Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. AP Photo

A tough few days for sports heroes, and for the manufacture of sports heroes, for fallen idols and empty honors and jerseys stuffed with nothing but rags and bones and money. In the very week we commemorate the phrase "the content of their character," it becomes a sports world punch line. Our failure, general across sports and the press and American popular culture, lies not only in the mechanisms we use to measure character, but in the clich├ęs we create to sell it.

Maybe it's necessary to be reminded that actual heroism and real heroes exist. And that one of the greatest of these in our history is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Not only for his deep conviction on behalf of social justice, or the poetry of his oratory, but for his bravery and his willingness to lead us into the streets. He asked that we remake the world not out of fear or greed or vanity, but on behalf of love and brotherhood and the best in ourselves.

Even in the burlesque of American sports media every reasonable argument or patchwork of barbershop nonsense you read or hear or see this week about race is informed by his sacrifice.

So today just a link to his "Letter From Birmingham Jail," a request that you read it, and a reminder that true heroism comes at a terrible price.

How we miss him.