RGIII cleveland browns

I’m not quite sure what to think about the Cleveland Browns move to sign Robert Griffin III to a 2 year deal. On one hand, there isn’t much of a downside, financially, since $6.75M guaranteed is not a ton of money in today’s NFL. On the other hand, it’s fairly incredible that the Browns want to sign a QB who won 25% of his starts over the last 3 seasons (5-15). Or is it?

This is the Browns we are talking about after all. Who knows, maybe Jimmy Haslem got a tip from another homeless guy telling him to sign Griffin? Perhaps, the baseball data guys running the Browns personnel department really liked his WAR rating?

The fact that the Browns signed him says quite a bit about how much interest there is for guy like RGIII around the league. What free agents want to play in Cleveland? I cannot think of too many. I’m guessing if you gave a free agent the choice of playing in Cleveland or North Korea, they might actually hesitate before making a choice. No one wants to play in the factory of sadness.

My guess is that RGIII ended up with the Browns due to the fact that they haven’t had a legitimate QB since acid wash jeans were still in style, giving him a decent opportunity to start in Week 1. And, in the event he fails, it’s just Cleveland, failure is expected anyway, and he just got $6.75M for failing.

Personally, RGIII might be a great guy, but his numbers say he is a below average QB. He also has had two torn ACLs in the past 5 years, and his QBR rating is hovering around 38 for the past three seasons. On top of that, since his rookie campaign he has thrown 20 TDs to 18 INTs, which makes Bubby Brister look respectable.

He is also never going to be the read-option QB that he was in his rookie campaign that helped lead them to the playoffs. His yards per game dropped precipitously over the 3 years he played because he refused to run the ball after he hurt his knee. In fact, things got so bad in Washington that he didn’t even dress for one game last season, despite being completely healthy. There were also rumors of him being an issue in the locker room. That’s just what the Browns need.

At the end of the day is this signing going to propel the Browns to an AFC North title? No. Nothing short of binging back an incredibly perm-haired, sober Bernie Kosar circa 1987 and cocaine-fueled Kevin Mack could do that.

The Browns still contend that they’re going to draft a QB with the #2 pick. Knowing the Browns O-line will likely be as porous as a wet paper bag and weapons such as Brian Hartline and Gary Barnidge to throw to, they won’t be starting him right away (whoever it is.)

browns quarterbacks jersey

Inevitably, it looks like RGIII will likely be 26th starting QB for the Browns since 1999, so add another piece of duct tape with the “Griffin III” to the back of that Tim Couch jersey, sit back, and get ready for another 2-14 season.

What do you think about the Browns signing RGIII? Hit us up on Snapchat.

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The post Browns Looking Forward to 2-14 Season with RGIII appeared first on Bacon Sports.

andy gray sports illustrated

Andy Gray, Senior Editor at Sports Illustrated, joins Rob Cressy to talk about the journey of his sports career. Andy shares how he went from studyingEnglish at UMass to landing in the Top 100 most important Twitter feeds for sports fans, to all the awesomeness going downat Sports Illustrated.

Andygives a ton of actionable advice for anyone lookingto make a career of working in sports and no doubt you’ll get a ton of value from this.

In the conversation Andy Grayand I talk about:

  • What was the first sports job that he had and how did he land it?
  • How did he get his foot in the door at Sports Illustrated?
  • How going back to school and getting an internship in his mid 20’s ultimately lead him to the success he’s seeing today.
  • The SI Vault:how it started, how it’s catalogued, and where it’s heading moving forward.
  • Hot Clicks: what types of content stands out and where does he find the content he posts.
  • SI Swimsuit: how did Andy grow it from zero to over 2 million monthly uniques and what’s something about being around models that we wouldn’t realize.

At the end we also have the Tampa Bay lightning round (Go Pens) where Andyanswers a bevy of sports questions.

FollowAndy Gray on Twitter @AndyGray35and @SI_Vault.

