George Visger played for the San Francisco 49ers in 1980. Now, he's diagnosed with chronic traumatic brain injury, frontal and temporal lobe disorders, generalized seizure disorder and cognitive impairment—and he's trying to make sense of his life:
"On a postcard-perfect Southern California morning, George Visger is pissing blood. This comes as a relief. For me, mostly. But also for him. Things could be worse. He could be having a seizure. Or slipping into a coma. Which means I could be jamming a one-inch butterfly needle into a thumbnail-sized hole in the side of his skull, trying to siphon off excess spinal fluid while avoiding what Visger calls 'the white stuff.'
"The white stuff being brain tissue."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 9, 2013
LENGTH: 35 minutes (8849 words)
Cities are slashing school budgets to pay for professional sports stadiums, and the NFL is still a nonprofit. An argument for cutting off all public funding for professional sports across the U.S., which could save taxpayers billions:
"Consider stadium subsidies. When Kubla Khan built his stately pleasure dome above a sunless sea, he did not strong-arm the Xanadu County Board of Directors into funding the project by threatening to move to Los Angeles. His mistake. He wouldn’t last five minutes as an American sports owner. According to Harvard professor Judith Grant Long and economist Andrew Zimbalist, the average public contribution to the total capital and operating cost per sports stadium from 2000 to 2006 was between $249 and $280 million. A fantastic interactive map at Deadspin estimates that the total cost to the public of the 78 pro stadiums built or renovated between 1991 and 2004 was nearly $16 billion. That’s enough to build three Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Or fund, in today’s dollars, 15 Saturn V moon rocket launches -- three more than the number of launches in the entire Apollo/Skylab program. It’s also more than what Chrysler received in the Great Recession-triggered auto industry bailout ($10.5 billion), and bigger than the 2010 GDP of 84 different nations. How does this happen? Simple. Team owners ask for public handouts and threaten to move elsewhere unless they get them, pitting cities against in each other in corporate welfare bidding wars -- wars rooted in the various publicly granted antitrust exemptions that effectively allow sports leagues to control and maintain a limited supply of teams to be leveraged against widespread demand."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 14, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4530 words)
[Not single-page] A young football player kills himself after he sustained a concussion on the field:
Heading home, the Trenums stopped at the Chuck Wagon, a restaurant around the corner from their house, where the Brentsville High players gathered after games. Austin’s teammates recounted his sideline exchange with Scavongelli.
Scavongelli: “Do you know where you are?”
Austin: “Yeah. This is my field!”
Scavongelli: “No. Do you know what school you are at?”
Austin: “Yeah. My school!”
Scavongelli: “Do you know who you’re playing against?”
PUBLISHED: July 24, 2012
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6790 words)
An investigation of sports' biggest conspiracy theories, starting with the 1985 NBA draft:
"I believe in the fix. I believe in the hidden hand, that sports have a secret, redacted history. I believe that Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals was a sham, that Spygate was a cover-up of a cover-up, that Super Bowl III was preordained, that Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s heartwarming 2001 victory at Daytona was, in fact, too good to be true, that Michael Jordan's first baseball-playing retirement was anything but, that powerful forces don't want me to write this because powerful forces don't want you to read this. I believe that black is white, white is black, the 1990 World Cup draw was rigged and Sophia Loren was definitely in on the con. Most of all, I believe that on June 18, 1985, inside the Starlight Room of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, in front of Pat O'Brien and nearly 150 reporters and umpteen popping flashbulbs and an entire world utterly oblivious to the conspiracy about to take place before them in plain sight, David Joel Stern did not act alone.
"Of course, I might be crazy."
PUBLISHED: May 30, 2012
LENGTH: 33 minutes (8376 words)