If you've never seen the film Eight Men Out, by all means rectify that and watch it as soon as possible. It's based on Eliot Asinof's celebrated book about the 1919 Black Sox scandal and directed by John Sayles, who, in a bad-ass bit of self-casting, plays the legendary sportswriter Ring Lardner that helps unravel the plot. The cast is stellar, from John Cusack to David Strathairn, and everything about the film evokes the era of bygone Chicago. We also become witnesses to how the eight Black Sox players were exiled from the sport, even for the most tangential of connections to the scandal.
Which brings us to Bill Simmons, who for all his influence and popularity with the public, has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the outcome of any sporting event, at least not until Caltech eggheads unravel the quantum mechanics behind the Reverse Jinx. He did, however, have to withdraw his NBA MVP ballot earlier this week after some attentive observers started connecting dots that started with him publicly announcing a bet on LeBron James to win the MVP before the season started and ended with his oh-so-public completion of an NBA awards ballot. (You'll never guess who he picked for MVP.) Obvious problem, right? Not to Simmons, apparently, or the NBA.
ESPN, which also doesn't seem overly concerned with the matter, felt compelled to issue yet another statement this week concerning an employee who likes to gamble. (Seems to be happening a lot lately.) Here was the word from on high: