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What it all means: ESPN executive breaks down record ratings for World Cup

My latest Chicago Tribune examines the record ratings for the World Cup.

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

From the column:

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The TV in the restaurant’s bar had the Cubs game on Monday night. The owner, though, was completely oblivious to Jake Arrieta’s quest to throw a no-hitter against the Red Sox. His sporting mind was elsewhere.

“You watching the U.S. game tomorrow?” he said to a customer. “It should be something.”

That exchange wouldn’t have happened 12 years ago in Chicago, maybe not four years ago.

Clearly, this World Cup has been a watershed moment for soccer in the United States. Interest and awareness have been at an all-time high, delivering record ratings for ESPN.

ESPN hopes many of these new soccer fans will continue to tune in despite the elimination … Continue Reading

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Can he play? Distractions won’t be the deciding issue for Michael Sam

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana is on the uproar over Tony Dungy’s comments about Michael Sam.

From the column:

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Excuse me, but will everyone just let Michael Sam play football for the St. Louis Rams?

The hoopla continues to be way too high for a seventh-round pick. This week, it was fueled by Tony Dungy.

The former coach made comments to the Tampa Tribune saying he would not have wanted Sam, who is gay, on his team.

“Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it,” Dungy said. “It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’

After being roasted by many outlets, Dungy issued a clarification Tuesday. While stressing that his comments weren’t about Sam’s sexuality, … Continue Reading

Random baseball card: Greg ‘The Bull’ Luzinski

While I was gone, I realize I haven’t posted any vintage baseball cards lately. As I have written previously, I love looking back at old cards in any sport. Makes me feel like I’m 12 again.

So here’s one of my all-time favorite players, Greg Luzinski as a young bull with the Phillies.

“The Bull” hit 307 career homers. A few of them were rooftop shots at old Comiskey Park when he played for the White Sox.

Here are his stats from BaseballReference.com.

 

 … Continue Reading

Tony Dungy clarifies remarks about Michael Sam: Believes media attention will be a distraction

Feeling the heat, Tony Dungy issued a statement today about his comments on Michael Sam.

From ESPN.com:

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On Tuesday, via a statement released to multiple media outlets, Dungy defended Sam’s right to play in the NFL while saying he gave an “honest answer,” and that his comments were made several weeks ago when “the Oprah Winfrey reality show that was going to chronicle Michael’s first season had been announced.”

“I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does.

“I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not.

“I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.

“I have been asked all of those questions several times in the … Continue Reading

Really, Jason Whitlock said something stupid? Apparently hasn’t heard Canadians aren’t laid back in hockey

Been a long time since I’ve written about my old pal Jason Whitlock. How is that move to ESPN working out?

Whitlock showed up on everyone’s radar last night following his remarks about NBA players from Canada on Olbermann.

Whitlock’s initial remarks start at the 3:15 mark in this clip.

Even Olbermann realized how ridiculous Whitlock was in his generalization about Canadian NBA players. In a second segment, he brings up the issue again at the 1:24 mark.

In this clip, Whitlock talks about Canadians being laid back in general. Apparently, he never has watched a hockey game, a sport dominated by Canadians. Nobody would call them laid back.

Josh Gold-Smith at Awful Announcing, who is Canadian, writes:

How quickly he forgot about two-time MVP and eight-time All-Star Steve Nash. Since he included all “Canadian athletes”, how about

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New Real Sports: Why aren’t people playing golf? The tragedy in Qatar for ’22 World Cup

Bryant Gumbel tackles the drop in participation for golf in the latest edition of Real Sports (tonight, 10 p.m. ET, HBO). All I can say is that even as a 15-handicapper, the pizza-size hole option isn’t for me.

The show also weighs in on the incredible tragedy that is taking place in Qatar; the deaths of migrant workers while building facilities for the ’22 World Cup.

A visit with Joe Goddard: Long-time Sun-Times baseball writer reflects on career

Rick Morrissey made my day with his column on Joe Goddard in the Sun-Times.

Even though he was the competition, Goddard, the long-time baseball writer, took pity on me when the Tribune threw me off the deep end, making me the White Sox baseball writer in the ’80s. Only in my mid-20s, I was fairly clueless. Goddard, though, helped shepherd me through the various obstacles. Otherwise, I still might have been lost in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium when they tore it down. I always will be eternally grateful.

Goddard remains one of the most popular writers ever to work the press boxes in Chicago. Even though he has had some ailments in his older years, he still will be “Young Joe” to all of us.

Morrissey writes:

The Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is Sunday. Many of you are thinking

Continue Reading

It’s good to be NFL owner: TV windfall gets even bigger as new deals kick in

Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Daily has a breakdown on the huge money each NFL team stands to earn under terms of the new TV deals.

Kaplan writes:

Each NFL team will get a 20 percent increase in national television money this year compared with 2013 — up $27 million — as a result of the new TV contracts that commence next month, according to sources who have seen the internal figures. Over the following two seasons, the increases will total an additional $23 million per club, at a minimum.

That means by 2016, each NFL team will bring in at least $181 million from national TV alone — more than enough by itself for teams to cover their salary cap expenses.

 … Continue Reading

Back in saddle: What did I miss?

Still trying to shake out cobwebs after a 22-hour travel experience on Sunday. But definitely worth it if your day started in Monte Carlo. It was the last stop on our week-long cruise that started in Barcelona.

I will say this: Monte Carlo is the only place where a Mercedes feels like the equivalent of a Chevy in the U.S. It seems like every other car is a Bentley, Porsche, Rolls, Ferrari, etc.. Neat place.

Anyway, glad to be back. Well, not so glad, but I still need to save a bit more cash before I can buy my place in Monte Carlo.

Hope all is well. What did I miss?

 … Continue Reading