Roger Goodell's unstoppable football machine: or, "Why haven't concussions hurt the NFL?" Like anyone who has spent time around the league, Nate Jackson, the former Bronco, has heard a great deal about the Shield. ‘‘The thing is, isn’t a shield supposed to protect you?’’ Jackson asked me. ‘‘They want players to put their bodies in front of the shield, to sacrifice for this shield.’’
With NFL Rams gone, St. Louis still stuck with stadium debt: In St. Louis, the $280 million agreement to build the Edward Jones Dome for the Rams raised eyebrows since its opening in 1995. Unlike other stadium deals, the St. Louis contract included a clause requiring the 67,000-seat dome be maintained to a first-tier standard, meaning the facility must be considered among the top quarter of all NFL football facilities. ... "This was a contract designed to be broken" by the team, said Matheson, who studies stadium finances. "They had a terrible, terrible contract with the Rams."
It's Who We Are?: It’s really not surprising that, on December 10, 2015, the school board of McLoud, Oklahoma voted to maintain their racist mascot. All of the usual arguments were made, in support of keeping the R word: “It’s an honor,” tearful pleas of “We’ve been the R** for generations”, and, my favorite, “It’s who we are.” The latter is by far the most accurate and telling. Put simply, the events during the McLoud meeting was not only a by-product of American history, but an indictment of it.
The Natural: In October 2014, Andrea Duke, 35 years old and a competitive runner for only one of them, qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Episodes in the Life of Bounce: "All ball sports are aleatoric structures organized, to greater or lesser degrees, around bounce. Aleatoric structures—structures of planned chance—produce a reliable kind of uncertainty. We don’t know who will win and who will lose, but we know that at the end of the day, there will be a winner and a loser. A ball introduces a second, more uncertain, kind of uncertainty into the fray. Its bounce dances along the edge of our predictive capacity, always almost but never fully under control. At least in the Anglophone world, this second kind of chance—the chance of the ball—seems to be especially important to our contemporary understanding of play. While other kinds of contests are raced, run, rowed, and swum; wrestled, fenced, fought, and boxed; timed, weighed, measured, and judged; ball games are played. And only an athlete who contends with balls (or pucks, or shuttlecocks, or other third objects) earns the title “player.” We become players in and through bounce."
Racism Between the Goal Posts: New research finds black quarterbacks are benched far more often than their white counterparts. "Volz found that, once all the variables were factored in, "black starting quarterbacks are 1.98 to 2.46 times more likely to be benched the next week [after a poor performance]" than white quarterbacks with approximately equivalent skills."
Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra passes away: at the age of 90.
Surprise military reunions at NFL games reach peak Bullsh*t: one might wonder why no headline writer went with “Husband Surprises Military Wife At Her Job”
Katie Ledecky: now 8 seconds faster swimming 400 metres freestyle than Mark Spitz ever was.
Report: Patrick Kane Target of Rape Investigation: Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is under investigation by police in a rape case, the Buffalo News reported Thursday. Two law enforcement sources in Hamburg, New York, told the paper that a local woman accused Kane of rape over an incident that allegedly happened last weekend. Kane grew up in Buffalo and has a house in Hamburg.
L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick breaks down the NHL's top snipers: "The best shooters aren’t necessarily the hardest shooters — the best shooters are the guys who can drastically change the angles of their release." Part 2.
What if we talked about NHL players the way the media talks about female athletes?: "Chicago Blackhawks can go back to being fathers, partners and sons today, but they have taken on another title -- heroes""
Serena Williams and the Fear of a Dominant Black Woman: '.... it’s surprising that Williams’s story of picking up a tennis racquet in Compton and ending up the greatest women’s tennis player of all time hasn’t been turned into a homily on Americana. “If Serena were smaller, lighter, and less connected to her roots she would probably be more popular,” says Kendall. “But racism means that many Americans look at her refusal to be ashamed of coming from the inner city, her rejection of European beauty aesthetics, and her spectacular record and see a negro that doesn’t know her place.”'
Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition: "Williams said that one particular long-sleeved garment would help her go unnoticed in public. “My arms are really fit, but I wanted to cover them, because when I do people don’t recognize me as much,” she said. [......] “It’s our decision to keep her as the smallest player in the top 10,” said Tomasz Wiktorowski, the coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, who is listed at 5 feet 8 and 123 pounds. “Because, first of all she’s a woman, and she wants to be a woman.”
Calvin Peete: who taught himself how to play golf at 24[!!] and became the most successful black player on the PGA Tour before the arrival of Tiger Woods, died Wednesday morning, the PGA Tour said. He was 71.
The gym on the Titanic, and other early 19th century ocean liners.: "I was up early before breakfast and met the professional racquet player in a half hour's warming up for a swim in the six foot deep tank of saltwater heated to a refreshing temperature." -- Colonel Archibald Gracie, Titanic Survivor.
Igor Larionov reflects on playing for Red Army, and what is wrong with North American hockey: "If you look at the coaches in Juniors and minor league hockey, many of them were not skill players. It’s a lot of former enforcers and grinders who take these coaching jobs. Naturally, they tell their players to be just like them. Their players are 17, 18 years old — younger than I was when I joined the Red Army team. Say what you want about the Whiplash mentality (or the Soviet mentality), but if coaches are going to push kids at that age, why are they pushing them to play a simple game? Why aren’t coaches pushing them to create a masterpiece? We lose a lot of Pavel Datsyuks to the closed-minded nature of the AHL and NHL."
Annotated list: the 25 best photos of Muhammad Ali, inside and outside the ring.
Over the Hill: The late career decline of Steve Nash, a review essay covering The Finish Line and 7 Seconds or Less. “If you ever see a child move,” [Nash] says in the first episode of the series, “they’re totally uninhibited. They just move freely, they don’t think about it, they’re not straining or protecting, they just are. You know, at my best, I am childlike out there.” It may be the most tragic line in the whole series; in capturing precisely what he once had, we also understand what he’s lost.
Four strikes and you're out: A study of more than one million pitches reveals "Umpires want to make the right call, but they also don't want to make the wrong call at the wrong time. Ironically, this prompts them to make bad calls more often." Illustrated with some nice heat maps.
Of all the Canadian coaches, he's the most Russian: Grantland profiles Mike Keenan as he coaches Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL.
Why is the world's gayest sport stuck in the closet?: A perceptive long essay from buzzfeed examines sexuality and men's figure skating.