Happy Friday everyone,
Well not really. I did not have fun writing this newsletter. Not that it was difficult to get words on a page — when I’m angry enough about my sports teams failing me, the words spill pretty quickly— but this was a particularly frustrating week. Josh Brown, D-Rose, and a cartoonishly racist logo crushed whatever fleeting enjoyment I got from seeing their respective teams host the W. It’s the kind of week that makes me want to write a 4000-word diatribe about how everyone and everything spoiled the pleasures of fandom. Don’t worry, I’m too busy, lazy, washed from parenting, disorganized, distracted, and merciful to force you to indulge my external processing about rooting for the home team. (However, I will force you to indulge my hatred of the Buffalo Bills.)
At least Damian Lillard dropped a new album. And Kap got his job back.
Stick to Sports: In which we stay in our lane.
The best rapper in NBA history. That’s the shadiest insult I can dime to Damian Lillard. The star Blazers point guard dropped his debut album, The Letter O at midnight (9pm Pacific) last night. The title references his hometown of Oakland, and his new domain in Portland, Oregon. The first track on the album (Question: Has any black man loved Oregon more than Dame D.O.L.L.A.? Probably not.)
The album itself is aight. Lil Wayne and Raphael Saddiq are on it, so that’s something. There’s a surprising lack of “explicit content” so perhaps we’ve come a long way from Allen Iverson rapping about killing dudes with “f-ggot tendencies.” We’ve seen Dame crush on the mic — remember that freestyle on Sway in the Morning? But on the whole, the project resembles his defense—weak, unaggressive, and ultimately responsible for keeping him from the top of his profession.
Okay, now that’s the shadiest thing I (Bradford) could say.
Delay of Game: All you can read before the clock expires.
Long, long ago, before he started rocking the ill Afro and inhabiting the spirit of the late, great, Muhammad Ali, Colin Kaepernick played quarterback in the National Football League. On Sunday, he started his first game in 11 months, facing the Buffalo Bills on the road. It didn’t go well!
Bills fans were thrilled with their team’s performance. Perhaps too thrilled. Everyone naturally wants to see their home team come away with the W andthis year’s squad has a lot of prom- WAIT DID SHE SPEAR A KAEPERNICK DUMMY?
As Sports Illustrated writer Robert Klemko, who recorded the video screencapped above, notes you can also hear them yell “Tackle the Muslim!” I suppose that’s concerning enough, but though the sentiment is indefensible, so long as it remains a pre-game activity there’s no cause for ala-
Seriously, dude? Some entrepreneurial-minded Bills fans are selling tees illustrating Kap with a target reticle placed on his chest. Can we call that a threat?
You’ll never believe it, but Bills fans chanted “U-S-A!” during the national anthem, placing themselves in the ironic position of being too concerned with Kaepernick’s refusal to stand and sing along with the anthem to actually do it themselves. How disrespectful! Do they even care about the troops?
This is Bradford and Bradford’s a Jets fan so here’s some more news about the Bills being trash goblins:
The Bills organization employs Rex Ryan as their head coach. Ryan spent his offseason getting the vote out for Donald Trump.
NFL lineman Richie Incognito’s racist and homophobic harassment of former teammate Jonathan Martin than his play on the field actually validates Trump’s understanding of “locker room talk.” He’s the Bills’ left guard.
And, this may shock you to read, but would you believe it, Incognito is also a Trump fan! He appreciates his “toughness.”
The Bills claimed in April that Ryan doesn’t represent the org, but 1) based on their fan base, he probably does and 2) did you know I loathe the Bills? Because I do.
Yo, Adrian! Dodgers first baseman Adrián González refused to stay in a Trump-owned hotel during a regular season visit to Chicago. We praised him for it on Twitter but according to LA Times reporter Dylan Hernandez, he’d probably prefer we didn’t know.
González, a Mexican American born in San Diego, told Hernandez that he “wasn’t doing it for publicity” or for “it to be a story” -- he did it for himself.
“I’m not ashamed by it,” he said. “I’m OK with it.”
