Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss football enrolment, the reimagining of Mike Tyson, Denis the "Tweeting Mayor" Coderre and Sochi security.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to what appears to be happening in football at its roots. ESPN reported this week that Pop Warner Football, America's biggest youth football program, experienced a 9.5 per cent drop in enrolment between 2010 and 2012, largely over what appears to be a fear of children experiencing concussions. Another survey said participation in tackle football has fallen 13 per cent since 2011. We still have a lot to learn about concussions; not every kid will be irreparably damaged by football, and not every kid will get away clean. But given everything we are learning about the dangers of the game - and since six American high school players have died playing football in 2013 alone - talking about whether you want your kids to take the chance seems like something close to the least a person can do.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is down to the daily attempt and the public's buy-in to the rehabilitation of Mike Tyson's image. You can't turn on your television set these days without being exposed to a Tyson movie, a documentary, an upcoming book, something. You can even turn on a comedy movie like "The Hangover" and see him in a cameo role. And laugh we all do, uncomfortably. That's not the Mike Tyson I covered for more than a decade. That guy went to prison for rape in 1992, went to prison again in 1999, was accused of assaulting his first wife, was arrested 38 times before he was 13, arrested again in 2006, 2008, 2009 for drugs and assault and more. You can buy in on the new Mike Tyson. Sorry, I've seen too much.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who tweets 'em as he sees 'em. Coderre tweeted he wanted to send scuffling Canadiens centre David Desharnais to Hamilton, which, in Montreal, amounted to taking a strong populist stand. I was awaiting Desharnais' tweet that Coderre should be shipped to Chicoutimi. I've had a fondness for sports mayors ever since Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell told me before a World Series game at SkyDome that he would relish a chance to hit against Todd Stottlemyre. Anyway, after Desharnais' shootout winner in Columbus Friday, Coderre tweeted, "Bravo, David." I look forward to Coderre's Twitter account tackling my city's other pressing issues, such as P.K. Subban's penalty killing minutes.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to any sporting event whose location, sheer size or stated importance makes necessary the kind of security measures that will exist at huge cost at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. To understand, there were patrols by combat jets, surface-to-air missiles on rooftops and an aircraft carrier on the river Thames at the London Olympics, and Sochi is promising police and soldiers in double the numbers mobilized in 2012. Spectators must carry and show at all times Olympic passports that will not respect their privacy - they'll be watched by more than 5,000 closed-circuit cameras and a fleet of drones - it is said they could be monitored on their phones and computers and their email could be intercepted. And they dare not protest those things or any other things as they go about their business as sports fans. If the games must begin like that, we can only hope they end with everyone still safe, and still free.