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In this week’s episode of Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen, Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss ESPN’s decision to suspend Bill Simmons, how Simmons defines himself, and the symbiotic relationship between the writer and the network. They also talk to Kansas City Royals fan Rany Jazayerli about the team’s long playoff drought, the frustration of rooting for a poorly managed team, and whether the one-game wild card playoff really counts as a full postseason experience. Finally they are joined by Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley to discuss the turmoil surrounding the Michigan football program.
Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned on the show:
- Last Wednesday, ESPN suspended Bill Simmons for three weeks after he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar.
- On Slate, Josh wrote a running diary of Simmons’ podcast comments and captured the highlights before ESPN removed the episode.
- ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte defended the company’s decision to suspend Simmons.
- The public response to the suspension was mostly negative.
- On Deadspin, Barry Petchesky wrote about the tension between Simmons and ESPN.
- Simmons and ESPN have clashed before.
- ESPN’s own reporting indicated that Goodell gave misleading information about the Ray Rice investigation.
- ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for one week for his comments about Janay Rice.
- A lot has happened since the Kansas City Royals last played a playoff game in 1985.
- Rany Jazayerli wrote about being at the game that clinched a postseason berth for the Royals, breaking the longest postseason drought in the four major North American sports leagues.
- Jazayerli’s longtime collaborator and fellow Royals fan Rob Neyer reflected on 29 years without the postseason.
- Jazayerli identified Aug. 9, 2005, as the nadir of Royals fandom.
- In August, Jazayerli wrote on Grantland about the recent history of the Royals and the beginning of the turnaround.
- In 2012, Jazayerli took a hard line against the trade that sent Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and others to the Tampa Bay Rays and brought James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.
- University of Michigan coach Brady Hoke’s decision to leave quarterback Shane Morris in the game, and then let him return for a play, after a possible concussion was immediately criticized by ESPN’s announcers and fans.
- After the game, Hoke said that he wasn’t sure if Morris was concussed.
- The Michigan blogosphere is incensed and calling for Hoke and athletic director Dave Brandon to go.
- Even before the terrible concussion decision, Michigan fans were ready to give up on Hoke.
- Criticism of Hoke gained national attention on ABC News.
Hang Up and Listen’s Michigan Men:
Josh’s Michigan Man: Wondering how publicly the city of Haven, Kansas, will remember the high school’s 256-0 drubbing of Sylvia.
On this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss the U.S. loss and exuberant European fist-pumping at the Ryder Cup. Slate Plus members get an ad-free version of this podcast with bonus segments. Visit slate.com/hangupplus and try it free for two weeks.
Podcast production and edit by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Chris Laskowski.
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