But he said that if he wanted the incident to be made public, he would have talked about it shortly after it happened.
“I’m not an in-your-face guy,” he said.
That’s true. How he has spoken about religion is one example. While he is a devout Christian, the only times he has talked about his faith are when he’s been asked about it directly.
He has promoted his Mexican heritage, but in subtle ways, like by pushing for players of Latin American descent to place accent marks on the names across the backs of their uniforms, or by selecting a mariachi song as his walk-up music.
González doesn’t want to follow the outspoken sports-activist blueprint that Colin Kaepernick, Carmelo Anthony and others have set. And while you certainly could speculate that the indomitable whiteness of baseball’s culture might have something to do with it (see Jones, Adam.) Either way, it’s a legitimate stance, and as Hernandez states, his American right. And some hope that contrary to some people’s opinions, there’s still a “woke” baseball team competing for the chip.
Россия любит хоккей. Just over 3 percent of the NHL hails from Russia. (In fact, the league currently has more players from Finland.) Yet despite the fact that the league has had times had double this percentage, it’s never mandated that teams have official translators. “The young kids like Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis or Artemi Panarin in Chicago would probably love some American reporters knowing some [Russian],” Mike Harrington, a reporter for Buffalo News told Sports Illustrated recently. “And my sense is that older guys who speak more than reasonable English like Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin have never totally gotten comfortable with the North American media.”
Another interesting admission from the hockey media roundtable. “The league is very white and it makes me uncomfortable at times,” said John Buccigross, SportsCenter anchor, who also called race “the final frontier for the NHL.”
I think it needs to be reemphasized because it’s right, and because it makes good business sense. Perhaps because the league is still so young in warm weather climate cities, we need another 50–100 years of natural and organic growth through diversity. However, I wonder if there is an opportunity to open hockey academies in American cities and subsidize teams through grants, investments and aggressively attack this.
Kids’ Kaepernick kneel (k)anceled their season. An African American football team of 11 and 12-year-olds decided that they would collectively kneel for the “Star Spangled Banner” saw their grievances validated after their protest went viral. (Read Bleacher Report’s deep dive.) Facebook commenters said “they should lynch us, and burn us,” recounted a middle school player. The team’s executive board of the entirely-black league stood behind the all-black squad for less than a week before they met with its coaches and threatened to cancel their season. At the start of the next game, the coaches chose to allow their players to do what they wanted. So some kneeled, while others locked arms.
Earlier this week, the league announced that the season had been canceled.
Drafted and shafted. Rob Manfred's latest move: launching an international draft for foreign amateur MLB talent. Most people that care about Latin Americans or Latin American don’t care for this. (In 2013, 150 players including Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnación, Yadier Molina, and Yoenis Céspedes signed a petition protesting it.) Ben Badler at Baseball America: “The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money.”
An international draft fundamentally misunderstands how the Latin American pipeline works, says Badler, but MLB has never given a damn anyway:
MLB has consistently made it more difficult and more dangerous for scouts to do their jobs, implemented rules that hurt players and are designed to limit their bonuses and engaged in a variety of ethically questionable actions. The trainers are incentivized to maximize the development of their players; MLB has no such incentives.
Rose beats his civil rape charges. Derrick Rose and his friends were ruled “not liable” in his civil gang rape trial. (There’s still a criminal investigation.) Rose was understandably happy to win his case, but jeez, Derrick, c’mon son:
The impartial jury of Rose’s peers weren’t the only ones celebrating the decision. Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald joked about wishing the New York Knicks point guard well, making an exception for “when the Knicks play the Lakers.” Surely a fun trial for everyone involved.
After Rose’s defense team fought so hard to reveal Jane Doe’s name during the trial, it’s a shame they forgot her so quickly.
After a preseason win against the Boston Celtics, longtime teammate Joakim Noah told the press he was grateful the “distraction” of Rose’s rape trial was over. Noah, who ain’t saying she’s a gold digger, was frustrated about how Jane Doe “went out of her way to make money off of him.” As Robert Silverman points out in Vocativ, maybe this is why women don’t come forward.
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