Happy Monday, folks. We’ll obviously have plenty to discuss when it comes to the Browns and Indians over the coming hours. While we wait, let’s talk some scandal, shall we?
Some pieces are just too big to be buried in #ActualSportswriting. By now, you’ve likely seen the report from Don Van Natta Jr. (a Pulitzer winner) and Kevin Van Valkenberg (the Brian Windhorst of the Baltimore Ravens), claiming that the Ravens not only knew about the details surrounding the Ray Rice situation, but colluded with the league and other officials in hopes of covering up the shear brutality of what occurred in that hotel elevator, and endeavored to have the player receive as little of a punishment as possible. Van Natta and Van Valkenberg spoke to more than 20 different individuals over the course of 11 days and felt so strongly about the story they had uncovered that they were willing to publish it in the early evening hours on a Friday, a time when other stories go largely unread.
It’s been shared over 50,000 times on Facebook and Twitter. It has over 1,000 comments. It’s the kind of investigative journalism that not only becomes the talk of sports fans, but should, in time, garner a reaction from the team and the league itself. It makes Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome look like horrible human beings. It’s the kind of piece that could prove to be the dagger in the careers of Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the NFL, and commissioner Roger Godell, who appears to be more than willing to go down swinging.
Goodell has been steadfast that no one in the NFL had seen the inside-elevator video until Sept. 8 which continues to be more mind-blowing by the minute. That TMZ (TMZ!) of all outlets took him and the league to task on Friday speaks volumes as to how mishandled this entire situation has been. More an more details surrounding the incident, how it was handled, and everything in between will continue to trickle out. The ability for the league and the Ravens to claim innocence throughout it all, and the odds of Goodell being commissioner of the NFL come season’s end, will continue to diminish—rapidly.
Look: I’m an Apple guy. I’ve had multiple iPhones and iPods. I use a MacBook Pro and iPad with WiFi powered by an Airport Extreme. I stream with an Apple TV and subscribe to a handful of podcasts (like this one, for example)on iTunes. And as I sit here with my iPhone 4S, I’m bummed that I could not land an iPhone 6 on Friday—they were fresh out by the time I could make it to the store and I neglected to pre-order, preferring to be more hands-on before purchase. But still, using a three-year-old cell phone is all my fault because I refuse to wait in lines like this. Plenty of items I collect (for lack of better term) require lines or early adoption—sneakers, for instance. But even then, I’ll log in to a web site at a specific time; I won’t wait in a line in the middle of the night.
Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t begrudge those who do. I know plenty of people who have waited in lines for various items—phones, video games, Black Friday specials, you name it. And am I jealous of those who already have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus in hand? You’re damned right I am. But I don’t like waiting in lines in general, so I would definitely not choose to do so. Plus, I’m at a point in my life where I prefer sleeping in. It’ll cost me a few months of iPhone 6 usage, but I have a feeling I’ll survive. (Plus, I can still get a chuckle at the e-inferiority complex from Android users in the meantime.)
What about you guys? What would you wait in line for? Am I alone in this avoidance?
Speaking of podcasts: Huge congratulations to the Men in Blazers. Michael Davies and Roger Bennett will debut their new 30-minute television show on NBCSN this Monday at 10 p.m. ET. The show will run during the EPL season, with airings at 10 p.m. ET and an encore airing at midnight ET. It will also stream live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. Bennett and Davies will also produce a digital-only weekly podcast on NBCSports.com each Tuesday. Moving on from Bill Simmons Grantland and all of the coverage they received during the World Cup seems like both a bold move and fortuitous timing. Kevin Love was a guest on their latest show—if you’re not listening, you should be.
More sad times in the world of Howard Stern. While many are still grieving the loss of Joan Rivers, Stern fans lost Eric “The Actor” Lynch who passed away at age 39 on Sunday evening. Lynch is a long-time Wack Pack member who was one of the more polarizing individuals to be a frequent guest. He was far from my favorite as I often struggled to comprehend what he actually added to the show. But Howard had a soft spot for the guy and landed him several roles on big time television shows. He was also the subject of some of the better bits in recent years, including “Fly me with Balooons” and the Carrie Underwood prank.
Stern, while still dealing with the loss of his close friend in Rivers, will undoubtedly be hit pretty hard by this one. Lynch was just on the show last week, and this passing came out of nowhere. Lynch outlived many medial estimations, but man—39?
Bye for now, big guy.
Have a sweet take to share with the world? That’s too bad. Here’s some #ActualSportsWriting:
“Donte Whitner was raised tough…” by Tom Reed (NEOMG): “Donte Whitner stood in the tunnel that leads to the FirstEnergy Stadium field Sunday and pointed a finger at cornerback Justin Gilbert. Music blared. Fans roared. Primal emotions welled as the Browns prepared to be introduced for their home opener. In that moment Whitner, who became the man of the house at age 12, took the mental temperature of his teammates.”
“Together we make Football” by Louisa Thomas (Grantland): “On Valentine’s Day 2005, Tennessee Titans cornerback Samari Rolle hit his wife, Danisha, giving her a gash that required three stitches over her left eye. Three weeks later, the Ravens signed him to a six-year deal worth $30.5 million.”
“What happened to Anthony Kim?” by Alan Shipnuck (SI.com): “Anthony Kim has become golf’s yeti, an elusive figure who is the source of endless conjecture. What we know for sure is that Kim, 29, has not teed it up at a PGA Tour event in more than 28 months. Once considered the future of U.S. golf, he is now estranged from the game that brought him fame and fortune. His handlers at IMG rarely speak to him. In April, golfchannel.com asked Kim’s agent, Clarke Jones, about his client’s whereabouts. The best Jones could come up with? “He’s not living under a bridge, he’s not living in a box.” The players on Tour wonder if they will ever cross paths with Kim again.”
And finally, a section I think I’ll try out for a bit called Brew du Jour where I share some thoughts on a beer I enjoyed over the weekend. Given the proliferation of pumpkin ales, and the fact that it’s officially autumn, a good one to start with is “Spooky Tooth” from Cleveland’s own Fatheads Brewery. Spooky Tooth is an Imperial Pumpkin Ale (read: way better than a regular pumpkin ale) and clocks in at a 9 percent ABV. While it’s not up there with Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumpking, it’s a a very, very good beer. It’s a little darker than most pumpkin ales, but the pumpkin pie scents and aftertaste are both formidable. Hints of brown sugar give off that pie crust feel and the cinnamon tops it off as a perfect brew for the fall. You can obviously get a goblet of this bad boy at Fathead’s out in Westlake or pick up a four-pack wherever craft beers are sold (likely within this region). If you haven’t given Spooky Tooth a whirl, you have a few weeks to do so, but I would highly recommend it.