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SBD/Issue 57/Sports Media
Tagliabue Discusses "Playmakers" On HBO's "Inside The NFL"
Published December 4, 2003
Tagliabue Discusses "Playmakers"
On HBO's "Inside The NFL"
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue appeared on HBO's "Inside The NFL" last night, and said of his discussion with Disney Chair & CEO Michael Eisner about ESPN's "Playmakers": "My concern was that the show was one-dimensional and traded in racial stereotypes, and I didn't think that was either appropriate for ESPN or right for our players. (Eisner) said that his people had told him that there were things that had gone on 20 years ago, shows that had been out there, and this was not a heck of a lot different. I said basically on that that I think society's expectations as to the standards that athletes meet are higher today than they were 20 years ago when it comes to what we expect of our role models for kids. Whatever might have been okay 30 years ago ... I didn't feel was okay today. We had to meet a higher standard." Tagliabue, on whether the league's rights negotiations with ESPN would be impacted should the network continue the series: "We would take it into account to the extent we could, but we don't view ourselves as the ultimate censor. I don't view myself as a 14th century pope in terms of what people have access to. I made my views known. I hope they consider them. If they don't it will be their editorial judgement, but life will go on" (HBO, 12/3).
PLAY IT AGAIN? "Playmakers" creator John Eisendrath and ESPN Original Entertainment Senior VP/Programming Rom Semiao indicated that "Playmakers" "remains in limbo." Eisendrath: "I'm hopeful that the powers that be will see that the NFL and 'Playmakers' can coexist and that the show, if anything, increases the popularity of the league" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 12/4).