Under the Radar

Unless you are the sports fan constantly refreshing the sports news page on Google, there is probably quite a bit of information, issues and events that you are missing. If it’s something huge, I can count on social media to let me know of its happenings, but some of the most interesting stories are oftentimes left out of my news feed.

ENGLAND PROVIDES AN EXTRA PUSH

One issue that I had to do some searching for and finally found in small print on ESPN.com is that pressure to change the name of the Washington Redskins continues to grow, now internationally. In a letter dated Feb. 2, two members of British Parliament voiced their concern with the name of the team to the National Football League. At the minimum the letter calls for the NFL to send a different team to play in London later this year. Washington is set to play Cincinnati on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium.

The issue with the team name has to do with the historical derivation of the team’s mascot. England currently has the strictest anti-racism laws in sports. Clubs at every level in the county run the risk of being heavily fined or banished from their respective leagues for any deemed violations.

Here in America, more than 30 national Native American organizations have spoken out against the team name.

“Sport has the rare ability to act as a unifying force in the world, yet the use of the Washington team name is inherently divisive,” Parliament members Ruth Smeeth and Ian Austin said in the letter’s conclusion. “It is both puzzling and alarming the NFL is choosing to export this controversy to Britain.”

This backlash in regards to Washington’s name from an international community that has really started to take hold of America’s most popular sport could be the extra push the NFL and other sports leagues need to get rid of names deemed racist.

ESPN’S BIAS COULD CAUSE A CHANGE

Being the huge Big Ten fan that I am, any headline that mentions the conference is an automatic read for me. On SB Nation — The Crimson Quarry, I came across an article titled, “Could ESPN’s marginalization of college basketball push the Big Ten away?”

The author of the article, Ben Raphel, discusses the topic in a two-part series. The first part is what caught my attention. He shines light on the way that members of the conference, in particular the Indiana Hoosiers, feel shafted by the so-called world-wide leader in sports.

Since my time at Michigan State University began in the fall of 2011, this conversation topic came up more times than I can count. With my fellow sport journalism majors, it felt like a daily discussion. It usually corralled around football considering the SEC gets more than its fair share of coverage. Granted it has provided the national champion the most times in recent years and sends the most players to the NFL, but college football definitely does not center on the SEC.

Currently the issue is with basketball. The funny part about this is that the SEC is not a dominant basketball conference and never really has been. But this entire season ESPN has been hanging on every little thing LSU forward Ben Simmons has done. Despite LSU being 16-12, not in the top 25 and having just experienced a loss by 20 to Arkansas, it’s surprising that the team is getting more airtime than Kobe Bryant and his farewell tour.

The SEC has two teams in the AP top 25 whereas the Big 12 is the leader with six teams and the Big Ten follows with five. And yet Kentucky gets more airtime than both because of its famous one-and-done performances.

The Big Ten’s TV contract is up after the 2016-17 season, and with the giant amounts of shade that the conference feels ESPN is throwing its way, that could lead it to look into other possibilities.

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