournament since 1995. We are Canisius College, right? Playing against my to the three peat, you know, heat or. But anyway. Humanity, humankind, there is there is no bigger, no greater underdog than us.


Jason Concepcion: There are answers. Let’s go to the voting. Reminder everyone here will be voting for the worst take and the voting starts now. Please DM Zuri with your vote. Will it be who will be eliminated from the island? First will it be Ryan, who says, Yes, I know a cat is the natural predator of a mouse, but I’m picking Tom in Tom and Jerry as my greatest underdog of all time will be Jamel, who shouted out the 2016 JMU patriots, but then said, Squints squints Paladoris. The perverted future offender, Squints Paladoris is the greatest underdog of all time. Or will it be Aaron who says, You remember how Elgin rolled in You Got Served and how he brought it back and was victorious against all odds with his newly named crew? The Little Saints, the Little Saints from you got served. What will it be? Damon, who says Yes, we are the most dominant creature on the planet with this big old brain, but it’s actually humanity is the greatest underdog of all time. Yes, we have nuclear weapons and we cook our food and we wear clothes, but it’s much more tenuous than you think. We’re fighting uphill. Votes are coming in right now, and let’s take a look. OK, and here comes the voting and we have one vote for Ryan. We have one vote for, Oh, we’re adding them up. We have one vote for Jamel. We have another vote for Ryan and our last vote, is this our last vote? Yes, this is our last vote and first elimination from the island. Ryan Wallerson has been eliminated from the island. Ryan, what do you have to say?


Ryan Wallerson: I went the way of Tom and I went with my heart and I lost. So this cat is out


Jason Concepcion: Ok. Prompt number two round number two which video game? What video game should be adapted into a film? We recently got the Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, a vehicle uncharted based on the long running Sony video game Uncharted, the uncharted series of video games. What video game should be adapted into a film? Let’s start with you, Damon Damon. What video game should be adapted.


Damon Young: I’m thinking that we should adapt NBA Live.


Jason Concepcion: Wow.


Jamel Johnson: Oh, he said LIVE he did not say he did not say 2K people He did not say 2K.


Damon Young: That’s not saying much about my and my rationale for this is that basketball movies are typically terrible. Right? Well, the movie itself isn’t terrible, but the depiction of basketball in it is and is because there are no actors in the crossover event.


Jason Concepcion: Diagram is very small.


Damon Young: And it’s not. And basketball is not a sport like baseball or football, where if you’re athletic, you can run and jump. You could realistically portray like a superstar athlete with basketball. You need like a skill set. So we need to find not basketball players who can act, but the actors who can play basketball put them in this movie. You get like Rob Brown, who was who in Finding Forrester Duane Martin. Mahershala Ali, I believe, also played D1 colleg basketball and again the basketball scenes in movies are always terrible. So why not, you know, have a depiction of NBA, NBA Live and boom and actually get the actors who can hoop


Jason Concepcion: Ok give me the. So NBA live. Famously, has been defunct for a number of years because they just they just fumbled the bag in a most in a absolutely tragic way in the face of competition from 2K. What is your? Give me your elevator pitch for an NBA Live, the movie starring Mahershala Ali what is your elevator pitch?


Damon Young: You know the reboot might make cating up with Jack Harlo. We saw Jack Harlo  play in the NBA, you know, celebrity game. And he’s terrible, right? And so let’s actually get a basketball movie where can actually play


Jamel Johnson: as long as they got the little icons underneath them i’m going


Jason Concepcion: Thats what we want to see in the movie. Uggh Up next Aaron what video game should be adapted into a film?


Aaron Edwards: I think that it should be a Crash Bandicoot.


Jason Concepcion: Oh,.


Aaron Edwards: But you just use it with it. You just kind of use it with a human, though, because you can get anybody in just Levi’s and red chunks to just like, run around the city. It’s the.


Jason Concepcion: Live action Crash Bandicoot.


