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How hard is it to talk? Stiffing the media costs Marshawn Lynch $100,000

Here’s the NFL’s rule on its media policy:

“Star players, or other players with unusually heavy media demands, must be available to the media that regularly cover their teams at least once during the practice week in addition to their required postgame media availability.”

According Ed Werder’s story on ESPN.com, Marshawn Lynch, who doesn’t like dealing with the media, had been warned his wallet could be a bit lighter if he blew off the press again.

Lynch was warned by league officials last week that he was subject to the fine if he didn’t talk to the media after Sunday’s game. It is Lynch’s third fine for violations of the media policy.

And there was this:

Lynch also was asked about the team setting the franchise rushing record two weeks ago (350 yards against the New York Giants),

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Tiger Woods vs. Dan Jenkins/Golf Digest: Hardly their finest moments

As much as I admire the work of Dan Jenkins and Golf Digest, I have to admit my initial reaction was negative when I saw his clearly fake interview with Tiger Woods.

As much as anything else, the pictures  went over the line. There was an actor portraying Woods sitting in a Perkins (remember Woods reportedly had an affair with Perkins waitress). There was another shot of the phony Woods polishing his Cadillac Escalade. You know, the one that had an unfortunate collision with a fire hydrant.

Definitely low blows. While the statute of limitations may never expire, more than four years have passed since Woods’ epic fall from grace. Golf Digest was reprising old, tired jokes in running those images.

Here’s another key point. His agent Mark Steinberg asked in a letter to the magazine’s publisher: “Would this story … Continue Reading

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Young Al Michaels had a good role model: Vin Scully

Well, I finally received Al Michaels’ new autobiography yesterday. Given all the interviews he’s already done, I feel like I was the last sports media writer to get my copy. Oh well.

The book is officially out for all, and even before reading it, I know it will be good. Few people in the last 50 years have witnessed more sports history than Michaels.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News did a Q/A with Michaels. After being born in Brooklyn, Michaels’ family moved to Los Angeles in his early teens. That exposed the budding broadcaster to one of the all-time greats.

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Q: What were the pros and maybe cons about growing up in L.A. listening to Vin Scully? When you finally get your first play-by-play job in Hawaii doing minor-league baseball, you write that all you Continue Reading

Don’t get EPIX? “Road to Winter Classic” series also will be available online

This year marks the first time EPIX will air the popular “Road to the Winter Classic” series; previously it had been on HBO. Launched in 2009, EPIX is budding premium entertainment and original programming outlet that is available in 50 million homes. However, it currently isn’t offered on several large systems, including Comcast (my provider).

Since the NHL wants wide distribution, the series also will stream online. Details and trailer below.

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EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic™ and EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Stadium Series™, a two-part original series from premium TV networkEPIX and the National Hockey League, will bring U.S. viewers onto the ice and behind-the-scenes with the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals as they prepare to compete in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on their road to … Continue Reading

Yes, this is actual name of upcoming 30 for 30: ‘I hate Christian Laettner’

I have a feeling this 30 for 30 will do strong ratings, especially airing on eve of NCAA hoops tournament.

From ESPN:

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ESPN Films today announced a new 30 for 30 film that will debut in 2015 as part of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed documentary series. “I Hate Christian Laettner,” directed by Rory Karpf (“The Book of Manning,” “Tim Richmond: To The Limit”), will premiere Sunday, March 15, at 9 p.m. ET after Bracketology on ESPN. Through interviews with former teammates and rivals as well as Laettner himself, the film explores why the polarizing basketball player was—and still is—so disliked.

“I Hate Christian Laettner;” Sunday, March 15, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

He made perhaps the most dramatic shot in the history of the NCAA basketball tournament. He’s the only player to start in four consecutive Final Fours, and was instrumental in Duke winning two national … Continue Reading

In retrospect, maybe Tiger Woods should have gone to lunch with Dan Jenkins

Of course, then we wouldn’t have their feud, which escalated to a new level Tuesday. Woods, writing in Derek Jeter’s Players Tribune of all places, took exception to a parody piece Jenkins did in which he does a fake interview with him.

Woods writes:

Did you read Dan Jenkins’ interview with me in the latest Golf Digest? I hope not. Because it wasn’t me. It was some jerk he created to pretend he was talking to me. That’s right, Jenkins faked an interview, which fails as parody, and is really more like a grudge-fueled piece of character assassination.

Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower?

