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Suns owner Robert Sarver hit with $10 million fine and one-year ban from NBA for ‘workplace misconduct’ – The Denver Post

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The NBA fined Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver $10 million and a one-year ban from all basketball-related activity following his conduct investigation of Sarver at work.

According to the investigation – spurred by a November 2021 ESPN report alleging racism and misogyny within the Suns organization – Sarver used the n-word “at least five times” while recounting the statements of other people and s engages in “unfair conduct toward female employees.”

Specifically, Sarver “made numerous sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women” and “repeatedly engaged in physical conduct.” inappropriate towards male employees”.

Sarver, who bought the Suns in 2004, has fully cooperated with the investigation, the league said.

“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in the statement on Tuesday. “We believe the outcome is the right one, considering all the facts, circumstances and contexts brought to light by the thorough investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to maintaining appropriate standards in the workplaces of the NBA.”

But the NBA’s statement regarding its independent investigation also contradicts the findings and appears to be extricating the longtime real estate magnate from the hook for misbehavior that was uncovered during an investigation that included interviews with 320 current or current employees. old.

“The investigation did not find that Mr. Sarver’s misconduct at work was motivated by racial or gender animosity,” read the NBA’s statement after an independent investigation by an outside law firm. .

Instead, the report attempts to portray the 60-year-old owner as some kind of empowered frat boy.

“While it is difficult to identify precisely what motivated Sarver’s work behavior described in this report, certain patterns emerged from the testimonies: Sarver often acted aggressively in an apparent effort to provoke a reaction from its targets; Sarver’s sense of humor was sophomore and inappropriate for the workplace; and Sarver behaved as if workplace norms and policies did not apply to him,” reads the report from New York-based investigative firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

During his suspension, Sarver will be required to complete a training program focused on workplace conduct. The NBA will donate funds from Sarver’s $10 million fine to organizations that address race and gender issues in the workplace.

Silver’s suspension of Sarver is his biggest punishment for an NBA owner since his first year as NBA commissioner in 2014, when he banned Donald Sterling from the NBA for life and imposed a $2 fine. .5 million to the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers after investigating racist comments he made on a phone call to an ex-girlfriend. Sterling told the woman, who is of mixed ethnicity, not to be seen with or bring black people to Clippers games.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” Sterling said during the taping.

Sarver’s punishment was less severe than Sterling’s given his mere one-year ban to the lifetime ban Sterling faced, but both owners were hit with the maximum fine allowed at the time in under NBA rules.

Many, however, remain puzzled by the length of Sarver’s sentence. For reference, former Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans was suspended for three years for violating the NBA/NBPA drug policy.

“As hard as it is, Robert Sarver’s racism, misogyny and more is as bad as Donald Sterling’s and could very well top him,” ESPN’s Marc Spears tweeted after the Sarver news broke. . “How does the Suns owner get a pass to return to his throne after a year of suspension and not kick the NBA out like Sterling? Confused by this result.

Silver, in his statement, acknowledged that the league still has room for growth.

“I hope the NBA community will take this opportunity to reflect on what this great game means to people around the world and the values ​​of equality, respect and inclusion it strives to represent,” he wrote. “Regardless of position, power or intent, we must all recognize the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behavior. On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to everyone affected by the misconduct described in the investigators’ report. We must do better.

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Dave Hyde: It’s Dolphins versus Bills after years, even decades, in the waiting

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Dave Hyde: It’s Dolphins Versus Bills After Years, Even Decades, In The Waiting
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Pull up a chair and sit on the edge of it, folks. This one could be worth the wait — and, thanks to everyone from Cam Cameron to Steve Ross, it’s been quite a wait.

The Miami Dolphins play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in either the biggest game of the NFL weekend or the biggest game at Hard Rock Stadium since it was called Dolphin Stadium three name changes ago.

Take your pick for how big this game is. And round up the kids while you’re deciding. It’s time this next generation knew. This is what Dolphins weekend once were always about, if you can remember back to yesteryear when Dan Marino was a player and not a consultant or the 1970s was an era and not a sit-com.

