Timothy Noah

Morning Reading Assignment

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I woke this morning to Frank Deford on NPR exhorting me to read Taylor Branch's Atlantic piece on the college sports racket ("The Shame of College Sports"), a topic dear to Deford's heart. Branch writes with special clarity and fervor about the everyday moral outrages that society works hardest to ignore, which is why he was so well suited to chronicle the rise of the civil rights movement in his justly praised three-volume biography of Martin Luther King. Branch's January 1990 piece for New England Monthly about the sordid history of state-sponsored lotteries remains the best thing ever written on the subject. Branch is a former student athlete himself; I'm hazy on the details but I think he played football for the University of North Carolina. I probably won't comment on Branch's piece, since I'm a sports ignoramus and I try to avoid topics on which the average reader is guaranteed to know more than me. But I'm definitely going to read it, and so should you.

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