The Tim Tebow debate has raged into the off-season, and by now we know the usual detractors: guys like Terrell Suggs, Nick Barnett, Shawne Merriman, Brady Quinn ...

Wait. What?

That's right, in a thoroughly reported feature by Yahoo! Sports NFL writer Michael Silver in the March issue of GQ, one of the Tebow critics is actually fellow Denver Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn.

And it's not just one subtle jab, either. Early in his piece, Silver gets Quinn talking about how Tebow got promoted to starter:

Early in the season, there was a game when Kyle [Orton] got hurt and the coaches were calling for me to go in, but Kyle got up and finished the game out. So I was the second-string guy. Then, a few weeks later, they decided to put Tim in. I felt like the fans had a lot to do with that. Just ’cause they were chanting his name. There was a big calling for him. No, I didn't have any billboards. That would have been nice.

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The Monday Lineup is here to kick off the week, and there's plenty out there to keep you occupied, while you recover from a second straight weekend with a Jeremy Lin hangover. Even the people at Mardi Gras are impressed with the excessiveness of Linsanity.

Must Reads Of The Day
Rumors of Butler's demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Pat Forde talks to the Bulldogs, and makes it clear: they aren't dead yet, and another storm may be coming. Yahoo! Sports >>

Incredible story about a Jewish hockey player on the German national team. All the conflicting emotions you'd expect, and a journey you won't forget. New York Times >>

On the eve of her first full season in NASCAR, Danica Patrick talks about her critics and her future. Dan Wetzel guides us through the turns. Yahoo! Sports >>

Wunderkind is a tough label to shake when things go bad. Gabriele Marcotti surveys the scene as things have gone very bad for Chelsea FC manager Andre Villas-Boas. WSJ >>

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ESPN hasn't always been quick to admit and rectify its mistakes. But in the 36 hours after the racially insensitive headline "Chink in the armor" appeared on its mobile website about Jeremy Lin, the Worldwide Leader issued a strongly-worded apology and now has handed out punishments.

In a "Follow-up statement and action" released Sunday morning, ESPN announced the following:

At ESPN we are aware of three offensive and inappropriate comments made on ESPN outlets during our coverage of Jeremy Lin.

Saturday we apologized for two references. We have since learned of a similar reference Friday on ESPN Radio New York. The incidents were separate and different. We have engaged in a thorough review of all three and have taken the following action:

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LOS ANGELES -- Phil Mickelson had the gallery in stitches on the first tee box Saturday at the Northern Trust Open.

But if you were watching the action at Riviera Country Club from your couch, you missed it. The wisecrack most likely wasn't caught on camera. It won't be replayed on SportsCenter. That moment -- like so many lines from PGA Tour players every weekend -- is unique to the crowd within earshot, and it's just one of the reasons that golf is the best sport to attend as a fan.

The reason so many people enjoyed Mickelson's joke -- and don't worry, it wasn't anything inappropriate -- was because they were able to be mere feet from him. It's not possible to get so close to the competitors in any other sport. Where else can you get a Mickelson tee shot in your shorts?

Sure, a handful of fans can get just as close to Kobe Bryant with courtside seats at Staples Center, but only if they've got a couple thousand dollars to burn.

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Let's pretend, for a moment, that Golden State or Houston realized their good fortune in stumbling upon Jeremy Lin. In a streak of unparalleled excellence during his first string of NBA starts, he makes all the shots and sets all the records he has while with New York. But he's not in New York. He's in Texas or California, beyond the reach of the hype centers that are Los Angeles and New York.

Would he get this much attention? Would he be the sole focus of the NBA? Would ESPN (and Yahoo!, in fairness) devote vast chunks of its entire catalogue of programming to overlooked, yet overachieving rising star? Does the phenomenon known as Linsanity exist?

No. None of that happens. So please, quit pretending that media markets aren't inflating a great story that they would have otherwise cheerfully noted alongside the progress of young stars like Ricky Rubio.

Rather than shine a light on Houston or Golden State, giving either franchise a desperately needed moment in the sun, they would be cast as lovely sideshows with potential for something special. Lin would be inspiring, but not riding a tidal wave of hysteria.

