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‘Ballers’ recap: Ricky Jerrett has post-concussion syndrome and Spence is still all about the Benjamins

Coach Berg keeps it real: ‘I should have cut him!’


First, he blew millions of dollars at the craps table in Las Vegas. He also forgot the day he and his now-pregnant girlfriend first met. The ultimate turning point came when he wandered into a stranger’s house, thinking it was his, and punched one of the residents in the face. The epiphany? NFL wide receiver Ricky Jerrett (John David Washington), one of the most beloved characters on Ballers, appears to be showing early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy — or what’s infamously known in the NFL as CTE.

After Ricky makes a surprise trip to the hospital to see his best friend’s wife, Julie Greane (Jazmyn Simon), she recommends a meeting with Dr. Robbins (Stacy Ann Rose), a neurologist who puts him through a series of memory span and verbal fluency tests. The official diagnosis? Ricky has post-concussion syndrome. The suggested treatment? Ricky must allow his brain to rest and heal by avoiding football and staying away from all strenuous and stressful situations for at least a month — or maybe even longer.

Yet, despite the terrifying news, the only question on Ricky’s mind is whether he’ll be ready to suit up for the New England Patriots during the 2017 season. Dr. Robbins is uncertain, but Ricky isn’t taking no for an answer. On a phone call with his agent Jason (Troy Garity), Ricky tells him to lock up a contract extension with the Patriots, despite a lowball offer from the reigning Super Bowl champs. Even though his brain and livelihood are suffering as a result of playing, Ricky won’t turn his back on the hard-hitting, and in his case life-threatening, gantlet of pro football. That too seems to be the case for many real-life NFL players, making this plot twist a harshly realistic statement from the Ballers writers.

All of us when we learned Ricky has post-concussion syndrome.

Another Ballers epiphany, yet one that didn’t take as long to come to: Miami Dolphins general manager Larry Siefert (Dulé Hill) is the worst guy on the planet. After last week’s episode, in which Coach Berg settled his differences with Siefert by smashing his head into a plate of home-cooked brisket at assistant general manager Charles Greane’s house, Siefert announces that the Dolphins are going to fire the head coach — and that Charles is going to be the one to break the news to him.

Berg’s response to being let go is priceless. “I should have cut him,” he tells Charles. “The other night when I had him on your dining room table, I had my eyes on your wife’s brisket knife, I swear to God, I saw it. I saw it in my mind, Charles. I could see it. I was going to pick up the knife, and I was gonna stick it right in his f—ing face!”


How we feel every time Larry Siefert tries to play Charles Greane.

And in the latest development of the biggest storyline of the season — Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) tries to relocate an NFL team to Las Vegas — Brett Anderson (Richard Schiff), aka the CEO of Anderson Sports Management, and Spencer’s typically cynical boss, is all in on the venture.

The only thing is, to make it happen, Anderson, Spencer and his right-hand man Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry) need a truckload of money — and fast. So the trio travels to The Hamptons, New York, to visit the CEO of Anderson Financial, which is, to the surprise of Spencer and Joe, Anderson’s pompous little brother Julian. A tense family reunion yields a pledge from Julian to put up all the money they need to build a new stadium in Las Vegas and deliver an NFL franchise to Sin City. The only catch is Julian wants full control of the project.

Although Joe is 100 percent down to sit back and let Julian make them rich, Brett and Spencer tell Julian to screw himself, and they turn down the deal. Over drinks in the episode’s final scene, Brett reveals his master plan to raise every penny they need to solidify the NFL-to-Vegas move.

Sell Anderson Management. *mic drop* Anderson out.

Aaron Dodson is a sports and culture writer at Andscape. He primarily writes on sneakers/apparel and hosts the platform’s Sneaker Box video series. During Michael Jordan’s two seasons playing for the Washington Wizards in the early 2000s, the “Flint” Air Jordan 9s sparked his passion for kicks.