At Thursday night's Heat-Mavericks game in Dallas, a familiar face was sitting courtside in Dallas: Texas A&M quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Kerr wondered how Manziel, a college student, could afford to get such prime tickets at a game between two marquee teams in the NBA. Of course, Kerr then spouted off the typical talking point of "just because he's playing in the SEC now..." and tried to brush it off as just a random comment with no backing behind it.
Brian Floyd of SBNation wrote up a great piece about the mini scandal, which should have been nipped in the bud with the revelation that Manziel's family is extremely wealthy and courtside tickets to a basketball game would likely not be a big deal for the family. After the controversy broke, Manziel took to Twitter and said he bought himself the ticket, which apparently sells from between $400 and $600 or so.
Is this a big deal? No, not really. But because of the NCAA's typical overreaching attitude towards any type of benefit that could be considered out of line for a college student, I guarantee you this is going to get blown out of proportion, probably moreso than it already has been. I don't think Kerr was out of line in wondering how Manziel got his courtside seat, considering I doubt he knew the backstory of Manziel's family.
What really is a problem is how the mindset of the NCAA has turned into "any college student with anything nice MUST be getting paid off by a booster!" Except for when that nice stuff comes from the bowls, then it's all well and good. Not all college kids come from poverty and live off of Easy Mac and tap water. In situations like this one, it's important to consider all of the facts instead of immediately breaking out the jump to conclusions mat and the pitchforks. It's also important to consider the real problem here - the NCAA's hypocrisy.
(H/T bmaze)no comments
One of my favorite pieces I've done over the past year is an interview with former NFL Films producer, Jim Jorden, on what it was like working with Steve Sabol. Given Sabol's significance to the NFL and the fact that NFL Films excels at storytelling and in particular biopics, I've been keenly interested in how and when NFL Films would opt to showcase the tremendous life of their own creative genius.
We reached out to NFL Films for guidance on this and were excited to hear that they have a Football Life episode in the works and it's likely we'll see it next fall on NFL Network.no comments
Remember those comments ESPN President John Skipper made about the network finally seeing the light and realizing their obsession with Tim Tebow was way too much for way too long? Let's take a look back, shall we?
"I said, 'Guys, we didn't handle this very well.' Going to training camp wasn't a problem. We just stayed on it relentlessly and too long."
"The quote that I hated was from Doug Gottlieb. ... I didn't love that. I want people to think about what works for the next 10 minutes might not be the best thing for us for three years. That one hit home with me."
"We've had some good discussions internally about trying to be careful. In some ways, the more difficult internal conflict is between long-term story telling and ratings. We all know that if you focus on the Tebow story, for the next 10 minutes you're going to do better. But the question is trying to take a long-term perspective and saying, 'Guys, let's not get over excited about one story and hyping it.'"
That memo must not have gotten through to producers of the morning SportsCenter, because ESPN went into a relentless TebowMania relapse Thursday that harkened back to the glory days of ESPN when Sal Paolantonio was at Jets camp for a month and the network covered Tim Tebow running shirtless in the rain like it was bigger news than the NHL Lockout.no comments
The National Basketball Association's TV network appears to be paying dividends, as NBA TV has delieved the most-viewed telecast ever and four of its top five telecasts of all-time in 2012.no comments
It's no secret the NFL kills it in the television ratings department. But the league took at least a little heat when it started placing prime-time games on its own network six years ago. After all, NFL Network's cable reach was tiny at that point, at least compared to ESPN and the three networks that aired NFL football the rest of the time.
For years, the numbers for "Thursday Night Football" couldn't skyrocket because huge numbers of fans simply couldn't gain access to the games.
But instead of responding to angry fans and critics by shying away from broadcasting key games to smaller audiences, the NFL strong-armed giant providers by adopting a larger-than-ever schedule for 2012. Essentially, TNF has become a weekly fixture now. That helped the league win two separate staring contests with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable earlier this year.no comments
Rob Parker has survived.
