Friday Night Lights Out: Russell Davis has been called a "dork," a "pussy," a "gay," and a "nanny state liberal" who's "almost as krazy as Hillary" .... the reason Davis has attracted attention and ire is simple: he wants to eliminate public high school football.
Last Chance U: the college that gives young players a final route to the NFL: "The tiny town of Scooba sits in Kemper County in the vast state of Mississippi. Its quiet streets are home to under a thousand permanent residents and there is little excitement to be found. An isolated Subway sandwich shop is the social hub. East Mississippi Community College stands incongruously in Scooba’s streets. The college houses some of the country’s finest student American football players who dream of making the NFL. They find themselves in sleepy Scooba for two reasons: their grades aren’t up to scratch or they need more playing time to prove themselves to larger colleges. For almost all of the players on the Lions’ playing roster, this is their last chance at football redemption." Their story is also a Netflix documentary.
Wisconsin football fan dresses as Donald Trump, holds caricatured dummy of a lynched Barack Obama: The fan is not removed and the University defends his right to free speech.
Video games are changing how professional soccer is played:: "Ibrahimovic said that he would “often spot solutions in the games that I then parlayed into real life” as a young player. Mats Hummels, the Bayern Munich and Germany defender, has suggested that “maybe some people use what they learn in FIFA when they find themselves on a pitch.”
The Great Sports Myth: the widespread assumption that sport is, inherently, a force of good—despite the fact that it can both empower and humiliate, build bonds and destroy them, blur boundaries and marginalize.
The false hope of Tommy John Surgery: "Nearly 30 percent of pitchers in Major League Baseball have undergone Tommy John surgery, the revolutionary elbow-ligament replacement surgery named after the pitcher who first underwent it in 1974...... Tommy John surgery, it turned out, was a paradox, the procedure that worked too well."
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's career was propelled by wrestling: which also allowed him to abuse, and get away with abusing, boys for many years. "When calls for his removal from office reverberated through the capital a decade ago, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert struggled to explain why he had not aggressively investigated allegations that a Florida lawmaker had sent flirtatious messages to a teenage boy who had served as a House page. At that perilous moment, an impassioned group of supporters stepped forward to speak up on Mr. Hastertâ€™s behalf: wrestling coaches."
Emails from Bettman and other top NHL officials reveal knowledge of harm from fighting and links to drug abuse: "â€śThis is not the same role as it was in the 80â€™s and 90â€™s,â€ť Shanahan wrote. â€śFighters used to aspire to become regular players. Train and practice to move from 4th line to 3rd. Now they train and practice becoming more fearsome fighters. They used to take alcohol and cocaine to cope. (Kordic) Now they take pills. Pills to sleep. Pills to wake up. Pills to ease the pain. Pills to amp up. Getting them online.â€ť"
NFL knowingly distorted their own concussion research: "These discoveries [from decoding the league's own database] raise new questions about the validity of the committeeâ€™s findings, published in 13 peer-reviewed articles and held up by the league as scientific evidence that brain injuries did not cause long-term harm to its players. It is also unclear why the omissions went unchallenged by league officials, by the epidemiologist whose job it was to ensure accurate data collection and by the editor of the medical journal that published the studies."
Donald Trump's less than artful failure as a Pro Football Owner: "The [N.J.] Generals gave Trump something else: newspaper headlines. He was not yet a household name, though he was clearly on his way. Owning the Generals turbocharged his rise to fame. His views, his deals, his postgame comments — they dominated the news media’s coverage of the U.S.F.L. At first many of the owners were glad to have him play this role because it put a spotlight on the new league. But many U.S.F.L. observers soon came to believe that he did not necessarily have the best interests of the league at heart. “He was a dynamic figure, but he was dynamic on behalf of the Donald Trump interests, not the whole league,” said Keith Jackson, who broadcast U.S.F.L. games for ABC."
Peyton Manning’s squeaky-clean image was built on lies: as detailed in explosive court documents showing ugly smear campaign against his alleged sex assault victim. "As a general rule, it's not just gross to smash your testicles on a woman's face, it's a crime." Direct link to the court documents.
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""