Big games. Big rivals. Big hoo-hahs. Big consequences, too.

The horse is admittedly ahead of the cart of consequence. It’s just Game 3 in, as linebacker Jerome Baker says, “a marathon of a season” — though the marathon is a sprint if you’ve watched the Dolphins run.

But there’s been a generational void of consequence involving the Dolphins. And these Dolphins want in. They don’t want to be the next edition with their nose pressed against the glass. One of first-year coach Mike McDaniel’s pet phrases to his players is, “We know we’re going to be special,” and that can fit a timeline of this Sunday or next season.

“It’s something we’re believing,” defensive tackle John Jenkins says. “You can see it coming together.”

Winning is the magnet in that regard, not just bringing the locker room together but fans willing to believe again, too. A 2-0 start with a ho-hummer against rival New England and an epic comeback at Baltimore have changed some minds.

Now comes Buffalo and no season will be conclusively made or broken Sunday. So what? You’re allowed some overhype considering you have to go back to Jan. 4, 2009 against Baltimore since the Dolphins played as big a home game. That was a playoff game, too (and it wasn’t pretty).

For a regular-season home game of this intrigue, you have to shuffle through history to … Jimmy Johnson’s 1999 Dolphins going 7-1 in November after beating Tennessee … Shula’s 1993 Dolphins entered 9-2 against the New York Giants in December?

The point is, forgive the overhype, but there’s a lot of unused hype for a couple of decades. Something will be learned about the Dolphins, and the obvious question is whether the Dolphins have closed the continental stretch of distance between them and the Super-Bowl-trending Bills.

Las Vegas doesn’t think so. You can see why. Buffalo came within 13 mismanaged seconds of a second-straight AFC Championship Game last season. It began this season beating the defending Super Bowl champ Los Angeles Rams and No. 1 AFC seed Tennessee by a combined score of 72-17.

That’s one reason why Buffalo is a whopping six-point favorite even in the September heat of South Florida. The other reason is they’ve beaten the Dolphins seven straight times. It’s not been close, either, with an average margin of 16.3 points. Only two games have been in single digits.

That underscores a larger point here. If Buffalo is playing with Vegas’ money, the Dolphins are playing with house money. This is a rare instance where a win says more about them than a loss. A win says they’re ready to contend in a manner they haven’t in decades.

And a loss? It says they have work to do. The issue would be how much.

“It’s a big game,” Baker says, “because it’s the next game. It’s the only one we’re looking at. But at the same time we know there’s a long way to go.”

The Dolphins have spent three years of a perplexing rebuild getting to an important game again. Or they’ve spent 14 years wandering the wilderness getting to a home game like it. Either way, pull up a seat Sunday and let’s hope you’re on the edge of it.

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Literary pick: Carol Dines’ new YA novel explores teen girl friendship

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Teenage girls’ lives are filled with drama, especially when it comes to friends who may or may not be good for a young woman trying to figure out who she is and with whom she should share her most intimate secrets. And if the friendship goes wrong, the emotional toll can be devastating.

That’s the conflict Carol Dines explores in her involving and beautifully-written new young adult novel, “The Take-Over Friend.”

Carol Dines (Courtesy of Fitzroy Books)

Dines, who lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Jack Zipes (the fairy tale expert), says she was inspired to write this book after supporting her own daughter through a devastating friendship breakup, which made her recall her own experiences with her best friend when she was growing up.

Francis is a shy, introverted girl whose best friend just moved away, but she finds a new friend in Sonja, who has been in school in France. Sonja is witty, worldly and outgoing and seems eager to get close to Francis when they meet on the first day of their freshman year of high school.

Soon the girls are inseparable and they share secrets about their families. Sonja’s parents are in the middle of a bitter divorce and Frances’ father suffers from bipolar disorder. Dines’ depiction of this man’s suffering, and his wife’s no-nonsense demand he take his meds, is as interesting as his daughter’s story.

