NYT: Sport betting, gaming, and Tunica

Timothy Williams details the disappointing sports betting revenue, and the state of the gambling business in Tunica, Mississippi, in particular, for the New York Times:

The vast majority of states have shied away from permitting such gambling and tapping into the nation’s illegal sports gambling market, estimated to be worth $150 billion. But in places like Tunica, where people began legally betting on sports in August, the results, so far, have been underwhelming.

Sports betting is a logical addition to existing sports books and one I’d expect to have taken off right away. I wonder, though, whether Tunica’s problem isn’t their sports books per se, but rather a continuation of a long-running decline that sports betting has failed to blunt. Originally a curiosity for being an outpost of gaming action, Tunica succumbed to being in the middle of nowhere offering little beyond hotel-casinos.

Along Tunica’s Main Street, there is a bank, a grocery and an antique shop alongside a few empty storefronts. The residential sections include well-tended homes shaded by oak trees, but also tiny shotgun shacks.

These are not tourist attractions. Storefronts didn’t make Las Vegas a draw. There, resort hotels offer posh accommodations, dining, and varied spectacle for non-gamblers. Vegas’s age-old name cache makes it a top-tier vacation option.

Atlantic City, long in decline itself, possesses less spectacle and resort attraction. Half of the casinos open at the city’s peak tourist draw are now shuttered. The city’s sole non-gaming tourist attraction remains a beautiful stretch of Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

In the grand scheme of US gaming establishments, Tunica is perhaps only a regional draw. It’s difficult to support multiple hotel-casinos on regional interest, and a lower-income one at that.

Perhaps the primary factor harming sports betting’s aspirations, though, is the internet. The urge to bet sports is ephemeral, and few will linger hours in a sports book the way they will for slot machines and table games. Why travel at all for a brief interaction at the book? Sports bettors will wait for legal, online books to flourish while they continue patronizing illegal operations.

Internet casinos offering legal sports books will eventually garner the income projected for places like Tunica. And Las Vegas will remain, for a while yet, America’s playground for its wide variety of attractions.

The NCAA Will Investigate Michigan State’s Handling of Larry Nassar Scandal

Alex Kirshner—SBNation.com:

“The NCAA has sent a letter of inquiry to Michigan State University regarding potential NCAA rules violations related to the assaults Larry Nassar perpetrated against girls and young women, including some student-athletes at Michigan State,” the organization wrote in a statement when reached for comment by SB Nation. “We will have no further comment at this time.”

The NCAA’s written principles include that it is “the responsibility of each member institution to protect the health of, and provide a safe environment for, each of its participating student-athletes.”

Nassar’s sentencing hearing has unfolded at a Michigan courthouse over the last week. So far, at least 190 of his victims have come forward at those hearings.

190 victims that we know of. Imagine how high that number might be if every one of Nassar’s victims felt compelled to safely speak out against him. How many are secretly cheering from the sidelines of this disgraceful spectacle?

Here’s a thought for the post-mortem of Nassar’s case. Once he’s behind bars, and the NCAA has concluded its investigation into Michigan State’s awareness and possible negligence letting Nassar practice on its athletes, if there exists evidence of negligence by the school they should suffer what Penn State should have after the revelations of Jerry Sandusky’s pedophelia: full suspension of all NCAA sports for a decade, no appeal.

That would destroy the school’s athletic program. It’d also let them concentrate more keenly on two things: the egregiousness of their potential willful ignorance, and academics. College is about learning, first. Sports is a sideshow, but not so at places like Penn State and Michigan. The NCAA failed to apply a harsh reminder of that after Sandusky.

#MichiganStateUniversity #PennStateUniversity #NCAA #collegeSports #abuse #LarryNassar

Kaepernick’s attorney: We’ll have a smoking gun


“I am going to predict right now that we will have a smoking gun,” Geragos told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.” “There are people who are not going to get into an arbitration proceeding and they are not going to lie. They are not going to lie. They are going to tell the truth and they’re going to say what happened. They were told no, you’re not going to hire him.”

Hmm. This just got more interesting.

#Colin #Kaepernick #collusion #NFL

Colin Kaepernick Files Complaint Against N.F.L.

Ken Nelson – The New York Times:

Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who last season started a wave of sideline protests by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, has filed a grievance against the N.F.L., accusing all 32 teams of colluding to keep him out of the league.

Well this should prove interesting. Collusion is difficult to prove when communication of the many parties are conducted verbally, unrecorded.

Best of fortunes to Kap. I believe he’s been blackballed, but unless someone has the goods on the NFL’s billionaire owners, it’ll be a tough road to proving it.

