The Jeff Saturday Is Coaching on Sundays Edition

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Joel Anderson: The following podcast includes explicit language, but we assume that’s what you came for.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Hi, I’m Josh Levine, Slate’s national editor, and this is Hang Up and Listen for the week of November 14th, 2022. On This Week, Joe Grant Wahl will join us to talk about the World Cup in Qatar and all the bribery and authoritarianism and fun soccer things that brought us here. We’ll also talk about the coaching debut of the Colts Jeff Saturday what it says about who gets opportunities in the NFL. And finally, we’ll look at who’s benefiting from the new name, image and likeness rules in college sports and what those rules have meant for female athletes in particular. I’m in Washington, DC, and I’m the author of The Queen and the host of the podcast One Year. Check out our new season of 1942, New episodes still rolling out every week. Also in D.C., Stefan FATSIS is the author of the books Wild and Outside.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Word Freak in a few Seconds of Panic. Hello, Stefan.

Stefan Fatsis: Hey, Josh, how are you?

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: I’m doing great. And with us from California, host of Slow Burn Season three and six, host of an upcoming one year episode. Stay tuned. And it’s just getting redundant to talk about TCU and their victorious performances. So should we just put that to the side today, Joe? Joe Anderson.

Joel Anderson: Hey, I’ll leave that to you all. There’s a lot there’s three more games to go before anybody should really get too excited. Mississippi State was the top ranked team when the first college football playoff ratings came out, in case you don’t remember. So a lot of things can happen between now and when they set the brackets.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: All right. And the 5 seconds that you were answering my question, I’ve decided that in our Sleep Plus segment, we’re going to talk some more about TCU football. I’m being serious. We are going to talk more about TCU football and check in with Charles Mental State. We can talk about other college football things, too.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Don’t don’t don’t be too concerned. We won’t focus all of our tractor beam love and energy on you.

Joel Anderson: Well, congratulations. I mean, LSU got to be playing in the SEC championship game, so we can talk about that as well.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Oh, great. Maybe we will.

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Joel Anderson: If you want to.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: If you want to hear that, you need to be a slate plus member. And why wouldn’t you want to be? But that sort of delightful conversation in the offing, you get bonus segments on this and other slate podcasts. You get to listen to ad free shows. You get to support us, Slate.com, plus Slate.com slash lineup.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Plus.

Stefan Fatsis: As we record this, we are just six days from the start of a World Cup finals with a lot of firsts. First one staged in the Middle East. First one played in November and December. First one to cost more than $200 billion. First one built on the backs of thousands of exploited migrant workers. Not a first. The host country accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to get the tournament. Our friend Grant Wahl has landed in Qatar, where he’ll be cranking out content for his website, Grant Wahl dot com to which you should subscribe. Hey Grant. How was the trip?

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Speaker 4: Hey. I’m doing okay. You’re catching me. Just a few hours after I landed. After a three legged trip. Newark. Toronto. Cairo. Doha. Didn’t get the upgrade I was hoping for. And I’m here. I made it. Looking forward to sleep.

Stefan Fatsis: The struggle is real, man. All right. Qatar. The soccer team opens the tournament against Ecuador next Sunday. The United States plays its first match against Wales the following day. But after years of outrage over this repressive petro state hosting the World Cup and the moral, ethical and logistical compromises that it’s necessitated, the whole thing feels a little dirty and diminished and kind of farcical. This is your second visit to Qatar this year. Describe what it’s felt like in the few hours since you arrived.

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Speaker 4: Well, it is my second trip this year, so I know what it’s like on the ground. So there’s no surprises. It’s still hot. By the way, it may be November, but it’s in the nineties. And so some of these kick offs at 1 p.m. local time, it’s going to be really hot. And I know that some of these, you know, stadiums are air conditioned and what have you. But I notice that there’s also this sort of film of dust that constantly coats you and everyone else and everything else. Dust, sand, whatever it may be. So that hit me again. And, you know, the first person I saw at the airport today was bore a militant, a bitch. The former US coach who has been working with the Qataris for 2009, I think. And he’s holding.

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Stefan Fatsis: Up a sign that said Grant Wahl.

Speaker 4: It was totally random at the airport as I read, but I love that guy. And so it was a nice way to start my time on the ground here.

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Speaker 4: But, you know, for all the reasons that you mentioned, there’s a lot of conflicted feelings about being at this World Cup, I think. Those are shared with me by a lot of the fans will be watching on TV or choosing not to watch or other people who are coming here to Qatar, because there are a lot of reporting on this from my side.

Speaker 4: I came here in February and literally talked to migrant workers at 14 different FIFA hotels, asked them if the new Qatari laws to supposedly protect migrant workers are being followed on the ground. The trends were no in most cases. And, you know, that’s obviously, you know, hanging over this entire event, the fact that being gay is illegal here and women’s rights, plenty of issues there. Women don’t have the right to do things on their own. So, yeah, pretty conflicted. I mean. Russia in 2018 had its own issues, by the way. And so I am hopeful that we can get away from authoritarian countries hosting super events like the World Cup and the Olympics.

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Joel Anderson: Grant First of all, thanks for joining us. So one quick question. Is it Qatar? Qatar. We’ve all we’ve all decided different which which the official way we’re going to go the way with every.

Speaker 4: You go, I say Qatar. And what I found interesting was, was that even the ads for Qatar Airways in the US last year around the goal cap said Qatar. And so if they’re saying it on the Qatar Airways ads, that’s what I’m going to say. And so I don’t try and Wolf BLITZER it up.

Joel Anderson: So the question I have for you is that you’ve done this great reporting, talking with migrant workers. We know that this is sort of this is an authoritarian country. Have you felt any danger or discomfort by going out and talking to these people and reporting on the things you’ve been reporting on there? Have you felt, you know, heard any anything that would make you give it, you know, felt unsafe there?

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Speaker 4: You know, I haven’t felt unsafe here in Qatar, even when I was doing reporting, talking to migrant workers in February. But one thing I wanted to make sure was that I didn’t put any migrant workers in danger for talking to me, whether danger means physical danger or the danger of being deported from that country for talking to a journalist because I gave them anonymity. But it was really important that I be able to keep that anonymity.

Speaker 4: And so when I was here in February, everyone here had to have this app on their phone, which they say is a COVID app that literally is a tracking app, spyware. And thankfully, you don’t need that anymore here. But I was very aware of that in February. And I’m aware that journalists to Norwegian journalists got detained for doing journalism on this type of stuff last November. I didn’t want to get detain, but I also realized that, you know, I have a certain power carrying an American passport as a journalist here, and it wouldn’t be in their interest, the Qataris, to arrest me, detain me, imprison me, do anything like that.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: So FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said to all of the countries competing in the World Cup that they should let football take the stage. That’s his view. He also said there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world, but football should not be expected to have an answer to everyone. Well, fair enough. They should maybe have an answer to this particular question, but maybe not every every question. And I guess Grant the question of whether we should be talking about the games and whether or whether we should be talking about the corrupt way in which Qatar got the World Cup, about the migrant workers who have been have died in constructing all these stadiums.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: I think it’s less that someone like you will not want to write about that stuff, but it’s more like Fox Sports is the right holder for the United States has said explicitly it is not going to talk about this this stuff, which is kind of a crazy thing to just upfront admit bias, a place that purports to be some kind of media organization.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: And then there are also people who are just not going to they’re going to say, oh, well, it seems like it’s going to be really hard to do this. And like, there’s kind of this pressure from the governments. I’m just like, not even going to try. Like, there’s going to be like a chilling effect around this stuff. And so, you know, the question of whether and how attention is going to be paid, I’m sure that a lot of people will be writing about this stuff. But not everyone and not in the major American rights holder on television.

Speaker 4: You know, I personally, as a journalist, wanted to come here earlier in the year and do the reporting on migrant workers before I came in November and December, because I know we’re covering World Cups is like because there’s a ton of soccer, there’s four games a day for the first half of the tournament. And I’m going to be spending a ton of time covering soccer. So I wanted to cover the other important things before the tournament started, and we’ll see if any incidents happen during the tournament, protests from players or anything like that.

Speaker 4: The Fox Sports thing, I used to work for them at previous World Cups and ended up choosing to leave, in part because of how they approached Russia in 2018 because it was a similar thing where they literally have a policy that we are not going to address at all. Anything that they view as, quote, controversial about a host country they didn’t about Russia. They won’t they’ve said this about Qatar.

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Speaker 4: The wrinkles in addition to that are Fox Sports has a in an enormous sponsorship deal worth millions and millions of dollars with Qatar Airways, which is the Qatar government. And so they’re being paid by the Qatar government. And it seems like, you know, kind of a, you know, unclean type of deal that is taking place here. And and I think that’s a real problem. I mean, like there’s other rights holders and other countries are addressing this stuff.

Speaker 4: And not only is Fox putting their head in the sand, but they’re actually doing sort of paid infomercial type tourism pieces saying, you know, go go to camel racing and dune buggy riding in the desert and learn about falconry. And so it’s not just that they’re putting their head in the sand, they’re actually working with the Qataris.

Speaker 4: And so, yeah, that part of it is just, you know, there’s something really disappointing about that. And, you know, even NBC during the the Winter Olympics in China earlier this year, right from the top, Mike Tirico came out and addressed the elephant in the room and talked about the diplomatic boycott and mentioned genocide, the weaker population by the Chinese from the start. So Fox is choosing to do this and they’re going to get paid a lot from the Qataris for it. But it’s it’s pretty messed up.

Stefan Fatsis: I think you’re going to see protests. And even though teams have been warned by FIFA to just focus on the football, you’re going to see armbands that support LGBTQ plus rights. The Australian Men’s national team a couple of weeks ago put out a statement about human rights. You know, team captains and coaches have criticized the Qatari government and the Qataris have not responded in any way. That would indicate a softening. You know, German football stadiums have been filled with boycott Qatar banners in recent weeks. And Qatar’s foreign minister was quoted in the German media recently saying that the German population is misinformed by government politicians and pointed out that the German government. Has no problems with us when it comes to energy partnerships or investments. I mean, you’re going to see a lot of this sort of defensive posturing.

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Stefan Fatsis: I think, you know, we’re already seeing that in some of the good reporting about what’s happening in the tournament. A lot of it just going to be obvious. You know, The New York Times as a piece had a piece on Monday about how the Tory government at the last minute is forcing Budweiser to move its beer tents farther away from stadiums. You’re not going to be able to drink inside the stadium, but now they want them even farther away to even more discreet locations.

Speaker 4: Yeah, the Qataris are being pretty defiant lately with a lot of this stuff, including the Norwegian Federation president. She’s a former player, called them out earlier this year. And they the Qataris like to say they’re not educated on on things. And, you know, like, look, I get that the Qataris want to make clear that if you’ve heard a number like 6500 people have died, migrant workers in the country since Qatar was awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010, the Qataris think that’s a misleading figure because they will say, well, we’ve had 39 stadium related deaths with the World Cup, but basically everything in this country, infrastructure wise, it’s been built since 2010, has some connection to the World Cup.

Speaker 4: You’re building a country literally in that includes that big metro system that will be used at this World Cup, all the transportation stuff around the country. You know, the stadium that’s hosting the final in Lusail. I went to that spot in 2013 and it was desert. They’ve literally not just built a stadium out of desert. They’ve built an entire city where the World Cup final will be. So there’s a lot of message fighting going on between different sides.

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Joel Anderson: Given all that Grant, obviously people knew what Qatar was before they went there. The body that seems like it should be bearing the responsibility for this is FIFA. And, you know, there’s been reports that members of FIFA have taken bribes totalling $1.5 million. So what, if anything, people have directed so much outrage at like the Qatari government and what, if anything, is going to be done about FIFA’s role in this?

Speaker 4: Well, the day in 2010 that FIFA awarded the World Cup, hosting rights to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022 was a real important day in the history of FIFA because that eventually led to the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into FIFA and its confederations and all of the arrests that were made in 2015. And some of those cases continue today. And it really did expose just how corrupt FIFA was. We kind of knew it was. But like, this was an impressive investigation by the DOJ, a forensic investigation.

Speaker 4: There’s a good new series on Netflix called FIFA Uncovered that gets into all of this four part series that I finished a couple of days ago. And it’s it’s not anything necessarily new for people who followed it. But it’s really interesting because they’ve got everything and they’ve got interviews with so many of the principal figures, including Sepp Blatter. And I think it’s a well-told story.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Let’s end with the U.S. men’s national team. And you’ve had some really good reporting on your site, Grant, about the kind of crazy amount of vetting that U.S. soccer has done around like the crazy opulent hotel that they’re staying at and whether the rules are being followed around, you know, workers rights. You get the sense that they’re doing that because they don’t want a bad PR story to come out. And maybe if there are some good human rights things come out because of that, then that’s like an added bonus. But they’ve also been, you know, having these regular seminars for the players, kind of educating them about what’s happening in Qatar again, maybe to prepare them for interviews. But also it seems like a positive thing that they’re doing that. And so just curious, based on your reporting, what you think of how the U.S. team and U.S. soccer has approached this World Cup and then, you know, maybe maybe Stefan can come in and ask you a soccer question after that.

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Speaker 4: I mean. When I went to Qatar in February and went to the US Team Hotel, which is the nicest hotel of all the FIFA hotels in Doha and.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Maybe a short stay. But it’s nice. I felt.

Speaker 4: And I had been told by U.S. Soccer that, you know, they were doing all these things and working with the hotel to prevent any issues from happening, with workers not being paid or having to pay recruitment fees, which is also against the law. And literally, the first worker I talked to when I went into the hotel in February told me about these huge recruitment fees he had paid. And I came away from that thinking that U.S. soccer at that time was well-meaning but a little naive about how things were working on the ground, including at their own hotel.

Speaker 4: I will give you soccer credit, though, because about a month or two after that, they hired a compliance officer in Doha full time to work with the hotel and any other vendors that U.S. soccer’s working with during this World Cup and came up with a very detailed checklist. They participate in meetings regularly with workers at the hotel, including contract workers, not just direct employees at the hotel, because subcontractors are the ones that get away with a lot of the worst treatment of workers here.

