Blackistone: Media perpetuating stereotypes about domestic violence and NFL

Wanted to share a commentary Kevin Blackistone wrote for the American Journalism Review about media coverage of the Ray Rice/domestic violence situation in the NFL.

The headline reads: “We haven’t let the facts get in the way of the Ray Rice react.”

Blackistone makes the case that the media is portraying the NFL as being full of players who commit domestic violence. By extension, the main targets are African-American players, who comprised 70 percent of the league.

He writes:

The new polling service Vox Populi reported Saturday that it found a majority of Americans believe the NFL has a widespread epidemic of domestic violence problems, including 70 percent of people who identified themselves as NFL fans and 73 percent who are women.

A college classmate and friend of mine, USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan, commented during a PBS NewsHour

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Cheer up, Brandon: Marshall will like NFL Network’s film on him

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on all-Brandon Marshall, all-the-time. After his long, bizarre rant Thursday, which included railing on an ESPN E:60 profile, Marshall will should feel better after watching tonight’s A Football Life on NFL Network.

You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.

Here is a video preview of the film.

From the column:


Brandon Marshall will like the NFL Network’s treatment of his life story better than ESPN’s.

The latest entry in the Marshall media blitz features him in “A Football Life” at 8 p.m. Friday. The one-hour documentary, produced by NFL Films, examines Marshall’s turbulent career and his battle to overcome borderline personality disorder.

“A Football Life” doesn’t use the term “domestic violence.” The film does acknowledge Marshall’s troubled past, which led to him receiving a personal-conduct suspension from … Continue Reading


APSE survey: Do sports journalism students come out with basic reporting skills?

Former APSE president Tim Stephens posted results of a survey with sports journalism hiring managers, instructors and students.

He writes: “(The goal is)  to learn more about the priorities in the classroom as well as the priorities in the newsroom. The goal is to outline where the interests of universities and the newsrooms are in alignment as well as areas upon which they could work together to strengthen the connection of interests and priorities.”

Definitely some interesting perspective. Here is a key finding about the preparation of sports journalism students:

– Hiring managers are concerned about recent graduates’ knowledge of basic reporting skills. Twenty-six percent of hiring-manager respondents expressed moderate to strong negative feelings when asked if recent graduates they have seen as job candidates in the past three years have the ability to obtain information from public records requests and

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Baseball card: Frank Howard, king of power in Washington

In honor of the Washington Nationals clinching the NL East title, here’s a D.C. favorite. Frank Howard didn’t play on any great teams with the Senators, but he was the undisputed king of power in Washington.

A massive man at 6-7, 255 pounds, “Hondo” could mash. From 1968 through 1970, he had seasons of 44, 48, and 44 homers. All told, he had 382 career homers.

Here are his stats of a memorable career.

 … Continue Reading

Brandon Marshall media beat: Tweets complaints about E:60 profile; takes week off on ‘Inside The NFL’

The Chicago Tribune might need to assign a full-time Brandon Marshall media beat reporter. Last night was another busy one for the Bears receiver.

Actually, it should have been quiet. I wrote on the Tribune’s site that Marshall was given a scheduled week off from his Inside The NFL analyst job because the Bears played a Sunday night game in San Francisco.

From the post:

Marshall and the team returned early Monday morning. If he did the show Tuesday, it would require him catching at private plane between 5:30-6 a.m.

DeBlasio said Marshall’s absence wasn’t due to him remaining in Chicago Tuesday to get treatment for his injured ankle.

“There are no issues,” DeBlasio said. “He wasn’t here because of the Sunday night game.”


Ah, but Marshall fans still could get their fix by watching a profile of him … Continue Reading

Claire Smith: First-person account of ‘pioneer’ reporter who made a difference

Claire Smith says she doesn’t like to be regarded as a pioneer. Yet how can she be regarded in any other way?

When Smith was a baseball writer in the 80s, she often was the lone African-American and the lone woman in the press box.

I knew Smith back then when she covered the Yankees for the Hartford Courant. I recall her being a real pro, and I know others would agree.

Of course, I was a young, rather naive sportswriter trying to survive on the White Sox beat for the Chicago Tribune. I wasn’t completely aware of the obstacles Smith experienced on the beat.

