02.18.11

Former SportsCenter Anchor Faces Possible Legal Action From Right Said Fred

Posted in Sports TV at 11:04 pm by

It was a little more than 2 years ago that Will Leitch called former ESPN / CNN anchor Fred Hickman “a space cadet”, expressing unusual relish over the the veteran reporter’s substance abuse woes. Today, Hickman is once again ready for the spotlight, launching “Fred Said It”, a public relations firm designed to help today’s sports stars tackle the confusing modern world of Friendster, CompuServe, etc.

Many professional athletes today are faced with a continuous flood of media attention and can easily become a magnet for scrutiny. Social media channels broadcast every status update, “tweet” and image – good or bad – to millions in a matter of minutes, and any misstep becomes instant news. Having the skills and confidence to effectively communicate with the media and fans is proving to be as valuable as a good jump shot or a 100 mph fastball.

Veteran sports broadcaster Fred Hickman announced today the launch of Fred Hickman Communications to provide athletes, coaches and front office personnel with the skills to tackle a variety of challenging media situations, including:

How to conduct yourself in a radio or television interview
Dealing with high-pressure situations – such as the run up to a championship game, trade talks and rumors – or off-the-field conflicts
Delivering an effective public speech
Appropriately maximizing social networking outlets (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
Representing yourself in connection with nonprofit initiatives
How to handle success with class and humility

In the future, when asked how they became so comfortable in front of the media, athletes and coaches will simply reply… “Fred Said It.”

ND : We’re Not A Finishing School For Rapists

Posted in Lower Education, The Law at 10:07 am by

(both of these men would like to remind you that Gerry Faust never caught any rapists, either)

Following a widely circulated report last autumn that a St. Mary’s undergraduate committed suicide shortly after accusing a member of the Notre Dame football squad of sexual assault — a charge her family contends was not pursued with much zeal by the schoolthe Department Of Education is said to be monitoring the situation after a second accusation of institutional negligence surfaced yesterday. From the Chicago Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair and Todd Lighty ;

The family of a woman who attended nearby St. Mary’s College says campus police delayed fully investigating her account that a Notre Dame student sexually assaulted her after she had been drinking.

The woman says she felt that police were more interested in protecting Notre Dame than in helping her. Her father, a Notre Dame graduate, corresponded with the university president and visited campus police to plead for investigative action.

The other St. Mary’s student filed a report of an alleged sexual assault on Sept. 5. Police did not speak with the suspect in that case until 11 days later. Authorities said the woman initially did not want to press charges — a claim she says is false and her father considers a poor excuse.

“It’s not like a crime where someone steals $10 from you. It’s not a petty offense,” said the woman’s father. “It’s a serious criminal allegation, and it needs to be investigated.”

As in the Elizabeth Seeberg case, St. Joseph County, Ind., Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said he will not file criminal charges. It would be difficult to convince a jury that the woman was too intoxicated to give consent, he said. Dvorak said his conclusion would be the same regardless of when campus police conducted interviews and gathered evidence.

“We regret that some are critical of our handling of sexual misconduct allegations, and we understand the pain these families are experiencing,” read a Notre Dame statement. . “At the same time, we stand behind the thoroughness, integrity and objectivity of our investigations, as well as the comprehensive services available to students who are subjected to sexual misconduct.”

02.17.11

St. Louis Scribe Suggests 8 Years Is An Eternity

Posted in Baseball at 9:08 pm by

Does Albert Pujols feel a responsibility — as his manager, Tony La Russa has charged — to establish a new bar for what the game’s best player is worth?   Or do his current employers honestly believe they can keep their otherwordly offensive force in the fold by paying him less annually than Philadelphia lavishes upon the far more whiff-prone Ryan Howard? Above and beyond the posturing, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz credits Pujols (sort of) with a narrow victory in this week’s P.R. battle, with Albert’s arrival in St. Louis camp earlier today being given high (cosmetic marks) for the claim, “I want to be a Cardinal forever.”



Sure, I believe that Pujols would like to finish his career here. But at what cost? Does he want to be a Cardinal forever only if the team makes him the highest-paid player in MLB history? Or is there room for compromise? Just wondering: if Pujols really wants to be a Cardinal forever, then wouldn’t an eight-year deal (at the appropriate annual average value) accomplish that? How much money does he need and want to be a “Cardinal forever?”