Speaker 4: And so I actually wanted yeah, I’ll give you soccer some credit. I think they’ve done more than other federations have, certainly. And they have educated their players going on for about two years now. And we’ll see if any protests come from the U.S. players during this tournament. But even today here, my first day in Doha, I went to the U.S. press conference and Shawn Johnson, the goalkeeper, was asked his thoughts on migrant workers and on on it being illegal to be gay here. And his response was what you kind of hear from other U.S. players. But it was it was well thought out. But we want to be the change. Be the change is their slogan. They used it first after George Floyd’s murder by police. So I thought Shawn Johnson handled it pretty well.

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Stefan Fatsis: You know, we’re all going to pivot because it’s what we do as fans of sports to getting into the games when they start. And I felt a little tingle of an excited when I saw on Twitter a video of four of the American players arriving at the airport in Doha. Let’s go, America. So the issue for the American team as they get Qatar is that. They’re not hurt. And that was the big concern with that’s a big concern for every national team that’s participating in the World Cup finals because of the compressed schedule around the world to get more games and before this mid-season World Cup occurs, that’s a big deal. This has been a team that’s that’s had its problems with injuries and everyone seems to be okay as they arrive. Right.

Speaker 4: It’s actually pretty a really good sign for the US. The Christian Pulisic is healthy coming into this that Gio Reyna is healthy coming into this. And there are actually more healthy wingers to the point that we haven’t seen over the last couple of years that Paul Arriola was cut from the national team for the final cuts to come to Qatar. It’s a 26 player roster. One question mark, I guess you would say, is Weston Mckennie, who did not suit up for Juventus over the weekend. He’s been dealing with an injury for about a week and a half. And so there’s enough of a concern there that maybe Mckennie won’t start the first game against Wales. But right now that’s the only injury concern.

Stefan Fatsis: All right. Well, we will be following all of your great work on your website, Grant Wahl dot com as the month long tournament begins and progresses. You’ve got some great stuff up there right now, including your reporting from Qatar about worker rights. You had a nice interview with Jeremy Schaap of ESPN about his E 60 reporting on worker rights abuses. So everybody should go check out Grant’s website and subscribe Grant Wahl. Thank you, as always, for coming on the show.

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Speaker 4: Thanks, guys. It’s my pleasure.

Joel Anderson: Prior to last week, the only previous head coaching experience Jeff Saturday had was it Hebron Christian Academy in Georgia, where he had a record of 20 in 16. Saturday he lost three of his last five in that role, including two to Athens Academy. It wasn’t exactly the resume of a man bound for a coaching opportunity at the next level, let alone in the NFL. But there was Saturday on Sunday working as interim head coach of the three, five and one Indianapolis Colts, the franchise he played for for 13 seasons and later worked for as a consultant to owner Jim Irsay. It’s basically an unprecedented assignment. Saturday became the first NFL head coach with no prior college or professional coaching experience since Norm Van Brocklin with the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. Here’s Saturday talking about the move last week.

Speaker 5: I know I can lead men. I know. I know the game of football and I’m passionate about it. I have no fear about. Are you as qualified as somebody else? I spent 14 years in a locker room. I won the playoffs 12 times. I had I got five dudes in the Hall of Fame that played with you. Don’t think I’ve seen greatness. You don’t think I’ve seen how people prepare, how they coach, how they GM how they work. I mean, one Super Bowl is been to do like, here’s the deal, man. None of us are promised a good job. I may be terrible at this. And after eight games I’ll say, God bless you. I am no good. I may be really good at it. I got no idea. But I dang shrink on back down. I can tell you that.

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Joel Anderson: Well, so far he’s off to a good start. Saturday notched his first career victory Sunday in the Colts 25 to 20 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Joel Anderson: So, Stefan, a lot of former players, coaches and fans have been critical of the move for obvious reasons. And as the only former NFL player on this podcast, what did you think about Saturday’s appointment and do you believe this has a chance to work?

Stefan Fatsis: Sure, it has a chance to work as a Jeff Saturday who protected Peyton Manning’s ass for all those years, let alone a kicker. Can tell you, Joel, head coaches don’t need to know that much about play calling or even personnel. That’s what assistant coaches are for. Information is funneled upward. So for now, Saturday’s job is to say yes or no to suggestions from his staff. Assure fans that he is in fact a leader of men and get fired up in the post victory locker room game balls for everyone. Which was the Soundbite on Sunday. Roger Sherman of The Ringer tweeted, What if the Jeff Saturday thing ends up revealing that being an NFL head coach is actually way easier than everybody has claimed? And you don’t need to grind 90 hour a week for two decades to be good at it.

Stefan Fatsis: Now, to be fair, 2016 for a high school team with the mascot Judah the lion should not be dismissed. But the actual issue is less whether Saturday is qualified than it is appearances. Jim Irsay knew that passing over Colts and other NFL assistant coaches was actually working in the league would piss people off. On CBS, Steelers coach Bill Cowher called Saturday’s hiring a travesty and a disgrace to the profession. Cowher also pointedly noted that Saturday is a carpetbagger, that he had turned down multiple offers to join the Colts staff as an assistant and was working as a consultant for the team from his home in Atlanta. And the assistants that were passed over, of course, include black assistants who, whether an NFL interim head coaching job is an actual opportunity or not, which we’ll discuss more passed over once again.

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Stefan Fatsis: But Irsay knew that X’s and O’s don’t matter. He hired a famous buddy and team legend to generate media attention and fan buzz and take the spotlight off of a shitty season. If the Colts win a few games and salvage the year, it’s gravy if they continue to lose. Well, what was Jeff Saturday supposed to do? And the Colts hire an experienced or deserving head coach and they also get a higher draft pick. This is no lose, I think, for Irsay. Other than a little criticism which NFL owners are built to weather.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: In a world in which the NFL wasn’t notorious for its racist hiring practices, I think this would actually be a good thing for the reasons that you mentioned. Stefan to demonstrate that you don’t have to come from a traditional background, that you don’t have to be an assistant coach for a billion years, that it isn’t rocket science to, you know, stand on the sideline and, you know, decide whether to go for it on fourth down or not. Although Nathaniel Hackett of the Broncos has made it seem like it’s actually rocket science to do that.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: But it’s impossible not to view this through the lens of, you know, for instance, Brian Flores’s lawsuit against the NFL, which demonstrates, I think pretty clearly how black coaches who do get head jobs are treated and ones who don’t get the opportunities are treated. And so, you know, it’s similar in terms of kind of.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Personality to the Lions coach Dan Campbell. Right. The guy who in his opening press conference talked about how his team was going to bite the kneecaps off of their opponents. And, you know, Saturday definitely won the press conference. He’s a winning personality. He was a little bit vulnerable in saying that he doesn’t know if he’s going to be good at the job or not. And, you know, he said exactly what he should have said. That is like you’re not going to listen to the criticism that he’s going to, you know, try his best and he’ll see what happens. And so he’s not the problem here. Like, obviously, he should have taken this opportunity and obviously he should think he could be good at it and maybe he will be Jim Irsay is the issue. And what we’re seeing here is a boss. You had a right stuff in a bus hiring this friend, his unqualified friend. And there’s nothing kind of older than that in the universe job in any profession.

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Joel Anderson: I think an interesting thing is that Irsay, when he was introducing Jeff Saturday to the fans and the media last week, he said, Well, you know, I’ve been in this business for 52 years and I know something about what it’s like to hire a winning coach and build a winning franchise. But the thing that sort of unravels all of that for me is by looking at the coach who was on the other sideline against Jeff Saturday on Sunday, Josh McDaniels, because a lot of people may not remember it was Jim Irsay who almost hired Josh McDaniels to be his head coach in 2018, and McDaniels backed out and went back to the Patriots.

