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SBD/Issue 20/Sports Media
FSN Midwest Admits Mistake In Erasing Tape Of Bradley Feud
Published October 8, 2004
|Must See TV: FSN Midwest Admits
Mistake In Tape Erasure
FSN Midwest GM Jack Donovan said that his crew “was wrong in complying with demands” by Dodgers Dir of PR John Olguin to erase the tape of Wednesday’s confrontation between Dodgers RF Milton Bradley and L.A. Times beat reporter Jason Reid at Busch Stadium, according to Dan Caesar of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Donovan: “This was an intense ... situation, and it was a serious mistake to erase the video.” Caesar reports while FSN reporter Brent Stover has been pulled from covering the rest of the Dodgers-Cardinals series, FSN execs indicated that they were not “punishing Stover but that they wanted to keep him from being a distraction.” Also, the network would not allow Stover or FSN News Manager John Venneman to be interviewed Thursday. Venneman on Wednesday said the Dodgers “commandeered our crew and equipment,” adding, “There was an in-your-face situation. [Olguin] threatened to pull our media credentials. That would put us in a position where we couldn’t do our jobs” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/8). In an interview on Fox Sports radio, Stover said Olguin was “up in my face -– pretty big guy –- yelling at us to turn the camera off. He said, ‘You are not going to get out of here with that tape and it’s not going to hit the air.’” But Olguin said that he “did not intend to prevent video of the confrontation from being broadcast,” rather he “wanted to prevent video of partially undressed players from leaving the room.” MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson indicated that it was uncertain whether MLB “would extend their inquiry [of the incident] to determining whether the Dodgers acted inappropriately” by asking FSN to erase its tape (L.A. TIMES, 10/8).
WHAT ABOUT MILTON? In L.A., Bill Shaikin reports Bradley apologized to Reid Thursday. Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt indicated Bradley would not be disciplined, but added, “I don’t condone him being disrespectful, or name-calling of any type.” Both Olguin and L.A. Times Sports Editor Bill Dwyre “consider the matter concluded.” Dwyre said the paper will not discipline Reid. MLB VP/PR Rich Levin said MLB is “satisfied the two sides are working together to resolve the situation” (L.A. TIMES, 10/8).
REAX: FSN’s Max Kellerman said, “The irony here is that Reid’s paper ... ripped Bradley –- ripped him! –- for going after a fan who cursed him and then threw a bottle at him. Reid’s flipping out over an insult makes the L.A. Times look hypocritical.” Kellerman said the Dodgers “look the worst out of everybody. ... What kind of organization pressures the reporter to erase the tape?” Kellerman: “It does not get sleazier than that (“I, Max,”, 10/7). In Phoenix, Bob Young writes the “worst offense was Olguin pressuring the [FSN] crew to erase that tape” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/8).
ALL BLACK & WHITE? In N.Y., William Rhoden writes Bradley “raised a compelling and very sensitive issue about one’s responsibility as a journalist and identity as an African-American.” Reid “has to step back outside the bars that separate journalist from athlete” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/8). In L.A., J.A. Adande writes there should not be “a different set of rules for black reporters covering black athletes.” But “because of the huge discrepancy between the number of African Americans in sports and the number of African Americans in the press box, black reporters have an extra burden to provide the black perspective” (L.A. TIMES, 10/8).