Bat Shit Crazy
In a stunning development, SportsbyBrooks breaks news that ESPN has suspended one of its writers, Bruce Feldman. If you haven’t followed the story, you’re wondering if Bruce violated one of ESPN’s journalistic protocols. Or did he commit plagiarism? Or did he fail to source a quote? Or was he insubordinate to his bosses? Apparently none of these.
According to SportsbyBrooks, Feldman committed the sin of writing the biography of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. In it, Leach criticized ESPN for its coverage of his firing. Leach wasn’t happy how the network also covered the controversy involving the treatment of son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James. Feldman wasn’t totally assured of writing the book due to his association with ESPN, but he got his bosses’ blessing.
But after the book was released this week, ESPN brass wasn’t happy. And despite Feldman not promoting the book on his Twitter account, on ESPN.com or any ESPN platform, he was suspended indefinitely and cannot post on Twitter, or anything associated with ESPN.
Feldman has received plenty of support from fellow writers on Twitter through a #freebruce hashtag. In addition, both Sports Illustrated and CBSSports.com sought comment and none is forthcoming. And you add to the fact that ESPN staffers have been told to keep quiet shows you how the Alleged Worldwide Leader is acting on this matter.
ESPN has chosen some strange battles to fight and this is one of them. The reaction to Feldman’s suspension has been 100% in favor of him. Now, we don’t have ESPN’s side of this story and many writers and bloggers are waiting for a statement. Whether it comes in the near future is anyone’s guess.
My favorite tweet reacting to the suspension comes from Dan Wolken, sports columnist for the online newspaper, The Daily:
ESPN has employed multiple plagiarists and they draw the line at Bruce Feldman? Nice work, WWL
Of course, that makes reference to noted plagiarist Mike Barnicle whose debut for Grantland this week falls under scrutiny.
Feldman joined ESPN.com in 1994 and helped to shape what the site has become today. He’s been one of the best writers on its staff and been seen on various ESPN programming through the years.
This reaction by ESPN makes it look like a paranoid behemoth. Here’s hoping the support for Feldman will be seen by ESPN and the decision is reversed very soon.
NESN gave Jack Edwards the opportunity to make a final comment after the Boston Bruins win in overtime over the Montreal Canadiens to take the NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in seven games. Yet, I’m still trying to figure out what he’s saying. Jack not only looks nuts, but he’s mincing his metaphors comparing the Bruins win to the Boston Tea Party. At least I think he’s comparing the win to that. This is not the first time he’s compared a Bruins win to the American Revolution.
Anyway, you watch and try to figure this out.
And now we have the complete transcript of his nutty comments.
“As I was driving from the former seat of all NHL power, Montreal, through the free and independent states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts today, it struck me what an odd thing royalty is.
“Royalty in modern times is something that is perpetuated by those who didn’t actually make those great conquering achievements that established their reigns, but rather those who find themselves, because of a certain location in history and an accident of birth, to be in a position to ‘carry on a tradition.’
“Yet, those ‘royals’ sit there on their shiny thrones and primp in their hand mirrors and try to dictate morality according to them, about how you can dive, or how you should play, or how you shouldn’t run a player into the center glass.
“And the rest of us, those poor filthy masses, are just supposed to take it.
“Well, a couple of hundred years ago, a bunch of rowdy radicals charged out of some Boston bars, went down to the dock, and dumped the King’s tea into the salty sea.
“And in doing that, it struck a chord that rings true even today, that when confronted when imperious conceit, fighting the good fight is not only the right thing to do, it can be a heck of a lot of fun.
“And who has more fun than us?”
Doing the linkage now after being all over the place this morning and tomorrow will be much worse as I’ll be out of the office for most of the day so don’t expect too many posts on Thursday. But before that, I can provide the linkage for today.
We’ll begin with Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand who tweets that Fox and the Big 12 Conference are expected to officially announce a long term rights deal today.
