The SportsThink Weekly Review #42

April 9, 2021

Hello and welcome to the forty-second edition of the Weekly Review! The best #42? This is the easiest thing I’ll do all year: Jackie Robinson. A legend and a hero; if you’re reading a sports newsletter, there’s really not much I can tell you. But if you’d like to dig deep into the Robinson/baseball-integration story, I can endorse Jules Tygiel’s Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy, which is very thorough and reads well, especially for a rigorously sourced book by an academic.

Content time!

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In 3 days: Playing the Long Game

One final newsletter push for the symposium I’m organizing next week, Playing the Long Game. Conversations on sports after COVID and the way forward in innovation, diversity, culture, and ethics in the sports industry, featuring a truly impressive and influential slate of speakers from across US sport. If you missed my previous notes about the conference, here’s a brief write-up on the blog. Please join us if you can (it’s free!) and share share share. And a big thank you to my co-organizer Jim Rooney and all of the panelists and moderators, who have all generously donated their time. And more thanks to Mikayla Darden, Kyle Martin, Dru Sawyer, Brittany Archer, and Kylan Perry for their hard work in planning and promotion. And finally, thank you to Gus and Katy for their support on the home-front, love you.

Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week

  1. Is Horse Racing Still Too Big To Fail?, by Ryan Goldberg, via Defector. In a state of decline for decades, the Sport of Kings hangs on. Really good analysis from Goldberg on a sport that most of the public doesn’t pay much attention to these days.

  2. A Man Can’t Live on His Own, by Eric Nusbaum and Adam Villacin, via Sports Stories. On the life and death of Victor Perez, a Tunisian-Jewish boxer. This is human, heavy, and well worth your time. As always, great words and visuals from Eric and Adam.

  3. Golf is Facing an Existential Crisis, by Mike Jakeman, via Wired UK. On big dudes, high tech equipment, and the challenges of evolution in sports. Golf isn’t going anywhere, but it’s fascinating to observe these moments of reckoning. A reminder that we shape sports as much as our sports experiences shape us.

  4. Side Hustles: How NCAA Coaches Like Harbaugh, Saban Pad Their Pay, by Daniel Libit, via Sportico. Great reporting and some of the specific gigs are pretty amusing. Here’s the thing: I’m totally ok with all of this. If anything, I’m surprised that some of these numbers aren’t bigger or that these guys aren’t cashing in more. (Maybe it’s hard to promote things when you’re in the office at 2AM, working 30 hour days, 9 days a week?). But here’s another thing: why can’t the athletes do the same?

  5. “I Just Filmed It, Put It Up, Got Paid”: How Chloe Mitchell Became the First College Athlete to Profit From NIL, by Patrick Hruby, via Hreal Sports. So, SOME athletes CAN do the same. But for now, only if they are in the NAIA, the seldom thought of “other” college sports association. And guess what? American society hasn’t crumbled because Chloe Mitchell has cashed in on her imminently charming online content. If anything, we’re better for it. Nice interview from Hruby, exposing some of the bogus arguments against college athlete Name-Image-Likeness rights.

Keeping Up With The Sports Page

From the blog: some recent movement in the geopolitics of sport

COVID is still making a mess of sports

Another COVID mess

Tweet of the Week

A good reminder to ignore the haters.

Non-Sports Reads

Really enjoyed this fascinating piece on the Real Book, the “bootleg bible of jazz.”

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As always, thank you for reading. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re having trouble accessing any articles, happy to send them directly your way. And, if you’re enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing it with someone else who might like it.

See you next week,