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Endangered Freebies
Steve Rushin
August 01, 2005
For an industry that produces free throws, free kicks, free drops, free agents, free safeties and freebasers--to say nothing of free spirits like World B. Free--sports gives us remarkably little for free. And those few pleasures that do cost nothing are increasingly in peril, with NFL training camps the latest addition to our Endangered Freebies list.
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August 01, 2005

Endangered Freebies

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And if you pay cash for tickets, you will likely have already paid to withdraw your own money from an ATM--or to speak to a teller in person. This is called getting nothing for something, freeloading's evil twin.

It's all so dispiriting that I ought to close with a funny story. But alas, even those are no longer free. Last spring Purdue basketball coach Gene Keady mentioned to me that he likes to tell humorous anecdotes when speaking to large groups. "Tell me one," I suggested, and Keady replied, "I can't tell you. I'd have to charge you $20,000." I laughed and waited for a story, but Keady was serious about his speaking fee and--after an awkward eternity of silence--changed the subject.

Which was certainly his prerogative. It is, after all, a free country. Or used to be.

? If you have a comment for Steve Rushin, send it to rushin@siletters.com.

NFL

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