You can check out the other conversationsfrommyHow To Make It In Sports Media series:




1.World’s Largest eBay NBA Jerseys Database: Find NBA jerseys on eBay easier. We’ve got over 763 past and present NBA players from 1985 whose jerseys you can buy. If you love basketball jerseys then this is the holy grail!

2. Dream of Working in Sports?We are looking for talented, passionate sports fans that want to be part of Team Bacon Sports and help grow the brand. Having the sports job of your dreams is possible and we want to help make that happen!

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joel embiid shirley temple

Rob Cressy is joined by Benjamin Christensen on the Bacon Sports Podcast as theydish about the crazy sports headlines from the past week.

The sports headlines they talk about include:

  • 76ers Joel Embiid Says He Drinks 3 or 4 Pitchers of Shirley Temples Per Day
  • Metta World Peace Allegedly Speaks With Malice At The Palace Cup Thrower Every Day
  • Cowboys RB Darren McFadden Breaks Elbow Trying to Save iPhone From Breaking
  • LeBron James Has Watched the Godfather 6 times since the NBA Playoffs Began
  • Paul George Named His Cute Pit Bull Puppy After Kobe Bryant

Rob and Ben also play an NBA Edition of Name That Tune at the end.





1.World’s Largest eBay NBA Jerseys Database: Find NBA jersey on eBay easier. We’ve got over 763 past and present NBA players from 1985 whose jerseys you can buy. If you love basketball jerseys then this is the holy grail!

2. Follow Bacon Sports on Snapchat: If you are on Snapchat then you need to be following us faster thanGus Johnson can say, “RISE AND FIRE!!!”

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3. Write Funnier: For the last 4 years I’ve studied comedy writing at Second City and from one of the Co-Founders of The Onion. Learn how to become a funnier writer and take your business, career, or blog to the next level.

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Since moving to Washington, D.C. the Nationals have been one of baseball’s more aggressive franchises. Under the ownership of Ted Lerner they have never been shy about making the bold moves necessary to bring a winning team to the nation’s capital.

They have signed Max Scherzer to what was then the largest free agent contract ever given to a pitcher.

The handed Stephen Strasburg a $175 million extensions to avoid the open market and stay in D.C.

Along with everyone else they had on the books in 2017 the Nationals exceeded the luxury tax for the first time.

And yet, NOW is the time for the franchise to go ALL-IN!

The upcoming season represents a make or break year for the franchise—or at least a transition year. They have won 95+ games in four of the last six seasons, yet haven’t made it passed the division series.

The 2019 team could be vastly different. They stand to lose several veterans including franchise player Bryce Harper, offensive standout Daniel Murphy, starter Gio Gonzalez, and shutdown setup reliever Ryan Madson to free agency.

While the Nationals’ farm system is well-prepared to restock the major league team, prospects, no matter how highly touted, are never sure things. Washington needs to operate as if 2018 is their best (and only) chance to win a World Championship.

They need to cash in their chips, go all-in, and make the Marlins an offer they can’t refuse.

The Nationals NEED to get Giancarlo Stanton.

On the surface the idea seems ludicrous. Trading for Stanton, especially from division rival Miami, would require a massive haul of prospects. Washington would likely be able to hang onto prize prospect Victor Robles, but anyone else would be up for grabs for the Marlins.

Then there’s Stanton’s contract to consider. His salary alone would blow their budget, pushing Washington deeper into the luxury tax than ever before. It would be an extremely expensive transaction to make.

But only for one year. Following the 2018 season the Nationals clear more than $65 million from their books, and likely would escape from a third consecutive season.

Nearly a third of those dollars belong to Harper, who undoubtedly will leave Washington for much greener pastures. That is why acquiring Stanton NOW, despite all the hurdles, makes so much sense. It would be a preemptive strike, aiming at keeping their window of contention wide-open.

Either Stanton or Harper can man left-field for a year, and together they could mash their way into bringing that elusive World Championship back the D.C. Then when Harper leaves Stanton can slide into the face-of-the-franchise role.

It would be a huge risk. It might backfire. The cost in prospects is going to sting. And for years the Nationals have been robbing Peter to pay Paul, deferring tens of millions of dollars.

