Of Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch’s near legendary truculence when confronted by tape recorders and notepads, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press’ Brian Murphy opines the Skittles enthusiast’s “tired sphinx act masks the hard truth that without the media NFL players would be playing in a parking lot for $8 an hour.” I guess we’ll have to assume that denied the opportunity to write about the exploits of the NFL’s workface, Murphy would be curing diseases or winning Drama Desk awards (as opposed to, y’know, manning the mop at an adult bookstore). The argument seems to be that Lynch desperately needs the media to do his job, not the other way around, with Murphy insisting, “Lynch mocks the $2 billion TV networks pay to broadcast his profession and paying fans who consume NFL coverage across every medium.” Given that Lynch cashes his paychecks, I’m not sure he’s mocking the league’s TV partners. He might, however, be mocking journalists who have a very inflated sense of their own importance. In the wake of all this outrage, The Atlantic’s Dashiell Bennett suggests Lynch’s act is in the very rich tradition of another World Champion, albeit one from another sport who is generally treated with far more deference by the reporters who line up for his abuse.
Lynch isn’t the only media-averse sports figure. Gregg Popovich, the head coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, is another famous interview malcontent. He participates in the mandatory shakedowns with sideline reporters, but unlike most NBA coaches, he responds with only the most terse answers, or with open disdain for the interviewers. Also, unlike almost every other NBA coach, his media moments are a must-watch.
In that sense, it’s hard to argue that refusing to pal around with reporters is unprofessional. Not cooperating with the machine actually generates better stories. And it only underlines the point that reporters need the athletes way more than the athletes need them. It seems likely that every news outlet in the country could fire their sports reporters tomorrow (please don’t!), but the NFL would keep filling stadiums. Lynch’s (high-paying) job will continue to be playing football, not giving quotes. Although if the media paid a little closer attention, they’d realize he’s graciously giving them the second part for free.
“There is no standard course; it is tailored to each individual,” says England Football Association inclusion education advisor Chris Gibbons of the special diversity training he’s meant to provide to Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan (above, right), currently serving a 6-week ban for his comments regarding Jews and the Chinese. As Gibbons explains to The Guardian’s David Conn, “At the end, we encourage people to think about positive things they could say publicly.”
Gibbons,who was formerly responsible for the education campaigns at Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity. says “we absolutely don’t want it to be a lecture by somebody suited and booted from the FA; we structure courses with interactive exercises aimed at helping people to understand the impact their comments or behaviour can have. There are different ways of showing people, even if they didn’t mean something to be offensive, how others can be very, very offended and hurt. We show them some actual responses from the community referred to, discuss big episodes of history where such things were said, we encourage people to put themselves in the place of those who were the subject of the comments.”
Gibbons says that in Whelan’s case he is likely to show the offence which was taken by Jewish people and organisations to the comment that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else” and Chinese people to Whelan’s assertion that calling them “chink” is not offensive. Eight Chinese organisations headed by the British Chinese project reacted furiously to that.
Their spokesman, Michael Wilkes, told the Guardian that the Chinese community is not as well institutionally organised as the Jewish community, but there was great anger at Whelan’s revival of a derogatory term they thought had been largely consigned to history.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, addressing Richard Sherman’s accusations that his chummy relationship with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell presents a conflict of interest, dismissed the Seattle CB as “a very smart marketing whiz”. Trouble is, as The Nation’s Dave Zirin sees it, there’s considerable weight to Sherman’s claims.
As GQ’s Gabriel Sherman wrote in a damning long read that dropped this week about Goodell, Kraft is apparently known among NFL execs as “the assistant commissioner.” Even this description is charitable. It’s less the relationship between an assistant and a commissioner as much as it is one between a hand and the bottom aperture of a puppet. Bob Kraft, in addition to being just a “friend of Goodell,” has been the great defender of nGoodell’s stunning $44 million salary. He was Goodell’s first defender during the release of information that showed that the NFL cared very little about domestic violence until tape went public of Ray Rice striking his wife Janay. He also, according to GQ, orchestrated Goodell’s disastrous defense of the NFL’s domestic violence policies, in conjunction with CBS network who was about to start airing its lucrative Thursday night NFL telecasts. Kraft ordered Goodell to speak to CBS and grant an interview to, in Kraft’s insistence “a woman,” who ended up being Norah O’Donnell. Goodell complied.
