SI.com's 2011 Media Awards (cont.)
Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand took to Twitter to call out Denver Post sports columnist and ESPN Around the Horn barker Woody Paige for swiping material from an in-depth feature he wrote on a cable television pioneer. Tweeted Ourand: "Hey @woodypaige. Did you really talk to Paul Maxwell? Or did you lift that quote from SBJ? Bad form to not list source." Paige eventually apologized.
ESPN college basketball analyst Bob Knight failed to apologize, nor was he disciplined by ESPN management, for calling his colleague Jeremy Schaap " a chicken---- little ----sucker" in Those Guys Have All the Fun. Given Schaap's long tenure and quality journalism for ESPN (not to mention that his late father, Dick, worked at the network for years), the public silence spoke loudly about the "Jordan Rules" that certain talent are afforded in Bristol.
The Poynter Review Project, in a long response to college football writer Bruce Feldman's allegations about his departure from ESPN after collaborating on a book with former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, wrote: "[Feldman] suggested that his conflicts, created by writing the book, are tiny compared to those of Craig James, the ESPN announcer named in Leach's lawsuit. If the allegations in the lawsuit are accurate -- that James hired a PR firm to smear Leach -- then ESPN has an even bigger problem that we'll certainly be writing about." Poynter concluded its findings with the following sentences: "Now [Feldman's] conflicts are CBS Sports' problems. And ESPN, and the Poynter Review Project, are left to address the James issue." That conclusion came on Sept. 2. Since then, neither Poynter nor ESPN has addressed the James issue with viewers. (James left the network this month to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas.)
Former ESPN broadcaster Ron Franklin was pulled from the radio broadcast of the Fiesta Bowl after he allegedly referred to colleague Jeannine Edwards as "sweet baby" before the start of a meeting with Florida State coaches. Edwards told Franklin that she did not appreciate being addressed that way. That prompted Franklin to allegedly say, "OK, then, a--hole." Franklin, via an ESPN spokesperson, told SI.com: "I said some things I shouldn't have, and I'm sorry. I deserved to be taken off the Fiesta Bowl." The story was first reported by the Sports by Brooks website, which also was the first source to bring Feldman's suspension to the public.
It took Fox until 5:14 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday to report on one of the major stories of the Super Bowl, the ticket fiasco that left 400 fans without seats after multiple sections in Cowboys Stadium were not completed in time. Remarkably, Fox downplayed the news by giving it less than a minute. Though the NFL came out with multiple statements afterward, Fox never updated its audience or did any original reporting on the story.
Earlier that same afternoon, Fox's celebrity red carpet segment hosted by Maria Menounos and Michael Strahan produced the kind of awkward, train wreck television that we've come to expect when Fox heads down this sycophantic path. The New York Times called the Super Bowl pregame show the "Worst Damn Four-and-a-Half-Hour Super Bowl Show Ever." We won't go that far, but this was not Fox's finest hour.
Charles Barkley was badly miscast as an analyst for the NCAA tournament selection show, a spot that should be held by a college basketball insider. Turner Sports president David Levy told SI.com that a change will be made in 2012. "I don't think we need six guys on the selection show," Levy said. "Charles was wrong for the show in the sense that there is so much information that we are trying to get out."
St. Petersburg Times sports media critic Tom Jones perceptively hit on one of the more infuriating aspects of golf coverage: the excuse-making and cheerleading for Tiger Woods. He correctly cited CBS' coverage of the Masters, from David Feherty's waxing on about "all he's been through this week!" to Bill Macatee's asking about the golfer's eating plans after his final round. (The ever-gracious Woods responded to Macatee's questions by hitting him over the head with a 2x4 of condescension.)
The Longhorn Network.
"This is for all the Tostitos."
-- ESPN college football announcer Brent Musberger, in full salesman mode, at the end of the Tostitos BCS national championship between Auburn and Oregon.
"Ernie always said: 'A man is really lucky if God gives him a job he enjoys.' That is what I found, and that is apparently what Ernie found, too."
-- NBC hockey announcer Mike Emrick, on the late Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who served as a nonacademic adviser for Emrick when he was a doctoral student at Bowling Green.
"I was literally the first hire on what became ESPN.com when I was in Bristol in my mid-20s. This is the way they treat you. To watch them sit there and try to spin their way out of this and only make it worse. They made such a mess, and then they never cleaned it up."
-- CBSSports.com writer Bruce Feldman, upon his leaving ESPN.
"I could argue that if you still live in Cleveland at this point, you're bringing unemployment on, couldn't I?" It's the Rust Belt. It's 2011. If you live in Youngstown, Ohio, should I have no sympathy that you're unemployed? You're kinda bringing it on yourself."
-- Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio host and frequent amateur sociologist.
"Date and marry 7's and 8's."
-- Cowherd, giving dating advice and reducing a gender to a looks-based rating system.
"I haven't really thought about a philosophy. I'm not Kant or Descartes, though I feel I was a better weakside rebounder than either."
-- ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, on his Twitter strategy.
"I wish I was 50 years younger and I would kick your ass!"
-- HBO Sports' 80-year-old boxing analyst, Larry Merchant, to Floyd Mayweather.
"The committee has gone against its own principles. UAB, VCU, why are they in? They were never mentioned [as a possibility] for a reason. ...These are horrible decisions. We need more basketball people on the committee. These are bad, indefensible decisions."