There’s plenty of outrage over a column written by Pittsburgh sports personality John Steigerwald in the Washington (PA) Observer Reporter, about the San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten into a coma by two Los Angeles gang members outside Dodger Stadium. Steigerwald said by wearing a Giants uniform into an opposing team’s stadium, 42 year old fan Bryan Stow was basically asking to get beaten up. I can link you to plenty of blogs and articles calling out Steigerwald from here to eternity. I was also outraged on Twitter yesterday. Yeah, the guy feels it’s not smart for a fan of a visiting team and a grown man to wear a baseball uniform, o.k., that’s understandable, but to say that Stow was asking for a beating is horrific.
To begin with, Steigerwald originally spelled the victim’s name wrong as Snow, not Stow and the headline originally had “Outgrow” instead of “Outgrown”, but that was not Steigerwald’s fault, but it only compounded the error and hate-filled column. And as outrage grew, the Again, I can link you to plenty of articles, but I’ll just do a couple here.
First, Art Spander at Real Clear Sports, a former San Francisco newspaperman and an outstanding one at that, has his response to Steigerwald.
Jerrod Morris of Midwest Sports Fans has a very good post on Steigerwald’s column.
At his own blog, Steigerwald attempts to defend his writing.
Again, plenty of reaction to Steigerwald. I don’t think the uproar is going to be dying down anytime soon.
The Big Lead breaks news on Josh Elliot’s replacement at ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Deadspin has apparently found the reason why former 49ers radio analyst Gary Plummer was fired from his job. Over a sexually charged podcast that had nothing to do with football, no less.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today says a group of sports television analysts have formed their own business group and will take part in an online webcast previewing the NFL Draft.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch notes that ESPN is simplifying its NFL Draft coverage.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says some insurance salesmen are angry at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s throwaway line in ESPN’s “The Brady 6″ documentary.
Brian Lowry of Fox Sports says golf and the NBA are particularly awash in foreign players.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News discusses ESPN’s big ratings for Sunday Night Baseball.
Mike Shields at Adweek says MSG Network will unveil a companion website for the New York Knicks run through the NBA Playoffs.
Louisa Ada Seltzer of Media Life says while the NHL Playoffs begin tonight, media watchers are keeping a close eye on who wins the league’s US TV contract.
Alex Weprin of SportsNewser notes that during its upfront presentation, truTV announced that it will keep up with its sports programming in the fall.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue model Kate Upton.
Tom Rotunno of CNBC notes that LeBron James has reclaimed the top spot in NBA jersey sales.
The Business Insider’s Sports Page notes that the new Editor-in-Chief of ESPN The Magazine might have been recruiting some new staffers via Twitter.
The always lovely Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald says sports topped the ratings in the Hub on Sunday.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union advises ESPN to put Baseball Tonight back in the studio on Sunday nights.
Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record talks with the radio host of Army football about the late football coach Homer Smith.
Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says it appears Capitals/Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is at war with the local ESPN Radio affiliate, owned by DC NFL Team owner Dan Snyder.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner writes that it will be technical city galore at the Phone Booth in DC as four different networks will be at Verizon Center for the Capitals-New York Rangers NHL series.
Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News talks about the Big 12 TV deal.
Rich Heldenfels of the Akron Beacon Journal writes about tonight being Joe Tait’s last game as Voice of the Cleveland Cavs.
Mike Popovich of the Canton Repository speaks with several broadcasters on their memories of Joe Tait.
The Ohio Media Watch also looks at Tait’s last call as Cavs voice tonight.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says one Packers preseason game has been selected for national viewing in August.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business says the Blackhawks need to some playoff success this season to build on last year’s championship.
Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune notes the new Editor-in-Chief of ESPN The Magazine is a Chicagoland native.
Blair Kerkhoff from the Kansas City Star says details have begun to leak out about the Fox/Big 12 TV deal.
Greg Braxton of the Los Angeles Times says CBS did not announce any alternative plans for two NFL preseason games in case of a lockout. It should be noted that ESPN and NBC did not either.
Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News says USC and Fox are trying to work out a deal on the school’s multimedia rights.
Daniel Brown from the San Jose Mercury News talks with former 49ers radio analyst Gary Plummer on why he thinks he lost his job.
Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail wants CBC’s Don Cherry to stick to the basics during the NHL Playoffs. Whatever, Bruce.
The Toronto Sports Media Blog says TSN Radio launched today.
Sports Media Watch notes that the NBA on TNT’s ratings remain strong.
The always hustling Steve Lepore at Puck The Media speaks with NHL Network Executive Producer Mark Preisler about the channel’s presentation of the game.
And that’s where we’ll leave things today.
This story burned up the internet Saturday. It caused two networks to issue statements and also force police to step in during a public event during Super Bowl Week. This incident involved two men who are currently analysts on CBS Sports and ESPN. Desmond Howard, a commentator on College GameDay, and Phil Simms, the “A” analyst for the NFL on CBS were involved in this incident. It all stems from a comment made by Howard during College GameDay which referred to Simms’ son, Matt who plays at the University of Tennessee.
During a public event at the NFL Xperience in Dallas, Howard was making an appearance and was approached by Simms. We let Howard take it from there through his Twitter account.
At NFL-Xperience and Phil Simms just threatened 2 hit me b/c I said his son was 1 of the worse QBs in the SEC. I told him “LET’S GO!”
And there’s more.
I am DEAD serious about the Phil Simms thing. We all thought he was joking, but he kept going and said he wanted 2 take a swing at me!!
Desmond then explains the reason for the Simms confrontation.
During the season we talked about the Tenn v LSU game and I said “u will see 3 of the worse QBs in the SEC” That’s what Phil did not like.
And it finally ended with police stepping in.
It ended w/police stepping in between so I could continue my appearance w/fans.
Honestly, that is absolutely crazy. It’s one thing to defend your son which Simms has every right to do, but then to want to come to blows at a public event? That’s bat-shit crazy. Phil has got to learn to calm down over that.
Howard then issued a statement through ESPN:
I was at a public signing for a sponsor when Phil approached me to express anger over on-air analysis I made months ago about his son, Tennessee QB Matt Simms. During the conversation, Phil made a reference to hitting me and security and sponsor representatives soon stepped in. It was an unfortunate incident and I’m moving on.
And for his part, Simms released a statement through CBS:
Desmond and I were having a private conversation that became heated. But at no time was there ever a chance of any physical confrontation or that I felt the police officer assigned to me by the event planners for my appearance needed to separate the two of us.
Perhaps the two men will have a chance to hash this out down the road, but to be honest, this should not have gone this far. Insanity. Imagine if this took place last year when CBS was broadcasting the Super Bowl. I don’t think the network would have disciplined or reprimanded Simms, but perhaps warned him in case another incident took place. But as SportsbyBrooks tells us, this is not the first time that Simms has confronted a network analyst involving his son. Let’s hope that Saturday was the last time we hear of this type of incident involving Simms.
There are certain writers I try to ignore at Fang’s Bites for the simple reasons they write to draw attention to themselves and more often than not, they don’t write about the sports media. But even when these writers do, they come off badly.
Case in point, Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star and Fox Sports.com. Mr. Whitlock is a very good writer. He stirs the pot and that is what columnists like Mr. Whitlock are paid to do. Today, Whitlock wrote about the Erin Andrews situation and blamed Deadspin for the entire situation (without mentioning the heinous person, possibly an ESPN employee, who videotaped Ms. Andrews in her hotel room without her knowledge) citing an old incident between ESPN host Stuart Scott and NFL Network employee Michelle Beisner as evidence. Good for you, Jason. Rehash a previously dead incident and now let everyone relive this including Ms. Beisner.
I can go point-by-point to debunk this, but Bob’s Blitz has already done so and very well, I might add.
