[Weekly Rundown] Muhammad Ali tributes; Uncle Verne and Joe Buck; a Christian rocker comes out; what is tronc?

Today, we’re sports-heavy – honoring The Greatest, more Baylor fallout (now featuring Mississippi State), and sports broadcasters accused of bias. That, plus a Christian rocker comes out, social media faces censorship, and something called tronc.

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Sports

Muhammad Ali died Saturday night. If you only knew him as a boxer, I hope you’ll take all the tributes as an opportunity to learn more.

The news broke as I was finalizing this week’s rundown, but people more attuned to great sports writing have been curating your must-reads. I recommend this list from Don Van Natta and Jacob Feldman’s Sunday Long Read newsletter.

From a sports media perspective, ESPN did something I can’t recall seeing before. They went live in the wee hours Saturday with their top journalistic talent. Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap anchored a SportsCenter that was relaxed in pace, letting both men and their guests share longform stories about Ali. Deadspin, who loves to hate on the Worldwide Leader, offered praise, and captured a 12-minute segment for you to watch. SI’s Richard Deitsch has the behind-the-scenes look at how the late-night broadcast came together.

This probably isn’t your first time to see the photo at the top of today’s post. It was taken by Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated in 1965, and remains one of history’s most iconic sports photographs. Many stories have been written about it since. Here’s a longread by Dave Mondy published about a year ago that explores the photographer and the fighters he captured. Continue reading “[Weekly Rundown] Muhammad Ali tributes; Uncle Verne and Joe Buck; a Christian rocker comes out; what is tronc?”

[Weekly Rundown] Hulk v Gawk gets a Bond villain; New NFL media policies; Bad headlines

Hulk Hogan’s legdrop on Gawker is tainted by outside interference, Baylor gets busted, the Buffalo Bills block beat reporters, and SEC fandom exposes problems for a local newspaper following a media conglomerate’s process. That, plus paying to sit at a park, that guy with the water bottle, and more.

Summer means my return to semi-regular blogging! Join me as I experiment with a weekly rundown of stories I found interesting.

Media

Was Hulk Hogan a pawn in a billionaire’s vendetta against a media company? It’s not a wrestling storyline. This week, we learned that Hogan’s lawsuit against online tabloid Gawker was anonymously financed by Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist who was a co-founder and CEO of PayPal and sits on the Facebook board of directors. Why? Because Gawker outed Thiel as gay in 2007. Continue reading “[Weekly Rundown] Hulk v Gawk gets a Bond villain; New NFL media policies; Bad headlines”

Do World Cup TV ratings mean Americans are embracing soccer?

Is soccer ready to hit mainstream American culture? Or even mainstream American sports culture? After the U.S. Women’s National Team claimed their third World Cup – and after it was watched by more Americans than any soccer match in history – it’s a question worth asking, even if it has been asked before. But now, for the first time, soccer has something new in America – ratings.

Is soccer ready to hit mainstream American culture? Or even mainstream American sports culture? After the U.S. Women’s National Team claimed their third World Cup – and after it was watched by more Americans than any soccer match in history – it’s a question worth asking, even if it has been asked before. Many times.

Soccer was supposed to arrive in 1994, when the Men’s World Cup was hosted in the U.S. for the first time; in 1996, when Major League Soccer opened play; in 1999, when the U.S. Women won their second World Cup, Mia Hamm drank Gatorade with Michael Jordan, and Brandi Chastain became synonymous with one the most iconic images in sports; in 2004, when 14-year-old Freddy Adu was hailed was the next Pelé and vaulted into professional competition before he could drive a car; in 2007, when David Beckham eschewed European power Real Madrid to play for the LA Galaxy of MLS.

Brandi Chastain celebrates winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Robert Beck / SI

We’ve been here plenty just in the past two decades. But now, for the first time, soccer has something new in America – ratings.

Continue reading “Do World Cup TV ratings mean Americans are embracing soccer?”