Regardless of how their TV contract/lawsuits go, those bills are going to come do. And it could bankrupt the franchise. But that’s not enough of a reason to not bring the game’s best slugger to the nation’s capital.

A parade down Pennsylvania Avenue would look pretty sweet next fall, and help everyone forget about the cost.


On the 23rd episode of Bacon Shorts by Bacon Sports with Rob Cressy, Rob welcomes two new sports fans to Team Bacon Sports. He also challenges any sports fans who want to live a life of fun and awesomeness and build the awesomest sports media company ever to hit him up. BACONATORS…MOUNT UP!

If you’ve ever dreamed of working in sports then check out our Join Team Bacon Sports page. We have a ton of different roles we are looking to have people take over.

Here’sanaudio only/podcast version as well.



1. The first design in our latest t-shirt collection was just released and it pays homage to former New Jersey Nets center Yinka Dare. This will be a limited edition run as we only made 25 of these. The price is $20 and is a high quality fabric. GET ONE NOW!

2. Check out the World’s Largest Random NBA Jerseys Database. There’s over 763 different past and present players whose jerseys you can choose from.

3.Have you always dreamed of working in sports? If so check out the open positions we have at Team Bacon Sports. We are looking for talented, passionate sports fans that want to be part of something great.


1. Make sure to subscribe to theBacon Sports podcast on iTunesand tell a friend. We are dropping podcasts multiple times a week.

2. Become part of Team Bacon, our bacon loving, jersey rocking, sports fancommunityby signing up HERE!If you dig rocking jerseys, sports comedy, all while getting some serious sports knowledge dropped on youthen you’ll be bout it bout it with our newsletter.

3. If you missed anyof the episodes of Bacon Shorts by Bacon Shortsyou can check themout hereand subscribeto our YouTube channelfor future episodes!

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Photo; redskins.com

Welcome to week 13 of the 2017 NFL season. This week, Thursday Night Football will kick things off with the Washington Redskins will travel to Arlington, Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys. This historic rivalry started in 1960 and since then, they have played 115 games. In the last five meetings between these two teams, the Dallas Cowboys have won four out of five games. In the series history, the Dallas Cowboys leads all time vs. Washington 69-42-2. For new second year player Dak Prescott is looking to become 4-0 as he has won the previous three games against the Redskins.

For these two teams, it was a tale of two different games. In Arlington, Texas, the Dallas Cowboys were defeated by the Los Angeles Chargers and the Washington Redskins defeated the New York in our Nations Capitol.

Washington Redskins

For the Washington Redskins, they are entering this divisional game with a 5-6 record overall. They are ranked 2nd in the NFC East. The offense is ranked 11th in the NFL With 104.4 rushing yards, the team is ranked 18th in running the ball while 251.1 passing yards has them ranked 11th.

On the defense side of the ball, the run defense is ranked 15th while at number 18 is their pass defense. Last week, quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 19 out of his 31 passes for 242 yards, 2 touchdown, and 1 interception.

Dallas Cowboys

In Dallas, the Cowboys are riding a three game losing streak with several injuries impacting the Cowboys offense and defense. Dak is throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, no Ezekiel Elliott, and no Sean Lee on defense. Ranked number 4 in rushing and 22nd in passing, the Cowboys need to improve their offense.

As for the defense, their rush defense is ranked 17th while their pass defense is in the 21st spot. Last day against the Chargers, Dak Prescott passed 20-27, 179 yards, and an interception.With no Sean Lee on defense, will the Cowboys take a victory this week?

You can watch the Redskins-Cowboys game tonight at 8:25 pm/7:25 pm central on NBC, NFL Network, and Amazon Prize.

nfl week 4 survivor pool picks

Congratulations if you made it to NFL Week 4 in your survivor pool. It’s an impressive featthat you lasted thisconsidering the number of people who decided to go rogue, pick a stupid team, and get knocked out so early.Rob Cressy is joined by Tom Hamm on the Bacon Sports podcast as they talkabout their NFL Week 4 Survivor Pool Picks.

