Five Best Wednesday Columns

Mark Gilbert on why Luis Suarez should be banned from the World Cup, Donna Ladd on Thad Cochran’s victory in Mississippi, Karen Elliott House on Saudi Arabia and threat of crisis, Michael Lewis and Manish Tripathi on why the Redskins name is bad business, Joshua Green on why John Boehner is still in the game.

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Mark Gilbert at Bloomberg View on why Luis Suarez should be banned from the World Cup. “If soccer's ruling body Fifa comes to the conclusion that Uruguay's star striker Luis Suarez bit Italian Giorgio Chiellini during yesterday's World Cup match in Brazil, it has to kick him out of the tournament. This isn't (just) sour grapes from an Englishman, after Suarez scored two goals which sealed my national team's fate in the tournament. The red mist that has blighted the player's career, however, is unforgivable. He's already been banned for biting opponents; a 10-game ban in 2013 followed an eight-match suspension in 2012, after missing seven games for the same offence in 2010. Fifa says it has begun disciplinary procedures after yesterday's incident, which the referee didn't see,” Gilbert writes. “Zinedine Zidane was banned for three games and fined about $6,000 after butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest in the 2006 World Cup final. Meterazzi was also sanctioned after admitting he'd provoked the French captain. Suarez's biting is much worse and he's already a repeat offender.”

Donna Ladd at the Guardian on Thad Cochran’s victory in Mississippi. “I personally can't get past that time when Senator Thad Cochran wouldn't vote for a resolution to apologize to African Americans for not outlawing lynching. But, with enough pork and enough targeted ads, it nonetheless looks like his strategy to court black voters to participate in the GOP primary saved him from obscurity (and the Tea Party). The desperate incumbent persuaded black voters door-to-door over the past week, and the All Citizens for Mississippi Pac, which is headed by several black leaders including a prominent bishop, even bought large ads in my progressive and majority black-read newspaper,” Ladd writes. “Still, federal money is vital to Mississippi, and enough Democrats apparently held their nose on Tuesday to vote for Cochran. That wasn't easy for people scarred by a deal with the devil laden with pork-barrel politics and a whole lot of coded, ‘wink-wink’ racism.” The Guardian’s Matt Sullivan tweets, “‘Thad Cochran has shrugged off Tea Party–what now? Suddenly, he and GOP will become friends w/ black voters?’"

Karen Elliott House at The Wall Street Journal on Saudi Arabia and the threat of crisis. “With much of the Mideast in flames and with the U.S. unwilling to lead a fire brigade, where does that leave Saudi Arabia, America's most important Arab ally? The answer: The Al Saud royal rulers, largely powerless to affect the external conflagrations, are focusing on modest reforms to please their domestic audience, much as President Obama, though far from powerless, ducks the Mideast mess to focus on ‘climate change’ to please his political base. For the moment, the Al Saud strategy seems to be working,” Elliot House writes. “The irony here is that the worse the rest of the Middle East gets, the better Saudi Arabia seems in the eyes of its own people. Yet the island of tranquility could prove to be a mirage. With Syria engulfed in a civil war, with a Sunni terrorist army rampaging across large parts of neighboring Iraq, with Yemen an emerging terrorist base on the southern Saudi border, with political instability in Egypt and with Shiite Iran a looming regional threat—it is hard to see how these events and trends will not threaten the kingdom sooner or later.”

Michael Lewis and Manish Tripathi at The New York Times on why the Redskins name is bad business. “The moral arguments against the Washington Redskins’ team name, which is considered offensive to American Indians, are by now well known, especially in the wake of last week’s decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to strip the team of trademark protections. Less well known — but perhaps more compelling to the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, who has vowed never to change the name — are the business and marketing arguments against retaining it, which we believe are convincing on their own,” Lewis and Tripathy write. “We found that the Redskins have indeed experienced decreasing brand equity over the past decade. Interestingly, the two N.F.L. teams with the most negative brand equity trends from 2002 to 2012 were the Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs (another American Indian team name)..” Vocativ’s Patrick Flanary tweets, “Name change for #Redskins the right thing to do, and would mean 'a positive revenue trend' for the franchise.”

Joshua Green at The Boston Globe on why John Boehner is still in the game. “When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary race to an anonymous, Tea Party-backed economics professor on June 10, it sent a shockwave through Washington and cemented the idea that the Tea Party is poised to take over Republican politics. Republicans in Congress now seem determined to do even less than before for fear of incurring the wrath of the far right,” Green writes. “It’s now clear that there isn’t much evidence to suggest that House Speaker John Boehner is in any danger, or that he ever was. Last year’s coup attempt was a marvel of ham-handedness. The plotters openly hatched their scheme at Bullfeathers, a Capitol Hill bar, where fellow patrons overheard them and alerted the press. When the time came to vote against Boehner, many of the plotters lost their nerve.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.