Joel Anderson: And McDaniels has a career record now with 13 and 23 and he’s been doing so poorly that it seems like he might not make it through this season himself. So if it was that simple, if that DNA, if the know how of hiring a good coach was so obvious to Jim Irsay, then presumably he would have never ended up trying to bring in Josh McDaniels.

Joel Anderson: So yeah, like this is all sort of a crapshoot. The one thing though, that sort of changed my mind about this and I’ve kind of gone back and forth about whether or not, you know, this is a good move, bad move, whatever. I was listening to the Bomani Jones podcast on Friday and Dominique Foxworth was who’s worked in the former NFL player, worked in the union, covers the NFL for ESPN, and he was saying, Hey, look, man, I’m best friends with Jeff Saturday and he is a great leader. He has the ability to get people to like him, you know, that he’s like notorious for being friends all over, not only ESPN, but his old his old locker room. Like I was looking at Instagram on on Sunday.

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Joel Anderson: Edgerrin James, you know, you wouldn’t think Jeff Saturday and Edgerrin James would be boys outside of the locker room. Right. But like Edgerrin James is there on the sideline to support him. And, you know, there is something to that. Maybe Jeff Saturday is just a magnetic person and he may have some sort of qualities and some sort of talents that the rest of us just don’t know.

Joel Anderson: And Jim Irsay, it’s like, well, why not? And I kind of only say if you’re going to do it, if you’re going to make this kind of a move, this is the this is the position in which you do it right, like you do it for interim position with a team that we thought at least at least I thought prior to this weekend was trying to take like I thought they were trying to lose the rest of their games to get a good draft position.

Joel Anderson: So, yeah, man, I don’t I guess I’m still sort of torn like, like with anything, we have to sit and wait it out. But, you know, Jim Irsay, I mean, this is not right if you’re if you’re a fan of the Rooney Rule, and I am and I think it’s important, but I’m also like, you know what I mean? I kind of want to see how this is going to turn out in Jeff Saturday seems to be a guy that has a lot of support and has done a lot to, you know, make connections with people and make them feel good about themselves. And obviously, he was a great football player, so why not? You know, let’s see if it works out.

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Stefan Fatsis: Yeah. And as you noted, Joel Jeff Saturday was well-liked. Well, offensive linemen have a reputation in locker rooms as being smart because they have to know everything that’s going on. They understand the game and they generally are well-liked. It doesn’t surprise me that his former teammates and current players who were quoted over the weekend said they really like Saturday, they like having him around. And that does go a long way because is there anything more toxic than an asshole head coach than the bully head coach, than the know it all head coach, the man genius. And you know, and Josh McDaniels fell into that category when he was hired as a young genius by the Broncos to replace Mike Shanahan 15 years ago.

Stefan Fatsis: So the issue again, goes back to, as you were pointing out, Josh, this thing about appearances like the Rooney Rule, we should point out, doesn’t apply to interim head coaching appointments, but it’s still going to piss off people. Yahoo Sports talk to a bunch of current and former black coaches and. Exactly. It is for a story. One of them was quoted saying Irsay just said in front of the whole nation he got Saturday because he doesn’t have experience. These people have us chasing our tails for what they’re looking for. With those programs, I’m done with all that shit. Pick somebody else. Another executive said, If I do go and if they ask me to participate, they’re not going to like what I say.

Stefan Fatsis: So it and the irony of all this, too, is that typically NFL teams have used interim positions as a place to give black coaches phony opportunities to put them in a position to fail. The Washington Post just this is doing the series about black coaches, and that was one of the recent stories about how these are bullshit opportunities that give teams the chance to say, well, look, he lost. We need to move on and hire a white coach.

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Joel Anderson: Yeah, I mean, I always I joked about this last week. I was like this This was a job for Terrell Biscay or Romeo Crennel if they were still in the NFL. This is typically, you know, the quarterback is hurt. Running back is hurt. Best offensive player is hurt and not much to play for. All right. Well, let’s bring in Raheem Morris. You know, that’s typically how this sort of thing goes. So I’m actually sort of excited to see a white man get this opportunity and see what he does with it. We don’t have to we don’t have to give these jobs to black men all the time in again, like I’m all for the Rooney Rule. The NFL has a lot of amends to make in terms of its black coaching record there. But I can’t get that worked up about this position because it’s black. Black coaches always get interim jobs or irregularly get that I should say always. They regularly get in these positions and they’re usually bullshit.

Joel Anderson: The only thing, the only thing that sort of makes me again, sort of second guess this and you all can sort of hear my ambivalence here is that Irsay says openly, I hope this works out. I’d love to have an excuse to hire Jeff Saturday, and I don’t know if that’s just because this is his boy, their friends. He wants to see it work out. And that’s the thing you’re supposed to say. Or does he earnestly believe that? In which case this is not a typical interim opportunity, because that’s not usually the agreement most guys enter in in this position.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: So Steve Wilks, who’s currently the Panthers interim coach, was part of the Brian Flores lawsuit and his claim there as part of that class action was there when he was the non interim, the full time coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Wilks was in 2018. He was fired after one season. He had a three and 13 record. And he alleges in the lawsuit that he was a bridge coach who was not given any meaningful chance to succeed.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: And so the interim thing is really fascinating. And I was watching the end of the Auburn Texas A&M game on Saturday where Auburn fired Bryan Harsin, who was brought in as a guy who in a kind of classic hardass coach, I’m going to, like, straighten everything out in this program and we’re going to run the ball. And everybody ended up hating him and he was not successful and he got run out after a very short period of time. And Cadillac Williams Auburn legend, part of the undefeated team in the early 2000s, I believe, and as a running backs coach, kind of classic position for a former player.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Black coach gets elevated to be the interim and the way in which the school has rallied around him. The fans have rallied around him the way in which the players, his former teammates and the current players have rallied around him the way that he’s been vulnerable about it and talked about how he was scared to take on this role and the way that the current players and the staff have kind of lifted him up and told him that he can do it. And now he seems to believe that he can do it and he’s going to be coaching against Nick Saban in the Iron Bowl in a couple of weeks. And I will be rooting incredibly hard for Auburn in that game.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: And that kind of shows you, I guess there’s maybe an opportunity cost here for like who’s the Cadillac Williams of the NFL that could have gotten this role of Jeff Saturday didn’t get it. And I think Jeff Saturday and I believe what Dominic said and what other people have said, that he’s a great guy and a a good person and a good leader. He now has an a responsibility to like lift up, you know, black assistants to, you know, maybe coach up or train up black players on the team to, you know, help them get these roles. And so that’ll be a test, too, of whether this hire was a success. And I do think, you know, there is a risk of making an error here and saying that. Saturday is an example of everything that’s wrong in the NFL because he didn’t have had coaching experience. Irsay is the problem here, and maybe Saturday can be part of the solution here as well.