Aaron Edwards: Just running around a city like trying to get treasure and dealing with Mr. Robotic or like, like all his villains, like, he got wild villains that can kind of get racial sometimes if you base it in Africa like it’s supposed to. But if you just make it based in America, you can kind of like get get around all of that stuff. You don’t have to deal with abuda because and like all that stuff, you could just get straight to it


Jason Concepcion: in the interest of fairness. What is give me your elevator pitch right now for Crash Bandicoot, the film?


Aaron Edwards: Dude finds out at his, I don’t know, like at his condo, but I want to say not condo. But, you know, like the worst version of the condo, like, he’s in the hood. And he finds out that there’s like a treasure and he has to go from different areas of the city to find certain treasures. And then at the end, he finds out that Mr Robotic, probably a billionaire, is the one that’s keeping his city down.


Jason Concepcion: I love it. Next up, Jamel. Jamel, what video game should be adapted into a film?


Jamel Johnson: I literally wrote down Crash Bandicoot too so I have to do the. I have that I have to write down I. But we can. We can port that we can put that easily. Spyro the Dragon The Natural, The Natural Companion to Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon starring Tom Hardy as a perfect dragon who shoots flames. We get Christian Bale involved as well. Fun for the whole family.


Jason Concepcion: Give me the in the interest of fairness. What is your elevator pitch for Spyro the Dragon? The movie?


Jamel Johnson: Listen, the the head of Miramax Films


Jason Concepcion: Harvey Weinstein currently. Harvey, are you listening? We got a pitch for you, baby, the way back


Jamel Johnson: Still? Well, know. I hope your cell reception is good, sir, because I got a movie for you and it is hot like fire.


Jason Concepcion: All right, let’s go to the voting. Who will be the second eliminatee you from the island of Take Survivor? Will it be Damon who says in a world in which NBA live no longer exists as a video game franchise? Mahershala Ali and Jack Harlow bring the famed video game series to the silver screen. Or will it be Aaron who says a Crash Bandicoot the movie and it is the story of of a young man who discovers that there is a treasure somewhere in the hood, and he puts on his overalls and he goes out and he runs and finds it. Will it be? Jamel says Spyro the Dragon starring Tom Hardy and Christian Bale. It is the touching story of Spyro the Dragon, a video game that I didn’t play, and so I don’t know what the story is. Who will it be? The votes are coming in now, and we have one vote for Damon to be eliminated from the end. We have one vote for Jamel to be eliminated from the island. We have one more vote for Jamel to leave the island.


Jamel Johnson: Yeah, I voted for myself.


Jason Concepcion: OK.


Jamel Johnson: I just felt like it just felt like the right thing to do.


Jason Concepcion: And there’s three votes to one including the vote for himself. Jamel Johnson is the second eliminated from the Take Survivor Island. Jamel, what do you have to say?


Jamel Johnson: I’ve let the family down. Go watch Spyro Dragon in theaters next summer. I don’t know


Jason Concepcion: Well, listen, Harvey Weinstein is just absolutely salivating at the prospect of adapting Spyro the Dragon. And now we go to the finals. Folks, this is it. The Finals. It is Aaron versus Damon in the finals of Take Survivor. And the question is, what is the greatest Oscar snub of all time now? I’m not talking about just who won an Oscar or who should have won an Oscar or who should have been nominated for an Oscar. It’s anything, if you think John Boorman’s 1980 film Excalibur should have been best picture. That’s the greatest snub, and that’s the greatest snub of all time in your mind. Then that’s it. Greatest Oscar snub of all time. It can be nominations. It can be wins. Are we ready? Aaron, what is the greatest Oscar snub of all time?


Aaron Edwards: Greatest Oscars snub of all time is from the movie Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping Making mill.. so many bangers and not a single one of the big nominated in the Oscars for Best Musical Song or soundtrack or anything they did nominated for anything at the Oscars. The movie is super underrated. They make bangers, they make bin Laden. They make Mona Lisa, they made gay. They made all these songs and not a single one of them got nominated. And it just seems egregious that they did all that work put out. Actually, really good album. If you listen to it, the album was actually good. It’s not a single vote was put in for them.


