Rank #1: Can NFL Doctors Be Trusted?
Trent Williams recently revealed that a growth he had removed from his head during the offseason was cancerous. The Pro Bowl tackle also claimed that Redskins team doctors had initially told him it was something minor. The Athletic's Ben Standig speaks with us about Williams's health, his strained relationship with the team, and whether or not NFL players are losing faith in team doctors.
Read Ben Standig’s story on Trent Williams’ claims and why he wanted to be traded:
Nov 06 2019
Rank #2: Undercover Maverick
A reporter goes undercover to try out for a G League Basketball team, and let’s just say it does not go well. The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf recounts his hilarious experience trying out for the Texas Legends, a developmental affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks.
And The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson reflects on the remarkable career of Shaun Livingston, who overcame a catastrophic knee injury and won three NBA championships. Livingston retired last week.
What’s an NBA G League tryout like? I tried out (undercover) for the Texas Legends to find out
Robbed of stardom, Shaun Livingston created something more profound
Sep 20 2019
Rank #3: Clemson Football’s “Safe Seat”
Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney wants his players to talk about themselves and their backgrounds, so he created something called "the safe seat." It's part of a broader effort to address mental health issues among his players. It can be especially hard for college athletes to talk about mental health. And even though colleges are increasingly aware of the challenges, not every player gets the help they need. The Athletic’s Armen Keteyian joins us to talk about his video series on mental health in college athletics and the stories of two high-profile college football players, one who got the help he needed and one who didn't.
You can watch Armen’s video series on college athletes and mental health here:
To hear about some of the greatest rivalries in sports, including college football, check out "Sports Wars": https://wondery.com/shows/sports-wars/
If you need to talk to someone, you can call the The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Sep 19 2019
Rank #4: Ice Ice Bucket
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? It turns out a women’s college basketball team planted the seeds for the viral internet trend that took over the Internet in 2014. The Athletic’s Steve Buckley joins us to talk about how it all happened and how three men with Lou Gehrig’s Disease inspired millions of people to transform a silly internet trend into millions of dollars for ALS research and awareness.
You can find Steve Buckley’s oral history of the Ice Bucket Challenge on the Athletic here: https://theathletic.com/1050538/2019/07/10/tell-every-person-you-know-five-years-later-the-oral-history-of-how-the-ice-bucket-challenge-spread/?source=theleadpodcast
Sep 18 2019
Rank #5: Silent No More
Warning: This episode contains graphic material related to sexual assault that may not be suitable for all audiences.
Sarah Klein is one of the first known victims of former gymnastics team physician and serial sexual predator, Larry Nassar. As an adult, Sarah struggled with anxiety, depression, and a range of physical ailments. Then Sarah connected with a therapist named Dr. Liz Goldman, who also had been a victim of sexual assault by a middle school wrestling coach. The two women formed a powerful connection that eventually flipped the doctor-patient relationship on its head, and both women continue to draw strength from one another. The Athletic's Armen Keteyian reports.
Watch all three parts of Armen Keteyian's report:
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit https://hotline.rainn.org/ and receive confidential support.
Nov 05 2019
Rank #6: London Calling: Why The U.K. Makes Sense For The Chargers
Exclusive reporting from The Athletic has revealed that the NFL broached the possibility of London as a new home for the Los Angeles Chargers. And while it might seem absurd that the Chargers could head overseas after such a short time in L.A., The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore says it actually makes a lot of sense for the team and the league. We speak with Bonsignore about his story, how the NFL would overcome the logistical challenges of an overseas team, and how this all ties back to the Chargers’ botched exit from San Diego.
Read Vincent Bonsignore’s exclusive story about the Chargers: https://theathletic.com/1347540/2019/11/04/with-london-ready-for-an-nfl-team-the-chargers-have-been-discussed-as-a-possible-option/?source=theleadpodcast
Nov 07 2019
Rank #7: The Patriots’ Breaking Point
Antonio Brown spent just 11 days with the New England Patriots before they released him amid accusations of rape and sexual assault. With so much controversy swirling around the All-Pro receiver, what was the final straw? We look at the history of the Patriots taking on risky players and analyze the famous “Patriot Way.”
In her column, Lindsay Jones says if Antonio Brown never plays in the NFL again, it’s entirely his fault:
To learn more about "The Patriot Way," listen to the award-winning 6-part investigative podcast "Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.": https://wondery.com/shows/gladiator/
Go here to listen to Lindsay Jones and Amy Parlapiano’s NFL Power Rankings podcast:
Sep 23 2019
Rank #8: A Shadow Over The World Series
The Houston Astros are under intense pressure to make things right after their assistant General Manager reportedly taunted a group of female reporters in the locker room. Brandon Taubman screamed "Thank God we got Osuna! I'm so "effing" glad we got Osuna!" He was referencing Roberto Osuna, a star pitcher who was suspended for 75 games for violating MLB's domestic abuse policy. The team then tried to discredit the reporter who broke the news. MLB is investigating the incident. The Athletic’s Emma Span joins us to explain what the exchange was all about and what might be done about it.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says it’s time for MLB to impose harsh discipline on Brandon Taubman and the Astros:
Oct 24 2019
Rank #9: Dynasty Done? An Exclusive Interview with Steph Curry
Steph Curry knows that everything has changed for the Warriors. The team lost three big players from their championship run and superstar Klay Thompson could miss the entire season due to a torn ACL. In an exclusive interview with Curry, The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami speaks with the three-time NBA Champion about the new-look Warriors, what went through his head when Kevin Durant left for Brooklyn, and his potential plan for retirement.