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Stefan Fatsis: I mean, an Irsay to double down on this problem. And again, maybe it’s not a problem in the short term, but he also promoted to offensive coordinator. A 30 year old white dude who had never before called an NFL play wasn’t the quarterbacks coach of the Colts. He was the assistant quarterbacks coach of the Colts. So is that someone that deserves an okay opportunity? Which are the jobs that typically lead to head coaching jobs? Again, that falls on Irsay, who in two weeks has gone from hero for saying that Dan Snyder should be removed as the owner of the Washington team to another arrogant and tone deaf doofus NFL owner. And, you know, so if Jeff Saturday can recognize some of that, if he’s hired and do his part to change it, you’re right, Josh, that would be a meaningful change in the NFL.

Joel Anderson: Yeah. And so Irsay, we acknowledge, is, for better or worse, he’s where we should be focusing most of our scrutiny yet. Right. And I think actually that Jeff Saturday is not to blame here. You know, the Rooney rule, blah, blah, blah. It’s look, man, they have a GM, Chris Ballard, who has not done a great job like this team since Andrew Luck walked out of that locker room several years ago. They’ve been flailing at quarterback and they’re playing for the rest of the year up until last week.

Joel Anderson: And a good move by Jeff Saturday was to go with a second year quarterback named Sam Ellinger, who I saw play a lot of college football at Texas. And let me tell you, like when he got to play against TCU, I was never afraid of Sam Elliott. And to think that that guy was going to be a starting NFL quarterback for half of a season is absurd. And so, like Ballard bears the responsibility for those sort of decisions, and Jim Irsay is not prepared to fire him. He said, Look, I’m holding on to that guy. Well, I’m thinking about well, that’s also the sort of position like we focused so much on the coaches and assistant offensive coordinator, whatever. But think about the black people that never get an opportunity to be Chris Ballard, to be in that position and fail. And then they get to hire them. Then they get to be there for the next coaching hire, right? So that’s another piece of it, too.

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Joel Anderson: It’s just like, well, you know, Jim Irsay is sort of running at running a franchise right now where there’s a lot of holes in the ship and he’s just plugging them in, but he refuses to do anything about this Chris Ballard guy. So you look, I mean, we don’t know what Jeff Saturday is going to do. Obviously, the Raiders are bad. You don’t want to read too much into one game. But like, I mean, the problems with this franchise are going to endure after this. And I don’t you know, it’s nice it’s a great story for Joe Saari to do the postgame victory speech and all that other sort of stuff. But at the end of the day, that that roster isn’t very good. They underperformed and they’re going to have to fix it. And the issue is, do you believe Jim is the guy that is going to do right by the Rooney Rule and everybody else, all the other coaching candidates in this league and the GM candidates in this league, and do the right thing and try to win in a way that is also fair and equitable for everybody else. And the next segment, the upside and the downside of the new initial area.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Last week, Kurt Streeter of the New York Times wrote about one of the big success stories of the new NIL era in college sports. LSU gymnast Livy Dunn, who was an all-American as a freshman, is making an estimated 2 million plus annually in endorsement money by posting ads for jeans and activewear to her 8 million plus followers on Instagram and TikTok. Dunn is blonde and petite and no social media posts. She’s almost always showing off her body. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, except, as Streeter notes, there are those who believe that the part of the nail revolution that focuses on beauty is regressive for female athletes. Streeter then quotes Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, who says, I guess sometimes we have the swinging pendulum where we maybe take two steps forward and then we take a step back. We’re fighting for all the opportunities to compete, to play, to have resources, to have facilities, to have coaches and all the things that go with Olympic caliber athletics. This is a step back. What do you think, Jeff?

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Joel Anderson: I was reminded that Tara VanDerveer, when we watched the Women’s Dream Team documentary for the Better, the 96 U.S. women’s basketball team, and how she was sort of an asshole fair and still did seem to have a great relationship with her players. So that was one of the first things that came to mind when I read that story.

Joel Anderson: But more broadly, I keep thinking, what took us so long? I just think about like I know that there are concerns about, you know, players leaning on sexuality or possibly getting into business with, you know, companies that aren’t necessarily reputable or whatever. But on the whole, overall, what has been the holdup here? They’re making millionaires out of women’s college basketball players money that they won’t even be able to make in the WNBA. Just imagine a female gymnast being able to tap into this sort of this sort of revenue. So it’s just I can’t believe that we were that people were against this for so long. And now and now that we’re here, I mean, people are going to come up with all sorts of reasons for why it shouldn’t work or whatever. But like, I don’t take very seriously the complaints of people. There were their previous generations and didn’t work to empower or enrich their athletes. And so that’s sort of the basic of it.

Joel Anderson: Now, the last piece of this before I hand it over Stefan, is that I can never correct the injustice that is at the athletes in the revenue producing sports, not getting salaries and not getting paid back and not being treated as if they are employees like that is still a major issue. These college athletic departments should have to share their revenue with the people that generate it. But in lieu of that, like, I’m glad that there’s opportunities for the lazy gymnast or whatever. Like, I don’t like, I don’t I don’t really have a problem with that. And as much as I don’t have a problem with Instagram on the whole anyway. Like if a 21 year old woman is on Instagram, you may see, you know, them having fun and showing off their petite bodies or whatever. But like, that’s that’s just going to be a thing that happens regardless. I don’t think I’ll have anything to do with that.

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Stefan Fatsis: And who cares? I mean, I think the larger question that Laura Wagner makes in a piece in Defector is that why does this matter? Why is The New York Times devoting this space to a story that basically hangs this criticism on a 69 year old women’s basketball coach? Why is this LSU gymnast? It’s somehow bad for sports and for women’s sports. She’s not she’s making money. She’s using her celebrity and her talent as an athlete to do what all athletes in college now have the opportunity to finally do.

Stefan Fatsis: As you point out, Joe, which is to make some money off of their talents and off of their marketing skills, which has been the boon, especially for women athletes. You know, the numbers on NIL Josh are overwhelmingly that the revenue 3 to 1, the numbers on nil overall Josh still overwhelmingly favor men and particularly male football players, but they have given the great A created the greatest equity and opportunity for women athletes. And that’s a great thing.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: She’s making the money based on her looks, I think, more than her athletic ability. But a, there’s not an issue with it. And b, as I think Laura pointed out, what nil rules do is it allows these athletes to participate in capitalism. And it’s not going to correct the kind of inequities of capitalism or what the market dictates who should get money. I mean, this you know, Libby Dunn is a extremely prominent and successful influencer on social media. She’s a model, basically. And models get paid because people like the way the models look. And the fact that you’re a college gymnast shouldn’t mean that you can’t be paid. Be a model. I mean, that’s ridiculous.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: And there is a really interesting story in The Washington Post by Kareem Copeland about Dawn Staley, the South Carolina coach who was very kind of prominent and outspoken about her quest to be the highest paid coach in South Carolina.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Right. That she’s the most successful coach. She’s led the team to national championships. And that she felt and she is correct in thinking that she deserved to get one of these huge college coaching contracts and how she is now trying to not only be number one in the rankings for South Carolina’s, but be number one in now and not be scared of it, not run from it, but actually try to use her fame and popularity to get and have deals that are beneficial to her players. Getting them equity in a in a startup, not just getting them like money to, you know, endorse a car dealership or something like that.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: And so, you know, whether it’s a good thing to get players thinking is like venture capitalists or something like that and like maybe getting stock, that’ll be worthless. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’ll end up working out for the South Carolina women’s basketball players. Joel But that was refreshing to me to see a coach not only be like, This is the world we’re living in. I guess we’re going to have to deal with it. But like actively and aggressively, trying to make her players money is pretty cool.

