I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael with us from Cleveland. But in Washington, D.C., I have Dave Zirin, sports editor at the progressive magazine The Nation, Paul Butler, law professor at Georgetown University, and what do you know, NPR editor Ammad Omar sticking around. Take it away, Jimi.
The NFL season is in high gear — a fact that pleases the roughly 64 percent of Americans who watch football. The season rolls on despite the now constant news about concussions in the sport.
The recent TV documentary League of Denial and the book by the same name claim that for years the NFL had denied and covered up evidence linking football and brain damage. Is the concussion conversation challenging this country's deep love for the game?
As a commentator, Frank Deford gets a lot of suggestions about prominent subjects that he should take to task. Usually, he has already sounded off on these suggested topics, and most of them are cut and dried, with nothing new to add. But here, Deford takes on 12 of these familiar issues — this time with brief updates.
Neither of them is over 35 years old. One of them played in ATP World Tour events just months ago; the other did so last year. But none of that will keep recently retired tennis players Andy Roddick, 31, and James Blake, 33, from joining a circuit of senior players.
Months ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia, where controversy surrounds a law that targets homosexuality, the U.S. Olympic Committee adds protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation to its policies.
"The fact that we do not think it is our role to advocate for a change in the Russian law does not mean that we support the law, and we do not," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.
The dismal Jacksonville Jaguars play the formidable Denver Broncos today, a match-up that makes for the biggest point spread ever and possibly the worst regular season NFL game in a long time. NPR's Mike Pesca joins host Rachel Martin and can talk of nothing else.
It's time now for sports and we have to begin with the sad and tragic story. The two-year-old son of Adrian Peterson, the great running back of the Minnesota Vikings died this week apparently of abuse and allegedly by a boyfriend of the little boy's mother. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning, Tom.
One final note on that famous title fight between Liston and Ali. The legendary anchor punch that Mike mentioned is also known as the phantom punch. That's because many in the crowd didn't see it land and certainly didn't think that one quick punch could have dropped a man Liston's size. Even Ali seemed surprised. To this day, many wonder if the fight was fixed. After the fight, Ali headed over to broadcaster Steve Ellis and asked to see a replay.
If you like your postseason baseball full of plucky, low budget upstarts...sorry. Both the American and National league championship series have a distinctly old school feel to them. The Dodgers, Cardinals, Red Sox and Tigers all have long, storied histories — and big payrolls to match. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks to Robert Siegel about baseball's final four teams.