What they said in 2012: Quotes tell tale of year in sports media

Part 1:

I’m a big quote guy, as evidenced by the quote I run at the top of this site.

While going through my review of sports media in 2012, I came across so many relevant quotes from my reporting and elsewhere, I decided to share them. Some are insightful; some are funny; some are just plain stupid. Yet they all tell a tale of what occurred on this beat.

I had so many, I decided to split them into two posts. Part 1 covers the beginning of the site in April through early August.

Frank Deford on current state of sportswriting: “Unfortunately, we’ve gotten swamped by the numbers. People have gotten buried under the numbers. Statistics. That has become everything. Pitch count is more interesting than what the guy is made of. I think that’s a shame because so much of sports is drama.”

Keith Continue Reading

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

How much longer will new Sports Illustrated editor actually put out a magazine?

Last night, my bedtime reading was the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. Not on my Ipad, but the actual magazine.

With the news that Newsweek is ceasing to publish in a magazine format, it made me wonder how long that also would be the case for SI?

I think we’re still years away from SI becoming completely digital. Then again, this week’s edition felt thin and the magazine recently made some cuts in staff. Also, new initiatives seem to be geared toward the online experience.

SI seemed to say as much by appointing Paul Fichtenbaum, who for eight years ran Sports Illustrated’s Web site, as the new editor of the Time Inc. Sports Group. He replaces Terry McDonell.

Fichtenbaum told Richard Sandomir of the New York Times:

“Everything going forward has to have a digital overlay to it because that’s where the industry is

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Cover story: Sports Illustrated stands by reporting in Mathieu story; Nelson suit against SI dismissed

Update: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by former UCLA basketball player Reeves Nelson against SI. Details below.

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Tyrann Mathieu is on cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. However, it is not exactly the way he envisioned.

piece written by Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel focuses on the personal problems that have the LSU star on the sidelines this year. It contains some allegations that Mathieu might have broken some NCAA rules. It could derail a return to LSU next year.

The most interesting part of the piece is that it includes quotes from his father, who is serving a life sentence in prison for murder.

Mathieu declined to be interviewed in the story and claims SI harrassed him. From Fox 8 in New Orleans:

Sheila Mathieu calls the article “unfortunate” and says she can’t understand why

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Author Q/A: SI’s Mark Beech’s book on Army’s last great team and legendary coach Red Blaik

It’s been a long time since Army was relevant in college football beyond its annual game with Navy. As in basically, my entire lifetime. Army’s last great season was 1958. I was born in 1959.

However, back in the ’40s, Army was Alabama and Red Blaik was Nick Saban; Blaik even helped groom a young assistant named Vince Lombardi.

The Black Knights ruled the game. Then after sliding a bit in the early 50s, Army and Blaik had a final blast of glory.

Sports Illustrated’s Mark Beech documents it all in a new book When Saturday Mattered Most: The Last Golden Season of Army Football. Army went 8-0-1 in 1958 with Pete Dawkins winning the Heisman Trophy, and “The Lonesome End” becoming the stuff of legend.

Blaik is at the centerpiece of this story. A confidant of  Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the coach was … Continue Reading

Payton book in paperback: Author hopes for a second chance in Chicago

Jeff Pearlman hopes release of his Walter Payton biography in paperback this week will help right a wrong, especially in Chicago.

When excerpts of Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton ran in Sports Illustrated last fall, Pearlman was vilified. It couldn’t have been worse if he dressed in green and gold and staged a Green Bay Packers rally on Michigan Ave.

The excerpt detailed Payton’s troubled life after football; addiction to painkillers, issues with depression, affairs and a non-existent marriage. It hardly was the picture Bears fans saw of the valiant warrior during a spectacular 13-year career.

Reaction was harsh in Chicago. Mike Ditka said he would “spit” on the book. Everyone follows ”Da Coach” here and you could have filled Lake Michigan with all the saliva. Not a pretty image.

“To me, it was crushing,” Pearlman said.

Pearlman tried to do … Continue Reading

New Sports Illustrated TV program to debut tonight; Writers go on air to tell stories

As the lines continue to blur in the new media world, Sports Illustrated is taking its writers to television.

A new show, simply named Sports Illustrated, is set to debut tonight at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on NBC Sports Network.

Here’s the promo:

The program doesn’t have a host or narrator. Instead, the first installment uses SI writers Tom Verducci, John Wertheim, Jack McCallum and Sarah Kwak lending commentary and context with the subjects telling the story. Also, unlike HBO’s Real Sports, the SI writers aren’t shown doing the interviews.

From the release:

“Sports Illustrated” Presented by Lexus is, a monthly, hour-long sports magazine TV show produced by NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated. The show will deliver the magazine’s DNA of award-winning storytelling through feature segments, original reporting and commentary from SI’s trusted journalists. Emmy Award-winning Red Line Films has been tapped to produce the show.

I have to say … Continue Reading

Sports Illustrated makes staff cuts; hockey writer Farber to be special contributor

As Sports Illustrated gears up for the Olympics, among the most exciting periods for the magazine, it is cutting back.

SI and its related publications will cut 16 staffers in the effort to reduce costs and streamline operations. It had 13 staffers take a voluntary buyout and 3 layoffs. The reductions will take place over a nine-month period.

Among the writers, NFL and golf writer Damon Hack took the buyout and decided to join the Golf Channel. Hockey writer Michael Farber will stay at the magazine as a special contributor.

The cuts come as SI puts out its Olympics extravaganza. The coverage checks in at 66 pages. From the release:

Sports Illustrated previews the 2012 London Games in the July 23, 2012 issue, on newsstands now. This week’s issue features the U.S. women’s gymnastics team on the cover, 66 pages of

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Posnanski video promo for new Paterno book now seems off base; ‘Humanitarian’?

The countdown is on for the most anticipated sports book of the year: Joe Posnanski’s biography Paterno.

Published by Simon & Schuster, the 416-page book is due out on Aug. 21. The former Sports Illustrated writer spent a year in State College with the initial intention of trying to encapsulate the coach’s life and career.

Then of course, it all blew up last November. Then it even exploded more last week.

Here a video preview Posnanski did for the book prior to the news of the Freeh Commission. It now seems terribly outdated, doesn’t it?

The video has a graphic with a header that reads: “Joe Paterno: Educator. Coach. Humanitarian.”

I’ve heard Paterno called many things in the past week, but “humanitarian” isn’t one of them. There’s also a picture of the statue that many people now want to tear down.

In the video, Posnanski … Continue Reading

Damon Hack leaves Sports Illustrated to join Golf Channel

Damon Hack had a great gig. It doesn’t get much better than covering the NFL and golf for Sports Illustrated.

However despite a professional career as a sportswriter, Hack always wanted to get back to the broadcast side. Monday, the Golf Channel offered him the opportunity.

From the network:

He will serve as a “Golf Channel Insider” for the network’s news programming, including Morning Drive and Golf Central, and as a senior writer for GolfChannel.com. He also will be seen occasionally on NBC Sports Network, reporting golf.

I covered a few golf tournaments with Hack during the day. So naturally, I had to give him Monday grief when he mentioned he had “a broadcast agent.” Don’t get too big, big guy.

Actually, the Golf Channel opportunity came somewhat out of the blue. A few weeks ago, he served as a substitute … Continue Reading