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The right-wing revolt against 'liberal' ESPN and the rest of the week's best sportswriting

Boil the kettle. It’s time for your weekly dose of the good stuff.

“ROONEY HAS FADED, of course, and fast; there is a reason José Mourinho spent much of last year slowly easing him out of his team. Time has taken its toll on Rooney more quickly, more cruelly than it has or will on others. His rapid descent was foreseen. He always had the look, the body, of a player who would burn brilliantly but briefly.

His greatness lay in his power, his dynamism, his explosiveness; over these last two, three, four years, all have visibly diminished. Rooney is not today, and will not be tomorrow, what he was yesterday.

There is something else at play, too, though, something perhaps unique to Rooney himself: a readiness, if not quite a glee, to write him off at the first available opportunity, to believe that there will be no final hurrah, no last swan song, no Indian summer. It is a trend that has its roots in what he was, who he is and where he came from.”

Rory Smith explains in the New York Times why Wayne Rooney returns to Everton as a champion, but not a conqueror.

 

“Today — one presidential election, several bills restricting transgender rights and dozens of ESPN layoffs later — Jenner’s moment at the ESPYS casts an odd shadow. Many Americans remember it as a bright moment in the movement for transgender acceptance, particularly within the sports world. But a vocal segment of the American population views it as something else: a rebuke of conservative values and a sign that ESPN had chosen a side in a deepening political divide.

Based on evidence both empirical and anecdotal, including a poll tracing Republican attitudes toward ESPN, it’s clear that Jenner’s award was a key moment in ESPN’s history. From that night on, a large swath of Americans viewed the country’s biggest sports network as propagating a nefarious liberal agenda. Spurred on by Donald Trump’s anti-media message, social conservatives declared war on ESPN, until the claim that ESPN was “too liberal” burst from conservative websites to mainstream newspapers and jumped from Facebook comments to widely aired sports talk radio.”

Two years on from Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPYS appearance, Alex Putterman explores how America’s right wing has revolted against The Worldwide Leader in Sports.

 

“Answering the door of his Downpatrick home, you instantly become aware that you are in the presence of a man of serious substance, Dr Maurice Hayes, with heavy political tomes taking up every perch, shelf and cranny.

A quick Google of his name throws up all his political accomplishments. Starting his working life as a teacher, he followed his father by becoming town clerk of Downpatrick and onto a political life where he served as Senator in the Republic, was the author of The Hayes Report as chairman of the Acute Hospitals Review Group, contributed to the Patten Report that changed the face of policing in Northern Ireland and was the very first catholic Ombudsman.

And before all that? Well, he gained the best possible preparation for a political life as a young GAA administrator in Down, and along with a few like-minded colleagues changed the culture of Gaelic football, brought the first All-Ireland title across the border in 1960 and introduced many of the latter-day innovations of the sport.”

Declan Bogue sits down with 90-year-old Dr Maurice Hayes, the man who brought Down to the top of Gaelic football.


“Ivey called. The turn was a nine, giving him a full house, nines full of queens.

Moneymaker bet 200,000. Ivey couldn’t believe his luck. He hit his miracle card on the turn and now this guy, this tomato can from Tennessee, was betting into him. Ivey raised all in. Moneymaker called and turned over his three queens. They were no good. Ivey showed Moneymaker his pocket nines. He showed Moneymaker his doom, the end of his miraculous run in the biggest poker tournament ever played.

Only it wasn’t over. There was still the river. And when the dealer flipped over the ace, one of only three cards in the deck that could improve Moneymaker’s hand, the entire room recoiled in shock. Ivey was eliminated in 10th place. He stood up and made a beeline for the side entrance, where his car was waiting for him at the curb. He never looked back. He got into his car and drove away. He put the car right on the interstate and drove for 72 hours back to New Jersey. It was a sickening beat. A punch to the gut. Enough to double anyone over.”

David Hill takes to The Ringer to explore why poker’s most respected player, Phil Ivey, will sit out this year’s World Series in mysterious circumstances.

 

“Perhaps one of the main peculiarities of eSports competitions is that they rarely feature sports games. Despite their global popularity, football games such as Fifa lag behind the likes of Dota 2 and Hearthstone, with last year’s Fifa Ultimate Team Championship Final providing the first lucrative opportunity to play the game as it featured a $400,000 prize pool and was broadcast on traditional gaming platforms, YouTube and Twitch as well as BT Sport.

Football teams are slowly starting to embrace the growing trend of global tournaments, with Manchester City, West Ham United, and Wolfsburg all signing professional eSports players, while other teams such as Valencia and Schalke have gone beyond Fifa – the former have a Rocket League team and the latter a League of Legends roster.”

Devarshi Lodhia makes the case for eSports as a potential Olympic event in The Guardian, and sheds light on the industry’s growth in Asia.

 

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“I hated football and was contemplating getting a ‘real job’… Then I got called up by Libya”

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