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              The "order to fire" Marv Albert "came directly from"
         NBC President Robert Wright, according to Michael Starr of
         the N.Y. POST (N.Y. POST, 9/26).  The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's
         Stephen Battaglio writes, "Sources said NBC likely dropped
         the ax quickly on Albert because he lied to top executives
         about the incident" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/26). 
              REAX: Albert's attorney Roy Black asked if he was
         surprised by NBC's move: "I don't know if I'm so surprised
         ... as much as I am by the way they did it.  They give the
         guy 15 minutes after this and immediately fire him.  You
         would think someone who had worked for the network for 23
         years ... would spend more than 15 minutes in making a
         decision like that" ("Larry King Live," 9/25).  Albert's
         attorney Peter Greenspun: "We're surprised they didn't wait
         until the time of sentencing" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/26).  In
         N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that NBC's statement "bespoke
         betrayal," and while NBC and MSG "adored" him, if they "were
         inclined to keep him, advertisers and affiliates would
         surely lobby to have him fired" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/26).  In
         N.Y., Harvey Araton: "Some will ask why Albert isn't moral
         enough to call [NBA] games played by the likes of Iverson
         and Rodman, et al.  The answer is this: He is replaceable. 
         He is a messenger. ... A messenger who embodies the wrong
         message is one problem that [NBA Commissioner David] Stern
         can make disappear" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/26).  NEWSDAY's Gay &
         Zipay report there was "widespread speculation that Albert
         ... would somehow salvage his career" at NBC.  While NBC
         execs "agonized over the decision .. it was equally obvious
         that NBC was in an increasingly untenable position for other
         reasons.  Foremost, there is a major question over whether
         Albert's continued employment might have affected NBC's
         renegotiations with the NBA and NFL for future telecasts"
         (NEWSDAY, 9/26).  Newark Star-Ledger's Dan Wasserman:
         "[L]et's face it: he pleads guilty to assaulting a woman in
         a hotel room during kinky sex.  This is not the type of
         [person] that a family-oriented network and company such as
         NBC and [GE] want to have on their payroll" ("Sports Inc.,"
         9/25).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes Albert "had to go"
         but "what is surprising is the swiftness with which the end
         came" (SUN, 9/26).  In L.A., Larry Stewart: "NBC did what it
         had to do ... swiftly and cleanly" (L.A. TIMES, 9/26).  Also
         in L.A., Tom Hoffarth calls NBC's "swift decision ...
         inevitable, but ... bogus" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/26).  Bergen
         Record media writer Mike Celizic: "The guy is radioactive,
         get rid of him ... I don't think they want anything to do
         with him, and I don't blame them."  The N.Y. Post's Wallace
         Matthews: "I'm not at all surprised by it, but I have to say
         I'm a little disappointed.  You would think that after 20
         years of service, NBC would owe Marv Albert at least the
         courtesy of allowing him to land in New York and break the
         news to him before they broke it to everybody else" (MSNBC,
         9/25).  In DC, Michael Wilbon: "I don't blame NBC for not
         wanting to put up with further headaches over this mess. ...
         But I also won't blame any entity from wanting to hire
         Albert a year from now if he has taken the necessary steps
         to deal with his behavioral problems" (WASHINGTON POST,
         9/26).  NEWSDAY's Shaun Powell writes under the header, "Why
         Was Marv Fired Over A Misdemeanor?"  Powell: "None of NBC's
         games had Albert as the main feature, and yet by firing him,
         he essentially was treated as one" (NEWSDAY, 9/26).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Law and Politics, Madison Square Garden, NBA, NBC, NFL

