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rantnrave:// Is there any overriding lesson to take from Aaron Hernandez's story, which reached a sad finality Wednesday? His suicide was at least the second life taken as a result of his violent life -- he was convicted of murder, and acquitted last week of a double-murder in which he was alleged to have been either the trigger man or driver during a drive-by shooting -- while many others were ruined. His tale was made for this media age -- NFL-star-turned-homicidal-outcast was perfect for a time when football and gore are two guaranteed attention-getters. If you want to recount his life and understand just how high Hernandez got before his downfall, run through our REDEF SportsSET, "Aaron Hernandez's Rough Rise and Fast Fall." His story left larger issues -- like mental health and the moral curve sports teams operate on -- overlooked. There is one lesson that should have been ingrained even before Hernandez's crimes: We never really know the athletes we watch; we just pretend we do. ... The Patriots visited The White House Wednesday, although Tom Brady couldn't come because of family circumstances. Many others didn't go, either. This was likely the most highly politicized visit ever by a sports champion. And this is an NFL team in a league in which obedience and patriotism are inculcated. What will happen when an NBA or WNBA team or the South Carolina women's basketball team is (or isn't) invited? ... Eight NFL owners contributed a total of $7.25 million to President Trump's inauguration. That accounted for 6.7 percent of all donations to the inaugural committee. Maybe they should have stuck to sports ... The NCAA wouldn't stage major championship events in New Jersey because the state wanted to legalize sports gambling. The NCAA will hold them in North Carolina despite what experts agree is still a discriminatory law against the LGBT community ... The UFC has some competition. Welcome the Professional Fighters League to the stage ... Is social activism bad for an athlete's brand? Depends on who you ask ... Take that for data.
Richard Spencer declared the Patriots the "whitest team" in the NFL. He's wrong, but it took off anyway.
Ben Strauss | POLITICO Magazine
Digital enhancements and add-ons for hit games like "Battlefield 1," "Call of Duty" and "Assassin's Creed" boost sales but may kill fans' appetite for the next blockbuster.
Sarah E. Needleman | WSJ
At the 11th hour, the San Antonio Stars appeared to have a deal in place to trade No. 1 overall pick Kelsey Plum. It didn't happen, and now sources say all options are on the table.
Howard Megdal | VICE Sports
Other teams are facing the same issues that led the Rams, Chargers and Raiders to move.
Brent Schrotenboer | USA Today
Sid Gillman was my coach. There is no greater compliment one can give a person because a coach is a teacher, a teacher of not only athletic skills but of fundamental character traits that serve as a foundation for a society with values.
Ron Mix | Tablet Magazine
Major league teams are turning to third-generation groundskeeper Roger Bossard to give them a winning edge.
Mike Thomas | Smithsonian Magazine
"It's not enough to be smart. You have to be curious."