Francis has second thoughts about her admiration for Sonja when her friend starts insinuating herself into Francis’ family. A frequent sleep-over guest, Sonja boldly works her way into traditions Francis cherishes, such as making pies with her older sister and mother on Thanksgiving morning. Francis also realizes Sonja is using her to get close to her older brother, Will, who is totally into sports. And Sonja spends long afternoons with Francis’ dad, which makes her mom very uneasy.

Both girls are impacted. Francis resents lonely Sonja for trying to become part of the family and ignoring boundaries. Sonja feels betrayed when Francis can’t understand her need for a loving home.

When there is a violent act of cruelty, the friendship is over.

“The Take-Over Friend” will be understood by girls (and maybe some boys) and their mothers, who try to support their teens as they deal with new experiences in their relationships. The story is involving, with both characters so clearly drawn the reader feels she knows them, or was one of them at one time. Francis, though, is more likable than Sonja, but Sonja is the most needy underneath her grown-up veneer. It’s clear who is the take-over friend.

Dines, born in Rochester, Minn., is the author of two previous novels and a short story collection for teens

She will celebrate the publication of ‘The Take-Over Friend” (Fitzroy Books, $16.95 paperback)  at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in conversation with Minnesota author Patricia Cumbie at Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., and at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, in conversation with Gary Eldon Peter, moderated by Judith Katz, at the Red Balloon, 891 Grand Ave., St. Paul.

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Pope Francis, 85, uses a wheelchair to tell young people they must help save the Earth

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The Pope Was Once Again Seen Being Pushed Around In A Wheelchair During A Trip To Assisi In Central Italy
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Pope Francis, 85, was seen pushed in a wheelchair on Saturday as he traveled to Assisi to tell young people it was their duty to protect the planet and change the course of the Earth.

Francis was visiting his namesake saint’s birthplace which was close to nature when he called for ‘courage’ to give up fossil fuels and lamented that older generations don’t know how to protect the planet and ensure peace .

He told the young people that he pinned his hopes on their efforts to save the planet and make the global economy more pro-poor.

The health of the aging pope has been in the spotlight for some time as worried onlookers wonder if he still has the vitality to maintain his duties as pontiff.

He is believed to use a wheelchair due to a serious knee problem which limits his mobility, although it was also reported that he underwent colon surgery in July to remove 33cm (13 inches) of intestine.

The Vatican described it as a “planned procedure” because the pope’s innards had “shrunk”.

The Pope Was Once Again Seen Being Pushed Around In A Wheelchair During A Trip To Assisi In Central Italy

The pope was once again seen being pushed around in a wheelchair during a trip to Assisi in central Italy

Francis, 85, Is Believed To Be Using A Wheelchair Due To A Serious Knee Problem Which Limits His Mobility, Although It Was Also Reported That He Underwent Colon Surgery In July To Remove 33Cm Of 'Intestine.

Francis, 85, Is Believed To Be Using A Wheelchair Due To A Serious Knee Problem Which Limits His Mobility, Although It Was Also Reported That He Underwent Colon Surgery In July To Remove 33Cm Of 'Intestine.

Francis, 85, is believed to be using a wheelchair due to a serious knee problem which limits his mobility, although it was also reported that he underwent colon surgery in July to remove 33cm of ‘intestine.

Francis Was Visiting The Birthplace Of His Namesake Saint Who Was Close To Nature When He Called For

Francis Was Visiting The Birthplace Of His Namesake Saint Who Was Close To Nature When He Called For

Francis was visiting his namesake saint’s birthplace which was close to nature when he called for ‘courage’ to give up fossil fuels and lamented that older generations don’t know how to protect the planet and ensure peace

And in August, Francis created the post of Personal Health Assistant to the Holy Father to complement the personal doctor he already has. Italian Massimiliano Strappetti has been appointed to the post, the Holy See announced the same month.

On his July trip to Canada – where the pontiff apologized for the role of the Catholic Church in removing Indigenous children from their families and placing them with Canadian families – he was accompanied by a nurse in all time.

