Your morning roundup for Sept. 23, the day we learned Einstein might have been wrong about that whole theory of relativity jazz. Photo courtesy Larry Brown Sports, via @xmasape. Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors.
What we watched: Boomer Esiason raises a valid point in a Q&A in this morning's USA Today that dovetails perfectly with what Craggs wrote the other day about Peyton Manning and HGH. The topic was Tony Romo's cracked rib and punctured lung, and Esiason rightly pointed out the dissonance between the league's emphasis on safety and its willingness to allow a guy to get numbed up and sent back out there by his team's medical staff.
"I hear all this lip service about how we have to take care of the players," Esiason told the paper. "We have to move the kickoff up, we have to limit the amount of high-speed collisions, we can't hit the QB any more. And yet we have a guy who has two cracked ribs, a punctured lung, and we're going to shoot him up with a numbing agent and put him back in the game? There's something inherently wrong with that...You can make that your headline: 'Why the hell isn't the NFL investigating how Tony Romo got back on the field? [sic] And why are we glorifying it? Why are we now saying Tony Romo's the greatest QB of all time because he showed toughness? That mindset is supposedly what the NFLPA and the NFL are trying to get away from it. Yet here we are glorifying it after the fact. You can't have it both ways."
Craggs had acknowledged the league has made a kind of peace with cortisone, "without which the NFL would cease to exist altogether." He then took that argument a step further by wondering (as Jason Whitlock) had, if HGH were to be proven to work as a healing agent. What, then? Esiason's conclusion likely answers that question, too.
This is what passes for good news in the NBA right now: "But despite hand wringing over the imminent delay of training camps and the cancellation of preseason games—an announcement is expected Friday, according to sources—what happened here actually had the potential to be productive. For the first time since their initial proposal in January 2010—when they offered a $45 million hard cap that would deliver the players well below 50 percent of BRI—the owners proposed a revised BRI split that was closer to, but still below what the players have indicated they would be willing to accept. In this impossibly slow negotiating dance, that qualifies as progress." [CBS Sports]
For once, ESPN won't talk about itself: "Problem is, ESPN itself is at the heart of why this is happening. Its Longhorn Network deal with the University of Texas kicked off the mess, sending Texas A&M to the SEC because they're so mad about the deal, which gives Texas $300 million over twenty years, puts a conference game on the network, and wants to show high school games and highlights (ever seen a ticked-off Aggie? It's not pretty). The idea of a school-only network played a role last year in sending the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Big Ten. That helped lead Colorado to leave for the Pac-12 and left the Big 12 near death, having lost a quarter of its members, including two premier ones. The instability in the Big 12 and movement toward superconferences surely played a part in the ACC's recent raiding of the Big East's Pittsburgh and Syracuse. … How has ESPN covered its own role in the fiasco this week? Poorly." [CJR.org]
Your Crawling Baby Vs. Crawling Dog Racing Interlude:
The remaining Big 12 teams handcuff themselves to each other: "Oklahoma President David Boren said all nine remaining schools—all those except for Texas A&M—have 'agreed' to give a six-year grant of their first- and second-tier television rights to the Big 12 for the next six years. That means all revenue from the top television games-shown currently on networks owned by ABC/ESPN and Fox—would continue to go to the Big 12 even if a school bolts to another league. The six-year term runs past the next negotiating period for the top-tier contract, currently with ABC/ESPN, in a bid to keep the nine schools together for the next contract." [AP]
You're not panicked enough: "Over the decades, teams falling apart during a pennant race have always made for darkly compelling viewing. Yes, watching champions spraying each other with Champagne is nice. But seeing teams - good ones, even great ones, losing night after improbable night when the games matter most - can be ghoulishly riveting. If the Red Sox and the Braves continue their descents, this September could produce two historic collapses. No team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, has ever squandered what Boston and Atlanta are close to giving up: leads of eight or more games in the race for a spot in baseball's postseason in the final month of the season." [NY Times]
Fan ruins fun: According to a fan on Twitter at the game, it was not the only time Simmonds was targeted with a banana peel during the game. Another peel was thrown, presumably by the same person, when Simmonds scored with 52 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game but the toss did not clear the boards to make it onto the ice. Sadly, Simmonds said he has come to expect things like that - even in 2011. ‘When you're a black man playing in a predominantly white man's sport, you've got to come to expect things like that,' Simmonds said. ‘Over the past 23 years of my life, I've come to expect some things like that.'" [Philadelphia Daily News]
At least he's honest about this: "During an interview played on Westwood One's broadcast of Monday Night Football, Brady explained that he doesn't tell the media how he truly feels or thinks because he needs to avoid creating headlines. ‘I don't often say exactly how I feel,' Brady said. ‘And I don't often say exactly what I think. Because you don't want to cause controversy. When there is controversy, all your teammates start getting asked about ‘What Brady said.' Really, it becomes a distraction to the team. You're trying to get ready for an important game on the weekend, and then now, on Thursday and Friday, the only thing that people want to talk about is some comment the quarterback on your team made. When that happens, I feel bad and a certain responsibility to my teammates that in some way I let them down. That they have to be cleaning up a mess that I made for the rest of the team. And that's never a position that I want to put my teammates in because we have too many other things to worry about. In the media-driven culture that we have, and I understand that every reporter has a job to do, and every newspaper is trying to sell a story, and there's hard competition for that. But for me, I always try to keep it to football and about the focus of the week so that I can be the best representative for my team as possible.'" [Larry Brown Sports]
No more Red Bull in the clubhouse: "Major League Baseball, which banned illegal performance-enhancing drugs and amphetamines, now has several teams restricting the use of energy drinks. On this, the players say, teams are going too far. ‘It's asinine,' said Arizona Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz, who typically consumes one Red Bull drink in the seventh inning. ‘What are they going to ban next, coffee? Soft drinks? It's so bizarre.'" [USA Today]
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.
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