Backstory: Trying to explain what life in a wheelchair is like for Eric LeGrand

Editor’s note: This story comes courtesy of Mark Selig. Mark is a journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri. As part of his research, he started a blog, Backstory, that analyzes how writers and editors work a story.

From time to time, Mark’s work will be featured on the Sherman Report.


By Mark Selig

Justin Heckert wanted to write about “the real shit.”

That’s how former football player Eric LeGrand — paralyzed after a freak injury at Rutgers — describes what’s truly going on in his life. Questions like “How’s rehab going,” are general and boring.

But the real shit? That’s what we’re all curious about.

What’s life like for a 25-year-old who talks about women but can’t enjoy sex?

How do you use the bathroom?

That’s the real shit.

Heckert found out what it’s like to be Continue Reading

How does this happen? Women reporters initially prohibited from going into Jaguars lockerroom

The situation was resolved, but really… From the Indianapolis Star:

Three female reporters were temporarily barred from entering the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room following the team’s game against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.

Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports, Joey Chandler of the Tuscaloosa News and the Tulsa World’s Katie McInerney were not allowed to enter the locker room by someone they described as an usher.

“At first we thought we had the wrong door,” Watson said. “He said, ‘I’m not sure you’re allowed back there.’”

Chandler added: “He said, ‘I’m sure you know how guys are, I’m just warning you.’”

 … Continue Reading

Jason Whitlock is done at ESPN; Still waiting for explanation about what happened with Undefeated

Jason WhitlockAs expected, Jason Whitlock is a former ESPNer again. Richard Deitsch of breaks the news.

When contacted by on Sunday afternoon, an ESPN spokesperson forwarded the following from the company, “We have mutually agreed to part ways, which was Jason’s preference following the shift from his role as Editor-in-Chief. Jason is a talented print and television commentator, and we wish him success in his next chapter. ESPN remains fully committed to The Undefeated and plans continue toward an official launch.”

I’m still waiting for Whitlock’s version of why ESPN launched him from Undefeated. Perhaps he will start yapping now that he’s gone.

All in all, the entire episode has been embarrassing for Mr. Whitlock, who likely is headed back to Fox Sports.… Continue Reading

Sports Media Friday: College football games turning into marathons; Simmons rips ESPN in new podcast

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports media:

Readers of this space know of my campaign to get baseball to speed up the game. Well, it isn’t just baseball. College football is having similar pace problems, reports Richard Deitsch of

Where were you at 1:26 a.m. ET on September 20?

If you are a college football fan, chances are you were parked in front of some device watching Ole Miss clinch a thrilling 43-37 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The game kicked shortly after 9:15 p.m. ET on Saturday night and lasted longer than some marriages, finally concluding at 1:26 a.m. on Sunday morning.

It also highlighted a growing trend: The length of Football Bowl Subdivision games has dramatically increased over the past 10 years. Last year FBS games averaged 3 hours and 23

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ESPN’s Ivan Maisel writes about grief while dealing with it himself

IvanMy latest column for Poynter is on Ivan Maisel, who lost his son last winter.

First a personal note: My relationship with Ivan Maisel goes back to 1988 when I met him on the national college football beat. We spent many times together in various press boxes and at several golf courses on Fridays before games. Ask him about “Sherman’s 5-wood,” and I’m sure he won’t stop laughing.

Our golf games still suck, but Ivan has gone on to become one of the best and certainly most respected college football writers on the beat. Trust me, you won’t find a better person anywhere.

Like everyone else in the business, I was crushed when I heard the news about Ivan’s son, Max. Unthinkable. As friends, we all felt his pain.

After Ivan returned to work, the journalist in me thought about … Continue Reading

Rapoport on Ernie Banks story: ‘Possible to know truth about Ernie and still love him’

ernie-banks2I asked Ron Rapoport for some perspective on his excellent story about Ernie Banks in Chicago Magazine. He reveals another side of the public happy-go-lucky Mr. Cub as an elderly man who often was lonely and even tormented by his demons.

Often, fans don’t like to have anyone tinker with the image of their heroes. And they don’t come any bigger than Banks in Chicago.

Here’s Rapoport:


I did a short piece about Ernie for a web site in Los Angeles when he died and was surprised at how much attention it got.

Thinking things over, I realized there was more to the story and thought people might be interested. I didn’t really stop to think about whether people would not want to see Ernie portrayed this way and as it turned out, the response has been unanimously positive. … Continue Reading

DVR alert: New EPIX documentary examines faulty procedures in drug testing

EPIX has an interesting documentary that premiere tonight on the other side of drug testing. The film shows how innocent athletes have had their careers derailed because of faulty testing procedures.

The official release from EPIX:

Premium TV network EPIX® announced today that its newest one-hour Original Documentary Doped: The Dirty Side of Sports, which offersa timely and critical look at the history of anti-doping policies in professional sports, will premiere Wednesday, September 30 at 8PM ET/PT, 7C. The film is executive produced by Bobby Valentine (former MLB Manager, current athletic director of Sacred Heart University), produced and directed by Andrew J. Muscato (“Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” Checkmates) and narrated by Nick Kroll (“Kroll Show,” “The League”). Select Participants are available for media interviews.

The documentary features the inspiring first-hand accounts of athletes who claim their professional careers … Continue Reading

Poor placement on Column on vile tweets shouldn’t include clickbait that objectify women

Clickbait, the often provocative posts/ads at the end of a story, are the standard for the vast majority of Internet sites, from to many newspaper sites.

However, a reader noted that the clickbait is highly inappropriate at the end of Julie DiCaro’s column that posted yesterday on The Chicago sports radio reporter wrote about and displayed several of the vile tweets she received after making comments about the Patrick Kane situation. One tweet was a threat that forced her to miss work on Friday.


However, at the end of the column, still is running the clickbait posts, many of which objectify women. The reader sent me a screen shot of the clickbait (above) that was on DiCaro’s column yesterday.

Here is a sample of the clickbait on DiCaro’s column this morning.

SI-clickbait 2

Seems inappropriate, right? In its own … Continue Reading

Beyond bad: Women sports reporter writes on ugly tweets she received following comments about Patrick Kane

Julie DiCaro of WSCR, the big sports talk station in Chicago, writes for a must-read column about the incredible vitriol that filled her Twitter feed after she made comments about the Patrick Kane situation.

It got this bad:

Nine years later, in the midst of the Patrick Kane rape investigation, I found myself working from home Friday, having received a threat on Twitter that hit a little too close to home.

As an anchor for a prominent Chicago sports radio station, I understand my opinions are much more open to commentary now than they were 10 years ago, but this particular tweet contained personal details, and I simply did not feel entirely safe walking to my office. It didn’t help matters that I, like far too many women, am a rape victim, but I wasn’t taking any chances

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Columnist recalls final days of Ernie Banks: ‘Just as he was defined by his image, so was he imprisoned by it’

ernie_banks_si_coverRon Rapoport offers a different perspective of Ernie Banks in a terrific piece in Chicago Magazine.

He reveals another side of the public happy-go-lucky Mr. Cub as an elderly man who often was lonely and even tormented by his demons.

Rapoport writes:

What was it about him? I wondered. Why was Ernie, virtually alone among the great players of his generation, such an idealized, one-dimensional fantasy? Why did he seem to have no existence beyond the baseball diamond? Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron were seen as important civil rights pioneers. Mickey Mantle’s character flaws were so well chronicled they became part of his appeal. Ted Williams’s defiantly cold-blooded grip on Red Sox fans became the stuff of legend and literature. Joe DiMaggio was a cultural phenomenon all to himself. Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Yogi Berra, Stan Musial—they were

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