Joel Anderson: Yeah, it’s refreshing and it’s smart. And I mean, I think you’re going to see either maybe the next generation of coaches or just the best coaches figure out that, like, even if I have an ethical concern about this, that I’ve got to engage in this. And actually, I would, you know, even rebutting my own argument here, if I were a head coach and I had a problem with this idea, well, why don’t I have a problem with the such a system in which my players can’t get paid for the work that they do. So, you know, they need to balance that out. But yeah, like, I think the Dawn Staley is smart to do this and like what I mean. I mean, no offense to Columbia, South Carolina, but like, you got to you got to try to get people there the best way you can. And, you know, this is just one way to to to sort of agrees the skids there.

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Joel Anderson: I think one thing, though, is that like, okay, we know that these athletes are able to avail themselves of this money right now and that all this money is sort of coming in. But like, do you think that this is actually sustainable? Like, I actually like the thing that I’m that I’m most interested in is like, okay, a lot of these companies are rushing and flooding the market with money, making these deals with all of these athletes just kind of spitting it around. But like, it just doesn’t feel like this is going to ultimately look like this five or ten years from now. Right. Buying whole football teams and hoping that, you know, one of them pops or something like that. A lot of it right now just seems like a huge waste of money. And it would be like with a levy, you can understand the levy done thing. You going to say why people are giving her money? The same reason that the New York Times featured her are the same reasons that now companies are giving her money. But like for everybody else, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, right?

Stefan Fatsis: I don’t know. It makes sense if a company decides it makes sense. Whether it’s sustainable or not is for the marketplace to decide. And if you’re in terms of how you approach it as a university and as a coach, I think you have options, right? And I think that’s what schools are trying to figure out right now. You can be sort of take the booster approach where you create these now collectives that are basically giving players salaries without calling them salaries. Or you can do what Dawn Staley seems to be trying to do, which is getting athletes to come play for her because she’s a great coach and it’s a winning program.

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Stefan Fatsis: But also we’re going to do right by you in a way that educates you about business and life. And oh, by the way, makes you money at the same time. So there are going to be varied approaches until and there’s going to be some sort of regulation ultimately about how this works. And right now we’re in the sort of Wild West period trying to see which approaches work the best.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: The thing that will persist is like these now collectives that are essentially fronts for boosters just to give athletes money and not expecting in return except the athlete playing for the school. Like, the reason that will persist is because it’s already existed for decades, just under under the table. And so I think as long as there’s not any expectation around, you know, signing up, this athlete will like help me sell X amount of product. Then I think that category of deal where it’s just like the reward. Or the payoff is getting whoever to play for whatever school like that. That’ll work. But also just.

Stefan Fatsis: Like. But isn’t that what’s likely to be the first thing that that that the NCAA and Congress try to regulate.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Well good luck. I mean, we’ll we’ll see. I mean, but there is just like the category of, you know, at LSU, there’s a personal injury lawyer named Gordon McKernan who just like sponsors all of the good players. And I like know that guy’s name. Now, because of that, I didn’t know that, you know, that this personal injury lawyer in Baton Rouge existed. So that’s been good for his name recognition, I’m sure.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: But I guess the last thing I would say is I think it’s easy for us to talk about. You know, I think there are problems with the Kurt Streeter column. I agree with Laura Wagner’s critique of it. But I think a way to maybe have strengthened his argument that I that I didn’t see in it, but I think is legitimate is that a lot for women athletes in particular, the way that they make money through now is through social media posts and it requires you to give of yourself in this way where you need to be available for for fans and people.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: And they you have to read through all these like horrible comments that people make about you constantly. And like you have to just allow people into your life in such a way that’s like not typical for an endorsement. It’s like not like you’re just making a Gatorade ad. You have to like post about like, I use this product in my life. And also it’s next to this video of me lip synching and like, please comment and tell me what you think. And it’s like very invasive and can have a profound impact on your self-image.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: I mean, Sedona Prince, who got famous for posting this Tik-tok video showing the the weight room disparity at March Madness, that’s kind of a success story. I mean, she’s a six foot seven like basketball player, like not sort of the traditional person that you would see in a commercial. But she has said that she, like, makes more than $500,000 now. But I also saw a social media post that she made that where she was like crying and talking about how social media is like a great thing. But also it’s kind of wrecked her life.

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Joel Anderson: And also, I mean, the other thing about social media and in I o deals is that all it does is reify existing inequalities in capitalism. So I’m glad to hear this that on principle like you said she six foot seven, that’s not typically the person that gets to be up front but.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: She’s also gay and like because a lot of her, you know, she’s been prominent for being like an out woman athlete and in sports yeah.

Joel Anderson: Yeah yeah and and like that’s those aren’t typically the people that are going that have made money through it. I l and I that are going to make money through advertising industry. So that’s sort of the thing that I guess I just I hate the idea that the advertising industry always gets to run everything like, you know, like for media to sports. So whatever that they ultimately get to decide what the market is and we just sort of have to deal around that, you know, and the incursion of that into college sports is fine. And if if the only concern is about whether or not they get money.

Joel Anderson: But my my thing is, is that if you’re hoping that nil is the solution to the broader problem of athletes not getting in a cut of these massive TV deals that athletic departments are cutting, I’m sorry, that’s just not going to cut it. We won’t even have to had these cut like it should be obvious that athletes should be able to endorse themselves and put themselves out on social media for whatever. Like, I mean, they are adults and they they can be treated as such. But my big thing here, as always, is that these colleges and these conferences are getting off the hook because they don’t have to pay the athletes. And this is just not a sufficient alternative. And if you want these advertising companies in the advertising industry and social media companies to be the people, that is the intermediaries here, I just don’t think they were ultimately going to be happy with the end result.

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Stefan Fatsis: Well, they’re off the hook for now, Joel, and I think that’s the conversation for the next ten years. Will there be an equitable distribution of the revenue in college sports for the athlete workers?

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Now it is time for After Balls. Sponsored by Bennett’s Prune Juice, endorsed by Kenny Sellers, who says he was OC, mentioned interim coach Cadillac Williams earlier, part of the 2004 undefeated Auburn Tigers football team went 13 and out four first round draft picks on their team. Joel You know who they were?

Joel Anderson: Ronnie Brown Who was the other running back? Who was actually drafted ahead of him? Jason Campbell And it was a cornerback. I cannot remember his name.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Carlos Rogers.

Joel Anderson: Carlos Rogers. That’s a good.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Good memory. But as you mentioned, Ronnie Brown was the higher drafted running back on the team and he also had one of the greatest individual games ever, the famous Miami Dolphins Wildcat game where they just completely ripped the Patriots to shreds with Ronnie Brown running and throwing for the Wildcat. So I think this is a good moment. We want to celebrate Carnell Cadillac Williams, but we also want to remember his backfield teammate, the great Ronnie Brown Stefan. What is your Ronnie Brown?

