Sheldon Hirsch - September 29, 2014

Keith Olbermann makes a living out of rants. He finds something that bothers him and goes off on a diatribe. Olbermann entertains when he's on the mark, but his recent attempted knockdown of Derek Jeter completely missed.

He began sarcastically, “Contrary to what you’ve heard, Jeter is not the greatest person in human history,” and moved on to the purported insight that Jeter does not rank with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle (and others) on the Yankees’ Mt. Olympus. Of course, no temperate baseball fan (or anyone outside of a press conference convened to laud Jeter) equates Jeter with those four — a classic strawman argument. On the other hand, Jeter, a certain Hall of Famer, did play 20 mostly outstanding seasons as one of the best shortstops ever.

Olbermann then decried Jeter’s farewell tour. For sure, the pre-game ceremonies dragged on and derived in part from management obligation and gate promotion. But that’s always the case with these affairs - no big deal. Olbermann ignored the important aspect of Jeter adulation; all season long opposing players quietly paid homage to Jeter, even during games. 

Jeter’s statistics, according to Olbermann, do not justify the hype. However, his comparison of Jeter’s numbers to all-time greats at other positions misleads. Jeter’s offensive statistics stand among the best of any shortstop ever. He ranks 11th... read more »

Kyle Adams - September 25, 2014

Maybe I'm just a tad too cynical, but the latest Bill Simmons-ESPN feud strikes me as nothing more than a well-orchestrated branding effort by the network's star personality.

It's important to remember that Simmons made his name as an outsider, a non-journalist, "The Sports Guy." He was the regular fan whom you could see yourself sitting next to at a bar - a guy who could be uproariously funny, undiplomatic and as unabashedly emotional as you were about sports. He was a breath of fresh air in a sports media world that, by and large, sought to position itself above the fan.

But as Simmons has become more entrenched at ESPN, he has lost a bit of that essential element of his appeal. As a result, any opportunity to have a public fight with his employer only helps to bolster his reputation as the voice of the fan.

His profanity-laced rant about Roger Goodell tapped into the anger many NFL fans are feeling toward the embattled commissioner. That, combined with a suspension that positions him as the enemy of the ESPNFL industrial complex, is gold for a guy looking to maintain his everyman appeal while also collecting a monstrous paycheck from the sports media behemoth.

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Samuel Chi - September 23, 2014

It's been more than a decade, but what Rush Limbaugh said - what got him summarily fired by ESPN - remains true.

When talking about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, Limbaugh observed that “the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.” Though this was never an attack on McNabb and his race - but a commentary about the media and its own social engineering agenda - the conservative talk show host was immediately skewered and soon forced to "resign."

Reasonable people, including Slate's Allen Barra, noted that Limbaugh actually was spot-on about McNabb's abilities as a quarterback even if Limbaugh's target was never McNabb, but a sort of incipient media bias. Limbaugh even came to McNabb's defense three years ago when the quarterback's "blackness" was questioned by some members of the Eagles organization.

Fast forward to 2014, and we're still fighting this racial agitprop over NFL quarterbacks. Attack a black quarterback for his play and you're immdiately at risk of being branded as a racist. This goes for double in Washington, D.C.

Robert Griffin III is on the shelf once again after his latest devastating injury. This time a dislocated ankle will keep him out at... read more »

Samuel Chi - September 19, 2014

Roger Goodell shouldn't be fired or forced to resign. He should get a raise.

I mean that seriously and sincerely.

The embattled NFL commissioner makes north of $40 million a year. He oversees a $9 billion enterprise. He's made 32 owners considerably richer than they already are. And he's made NFL players much more accountable for their conduct on and off the field.

That last line is not a joke. It's the truth.

Before Roger Goodell took over as commissioner in 2006, the NFL had its share of thugs, criminals and otherwise violent sorts. It's just that they weren't punished unless they were behind bars and the public didn't get all worked up about NFL players behaving badly.

Remember Ray Lewis, the now-venerated broadcaster and future Hall-of-Famer? He was involved in a crime where two people were killed and he pled guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony against his companions. What about Leonard Little? He killed a woman while driving drunk and then was charged with making threats against a former girlfriend and another DUI. And then there's Lawrence Phillips, who famously used his girlfriend's face to fetch mail while in college, and still was picked sixth overall by the Rams in the 1996... read more »