#Colin #Kaepernick #NFL #collusion

∴ Worth Posting Every Sunday Morning

As you’re getting ready for some football today, knowing there will be more players taking a knee during the national anthem, consider:

  • Taking a knee began as a means of bringing attention to the ongoing over-policing and over-incarceration of black Americans.
  • Protest, in whatever legal form it occurs, is as American as apple pie. Our country was created as an act of extreme protest: revolution.
  • 2019 marks the 400-year anniversary of the first black African slaves brought to the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
  • No other immigrant minority group has been more excoriated, less enfranchised, less welcomed into the American family than black men and women. They’ve been systemically marginalized by means of slavery, yes, but also by Jim Crow laws, segregation in housing, schooling, and employment, voter registration “tests,” poll taxes, institutionalized domestic terrorism by the Klan and others.
  • America was built upon the bloodied backs and labor of black men and women, in the South, North, and throughout Western expansion. This needs to be recognized and dealt with forthrightly at the highest level of our government and culture, as well as at the level of the common citizen.
  • That rotten core of our history, unacknowledged and un-dealt-with, is worthy of disrespect. The flag, the anthem, the Constitution itself are symbols of the country, and legitimate targets of disrespect.

Our less-than-bright president, wading into the issue at a political rally early in the season, has turned the spectacle into Trump vs. the NFL. This will expand the players’ activism. It will bring greater attention to it, and more argument and eventually, hopefully, discussion. But first it will be ugly. This is a good thing. Racism is ugly, too.

If this offends you or what you believe, good. Four-hundred years is a lot of offense, too. Maybe it’ll lead you to think past the flag, the anthem, and the multi-millionaire players and owners, and ask yourself why this is happening. Why are protests going on around the country? Why did we see hundreds of white men marching through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, by torchlight this past summer? Why are black men and women sentenced more frequently and harshly for the same crimes as white men and women?


#American #culture #racism #NFL

∴ Are NFL Players Required to Stand on the Field During the National Anthem?



The NFL’s rulebook says nothing about player conduct during the pre-game playing of the U.S. national anthem.


The NFL’s game operations manual may contain a policy stating that players must be present on the sidelines during the national anthem, but not that they must stand.

Emphasis mine.

Risking popular backlash by flouting “policy” and cultural norms is an essential part of protest. Playing it safe by respecting cultural totems is not. People in a lather about NFL players sitting- or kneeling-out the anthem are missing the point of the effort.

The national anthem and the American flag are not about military service members, living or dead. They are not about first responders, or anyone’s idea of “heroes.” They are symbols of our country and its culture – about what it aspires to be as well as how far it falls short. What better target of protest against that shortfall could there be?

If people are offended by the players’ behavior, where is their outrage at the use of these patriotic symbols for selling cars, furniture, and other goods, or at the practice of wearing the flag’s likeness as clothing? Selective outrage tells us what’s really on the mind of the outraged. It’s not so much patriotism as it is what the protest is saying to them: you are part of the problem. Your acquiescence or ignorance compounds the issue of long-running ethnic bias and discrimination.

Don’t be angry at the protesters, be angry at what they’re protesting.

Declining to participate in the anthem is and will continue to be a protest against the rotten core of American culture. Once enshrined in our laws, but now simply encoded in the hateful behavior of a minority of the white majority, the treatment of non-white, and particularly brown and black Americans as well as native American Indians steamrolled into near-oblivion has been a four-hundred year disgrace yet to be forthrightly addressed.

That the protesting of this disgrace discomfits some is a bulls-eye.

Consider it a favor, then, that these players risk the ire of their fans and their employers. Take them at their word, which is what I’ve written above, and ask the next question. Why do we not address the core issue? Indeed, why do we cast about for any other reason to be offended?

I’ve read people claim that they’re all for peaceful protest, but not during playing of the national anthem. It’s that little word “but” that tells you all you need to know about the speaker. Injustice is unjust, all of the time, no room for “but”s. It must be addressed and stamped out, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us.

#American #culture #racism #national #anthem #NFL

Will a New Way to Diagnose CTE Change Football?

Patrick Hruby – The Atlantic:

Better answers may come from a recently announced seven-year, $16 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health and NINDS that’s aimed at diagnosing CTE—a project the NFL was also slated to fund before backing out amid controversy. Headed by Stern, the project is the largest and most thorough study of the disease ever conducted, and will put former football players through a series of tests including an MRI; two PET scans; blood, saliva, and spinal-fluid collection; genetic evaluations; neuropsychological testing; and clinical examinations and histories.

The goal, Stern says, is to create a reliable clinical tool kit—that is, multiple methods of diagnosing CTE …

This is great news for diagnosing CTE in patients before their symptoms become pronounced.