And according to Joe Strauss, DeWitt apparently offered Pujols an equity stake in the ballclub. In other words, DeWitt was willing to make Pujols a partner — an ownership partner. Which is virtually unprecedented in major team sports in the U.S. Granted, we don’t know how much of an ownership stake DeWitt was willing to give to Pujols. I can’t imagine it would be a significant percentage. Still, if the team owner wants to hand you a piece of the franchise, at least it shows a willingness to be creative and make something happen, and make Pujols a Cardinal for life. Basically, we have to think it comes down to this for Pujols: a Cardinal forever, yes, but only if the price is right. A Cardinal for life, yes, but only if DeWitt pays him what he wants.

Perhaps in the future, we’ll see a day in which there is competition for Mr. Miklasz’ talents.  If he has the leverage to seek the highest possible salary, I sincerely doubt any of his colleagues or readers will ask, “how much money does Bernie need?”

Denver To Walsh : Nice Team You Have There. We’ll Take It.

Posted in Basketball at 6:19 pm by

While ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is once again scheduled for a confab with the highly coveted Carmelo Anthony, the New York Post’s Marc Berman claims Denver didn’t seek to merely rebuild in the event of an agreed-upon swap with Donnie Walsh (above) they’d instead be consuming (too) much of the New York Knicks’ roster.

According to an NBA source debriefed on Carmelo Anthony negotiations, Denver asked for Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a first-round pick (obtained via Anthony Randolph) for Anthony and point guard Chauncey Billups.

Yes, it looks like the Nuggets demanded everything but James Dolan’s Radio City Music Hall.

Knicks management was flabbergasted, according to the league source. They fear such a proposal meant the Nuggets really didn’t want to do a deal with the Knicks. Not much has changed since, though the Knicks believe the Nuggets eventually will soften on taking either Gallinari or Chandler, not both. (Eddy Curry’s contract must be included for the salary-cap numbers to work).

It’s a fascinating gambit on the part of the Nuggets, who supposedly still prefer NJ’s Derrick Favors ; in the event New York capitulated to such demands, the Knicks might stand no greater chance of moving deep into this year’s playoffs than they do at the moment. If the entire 2010-11 season has simply been a prelude to an eventual pursuit of Chris Paul — and assembling a Big 3 than can rival Miami’s — MSG season ticket holders oughta be used to it by now. At some point in the decade, the Knicks might actually be about winning basketball games in the here and now.

Miguel Cabrera Arrives For Spring Training In Something Less Than The Best Shape Of His Life

Posted in Baseball at 3:43 pm by

Detroit fans hoping Miguel Cabrera’s drunken behavior at the end of the 2009 season were the last of the slugger’s substance abuses issues received a rude awakening today when the Tigers first baseman was booked on DUI charges in Lakeland, FL. Suggesting the fates of Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland (or as one Detroit Free Press reader called them, “Dumbo and Captain Mumbles”) are tied to Cabrera’s ability to perform, Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi has a sensible suggestion ; hire a babysitter.

Perhaps Cabrera needs a full-time mentor, the kind Josh Hamilton has in Johnny Narron. “I’m with him and I’m for him 24 hours a day,” Narron told MLB.com last year.

One of Narron’s duties is to effectively keep Hamilton, who has battled drug and alcohol addictions, from going out at night when the team is on the road. At this point, it’s not absurd to suggest that Cabrera requires a similar level of supervision or monitoring when he’s not at the ballpark.

Going back to last winter’s program isn’t a viable option. Cabrera obviously needs something more. Addiction is an ever-present threat, capable of ruining lives and careers at any moment. And it doesn’t give a damn when pitchers and catchers report.

Laughing To Keep From Crying (Fashion) Dept.

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 11:10 am by

The above tees are billed as “soft and distressed” — just like the franchise! Can you wear one to Citi Field without VP of Smoothing Shit Over David Howard demanding you turn it inside out?

