Saturday, September 20, 2014

9/20 Weekend Quickie

Did the Ravens (and NFL) cover up the Rice story? Wait, it's not "if" but "how much." This story-shifting reporting from Van Natta and Van Valkenburg -- "Van Squared?" -- begs the same question my old high school newspaper rival/pal Rachel Nichols asked Roger Goodell yesterday before he jingoistically mansplained things away: It's hard not to question clear conflicts of interest between Robert Mueller and the top executives of the Ravens.

Quick take on Goodell's press conference: What did you expect he would say? He lacked -- and probably fundamentally lacks -- Adam Silver's posture of sincere contrition from the Donald Sterling press conference, and he ultimately came across as stone-walling and, not inappropriately, embattled. But even with the latest ESPN revelation, he'll survive. (My colleague Nancy Armour wrote a good column in the immediate wake of the presser.)

Jameis Winston out for the entire game tonight: They won't need him -- Clemson is overrated. (And not just trying to reverse-jinx here.) He might very well have expanded his suspension because he wasn't consistent in his story with FSU leaders, but we're still talking about him yelling a bunch of stuff publicly. I'm no FSU fan -- and in this case, I think the school is overreacting.

Royals lose to Tigers, now 1.5 GB for AL Central: They may still make the one-game coin-flip wild-card round, but they won't make it easy for their hard-luck fan base.

The Timberwolves would be better off with Eric Bledsoe than Ricky Rubio, but I'm mostly concerned with the #FreeRicky situation -- I'd love to see Minnesota trade him to a team where he might thrive. (Or do they plan to reinvent themselves as Phoenix Midwest and play two PG at once?)

Here's an awesome (and not particularly long) read that was published too late yesterday to make the newsletter -- Grantland's Brian Phillips on Katie Ledecky, who I have a particular affinity for because she lives in my town.

Fortunately, enough kids' sports this morning and afternoon to keep my mind off the thumping Florida is going to take at Alabama at 3:30 today (CBS, if you want to enjoy some schadenfreude), but it's coming. And it's not going to be pretty.

-- D.S.

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