During his brief visit to the hill town in central Italy on Saturday, Francis addressed a gathering of some 1,000 young people, including some young economists. Others are involved in efforts, including start-ups, focused on helping the environment.

Participants came from all over the world. Among them was a woman who told the pope how she and her husband were helped to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover last year by an organization called The Economy of Francis, which is inspired by the life of Saint Francis, with his attention to the poor and other needy.

The pope said there needs to be a global economy that expresses “a new vision for the environment and the Earth”.

“There are many people, companies and institutions that are making an ecological conversion. We need to move forward on this path and do more,” Francis said.

The pontiff cited an urgent need to discuss development models.

Pope Francis Attends The Economy Of Francesco (Eof) Event In Assisi, Central Italy, Where He Told Young People He Pinned His Hopes On Their Efforts To Save The Planet And Make The Economy Global More Attentive To The Poor

Pope Francis Attends The Economy Of Francesco (Eof) Event In Assisi, Central Italy, Where He Told Young People He Pinned His Hopes On Their Efforts To Save The Planet And Make The Economy Global More Attentive To The Poor

Pope Francis attends the Economy of Francesco (EoF) event in Assisi, central Italy, where he told young people he pinned his hopes on their efforts to save the planet and make the economy global more attentive to the poor

Francis Smiles For A Selfie With A Participant During Francesco's Economy (Eof)

Francis Smiles For A Selfie With A Participant During Francesco's Economy (Eof)

Francis smiles for a selfie with a participant during Francesco’s Economy (EoF)

“Now is the time to show new courage in moving away from fossil fuels to accelerate the development of zero- or positive-impact energy sources,” Francis said.

He told the young people: “Our generation has left you a rich legacy, but we have failed to protect the planet and we are not ensuring peace.

He lamented a lack of “creativity, optimism, enthusiasm” and told the young people that “we are grateful to God that you are here”. Not only will you be here tomorrow, but you are here today.

The pope’s faith in young people could be bolstered by the horrors he admitted to being perpetrated in Ukraine, revealing that his charity leader who brings aid to Ukraine had to run to safety after coming under fire. gunshots last week.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who is Polish, was forced to dodge bullets on his fourth humanitarian and pastoral mission to Ukraine, sending supplies along with a Catholic bishop, a Protestant bishop and a Ukrainian soldier.

The pope said he spoke yesterday with Krajewski, who had visited Ukrainian mass graves outside Izium in northeastern Ukraine.

Francis said today: “He (Krajewski) told me about the pain of these people, the savage acts, the monstrosity, the tortured bodies that they find.

“Let us unite with this noble and martyred people.

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Bill Madden: Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols giving fans something to cheer for even as MLB strikes out

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Bill Madden: Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols Giving Fans Something To Cheer For Even As Mlb Strikes Out
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Years ago, a wise person once said: “Baseball is the greatest game of all in spite of the people who run it.”

This has never been truer than this weekend when, despite Rob Manfred’s Apple streaming MLB greed grab that deprived most of the country from TV viewership Friday night, Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols calmly went about their business of cleansing baseball’s soul from the steroids plague which previous commissioner Bud Selig took too long to get a handle on.

Suddenly, and somewhat unexpectedly, baseball has found itself with a season of celebration of not one but two “clean” sluggers closing in on home run milestones — Judge breaking Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League record of 61 homers and Pujols becoming only the fourth player in history with 700 career homers.

And wouldn’t you know, Pujols hit his two homers Friday night to join the exclusive club in the Cardinals’ game that was also exclusively Apple-streamed — so hardly anyone witnessed it unless you were in the ballpark. Shame on baseball.

While Pujols’ feat will be his last hurrah as he heads into retirement, Judge is potentially looking at becoming the highest paid position player in the game after not only breaking Maris’ record but putting together one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. Going into the weekend, he led the AL in batting and the majors in homers, RBI, runs, OBP, slugging, OPS and total bases. His 60 homers being 20 more than runner-up Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies.