There’s plenty of blame to go around and yes, Deadspin originally pointed the videos out, but this was before ESPN confirmed that the person in question in the grainy videos was indeed Ms. Andrews. And yes, Deadspin was one of the first blogs to post pics of Erin, but it was not as Whitlock points out to “exploit private lives for profit…”
And then to ensure people read Whitlock’s column at its website, Fox Sports puts this picture on its front page:
How does this help the situation when you photoshop Jason looking through a peephole at Erin? News Corp. from the New York Post to Fox News now to FoxSports.com has not handled itself well here. I don’t blame Whitlock for that picture, someone at FoxSports.com put that up and really wasn’t thinking. I just shake my head.
It’s been 8 days since the video came to light and unfortunately, the coverage of this story has just gotten worse. Columnists like Whitlock and Jay Mariotti who fired shots at everyone today make it appear as if blogs are to blame for everything including El Nino.
If you’re a subscriber to Sirius XM and listened to Howard Stern about 8:45 this morning, you heard Mad Dog Channel program director Steve Torre, the person allegedly fired on the air on Thursday.
Steve tried to maintain that the firing was real and that he was “reinstated”, but apparently this whole thing about Mad Dog cleaning house, looking for new hosts, canceling his vacation and bringing in staff was all shenanigans.
Torre was at Sirius today in his office and when he did a spot with Stern, he mentioned that he was out of the office on Thursday to fulfill some personal commitments and was off Friday anyway. So his “firing” was actually a planned absence to begin with.
And Chris is indeed on vacation as Torre said today. Granted, it’s a slow period for sports and the Mad Dog Channel needed some buzz, but was this the way to do it? To create a false firing and tirade, it leaves listeners with a bad taste and when Russo actually wants to do something real, the fans may not want to go on this ride again. You have to be careful when pulling stunts like these.
The staff that was “untalented” and a bunch of “little bow wows” appears to be intact and there are no firings imminent.
I was suspicious to begin with, but wanted to give Russo the benefit of the doubt, but with Torre back today, this whole thing rings quite hollow.
Since he started with Sirius XM last year, Chris Russo has tried to develop his Mad Dog Channel into a big entity on the satellite radio service.
However, when you compare it to Howard 100 or Martha Stewart Living, it really doesn’t hold a candle. I have listened to it since it began, but to be honest, it’s not my first destination on the service.
On Thursday, he decided to go on the air and blast the staff that he put together including my friend, Andy Gresh. In addition, he fired his own program director, Steve Torre.
Russo went off on a 10 minute tirade on Friday and you can hear it right here.
Naturally, his staff was not happy with him over this. I’ll see if I can get reaction.
The clip is courtesy of The Chris Russo.com website.
Thanks to Deadspin for the clip.
In fact, Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina found it and put it up on Twitter just before 2 p.m. today. How nobody in the sports blogosphere found it nor managed to get a picture is beyond me.
What am I talking about? Apparently ESPN’s Erin Andrews was hit on the chin by a line drive during last night’s Dodgers-Mets game. Of the thousands of fans who were there, how did this escape the attention of fanboys who most certainly were in attendance at Citi Field?
Apparently Erin is ok. Yes, you can all start up the balls-to-the-chin jokes. I know they’re coming.
I’m still baffled how TMZ broke this before any of the sports blogs did. Crazy.
We have lots of material on this first real workday of 2009.
We begin with David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch who jumped on NESN for botching the end of the Boston College-North Carolina game.
The lovely Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald has the tepid NESN explanation of what happened.
Jessica reports that WEEI has signed Big Show blowhard Glenn Ordway to a new contract.
We now have the arrival of Jay The Rat on the internet. Tom Mantzouranis of AOL Fanhouse reports that Jay Mariotti along with the lovely Lisa Olson, formerly of the New York Daily news and Kevin Blackstone will be writing for the site.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that CBS Sports has signed Bill Cowher to a contract extension for 2009. Michael says former Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen could return to TV full-time, especially after his performance this past weekend on NBC.
