3 Stories: The 'New Cleveland', Russia's Doping Punishment, USMNT's Future

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Lionel Messi and Argentina crushed the United States 4-0 in the semifinals of Copa America. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
Lionel Messi and Argentina crushed the United States 4-0 in the semifinals of Copa America. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

The city of Cleveland has brought home its first team championship in 52 years, thanks to LeBron James and the Cavs. With losing so deeply rooted in Cleveland's DNA, how does this change the way we see the city? That question is first up on this week's “3 Stories You Should Know.”

Sportswriter Erik Malinowski and ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes joined Bill Littlefield.

1. Saddest Sports Cities

With its NBA championship win, Cleveland has surrendered the title of America's most disappointing sports city. While this makes room for others — Buffalo, San Diego, Atlanta — to take the crown of the most defeated, Erik Malinowski questions how this win for LeBron and Co. affects Cleveland's identity.

I wonder how this changes our perception of the city of Cleveland going forward ... Even if we, you know, the non-Cavs-rooting public, may have trouble coming to grips with this new reality, I would say that the Clevelanders have embraced it full on pretty quickly.

2. Russian Track and Field Suspension Under Review

Following the International Association of Athletics Federations (I.A.A.F.) Olympic suspension of Russian track and field athletes, word has now surfaced that those that can prove themselves outside of the Russian doping system could still compete this summer. While the I.A.A.F. says these "clean" athletes would have to compete under a neutral flag, the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) says they might even be allowed to compete for Russia. Which will it be? Mina Kimes sorts through this Olympic mess.

This seems like a symbolic issue, but actually I think it really cuts to the heart of this scandal, which is, in my view, and I think a lot of athletes who have lost unfairly to Russian athletes over the years, the I.O.C. needs to punish not only individual athletes but also the country.

3. USMNT's Copa America Departure

The U.S. men's soccer team was only in the game for about two minutes during its Copa America semifinal matchup this week — then Argentina scored and never looked back. Led by Lionel Messi, Argentina blanked the United States 4-0. Should fans be disappointed by the loss or encouraged by the USA's deep tournament run? Bill Littlefield is optimistic.

The squad under Jurgen Klinsmann beat three good teams. Then they lost to a couple that were better than good. Am I being unreasonably positive to say the Copa results should inspire improvement rather than provoke despair among American soccer fans?

More Stories You Should Know:

This segment aired on June 25, 2016.


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