Instead, the great media machine wins out. Now Golden State and Houston are sad specters in the doldrums of NBA existence, fools - FOOLS - for having let Lin slip away to the storied New York team that cannot believe its fortunes, lucking into playing the kid that will save their season (and their coach's job). All hail the Knicks, the narrative now says, the Knicks that are surely locks for the Eastern Conference semifinals (says very loud ESPN analyst!) and surely will only be briefly staying in eighth place in the conference before charging to the top four with the ease of Sherman in the South. But what if their superstar can't play alongside Lin?! Oh how unfortunate for them, to have this problem. Let's devote even more time to discussing the speculative emotions, mentalities and dynamic of two players that have known each other a couple weeks.

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Welcome to The Lineup, a daily look at what we're reading, watching and clicking on around the web, with a touch of commentary and some space for the things we can't always devote full posts to. The Daily Take is our home for daily commentary, and The Lineup will add even more content for our readers.

Must Reads Of The Day
Kate Upton was photoshopped! (Allegedly to decrease her bust size.) If we can't trust the SI Swimsuit issue, who can we trust? Take a few minutes to think about your place in the universe. Shutdown Corner >>

Sally Jenkins napalms Randy Edsall. Seriously. There is no ambiguity in this one. WSJ >>

On the death of Gary Carter, Yahoo! MLB columnist Tim Brown talks about what the hall of fame catcher meant to him and to everyone else. Yahoo! Sports >>

And then Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus puts Carter's career in context, comparing him to guys like Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk. Baseball Prospectus >>

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Pittsburgh Pirates fans these days don't dream of the franchise signing superstars such as Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. Rather, we obsess over landing international players with potential such as Miguel Angel Sano and Yoenis Cespedes.

Pirates fans simply want what Barack Obama offered during the 2008 presidential campaign: Hope.

We want hope that a winning season is near. We want hope that the highlights of our team's offseason won't be signing minor league free agents and claiming a prospect in the Rule 5 draft.

Pittsburgh fans simply seek a reason to cheer at baseball games once again.

Alas, the fact that the Pirates went 0-for-2 in attempts to sign the coveted free agents -- Sano and Cespedes, not Pujols and Fielder -- speaks volumes about the franchise and what it has done to its highly loyal but now extremely cynical fan base.

Little has gone right baseball-wise in Pittsburgh since the Braves’ Sid Bream outran Barry Bonds' arm and knocked the Pirates out of the 1992 playoffs.

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Floyd Mayweather is not going all Lin.

The outspoken boxer who once told rival Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino, to "make some sushi rolls and cook some rice" has retained the title of heavyweight champion of insensitivity by claiming New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is getting national attention for his race rather than his game.

"Jeremy Lin is a good player," Mayweather tweeted Monday, "but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise."

Black players outscore Kobe Bryant every night? Black players who went undrafted rack up at least 20 points and seven assists in each of their first four career starts? Black players go from D-League DNPs to leading the Knicks to five straight wins?

Yes, Lin being Asian is a big part of the story. He's the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA. That's different, and therefore newsworthy. There would probably also be a lot of hype if, say, a black golfer came out of Stanford and started winning golf majors. Or if, just hypothetically, two black sisters from Compton dominated the world of tennis.

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Osi Umenyiora's excuse for the skipped media session that saw him hit with a $20,000 fine has been cast into doubt after it emerged he voiced his dislike of the press just 24 hours earlier.

The New York Giants defensive end was fined immediately by the NFL when he failed to turn up for a compulsory round of interviews at the team's Indianapolis hotel on Wednesday morning.

Umenyiora issued a full apology on Thursday, claiming he had not realized his attendance was required and that he instead chose to spend the time with his family.

"I chose to hang out with my family," Umenyiora said. "I didn't know it was a mandatory media session, simply because we had Media Day on Tuesday. I didn't know it was Media Day every day.

"We hadn't practiced, we hadn't done anything. I didn't really know there was anything that needed to be talked about between Tuesday and Wednesday. It was a mistake. A big mistake, but a mistake nonetheless."

However, some doubts regarding Umenyiora's story began to spring up when some of his comments from Tuesday's Media Day were revealed. As the Giants' session was ending, with just a handful of reporters in attendance, he insisted he does not enjoy the whole public relations circus at the Super Bowl.

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