02.16.11

Bama Fan Can’t Beat Cam Newton, Murders Trees Instead

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:03 pm by

A caller to Paul Finebaum’s radio program last month claimed responsibility for the poisoning of Auburn’s beloved Toomer’s Corner oak trees. Having applied Dow Chemical’s Spike 80DF to the 130 year old trees, the caller’s boasts can be heard here, and are described in the following item from the Press-Register ;

“The weekend after the Iron Bowl I went to Auburn, Alabama, because I live 30 miles away, and I poisoned the 2 Toomer’s trees,” the caller, who identified himself as “Al from Dadeville,” said.

Dadeville, in Tallapoosa County, is about 25 miles northwest of Auburn. U.S. 280 is the main road connecting the two municipalities.

The caller refers to having placed the same brand of poison on the trees that Auburn officials say they have determined was used for the poisoning. Asked by Finebaum if the trees died, the caller said they were not dead yet, but definitely will die, which is now the prognosis of the experts who have analyzed soil around the oaks.

When Finebaum notes to the caller that that is against the law, the caller says, “Well you think I care? … I really don’t. Hey, and you can tell Tammy I … nevermind. Roll damn Tide!”

Officials said in a news release that the lowest amount of the poison detected was 0.78 parts per million, described by horticulture experts as a “very lethal dose.” The highest amount detected was 51 parts per million, or 65 times the lowest dose. Experts believe a normal application by itself would have been enough to kill the trees.

Let This Be On The Record : Oney Guillen Is Awesome & We’d Never Seek To Defame Him

Posted in Baseball, Parental Responsibility at 6:37 pm by

The guest of honor at last month’s Ozzie Guillen Roast is used to baiting the public, but when his Twitter-maven son, Oney, took to the stage, “a portion of the 800 people in the room to turned on Oney, making it so that he couldn’t even finish a sentence without interruption,” writes the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley.  As you might expect, the White Sox skipper didn’t take the incident laying down.

‘‘I just kept thinking that he wasn’t even supposed to be up there,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘You don’t want people to call your kids names like that.

‘‘Look, I never get caught doing stupid [bleep] in Chicago. People can’t wait until I [bleep] up. So instead, they look for my kids to. But know this: If anyone says anything about Oney or my family in front of me like that, I will have to kill them.

‘‘Now if Oney, Ozzie Jr., Ozney do something wrong or deserve it, I will kick their ass myself. But I have no problem spending 20 years in jail for my kids. I will die for them.’’

Oney now will stay out of the Sox’ clubhouse. But as far as halting his tweets or having his dad read him the riot act, that’s not how the Guillen family works.

‘‘Kids do things they regret later,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘I fired Oney because I didn’t want anyone in the organization, period, saying he could get away with [bleep] because it’s Ozzie’s kid. I wanted to show [board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] that everything starts at the top. Was it right or wrong? I don’t care. It was my decision.

‘‘What has pissed me off is people [with] the White Sox thinking he was getting stuff from me. People [with] the Sox were calling and saying, ‘How did he get this?’ I was telling them, ‘Call Oney and ask him.’ Oney has more friends in the clubhouse than people think.

‘‘I want to make it clear: Oney can tweet whatever the [bleep] he wants to tweet. He has nothing to do with the White Sox. For me, he’s staying away from the ballclub and [not tweeting] stuff like the Bobby Jenks thing. He promised me he wouldn’t.’’

HBO On Daulerio, Denton – Getting Paid, Ruining Lives

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 12:50 pm by

Were sports more fun before “the world went viral”? That was the question posed by “Real Sports”‘ host Bryant Gumbel at the conclusion of last night’s broadcast —and who brings to the pure joy of fandom more than the effervescent, not grumpy-in-the-slightest Gumbel? — the middle portion of which concerned the rise of Deadspin in the post-WIll Leitch era. Andrea Kremer grilled editor A.J. Daulerio and Gawker Media publisher NIck Denton, with the dynamic duo’s recent (commercial) success stories about Rex Ryan and Brett Favre receiving prominent notice.

Alas, not every cock pic enthusiast has an 8-figure salary (and the protection of the NFL) to fall back on. Serial creep Sean Salisbury — shown looking extremely haggard — claimed Deadspin had essentially destroyed his career with a “3 1/2 year” campaign of bullying. Such was Deadspin’s heartless pursuit of the former ESPN analyst, one of his kids was reduced to begging Daulerio to lay off.

