SBD/17/Sports Media

REPORTER RESPONDS TO BAN BY FIGURE SKATING ASSOCIATION

     Washington Post reporter Christine Brennan said she is
"shocked" by the actions of the U.S. Figure Skating Association,
which has decided to revoke Brennan's credentials citing a belief
that Brennan, author of a provocative book on the sport, is no
longer "impartial."  Brennan told the WASHINGTON POST's Howard
Kurtz:  "They have such popularity, up in the stratosphere of
sports, but they do not understand what we as reporters do.  If
you go to any figure skating event, there are dozens of people
writing columns with some kind of opinion.  It's a subjective
sport that requires analysis."  George Solomon, the Post's Sports
Editor, said USFSA Exec Dir Jerry Lace told him in a phone
conversation that he would reconsider the move.  Solomon:  "She
wrote a book, and there's a point of view in the book, and she
appears on radio and television a lot. ... [But] at no time has
she ever shown any unprofessionalism."  USFSA spokesperson
Heather Linhart could not describe specific offenses, but said
officials "felt some of her coverage has not been impartial."
Neither Lace nor USFSA President Morry Stillwell was available
for comment.  However, Solomon said Lace acknowledged to him that
he had trouble with Brennan's reporting or commentary in a few
areas, namely a quote on an ABC "PrimeTime" segment on skater
Randy Galindo and a piece on 13-year-old skater Tara Lipinski
(WASHINGTON POST, 4/17).
     CIRCLING THE WAGS:  Detroit Free Press reporter Michelle
Kaufman, on the USFSA:  "It's a huge mistake on their part, and
it's going to blow up in their face."  Chicago Tribune reporter
Philip Hersh:  "It's the stupidest thing they could ever do."
USOC spokesperson Mike Moran:  "Christine Brennan has covered the
Olympic movement for a while, and she has been nothing but the
consummate professional" (Howard Kurtz, WASHINGTON POST, 4/17).
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