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Dublin: 12°C Monday 17 May 2021

Wayne in the USA, smoking for sport and the rest of the week's best sportswriting

Lazy Sundays were made for reading about Wayne Rooney’s sneaking into casinos.

Wayne Rooney had an eventful time in Washington.
Wayne Rooney had an eventful time in Washington.
Image: Chuck Myers

1. “It was a great occasion for me personally but I was also aware of its significance. For the first few years, it was very much a big thing that a black player was playing for Ireland. I was aware of the responsibility I had. At that time, not many weeks or months would go by without me suffering racial abuse in England but, for all the games I played in Ireland, I can’t think of one instance when it happened.”

Any article that incorporates The Specials and Chris Hughton is going to get a thumbs up from us, and there is some great insight in this piece by’s Kieran Cunningham, which looks back at Irish football’s relationship with black players. 

brian-kerr-and-chris-hughton Brian Kerr and Chris Hughton during an Ireland training session in 2003. Source: INPHO

2. Whitworth played during a time when it was common practice for top LPGA players to put money in lockers of less successful players to help them get to the next tournament stop. They needed everyone to show up to keep the tour going.

She played during a time of racial discrimination when hotels sometimes “lost” the reservations of African-American players Althea Gibson and Renee Powell, who were forced to share rooms with their white peers. It was also a time when LPGA players, meeting discriminatory resistance from some tournament host clubs, responded in solidarity: “All of us will play, or none of us will play.”

Kathy Whitworth recorded 88 career wins during her Hall of Fame career on the LPGA Tour.’s Lisa D. Mickey looks back at her remarkable career.

japan-golf-zozo-championship Tiger Woods tied Sam Snead's 82 career PGA Tour wins on Sunday, but he still trails Kathy Whitworth. Source: Lee Jin-man

3. Having only recently arrived in the United States and with his personal driver giving him little use for a driver’s license, Rooney — among the most easily-recognizable humans in the world — had not thought to bring an ID. This was problematic to the casino’s doorman, who did not recognize him, assuming the Manchester United legend was just another Brit on holiday, here for the monuments, museums and maybe an outlet mall or two. But Rooney and his cohorts would not be denied. The group scurried around to the casino’s other entrance, where they met far less resistance. “Holy shit,” a patron told the door person. “That’s Wayne fucking Rooney.”

Yes, Wayne Rooney’s time in the MLS was eventful, and yes, you want to read all about it. Good job The Athletic’s Pablos Maurer has got you sorted.

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d-c-united-v-sporting-kc-mls-audi-field Rooney proved a hit with fans and teammates alike. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

4. One competitor, Guy Pardillos, a 49-year-old professional magician from Nice, France, implied that, if he desired, he could use his magic to undermine the contest and claim the shimmery prize package: a watch, a lighter, a knife, a case of 500 cigars, a ring, all of them one of a kind and each worth several thousand dollars.

“But no,” said Pardillos, who was wearing one white shoe and one black shoe. “If you compete, do it fairly. There’s no glory if you cheat.”

Is smoking cigars a sport? We don’t know. Frankly we don’t care, because this is a really good piece from Andrew Keh for the New York Times.

pga-the-open-championship-practice-round Miguel Angel Jiminez did not participate at the Cigar Smoking World Championship, but we sure wish he did. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

5. Without really trying, a reader can access a whole zombie content library. In addition to Deadspin and SI, Newsweek, Playboy, LA Weekly, U.S. News & World Report, The Hill, and newspapers like The Denver Post all exist in varying states of catatonia. The Los Angeles Times and Texas Monthly narrowly missed joining the list. To honor the company that gutted SI, we can call this process the Mavening. The Mavening is the way media overlords taunt readers by forcing them to watch as they drag around the corpse of a beloved friend.

A timely reminder that good sportswriting is facing more challenges than ever. The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis looks at a growing problem after Deadspin lost some key writers this week. 

jordan-in-toronto-reporters Michael Jordan is mobbed by reporters back in 2001. Source: The Canadian Press/PA Images


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