08.31.14

Miami Herald To FIU : We’ll Decide Who’s Covering Your (Shitty) Football Team, Thanks

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 2:51 pm by

(FIU’s head of reporter banning, Pete Garcia)

In recent years, Florida International University has made CSTB headlines for incidents including, but not limited to Isiah Thomas’ unsuccessful head coaching tenure, and ex-CNN anchorman Rick Sanchez’ awkward debut as a color analyst for the school’s football team.  Said squad, coming off a 1-11 2013 season under Ron Turner, will not be covered this season by the Miami Herald’s David J. Neil. as the school as refused to issue the reporter media credentials.  In response, the Herald announced they were skipping FIU’s home opener, a 14-12 defeat to Bethune-Cookman yesterday afternoon.  From the Herald’s Linda Robertson :

No explanation was given by FIU, but Neal’s access to FIU coaches and athletes had been dwindling for months, to the point where he was no longer permitted to attend football practice or conduct interviews. Last week, when Neal attempted to write a story on the FIU women’s soccer team, he was told no one was allowed to talk to him.

“It’s unprecedented for any local team to refuse to credential our beat reporter without reason,” Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marqués Gonzalez said of the four pro and two college teams the Herald covers on a regular basis. “The team does not get to choose who covers the program.”

Sandra Gonzalez-Levy, FIU’s senior vice president for external relations, said it was unfortunate that the Herald would not staff FIU’s game against Bethune-Cookman University at FIU Stadium on campus.

“We’re very disappointed the Herald has decided on this course,” she said. “Credentials were given to other reporters. We regret that this is the Herald’s choice.”

The ban on Neal was imposed without an explanation from Pete Garcia, FIU’s athletic director and executive director of sports and entertainment.  Garcia received an email Monday from Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch inquiring about “evidence of unprofessional treatment” of Neal. Previously, Herald Executive Sports Editor Jorge Rojas also sought an explanation for FIU’s actions, with no response from Garcia. On Wednesday, FIU denied the Herald’s request for Neal’s credential.

Coming Soon To A Stage (That Probably Isn’t Anywhere Near You) : ““I Am Stephon Marbury”

Posted in Basketball at 11:30 am by

Who amongst us hasn’t woken up one Sunday morning and thought, “if only there were a Chinese a sports-themed youth theater event telling the story of Coney Island’s U-Stream fixture turned Beijing Ducks MVP Stephon Marbury”? If you’re the only person on earth who meets that description, you’ll be thrilled to know “China’s first fusion of sports, music, dance and multimedia”, “I Am Stephon Marbury” opens in Bejing this fall. According to the New York Times’ Becky Davis, the show “plans to feature the Chinese Basketball Association’s top cheerleading squad and performers trained to do various basketball tricks. According to the website, other celebrities will make surprise appearances on stage, including Yao Ming.” Please note, however, Marc Berman is not considered a celebrity.

The play, which will run for 11 consecutive nights, centers on the idea that Marbury is a successful Beijing vagabond, or beipiao — a Chinese term typically used to refer to the millions of migrant workers who flock to the capital in search of employment without official Beijing residence permits. The plot follows the story of a musician, a beipiao himself, who arrives in Beijing in search of fame and is inspired to beat the odds by watching Marbury lead the Ducks to their first-ever championship during the 2011-12 season.

Despite its title, the play isn’t a straight biographical account of Marbury’s life, but rather a parable about pursuing one’s dreams. Though Marbury will play himself in the production, the show’s official site warns that he will appear only in a limited number of scenes because of his inexperience with acting and inability to speak Mandarin.

08.30.14

MetsBlog’s Cerrone Predicts The TIcking Time Bomb That Is Wally Backman Will Not Go Off In Queens

Posted in Baseball at 2:34 pm by

Las Vegas 51’s skipper Wally Backman was named Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year yesterday, a fitting honor given the former Mets 2B had led the Amazins’ Triple A affiliate to their second consecutive Division titles.  Said news will undoubtedly fan the flames for those who’d just as soon see Backman unseat Terry Collins as the parent club’s manager, but along with warning there’s little or no chance of it happening, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone vaguely alludes to Wally’s notorious temper (“he’d be great between the lines when the game is going on. In fact, I’m not sure anyone will be better…I worry how he’ll do in the time before and after the game, specifically in regards to the media”)

The reality is, like it or not, New York managers have to talk to reporters twice a day – and a lot more if you consider all the sidebar, off-record discussions that occur anywhere they can. My fear is that he’ll divide the clubhouse more than he’ll motivate and unite it. This might also be an issue if he’s bench coach, by the way.

I think his message will work at first, but could so easily turn south if the team doesn’t do well, and depending on the talent that could be beyond his control. I love our local reporters and media, they’re great at what they do; but that’s the problem, they’re great at what they do. I can totally see him saying things, on record, off record, building walls, isolating people, taking shots at people above and below and – even if those comments are justified and accurate – it will spin out on control in way that, unless he’s really, really good at damage control, will create a bigger circus than already exists at Citi Field.

That said, it would be fun to watch.

First Person To Say “David Wells Had Quite A Mouth On Him” Is Banned

Posted in Free Expression, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 2:14 pm by

Had he not succumbed to a lifetime of self-abuse, American poet laureate GG Allin would’ve turned 58 years old yesterday.  With that occasion in mind, let’s recall the classic moment in local TV history when investigative maven Bill Proctor attempted to make-sense-of-it-all, with the help of an expert of panel of budding young scumfucs in Farmington Hills, MI.