              Marv Albert "put an end to his lurid sexual assault
         trial but lost his job when he pleaded guilty yesterday to
         assault and battery for biting a 42-year-old Vienna, [VA],
         women, accepting a plea bargain in which prosecutors dropped
         a more serious charge of forcible sodomy," according to
         Brooke Masters of the WASHINGTON POST.  Albert faces up to
         12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine when he is sentenced
         October 24 (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26).  
              ALBERT STATEMENT: Albert gave a statement after the
         trial: "I'd first like to say thanks so much for the
         wonderful work on the part of Roy Black and Peter Greenspun
         and their entire staff.  From my point of view, I just felt
         I had to end this ordeal for myself, my wonderful family, my
         fiance Heather, my friends and supporters.  I'd like to
         thank NBC Sports and MSG Network people for standing behind
         me through all of this.  I'd love to be able to answer
         questions right now, but it's been a trying day, and I want
         to spend the rest of the day with my family" (THE DAILY). 
              NETWORK STATEMENTS: NBC's statement on Albert: "This
         past May, when charges against Marv Albert become public,
         Mr. Albert asserted his innocence and assured NBC senior
         management that there was no basis whatsoever to the
         charges.  Today, given Marv Albert's plea of guilty of
         assault and battery, NBC terminated its relationship with
         Mr. Albert" (NBC).  MSG's release: "Madison Square Garden
         accepted Marv Albert's resignation. ... The Garden, MSG
         Network, the Knicks and Rangers thank him for 30 years of
         dedicated service.  As he stated himself, he must now set
         out to reconstruct his personal and professional life.  We
         wish him well in those efforts.  Madison Square Garden will
         have no further comment at this time" (MSG).  Albert, in a
         second statement: "I have resigned from MSG and have been
         let go from NBC.  I fully understand the position in which
         the networks found themselves due to my very painful
         situation.  In the interest of my family, my friends and my
         many supporters, I step aside with deep humility and seek to
         reconstruct my personal and professional life" (Mult.).  
              NEW YORK COVERAGE: All three New York City O&Os led
         with the Albert plea during their early evening reports.
         WNBC's Michael Hill said that the trial "featured an
         assassination of his reputation" (WNBC, 9/25).  WCBS' John
         Slattery: "The whole world has seen this man air his dirty
         laundry."  WCBS' Pablo Guzman: "People in the business,
         agents in the business, have said that as far as network
         reporting, that's probably over for Albert except perhaps
         for the Fox network, that he may be going back to where his
         career began, in local news" (WCBS, 9/25).
              TV COVERAGE: "NBC Nightly News" reported on Albert 10
         minutes into the program, following its first commercial
         break.  The report consisted of the details of the plea and
         reported Albert's firing from NBC Sports (NBC, 9/25).  "CBS
         Evening News" with Dan Rather, which had not reported on
         Albert all week, covered the plea 11 minutes into its
         program, leading with the story following the first
         commercial break.  Rather: "A heavily publicized criminal
         court trial in Virginia ended today.  Some journalists,
         including some closely associated with this broadcast,
         preferred not to cover any part of this case" (CBS, 9/25). 
         ABC's "World News Tonight" reported on Albert eight minutes
         into its telecast. ABC's Jeff Greenfield examined cable TV's
         coverage of the trial.  Greenfield: "Once a story has
         achieved enough media liftoff, it becomes an almost constant
         presence on these new news networks" (ABC, 9/25).
              ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS: "Extra" and CNN's "Showbiz Today"
         led with the Albert story.  "Access Hollywood" and
         "Entertainment Tonight" did not cover the story.  CNN's
         "Larry King Live" featured the Albert plea.  Among the
         guests were attorney Roy Black, agent Leigh Steinberg and
         N.Y. Times sports columnist Ira Berkow (THE DAILY). 
              SPORTS SHOWS: ESPN's 6:30pm ET "SportsCenter" led with
         Albert and reported on him again midway through the hour-
         long broadcast.  ESPN's Bob Ley reported that the NBA "had
         no comment on either Albert's guilty plea or his firing by
         NBC."  The 11:00pm ET "SportsCenter" reported on Albert six
         minutes in, leading with the Shawn Kemp trade and the Astros
         clinching the NL Central ("SportsCenter," 9/25).  CNN/SI
         reported on the Albert plea following stories on the Kemp
         trade and Greg Ostertag re-signing with the Jazz.  CNN/SI's
         Bob Lorenz called the plea "a sudden and surprising end" to
         the trial.  CNN/SI's Nick Charles: "Albert's personal
         persona and professional career both took major hits on the
         richter scale."  SI legal analyst Lester Munson: "If he had
         been sentenced today, I think he probably would have done
         some time in jail. ... I think he may still face, however,
         some short time in jail" ("CNN/SI," CNN, 9/25).  

    Print | Tags: ABC, Cablevision, CBS, ESPN, Houston Astros, Law and Politics, Madison Square Garden, NBA, NBC, New York Knicks, Sports Illustrated, Utah Jazz, Viacom, Walt Disney

              Marv Albert's future is widely debated this morning,
         with many analysts commenting on whether he will ever be
         able to return to sportscasting.  Albert's spokesperson,
         Howard Rubenstein, said that Albert, who made "about" $2M a
         year, "had no job offers" after his relationship with MSG
         and NBC ended yesterday (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/26).  
              WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: Jeffrey Pollack, Publisher of THE
         SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY: "If there's the proper amount of
         contrition and some length of a sabbatical, there is the
         possibility of a return to sportscasting."  Advantage Int'l
         Senior VP Tom George: "Albert is who he is because of his
         platform with the Knicks.  We don't have to have this guy"
         (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26).  In N.Y., Mike Lupica: "He can get
         a second chance as a broadcaster. .. It would be a shame if
         Albert didn't" (DAILY NEWS, 9/26).  IF Enterprises President
         Steve Herz: "While I wouldn't expect him to get to the level
         where he was yesterday, this country loves to build up
         heroes, destroy them, and bring them back.  Look no further
         than Richard Nixon" (DAILY NEWS, 9/26).  The N.Y. Times' Ira
         Berkow: "There is an aspect of forgiveness, especially in
         the areas of entertainment, and Marv is an entertainer"
         ("LKL," 9/25).  In Chicago, Jim O'Donnell: "[T]he feeling
         persists that Albert will somehow, somewhere rise again to
         an intermediate broadcast level, most likely operating out
         of his New York base" (SUN-TIMES, 9/26).  Albert has
         endorsement deals with Nissan and Acclaim Videos.  Burns
         Sports Celebrity President Bob Williams: "He's dead in the
         eye of advertisers.  He's certainly dead in terms of
         endorsements" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 9/26).  Acclaim has not
         decided whether to release, as planned, an NFL Quarterback
         Club video that features Albert's voice (NEWSDAY, 9/26).  
              THE PEOPLE SPEAK: An ESPN SportsZone poll asked,
         "Should Marv Albert be allowed to broadcast sporting 
         events."  As of this morning, with 14,987 total votes cast,
         52% said he should; 48% said he shouldn't (ESPN).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, Law and Politics, Madison Square Garden, NBC, New York Knicks, NFL, Nissan, Walt Disney
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