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SMQ starts to sound more and more like the Gregg Easterbrook of our ideal memories every day--whip-smart, systematic, omnivorous in his intellectual tastes and yet unafraid of the cheap joke. (He made a Bone Thugs reference the other day, which in case you didn't know is by universal law always funny. In case you don't think this is true, sing this in your head and feel the truth: bone bone bone bone...) What SMQ manages to avoid is sounding like the nebbishy, overlong Easterbrook of our bad memories, which is good since it also means he's likely to avoid making anti-semitic comments in other publications and boring everyone to tears by comparing an NFL offense to the MX missile program.

It is a truth universally acknowledged: Bone Thugs=funny. Why they kill my dog?

In the wake of ever-unfolding nastiness concerning the Reggie Bush case--extortion, Bush's stepfather allegedly being in on the deal, and the inevitable lawsuits--the compelling argument remains: why should Bush get in trouble anyway for hedging money on his likely future success? SMQ's got as good an answer as anyone's put forth yet, and it's a simple one: preserving the integrity of the product that is NCAA football.

In Reggie Bush's case, agent access to athletes (or their families or friends) undermines the 'amateur' status of said athletes, which is not important for any esoteric or moralistic purposes - and certainly not just because the NCAA says it is - but for the ongoing success of the sport; the "value" being protected isn't amateurism, but competition, and that is good for football or any other sport where the games, and not the individuals, are the commodities.

Read the whole thing, including I'm a Realist's linked commentary on the pieces, brilliantly titled "Why Pay For Bush When You Can Get It For Free?"