08.29.14

Zirin : Goodell’s New Domestic Violence Policy Is Equal Parts Late, Arbtirary

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Gridiron at 6:01 pm by

After being pilloried for the minor punishment meted out to Ravens RB Ray Rice, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (above) is now pledging a 6 month ban for “violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force.”  While Goodell works overtime to change the narrative — he’s not enabling wife beaters, he’s stopping ’em! —- The Nation’s ever skeptical Dave Zirin declares, “taking moral guidance from the NFL is like being lectured about diplomacy by Benjamin Netanyahu.”

This is a commissioner who talks on and on about his concern for the health and safety of players while trying to extend the season to 18 games. This is a commissioner who has pledged to penalize players for using on-field slurs yet defends the name of one of his billion dollar brands, a dictionary-defined slur. This is a commissioner who talks about how much the NFL cares about communities while demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for billionaires while our schools and hospitals remain in disrepair. This is a commissioner desperate to increase his marketshare among women football fans and who believes that coming down hard on domestic violence is the way to do it.

As for the plan itself, the best part, as Jessica Luther has written, is that the NFL has pledged to spend much more time and energy at rookie and player orientations to actually discuss domestic violence. This is important. I’ve been to rookie orientation sessions and when women are discussed, if discussed at all, they are talked about as people who players should look at as predators trying to get pregnant or always ready to falsely accuse players of sexual assault. The discussions are how to avoid such situations. Any efforts to discuss women with young players as actual human beings should be welcomed. Luther talks about other initiatives aimed at education and awareness which hopefully will actually be implemented.

But the section of the new conduct policy that is far more problematic is what we could call the carceral part. Roger Goodell has decided to place the passing of judgment of domestic violence completely under his own power as Commissioner without any input from the NFL Players Association. It now resides beneath the umbrella of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. That means Goodell has total control as judge, jury and executioner over punishment on the basis of his assessment of what happened in a family’s personal life.

Adam Jones Denies Channeling Aubrey Huff, Dissing Charm City

Posted in Baseball at 1:58 pm by

Though not nearly as sensational as the story out of Boise about Jesus Montero throwing ice cream sandwiches at a mouthy tormentor (who was on the Mariners payroll),  Orioles OF Adam Jones found himself in a different body of hot water after some ill-advised remarks at something or other called “Social Media Night” at Camden Yards.  From the Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli and Dan Connolly :

Jones irked some fans in attendance with short responses during the question-and-answer session, and he earned especially negative attention for saying his favorite place in Baltimore was the airport so he could fly home.

After the game, Jones said he was joking, adding that he likes the airport because it’s where he picks up his friends and family who come to visit and support him.

“I guess my shtick wasn’t appreciated at the time,” Jones said. “But I had a good time. I’ll do it again, and I probably should do it again.”

“I wish I had more time,” Jones said. “I wish we could do it at 4 o’clock or something, where I have ample time to give everybody my best. It just ran close to the game, so it was a rushed event. But I definitely would do it again and give people a better showing.”

Jones called comparisons to Aubrey Huff’s complaints about Baltimore, “absurd”, and fair enough, it’s not like he said anything bad about the airport.

08.28.14

Michael Vick : The Great Defender Of N-Bomb Tossing Kenny Chesney Fans

Posted in Gridiron at 4:47 pm by

When smartphone footage surfaced last year of Eagles WR Riley Cooper racially abusing a security guard at a Kenny Chesney stadium show, rushing to Cooper’s defense was not a fashionable thing to do (least of all because Kenny Chesney totally sucks).  Cooper’s cred in the Philly locker room took an temporary hit, but former Eagles QB Michael Vick — no stranger to being judged (for murdering dozens of innocent dogs) — tells ESPN.com’s Ian O’Connor  that he singlehandedly saved a guy the journalist calls,  “a marginal white player whose production (an average of 15.3 receptions and 226.3 yards per year over his first three seasons suggested he wasn’t worth the trouble.”

“I stood in front of the team,” Vick said. “I stood in front of the cameras and defused that whole situation.”

Vick knew there would be a price to pay for assuming the role of Cooper’s human shield.

“Guys were mad at me for a while,” he said of fellow Eagles. “They were upset with me for a day or two, like six or seven guys who were just like, ‘Really, how could you do that?’ And then I’m getting phone calls from people everywhere, and my Twitter page is kind of in an uproar. But I took that stand for him, man, and I just hope at the end of the day that he appreciates that.

“I just hope he’s [appreciative] of my boldness to step out in front of the world and say what I said, and he appreciates what I did and understands the magnitude of it, because nobody else was going to step up and say anything. I could’ve said the same thing that 25 of my teammates were saying, and there was built-up anger.”

“A couple of things transpired since [the incident] that I dislike, and I’ll be honest with you,” Vick said. “After he signed his contract, I sent him a text and I never got a text back, and that made me feel a certain type of way. But I’m not the type of guy who holds grudges.”

“They might not have forgotten about it, but they forgave him,” Vick said. “We had guys talking about knocking him out, taking his head off, doing X, Y and Z to him on the field, and none of that happened, out of respect for myself, I think.”

Vick neglects to mention, sadly, that one of the persons talking about knocking Cooper out, taking his head off, doing X, Y and Z to him on the field was his younger brother.