The SportsThink Weekly Review #59

September 17, 2021

Hello and welcome to the fifty-ninth edition of the Weekly Review! I feel like I should apologize in advance: the reads this week are good, but not particularly fun or lighthearted (except for the history of Frito Pie). Fingers crossed for something lighter next week!

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Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week

  1. How The NCAA Dropped the Ball on NIL, by Caitlin Parise, via Conduct Detrimental. Not the most exhilarating read, but a useful, legally focused, view on the current NCAA athlete compensation landscape.

  2. Against Kids’ Sports, by Anne Helen Petersen via Culture Study. As the title suggests, quite the polemic. I don’t agree with everything Petersen lays out, but there is a lot of valid criticism here.

  3. Two good ones on surfing, as some in the sport seek to leverage the surfing’s Olympic debut for greater visibility and of course, money. You will not be shocked to learn that not everyone is happy about this. Here’s the always good Karim Zidan for the Guardian and here’s the also always good John Branch for the New York Times.

  4. When a Fairy Tale is Disputed Territory, by Rory Smith, via the New York Times. Sherrif Tiraspol made their Champion’s League debut this week, beating Shaktar Donetsk. Sherrif’s story is a fascinating and complicated one, a really good example of the what happens at the intersection of geopolitics sports: They had upended their lives to move to a country that does not technically exist, to play for a team based in a disputed territory, to join a club that represents a state-within-a-state, a grayscale place unmoored from the rest of the world.

  5. Courtney’s Story, by Diana Moskovitz, via Defector. At times brutal and upsetting, but this is an important one. On the trials and strength of Courtney Smith, ex-wife of former football coach Zach Smith, who hasn’t really received his comeuppance for being an abusive dirtbag. Depressing here is the lengths the sports-world old boys club will go to ignore, explain away, and otherwise gaslight the rest of us. I wish there weren’t related things to share here, but this week also found the victims of Larry Nassar’s horrid abuse of US gymnasts testifying before Congress. Simone Biles’ opening testimony is heavy and human. And here’s more on gymnastics from Moskovitz, who must have an iron constitution to do this reporting. And in the Arizona Law Review, Marc Edelman and Jennifer Pacella explore the potential of unionization and improved governance to prevent future abuse.

Keeping Up With The Sports Page

Axios on the upcoming NFL media rights bidding war and the implications for the future of television.

This was amusing: Purdue’s big drum is too big for Notre Dame.

Tweet of the Week

Feels like cheating to use the Onion, but this made me laugh.

Non-Sports Reads

Here’s a fun history of an inimitable Texas culinary staple: the Frito Pie.

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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,

Tolga