Everyone's familiar with photobombing, but "makeup-bombing" might be a better way to describe what Lakers' radio play-by-play man John Ireland was caught doing [warning: NSFW language at both links] at halftime of the television broadcast of L.A.'s Feb. 12 win over Toronto. Take a look for yourself:
The best part is Ireland's look of terror at 0:25 when he realizes he's been seen on camera. Why is a radio guy using makeup, you might ask? Well, it's not just that Ireland wants to look good for his listeners (although that would be much funnier); he also works as a sportscaster for KCAL-9, the station doing the television broadcasts of Lakers' games, so he presumably was preparing for something post-game. He picked a bad time, though; if there's a likely time for television shots of the announcers (and by extension, everyone behind them), halftime's up there. Ireland hasn't yet commented on the incident on his Twitter feed, but I'm sure plenty of people will be eagerly watching in anticipation. Regardless of if he says anything about it, though, I wouldn't be surprised if Ireland decides to apply his makeup out of range of TV cameras in the future.
Coming off the heels of the epic battle that was Rovell vs Sandomir, I thought we might see an extended period of peace in the theatre of battle that is Twitter Wars. Then, Arsenal Football Club had to go and get knocked out of the FA Cup in a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland this weekend. This cup exit came immediately after a humiliating 4-0 defeat at AC Milan that effectively ended Arsenal's Champions League hopes. Needless to say, it was a bit of a rough week in North London.
And, it was another rough week for unabashed Arsenal supporter and vocal critic Piers Morgan. The CNN host has made an imprint in the sports world moonlighting as a Fox Soccer analyst/pundit/voice of the fan this season. He has certainly added buzz, intrigue, and a certain cachet to Fox Soccer that was lacking. Say what you wil about the man, he actually has some knowledge of what he's talking about and offers strong opinions. He's been the biggest critic of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger all season long and destroyed Wenger again Saturday on Twitter after the FA Cup defeat.
One Arsenal player finally had enough of Piers' rants criticizing Wenger and the club, 20 year old Ghanian midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong. Frimpong saw action in the Arsenal first team earlier this season, but was sent to Wolves on loan during the season to gain more playing time and experience, as bigger English clubs often do with young talent. Unfortunately for Frimpong, he suffered an ACL injury that ended his season and sent him back to Arsenal. However, he was sure to speak up for his club after seeing one too many negative tweets from Piers.
In one corner stands one of the world's biggest media heavyweights. In the other corner stands a ferocious, fearless young midfielder defending the honor of his team and manager.
Arsenal fan vs Arsenal player in the social media squared circle! Here's how it went down...
If you missed SNL's opening skit on Jeremy Lin you're certainly in for a treat below. The sketch pokes fun of how the media has been a bit too folksy in their coverage of Lin and how the rise of an Asian baskeball star has opened the door to be subtly racist at times.
A pretty entertaining jab at the media from SNL that covered a lot of ground. The dubbing of Lin's interview had me in stiches. This was a solid job by the SNL guys and I'm guessing there could be more skits like these on the horizon as Linsanity doesn't look to be just breezing through, but becoming a nationwide phenomenon.
The fallout at ESPN from their racially insensitive mobile headline was swift, decisive, and steep. On Sunday, the network announced it was taking action in two instances and made public a third where a similar reference was made on ESPN Radio in New York. The most drastic action was taken against the author of the mobile headline, who lost his job. This morning, the New York Daily News talked to the editor, 28 year old Anthony Federico, who said the headline was an innocent lapse in judgment.
ESPN also stated that an ESPNEWS anchor had been suspended 30 days for their use of the phrase. We know from video evidence and his Twitter page that it was Max Bretos, formerly of Fox Soccer Channel. Action wasn't taken against the third person because they weren't an ESPN employee. Here's the full ESPN statement about their response to the comments...
"At ESPN we are aware of three offensive and inappropriate comments made on ESPN outlets during our coverage of Jeremy Lin.
Saturday we apologized for two references here. We have since learned of a similar reference Friday on ESPN Radio New York. The incidents were separate and different. We have engaged in a thorough review of all three and have taken the following action:
The ESPN employee responsible for our Mobile headline has been dismissed.
The ESPNEWS anchor has been suspended for 30 days.
