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Thinking again about England in '66, Smith '96 and all the week's best sportswriting

Plus, the importance and legacy of The Stone Cold Stunner.

The great and good of Argentina's press wait for Diego Maradona.
The great and good of Argentina's press wait for Diego Maradona.
Image: Natacha Pisarenko

1. “As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”

It’s short, but Michael Jordan rarely speaks on political or cultural issues, so his missive in The Undefeated is well worth your time. 

2. “Me? I sat, maybe a little cravenly, committing myself neither one way or the other. Michelle Smith had never tested positive, yet it seemed that – within the swimming community – her name was already synonymous with drugs.

“My colleagues’ hostility mirrored that of a great raft of journalists, mainly American, who specialised in the sport.”

Vincent Hogan looks back at the summer of 1996 summer with a critical eye on his own archive in the Irish Independent.

3. “I first contacted WADA about this investigation towards the end of June 2013 to give them a ‘heads-up’ on the case and check one key fact – whether in fact our whistle-blowers had contacted WADA directly, as they had claimed. This could be pivotal to getting our story into print.

“Without boring you with the details of journalistic process, stories of this nature as a matter of course must pass through the hands of teams of lawyers before being cleared to print. They need to be demonstrably true, in other words. They need evidence, and a right of reply. They need to ‘stand up.’

Russia Doping WADA Source: AP/Press Association Images

“With the IAAF silent and the IOC ignorant, there remained the theoretical chance that our whistle-blowers and witnesses were making it all up…”

At Sporting Intelligence, Nick Harris details ‘the story behind the story’ of Russia’s incredible doping cover-up.

4. “The big problem was the refereeing. Some European teams had reasonable complaints – when England beat France 2-0 the first goal was possibly offside and the second was scored while Jacques Simon writhed injured on the grass after being hobbled by the unpunished Nobby Stiles, while England’s third goal in the final surely did not cross the line – but the South Americans felt particularly victimised.”

50 years on, The Guardian’s Simon Burnton thought it was time to address the elephant in the trophy cabinet. Nobody enjoyed the 1966 World Cup.

5. ”Austin’s explanation points out the necessary hook for success in pro wrestling. The audience wants to be surprised, but at the same time, the audience wants a second to process before what comes next. The kick to the stomach is the appetizer, the warmup, or whatever you want to call it.”

On Deadspin, Samer Kelaf charts the origin and importance of The Stunner.

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Analysis: What can Munster expect from new lock Jean Kleyn?

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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