Newsday’s Neil writes that NBC plans to have Millen join its Super Bowl coverage.
Now let’s go to some stories from the Sports Business Journal. The SBJ has an in-depth section on college sports media. The following stories are from that section.
First, John Ourand talks about ESPN and CBS trying to make their numbers work for their new college football contracts.
John writes that regional sports networks are also trying to stay ahead of the changing landscape in college sports.
Michael Smith discusses how colleges are trying to manage their web content.
Michael looks at how Raycom Sports is fighting to keep the rights to the ACC after losing the SEC syndication rights to ESPN.
And the SBJ lists the people to watch in college sports media.
Now to stories from this week’s SBJ issue.
Tripp Mickle and John Ourand give us the major players in the Olympics US TV rights negotiations.
Tripp says the United States Olympic Committee is going into overdrive to sell sponsorships for the 2009-2012 period.
John Ourand has some predictions for the sports media in 2009.
Don Muret profiles the architect who helps to fix sports stadium projects when they go awry.
There’s the Terrible Towel and now Terry Lefton says the Super Bowl gets a “trophy towel”.
Eric Fisher says the NFL is now marketing high definition online game replays.
Jon Show says golfer Vijay Singh has agred to make Stanford Financial the dominant logo on his bag and clothing.
Plenty of links from the SBJ and thanks to Bill McGrath for letting me know what stories are available each week. It’s greatly appreciated.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick feels the NFL Wild Card games were overloaded with statistics and useless replays. This is the first time in months that I actually agree with Mushie.
Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times reviews the weekend in TV sports.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News wonders why it took so long for Bill Cowher to announce that he’s not going to coach in 2009. Barry also looks at the weekend in the NFL. Finally, Barry sees Morning News colleague Tim Colishaw taking a sports radio gig.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune says the MLB Network shows some early promise.
Leonna Heuring of the Sikeston (MO) Standard-Democrat writes that a local native who competed for the Miss USA title and now a model, will appear in a Super Bowl ad.
Dusty Saunders of the Rocky Mountain News says the MLB Network is off to a “perfect” start.
The San Francisco 49ers have announced that Ted Robinson will become its radio voice starting next season.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that the death of a junior hockey player has sparked debate among Canada’s hockey analysts.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says TSN’s Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire went a bit overboard with the praise at the end of the Canada-Russia game during the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Thanks to the Big Lead for the following links. Apparently, Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports.com has lost his mind, attacking fellow writers and wanting someone to police us sports bloggers like AJ Daulerio of Deadspin. Of course, Deadspin reponds.
This will do it for now. More later.
One of the best blogs in cyberspace is Awful Announcing. I’ve put the site in my blogroll to the left and if you visit it regularly, you’ll agree with me.
Well, I’ll link to the post, but also put the videos that go with it here as well. Ever since I read it, I’ve been laughing to the point of tears.
First, it has an entry on Brent Musberger’s strange behavior at the Illinois-Wisconsin game during the ESPN telecast on Thursday in which he references the Playboy Sexiest Sportscaster poll after Erin Andrews does a report.
And second, just as the game is ending and he’s throwing it to SportsCenter, Brent asks analyst Steve Lavin if he wants to get a beer. I post the vids because they’re just that funny.
Here’s the first video which you can clearly hear the Wisconsin student section chanting Erin’s name, then Lavin referencing her as a rock star and Brent’s wanting to go the Playboy Mansion with Erin. I think Brent is on his last legs.
And the second video where Brent decides that he wants to go drinking. It’s at the end.
It’s almost as good as Mike Patrick asking “What is Britney doing with her life”, but not quite.
It’s one thing for a reporter to disrespect a blogger, but it’s another for a reporter to advocate wiping bloggers out as Bill Conlin from the Philadelphia Daily News has done.