Up until this point it hasn’t been that hard, really. The most obvious picks with the highest point spread have won every week, though the Dolphins tried their hardest to crap away their game vs the Browns. Thanks God I don’t have to put all my eggs in the Ryan Tannehill basket again.

That brings us to Week 4 where we have our first teams on byes (Packers, Eagles), meaning we have one less game to choose from.

This week there are no double digit spread games, but we have three at a TD or more.

NFL Week 4 is a palatablefor survivor pool picks as 5 of 15 games have a spread of 5 points or more. Here are those games:

  • Browns @ Redskins -8
    • Why you would take the Redskins: it’s a pick against the Browns, arguably the worst team in football. They are starting Cody Kessler, a poor man’sMatt Barkley.
    • How could this pick go wrong? Trust in Kirk Cousins is wavering, though last weeks road victory over the Giants was a nice way to build some trust back. He’s still a QB that hasstarted only one full season.
  • Rams @ Cardinals -8
    • Why you would take the Cardinals: We all think the Cardinals are a really good team,possible Super Bowl contenders. They are clearly the better team, they just haven’t gotten off to an ideal start. They’ll turn it in gear, at home, versus a team that lost to the 49ers by 28. And Case Kennum is their quarterback.
    • How could this pick go wrong? Picks is the operative word. Carson Palmer threw four of them last week against the Bills. Remember how crappy we all thought the Bills were heading into last week? The Rams just beat the Seahawks, a perennial Super Bowl contender, as well as won on the road against the Buccaneers, a team that many people liked to take the next step. It’s not unfathomable to think that Carson Palmer is about to have a steep decline in his mid-30’s, continuing with this game, and the Rams, with a tough defense and Todd Gurley, pull one out.
  • Dolphins @ Bengals -7 (TNF)
    • Why you would take the Bengals: The Bengals are a potential playoff team who started with a brutal schedule: on the road at the Jets (win), on the road at Pittsburgh (loss), at home vs the Broncos (loss.) They are still a good team and they’ll take care of business at home, on a short week, against a team that should have lost to the Browns if not for a just signed kicker having an atrocious day.
    • How could this pick go wrong?Turnovers. Weird ones. In Bunches. The Bengals play an awkward game, which somehow allows the Dolphins to win despite their every attempt not to.
  • Titans @ Texans -6.5
    • Why you would take the Texans: We taped the podcast before the news of JJ Watt being put on IR, and him not playing in this game moved the line down to Texans -5, which still puts it into consideration for being selected. The Titans are a cute storyline but they had a chance last week to beat a Raiders team at home, get a good win that couldhave us believing in their progress, but that didn’t happen. The Texans are the class of this putrid division, and they take care of business.
    • How could this pick go wrong? Brock Osweiler has only been their QB for about 10 seconds so he’s no sure thing. Just because Jadeveon Clowney had one really awesome hit in college, doesn’t mean that he’s the next JJ Watt (in 20 games in 2+ seasons Clowney only has 5.5 sacks and 56 tackles.)The Titans bounce back, run the crap out of the ball against a Texans Dthat has given up the 7th most rush yards of any NFL team this season, and win a low scoring game. The Titans D has given up the same amount of points per gamethis season as the Broncos (19 ppg.)
  • Chiefs @ Steelers – 5.5
    • Why you would take the Steelers: Throw away last week, shit happens. It’s a new week and these are still your Super Bowl contending Steelers, who just so happen to be getting back Le’Veon Bell, the best running back in football. It’s a primetime game, in Pittsburgh, at night. Who are you taking: 2x Super Bowl winning QB Ben Roethlisberger or Alex Smith?
    • How could this pick go wrong?The Chiefs are playoff contenders who can win regular season games (they’ve won 11 in two of the last three seasons.) Their defense just forced 186 turnovers vs the Jets last week. They keep that trend going and when you win the turnover battle your odds of winning greatly increases.

Rob’s survivor pool pick (he’s in two leagues): Bengals and Redskins
Tom’s survivor pool pick: Bengals

I decided to make this a two part podcast, to make it easier for you to listen, where Tom and I talk about the remaining 10 games on the NFL Week 4 slate.

