On Stephen A. Smith and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo: It might be a little early to say, but ESPN has struck gold (or at least silver) with their decision to bring Mad Dog Russo onto First Take every Wednesday to debate Stephen A. Smith. Russo is one of the few personalities in sports media with the passion, fire, and vocal volume to keep pace with Smith on a daily basis. When both are firing on all cylinders, it makes for great debate television.
It would be best to avoid subject matter with any sort of meaning in the future, though. People aren't tuning in to hear Russo question if Ben Simmons should be trusted on mental health matters, as he did today. People are tuning in to hear Mad Dog let loose in rage over Smith's claims that the Lakers are the No. 1 team in Los Angeles and the Dodgers are No. 2. Give us the kind of meaningless yet entertaining fodder that makes Russo such a good radio guy throughout the summer and we can call this a roaring success.
And now, the Roundup.
Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley broke up ... CDC expected to loosen mask guidance next week ... Anti-Asian hate crimes increased 339 percent last year ... Convicted murderer, who escaped prison for the third time, was captured ... The Fed is ready to raise rates ... A review of "Severance" ... Ken Burns issues a warning about America's future ... NFL hires former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Brian Flores suit ... Video of police stopping fight at NJ mall sparks excessive force investigation ... Jim Harbaugh agrees to contract extension with Michigan ... Aaron Donald hints at a return to the Rams ... Anthony Davis suffered a nasty ankle sprain ... USA curling advanced to final four ... Matt Harvey faces MLB ban for drug distribution ... Juan Soto turned down $350 million from the Nationals ... Tristan Thompson waived by Pacers, will join the Bulls ... Mikaela Shiffrin disqualified in third event at Olympics ...
Cowboys paid $2.4 million to settle cheerleaders' voyeurism allegations [ESPN]
How DeMar DeRozan Became the NBA’s best closer [GQ]
How to (almost) become an Olympic curler [FanSided]
Steph Curry is reimagining what’s possible [The Ringer]
MLB lockout: There's no way to force owners to put wins over dollars [Yahoo Sports]
Kevin Harlan on calling his first All-Star Game and continuing to chase the standard [The Big Lead]
Hard not to like this guy.
Taika Waititi is fantastic.
John Cena breaks down his most iconic characters.
Lord Huron -- "Ends of the Earth" (Alive from Whispering Pines)