That's the first takeaway from ESPN's announcement this afternoon. The controversial debater/controversy-igniter has been given a 30 day suspension by the network. I had thought Parker's job was in serious jeopardy before seeing his apology being read on SportsCenter this morning. That was a major sign ESPN's investment in Parker wasn't coming to an end.
However, perhaps the more interesting nugget from the ESPN statement is that there have been additional disciplinary measures taken against personnel at First Take and there will be "enhanced editorial oversight" for the widely criticized show:no comments
A few schedule changes with Christmas approaching. No Monday Night Football on Christmas Eve as ESPN's game moves to Saturday night. No Thursday night game either as the NFLN package comes to an end. Also, NBC flexes 49ers-Seahawks to Sunday night.
Saturday, December 22
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions [ESPN 8:30PM] Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden & Lisa Salters
Sunday, December 23
New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys [FOX 1PM] Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles [FOX 1PM] Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick
Minnesota Vikings @ Houston Texans [FOX 1PM] Chris Myers, Tim Ryan
St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers [FOX 1PM] Ron Pitts, Mike Martz
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers [CBS 1PM] Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Tennessee Titans @ Green Bay Packers [CBS 1PM] Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
New England Patriots @ Jacksonville Jaguars [CBS 1PM] Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
San Diego Chargers @ New York Jets [CBS 1PM] Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs [CBS 1PM] Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins [CBS 1PM] Don Criqui, Randy Cross
Oakland Raiders @ Carolina Panthers [CBS 1PM] Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein
Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos [CBS 4:05PM] Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
New York Giants @ Baltimore Ravens [FOX 4:25PM] Joe Buck, Troy Aikman & Pam Oliver
Chicago Bears @ Arizona Cardinals [FOX 4:25PM] Dick Stockton, John Lynch
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks [NBC 8:20PM] Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth & Michelle Tafoya
H/T Sammy!no comments
I always thought the low point for SportsCenter during my lifetime would be the Tim Tebow birthday celebration from this past August. It was a perfect intergalactic collision of awful television. There was anchors, reporters, and analysts wishing Tebow a happy birthday like crazed stalkers, Sage Steele (ironically?) referring to Tebow's b-day as breaking news, a total abandonment of any sort of objectivity about the world around them... and of course, Herm Edwards and Marcellus Wiley wearing party hats and blowing kazoos.
I always thought that would be the moment SportsCenter jumped the shark, for lack of a better idiom. That day would always serve as the prototype for ESPN's zeal for ratings and buzz and celebrity and "what's now" trumping all sense of perspective.
Then Billy Crystal anchored the 6 PM ET SportsCenter on December 19th, 2012.
And I had to rethink my previous stance.no comments
It's that time once again for our AA Year in Review Podcast and joining us for the second year running is Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. Richard is one of the preeminent voices on the media beat and is widely recognized as one of the best sportswriters to follow on Twitter. Yesterday, Richard gave out his 2012 Media Awards at SI.com (a must read) and we talk about some of his award winners and the biggest stories and newsmakers from the last 12 months including...
-The Penn State scandal being the biggest story in the sports world for a second year running.
-Sports and real life intersecting at Penn State and the recent tragedies from the NFL.
-NBC's tape delay Olympic policy.
-The positioning of NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 as challengers to ESPN.
-Whether or not ESPN's brand took a hit with viewers this year.
-Our favorite television show, First Take, and how it's beginning to have a negative effect on those who do great work at ESPN.
-Thoughts on Joe Buck, Gus Johnson, Michelle Beadle, Erin Andrews, Darren Rovell and more.
-What the major story of 2013 will be.
In case you've missed any of our podcasts, check out all of our interviews by subscribing to the AA Podcast on iTunes or our AA Podcast RSS Page. For more from Richard, follow him on Twitter @richarddeitsch.no comments