Stefan Fatsis: I was at Indiana University last week doing some reporting. The university recently acquired an enormous collection of dictionaries and other word related material. And as I was scanning some shelves, I noticed a title that seemed out of place A Wife’s Guide to Baseball by Charline Gibson and Michael Rich. Charline Gibson was Bob Gibson’s wife. Michael Rich was a PR guy at Newsweek published in 1970. A Wife’s Guide to Baseball was part of a series Rich also co-wrote A Wife’s Guide to Pro Basketball with Jane West, Jerry’s wife, and a Wife’s Guide to Pro Football with Elaine Tarkenton, Fran’s wife. The cover of Gibson’s book showed a woman’s hands rings on multiple fingers, a bracelet on a wrist holding a baseball bat. The premise was about a sexist, as you’d imagine, women can’t handle the complexities of sports. So here’s the wife of an actual athlete to explain the basics.

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Stefan Fatsis: And so was the public response. Sports Illustrated wrote that a man who takes his wife to a game might find her while all hell is breaking loose. A field ten seats over asking a perfect stranger where she purchased those adorable maxi pants. Columnist Dick Young of the New York Daily News wrote, Get this book for your little lady and maybe she will look at you with less suspicion when you talk in your sleep about a bang bang, play book. One more. Rex Lardner reviewing the book favorably in The New York Times.

Stefan Fatsis: Can these ladies ever catch up? They play baseball kind of funny, if at all. And because of glands, etc., are more likely to be enchanted by the colors of the visiting team’s uniforms than by the spearing of a line. Or Oh my God, these men and, well, men. Just the worst.

Stefan Fatsis: A wife’s guide to baseball itself wasn’t written in a condescending style. 178 page book is a position by position and rule by rule account of the game. Bob Gibson added Footnotes and comments about pitching. In a foreword, Commissioner Billy Kuhn’s wife, Louisa, said that society was changing and women, once discouraged by a hostile male attitude from following baseball, were more welcome now. On the other hand, the byline on her words was Mrs. Boykin. In a year when Mr. Boykin tried to ban pitcher Jim Bolton’s raucous tell all ball for a wife’s guide to baseball was MLB sanctioned marketing.

Stefan Fatsis: But Charline Gibson wanted to discomfort readers at least a little on the subject of race. She was no civil rights radical. One interviewer described her as a just out of the Lamborghini who, in a fluid, burnt orange jumpsuit and gold necklaces, cast a spell. And she doesn’t describe in the book her own history growing up in a poor neighborhood in Omaha, or how Bob Bob Gibson suffered racial abuse in the minors, in the Jim Crow South and early in his Major League career, where his first manager with the Cardinals, Sally Hemings, freely hurled racial epithets at black players to motivate them. As recounted in a 2018 story in The Undefeated and demeaned Gibson’s intellect by telling his pitcher not to bother attending pre-game strategy meetings.

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Stefan Fatsis: That piece also noted that in 1968, when he won 22 games, posted a 1.12 era and struck out 268 batters, plus 17 more in Game one of the World Series. Gibson pitched through anger over the assassination of Martin Luther King. Anger that he shared with other black players on the team, including Lou Brock and Curt Flood and white players like Tim McCarver, who said later that Gibson schooled him about racism throughout that season. It’s in that personal kind.

Stefan Fatsis: Text and the broader social one too, that Charline Gibson tiptoed. In a book marketed at White Women into telling a few truths about race and sports. Sure, baseball has made progress since Jackie Robinson broke the color line 23 years ago, she wrote, But it didn’t really amount to much. For instance, why did newspapers feel the need to constantly write about black and white players rooming together on the road? So what? She said. Baseball is highly contradictory, Charline Gibson wrote. Race was only an issue, she pointed out when the uniforms came off. Partly, she said, it is an issue because black ballplayers love the game every bit as much as white ballplayers do. But unlike whites have no opportunity to manage in the major leagues or to have a significant front office job or something similar. Take that, Mr. and Mrs. Boykin.

Stefan Fatsis: Baseball has been good to the Gibsons, Charline Gibson concluded. And we love the game, not for what it has done for us, but for what it is. Anyway, it would be five years before Frank Robinson managed the team in Cleveland, and 52 years later, we’re still talking about the paucity of black American players, managers and executives in Major League Baseball.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: That’s great stuff. And what a find. You hadn’t heard of this before. You encountered it, I presume?

Stefan Fatsis: I had not. No. The collection did not include the Mrs. West and Mrs. Parkinson’s books, alas.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: So it Stefan. It sounds like this ruined your dictionary research. You got obsessed with this really fascinating book about baseball.

Stefan Fatsis: There were, like, 865 boxes of books in this room, so this was a brief diversion from poking through the this collection.

Joel Anderson: Has Charline Gibson written the other books since then? Because. Sounds like she’s got some good to great stories possibly, that might be worth hearing and for.

Stefan Fatsis: Well, my takeaway was mostly, Joel, that I really wish I could have heard Charline Gibson talk unvarnished about being the wife of a hugely successful black player and a woman who was sort of featured on my women’s pages and society pages as a sort of pillar of the community and a woman of means. But what she really thought about baseball and how the sport treated black players sort of hints through in the four pages that she spent talking about race in this book.

Joel Anderson: Yeah, I mean, one thing about it, man, is that wives have as good or better or partners a good about like what that environment is like for them. And they have the ability to talk with a little bit more freedom than even the players do. Right. So I guess it’s probably too late. I assume she is not no longer with us, you know? Oh, too bad about that.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: That is our show for today. Our producer is Kevin Bendis. To listen to Patches and subscribe or just reach out. Go to Slate.com slash hang up and you can email us and hang up at Slate.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show and rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. For Joel Anderson and Stefan Fatsis. I’m Josh Levin Remembers Elmo Baby. And thanks for listening.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Now. It is time for our bonus segment for Slate Plus members and for the TCU football team this past week. A win on the road against a mediocre Big 12 opponent and obviously nothing to get too excited about against now four loss Texas team. You know, the competition will get a little bit stiffer down the road, I guess. You know, Joel, it’s a little bit of a rivalry game, although, you know, given the lack of success of Texas kind of post integration like weather, is it even really a rivalry anymore?

Joel Anderson: But I’m.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Just curious for your views on.

Joel Anderson: I mean, what is the rivalry? I mean, since TCU joined the Big 12, they’re eight and three against Texas, so rivalries when the other team wins occasionally, right? That that’s not what Texas is doing against TCU. You might be better off saying Kansas State is more of a rival, maybe Baylor, something like that. But not not Texas. But, you know, I don’t I don’t want you I mean, I know what you’re doing here and I appreciate it. You’re in Dallas.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: What am I doing when.

Joel Anderson: I see you? You’re you’re indulging my distaste of the University of Texas and its athletics program. But I don’t want to. Let’s not diminish that victory this weekend. I mean, Texas was the favorite. They were a touchdown favorite, I guess the fourth ranked team in the country. They were ranked until TCU one and knocked them out of the top 25. They have the literally I’m not making this up, the highest rated high school quarterback recruit in the history of recruiting rankings starting for them right now. They have a running back with a Lamborghini endorsement. Okay. They have one of the baby. Yeah. One of the best wide receivers. So like, let’s not let’s not talk about them like this was Navy. You know, to beat teams that you beat a machine and they were playing Texas A&M. You’re right. Yeah, right. Exactly. Exactly. So let’s not downplay my frogs. This was a major victory. And, you know, hopefully, you know, three more wins for the rest of their life. Man. Let’s let’s let’s get it.

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Stefan Fatsis: All right. What are the next three Joel? Bring us up to speed on the schedule and the census.

