Monday, December 7, 2015

Gladiators, Survivors and the Last Black Football Player

I hope you had a good weekend. I got to cover a Class A (smallest classification) Georgia High School semifinal game that saw one team have eight chances with a goal-to-go situation and were unable to get the touchdown they needed. Facing a 4th and 7 with about 90 seconds remaining, the trailing team thought they'd scored the go-ahead touchdown on a pass to the far side of the endzone. However, after officials met to discuss it, they changed the ruling to incomplete. It was a really fun game to watch as someone who had not seen either team play and had absolutely no rooting interest in the outcome. Unfortunately for me, my story doesn't appear to be online anywhere.

Anyway, on to some of the best things I read over the weekend.

Are Football Players really Modern Day Gladiators?

Comparing football to the gladiators has nothing to do with ancient savagery, and everything to do with modern anxiety.

Pretty much all headlines that are questions can be answered with "no." Spoiler alert, this is the case here. But rather than skip the article, read to find out why today's football players are more similar to chariot racers than gladiators.

A Survivor's Life 

When the shooting in Oregon happened, I, like everyone, was shocked and horrified. But as the days went by, we all did what we've been conditioned to do. That is, we moved on with our lives. Or at least on to the next shooting. It's become routine that at this point. We react in horror, we post The Onion story about how we're the only nation where these types of shootings happen and that nothing can be done, and we move on. It's what we do.

But for the survivors of mass shootings, it's not as simple as just moving on. From having to post signs not to knock on the door (because it's still traumatic to hear noises that could resemble gunshots) to people not sure how to act around you and whether they should ask you about the shootings or not, moving on isn't as simple as it sounds. This well-reported story in the Washington Post looks at one shooting survivor's tale.

The Last Black Man in Pro Football

 The NFL wasn't always integrated. But it wasn't always segregated either. Which means someone had to be the last black player in the NFL before it became a white's only league. That man was Joe Lillard. Here, VICE Sports looks back at Lillard's journey to the NFL and his exclusion from it. (This may shock you, but the founder of the Washington NFL team had something to do with it.)

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