Joel Anderson, Stefan Fatsis, and Josh Levin discuss the end of a Summer Olympics defined by a global pandemic, empty stands, relentless heat—and athletic greatness. They also discuss NFL players who’ve refused to get the COVID vaccine, and what the league should do about it. Finally, journalist and author Simon Kuper explains the tearful end of Lionel Messi’s brilliant career at F.C. Barcelona.
• Support Hang Up and Listen by subscribing to Slate Plus.
• Read all of Slate’s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.
• In the New Yorker, Louisa Thomas wrote that there was a “different, more vulnerable dynamic to these Olympics.”
• “Olympics End as They Began: Strangely,” wrote Motoko Rich of the New York Times.
• Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reported that “while the Tokyo Olympics didn’t change what the Games are, they exposed it further.”
• Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said he is willing to be surrounded by Plexiglas but won’t get vaccinated against the coronavirus. His coach is not pleased.
• The NFL said last week that more than 90 percent of players and nearly all team staff have received at least one vaccine dose.
• Cousins is just one of multiple players who have said they are unvaccinated.
• Follow Simon Kuper on Twitter and buy his new book, The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making—and Unmaking—of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club.
• After 21 years and 672 goals, Lionel Messi announced that he is leaving F.C. Barcelona.
• In the Financial Times, Kuper explained how one of the world’s richest football teams could no longer afford the game’s biggest star.
• Messi reportedly is signing with the French superpower Paris Saint-Germain.
• An interactive timeline of Lionel Messi’s career.
Hang Up and Listen’s weekly Raul Valbuena:
Joel’s Raul Valbuena: Congrats to Turkmenistan, San Marino, and Burkina Faso, which won their first-ever Olympic medals.
On this week’s bonus segment, Josh, Joel, and Stefan talk about Kevin Durant, the weak promotion of U.S. track stars, and more from the Olympics.
Podcast production and edit by Alyssa Edes.
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