This relationship with Bob Kraft and the mere appearance of impropriety that marks how Goodell handles every issue that crosses his desk, tells its own story about why he must go. A reckless incompetence now defines everything he touches, whether it is his enforcing of the rules, the health and safety of players, or his dealings with the union. Instead of acting—like his predecessor Paul Tagliabue—as even the mildest of checks on the grasping of the bosses, he is their id unleashed. Instead of listening to players, Goodell is so comically distanced from the reality of his own ineptitude that he has become the sports version of Yertle the Turtle.
At one time one of the nation’s 40 or so most popular sports blogs, Can’t Stop The Bleeding celebrates 12 years of cutting, pasting and quoting out context (along with dramatic downturns in traffic & advertising revenues), with a 7th annual (!), not-at-all-affiilated with SXSW free event. Past participants have included such superstars as the Homosexuals, Protomartyr, the Muffs, TV Ghost, Tyvek, Endless Boogie, Spray Paint, The Gotobeds, Wiccans, Wounded Lion, The Young, Apache Dropout and many others who used this particular event as a launching pad….to play additional shows no one paid them to play.
(What can I tell you, times are tough.)
2015′s Participants include :
Often called “the only band that matters”, or simply “the greatest of all time”, this legendary ensemble — widely considered responsible for the popularity of YouTube — will be traveling with their long awaited new album, ‘Beginning Of A New Era’ in tow.
An equal parts punishing/thrilling new duo featuring Ben Greenberg (Hubble, Pygmy Shrews, The Men) and Michael Berdan (York Factory Complaint, Drunkdriver, Believer/Law). Following a debut 12″ last autumn on Beggars Tomb, Uniform’s first album, ‘Perfect World’ is coming via 12XU later this year.
USA VS. MEXICO (Austin, TX)
A newish trio featuring Craig Clouse (Shit & Shine), King Coffey (Butthole Surfers, Rubble) and Owen McMahon (Cherubs). They’re not played that many times yet, so there’s no reason to pretend you’re sick of them.
Andrew Earles recently dubbed Abe White’s wrecking crew, “depravo-core creators” and I’d call that sticker copy (if i was in the business of copying stickers). ‘Sit n Spin’ (Pelican Pow Wow Records) followed a serious winning streak of 7″‘s, but if you’ve not seen this band before, get some (extra) padding for the back of your head.
This hotly tipped Austin trio have obliterated room after room in their short existence, with their sole 7″ to date receiving high praise from sources as disparate as MRR and The Wire. Their Ian Rundell-recorded LP debut, ‘The Redeemer’, emerges on 12XU just a few weeks before this show.
Pushed in our cowering faces by the same awesome label responsible for Cuntz, Bits Of Shit and Deaf Wish’s earliest stuff, Yes I’m Leaving compensate for an unwieldy name by recalling some of the more sterling moments in the Scratch Acid, Big Black and Lubricated Goat catalogs. If some or all of the above aren’t in your wheelhouse, there’s probably something else you’ll enjoy elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Injuries (Austin TX)
A rather guttural, determined guitar/drums duo who’ve recently been taken under the recording wing of Dikes/Spray Paint fixture Chris Stephenson. Their resulting 5 song demo (Drug Front) is the kinda thing most scene vets are unlikely to match (or they already would’ve done so)
Congrats to the many acolytes of WFAN’s Mike Francesa on achieving the near impossible this weekend ; they manufactured a public spectacle that makes Philly’s Wing Bowl seem downright sophisticated by comparison!
Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid will require some fairly extensive construction, and said glittering monuments to pseudo-amateur athletics cannot be erected without knocking down some existing properties. Trouble is, the Boston Globe’s Casey Ross and Don Adams report some of those local businesses are earmarked for demolition/relocation, without any owners being consulted.
