Ukraine's gridiron, a Wildcat's courage and 'Slap Shot' turns 40

Sports Redef

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rantnrave:// It is an inescapable truth that sports media’s largest brokers have partnerships with the leagues they cover. It makes for some murky lines and puts networks like Turner in difficult positions when their product angers a partner. Friday, Bleacher Report tweeted a snarky caption along with a blooper of Dirk Nowitzki shooting an air ball. It would have disappeared into the social media ether, except Mavericks owner Mark Cuban noticed it and went on a crusade to have it deleted. (Why he cared that much about one snarky tweet is another question — Cuban managed to give it more pub. Guess you never know who’ll care about what you tweet.) He emailed Turner president David Levy and shared their conversation on Twitter — and then deleted it once the B/R tweet was gone, too. This has sent ripplesthroughout the sports media. B/R’s tweet was harmless but instead of backing its content team, the company capitulated to Cuban. This episode bites at B/R’s sovereignty and surely will be in the minds of the company’s talent when they write, tweet or speak from now on. Charles Barkley can say what he wants but that license doesn’t necessarily trickle all the way down at Turner. Sports media should be able to speak without restraint. This is especially important to preserve as leagues expand their sphere of influence. Will this episode have a chilling effect on B/R or any other entity with ties to the NBA? The media networks that partner with sports leagues must decide how much power they give to the leagues and owners they pay money to. … Are mainstream sportswriters turning liberal in response to President Trump? Or are they just suddenly speaking out? We explore the politics in our new REDEF SportsSET: “Is Sportswriting Making a Left Turn?” … Don’t stereotype esports viewers. They’re more likely to have full-time employment and to have a higher than average household income. And they like to watch the NFL. As esports continues its emergence, data like this will be important to understand its audience and why it’s becoming so popular. … How will NASCAR market Daniel Suarez, a Mexican-born rising star? Its CEO, Brian France, supports President Trump and its fans lean right — at a time when Trump and the Republican party have a difficult relationship with the Hispanic community. … What we know about NBA jersey ads so far. This is probably a trial-and-error period right now for NBA teams — a small step into a big puddle. If teams find that fans don’t mind, there should be a slow creep of larger and more prominent ads. The fan in me doesn’t like it, but the capitalist understands. … Is Fancy Bears, the Russian group believed to be involved in hacking the DNC, now trying to expose cheating in U.S. track? … You do not know My-King Johnson yet. You probably will soon.

In Ukraine, a group of young men escape the trauma of war with good old American football.
Alexey Furman & Robert Langellier | Roads & Kingdoms

Beggs, his opponents and hundreds who attended the state meet were forced to confront one of the country’s thorniest and most divisive issues.
Kent Babb | The Washington Post

“I do feel like when I say that, it can put a target on my back. But whatever.”
Zack Rosenblatt | The Arizona Republic

Risky pursuits like BASE jumping offer a buzz better than any drug. New technologies provide the same rush without the danger.
Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal | Outside Online

Happy 40th anniversary, ‘Slap Shot’! Why the greatest hockey movie of all time captures the 1970s better than any other sports movie.
Dan Epstein | Rolling Stone


“It’s not enough to be smart. You have to be curious.”

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