FULL STORY

More what they said in 2012: Olympics, NHL, ESPN, state of sportswriting and more

Part 2

More of using quotes to tell the tale of sports media in 2012. These range from August through the end of the year.

NBC executive Alan Wurtzel on the Olympics: “We know the people who are watching the streaming are more likely to watch in primetime. Some of them want to see the movie again. Some of them want to hear the comments and analysis. In an interesting way, streaming has served as a barker. They watch and tell their friends, ‘I can’t believe what I just saw.’ Basically, it’s 1 + 1 = 3.”

Buzz Bissinger tweet: “But Comcast/NBC doesn’t give shit. Ratings off the roof. All they care about. Fuck the first amendment. Fuck free speech. Fuck Comcast/NBC.”

New York Times’ Jere Longeman on LoLo Jones: ”Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign. Essentially, Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be — vixen, virgin, victim — to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.”

NBC Sports Network president Jon Miller back in August: “I’m not a big Twitter follower, but I do follow the NHL on Twitter to find out as much as I can about the situation. It’s very important for us for the two sides to come together and for the season to start on time. The NHL is our most important property. To not have a start of the season would be tough on us.

Notre Dame radio analyst Allen Pinkett in an interview: “I’ve always felt like, to have a successful team, you gotta have a few bad citizens on the team,” Pinkett told The McNeil and Spiegel Show. “I mean, that’s how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals. That just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team. You can’t have a football team full of choir boys. You get your butt kicked if you have a team full of choir boys. You gotta have a little bit of edge, but the coach has to be the dictator and ultimate ruler.”

Jason Whitlock: “Seriously, most puddles are deeper than Paterno. It’s the antithesis of John Feinstein’s “A Season on the Brink” and Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights.” Paterno is “A Tuesday with JoePa (and Guido).”

ESPN executive producer Mark Gross on Little League World Series: “If the kid is crying his eyes out, we don’t dwell on it. We’re respectful of the kids and how they play. It’s not about dwelling on the negative. We’re not looking to embarrass anybody. We’re just looking to document the event. Do you see a kid crying? It is part of the game. Ten minutes later, you might see him running to an arcade game.”

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf:  If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be homerism. It’s not up to me. It’s up to the fans and they get what they want.”

Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan on stepping aside: ”What matters most to me as I wind down my association with this great newspaper is that I firmly believe I have been a member of a true All-Star team in sports journalism for the entire 44 years. We tend to judge sports figures by the number of championship rings they have been fortunate enough to accumulate. I want to be judged by the people I’ve worked with. Lists are dangerous, because someone obvious invariably is left off. So I won’t risk that. Just appreciate that I have been in a killer lineup for 44 years.”

Jeremy Schaap on E:60: “To me, that’s what I do. I understand, it’s not what drives the ratings, although we (E:60) hold our own. Our commitment to journalism is there. In the conversation about what’s on ESPN, the focus is going to be on the less edifying stuff. But I don’t think we’re there as a counterweight. I think there’s a sincere interest in doing this kind of journalism.”

David Feherty on hosting live show for the Golf Channel at the Ryder Cup:  “I was jumpier than a box of frogs until the bell rang last night.  That’s typically ‑‑ I’d be worried if I wasn’t, because like I said in the opening monologue, confidence is that warm, fuzzy feeling you get before you fall on your ass.”

John Clayton on ESPN commercial: “I mean more than 2 million hits on YouTube. Whoa. You’re looking on Twitter and you see LeBron James saying I’m hilarious in the commercial. I mean, c’mon.”

Mike Tirico on two-man booth for Monday Night Football:  “I would say the difference, simply, having more of a conversation with one person, as opposed to spreading it out back and forth. That’s where the dynamic of the broadcast changes. People were under the false impression that a three‑man booth led to more chatter. Like any other broadcast ‑‑ there are no plays that go by with complete silence so, there’s just as much real estate.”

Sally Jenkins on Lance Armstrong: “I can tell you that while my thoughts are complicated Lance remains a friend of mine, and my personal opinion of him was never based on what he did or didn’t do while riding a bike up an Alp. I like the guy.”

Jay Mariotti: “Why continue to embrace a craft that literally almost killed me, a profession currently diluted by so many unskilled bloggers and corporate suckups that it has lost much of its soul? My answer remains the same as it has for three decades: Because I still love sports, and because I still love to write. Sports + writing = sportswriter.”

Jerry Reinsdorf to sports radio founder Jeff Smulyan: “You certainly have the undying, lasting envy of every sports owner and athlete in sports as the guy who created sports radio. Before you came along, the only thing we had to deal with was the idiots in the newspapers.  Now you’ve managed to give a microphone to every moron in the world.”

Dino Costa: “I can answer in a way that talks about the industry of sports talk radio. On balance, all sports talk radio sounds exactly the same. There is a status quo that underwhelms me. It’s homogenized garbage that deals with the lowest common denominator. The predictability is frightening. The same subject, same comments every day. It stays in the same lane and drones on and on.”

APSE President Gerry Hearn: “There have been a lot of brushfires this year that are new, and these issues will continue to happen unless we as sports editors and sports management step up. They want to control the information at universities not just for traffic, but as competitors. “We have to ensure as best we can the access that our reporters need to do their jobs.”

Malcolm Moran, new head of National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana: “For the first time in the history of the industry, a 20-something journalist could have an advantage over a 40-something candidate. Graduates as recent as the class of 2007 have told me they feel as though they missed out on having the new technology included in their course work. If a younger candidate can meet all the timeless expectations of the industry, and demonstrate that he or she can tell stories across platforms, the assumption is that the candidate will handle the technology more easily than the more experienced veteran. Media outlets are willing to sacrifice institutional memory – and the higher salaries that comes with that – for more cost-effective, techno-savvy candidates. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying it’s happening.”

Michael Wilbon on state of sportswriting: “There’s not as much good stuff as there used to be. Don’t get me wrong. I turned down some good pieces. But I know what it used to be. There’s not enough stuff that compels me. The volume (of quality writing) is not close.

“We’re all chasing the same story. Most of it I don’t care about. Where’s LeBron going? Even the great writers aren’t as great as they used to be. They’re smarter. They may be good reporters. They may get information we care about, but they’re not as good at writing. I’m not as great as I used to be. You’re too busy trying to get it posted before Yahoo! does. It’s all a rush to get it posted, to be first.”

Marv Albert on being 71: “I feel I’m better now than I ever have been. You learn so much as you’re doing it. I’m watching tapes and I’ll see things that get me annoyed and where I know I can improve. I understand better letting the crowd play more. I’ve always said it was important for me who I was working with, because I like to kid around a lot. But I’ve also learned to use my partner better.

“I’m feeling good. There’s no reason to stop.”

ESPN president John Skipper: “We have standards of journalism that are at the highest order. There’s a separate question, which is, ‘Are we adhering to them?’ But at least our intention and what we publish is that we are going to adhere to high standards. We don’t discourage the scrutiny, we welcome it. Generally, we react to it.”

Ed Goren, former Fox Sports executive producer: “When is enough enough? I mean, how does ESPN do it paying $55 million for one Monday night game? The business is becoming more difficult because of the elevated rights fees. It’s challenging. Maybe I’m not quite smart enough to figure it out. Hopefully, the people at the various networks are smarter than me.”

Jack Whitaker, 88, receiving Hall of Fame honor: “Thank you for giving me this award and for giving it to me in time for me to remember I got it.”

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