Vendors at New Boston Food Market off Interstate 93, where Boston 2024 is proposing the main Olympic stadium, said organizers have falsely represented that their property is for sale and the businesses are open to relocating.
“We don’t want to move. We’re happy doing business right where we are,” said Jeffrey Corin, owner of Robbins Beef Co. and president of the cooperative that manages the property. “It’s kind of mind boggling when people say, ‘We’re going to build it here and just move these businesses someplace else.’ Nobody’s even talked to us.”
Several other landowners, including those whose Dorchester properties would be part of the proposed Athletes Village, said Friday they, too, have not heard directly from organizers.
Corcoran Jennison Cos. owns several properties adjacent to the Bayside Exposition Center, which is owned by the University of Massachusetts and would be the center of the Athletes Village. The company owns the Bayside Office Center and the DoubleTree Hotel, which is slated for a $28 million expansion. It is also planning a $40 million residential complex. But Boston 2024 proposes using those properties for housing, a media staging area, or retail shops for competitors.
“We were under the impression that [the Athletes Village] was only on the UMass Boston portion of the property,” said Michael Corcoran, an executive at the firm. “They haven’t contacted us, and we have no intention of slowing our projects.”
Boston 2024 said in its planning documents that it has “engaged all owners in ongoing dialogue about permanent control of all land required” for the stadium and other venues.
It would be no understatement to say that Orioles GM Dan Duquette — currently hoping to assume a similar role in Toronto — has experienced quite the career revival since being kicked to the Yawkey Way curb to make way for Theo Epstein so many years ago. Trouble is Duquette is still under contract in Baltimore, though the Sun’s Dan Connolly predicts that situation will resolved to the satisfaction of all parties before long.
The Orioles appear to be looking for more than one potentially significant player in exchange for Duquette. The name of right-hander Jeff Hoffman, Toronto’s top pick (ninth overall) from last year, has come up (among others), and my sense is the Orioles wouldn’t take him straight up for Duquette. So that gives you an idea of how exorbitant the Orioles’ price tag might be – potentially too exorbitant.
That really hasn’t changed too dramatically since last week. Club managing partner Peter Angelos said then that he would listen to offers, but the sense was that he would have to be blown away. Now maybe the gust doesn’t have to be as strong.
Why? I think it’s because Duquette does really want this job and he’s expressed that to several people at the top of the organization. And ultimately, it’s not an enviable position to be in, standing in the way of someone’s aspirations – even though the Orioles have every right to do so Plus, look at it this way: If the Orioles make a legitimate attempt at compensation and can’t agree to terms and Duquette ends up staying, that’s a much different scenario than refusing to allow him to go in the first place. Then the reason he didn’t go is also on Toronto and not just the Orioles.
As Deflategate threatens to become the NFL’s biggest public relations disaster since, well, since the league took a cavalier approach to a star player punching his female companion’s lights out, Boston Sports Media’s Bruce Allen takes great exception to the level of invective directed at the New England Patriots and widely-disliked head coach Bill Belichick. “Roger Goodell can get himself into the good graces with the media by inflicting the harshest possible punishment upon Belichick and the Patriots,” observes Allen. “this satisfies the bloodlust of the media and the public outside of New England, and gets Goodell back into the good graces of the media after his PR fiascos earlier in the season.”
Nothing matters other than the fact the owner of the Colts, coming off a season in which he was suspended for six games, gave a crony columnist a middle of the night tip, which initially the columnist thought to ignore, but instead realized that since it was the Patriots, he’d get a lot of play out of it, and ran with it, and now says Belichick should be suspended for the Super Bowl and for that is a national star.
Nothing matters other than the fact that Belichick isn’t cuddly with the media, and most out there would like nothing more than to see him fired and disgraced, so they’re put aside any objectivity they may (unlikely) have possessed and have gone all-in on the idea that this is a huge cheat masterminded by Bill Belichick who personally oversaw the deflation of the footballs. (also unlikely) That’s the true endgame here.
