Your morning roundup for Sept. 20, the day we learned that putting on a banana costume sometimes isn't worth it. Photo via tipster Ryan, who saw it on ESPN.com and wrote, "Thanks for the nut grab photo, ESPN." Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors.
What we watched: So the NFL's rationale for giving Dunta Robinson a lower fine for his head shot on Jeremy Maclin than the one Robinson got last year for his hit on DeSean Jackson is that Maclin was "not a defenseless player." But if the overriding issue is helmet-to-helmet contact, and if Robinson is a repeat offender, why does that matter?
As this video makes obvious, Maclin had indeed caught the ball and was running, but his range of motion was still tied to the momentum of making a catch while moving over the middle; he had almost no time to react as Robinson wound up, lowered his helmet and came flying toward his face. If the league indeed wants to prevent these types of hits, it ought not to be so arbitrary about its enforcement of the game's violent fringe, especially when it comes to players who can't seem to take seriously whatever punishment they initially receive.
You don't say: "Robert Boland, professor of sports business at New York University's Tisch Center, agreed that the notion of the commissioner as moral compass is outdated. ‘The commissioner's job has transformed almost to being the chief operating officer,' Boland said. ‘With the growth of concerted activity in the league model, in the last 50 years, since the NFL signed their television agreement to put all their games on television and share that revenue, the power and stature of the league in business affairs has grown in almost every case.'" [Los Angeles Times]
This is stupid: "But on one account, Girardi has a blind spot. He has disrespected Jorge Posada all season and it was no different on Monday. Here was a perfect opportunity, with a two-run lead, for Girardi to bring Posada off the bench to catch Rivera in the ninth inning for the closer's 602nd save. Posada had been behind the plate for the vast majority of Mariano's saves, and the two men have a fine, long-standing relationship. Posada had performed just fine at catcher recently when Girardi was left with no option, due to injuries." [New York Daily News]
Your Bird Doing Impressions Interlude:
Kerry Wood, still hurt: "Kerry Wood has been shut down for the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, which he'll have surgery to fix next week. Wood will have plenty of time to get healthy by spring training, but told Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago that he'll retire if the Cubs don't want to bring him back in 2012." [Hardball Talk]
"No champagne yet," with a photo of champagne … after two games: "Loveable losers for so long, the Lions are riding an NFL-best 10-game winning streak dating to last year (including the exhibition season). Only two of those games count now, victories over Tampa Bay and Kansas City the past two weeks. But it has been so long since the Lions lost — 289 days since a 24-20 defeat by Chicago — that winning is starting to seem second nature." [Detroit Free Press]
Merch: Managing editor Tom Scocca and contributing editor Drew Magary have both written books. You can buy Scocca's Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future here, and Magary's The Postmortal here. Now do it.
Send stories, photos, and anything else you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org.