Top newsmakers for 2012: No denying that everyone talked about Skip Bayless

When I launched ShermanReport on April 16, I had some initial concerns that there might not be enough fresh content to do a daily site.

Couldn’t have been more wrong.

There’s so much territory to cover, it can be overwhelming at times. For a solo performer, it is a challenge to keep up. It’s never dull, that’s for sure.

As 2012 nears a close, I’m going to reflect on the year in sports media this week. Today, I begin with newsmakers. My criteria is people who were interesting, intriguing, controversial, and generally seemed to be in the news cycle, for better or worse.

Here we go:

Skip Bayless: Yes, Skip Bayless. I can see your eyes rolling, but name me someone who has generated more sports media talk?

I know he is extremely polarizing, and he routinely gets obliterated from the critics. Twitter … Continue Reading

Q/A with Sports on Earth execs: Why it isn’t Grantland; Luring Posnanski from SI as signature hire

Sports on Earth is another Grantland, right?

Like Grantland, SOE features a daily offering of select stories by top writers. It has a similar look. Grantland has Bill Simmons; Sports on Earth has Joe Posnanski. Both are the endless salad bowl when it comes to going long, longer, longest.

Yet Sports on Earth isn’t Grantland.

A veteran scribe put it to me this way: “The Grantland writer will write about his experience getting to the game. The Sports on Earth writer will write on the game.”

OK, that may be stretching it a bit when it comes to Grantland. The site does have quality writing about sports. But it also veers in pop culture and other areas that go beyond the arena.

Sunday, Grantland’s main headlines included posts on Adele, Tim Burton and Liam Neeson. All three couldn’t have been worse Sunday than my fantasy quarterback Cam Newton … Continue Reading

Costas interview with Posnanski: Author believes Freeh report flawed; wasn’t going to write a takedown book

Perhaps this is why Joe Posnanski is not doing a big media tour to promote his book Paterno. It would take too much out of him to repeatedly defend a coach nobody wants to hear being defended.

Posnanski appears Wednesday on Costas Tonight (NBC Sports Network, 9 p.m. ET). The 90-Minute Show Includes Costas’ full November 2011 interview with Jerry Sandusky from Rock Center with Brian Williams with never-before-seen footage.

Posnanski has done limited interviews since release of the book last week. You can see why from the Costas interview. There are tough questions to be answered.

Here are some of the more interesting segments.

On the Freeh Report being flawed:

Costas: “Without getting bogged down in the particulars, this is the essence of Louis Freeh, former FBI director‘s report. The conclusion: In order to avoid the consequences … Continue Reading

Bad blood: Whitlock rips former teammate Posnanski, Paterno book; questions ‘authenticity’

Let’s just say Jason Whitlock isn’t a member of the Joe Posnanski fan club.

There have been plenty of harsh reviews about Posnanski’s book, Paterno. But few were more vicious than the one written by  Whitlock.

Writing on Foxsports.com, Whitlock writes:

Posnanski’s fluffy, 400-plus-page opus provides sparse guidance. What it inadvertently does, for the highly careful reader, is expose how a coach and a writer can sacrifice their integrity over time, one compromised decision at a time.

It’s difficult to discern what is most shallow in Posnanski’s book — the reporting, the access or the insight.

Later, he says:

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).”

Yet this review goes deeper than the book. … Continue Reading

Is Sports on Earth another version of Grantland?

ESPN’s Grantland has been around for just over a year and it already has an imitator. Impressive.

At first glance, the new Sports on Earth site looks to be another version of Grantland. After a soft launch during the Olympics, the site made its full-blown debut this morning. It is a new joint development venture between USA TODAY Sports and MLB Advanced Media LLC (MLBAM).

Sports on Earth has many of the same traits as Grantland. It will feature excellent writers writing about the predictable (the upcoming college and pro football seasons) and the unpredictable (Dave Kindred’s great piece on the 40th anniversary reunion of the 1972 U.S. basketball team that got screwed out of a gold medal).