Daulerio and Denton were portrayed as a smug, sleazy couple, nearly oblivious to the “collateral damage” Kremer claimed they were inflicting on REAL HUMANS W/ FAMILIES & PUPPIES. “I couldn’t help but notice,” mused a disapproving Gumbel, “that all of the Deadspin guys were young. Do you think they’ll change as they have families?” Presumably, Deadspin’s envelope-pushing tactics would be curtailed if, say, A.J. had to return to his 3 bedroom home in Greenwich, CT and explain to his children over the dinner table that he is the monstrous person who made Sean Salisbury cry on television. You know, the same Sean Salisbury whose routine abuse of John Clayton was all in good, wholesome fun.

That Nick Denton’s lust for traffic is considered unseemly is a bit rich coming from “Real Sports” ; TMZ.com is wholly owned by the same company that pays Gumbel and Kremer. Efforts to launch a TMZ Sports site have yet to take over the internet and at the very least, should have been mentioned during Kremer’s piece. Denton didn’t invent this style of reportage, he’s merely surrounded himself with people who are very good at it and/or have a better understanding of the readership’s tastes & prejudices.

It was also telling that Deadspin’s squash-jobs on sports celebs a-list and otherwise weren’t thought to have any legit news value (sole exception being former Deadspin-baiter Buzz Bissenger, who defended the Favre story before admitting he didn’t approve of off the record correspondence being used). For anyone with half a brain, the Favre and Salisbury stories weren’t simply about naming and shaming the horny, they also had something or other to do with workplace harassment and the sort of indignities routinely foisted upon women in the sports industry. Salisbury’s case in particular came on the heels of other zipper-related horror stores emanating from ESPN — and other have followed. Full credit then, to Steve Phillips for not going on HBO, holding up a family snapshot and sobbing, “see what you’ve cost me, A.J.? WAS IT WORTH IT?”

That said, if you’re waiting for “Real Sports” to do a story on the modern day Peyton Place otherwise known as Bristol, CT, don’t hold your breath. For all their recent notoriety, Daulerio and Denton are much safer targets. Air time that could’ve been used to ask Roger Goodell how he in good conscience could allow Favre to escape meaningful discipline was instead devoted to making sports journalists far less decorated than Kremer and Gumbel look like weasels.

And then, they segued into a cuddly profile of a convicted rapist.

02.15.11

In A War Of Words With Scott Boras, Cards’ La Russa Has Precious Little Ammo

Posted in Baseball at 7:12 pm by

St. Louis has approx. 14 hours left to meet Albert Pujols’ reported demand for a 10-year contract extension, and while it remains to be seen if the 9-time All-Star will accept Wednesday’s 8-year, $200 million revised offer, the first baseman’s manager and agent engaged in an unseemly pissing match that brought to mind a revised version of an old David Letterman joke. To wit, if Tony La Russa and Scott Boras were beating each other with huge wooden clubs, who’d be the winner? (A : the American people….especially if Boras won).  While the Cards’ tipsy skipper claimed Pujols’ representatives “are getting beat up by the union” (“set the bar, set the bar. You’ve got to deal with it. It’s not the way it should be”), since Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra had the singular misfortune of listening to Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on Sirius-XM today, he deserves full credit for the following transcription of Boras’ pointed response.

When asked by Duquette and Kennedy what might be animating La Russa’s lashout at the union today, Boras said “self-interest.” He noted that La Russa is competitive and wants the best player and that, like fans and anyone else, he’s reacting to the notion that the best player might leave the Cardinals.  But he doesn’t forgive La Russa for this narrow-mindedness like he forgives the fans who just want to watch baseball. Why? Because La Russa is a hypocrite.

“There is a market for managers,” Boras noted. And in that market the managers have every right to take below market deals if they want to.  ”The last I remember,” Boras said, “Tony sits at the top of that managerial chain.”  Which is true. And I’m guessing La Russa doesn’t think that he was unduly pressured to take that high dollar deal. He wanted it because he thought he deserved it. And I gotta tell ya: While I respect La Russa’s accomplishments as a manager, Albert Pujols has more of a right to ask for the top dollar in his job than La Russa does in his.