PET scans, I believe, will become the standard for diagnosing other acute illnesses, too, as their associated costs come down and they become more common. One possibility is breast cancer. How many women skip screening for this common disease after feeling the very uncomfortable squish associated with mammography? What if they could simply lie on a table for a scan?

Consider magnetic resonance imaging. Once an expensive, selectively used diagnostic tool, MRI has become a go-to alongside computerized tomography, x-ray imaging and sonograms.


A thought about CTE and football, one that puzzles me: what kind of parent encourages or allows a child, or a high schooler, to begin playing football in the first place, knowing as we do that repeated head blows, a side effect of the game, may well lead to irreversible brain damage?

The NFL is one of the most profitable sports in the world and a kind of rich man’s club of ownership. It will not cease operation simple because its other leading product is traumatic brain injury. This is an example of how capitalism, left unchecked, will consume every resource in its path. But football can be choked off at its source.

The number of new players, from peewee leagues to high school and into college, can dry up. This very notion has been speculated on by George Mason University economist Tyler Cowan. As the flow slows to a trickle, college and pro leagues would become smaller, and eventually cease to be.

As this article indicates, the number of young people entering the sport is decreasing. It should be crashing toward zero.

#football #relic #of #the #past #traumatic #brain #injury #cte #high #school #college

∴ NFL Blackballing of Kaepernick is a Disgrace

Not that this is the stupidest or least humane response to an issue by the NFL. The way it handled Ray Rice’s beat-down of his girlfriend in an elevator in plain view of a security camera arguably ranks up there. But why rank sins?

William C. Rhodes – The Undefeated:

Kaepernick vs. the NFL is not a football issue and never has been. Anyone who believes that Kaepernick’s continued unemployment is about ability is being dangerously naïve.

Kaepernick’s protests last season are precisely why he remains unsigned today. Lesser players are already under contract. His unemployment is another tell that the NFL, as part of larger American culture, is unwilling to face America’s original sin. Doing so might tarnish the brand.

Dr. King was shot dead for doing this. John Lewis was bludgeoned nearly to death. Black and white men and women were beaten, terrorized, killed, buried, and forgotten. For decades. The list of those suffering the backlash of cultural denial is long.

Memory, for much of the American culture who repudiate Kaepernick and his supporters, is short.

Kaepernick made a conscious choice to draw attention to himself, which begged the question why he was taking a knee. We all know why. The fallout he’s seeing this season is part of that conscious choice, too. He knew he’d be not only excoriated, but sidelined, and then unemployed and unemployable in the NFL. We should continue to ask, why?

There’s an upside to this predictability. News of Kaepernick’s treatment this season will be reported, as here. A few more minds will ask why?, wake up, and decry the ongoing second-classness of being non-white in America.

Slavery. Jim Crow.  Segregationist housing and schooling. Mass incarceration. Racist policing. Economic oppression. Openly white supremacist activism after the election of Mr. Trump.

Tell me again how we’re all treated equal in America, because I don’t believe it.

There is a truth out there that will eventually make this problem, the sorest American problem since our founding, moot. Census data doesn’t lie. The tide of color in America is decidedly a multitude of shades darker than European white. And as multi-racial families grow in number, the coloring of America grows. That’s fact. You can look it up (page 9, table 2).

We shouldn’t have to wait for generations to die before the promise of America is brought to everyone.

#colin #kaepernick #nfl #blackballed

Tiger Woods DUI — Everyman

Kevin D. Williamson – National Review:

There is something in our puritanical national soul that is satisfied by the fact that those who fly higher have farther to fall. These episodes bring out something ignoble in us. But it isn’t just celebrities, of course: The high and mighty are just the ones we talk about. An astonishing share of lottery winners go broke, and it isn’t because people with low character or weak wills are just lucky with the numbers. People like Tiger Woods and Allen Iverson, who win life’s lottery, often have the same bad luck in the end: the bad luck of being human.

A brief, yet telling study of Iverson, Woods, and the American cultural infatuation with icons and their eventual falls. Frankly, I’d fail the “Iverson test,” as the author calls it, too.

Worth a read.

[Woods has claimed a mix of prescription drugs, not alcohol, led to his DUI arrest.]

#Iverson #Woods #American #icons #heroes #fall #from #grace

Joe Buck Shines With This Answer

Joe Buck, being interviewed by Ana Marie Cox for The New York Times:

We have a little bit of time: Would you like to share an opinion on Kaepernick? The point that I would make is it’s easy for somebody like me to be critical of Colin Kaepernick, but I haven’t suffered some of the same issues that Colin Kaepernick has. On some level, it’s like, how dare I weigh in on what Kaepernick is doing or feeling? Having some sort of an open dialogue about taking a knee, that’s what I was always hoping for, and I think he got there.

#joe #buck #ana #marie #cox #colin #kaepernick #knew