The radio commentator is not an ESPN employee.
We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future."
Give credit to ESPN in this regard - after some mishaps in the past where they have seemed stubborn and out of touch handling controversy, Bristol HQ did everything necessary and more in this case...
A crucial tilt in the Northern Atlantic Conference's South Division between the Benedictine Eagles and the Aurora Spartans came down to the buzzer the other night. Here's Benedictine's play-by-play announcer Mark Vasko navigating us through the final hectic seconds of the game with Aurora up by 1 point.
"Ballgame is overrrrrr" being said in a dejected tone after your team pulls off a buzzer-beating win is definitely not how it's supposed to sound. After multiple rewinds, it appears to me that the correct call was made to count the basket, but it certainly was close. To Vasko's credit, he recovers nicely after running the gamut of emotions in mere seconds as he ends the game elated after a tough road win in that snake pit of a gym in Aurora.
Matt looked at FOX's MLB schedule last week, and noted the extra primetime games in the schedule. In fact, there were ten straight weeks of primetime games, from May through July. We've learned more information today, and this isn't going to please people who hate the MLB blackout rules.
During the primetime schedule, all games scheduled between 7 and 10 PM EST will air on FOX locally and be unavailable to watch on MLB Extra Innings or MLB.tv. Normally, FOX blackouts only take out three afternoon games at a time. During the primetime periods, the blackouts will take out five or six games at a time.
I don't need to tell you how irritating this is. A perfect example comes on June 23rd. I live in central PA and I'm a Braves fan. I really want to watch what should be a great, primetime Braves-Red Sox game. But I'm going to be screwed, because my local FOX station will air the Yankees-Mets or Nationals-Orioles game instead, and I'm going to have to listen to the Braves on the radio. This really sucks for the avid baseball fan who wants to watch as many games as possible. Transplanted west coast fans who are fans of east coast teams are pretty much screwed here, because there's essentially no chance in hell that FOX is going to be airing a game with an east coast team on the west coast, unless a west coast team is involved.
When is MLB just going to stop this arcane blackout garbage? I'm thinking about getting rid of my cable box, but because of my location I won't be able to watch my Braves play the Phillies, Nationals, Pirates, or Orioles this year because I'm blacked out due to being in their local territories. This just isn't right at all. With NFL Sunday Ticket, the NFL avoids all of these silly blackouts. Imagine you're a Steelers fan who now lives in Miami. Your local CBS station is airing the Dolphins game at the same time the Steelers game is on. With Sunday Ticket, you can just go ahead and watch your Steelers. In MLB's world, you'd be blacked out from watching the Steelers (along with every other game on CBS at that time period) because you're in the Dolphins local territory. It's ridiculous, insane, and drives fans completely nuts.
Just stop the madness, MLB. All you're doing is hurting your product.
Some sad news to report throughout our mix of snark, cynicism, and laughs here at Awful Announcing. Fox's Chris Myers has been pulled from coverage of the Daytona 500, scheduled to take place on February 26th, after Myers' son Christopher was killed in a car accident in California. Myers was just 19 years old.
Myers will be replaced in the FOX studio by John Roberts of the Speed Network. Roberts will be the studio host for next Saturday's Budweiser Shootout, next Sunday's qualifying races, as well as the pre-race coverage at Daytona for the Daytona 500. Speedweeks at Daytona is Fox's marquee NASCAR event at the beginning of the season with coverage spanning two weeks. Fox is understandably giving Myers as much time as he needs following this unspeakable tragedy.
Here at Awful Announcing and the rest of the Bloguin network, all of our thoughts and prayers are with Myers and his family.
With the end of football season and the Pammies more than six months away, we're moving our Friday staple, This Week in Screengrab Snafus, to Saturdays to make sure you start your weekend the right way... and to help cope with the fact that it'll be six more months until the return of PamHawk. With Craig James out of the picture, you know Pam Ward will be back for the Pammies crown with a vengeance.
We start this week's snafus with this image from an ESPN interview with Mike Mayock about the NFL Draft. Needless to say, they would do about as well on the Wunderlic as Vince Young with spelling like this. (H/T clinthulsey)
Via bubbaprog come these two screengrabs. First, from a recent Hawks-Lakers game, if you were going to clone one NBA player... why in the world would it be Vladimir Radmanovic?