Greetings and a belated happy new year to the Yankee Universe and all those who can only gaze upon it with a mixture of envy and desperation. USA Today columnist Howard Megdal undoubtedly falls into the latter category, a man so hopelessly frustrated with the thankless task of chronicling the financial straits of our crosstown rivals in excruciating detail, who could blame the guy if he asked to be reassigned to Fallujah?
Instead, Megdal lashes out at an organization that’s a paragon of fiscal stability! I was trying to enjoy an afternoon matinee of “The Wedding Ringer” (COMEDY, THY NAME IS GAD) when my Blackberry is suddenly blowing up with messages about this would-be shit-stirrer suggesting we have anything other than optimism surrounding Alex Rodriguez’ pending/heroic comeback? I quote :
What about how the Yankees have made it clear, over a multiyear period, how little they wish to have Rodriguez on the field? Can you remember a more adversarial relationship between player and team? Remember, until recently, Rodriguez had a lawsuit against the Yankees team doctor that suggested a conspiracy to keep him off the field. This isn’t Reggie Jackson ripping George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin in the news media. This is next-level acrimony.
GIMME A FUCKING BREAK. Just because Mr. Rodriguez is a delusional, paranoid fantasist who imagines conspiracies behind every corner (much the way he believes Joanie Laurer will someday rescue and drag him back to her cave) does not mean the New York Yankees haven’t been 100% supportive in his attempts to return to the field. I’ve personally done everything in my power to be a friend to our 3rd baseman, whether it means monitoring his training regiment or being one of his only confidantsthat doesn’t resemble Tony Atlas in a sports bra.
I deeply resent the following passage : “Oh, and the reaction from the Yankees when he hits his sixth home run this year, reaching Willie Mays’ 660 and triggering a $6 million bonus in his contract? That’s going to be priceless?”
Of course not. That’s why we have a little thing called “non-disclosure agreements” that anyone who works in our offices is expected to sign. And when I find out exactly who’s been talking to this Megdal character, they’re gonna end up like Michael Kay’s simulcast (ie. never seen or heard again).
Packers TE Brandon Bostick faced the music yesterday after his monumental miscue on a Seahawks onside kick set the stage for the hosts’ recovery and eventual victory in the NFC Championship game, but Bostick’s maturity meant little to the hordes of Twitter abusers who had a field day at his expense. “Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty” author Jeff Pearlman observed the hate fest and concluded, “it’s sickening”.
You’re talking about a man who jumped for a football and missed. Again—he jumped for a football and missed. When I tried making this point on Twitter (always a mistake), multiple dolts countered with, “It wasn’t his job!” Which is probably true. Bostick was, it seems, supposed to let the ball reach Jordy Nelson.
But, again, he made a mistake. A human mistake. A mistake people make when footballs come bouncing their way, and 11 opposing players are charging forcefully, and it’s right there in front of you, floating … floating … floating.
I love sports. I mean, I truly love sports, and have devoted much of my life to covering them. But I can’t imagine ever reaching such pathetic depths that I’d greet a man’s lowest moment (true public humiliation) by striving to make it worse. I mean, James Rolley—”Bostick I will kill you”? I mean, Chef Curry—”Kill yo self bitch”? I mean, Dave Rothstein—”Suck my dick”? (Dave, I can say this as a fellow Jew. Odds are your dick is not particularly large).
(about as close as you’re gonna get to seeing this guy in Mets colors while in his prime)
On Monday, it was revealed the Washington Nationals will somehow attempt to contend in the National League East next season with a starting rotation of Steven Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmerman. Of the astonishing disparity between Matt Williams’ arsenal and Terry Collins’ allegedly major market ballclub, Metsradamus writes, “there are many ways to put together a baseball team. The Atlanta Braves are rebuilding. The Washington Nationals are reloading. And the Mets patched a couple of holes with plaster in hopes of nobody knowing the difference.”
It’s silly to think that the Mets should go all Padres on everybody just because I or anybody else is frustrated … especially if everybody’s first line in trade talks to Sandy Alderson is “Syndergaard”. (We do have other players … rest of league.) But to see the rich get richer while the Mets get an old outfielder and a fifth outfielder and essentially tell the world “we’re good” in November is frustrating. Maybe in some weird way the Nationals signing Scherzer will spawn the argument that is basically “see, it’s pointless to go after the division because the Nationals are going to win it easily now, so let’s just be happy to have improved enough to enter a death struggle for the second wild card.” And that is when I’ll put my head through the wall. Maybe I’ll do that anyway.
