Morning Briefing

— The Kentucky Derby Festival poster is out and being billed as an “abstract.” I’d only point out that it clearly represents actual objects (and horses) pertaining to the event in a fairly realistic fashion — even if they are unusually and artistically arranged. If anyone ever does a true abstract poster for this event, that’s one I’d like to see.

— Yes, the House of Representatives has better things to do than haul a bunch of baseball players in for hearings. And now a U.S. Senator is sticking his nose into a non-government sports issue. Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) says that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in addition to testifying about the NFL’s antitrust exemption — a legitimate matter of Senate oversight — in an upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, will be asked why the league destroyed evidence related to New England Patriots spying. Specter told The New York Times: “It’s analogous to the C.I.A destruction of tapes.” I’m no senator, but, no, it isn’t. Read more in the NYT story.

— Speaking of the Patriots and spying, the NYT also reports that the New York Giants practice facility: “is being protected by Tempe police officers, private security guards, N.F.L. and Giants security officials, and even agents from the F.B.I and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.” I know some college coaches who will probably start trying to get the same deal.

— Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press this morning asks a question that many of us are prompted to ask about players we cover who go on to make it big, “Why didn’t we see this coming?” Often we do. Just as often, we’re as surprised as anyone. He writes about Tom Brady’s days at Michigan.

— Mailbag: David Smith of Louisville writes regarding my column this morning, which says we may be seeing a golden era of greatness in some sports: “The golden era in the NBA ended with the departure of Bird, Jordan and Magic. Without the art they brought to the game, it is boring now.”

— Birthdays: University of Louisville assistant coach and former UK standout Walter McCarty is 34 today. Also born on this date, Stanley Matthews, the first English soccer star to be knighted, and the only ever to be knighted while still playing. A total abstainer from alcohol and a strict vegetarian, he played at the top level in England until age 50. He is remembered as one of the great dribblers in the game’s history. When he died in 2000, more than 100,000 people lined the streets in his hometown of Stoke-on-Trent in tribute.


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