Let’s start with an innocent e-mail sent by Bill B., a sabermetric Phillies fan who also runs the blog crashburnalley. After he read an article written by Conlin about Jimmy Rollins winning the National League Most Valuable Player, he wrote an e-mail to Conlin saying based on the numbers, the Mets’ David Wright had a better year than Rollins. He made the case for Wright, informed Conlin that he wrote a blog and added this:
Hi Mr. Conlin,
Hope all is well. My name is Bill as well, and I run a blog called Crashburn Alley. Needless to say, I’ve read many of the blogs bashing your article, such as Fire Joe Morgan and the discussion at Baseball Think Factory.
So, I’m not going to bash you since it’s already been done……
…It’s a bitter pill for me to swallow — to make the case against Rollins — being a die-hard Phillies fan, but I try to be objective. I don’t even think Ryan Howard deserved the NL MVP award last season over Albert Pujols.
I added the bold to that phrase. It’ll be important later on. But Conlin who rarely sees the forest through the trees replied this way:
Know what, pal? Bash this. . .Tell your bloggers, my career against theirs. . .
Nice. Instead of reading through the entire e-mail, Conlin goes on the attack with an idiotic statement. And Bill replied back:
Well, Mr. Conlin, I have to say that I’m disappointed….
…I will take it by your evasion of my questions and the facts I’ve stated that you are unable to make any legitimate case for Rollins over Wright for MVP. But, hey, whatever helps you sell papers.
Bill stated that emphatically that he was a Phillies fan, gave Conlin a link to his blog, but despite all this, Conlin fired back:
Don’t you need to contact the 30 electors–including the two Mets beat writers–who failed to give write a single first place vote instead of a commentator who does not vote for the awards. You’re a Mets fan and you had your little bubble of arrogance and smugness burst. Your team choked big time, an epic gagaroo. At least the 1964 Phillies had an excuse–they were probably no more than the Cardinals, Reds, Braves, Dodgers and Giants that year. One question: When a Mets team chokes in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a gagging sound? Next time bring more to the table than wishful fan numbers that bear no semblance to reality. I wonder how it feels to be the Phillies bitch.
Again, Bill B. wrote that he was a Phillies fan, but Conlin didn’t see or want to see it. And it all might have ended there until Conlin wrote the following inexplicable statement. Again, I add the bold.
The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers. In Colonial times, bloggers were called “Pamphleteers.” They hung on street corners handing them out to passersby. Now, they hang out on electronic street corners, hoping somebody mouses on to their pretentious sites. Different medium, same MO. Shakespeare accidentally summed up the genre best with these words from a MacBeth soliloquy: “. . .a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. . .”
Now to paraphrase Lou Dobbs of CNN, where in the world does Conlin come off comparing bloggers to the persecuted Jews who were sent to concentration camps? This is the most vile, disgusting comment someone can make. Yes, I’m a blogger, no, I’m not Jewish, but this is extremely offensive.
You can read the entry and the e-mails in their entirety over at crashburnalley here. Am I out of line thinking what Conlin wrote was outrageous? Let me know.
Neil Best of Newsday must be loving this blog thing because he continues to post great stuff. First, he has a quick synopsis of an interview with Detroit Tiger Gary Sheffield that will air on Real Sports next Tuesday on HBO. Then it goes on to a full article that Best wrote in the online edition of Newsday where Sheffield goes on to make crazy assertions such as Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter “ain’t all the way black” and that black players and white players are coached differently on the Yankees. In addition, Sheffield denies he ever took steroids saying they’re “something you shoot in your butt.” Even though Sheffield took what is known as the “clear”, a steroid developed in the infamous BALCO lab, he denies he ever took them. Read Best’s article and then if you have HBO, watch the interview done by Andrea Kremer. I’m sure going to be watching.
Sheffield is known for making outlandish statements in the past, in fact in the June issue of GQ Magazine, he said there were more Latino players in baseball because they’re easier to control.
For more Sheffield quotes, here are a collection going through 2005.
He’s an angry man and in those quotes, he refers to his uncle who’s former Met and Yankee pitcher Dwight Gooden.