On patsies and sacrificial lambs
In the draft of this week’s Oddball, Dave had entered “JFK” as a placeholder for its title. Except that the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination was on Tuesday (November 22), not our usual day for releasing Oddball (i.e. Wednesday). Of course, things got busy in our daily lives and we’re sending this issue into the world a little later than that, but since today is the anniversary of Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination, the title still works!
As somebody whose ancestors fled the grip of the Communist Party of China, my family is understandably distrustful of government. My first foray into government conspiracies came with the release of Oliver Stone’s JFK. I became equally astonished and obsessed that a government could have worked in concert to take down its own leader and cover it up in the way it was portrayed in the film. As an impressionable teenager, it seemed beyond plausible. And Donald Sutherland was so convincing.
One scene that has always stuck with me is when Gary Oldman, playing Oswald, is being arrested by Dallas police and announces, “I am just a patsy.” In the context of a wider conspiracy where he might not have known he would be taking the fall, this makes some sense. In essence, his arrest served as a distraction from something bigger and more insidious.
Today the family of Katie Meyer — once a star goalkeeper at Stanford University — announced a wrongful death lawsuit against the school. The day before her death by suicide, she was threatened with expulsion after she allegedly poured coffee on another student-athlete, one who had been accused of sexually assaulting a teammate of Katie’s. I don’t know what happened to the coffee guy, but I’m willing to bet he wasn’t similarly threatened with expulsion. In hindsight, threatening to expel Meyer for her offence feels like a smokescreen obscuring a good look at a bigger, more insidious one.
The lawsuit obviously won’t bring any real justice for the Meyer family. But hopefully it puts a spotlight on differential treatment of student athletes when they break the rules.
The theme of this week’s questions is: odd man out. (If you don’t get it, you’ll get it.)
Only three active NFL players have made 10+ Pro Bowls. Of those three, only one is not a quarterback. Who is he?
From the 1980-81 NHL season to the 2000-2001 season, only four players led the league in scoring. Who is the only one of the four to never win a Stanley Cup?
Only one of the last ten NBA Rookie of the Year winners hasn’t suited up for a regular season game this season. To whomst are we referring?
Only five active pitchers have faced more than 10,000 batters at the Major League level. Of those five, only one has never won a Cy Young Award. Name him — if you dare.
Bonus question: how many of the five pitchers are currently free agents?
Answers from last week’s issue
What is the trade name of the “puffy helmet” being introduced this season in the NFL in an effort to reduce concussions? A similar product with the same name was likely a big seller in northern Ohio earlier this year.
Guardian Caps made their first appearance in the NFL during this year’s preseason. Also, Guardians caps made their first appearance in MLB this season.
Curt Flood took his fight for free agency to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972, but it wasn’t until three years later that the MLB reserve clause was challenged again by two pitchers and free agency was granted to MLB players. One pitcher won two World Series championships with the Orioles, and the other has the sixth-lowest career ERA among starting pitchers in the live-ball era. Name either pitcher.
Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith are the droids we’re looking for.
There have been multiple owner-instigated NHL lockouts, which happened under Gary Bettman’s watchful eye. The only player strike occurred in 1992 (prior to Bettman’s time) and lasted ten days. One of the major sticking points was related to how to divide a specific type of revenue that was not related to ticket sales or television deals. What was it?
At the heart of the strike was revenue related to trading cards.
In 2019, NBA players were called upon to sever endorsement deals with shoe makers Anta and Li-Ning due to their use of cotton harvested by forced labour in Xinjiang. Name an active player who has been an NBA All-Star and is signed to either of these labels.
Jimmy Butler, D’Angelo Russell, and Fred VanVleet are endorsed by Li-Ning. Gordon Hayward, Rajon Rondo, and Klay Thompson are endorsed by Anta.
RIP Maple Leafs legend Börje Salming. The first European player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Salming helped shift the perception that European players weren’t as tough their Canadian counterparts.
Many thanks to the Manimal, Kenneth Faried (currently averaging 6.3 points and 6.7 boards a game for the Austin Spurs) for being named his name and to you for being named your name, unless your name is Gianni Infantino, because after that terrible hourlong opening speech to open the World Cup, I feel…cringe.
Until next week, be the Ezequiel Carrera you wish to see in the world.