Putting that in perspective with some of the other greatest seasons since World War II:

In Frank Robinson’s 1966 AL MVP year for the Orioles, he won the Triple Crown (.316/49 HR/122 RBI) and also led the league in runs (122), OBP (.410), slugging (.637) and OPS (1.047). But Mickey Mantle’s 1956 Triple Crown MVP year was even better as he led the majors in batting (.353), homers (52), RBI (130), runs (132), slugging (.705), OPS (1.169) and total bases (376). In 1949, Ted Williams won his second AL MVP award with a monster season in which he hit .343 and led the AL in homers (43), RBI (159), runs (150), OBP (.490), slugging (.650), OPS (1.141) and total bases (368).

There is no question Judge’s historical season in which he bet on himself has earned him a substantial increase from the seven-year/$213.5 million ($30.5M AAV) he turned down from the Yankees back in April. The question is how substantial? Judge, in so many words, told the Yankees he felt he should be paid commensurate to Mike Trout’s major league high $35.54 million AAV for position players. At this point, that’s probably not going to be a problem for the Yankees, so the battle is going to come down to the number of years.

For it doesn’t matter how many homers Judge winds up hitting, he will still be a 31-year-old player next year and, as the Yankees (and all the other clubs as well) are fully aware of, contracts of eight or more years to players 31 or older are doomed to ill fortune — the two classic examples being Miguel Cabrera’s eight-year/$248 million signed with the Tigers in 2016 and Pujols’ $10-year/$240 million with the Angels in 2011.

Cabrera, who never again hit over .300 or drove in more than 75 runs after 2016, is staggering to the finish line. Pujols, a .328 lifetime hitter when he defected from the Cardinals to Angels in 2012, never again hit .300, his career average having fallen to .296, and had only three 100-RBI seasons in his nine years with the Angels.

More than likely, given the analytic philosophy throughout baseball about long-term contracts to players in their 30s, the Yankees will be bidding against themselves for Judge. The teams that can afford to go toe-to-toe with them either have expensive free agents of their own they need to re-sign (Dodgers and Trea Turner, Red Sox and Xander Bogaerts) or, in the case of the Giants and Cubs, have too many other holes to fill than to tie up $37 million of payroll on one player in his 30s.

My guess is the Yankees re-sign Judge for somewhere between $260-$300 million, depending on the years — while resigned to the fact it will very likely wind up being the worst contract they ever gave a player.

IT’S A MADD, MADD WORLD

The Royals firing of President of Baseball Operations Dayton Moore, one of the most respected execs in the industry, sent shockwaves through the game last week, especially when combined with owner John Sherman’s decision to replace him with his top assistant and longtime ally GM J.J. Picollo. As one longtime scout and friend to both of them told me Thursday: “I don’t really understand this. Dayton hired J.J. They both came from the Braves. They’re both the same guy. J.J. was probably even more involved in all the hirings, etc., in player development than Dayton.”

But Sherman, who bought the Royals in 2019, four years after they won the World Series under Moore’s direction, has seen nothing but losing teams — they’re closing in on their third 100-loss season in the last five years — and, as he said Wednesday, he was expecting them to at least be around .500 this season.

According to sources within the Royals, Sherman was frustrated by Moore’s lack of aggressiveness in making moves to improve the team. He was also said to be not all that enthralled with manager Mike Matheny, who Moore hired in 2019 after he’d been found wanting by the cross-state Cardinals after seven years in St. Louis. It’s a given that one of Picollo’s first moves will be to hire a new manager. Perhaps the biggest criticism of Moore was the Royals’ inability to develop quality starting pitchers. Since 2015, they’ve drafted eight starting pitchers in the first round and so far only one of them, Brady Singer, has lived up to that No. 1 promise. …