Jason Concepcion: Strong answer. You could argue that pop star got fucked like they fucked Bin Laden in the category of not getting nominated for an Oscar. Damon, what is the biggest, the greatest, the most vile Oscar snub of all time?


Damon Young: Biggest snub, I think of all time. There’s probably Tyrese in the whole Fast 5 universe the TCU Torreto Cinematic Universe. And OK, so in their little crew or whatever crew of, you know, car thieves and hijackers and everything, he is probably like the 13th most important person. But he’s he’s the definition of non-essential for what he does and the crew. But cinematically, cinematically for us, for the audience, he’s the third most important person. Like, there’s obviously just Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto. He’s number one. And then the villain, whoever the villain is, number two. But terrorizes is the audience avatar. He is the only one who expresses like, Yo, this is some bullshit what we’re about to do. Yo, we been we been. We’ve been on like 15 minutes into it, but none of us have even broken a nail. What the fuck is up? Whats going on? So he’s the only one who is centered in reality in any aspect. And also too, there’s a recurring joke throughout this whole thing about how he is like, how he has a big forehead, how he’s unattractive big head, when Tyrese is one of the six or seven most handsome niggas on the planet, right? Like he is, the only he is one of the two people that my wife has, like a hall pass for. And yet he has managed to portray, you know, someone who is convincingly ugly enough to be teased by the rest of these misfit misfits. All right. So again, Tyrese again, he is important to this multi-billion dollar franchise, gets no love, gets gets shit on on Twitter for good reason. But again, he is, you know, the greatest snub of all time. And they have like 16 of those movies. They can’t nominate him for one of them.


Jason Concepcion: Man, incredible answers. Let’s go to the final reminder now for all our voters. This is the final voting for the winner. Now there are two contestants do not vote in this case. The voting bloc is Jamel, Ryan, and Zuri. You will be voting for the winner of Take Survivor and who will it be? Will be Aaron, who said, You know what? Mona Lisa, you’re an underrated piece of shit. So will it be pop star who says, why didn’t pop star win several Oscars for Best Original Soundtrack will be Damon, who says, Where’s my Where’s My Lifetime Achievement Award? Best Supporting Best Actor Nomination for Tyrese in every single Fast and Furious movie in which he provides the comic relief. He flies a, you know, like a small Japanese hatchback into space. He does all these things that are very important in terms of keeping the vibe right. Votes are coming in now. We have one vote for Aaron. We have one vote for Damon and the deciding vote for our champion of the returned, the rejuvenated take survivor is for our champion. Damon Damon, congratulations.


Jason Concepcion: What do you have to say upon winning the rejuvenated Take Survivor today?


Damon Young: I did not anticipate this. I had one and a half takes prepared. I thought I would get eliminated early. Thank you for all three of the voters. I really appreciate you. I could send you all edible edible arrangement if you send me your your addresses in the zoom. You know, it was a great competition with Aaron. You know, he was a great, great, great competitor.


Jason Concepcion: He brought.


Ryan Wallerson: You, brought it.


Damon Young: He brought it too. So again, I appreciate it. Thank you so much. And yeah, I’m going to go celebrate.


Jason Concepcion: I love it. Then that has been it for Take Survivor. Join us next time, folks. Goodbye. That’s it for us. Follow and subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to Take Line Show on YouTube for exclusive video clips from this episode, plus my digital series All Caps NBA, which airs every Friday. Check it out by. Takeline is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Ryan Wallerson and Zuri Irvin, our executive producers are myself and Sandy Girard engineering, editing and sound design by the Great Sarah Dubolaska and the folks at Chapter four in our theme music is produced by Brian Vasquez. Mia Kellman is on the Zoom for vibes, and the vibes are fantastic all the time.