Hopefully, one day this won’t be news: First active D-1 basketball player announces he is gay

I’m not trying to diminish what Derrick Gordon did today in coming out about his sexuality. It took a lot of courage for the UMass player to announce that he is gay on ESPN’s SportsCenter and SB Nation’s Outsports this morning.

My hope, though, is at some point an athlete coming out won’t be a story that lights up Twitter and requires extensive interviews.

Here is Kate Fagan’s story and interview at ESPN.com.

Here is an interview Gordon did with SB Nation’s Outsports.

Gordon talked about how he was inspired by Jason Collins and Michael Sam. Hopefully, other gay athletes will be inspired by him and won’t feel as if they need to hide any secrets.

If that happens, an athlete’s sexuality becomes a non-story. All that should matter is whether he or she can play.

 

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Phelps’ contract not renewed by ESPN; Is network looking to get younger?

Digger Phelps announced Monday that last night was his finale at ESPN and in TV.

It likely wasn’t his choice. According to sources, Phelps’ contract wasn’t renewed by ESPN.

Phelps, 72, tried to put a positive spin on the situation.

“I spent 20 years at Notre Dame as a coach and now 20 years here at ESPN doing a great job with all you people. And now it’s time for me to move forward, and this will be my last time on TV,” Phelps said.

Phelps added: “It’s been a great run. Twenty years is always my target for everything, and it’s time to move forward.”

However, when I talked to Phelps in November for a column in the Chicago Tribune, he didn’t sound as if he wanted to move forward from ESPN. From the column:

Phelps, though, has

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Rutgers AD is an idiot: Wants Newark Star-Ledger to go out of business

Rutgers technically doesn’t join the Big Ten for another three months. Still, I would expect Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany might have a conversation with Julie Hermann over her latest comments about the Newark Star-Ledger.

Delany has a keen PR sense. He knows it isn’t good PR to wish for the death of a major local paper, as the Rutgers athletic director did with the Star-Ledger.

Writes Steve Politi:

Clearly, it wasn’t for Julie Hermann. She must have been tickled, because this is the same woman who stood up in front of a class of journalism students a few weeks ago and said it would be “great” if the newspaper died.

No, really. Great. That was her word. The Rutgers athletics director, in a wide-ranging discussion with the class, was talking about her own rocky introduction with the media in

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Does a UConn-Kentucky final do it for you? Two sides to semifinal ratings

I admit as an Illinois alum, there is some jealousy involved here. I mean, even in off years, UConn and Kentucky still go to the NCAA final.  C’mon.

Their regular-season records seem more in line with the NIT. Yet one of them is going to win another title tonight. The rich get richer, right? It doesn’t seem fair.

It will be interesting to see if the country embraces a No. 7 vs. No. 8 seed final. The big-name appeal of the programs likely will help aid CBS’ rating tonight. If you are going to have two low-seeded teams, better to be UConn-Kentucky than let’s say,  Kansas State-San Diego State.

However, CBS can’t play up the Cinderella factor tonight, not with the history of these programs. And the star power also is lacking. There won’t be a consensus No. 1 or … Continue Reading

Yes to home team calls: Networks should do more Teamcasts

Yes, there was the inevitable confusion, as CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus predicted.

Viewers were bewildered by pro-(UConn, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida) calls on Saturday, depending on where their remotes took them. Adding to the problem was that this was Turner Sports’ first coverage of the Final Four semis.

You could hear people’s brains grinding: What Turner channel? TNT? TBS? Doubt that anyone went to truTV.

If they turned to TNT, a Teamcast outlet, they probably wondered what happened to Jim Nantz and objectivity.

Fortunately, Charles Barkley was on hand to clear things up as only he can.

“You people are all idiots,” Barkley said.

Thanks, Charles.

My view: More Teamcasts, please.

Perhaps due to being a serial channel flipper, but I enjoyed having more options Saturday than the conventional national call. It was refreshing to hear different perspectives and see … Continue Reading

Ernie Johnson: First Final Four will be landmark moment for Turner Sports

I caught with one of my favorite people in sports media, Ernie Johnson. Here’s an excerpt from my interview with the Turner Sports veteran that I wrote for Awful Announcing.

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Ernie Johnson goes so far back with Turner Sports it actually pre-dates the start of his broadcast career. His father, Ernie Johnson Sr., was the announcer for the Atlanta Braves when Ted Turner had the outlandish idea to air their games nationally on his WTBS Superstation.

The “Crazy Ted” talk died down once the Braves became “America’s Team.” Ernie Johnson’s son learned early on never to question the drive of his father’s boss.

“It seemed like the more people told (Turner), you can’t do something, the more he wanted to do it,” Johnson said.

So that’s why this year’s NCAA tournament holds extra meaning for Johnson and other … Continue Reading

He’s right: Jay Bilas changed my mind on pay-for-play for college athletes

After being married to a lawyer for nearly 21 years, I learned a long time ago that it is fruitless to debate people who argue for a living. You never win.

So when I talked to Jay Bilas, who is a lawyer, a couple of times earlier this year, I didn’t expect that I would alter his view on the pay-for-play issue in college sports. However, I didn’t anticipate that he would change mine.

Below is Bilas’ appearance on the Keith Olbermann show last night to discuss the ruling in the Northwestern union case.

Bilas argued many of the same points in an interview I did with him in February prior to the hearings on the Northwestern case. In wake of what happened yesterday, his comments are worth reviewing.

After covering college sports for nearly a decade at the Chicago … Continue Reading

Why isn’t there more coverage of women’s basketball tournament? Response from New York Times

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan addressed the issue of the lack of coverage for women compared to the men in their respective NCAA basketball tournaments. Several women readers voiced their complaints.

Sullivan writes:

The readers have a valid point about coverage so far: The women’s coverage has been minimal. Let’s look back over the weekend’s offerings.

Saturday: Coverage of the men’s tournament included one section-front article, and seven inside feature stories, a men’s roundup article and a notebook. There was nothing on the women’s tournament, which was to begin later that day. (By contrast, there was plenty of preview coverage of the men’s tournament.)

Sunday: Coverage of the men’s tournament included two section-front articles and a full-page photo display inside, along with two inside articles. For the women: an Associated Press roundup article and “agate” – the small-print

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Prediction: Bob Knight won’t be back at ESPN next year

Yep, that should just about do it for Bob Knight at ESPN. Yet another interpretation on the word “rape” by the former coach should end his broadcast run at the network.

I’m betting you thought it already ended.

Yesterday during an interview with Mike & Mike, Knight talked about how the NBA has “raped” college basketball.

“If I were involved with the NBA I wouldn’t want a 19-year-old or a 20-year-old kid, to bring into all the travel and all the problems that exist in the NBA. I would want a much more mature kid. I would want a kid that maybe I’ve been watching on another team and now he’s 21, 22 years old instead of 18 or 19, and I might trade for that kid. On top of it all, the NBA does a tremendous, gigantic disservice to

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