Here’s the games we dish about.

  • Panthers -3 @ Falcons
  • Raiders @ Ravens -3.5
  • Broncos -3 @ Buccaneers
  • Cowboys -3 @ 49ers
  • Saints @ Chargers -4.5
  • Lions -2.5 @ Bears
  • Colts -2.5 @ Jaguars
  • Giants @ Vikings -4 (MNF)
  • Bills @ Patriots (no line)
  • Seahawks @ Jets (no line)





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2. Follow Bacon Sports on Snapchat: If you are on Snapchat then you need to be following us faster thanGus Johnson can say, “RISE AND FIRE!!!”

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The post 176: NFL Week 4 Survivor Pool Picks appeared first on Bacon Sports.


In my 5thinterview on How To Make It In Sports Media I talkwithLiz Loza,Fantasy Football analyst for Yahoo Fantasy,Founder of TheFantasyFootballGirl.com and Co-host of the X’s & Y’s Podcast.Liz took her passion of fantasy football and through hustle, building a unique brand, and a DYI learning approach built a career in fantasy football.

In the interview Lizand I talk about:

  • How to build a fantasy football career.
  • Her journey from starting her own fantasy football website to landing a job at Yahoo Fantasy as a fantasy sports analyst.
  • Tips for podcasters and content creators.
  • What it takes to stand out in the crowded sports media and fantasy football space and build a unique brand.
  • Herimprov training at Second Cityand how it has helped her as a content creator.
  • A funny story about an audition to be in a Kid Rock video that involved dancing in a bikini.
  • Tips for people who want to become an actor (You can check out Liz’s IMDB page. She’s appeared on the show 24 and is married to an agent.)

At the end we also have a lightning round where Lizanswers a bevy of sports questions.

Here’s thepodcast:

You can check out the other interviews frommyHow To Make It In Sports Media interview series:




1.World’s Largest NBA Jerseys Database: There’s over 763 past and present NBA players from 1985 whose jerseys you can buy. If you love basketball jerseys then this is the holy grail!

2. Dream of Working in Sports?We are looking for talented, passionate sports fans that want to be part of Team Bacon Sports and help grow the brand. Having the sports job of your dreams is possible and we want to help make that happen!

3. 11 Funny Filters to Write Jokes : Write better comedy by learning the fundamentals of joke writing from the Second City Training Center in Chicago.

The post How to Build a Fantasy Football Career with Liz Loza appeared first on Bacon Sports.

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.


In the final two months of 2017, the price of the cryptocurrency monero quadrupled in value to $349, and is up a further 7 percent this year. It grew faster than the top cryptocurrency, bitcoin, which is saying something. Criminals were once a core customer base for bitcoin, but as people have gotten better at tracing where the currency comes from and where it goes, it’s fallen out of favor. That’s left an opening for monero — which encrypts recipients’ addresses — to scoop up that core crimedoer demo. [Bloomberg]

10,784 musical compositions

Wixen Music Publishing is suing streaming service Spotify, claiming they infringed on the copyrights of 10,784 songs in Wixen’s library, and that Spotify didn’t obtain the correct licenses to stream those songs, including those of Tom Petty and the Doors. Wixen is saying it could be owed as much as $1.6 billion. [The Wrap]

19,000 pounds

The Tiangong-1, a 19,000-pound Chinese space station that the nation reportedly lost control of two years ago, will likely come crashing down to earth sometime in March 2018. If the when is iffy, the where is even worse: scientists know that it’ll come down somewhere between the 43° North and 43° South latitudes, but that is a massive range encompassing every inhabited continent on the planet. [CBS New York]

4 million

In case you needed a reminder that things are different in Canada: Thanks to a new program, the 4 million youth of Ontario who are under 25-years-old will now have access to free prescription medications, provided the drugs come from a list of 4,400 approved medications. [CTV News]