As much as the Royals’ may have disappointed Sherman, no team in the AL Central underperformed more this year than the overwhelming division favorite White Sox, who completed their implosion last week by getting swept by the Guardians, to fall seven games off the pace, under interim manager Miguel Cairo (so it wasn’t all Tony La Russa’s fault as many in the Chicago media corps have maintained.) Now the question is will White Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who fielded the highest payroll in his 40-year tenure as owner this year, likewise shakes up his own front office. But there is no more loyal owner in baseball than Reinsdorf — some would say loyal to a fault — and if longtime president of baseball operations Kenny Williams and GM Rick Hahn are safe, then a major roster re-shuffling is definitely in order, starting with catcher/DH Yasmani Grandal and utilityman Leury Garcia, who this year may have been the two worst players in baseball with the two lowest total base counts of any regulars (minimum 300 plate appearances) in the game. Grandal, who’s always been a below average catcher, is the second player in history with 300-plus plate appearances to score less than 15 runs (as of Friday) and strike out over 60 times, while Garcia’s .500 OPS is the lowest ever by a White Sox player with 300-plus plate appearances. And then there’s Luis Robert, the one-time wunderkind White Sox center fielder who just a year ago was being hailed as a future Willie Mays, but who’s been marked absent both literally (constant minor injuries that keep him out of the lineup) and figuratively (the only player in the American League with 65-plus at-bats in the second half with two or fewer RBI, and no home runs since the All-Star break.)

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Is Dolphins vs. Bills a big game? Yes, coach Mike McDaniel says

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Is Dolphins Vs. Bills A Big Game? Yes, Coach Mike Mcdaniel Says
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There’s no wrong answer. That’s the first thing you need to know when asking the Miami Dolphins whether Sunday’s game against Buffalo is a big game. It’s all about personal perspective.

It’s interesting to note, however, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel embraces the challenge of his head-turning Dolphins (2-0) hosting the mighty Bills (2-0) at Hard Rock Stadium. McDaniel said he’d even tell his team not to hide from using this game as a measuring stick.

“I think you embrace the fact that they’re a good football team and that there’s one way to be put in the category of good football teams — you beat good football teams,” he said.

Some of McDaniel’s players have opted for the businesslike it’s-just-one-game-among-17 games approach.

“They’re just another team on our schedule,” veteran linebacker Melvin Ingram said.

The level-headed approach has backing among players.

“They’re all big,” defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said. “You’ve got to approach it the same way each week because once you start playing that inconsistency game in the NFL, you get showed up for sure.”

McDaniel has a different method. He chooses to speak publicly about the temporary enormity of this early season matchup, and he’s got lots of company. He acknowledges Sunday is just 1/17th of the season schedule, and one sixth of the division schedule.

“But it’s also an opportunity for us to see where we’re at and go against the best, which as competitors, our team is very competitive, you bask in that opportunity,” he said.

So count McDaniel among the number of people making a big deal about the Dolphins, who are riding a seven-game home winning streak, facing the Bills, who are riding a seven-game winning streak over Miami.

The high-scoring Bills, the two-time defending AFC champs who have won at least 10 games each of the past three seasons, are among the NFL’s Super Bowl favorites. The Dolphins, who have a dynamic new offense and renewed energy under McDaniel, turned heads with last week’s shocking 42-38 comeback victory at Baltimore that included an explosive 28-point fourth quarter.

Fans are hyped. Headlines are juiced. A whole bunch of NFL eyes will be fixated on South Florida for this peak at an expected Super Bowl contender visiting one of the NFL’s most intriguing teams.

The winner of this early-season battle for AFC East supremacy paves itself a strong path to the playoffs. Teams that start 3-0 can expect to make the playoffs 76% of the time in a 17-game schedule, according to the NFL’s analytics. Teams that start 2-1, on the other hand, can expect to make the playoffs 55% of the time.

But that’s getting ahead of things.

The Bills are hurting defensively.

That’s not an excuse, and no one will feel sorry for them because they have injuries. The personnel losses, however, are serious.

All-Pro safety Micah Hyde (neck) and defensive tackles Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and Ed Oliver (ankle) will miss the game along with cornerback Dane Jackson (neck). That’s three starters (Hyde, Oliver and Jackson) and a top reserve.

The personnel losses should work heavily in the Dolphins’ favor in the passing game where quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (seven touchdowns, two interceptions, 116.5 passer rating, fourth in the NFL) gains an advantage in his efforts to connect with electrifying wide receivers Tyreek Hill (284 receiving yards, best in NFL, two touchdown) and Jaylen Waddle (240 receiving yards, third-best in NFL, three touchdowns).