Later, Woods writes:

Golf Digest even hired an actor to pose as me in photos.  The truth is, Jenkins has no idea how I think or feel about any of the things he claims to know

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DVR alert: HBO’s State of Play looks at Favre adjusting to life after football

The latest installment in Peter Berg’s “State of Play” series for HBO looks at athletes adjusting to life after football (Tonight at 10 p.m. ET). What happens to these guys when the cheering stops?

The first part is really strong with a film featuring Brett Favre, Tiki Barber and Wayne Chrebet on adjusting to the real world. Favre talked of wanting to crawl into a hole after he finally retired.

The last half of the show has Berg in a round-table discussion that features Michael Strahan. Frankly, I’m starting to see Strahan in my sleep. I wish there had been more of the documentary element and much less, if no, discussion.

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Getting an in-game thank you call from Pat Foley; his big day at Hockey Hall of Fame

I was watching the Blackhawks-Dallas game Sunday night when the phone rang.

On the other end, a booming voice said, “Ed, this is Patrick Foley.”

A bit startled, I said, “Pat, aren’t you doing the game right now? I was just listening to you.”

Actually, it was in between periods, giving Foley the chance to thank me for the story I wrote in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune about his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which took place Monday (pictured above).

Knowing Foley and his sense of family, it didn’t come as a surprise that he was most appreciative that I included his mother, Mary, in the story.

“It really meant a lot to her,” Foley said.

I really appreciated getting a call from Foley, especially during a game. Often, reporters hear volume when subjects are upset about a story, … Continue Reading

Bill Polian: Essential for NFL head coaches to be able to deal with media

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana is on a new book by Bill Polian that includes a passage on coaches and the media.

Here is an excerpt:

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Bill Polian didn’t become one of the game’s greatest NFL general managers by ignoring the small details.

In an autobiography co-written by Vic Carucci and published by Triumph Books, Polian writes about his career in “The Game Plan: The Art of Building a Winning Football Team.” He delves into the methods that enabled him to build Super Bowl teams in Buffalo and Indianapolis.

You might consider sending a copy to your favorite team’s general manager if he’s struggling to produce a winner. Your book is in the mail, Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery.

Polian, now an ESPN analyst, dedicates a chapter on his criteria for selecting a … Continue Reading

New media Digger: Phelps joins Campus Insiders; Launches Twitter account

Digger Phelps is going new media.

The former Notre Dame coach has signed on to be a basketball analyst for Campus Insiders, the Chicago-based site that covers college sports. His first appearance is today. Phelps will appear on Campus Insiders throughout the season, including conducting select interviews with coaches.

Phelps, 73, also is joining Twitter at @diggerphelps. As of 1 p.m., he had 20 followers. His old pal, Dick Vitale, has 663,000 followers. So Phelps has some catching up to do.

“Digital media has already become such a strong medium for consuming college sports so I’m excited to join the Campus Insiders team and be a part of all of the great, high-quality college basketball coverage,” said Phelps.

“Anyone that knows college basketball, knows that Digger Phelps is a legend with years of experience as a coach … Continue Reading

Blowout Sunday: Streak of routs continues for Sunday Night Football, featured doubheader game

Technically, New England’s 42-20 victory over Indianapolis wasn’t as bad as some of the previous clunkers on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” The Patriots only held a 14-10 lead at halftime. At least there was the promise of some suspense in the fourth quarter.

However, any drama quickly disappeared as Jonas Gray (who?) looked like John Riggins, rolling over the Colts with 199 yards and 4 TDs. Like the Colts, I also suffered since my fantasy running back was Shane Vereen.

The subsequent rout now makes an amazing nine straight games in which the margin of victory on Sunday Night Football has been 18 points or more. The average victory margin is 23 points.

It also marked the sixth out of the last seven games in which the winning team scored 42 or more points.

Sept. 21: Pittsburgh 37, Carolina 19.… Continue Reading

New media for veteran columnist: Gary Shelton leaves Tampa Bay Times; launches subscription website

Gary Shelton opened his final Tampa Bay Times column with a telling line:

“I always thought the ink would last a lifetime.”

I think we all felt that way. Then the industry blew up.

Shelton now is moving on to a new frontier after spending nearly 25 years at the Tampa Bay Times.

He writes in his final column:

This is my final column for the Tampa Bay Times, a newspaper where I have worked for the last 24 years and 10 months. I’ll be honest. There have been easier departures. A man doesn’t spend all of these words and not stumble upon the final one: Goodbye.

And so I move to a different field. In the coming weeks, I will launch a subscription-based web site, GarySheltonsports.com. I hope you will join me. We’ll look at sports in the Tampa Bay

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