The showcase star for Sports on Earth is Joe Posnanski. The former Sports Illustrated writer, who is in the headlines for his Paterno biography, … Continue Reading

Paterno reviews aren’t kind: Time says ‘Bad timing’; Atlantic cites ‘failed defense’

I’m not the only one. The reviews have been tough on Joe Posnanski’s new book Paterno.

They cite many of the same themes I had in my review.

The Atlantic’s Allen Barra writes:

It’s not enough to say that Posnanski does not do well relating the facts of the Sandusky case and Paterno’s role in it. The truth is that he doesn’t really try. “Joe Paterno was fired,” he tells us at the end, “why and how the board [Penn State trustees] made its decision is not my story to tell.” If not Paterno’s biographer’s, one wonders, then whose story is it? And what is so complicated about that story?

Time and again, Posnanski writes as if it was his intention to make clear issues cloudy.

Like me, Sean Gregory of Time wasn’t all that interested in details … Continue Reading

Paterno review: Posnanski book disjointed; hardly was objective observer

Clearly, this wasn’t the book Joe Posnanski wanted to write.

Posnanski wanted his version of Paterno to be an inside look at a legendary coach who did it the right way. The coach who was beloved throughout the country. Black turf shoes, rolled up pants and white socks. That Joe Paterno.

Posnanski would spend an interesting and insightful year in State College, Pa., hanging out with the coach and his family. Then he would channel all that research into a thoughtful writing process with Paterno hitting bookstores in time for Father’s Day in 2013.

That was the original plan until Jerry Sandusky became a household word.

Everything changed on that fateful November weekend. For Penn State, Paterno, and for Posnanski.

The end result is a hastily-rushed to market book that is disjointed at best and apologetic at worst. It probably … Continue Reading

Today Show interview: Posnanski says Paterno story, ‘very, very complicated’

After much anticipation, Joe Posnanski’s biography, Paterno, hits the bookstores today. I received my copy yesterday. There’s a lot of stuff to digest, and I’ll post a review tomorrow.

After being silent for so long, Posnanski is making the rounds. This morning Matt Lauer interviewed him on the Today Show.

From the interview, Posnanski said:

On how the book changed in mid-course: “The mission statement from the start was to write the most honest book I could about Joe Paterno. Obviously, the story changed dramatically at the end.”

On being inside Paterno’s home when the scandal hit: “It was such an odd place to be. I wanted to put the reader there.”

On how Paterno should be remembered: “I wrote 125,000 words on how he should be remembered. It is very, very complicated. If you read the book, you … Continue Reading

Paterno book: Early reviews mixed; Full excerpt on GQ show coach being out of touch

The Paterno book hits the bookstores tomorrow. But thanks to an excerpt on GQ and some early reviews, feedback is starting to come in on Joe Posnanski’s effort.

Rich Hoffman of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote a column after reading the book. The headline for the piece reads: “Paterno bio is insightful and incomplete.”

He writes:

The book – I bought “Paterno” in a bookstore on Saturday, ahead of its  Tuesday publication date – is not a prosecutor’s brief against Paterno, and no  one should have expected one. Neither, though, is it a full-throated defense.  Given extraordinary access to the man, literally until his dying days, Posnanski  does what Posnanski always has done best as a writer: context and texture. As  everything around Paterno shook and then fell, you see a man and his family and  his confidants at the epicenter.

Whether

Continue Reading

Why isn’t Simon & Schuster doing more to promote Paterno book on its site? Posnanski not listed for any appearances

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I find it interesting that Simon & Schuster is doing minimal promotion on its site for Joe Posnanski’s Paterno book.

All that really exists is a separate page about the book. You have to do a search to find it on the site.

There is no mention of Paterno on Simon & Schuster’s home page. Curious, but maybe that’s because the book hasn’t been released?

Then I saw a tab for “Coming Soon.” Certainly, Paterno would be mentioned there, considering the book is coming out Tuesday.

However, under the “Coming Soon” highlights for Aug. 21, there were three books being promoted under non-fiction. None of them were named Paterno.

Simon & Schuster might have its reasons for not doing more to promote Paterno. I don’t know for sure because I’m still waiting to receive a return phone call … Continue Reading