Of course, the Dolphins are dealing with a concerning injury because left tackle Terron Armstead (toe) is questionable.

But Buffalo’s injury concerns are more serious.

The Bills, already without cornerback Tre’Davious White (knee), will likely start the rookie duo of cornerbacks Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam, which makes the Bills highly vulnerable on the back end. They’re not a blitz-heavy team so it’ll be interesting to see whether they use that tactic to generate more pass rush and accommodate for missing personnel. It could be a highly risky strategy considering a short pass to Hill or Waddle combined with a single missed tackle could spell a long touchdown for the Dolphins.

Most likely the Bills will rely on their fear-inducing combination of quarterback Josh Allen (seven touchdowns, two interceptions, 123.7 passer rating, second in NFL) and wide receiver Stefon Diggs (270 receiving yards, second-best in NFL, league-leading four touchdowns) instead of changing their defensive philosophy.

Whatever happens, the winner Sunday will sit atop the AFC East and have an inside track on winning the division. That, if nothing else, makes this a big game.

“It’s exciting,” McDaniel said, “so we’re going to do our best to prepare and see where we’re at the end of the [game], 4:30 maybe, on Sunday.”

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Soucheray: An evening with my favorite chili was at hand — until it wasn’t

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Left on my own, as the CP was called out of town on an errand of goodwill, I was told that one of my suppers was chili. Apparently, it is believed that if I am not left food I will not eat, or eat poorly or wreck something while attempting to cook in desperation.

The prospect of chili delighted me. This isn’t any chili, but inflation-be-damned chili, with sirloin and secret seasonings, good enough, I have always thought, to win a cookoff in Houston or a blue ribbon at a county fair. I was to take out the final portion from the freezer upon her departure and I did. Oh, and I might say that this was on the onset of fall and that the stars were aligning for an unparalleled salute to the autumnal equinox.

My favorite meal is bologna, simmered in onions, with tomatoes and corn on the side, an underrated Depression-era meal which requires getting wrapped in a beach towel to protect against flying juices. I would put meatloaf up there on the pedestal, but chili rings all the bells.

As the time drew nigh, I went through my checklist.

Chips? Check. Wonderful chips.

Cheese? Check. I would choose a nice chunk of gruyere.

I found a couple of chocolate mints to smooth things over for later.

Well, there it was, a hefty portion of chili in a sealed plastic container. I transferred the chili to a bowl. I suppose I could have used a pot and heated it up on the stove, but I went microwave. I gave it two minutes while I assembled a big spoon, two rolls of paper towels and also turned on the news, betting myself they would start with a thunderstorm somewhere as more proof of catastrophic climate change.

Whoa, that bowl was too hot for bare hands. I grabbed an oven mitt and proceeded to carry the sacramental feast to the counter. I didn’t like the way the big thumb of the mitt was touching the chili. It ruined the aesthetic. I adjusted my grip and … oh, oh, no.

Oh.

No.

The bowl slipped out of my hand.

I stood in silence. I didn’t utter a sound. No profanity even occurred to me, just silence. I watched in slow motion, like watching one of those commercials where a drop of milk spills and is seen microscopically.

The bowl shattered into a thousand pieces. The chili went everywhere, including onto a yonder art table and an open coloring book where a little girl waiting to be colored now had tomato cheeks and a chili bean nose.

I sopped up as much as I could with the paper towels and then off to the hardware store for a new mop, some more paper towels and some Mr. Clean. We probably have a mop but I don’t know where it is.

“Got a little cleaning up to do?” the cashier asked me.

“I’ll say,” I said.

Then back home and more cleaning. The phone rang. Oh, oh.

“How was the chili?”

“It was a great adventure in eating,” I said, not necessarily lying.

“Great!”

I made myself a tuna fish salad sandwich and ate it over the sink. I would have preferred the chili. I wasn’t even attempting to cook in desperation.

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