Why ‘Transcending Race’ Is a Lie [The New York Times] Few American athletes have been as widely beloved as Simpson was. Even today, his popularity seems inconceivable. “O. J.: Made in America,” the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary [ESPN] directed by Ezra Edelman that is airing this week, busies itself with the making of the man at the myth’s center and with the country that helped him become a monster. It’s the best thing ESPN has ever produced. And it answers my question: Simpson’s story is that of a black man who came of age during the civil rights era and spent his entire adult life trying to “transcend race” — to claim that strange accolade bestowed on blacks spanning from Pelé to Prince to Nelson Mandela to Muhammad Ali. Which is to say, it’s the story of a halfback trying, and failing, to outrun his own blackness. [more inside]
Simpson is in Lovelock because he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in Nevada in 2008; he's serving a sentence of up to 33 years, with the possibility of parole in 2017. He will turn 67 next month, but the O.J. personage who remains a cultural touchstone is much younger. That one was born 20 years ago this week, on June 17, 1994, a day that spawned a series of events that are as ingrained in Americana as anything that happened at Valley Forge or in Dealey Plaza. Sports Illustrated tackles Orenthal James Simpson.
"Assault In The Ring" (originally called "Cornered: A Life in the Ring") is a film about a boxing match that took place between undefeated prospect Billy Collins Jr and Luis Resto. What began as a match turned into a life altering moment for both participants - Collins' career dreams ended and Resto and his trainer Panama Lewis landed in prison for their illegal actions. The subsequent investigation and trial have led many to declare this bout the darkest day in boxing history. But the film-maker doesn't stop there. He tracked down the surviving principals and arranged meetings among some of them, trying to see if the documentary can be an occasion for reconciliation or justice. Watch the film in its entirety on Youtube here.
Nightmare in Maryville - The Kansas City Star investigates the backlash against the victims family after rape charges were brought (and dropped) against local atheletes. The pattern of victim blaming and local indiference have brought comparisons to the Steubenville, Ohio case (previously) and anger on the internet. Meanwhile the Grand Jury investigation into Steubenville has brought it's first charges against an adult involved with the cover-up.
Finally, Gilbert Arenas reveals the whole story behind the infamous Washington Wizards guns in the locker room incident.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona was arrested today in the Dominican Republic and charged with using a false identity. [more inside]
Ultimately, there is no separating Vick from his circumstances: his race, parents, economics and opportunities.
What if Michael Vick were white? The cover of the September issue of ESPN The Magazine features an image of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, but another picture might end up getting more attention. [more inside]
An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
Murder for hire in professional hockey: After being eliminated in the NHL playoffs, St. Louis Blues player Mike Danton (formerly Mike Jefferson) was arrested by the FBI for "conspiring and using a telephone across state lines to set up a murder". But there's more to this sad state of events than meets the eye: Danton is rumoured to have been arranging the murder of his male lover supposedly to prevent his outing to the sports world.
Felony Arrests As Marketing Gimmick? AdAge columnist Scott Donaton perceives the recent spate of celebrities committing crimes as a new marketing scheme. Although the column is tongue-in-cheek, it raises a good point: could all these shenanigans just be a new way to gain street cred and ink more lucrative endorsement deals? Case in point: Allen Iverson-branded Reebok products flew off the shelves after his arrest, though today a judge threw out most of the charges In the meantime, squeaky clean Kobe has trouble building street cred.
Cracksmoker.com isn't about drugs at all. It's a site that collects information about pro athletes and their run-ins with various law enforcement agencies. They have an All-Cracksmoker team, Cracksmoker Survivor, and databases divided by sport (and yes, Florida State football has its own database).