Blog

What Michael Sam Got Right – and His Handlers Got Wrong

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: Bacon final Michael Sam for web with open 5-23-2014] Last February, University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam publicly declared he was gay – a first for a likely NFL draft pick.  Last week, the St. Louis Rams drafted him in the last round – another first.  But I believe the trickiest terrain is still ahead. When Michael Sam told his University of Missouri teammates he was gay before last season, no one seemed to care very much.  No one tweeted the news to the public, and Sam had a...

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Mitch McGary’s Mistake – and the NCAA’s Failure

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Uncategorized | 13 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: Bacon Final 5.1.14 McGary for Web] When Mitch McGary played high school basketball in New Hampshire, he was one of the nation’s top recruits.  Michigan fans were rightly thrilled when he decided to play for the Wolverines. In his first NCAA tournament, last spring, McGary played so well folks thought he might jump to the NBA.  Instead, he returned for his sophomore year — then injured his back so badly, he needed surgery mid-season.  The Wolverines weren’t doing much better at 6-4, with...

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Michigan’s Unlikely Marathon Man

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here Bacon Final 4.24.14 Greg Meyers for Web] In 1896, the first modern Olympics in Athens staged a marathon. The next year the Boston Athletic Association followed suit.  Just 18 men ran that day, and the winner finished in about three hours – something office workers can beat today. Most people thought they were crazy – if they thought of them at all.  Many people probably still do. Marathoners don’t care. “We are different, in essence, from other men,” said Czechoslovakian star Emil Zatopek...

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The NBA: To Go, or Not To Go — and Why

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Uncategorized | 13 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: UM hoops to NBA] Nik Stauskas grew up in Mississauga, Ontario – a Toronto suburb better known for its neighborhood hockey games than a Lithuanian kid spending thousands of hours shooting on his parents’ backyard hoop. This year, Stauskas was named Big Ten player of the year.  It worked. Glenn Robinson III took a completely different route to the NBA: His father is Glenn Robinson Jr., also known as “The Big Dog,” and was the first pick in the NBA draft twenty years ago.  If Stauskas had to...

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Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s record – and what makes it great

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

[To listen to the audio version, please click here: Bacon Final 4.11.14 for Web] This week marks the 40th anniversary of one of baseball’s signature moments: Hank Aaron hitting his record 715th home run, to surpass Babe Ruth’s 39-year old record.  But to appreciate how special that was, you have to understand who Hank Aaron is – and what he faced. You’ve heard of Babe Ruth, who might be the last century’s best-known American athlete.  Ruth loved the fans, and the fans loved him right back. That’s why, when another New York...

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The Northwestern players union: What it means, and what it doesn’t

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Uncategorized | 19 comments

[To listen to the audio version, please click here: Northwestern Union 2014] Last week, in a surprising decision, the National Labor Relations Board granted the Northwestern University football players the right to unionize, if they want. But what does that mean?  What doesn’t it mean?  And how might this change the future of college football? The NLRB’s ruling made a big splash, but it’s actually very narrow.  The decision applies only to private schools.  There are only a handful or two that play big time college football –...

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Who’s a Real Michigan Fan – and Who Isn’t?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Uncategorized | 14 comments

To listen to the audio version, click here: Bacon_final_Big_House_3-28-14 One debate I could do without is the question of who is a real Michigan fan, and who isn’t? On the face of it, the question is pretty stupid.  A Michigan fan is a fan of Michigan.  And beyond the surface, it’s still pretty stupid.  But let’s play it out. The argument goes that only those who attended Michigan can call themselves Michigan fans. The rest?  They’re mere “Walmart Wolverines”—fans who could have picked any school to cheer for, as well as any...

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Revving up the rivalry, while boosting basketball

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

[To listen to the audio version, please click here: Bacon Final 3.21.14 for web] On Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines faced the Michigan State Spartans in the final of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.  After a decade of domination by the Spartans, John Beilein’s Wolverines held the upper hand the past four years.  After losing two stars to the NBA and one to back surgery, they surprised just about everyone when they won the regular season Big Ten title this year by three games.  Now they had the rare chance to beat the Spartans...

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An Appreciation of William Clay Ford, Sr.

Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: Ford 3.14.14] In the course of his 88 years, William Clay Ford, who died Sunday, captained Yale’s tennis team, earned an engineering degree and chaired Ford Motor Co.’s finance committee, which is enough for any lifetime. But he will likely be remembered mainly as the owner of the Detroit Lions, during five woefully unsuccessful decades. Since he took over the franchise in 1964, the Lions have won exactly one playoff game, and remain the only NFL team to miss out on all 48 Super Bowls.  (The...

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John Beilein: A Series of Surprising Successes, Starting in the Sewer

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: Bacon Final Beilein 3.7.14] On Tuesday night, the Michigan men’s basketball team beat Illinois to earn its first outright Big Ten title in almost three decades.  What’s more impressive is how they’ve done it. Michigan’s famous Fab Five left the stage twenty years ago, and were replaced by Tom Izzo’s Michigan State teams a few years later.  For more than a decade, the Spartans dominated the state. Izzo’s teams have earned 16 straight NCAA invitations – and they’ll get another one...

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