Secondly, "Generic Text Goes Here" could describe a multitude of manufactured debates from the mothership. I'm just surprised the dummy text doesn't involve Jeremy Lin or Tim Tebow. That would make things so much easier...
And finally, via dbaybucks comes our first ever sweatshirt snafu thanks to the University of Cincinnati, taking pride in botching the spelling of their school. At least they got Bearcats right...
That was your week in Screengrab Snafus, next time be careful out there!
Mobile visitors to ESPN.com tonight found themselves with a bit of an odd headline and picture as seen below from this photo nabbed by Myles Brown. Myles, you need to charge your phone buddy!
The reactions for this have been all over the place. Lots of outrage, some people thinking it's funny, others thinking it's racist, and some just not knowing what to think.
The odd thing is that if you do a twitter search for "Chink In The Armor" apparently various television and radio personalities have used this saying regarding Lin besides the headline above and even before his nine turnover game today (still a good scoring game for him personally).
But that's small potatoes compared to the largest individual sports website in the world and their main story, sure to be seen a large five figure audience.
I am a bit torn here. The radio guys and random television guys who are saying this are likely doing so knowing the wink wink racism double meaning of utilizing it in regards to Lin. If confronted, they have the recourse of saying, "That's not how I meant to use it. It was kind of dumb and I just wasn't thinking being live on the air. I apologize for anyone I offended." For instance below, it's hard to condemn this usage of the saying below.
But my thought here, and I understand it's just my opinion, is that this is pretty inexcusable given that ESPN.com is a huge platform with a lot of built in processes, people involved, and higher standards.
The usage of this very common saying is not racist itself if you just go with its surface meaning.
However, the worst racial slur you could call someone of Chinese or Asian descent would be "chink" and while it has dual definitions unlike most other slurs, it's just all too convenient that it shows up here. At face value, the headline certainly makes sense. But the dual definition of that word essentially ensures that if published, their would be a shit storm. Now there is.
So either way you look at it, it's wrong and it reminds me of a famous scene in Casino when Robert De Niro defends the firing of one his casino managers after he failed to realize that slot machines were rigged for big payouts that occurred multiple times before he thought anything of it.
De Niro says, "Look, he was either in on it, or he was too dumb to recognize it. Either way, I can't have him working for me."
We don't know how this headline made it to the live mobile site and just who had their hands on it. Obviously they'll have to explain to the higher ups what happened, but I doubt they can really get out of this with no punishment at all and perhaps their jobs.
I totally see the flip side, where "you're reading into this too much" or "you're being too sensitive" and "god you can't say anything these days." Trust me, all of this rings true to me and I'm half Asian.
Regardless, ESPN doesn't need this kind of press and heat on them. There is only really one word and saying in a headlne that needed to be put "off-limits" and given the very first opportunity to crack on Lin's game, ESPN went to it right away and that's just unacceptable and I think they know it. I am guessing we'll have a statement early tomorrow.
I hate having blogged so much about Lin this week. It's a great story and yet we're here blogging about a lot of media stuff that is unfortunate about his unexpected rise from obscurity. That said, I think it's justified. Jason Whitlock shouldn't make fun of Asian penis sizes and the word "chink" shouldn't be utilized in regards to Lin and other Asians by the mainstream media.
That's really it. I am not looking for any media affirmative action or that everyone just kiss Lin's ass because he is Asian. Just don't be racist or open the door for people to question if you're being racist by being cute. Just cover the story without these manufactured distractions.
What are your thoughts here on the appropriate punishment and reaction by ESPN if any? Do you believe it was intentional or people just being careless/too dumb? Does it matter?
Ed Note: ESPN did indeed release a statement early Saturday morning profusely apologizing for the headline. The statement reads in full:
"Last night, ESPN.com's mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake."
ESPN.com Editor in Chief Rob King also took to Twitter to apologize, saying this with a link to the statement:
"There's no defense for the indefensible. All we can offer are our apologies, sincere though incalculably inadequate."
ESPN certainly recognizes the gravity of the mistake and took the necessary steps to show contrition, but the question still needs to be answered how in the world THAT headline was published.