You can go here for Tim Kawakami’s complete interview with Steph Curry on his podcast The TK Show: https://theathletic.com/podcast/13-the-tk-show/?source=theleadpodcast
Oct 25 2019
Rank #10: OJ's Jersey Returns
OJ Simpson's #32 jersey has returned to the football field in Buffalo for the first time in 42 years. It's being worn by a backup running back (and special teams player) named Senorise Perry. The Athletic's Tim Graham broke the story about OJ's number being put back in circulation back in May. We check in with Tim about how the decision has been received, what Senorise Perry hopes to accomplish this year, and how OJ Simpson is remembered by Buffalo Bills fans.
Read Tim's original story about the jersey number going back into circulation:
Nov 04 2019
Rank #11: Special Investigation: What Happened To New Orleans’ Field Of Dreams? (Part 2)
A joint investigation from The Athletic and WVUE-TV in New Orleans reveals why a football stadium that was supposed to be built in New Orleans' Upper Ninth Ward still has not been completed. The project was intended to be a symbol of recovery after Hurricane Katrina. A decade later, there’s still no field and less than $900 remains in the organization's bank account. In Part Two of the story, we explore what transpired after the project’s creator and lead architect stepped away, and what happened to the nearly one million dollars that went missing.
Part two of a special two-part investigation.
Oct 03 2019
Rank #12: The Surprising History of Big League Chew
Big League Chew, the bubble gum made to look like chewing tobacco, turns 40 next year. The gum has a fascinating history that involves an independent baseball team in Portland, the actor Kurt Russell, and two baseball outsiders who used chewing gum to stay connected to the game they love -- and to book their ticket to Cooperstown.
Check out Corey Brock’s story on the origin of Big League Chew:
Oct 10 2019
Rank #13: Special Investigation: What Happened To New Orleans' Field Of Dreams? (Part 1)
A joint investigation from The Athletic and WVUE-TV in New Orleans reveals why a high school football stadium that was supposed to be a symbol of recovery after Hurricane Katrina was never completed. Celebrity athletes like Drew Brees and Saints head coach Sean Payton helped provide funding. The project captured the attention of President Obama, Anderson Cooper and news outlets across the country. But a decade later, there’s still no field -- and a million dollars is missing.
Part one of a special two-part investigation.
Read the full story on The Athletic:
Oct 02 2019
Rank #14: An NBA Owner With Close Ties To China
Joseph Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets has become a central character in the NBA-China story. As co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba, he has close ties to the Chinese government, and recently released a statement in support of China’s policies in Hong Kong. The Athletic's Bill Shea joins us to talk about Tsai's history, his love of sports, and why he's putting NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a tricky situation.
You can find Bill's latest writing on the NBA and China here: https://theathletic.com/1275004/2019/10/08/how-much-does-the-nba-stand-to-lose-in-china-over-a-tweet/?source=theleadpodcast
Oct 11 2019
Rank #15: California Governor Newsom On Why He’s Challenging The NCAA
We interview Governor Gavin Newsom about the bill he signed into law that will allow college athletes in California to be paid for the use of their name and likeness. We ask him why he signed the bill, what impact he thinks it will have, and why he agrees with the President of the NCAA that the new law is an “existential threat” to the status quo for college athletes.
Oct 01 2019
Rank #16: SMU's Return from a Death Sentence
In 1986 the NCAA delivered what is unofficially known as the “death penalty” to the Southern Methodist University football program. The team was found guilty of egregious recruiting violations and barred from playing any football during the 1987 season, along with other sanctions. Now, the Mustangs are 6-0 and back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in more than three decades. The Athletic’s Chris Vannini explains how a second year coach has guided the team back to winning ways using an unconventional team building tactic.
Oct 18 2019
Rank #17: How LAFC Made Los Angeles A Soccer City
The most anticipated match in MLS history is tomorrow. LAFC takes on cross-town rivals LA Galaxy in the second round of the playoffs. LAFC had a record-breaking regular season, led by Mexican superstar Carlos Vela. But they've never beaten the LA Galaxy or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Athletic's Josh Gross walks us through the amazing story of LAFC, which has taken Los Angeles by storm, and tells us what to expect in tomorrow night's match.
Oct 23 2019
Rank #18: Will The Angels Face Consequences For Tyler Skaggs’s Death?
Former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs unexpectedly died in July. An autopsy revealed he had fentanyl and oxycodone in his system. New reporting suggests an Angels employee — who is cooperating with the DEA — supplied drugs for Skaggs and that two other high-ranking executives knew about Skaggs's drug use as early as 2017. In this episode, The Athletic’s Katie Strang looks back at Skaggs's death, explains how the Angels organization might have mishandled the case, and analyzes the potential liability for the team and Major League Baseball itself.
Read Katie Strang’s analysis of the legal implications of the Tyler Skaggs case:
Oct 16 2019
Rank #19: BONUS: Interview With Bob Bradley, MLS Coach of the Year
Anders sits down with LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley, who was just named MLS Coach of the Year, to discuss his team's incredible regular season, what motivates him, and why he wants his players to express their personalities on the field. Bob also reflects on his remarkable career, including his time in Egypt and England.
Oct 23 2019
Rank #20: Boxer Beefs
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the biggest superstar in boxing, is the main event this weekend in Las Vegas. But, just as Canelo looks to win another championship belt, a rift has erupted between him and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya. The two men aren’t on speaking terms and the feud has spilled over onto social media. Canelo opened up to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger about the divide, and Coppinger joins us to talk about what’s going on behind the scenes as boxing’s biggest star and his hall-of-fame promoter square off in their own fight.
Read Mike Coppinger’s story to find out more about the feud between Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya:
To listen to the story of another great boxing rivalry, listen to the 5-episode series on Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield on "Sports Wars": wondery.fm/sportswars
Nov 01 2019