$900 million

Meanwhile, in the United States, people are turning to social media to pay for treatment. There have been $900 million in donations on YouCaring — a project similar to Kickstarter or GoFundMe, but with a specific eye towards charitable fundraising — since 2011 that went to medical campaigns. [Mother Jones]

5 billion

Amazon announced Tuesday that it shipped upwards of 5 billion items in 2017 to Prime subscribers alone. One of the hot items of the year — Instant Pot multicookers — was one bellwether of the digital giant’s reach. Amazon delivered at least one Instant Pot to two out of every three U.S. zip codes. [Quartz]

Check out Besides the Points, my new sports newsletter.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

muggsy bogues warriors jersey

I’m a kid on Christmas morning right now because I’m 99% sure Ihave found a legitimate unicorn! As a man who has chased unicorns his entire life, it can be tricky to determine the real from the fake. This girl rocking a Muggsy Bogues Warriors jersey is as real as it gets.

Although it’s hard to focus on anything besides our unicorn right now, I’ll do my best.

To start, I completely forgot Muggsy Bogues had a stint with Golden State. I always associate him with those great Charlotte Hornets teams where he played alongside Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson. I also tend to think about that tragic night in 1996 when Bogues’ basketball abilities were stolen by the Monstars from Moron Mountain. There should totally be a 30 for 30 to commemorate these events.

Anyways, bottom line, this Muggsy Bogues Warriors jersey is straight fire and anyone who has it in their closet is OK in my book!

H/T: Eric Salting

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More Jerseys Stuff

  • If you dig jerseys then you’ll want to check out our Hoopster Nation podcast. The first podcast dedicated to rocking jerseys, hoopsters, and jerseys culture.
  • If you see a random or custom jersey at a game or on the streetsnap a pic and tweet it to@BaconSports,tag uson Instagram @BaconSports, or hit us up on Snapchat @baconsports. Use #randomjersey.

The post Muggsy Bogues Warriors Jersey Unicorn appeared first on Bacon Sports.

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Imaging What A New Diddy Kong Racing Might Look Like

Diddy Kong Racing for the N64 was never able to escape that long shadow cast by Mario Kart. While the game got a remake for the DS, it never got a true successor. And if we’re being honest, it probably never will. Fortunately there’s a fan video to help fill the void left by its eternal absence.


Foreign governments are granting Trump projects big favors to get what they want from...

President Donald Trump purportedly stepped away from his business interests for the duration of his term as president, but Vanity Fair‘s Tina Nguyen says that foreign governments are granting favors and greasing the wheels for Trump-branded projects around the world.

Anita Kumar at McClatchy reported that the Indonesian government has chosen to build a new road to shorten the drive between the island chain’s main airport and the new Trump golf resort.

In Panama, the national government directly intervened in a lagging sewer project connected to the new Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City. The original contractor tasked with constructing the system went bankrupt, prompting the government to use its own money to construct sewage and water pipes connecting to the resort hotel.

“And in other countries,” Kumar wrote, “governments have donated public land, approved permits and eased environmental regulations for Trump-branded developments, creating a slew of potential conflicts as foreign leaders make investments that can be seen as gifts or attempts to gain access to the American president through his sprawling business empire.”

As Nguyen noted, all of this appears to place Trump squarely in violation of the Emoluments Clause, which prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts or anything that might be constituted as a bribe from foreign governments.

However, she said, “Just weeks after Trump won the election, the Argentinian government suddenly granted a permit for a long-delayed Trump Tower development in Buenos Aires. In September, Trump’s Middle Eastern business partners granted a company partially owned by the Chinese government a contract to build a road to Trump World Golf Club in Dubai, seemingly going against his pledge to not engage in foreign business transactions during his presidency. And, of course, there is the ongoing constitutional crisis that is the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C., which critics claim violates the Emoluments Clause on a regular basis.”

Two lawsuits have been brought against the Trump administration alleging these violations, one of which was dismissed by a judge just before Christmas.

Kumar spoke with Noah Bookbinder of the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who said, “If you have a foreign government providing a benefit to the Trump company that is going to violate emoluments clause of the Constitution.”