Joel Anderson: Right. So right now, TCU’s number four in the College Football Playoff rankings, if they hold. So they’ve got to win three more games next week against Baylor, our primary rival. Let’s I’m not even I’m not even bullshitting you guys like Baylor is TCU’s biggest rival at this point. Iowa State, which is having a down year but is still feisty.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Can be frisky.

Joel Anderson: Yeah, they can be. They can be frisky. And then you then you have the Big 12 championship game, which at this point would be a rematch against Kansas State and Kansas State to play pretty well. And I mean, I thought they outplayed TCU with their first game earlier. They just the quarterbacks got hurt. They like they lost two quarterbacks in that game. So it’s not going to be easy. But, you know, TCU, you know, they’re in a pretty good position right now and certainly not a position that I would have ever envisioned they would have been in at the start of the season. I said even like three weeks ago.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: It’s just great to hear you. Even if cajoled into it by by me. Just take a little pride in your university and not just be downplaying their accomplishments for your own emotional management.

Stefan Fatsis: The ninth wins all feels like it’s given you a little a little adrenaline boost here. You seem a little happier about the prospects.

Joel Anderson: Well, I mean, you know, beating Texas in the in that way. First of all, embarrassing them at their game day party. I mean, they didn’t fucking score. They didn’t score offensive touchdowns in their own. And I’m sorry I have to slow down because I get really excited when I talk about how bad Texas is. But I mean, I mean, we we punished their sorry asses on their home field. They didn’t get to see their offense score touchdown. Their Heisman Trophy candidate running back again who has the Lamborghini endorsement didn’t even crack 30 yards. So that was really thrilling. And it showed me that Sonny Dykes, this team can win in another way.

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Joel Anderson: And yeah, you know what I think I am prepared to give would be a culpa because TCU could lose the next two games and it still would be a successful season. I’m not judging yet on whether or not we make it to the playoffs. I’m judging it on the fact that TCU for the last 4 to 5 years have committed some of the stupidest penalties. They were just one of the dumbest teams I saw play all year. Max Duggan, the quarterback, was wildly ineffective and I had hoped he went. I was hoping he would leaf through the transfer portal. We lost, you know, Zach Evans, who’s now at Ole Miss and was thought to be one of the top running backs in the country. And in spite of all that, Sonny Dykes has coached these boys up really good and he seems to be a nice guy. Everybody I’ve ever heard, you know, he seems to.

Stefan Fatsis: Be a nice guy.

Joel Anderson: You know, look, I didn’t want I thought it was time for Coach Patterson to go. I obviously, like I just thought the program had gone stale or whatever. I was not excited about Sonny Dykes. I thought we should get beyond, but. I have to admit, so far it seems to be wrong.

Stefan Fatsis: Hopefully train station Josh and Joel is in the conductor’s booth.

Joel Anderson: This is.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: It. I’m loving this. You didn’t mention at all that Gary Patterson is. Now where. Where is Gary Patterson these days?

Joel Anderson: Yeah. Well, you know, see, I thought Gary Patterson had a good night. I mean, TCU’s offense looked terrible, but. Yes. Gary Patterson is a a consultant at the University of Texas. The school he hated the most when he was a TCU. And he’s joined the dark side and he got to watch us kick their ass on their home field. But yeah, man, he’s over there. But I thought Gary Patterson actually had a pretty good night. I mean, I assume that he’s the one that was caught, you know, put together the defense that basically shut down TCU’s offense on Saturday night. But yeah, man, he’s over there now. He had to see he had to deal with what we do to Texas all the damn time. You know what I mean? We treat we treat we treat Texas like, oh, you used to treat like Oklahoma State, like Kansas. You know what I mean? Like I want to say Kansas has has two wins over TCU since they joined the Big 12. So like, I mean, it’s not I mean, we basically treat Texas like Kansas.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Somebody, a dedicated listener should do a linguistic analysis of Joel during our TCU segments because I feel like the we quotient has gone up a huge amount this week.

Joel Anderson: I was trying not to. I was trying. I was trying.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: When you get excited, you just go with the way. So Stefan, the national media has now trying to pit LSU and TCU against each other because.

Stefan Fatsis: Because.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Of LSU, because of us, but also because if LSU wins out, which is unlikely, maybe similarly unlikely to TCU winning it then to make the playoff than LSU, you know, maybe it would be helpful to them if if TCU dropped one in the next the next three.

Stefan Fatsis: So you’re saying you’re rooting against Joel?

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: No, I’m saying the national media is being reckless and irresponsible and trying to, you know, pit the fans of these these two extremely storied universities against each other.

Joel Anderson: What I would say is that if LSU beats Georgia, I don’t have a problem with the make of the playoffs. If they beat Georgia, the overall record, I don’t have a problem with them making the playoffs. I mean, Georgia.

Stefan Fatsis: Southern Georgia shouldn’t be in the playoffs. Jovan TCU undefeated. TCU should.

Joel Anderson: That’s what that’s exactly what I’m saying. So you would have the SEC champion versus a team that didn’t win that league. And I don’t you know, I’d I’d have to go back and look at Georgia’s schedule, but I’m not that impressed with it. So yeah, man, we don’t to beat that. Absolutely.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Ever loving crap out of Oregon which is impressive but and they beat Tennessee so so Georgia’s got some some things going for them. I would say that TCU is definitely safe if they go undefeated. The issue is if hypothetically, they lost to Baylor, but then won that Big 12 championship game, there’s going to be a whole mess of of teams that will be in contention for some of those final CFP spots. And then also, you know, you’ll have one last Tennessee that didn’t make the conference championship.

Stefan Fatsis: No one likes Michigan or Ohio State.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Exactly.

Joel Anderson: Or.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: You know, the PAC 12 will probably be out of it at this point of USC doesn’t go undefeated the rest of the way. But you know.

Joel Anderson: Everyone.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: You know that that a one loss USC would make it as like a kind of showcase team. So, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how this stuff plays out. Go Tigers.

Joel Anderson: Yeah. So you kind of are rooting against the frogs when you say that right there.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Oh, no. Oh, no, of course not. I mean, if Dave Aranda, the former LSU defensive coordinator who’s now the head coach of Baylor, if he were to put together a good game plan against the frogs, you know, I would be happy for him for sure. Just, you know, because of all the the service he put towards, you know, the 2019 national championship game. But it doesn’t go any further than that.

Joel Anderson: Nope, nope. Nobody with a moral compass should be happy with Baylor doing good at anything at any time, ever.

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Josh Levin, Josh Levine: All right, You’ve champagne.

Joel Anderson: I’m sorry.

Stefan Fatsis: I think they possibly have a possibility of a four way tie in the Ivy League this weekend for the champion.

Joel Anderson: Oh, is Brown involved in any of the Browns?

Stefan Fatsis: Not involved in any of that.

Joel Anderson: Oh, yeah. What about Penn?

Stefan Fatsis: Kind involved. If Penn beats Princeton and Harvard, vital four way tie for the title, Half the league gets to share the title Really well.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: Well, I’ll be looking forward to that, I guess. And we’ll be following the TCU football team as events warrant. Good luck, Jeff.

Joel Anderson: Thanks. Thanks, Will. We’re looking forward to next week.

Josh Levin, Josh Levine: All right. And we will be back next week for the Slate Plus segment. Thank you, Slate Plus member.