I know quite a bit more now, and so will you after you read Smith’s excellent first-person story in the latest edition of Still No Cheering in the Press Box. This installment for the … Continue Reading

New season of 30 for 30s: Film on ‘Goodfellas’ game-fixer at Boston College

My favorite series on television returns for its fifth season. As always, I am pumped for the new slate of 30 for 30 films.

The opener, Playing for the Mob, looks like a can’t miss. Here is a link to the preview.

The official rundown:



ESPN Films today revealed the films that will make up its fall 2014 30 for 30 slate. The series will return for a six-week runTuesday nights on ESPN beginning October 7, with one additional film in December. This October marks the fifth anniversary of 30 for 30’s launch in 2009.

The upcoming slate will kick off with “Playing for the Mob,” which delves into how mobster Henry Hill once helped orchestrate the fixing of Boston College basketball games. The film is narrated by actor Ray Liotta, who played Hill in the iconic movie “Goodfellas.” Other … Continue Reading

Urlacher quits role as analyst for Fox Sports 1; ‘Wanted to feel retired’

After only two games into the new season, Brian Urlacher has decided to quit his role as analyst at Fox Sports.

The former Bears linebacker informed the network that he is resigning his position so he could spend more time with his family. This season, Urlacher worked on Fox Sports 1’s “America’s Pregame” and Sunday morning’s “Fox NFL Kickoff.”

In an interview with Matt Spiegel and his former teammate Patrick Mannelly on WSCR-AM 670 this morning, Urlacher said traveling weekly to Fox’s studios in Los Angeles was taxing.

“I really enjoyed working with the guys at Fox Sports 1,” Urlacher said. “The travel to (Los Angeles) got to me quite a bit. I called the producers and they were understanding about my situation. I wanted to feel retired. That was my main reason. They were cool about it.”

Urlacher went … Continue Reading

What they said: Pregame shows tackle brutal week for NFL

It wasn’t your typical week for the NFL pregame shows Sunday. Not with the NFL going through perhaps its worst week ever off the field.

Actual football talk was secondary to dissecting the various controversies. In some cases, it produced some raw honesty, such as Bart Scott on CBS admitting he is going through counseling to deal with his anger issues.

In case you missed it, here is a round-up of what was said:


Bart Scott: This story is very personal to me.  Of course Ray Rice was a teammate of mine. This marks the fifth teammate that I’ve played with that’s either been accused or convicted of domestic violence. This is a problem in the NFL and has been a problem in the NFL. I think this video really forces the NFL and society to take a look and itself and make sure we do something about it. This offseason, … Continue Reading

Right move: Gus Johnson steps asides as Fox’s lead soccer announcer

I’m not a big soccer guy, but Fox Sports trying to make Gus Johnson its lead soccer announcer always seemed like a bad idea. The sports’ fans are a highly discerning bunch. With Fox Sports slated to do the Women’s World Cup next year and the World Cup in 2018, not to mention many important matches in between, Johnson was set up to vilified as the lead voice.

Now it won’t happen. Johnson said the demands of getting up to speed were taking a toll on him from a personal standpoint. From Richard Deitsch at

Depending on your soccer broadcasting orthodoxy, the following news will be received as a cause for celebration or bitter disappointment:

Gus Johnson has stepped down as Fox’s No. 1 soccer broadcaster.

Johnson told Sports Illustrated on Sunday that he called Fox Sports president Eric Shanks last

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Rice factor? CBS does big rating in Thursday night opener

With all the focus on the Ray Rice story, the debut of the new Thursday night package on CBS and the NFL Network more than doubled last year’s opener for the comparable game on NFL Network.

The Baltimore-Pittsburgh game did a 13.7 overnight rating of major markets, up 108 percent from the 6.6 rating for the New York Jets-New England Thursday night game on NFL Network in 2013.

The NFL hoped to get a much higher rating for the Thursday night games with CBS’ promotional power and larger distribution; the game also was simulcast on NFL Network. The game delivered  CBS its best primetime rating since May, 2006.

It is hard to determine how much the Rice saga impacted the rating. However, clearly there was considerable interest with Baltimore playing its first game since it released Rice.

Let’s see what … Continue Reading