On Bill Simmons Criticizing Roger Goodell

Jason Snell’s take is spot-on (emphasis mine):

What’s really clear is that ESPN’s not concerned with “journalistic standards” of any kind. Let this dispell any remaining doubt that what ESPN does should not be called journalism. ESPN is a house organ for its sports-league partners, and its business would be at serious risk if the NFL were to decide that ESPN was a poor partner and take its business elsewhere.

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On Roger Goodell’s Job Security and the Ray Rice Investigation

Mark Maske, reporting for The Washington Post:

An official with another NFL team who had been briefed on the views of the owner of his franchise said of that owner: “He supports the commissioner.” Asked what it would take for that owner’s support of Goodell to be withdrawn, the official said: “If the investigation concludes that the commissioner saw more and knew more than he has said, and he was not truthful about that to the clubs, things would change.”

A top executive with a third franchise who had spoken to his team’s owner expressed similar sentiments, saying Goodell’s job would be at risk only if it is found that he personally orchestrated a cover-up.

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Derek Jeter’s Goodbye

Roger Angell for The New Yorker, “S’Long, Jeet”:

Jeter has just about wound up his Mariano Tour—the all-points ceremonies around home plate in every away park on the Yankees’ schedule, where he accepts gifts, and perhaps a farewell check for his Turn 2 charity, and lifts his cap to the cheering, phone-flashing multitudes. He does this with style and grace—no one is better at it—and without the weepiness of some predecessors. His ease, his daily joy in his work, has lightened the sadness of this farewell, and the cheering everywhere has been sustained and genuine. Just the other day, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon groused about the rare sounds of cheering offered up to Derek by his customarily sleepy attendees.

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‘This is Cowardice Writ Large’

Dave Zirin for The Nation, “Michael Sam: Out of the Closet, Out of the NFL?”:

The very language that Michael Sam is a “distraction” – which Freeman is one of the few to have the courage to call out – is a way to project and justify one’s own bigotry. Michael Sam is not a distraction. A “distraction” is when a team invites HBO Hard Knocks into their locker room. A “distraction” is when an owner proudly and loudly defends a racial slur on national television. A “distraction” is when a player commits a crime like spousal abuse and is then aggressively defended by his organization like all he did was chew gum in class. To equate being open about one’s sexuality and then just playing football (no Oprah reality shows, no special interviews) with being this kind of “distraction” is to traffic in rank prejudice. Once again, to say otherwise, is to practice public relations.

NFL Wants Super Bowl Acts to Pay to Perform

Sam Richmond, writing for FanSided:

The league is now asking potential acts for the 2015 halftime show if they would be willing to pay to perform, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal also reports that the NFL is down to three possible performers: Katy Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay.

Good luck with that.

On the Jets, iPads, and Their Last Super Bowl Win

Brian Costello, reporting for the New York Post:

Like many teams, the Jets have switched to digital playbooks on their iPads. Players must enter a passcode to gain access.

The passcode? 1-9-6-9. As in 1969, the last time the Jets won it all.

“It’s just something to remember — 1969 is the last time this team was perfect,” defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. “That’s a long time ago.”

However motivational, 1-9-6-9 isn’t a very secure passcode. They should switch to a longer one.

‘Bad Call’

Fritz Huber for The Paris Review, on TV sports commentators in the US:

After a prolonged TV spectacle like college football’s Bowl Week (whose contests last year included the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and the Taxslayer.com Bowl, the latter being only a slight improvement on the all-time most absurd Galleryfurniture.com Bowl), watching English Premiership matches or Six Nations rugby on BBC feels like a cultural upgrade. There’s less advertising. There’s less analysis of bullshit statistics (“Headed into this matchup, the Kentucky Wildcats are 11-3 in games played within four days of their coach’s annual colonoscopy”). And, on British television, the commentators’ linguistic repertoires don’t feel as inhibited; there’s more room for an occasional flourish. Why can’t we have a color analyst like Ray Hudson, who, in his exuberance, will announce that we’ve just witnessed “a Bernini sculpture of a goal,” or claim that watching Lionel Messi “softens the hard corners of our lives”?

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Jack Nicklaus: Tiger Can Still Break My Majors Record

Joe Posnanski, writing for GolfChannel.com:

“I think the guy is just too good,” he said. “I don’t know what is happening between his ears right now … somebody said the other day that they think he has the yips with the driver, and I think that is a pretty good assessment. I had never heard of that, but if you get it in your head that you can’t hit a driver in the fairway, you aren’t going to hit it in the fairway very much.

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‘Michael Sam Focuses On Making the Rams, Not History’

William C. Rhoden, writing for The New York Times;

The reality is that Sam, whether he likes it or not, is a trailblazer. He has made a significant impact — on the league, on fans and on an American sports culture that is not the most progressive — before playing an N.F.L. game.

He continues to attract attention and stir debate at training camp, where the Rams will decide whether to keep him. Regardless of what happens, Sam continues to raise awareness and smash stereotypes.

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On Timelessness and Time

Mike Plugh, “Baseball: Past American Time”:

It’s also important to remember that baseball is a rural game, a game of grass and dirt, of wood and chalk and pine tar. Baseball is a game of wide open spaces. We call the playing space a park, in contrast to courts, rinks, and gridirons. The sport itself also is the essence of timelessness, which fits with its rustic mores. The clock is an urbanizing technology, one of synchronization and uniformity, time being measured precisely to produce regularity in our routines.

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