Jeff Pearlman

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On Jemele Hill, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and true lies

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Let’s forget, for a moment, that Donald Trump spent five years insisting Barack Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim who surely didn’t have the grades to get into Harvard.

Let’s forget, for a moment, that Donald Trump bragged of groping women.

Let’s forget, for a moment, that Donald Trump called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five; that he pretended not to know the identity of David Duke; that he created a fake university to bilk students of their money.

Let’s forget about all that. Just for now.

In case you missed this, about an hour ago Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, suggested that ESPN’s Jemele Hill should be fired for a series of Tweets that suggested—in fairly blunt terms—that the president of the United States is a white supremacist. Sanders said, directly, the “outrageous comments” were a “fireable offense by ESPN.”

OK.

Let’s talk about this. Or, specifically, let’s talk about the Boy Scouts of America.

A bunch of weeks ago, Donald Trump addressed the Scouts’ annual jamboree, and gave a speech that was, by all measures, ridiculous and inappropriate. He faced a ton of criticism afterward, but then told the Wall Street Journal that the head of the Scouts reached out to praise his speech as “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”

That’s a direct quote from Donald Trump to the Journal.

Only, ahem, it never happened.

No one from the Scouts called Trump.

The head of the Scouts certainly did not call.

It was a lie. A fabrication. A complete invention of something that did not occur.

That’s a fireable offense.

What Jemele Tweeted?

Mere uncomfortable truth.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life