-- Bilas, on the selections of VCU and UAB into the NCAA tournament.
"Abby Wambach has saved the USA's life in this World Cup!"
-- ESPN soccer announcer Ian Darke, on Wambach's goal in the dying moments of the Women's World Cup quarterfinals against Brazil.
"ESPN basically has to have one of their talent talk about Hitler or put a picture of their d--- on a phone -- which is what that [Sean] Salisbury guy did -- before they'll do anything about any of these various crazies because they don't have to. Nobody can touch them."
--- Outgoing NBC Sports Group chairman Dick Ebersol, on the power of ESPN (from Those Guys Have All the Fun).
"[Tim] Tebow trying to fit into a conventional offense is a square peg into a round hole. Regardless of how successful he is during this stretch, if Tebow is going to be a productive NFL quarterback, it's not going to be in Denver. The reason is the general manager. Could you imagine John Elway wanting to run a spread offense? That's not the quarterback he envisions moving forward with this franchise."
-- Fox NFL analyst Howie Long, on Oct. 16, a week before Tebow's first start this season.
"I'm a simple guy. I don't watch TV. I don't go on the Internet. So I never watched Playmakers, but I knew if the league was pissed, I probably should be pissed."
-- ESPN's Chris Berman, who does not work for the NFL, on the network's drama depicting professional football that was canceled after complaints from the NFL (from Those Guys Have All the Fun).
"Ah, f--k it."
-- ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso, getting excited on CollegeGame Day.
"S--t, you have to get rid of that ball just a split-second quicker."
-- Ron Jaworski, getting excited about Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne not throwing quickly enough on Monday Night Football.
"It's a five letter word: S-T-R-I-K-E."
-- Fox baseball analyst Tim McCarver, having some difficulty after a strikeout of Esteban German by Marc Rzepczynski in Game 1 of the World Series.
"So our suggestion here is a more modest one: Hey, knuckleheads, is it too much to ask that you confine your buffoonery to situations that don't directly damage your team? Week after week, game after game, we see guys who think nothing of incurring penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct, costing their team's valuable yardage, even late in close games. Today's most conspicuous culprit: Buffalo's Stevie Johnson, who, after a TD catch versus the Jets, thought it would be a good idea to go Marcel Marceau, pantomiming, among other things, Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. But in this case, it was Johnson who shot himself in the foot, as his display cost his team a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff."
-- NBC Sports' Bob Costas, not happy about over-the-top touchdown celebrations.
"God's been awfully good to me, allowing me to do the things I love to do. I asked him, 'One more year at least?' And he said, 'OK.' "
-- Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, announcing on air in August that he'll be back for another season.
THE PICK: "Told I'm not supposed to listen to Jeezy, or give daps. That ain't happening. Real recognize real, I suppose. I don't get mad, I get money."
-- Jay Bilas, disproving the criticswho questioned his love of rapper Young Jeezy.
HONORABLE MENTION: "Love the solidarity, but #freebruce isn't enough. What would be enough? #boocraigjames."
-- CBSSports.com columnist Gregg Doyel, expressing his thoughts during a Twitter uprising that featured Bruce Feldman and the #freebruce hashtag as trending topics.
$4.38 billion: Amount paid by NBC to broadcast the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro; the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, and the 2020 Summer Games at a to-be-determined location.
111 million: Audience that tuned in to Fox to watch the Packers defeat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, breaking last year's record audience of 106.5 million for the Colts-Saints.
13.458 million: Viewers who watched the 2011 Women's World Cup final between the United States and Japan, the second-most-watched daytime telecast (Monday-Sunday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.) in cable history, behind the Rose Bowl on ESPN (20.557 million viewers on Jan. 1, 2011).
Bob Barry Sr. (Oklahoma broadcaster), Rod Beaton (USA Today sportswriter), Nick Charles (CNN and Showtime broadcaster), Jack Dale (Texas Tech broadcaster), Bill Gallo (New York Daily News sports cartoonist and columnist), Mike Flanagan (Orioles broadcaster), Jim Kelley (Buffalo News sports writer), George Kimball (Boston Herald sportswriter), Tom Kowalski (Lions writer for Booth Newspapers and MLive.com), Kim Jessup (ESPN PR staffer), Ernie Johnson Sr. (Braves announcer), Tom McEwen (Tampa Tribune sportswriter and editor), Larry Munson (Georgia broadcaster), Hayden Nowkhah (infant son of ESPN anchor Dari Nowkhah), Bobby Rhine (Dallas FC broadcaster), Paul Splittorff (Royals broadcaster), Dave Solomon (New Haven Register sports columnist) and Allen Wilson (Buffalo News sportswriter).
Twelve Broadcasters Viewers Deserve More Of In '12 (not listed above): Steve Bunin (ESPN), Heather Cox (ESPN), Jeannine Edwards (ESPN), Len Elmore (ESPN), Chris McKendry (ESPN), Curt Menefee (Fox), Kevin Negandhi (ESPN), Kelly Naqi (ESPN), Dave Revsine (Big Ten Network), Kenny Rice (NBC), Sage Steele (ESPN), Matt Winer (NBA TV).
Five Broadcasters Viewers Need Less Of In '12: Skip Bayless (ESPN), Michael Irvin (NFL Network and Hall of Famer in this category), Craig James (unattached, Hall of Famer in this category), Rob Parker (ESPN) and Woody Paige (ESPN).
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