ESPN producers also share responsibility for Sam shower story

Richard Deitsch of SI.com did a nice breakdown this morning on the issues with Josina Anderson’s shower story involving Michael Sam.

While Anderson took the brunt of the fallout, Deitsch’s post is a reminder that these reports don’t happen in a vacuum at large news organizations like ESPN. It is a process that involves producers, editors, and even the director of the news operation.

The direction of Anderson’s story could have been stopped or altered along the way.

Deitsch writes:

Also, Anderson was not solely responsible for the piece making air. If she followed protocol, which it appears she did, she would have had to have been in contact with multiple producers in Bristol as well as ESPN’s news desk for a review of whatever content she had. Given this was sensitive information, multiple people had to green-light the report.

Later, Deitsch … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Northwestern names radio booth for Dave Eanet; Hughes enshrined in WGN Radio Walk of Fame

Congratulations to a couple of Chicago guys on some well-deserved honors.

Dave Eanet, the voice of Northwestern sports for WGN-AM 720, received a surprise Saturday.

From Robert Feder:

During halftime of Saturday’s home opener in Evanston, Eanet’s alma mater christened the Ryan Field radio booth in his honor. In addition to unveiling a plaque designating “The Dave Eanet Broadcast Booth,” they presented him a cake inscribed: “Congratulations on 25 years, Mr. Cat!”

“They got me good,” Eanet later said. “Totally caught off guard . . . but it was a terrific honor.”

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Meanwhile, WGN honored Hughes in what will be the station’s last year with the team.

He will enshrined in WGN’s Walk of Fame on Sept. 24.

“Pat describes baseball with such an air of joy and detail, you feel like you’re seated behind home plate every time … Continue Reading

DVR alert: How Michael Jordan, sports’ ultimate trash-talker, couldn’t rattle Ian Poulter in Ryder Cup

Apart from his basketball skills, Michael Jordan will go down as one of the greatest trash talkers in sports history. Yet there was one athlete he couldn’t throw off his game: Ian Poulter.

Mark Rolfing tells the untold story of how Jordan tried to distract Poulter during the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah in “Road to the Ryder Cup” Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on NBC. Poulter, though, got the better of Jordan and the U.S., winning a key match for Europe on Saturday afternoon. The momentum carried over as Europe rallied to retain the Ryder Cup on Sunday.

The story also re-airs Wednesday on the Golf Channel at 6:30 p.m.

On his weekly radio show on SiriusXM, Poulter recalled his mind game with Jordan earlier this year:

Poulter:  “ [Jordan] loves his golf, he loves Ryder Cup.  He’s always there.  … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Harrelson is thinking about cutting back on road games in 2015

There’s a chance Ken Harrelson might cut back on his schedule next year.

The White Sox announcer told Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM 670 that he is considering cutting back on doing road games next year. During the season, Harrelson, who will be 73 next week, does a four-hour commute from Granger, Ind. for home games.

“I have a 10-year-old and 7-year-old playing ball in South Bend, and I am missing a lot of it,” Harrelson said.“If I told you I was not thinking about (cutting back) I would be lying. I am thinking about it. I have not made a decision, but it will be one that my family will help me with. I really don’t want to miss my grandkids growing up. They are old enough now to know I am known by a lot of people and they … Continue Reading

Showtime exec expects Brandon Marshall will be outspoken on Inside The NFL; logistics won’t be issue

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on the logistics and expectations for Brandon Marshall being a regular member of Showtime’s Inside The NFL this year.

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

From the column:

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Showtime always wanted to have a current player on its panel for “Inside The NFL,” but the logistics never could be worked out. Even with the show moving this season to Tuesdays, the day off for NFL players on most weeks, Stephen Espinoza, the general manager for Showtime Sports, still thought the prospect of landing an active player was “a longshot.”

With the cast of “Inside The NFL” being revamped this year, Espinoza was thinking former players when he asked Josh Pyatt, an agent, if he knew of any potential candidates.

“Josh asked if I would be interested … Continue Reading

Book review: Dave Revsine details how college football’s problems have existed from beginning

I did a review for the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row section on the new book by Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network: Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation. Highly recommended.

From the review.

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Quick quiz: When was this quote said about college football?

“Football today is a social obsession—a boy-killing, education prostituting, gladiatorial sport. It teaches virility and courage…but so does war.”

This could be a critic of the game in 2014, right? In fact, it dates back to 1905 when University of Chicago professor Shailer Matthews weighed in on the violence that was plaguing college football.

In “Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation,” author Dave Revsine documents the roots of football in America. He shows how from humble beginnings in the 1860s, the game grew into a full-blown spectacle on college … Continue Reading

DVR alert: New Tennis Channel documentary examines the important life of Arthur Ashe

I had the honor speaking twice to Arthur Ashe: Once in person and another time in a long conversation on the phone.

It remains two of the most memorable moments of my journalism career. You knew you were talking to a man who not only changed sports, but also had a profound impact on society.

I definitely will set the DVR for the Tennis Channel’s new documentary on Ashe. So should you.

Please check out this clip of Donald Dell’s letter to Ashe from the show.

The rundown from the Tennis Channel:

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Tennis Channel will celebrate the illustrious career of tennis pioneer, devoted activist and Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe in Signature Series: Arthur Ashe during the 2014 US Open. The newest edition to the network’s original Signature Series documentary lineup – Ashe’s first authorized television biography – will … Continue Reading

Chris Fowler ready for new role as voice of college football

A big “Whoa Nellie” for Chris Fowler.

Fowler walks into some big shoes this year as the new lead play-by-play man for college football on ESPN. And since the network will air the new playoff format, including the title game, that makes him ostensibly the new voice of college football.

Fowler now will occupy the role once filled by the legendary Keith Jackson and more recently, Brent Musburger. He will work with Kirk Herbstreit on the network’s primetime games that air on ABC.

Fowler might be the best studio host in the business. However, he wanted to scratch the play-by-play itch. If things go as expect, and they should, it will be his voice stamped on the next generation of college football’s biggest games.

For starters, don’t expect Fowler to utter any “Whoa Nellies” or any other signature catch phrases.… Continue Reading

Fox Sports 1 shows it isn’t easy to launch a new sports network

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana looks at the first year of Fox Sports 1.

From the column:

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I rarely watch anything on the new Fox Sports 1. Judging by the ratings, I am not alone in making that statement.

This isn’t a complete indictment of Fox Sports 1, although in a way it is. However, there’s a larger issue at play.

The struggles endured by Fox Sports 1 since it flipped the switch just over a year ago underscores how difficult it is to launch a new network with new programming in today’s marketplace. This is a challenging game, not for the faint of heart or those with small wallets.

Just ask ESPN. Long before the Bristol, Conn., campus became the biggest cash register in television, the network struggled in its infancy by … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Patrick Mannelly replaces McNeil on WSCR; Spiegel’s new partner

It didn’t take long for Patrick Mannelly to find a new job.

The recently retired Bears long-snapper will be Matt Spiegel’s new partner on the 9 a.m.-1 p.m. show on WSCR-AM 670, beginning Tuesday. He replaces Dan McNeil, who departed after failing to agree to a new contract with the station.

Mannelly was among several potential candidates who filled in for McNeil during his absence. With the Bears driving ratings on sports talk radio in Chicago, the idea of hiring a former player with close connections to the current team was a natural choice for WSCR.

“We feel the timing is great for Patrick and the Bears,” said Mitch Rosen, WSCR program director. “He’s only been out of the locker room for a short time. Patrick will give us fresh insights and thoughts on the Bears and NFL.”

“To be … Continue Reading