Would you settle for Roger Cedeno Driving School? How about, “It’s 10pm, Do You Know Where Your Children Are (Because Paul Lo Duca Is Especially Interested In One Of Them”)?
Commissioner elect Rob Manfred announced a near-total overhaul of baseball’s hierarchy, replacing seven of the eight members of the powerful executive council, with Cardinals general partner Bill DeWitt (not coincidentally his biggest supporter in last summer’s contentious election process) the lone holdover. Forming the new executive council are Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner, Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Rays owner Stu Sternberg, Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis, Pirates owner Bob Nutting, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. Among those coming off the council are White Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Red Sox owner John Henry and Reds owner Bob Castellini, all of whom — perhaps also not coincidentally — opposed Manfred last summer. In addition, two longtime Selig allies — Mets owner Fred Wilpon and Royals owner David Glass — came off the council but were appointed as chairmen of two important committees — Glass for business and Wilpon for finance. Manfred also appointed new Padres chairman Ron Fowler to head up the labor committee.
No sooner have I completed a mid-afternoon screening of “The Front”, than I learn from Phil Mushnick’s latest Sports Du Jour column that former Nets G Mike Newlin, “seemed naïve to the world outside of hotel rooms, airports and arenas.” Even worse, he took exception to Phil Jackson’s carefully cultivated fashion aesthetic :
One late afternoon in Indianapolis, I was on the team bus. Newlin was in the seat across from me, on the aisle. Jackson entered, walked past and sat toward the back. Jackson was wearing one of those fading hippie era Davy Crockett/Daniel Boone light brown leather jackets, with the leather tassels along the sleeves. Newlin leaned over to me. “What’s his story?” he asked, obviously referencing Jackson.
“Whattya mean?” I asked back.
“Is he a Communist?”
I leaned in close to Newlin and whispered, “Card-carrying.”
Newlin nodded, as if he understood, then leaned back in his seat.
I figured or hoped that Newlin knew that I was kidding. But I’ve long — as in 35 years — had my doubts.
Did Mike Newlin believe Phil Jackson is a card-carry member of the Communist Party? Does he still believe that? Did he contact the House Un-American Activities Committee?
…mostly because the National Post’s John Lott fills in the necessary gaps, suggesting that Toronto’s recent jettisoning of several fixtures addresses an alleged clubhouse chemistry problem. Amongst those with a favorable take on the transactions is starter R.A. Dickey, who by chance was recently described by Jays broadcaster Jerry Howarth as, “a man onto himself on an island.”
“I think having guys in the clubhouse all pulling the same rope is really, really integral,” Dickey said as he tiptoed through the topic. “I think it all starts with communication and being able to deliver that in a way that is encouraging and positive. So we’ll see what happens.”
He paused, then added: “But I think you saw where the front office sat on the issue by the way they made the moves in the offseason.”
Behold the moves of the offseason. The occasionally outspoken Adam Lind, traded to Milwaukee for pitcher Marco Estrada. The hyperkinetic, loud and oft-injured Brett Lawrie, traded to Oakland for Donaldson, a reputed leader type. The moody Anthony Gose, dealt to Detroit for prospect Devon Travis. The underachieving and often-candid Colby Rasmus, waved into free agency. Martin, another renowned leader of men, lured with a five-year, US$82-million contract.
Do those moves speak to chemistry as well as performance?
Seemingly backtracking, Dickey said he didn’t know for certain. And he stressed, of course, that he had nothing against any of the departed.
“But it was evident that we needed some kind of shakeup,” he said. “We’d stuck with the guys that we had in our clubhouse for two years. I think [management] thought it was time. What did Einstein say the definition of insanity was? Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result?”