The president is reportedly receiving boons to his projects — which he claims he handed over to the management of his sons, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump — from the governments of Uruguay, India and the Philippines.

Read the full McClatchy report here.

Mormon leader Thomas Monson dies aged 90

Thomas S Monson, who served in top leadership councils for the Mormon church for 50 years and became its president in 2008, has died. He was 90.

Monson was a church bishop at 22 and in 1963 the Salt Lake City native became the youngest church apostle ever, at 36. He was a counselor for three church presidents before assuming leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monson died at his home in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, according to church spokesman Eric Hawkins. The next president was not immediately named, but the job is expected to go to next longest-tenured member of the church’s governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Russell M Nelson, 93, per church protocol.

Monson’s presidency was marked by his noticeably low profile during a time of intense publicity, including the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns of Mormon Mitt Romney. His most public acts were appearances at church conferences and devotionals as well as dedications of church temples.

He will be remembered for continuing the religion’s push to be more transparent about its past; his emphasis on humanitarian work; and lowering the minimum age for missionaries.

He will also be remembered for leading the faith’s involvement in the passage of a gay marriage ban in California in 2008. At his urging, Mormons were vigorous campaign donors and volunteers. That prompted a backlash against the church that included vandalism of church buildings, protest marches and demonstrations outside church temples nationwide.

In subsequent years, the church began utilizing a softer tone on the issue. In 2015, the church backed an anti-discrimination law in Utah that gave unprecedented protections for gay and transgender people while also protecting religious freedoms.

But the religion came under fire again in the fall of 2015 when it banned baptisms for children living with gay parents and instituted a requirement that those children disavow homosexual relationships before being allowed to serve a mission. The changes were designed to avoid putting children in a tug-of-war between their parents and church teachings, leaders said.

Thomas Monson attends a corner stone laying ceremony at the dedication of the Draper Utah Temple in Draper, Utah, in 2009.
Thomas Monson attends a corner stone laying ceremony at the Draper Utah Temple in Draper, Utah, in 2009. Photograph: George Frey/Reuters

The revisions triggered anger, confusion and sadness for a growing faction of LGBTQ-supportive Mormons who were buoyed in recent years by church leaders’ calls for more love and understanding for LGBTQ members.

Monson also continued the church’s push to be more open about some of the most sensitive aspect of the faith’s history and doctrine. A renovated church history museum reopened in 2015 with an exhibit acknowledging the religion’s early polygamous practices, a year after the church published an essay that for the first time chronicled founder Joseph Smith’s plural wives.

Other church essays issued during Monson’s tenure addressed other sensitive topics: sacred undergarments worn by devout members; a past ban on black men in the lay clergy; and the misconception that Mormons are taught they will get their own planet in the afterlife.

The growth and globalization of the religion continued under Monson, with membership swelling to nearly 15.9 million, with more than half outside the US. There were 71,000 church missionaries serving around the world at the end of 2016.

Mormons considered Monson a warm, caring, endearing and approachable leader, said Patrick Mason, associate professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University in California.

He put an emphasis on the humanitarian ethic of Mormons, evidenced by his expansion of the church’s disaster relief programs around the world, said Armand Mauss, a retired professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University.

Monson often credited his mother, Gladys Condie Monson, for fostering his compassion. He said that during his childhood in the Depression of the 1930s their house in Salt Lake City was known to hobos riding the railroads as a place to get a meal and a kind word.

“President Monson always seemed more interested in what we do with our religion rather than in what we believe,” Mauss said.

A second world war veteran, Monson served in the navy and spent a year overseas before returning to get a business degree at the University of Utah and a master’s degree in business administration from the church-owned Brigham Young University.

Before being tabbed to join the church’s governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Monson worked for the church’s secular businesses, primarily in advertising, printing and publishing including the Deseret Morning News.

He married Frances Beverly Johnson in 1948. The couple had three children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Frances died in 2013 at the age of 85.

Monson was an avid fisherman who also raised homing pigeons, specifically, roller pigeons who twirled as they flew. He was known for his love of show tunes, Boy Scouts and the Utah Jazz.

