ESPN wouldn’t let me name my fantasy football team 9/11.
“But Justin,” you ask, “why would you want to name your fantasy football team 9/11?”
My motivation is immaterial to this argument. It doesn’t matter if I wanted to use that name as a way to honor the tenth anniversary of the most devastatingly awful day in the history of our nation or if it was the latest and, perhaps most inexcusable, effort in a lifelong battle against sensitivity, good taste, social decorum and the concept that anything should ever be off limits to bad jokes. Too soon? Too bad.
My beef is with the seemingly random nature of ESPN’s filtering system. Somehow, 9/11 is not allowed. SCP reader Mike Bastardo can’t use his real name when signing up for ESPN fantasy sports, because the filter blocks the word “bastard.” He has to change the spelling of HIS OWN NAME or change it completely, as if he’s some filthy Jewish lawyer who was forced into witness protection after double crossing a Mexican drug runner. (It’s ok. I’m allowed to say that. I’m filthy too.)
Meanwhile, there is a team in my league called The Face Fuckers and another one called Shaved Balls. What kind of weird line is ESPN drawing? Are they fine with foul language and sexual suggestiveness but not ambiguity or semantic nuance? Face Fuckers is A-ok? FACE FUCKERS?!?
But I’m just a man, just a lone crusader against the thought police over at ESPN. I couldn’t name my fantasy football team 9/11.
What did I choose instead? I can’t tell you that. It’s WAAAAY worse.
I was really quite sad to hear about Pat Summitt’s illness when the news broke last week. And I share the sentiments of Kelli Anderson in hoping that Summitt’s public battle with Alzheimer’s helps raise attention and, ultimately, tens of millions of dollars towards research into the disease. But, I’ve always been uncomfortable when writers pit two diseases against each other in order to show the reader how underfunded one of them is.
Federal funding for Alzheimer’s research, which is budgeted at $450 million for 2011, is dwarfed by spending on research for cancer ($5.8 billion), heart disease ($1.7 billion) and HIV/AIDs ($3 billion).
Is the message here that people should donate to Alzheimer’s research instead of cancer or HIV/AIDS? I’m quite sure that wasn’t Anderson’s intent. But, it sort of comes off that way. Also, the graphic that accompanies the column, featuring Summitt standing in front of other athletes who have become the faces of their disease, like Magic, Jim Valvano and Arthur Ashe, is pretty creepy.
Chaos By Design by Peter King
I am constantly amazed by the amount of information football players can retain and then recall, in a matter of seconds, amidst the chaos of of a pre-snap routine. That level of intellect does not jibe with the accepted stereotype of the pro football player, nor does it seem possible after you hear or read interviews with the average, border-line starters that populate the majority of team rosters.
Whatever Happened To Tackling? by Tim Layden
These Yankee-Red Sox games are getting out of hand. Thursday night, the Yanks beat the Red Sox 4-2 at Fenway. AND THE GAME WAS 4 AND A HALF HOURS LONG. That meant I didn’t get into bed until 11:30. I had to be at work Friday morning at 6, so I woke up at 4:45. Do the math. When you factor in the requisite tossing and turning required to quiet the demons who dominate the inner monologue that fills my mind in the moments before sleep comes, that leaves me with about 4 and a half hours sleep.
Why is this all relevant to a discussion of Tim Layden’s article? Because the second I began reading it while sitting on the couch Friday afternoon, I fell asleep. Not nodding off asleep, either. It was full on REM cycle sleep so deep that when my phone rang and woke me up an hour later, I had absolutely no idea where I was or what time it was. It even took me a second to remember how to speak. IT’S A 7 PAGE ARTICLE ABOUT TACKLING!!!! There’s almost nothing in the world that could be more boring than that.
I did take one thing away from reading it, though. The Steelers are a bunch of crybaby cheaters. Every time there’s an article about the NFL’s efforts to curb excessive violence, a member of the Pittsburgh defense is there to call it unfair. This time, Troy Polamalu tries to couch his arguments in a philosophical discussion of how aggressiveness is what makes a man a man. Fuck you.
Falcons 24, Chargers 2o by Peter King
Do you think Peter King spent time with Falcon’s GM Thomas Dimitroff during the truncated free agent signing period after he decided the team was his pick to win the Superbowl or do you think the Falcons are his pick to win the Superbowl because Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff invited him to tag along during the truncated free agent signing period?
And I’ll reiterate the point I’ve made in past football preview reviews. Why would you both picking a score for a game that won’t be played for 5 months? How can you possible know it will be 24-20?
Scouting Reports by SI Staff
I like the format this year. Each team gets it’s usual two page spread, complete with article, key player profile, schedule and projected starters. New this year is a short blurb about each team’s coach. It’s a simple but welcome addition.
The one page summaries of each division that come after each team is previewed don’t really add a whole lot. I think SI could have done more with that space.
POINT AFTER by Phil Taylor
Don’t bother reading this column. Instead, read this one. It’s Joe Posnanski’s love letter to the year 1986. It’s long (10,000 words,) and will take a while to read (the website longreads.com says it’ll take you 46 minutes,) but it’s well worth your time.