Embattled quarterback Johnny Manziel will start for the Cleveland Browns this weekend, head coach Mike Pettine announced Tuesday. On this week's episode of "The Second Half" podcast, The New Republic's Jamil Smith -- a devoted Browns fan -- joins hosts Travis Waldron and Donté Stallworth to discuss whether this is Johnny Football's last chance. And, more importantly, they talk about the future of the sport itself, which Smith wrote about last week in a compelling essay.
The NFL has faced lots of questions about how it handles issues like player safety and domestic violence. Smith's piece, "The Necessity of Football," ponders the sport's past and future, and argues that the best way to view football is to be honest about it -- warts and all.
That's because football, Smith writes, "serves as a kind of fun-house mirror for our national character."
"The problem is that too few of us recognize ourselves in the beauty and the carnage the NFL presents each Sunday," he continues. "The game won’t change because we’re not changing."
This week, Travis and Donté also breathe a sigh of relief that they didn't jinx the Carolina Panthers' bid for perfection, and discuss the U.S. Women's National Team's choice to cancel a match over the playing conditions at a field in Hawaii. Plus, they discuss the biggest match-ups of the upcoming week as the playoff picture begins to take shape.
This podcast was produced, edited and engineered by Peter James Callahan and Adriana Usero, with assistance from Christine Conetta.