The man expected to take Monson’s seat, the 93-year-old Nelson, has been a church apostle since April 1970. Nelson will choose two new counselors from the Quorum of the Twelve who will join him to form a three-person “presidency” that is the top of the religion’s governing hierarchy. Monson’s two counselors were Henry Eyring and Dieter Uchtdorf. They will go back to being regular members of the Quorum unless they are chosen again.

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How Donald Trump’s war on intelligence is destroying American national security

President Donald Trump’s insecurity over losing the popular vote and the salacious allegations in the Steele Dossier have prompted him to lash out at the intelligence community’s claims that Russia influenced the 2016 election. Now that war against the intelligence community is impacting American national security.

A Wednesday Washington Postreport revealed that the National Security Agency is hemorrhaging staff at an alarming rate. Some of these “highly skilled” staffers have become “disillusioned” with intelligence but the leadership and a reorganization effort under the new administration has sent many to update their resumes.

The work these experts do included monitoring a broad array of subjects including the Islamic State, Russian and North Korean hackers, and analyzing the intentions of foreign governments, and they were responsible for protecting the classified networks that carry such sensitive information. Yet, these staffers saying that they want a higher-paying job in the private sector or more flexible hours.

Since 2015, hundreds of hackers, engineers and data scientists have bailed on the NSA, former officials said. Now it’s reaching a level that national security can be impacted. Of the 17 spy agencies, the NSA is the largest and they’re responsible for collecting the information that goes into the presidential daily briefing that Trump doesn’t understand. Over the first year in office, aides have even been forced to tailor the briefing so it doesn’t include anything about Russian interference in the election so as to not anger Trump.

“Some synonym of the word ‘epidemic’ is the best way to describe it,” said former NSA senior researcher Ellison Anne Williams. She left her job at the NSA in 2016 to start her own data-security firm and took 10 NSA staff with her. “The agency is losing an amazing amount of its strongest technical talent, and to lose your best and brightest staff is a huge hit.”

The agency won’t disclose the number of vacancies over the last year, but it said there is 5.6 percent decrease in staff who specialize in science, technology and math. The NSA isn’t the only place the Trump administration has implemented the right-wing war on science. In Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency, scientists became the enemy. Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was told never to say the words “climate change.” Losing the experts means new staff are filling the positions without the experience central to the NSA’s mission collecting huge swaths of data and analyzing it.

Former staff have complained that they felt their mission was marginalized by a restructuring of the agency. Others allege the reorganization was “an enormous distraction.” Some even call the pay structure and promotion program part of the problem. According to former staff, it prioritizes seniority over experience or expertise.

Another former employee alleged that the problems began with former contractor Edward Snowden and the arrest of former contractor Harold T. Martin III in 2016. Accessing data and information became more difficult for those trying to do their jobs. The witch hunt searching for leakers made things worse. An environment with collaboration has turned toward suspicion, a former staffer said.

“It comes down to death by a thousand cuts,” said a former employee, adding that people “tend to quit in packs. One person hits their breaking point, and once they leave, the dominoes start falling.”

NSA spokesman Tommy Groves didn’t discount the reports.

“If the price of security becomes that we drive away the very men and women that generate value in the first place, we now have a self-induced mission kill,” National Security Agency Director Administrator Michael Rogers said in a conference speech.

Trump’s attacks on the 17 intelligence agencies that confirmed the Russian interference couldn’t have made morale any better. After meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump swore that Russia didn’t do it.

“He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump told reporters in November. “Every time he sees me he says I didn’t do that, and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”

Trump has also waged a war with the FBI, calling it “tainted” and alleging it is part of the “deep state” shadow government.

“It is also a possible obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, and it’s obstructing justice by saying to agents, ‘you better not dig too deep, you better not find anything because I will attack you,'” former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said to MSNBC.

The only way to maintain staff is to tape into the sense of duty “for God and country,” said former threat operations center chief Daniel Ennis. He thinks the agency will recover, because it always has.