Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by Jen Mueller

CanoThe world of sports made national headlines over the weekend with the audiotape of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  It’s an extreme example of how sports goes beyond what you see during a game and a reminder of how sports can influence and affect large numbers of people.

I recommend staying away from controversy in your small talk conversations with colleagues, but as a general rule sports conversations can help build rapport and camaraderie.

Here are a few of the topics making news.

Making News:

  • Robinson Cano
  • Donald Sterling
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Talladega

Why They’re Making News:

  • In baseball, former Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano returns to New York for the first time since signing with the Seattle Mariners.  Cano made headlines when he chose not to re-sign with the Yankees during the off-season choosing instead to sign a 10-year, $240 million contract with Seattle.
  • In the NBA, comments by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling overshadowed playoff action during the weekend.  Audio recordings captured Sterling making offensive and racist comments.  NBA legends like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have weighed in and the NBA is investigating.
  • The Kentucky Derby is Saturday.  It’s the first event in horse racing’s Triple Crown.  California Chrome is expected to be the favorite thanks to a four race-winning streak.
  • In hockey, the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks won their first-round matchup against St. Louis.  Chicago will play the winner of the Minnesota-Colorado series.
  • The NASCAR circuit heads to Talladega this week.  It’s been a season of nail-biting finishes so far and the trend will likely continue this week.  Talladega is a restrictor-plate track where speeds are more limited and there’s usually a significant amount of bunching and crashes as a result.

Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, is the sideline reporter for the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. She also works on the television broadcasts for the Seattle Mariners. Jen is the author of Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day for Business..  Her step-by-step process makes sports accessible and practical for relationship building in business.  The book is available through Amazon.