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ON THE COVER: An Oral History of Bill Belichick: He might be the greatest coach in NFL history, but 41 years into his career, does anyone really know who Bill Belichick is or how he forged his path to greatness? To find out, The Mag interviewed a multitude of coaches, players and associates to present as complete a portrait as possible of the enigmatic New England Patriots head coach. By David Fleming, in collaboration with NFL Nation (Link: http://es.pn/2dbjCg4)
DON’T MISS: In an NBA game last December, referee Bill Kennedy called two technical fouls on then-Kings guard Rajon Rondo, who subsequently called Kennedy a gay slur. Less than two weeks later, the referee announced he was gay. The Mag delves into the circumstances of the altercation and the impact it had on Kennedy’s life, both personal and professional. By Kevin Arnovitz, in collaboration with TrueHoop
Please Remain Seated: The wave, loved and hated by fans and athletes alike, remains a fixture of the stadium experience decades after its debut. Senior writer Tom Junod chronicles his quest to understand the appeal—and tries his hand at starting a wave or two himself.
Issue highlights and features:
The Heisman Debate Is Not Over
History shows that September front-runners don’t necessarily bring home the Heisman hardware. By Ryan McGee
Colin Kaepernick Is a Real American
The Mag profiles the evolving identity of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the lightning rod of the national anthem debate. Kaepernick, no longer the QB darling of just a few years ago, has been largely alienated by his team and, some say, his sport since coach Jim Harbaugh left. The once reticent one has found his voice, unpacking incredible eloquence and thought on his decision not to stand during the anthem. By Tim Keown, in collaboration with The Undefeated
The Mag polled 97 athletes across five leagues on everything from whom they want to win the presidential election to their thoughts on immigration, gun control and a slew of other hot-button issues.
We Don’t Need Another Hero
From Hope Solo to Ronda Rousey, female athletes suffer the double standard of being penalized for behavior that in male athletes is accepted. Critics thusly complain that women’s sports lack excitement and big personalities. So The Mag asked a panel of experts led by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne to answer this: Can women’s sports be compelling without controversy? By Ramona Shelburne, in collaboration with espnW
You Know You Want Pitbull
Pitbull is inescapable in the sports world, performing regularly at major sporting events, his music blasting through arenas when he’s not there in the flesh. The Mag dissects the star’s appeal and argues that the mindless energy of his music is what makes it perfect for sports. By Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
Let It Go
The MLB code is clear: flip your bat and you will pay. But in South Korea, they flip often, they flip with style and they flip without fear. How does this alternate baseball world exist—and what does it say about us? We went trekking across South Korea to unravel the mystery. By Mina Kimes
Additional issue highlights and features:
Numbers: Peter Keating crunches the numbers to answer this question: Does postseason success hinge on MLB teams relying on a shutdown ace? The data suggest that an ace is no sure bet.
Forward: The Mag’s NHL season preview runs down the favorites, factoring in experience as well as stats. It also highlights Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid, last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick. Though McDavid missed most of his first season with an injury, he still impressed enough to finish among the contenders for rookie of the year. He is primed for a monster sophomore campaign.
Voices: Watching Jose Fernandez pitch felt like freedom for South Florida’s Cubans. ESPN’s Dan Le Batard tries to explain the emotional connections to the young pitcher and the devastating impact of his death, on the community and his family.
Boxing: Sonny Liston died on Dec. 30, 1970, from what some believed was a heroin overdose. All the while, there has been an open question of whether he actually died at the hands of someone else. This question is explored in an excerpt from the new book, The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights, by Shaun Assael.
College football: The Mag breaks down the top five prospects in the 2017 NFL draft: LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams, Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen and Michigan State’s Malik McDowell.
Zoom: A photographic look at a loyal Chicago Cubs fan ahead of the team’s playoff appearance.