Today in sports: Yacht racers squabble over a finish, sports writers remember the good times, and Penn State won't be landing its top-choice football coach.
Yacht racing, while beautiful, isn't the best spectator sports. But this year's Sydney to Hobart race has all kinds of excitement just after the finish line. After Investec Loyal beat out the favorite Wild Oats XI to win the race, the Wild Oats people cried foul, accusing the Investec team of using a news helicopter to spy on them during the race. That would be a violation of a rule against outside assistance. Apparently there's a recording of the Investec crew asking an ABC News copter about the Wild Oats sail plan, and so the race committee will have to make a decision on the winner Thursday. In other news from the race there's this odd detail about the fifth-place boat Loki: "Loki overcame a collision with a shark or a whale Wednesday to hold the lead on overall handicap." [The New York Times]
The thing about Tebowing is that when you do it, you're silently, maybe even affectionately, mocking the religious Denver Bronco. You're not railing at the guy. But nobody told Bill Mahar that. He's getting some heat for a pretty harsh tweet he sent into the universe on Saturday: "Wow, Jesus just f----- #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them." Naturally, this did not go down well with both Tebow fans and religious types, and now people are talking about boycotting HBO because of it. [Washington Post]
Sports writers are a funny bunch: They cover something that's essentially entertainment as hard news, and they work a beat and gain access the same way crime writers or city hall writers do, only their goal is to get into the locker room and hobnob with people who get trading cards made about them. When you get good at that, it's a great feeling, even if your story gets completely changed, like it did for Scott Raab, author of the recently published Whore of Akron, about LeBron James leaving Ohio. When he found out James was going to leave, he'd already been covering him for a book about "Moses lead[ing] us into the Promised Land," he told The Atlantic's Craig Hubert, and the decision changed the story 180 degrees and made him reassess: "I told my wife, you know, I spent a year, and a few thousand dollars, but it was sports journalism fantasy camp. It was great. It didn't turn out well for me as a fan; it couldn't have turned out any worse. But I did get to hang in the locker room, know the beat writers, see LeBron's dick, and I got to blog." Ha. Sounds like a fun read. [The Atlantic]
Speaking of sportswriters, one of the legends has taken his exit: "Sports of the Times" columnist George Vecsey took a buyout in The New York Times latest round. He tells Bill Lucey that the modern rhythm of the newsroom doesn't lend itself to good column writing: "The 24-hour cycle means there is no natural rhythm of trolling for contacts, details, writing a first draft, wandering out to lunch, revising -- the cycle that still makes sense to me. Somebody always wants your copy for the Web. So you rush -- maybe not at the expense of basic accuracy, but surely at the cost of writing and structure and fullness." That's a pity, really. Times have changed. Another example of that comes later, when Vecsey describes how he used to be on about the same pay scale as yesteryear's professional athletes: "he big change is that when I was breaking in, I had the same economic scale as people who became my friends -- Ruben Amaro, Ed Charlies, Bill Robinson, Steve Hamilton, Ron Swoboda, Larry Bearnarth. We socialized sometimes. Of course, we were the same age, 20s and 30s. I don't think ball players and writers have much in common anymore. I'm glad I can see Ruben or Charles and give them a big hug." Can you imagine a day when journalists and pro baseball players made the same amount of money? Us neither. [Morning Delivery]
Penn State still needs a new head football coach, but it won't be Mike Munchak. After the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Wednesday that the Tennessee Titans coach was the top pick for a search committee trying to find a replacement for Joe Paterno. But Munchak told Tennessee reporter Jim Wyatt that he wasn't interested. "I love my alma mater, but I have no interest in being the head coach at Penn State," Munchak told Wyatt. "I never want to leave Tennessee." Munchak, who played for Paterno from 1978 to 1981, said he'd still like to have a relationship with the school -- just not a working one. [ESPN]