If you’ve watched Pac 12 hoops on ESPN recently, you’re no stranger to the unique chemistry between play by plan man Dave Pasch and analyst Bill Walton, though it seems the former has quite a task reigning in the verbose latter. In the view of the Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth, the duo’s work is nothing short of “thaumaturgic”, while Pasch says of his partner, “I find myself counting in my head: This is the third reference to something other than basketball that he’s said, so now maybe it’s time to get back on track.”
“There was some sticker shock when we started two years ago — I definitely had to adjust more than Bill did, because Bill’s going to be Bill,” Pasch explained. “It probably took me a few games to loosen up a little bit, to do some soul searching.
“I think there are mixed perceptions of people wondering how I view Bill. Some think it’s part of the show, it’s entertainment. Some think I don’t like him. I do like Bill. I’ve always said that.
“In fact, there was one instance early on where I said something (that could have been interpreted as scolding Walton) and I apologized to Bill during a break, and he said, ‘Don’t ever apologize again — keep coming, keep coming.’ So it was a ticket to jab him whenever I felt necessary.
“Sometimes I’ll look over and he is laughing about it. At least one of us is laughing usually.”
Last weekend, Disney’s ESPN debuted it’s first programmatically sold advertisement during an overnight edition of “SportsCenter”. If you’re wondering what that actually means, MediaPost’s Tyler Loechner attempts to explain :
The ad took its own 30-second block — almost like a Hulu ad block — and was shown from within the “SportsCenter” set. Also unlike traditional TV ads, the Turbo Tax ad was never given the full screen.
Along the bottom of the screen, the ESPN news ticker can be seen running throughout the spot, and a 30 second countdown clock is displayed directly above the ad. These decisions allowed ESPN to keep its “SportsCenter” themed wall in the background and display the ESPN and “SportsCenter” logos on screen — as well as the ticker — while the ad played.
Thanks to some photoshopping, we can tell you that the ad took up about 31% of the TV screen’s pixels. That — coupled with the fact the ad was shown at 1 a.m. — clearly exhibits that ESPN was simply testing the waters; the network was treating its programmatic ad much differently than it would a “standard” ad, not to mention a “premium” ad.
A non-full-screen TV ad played from within the studio at 1 a.m. during a non-conventional commercial break is a premium TV broadcaster’s equivalent to “remnant” display inventory.
NASCAR driver Kurt Busch faces possible domestic violence charges stemming from a September incident at Dover International Speedway in which he’s accused of assaulting former companion Patricia Driscoll. Delaware Online’s Jon Offredo reports that Busch’s side of the story includes claims that Driscoll, a CEO of a defense contractor as well as CEO of the Armed Forces Foundation, “is a trained assassin.”
Several people testified during the hearing, including Busch, that Driscoll claimed she was a trained assassin who had killed people, including drug lords. While on the stand, Busch said Driscoll claimed that Jessica Chastain’s character in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was partly based on her and other females working in counterintelligence and defense.
When attorney Rusty Hardin asked how he’d fare in a physical confrontation, Busch said he knew she could overpower him.
“I knew she could take me down at any moment,” Busch said.
At least he’s been good for the zingers. In a 2012 appearance at the construction site of the Barclays Center, Prokhorov turned a conversation about prospective free-agent Deron Williams into a comedy club warmup act. With Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban targeting Williams as a free agent, Prokhorov said, “Let the best man win. If he wins, I will crush him with the kickboxing throwdown.”
Williams, of course, re-signed with the Nets for $100 million. With more than $43 million left on that deal after this season as he rides Brooklyn’s bench, Williams will show up as one of the biggest liabilities on the offering plan that Prokhorov’s bankers write up.
So who won that throwdown?
Prokhorov’s basketball legacy will be that of a sharp-witted, frivolous spender who oversaw the most expensive team in NBA history last season — one that couldn’t get out of the second round. He also oversaw another exit, that of franchise icon Jason Kidd. While the Nets might have been right to snub their noses at Kidd’s awkward, agent-driven power play last summer, facts are facts. Kidd has the surprising Bucks in the fifth spot without No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. The Nets are only three games behind them in the loss column, but be patient; the firesale that precedes most ownership transfers hasn’t started yet.