Monday links

1)The NCAA has opened an investigation, involving hundreds of schools, related to allegations that God (yes, that one) has been lavishing improper benefits on college athletes. This could be You-ge.

2)The former multi-purpose player, Antwaan Randle El, who is suffering from memory lapses and reports having difficulty walking down stairs, says he regrets having played football and wishes he had played baseball instead. Randle El had a nine year NFL career, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s 36.

3)Bomani Jones had a good monologue yesterday commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.  The essence of Jones’ take was to argue against the sanitizing of King’s message and legacy. The crux of King’s strategy was not love for the sake of making everyone feel good about themselves, to propound a message of harmony. Instead, “shame” was central to King’s strategy. In other words, King engaged in the actions he did to provoke a day of reckoning for America, to force it confront its shameful behavior with regard to its black citizens. Jones praised the NBA for taking the King holiday seriously, both by offering a slate of games geared to celebrating King (including one in Memphis), as well as specifically honoring his legacy at half time of the prime time game. But he also expressed concern that if only the NBA pays proper respect to King, it could further perpetuate the idea that Martin Luther King Day is a *black* holiday. That’s wrong, Jones argues, because the salient point about the holiday is to remember that it’s one for all Americans – to celebrate and venerate the legacy of a man who implored, cajoled and ultimately gave his life for the proposition that American should actually live out the values they claim to hold dear.

As a sort of aside here, look I know that ESPN programming decisions are business decisions, based on attracting audiences and the advertisers who sell to those audiences. But it’s quite remarkable that a large chunk of the network’s daytime radio is now real estate occupied by two of the brightest, most thoughtful and – particularly for the world in which they operate – iconoclastic people in the sports media business, in Jones and Dan Le Batard.


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