There are some phrases that, by their very nature, make it very hard for the listener to disagree. They are like putting “right?” on the end of every sentence. At some point, the response needs to be: “wrong” – but that makes you sound aggressive and antagonistic. Right? (see what I did there).
Case in point. When Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the US, he followed up with: “We have no choice. We have NO choice.” Well, yes we do have a choice, but the battlelines have been drawn in a place you don’t want them. Arguing about choice isn’t the point.
And so to Yaya Touré. Having come second as African footballer of the year, his classless reaction was to ponder: “what can we do?” The obvious response is: “there is no ‘we’. You need to grow up and stop being an arrogant git”. Yet that’s too aggressive. The polite response is to quietly ponder: “Hmm, what can we do?” But that’s giving in. He’s already won if we do that. So while Trump and Touré don’t seem too similar on the surface, they are both very good at framing the debate in their terms. Beware.
And so to this newsletter, which is back after a holiday hiatus. Not comprehensive, but hopefully thoughtful. Enjoy.
It’s not a typo. The schoolboy who scored 1,009.
Gower on how to save Test cricket. Here’s an answer: Ben Stokes.
Mohammad Amir’s international recall is the cricketing equivalent of Marmite.
Is the NFL safer than ever? Case against, exibit A.
The 1,000-yard rushing season is an endangered species.
Who’s going to LA? The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders or St Louis Rams?
Peyton Manning and a strange drugs story.
Do coaches really matter at all?
If I were Jordan Spieth, I’d want to play down the Tiger Woods comparisons too, but maybe for different reasons.
How Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy compare.
I wouldn’t have thought that burnout was a big worry in a non-contact sport where you walk, but what do I know?
McEnroe still has a bromance thing for Borg.
Weird infographic alert. Why does hair colour count in Ballon D’Or winners? Anyone?
Managers pt 1. Mourinho. Remember him? This is worth reading.
Managers pt 2. Rafa Benítez was scuppered from day one at Real.
Managers pt 3. Zidane’s in-tray.
Managers pt 4. Is Klopp worse the Rodgers at Liverpool?
MANCHESTER UNITED SPECIAL
Ok, so it’s not a crisis. But things aren’t quite right at the home of the ‘Red Devils’ (does anyone actually call them that?)
What is attacking football anyway? Jonathan Wilson delves into the ManU problem, and with stats in general. The FT goes even deeper into the malaise since Ferguson left. Ex-players start to gripe. And things can’t be good if van Gaal is bored, too.
Federer’s more abbreviated spring schedule is set up to prioritize his energy this summer, so the Aussie Open matters more than ever.
Serena Williams’ pending decline is one of the hottest topics going into the 2016 tennis season.
Serena Williams had a remarkable 2015. Novak Djokovic’s was better.
Is Dylan Hartley a risk too far?
Fifa are really bad at being criminals.
The usual (and not-so-usual) suspects for 2016.
LeBron James: what he says – or doesn’t say – matters.
SPORT IS GREAT
Really. Great. Right now, anyway. We’ve never had it so good.
That’s it. See you next Tuesday.
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