SBD/Issue 191/Sports Media

People & Personalities: ESPN's Jemele Hill Apologizes For Column

Hill Pens Apology For Article
Comparing Celtics To Hitler
ESPN.com's Jemele Hill yesterday, in her first column since being suspended for a June 14 article in which she compared the Celtics to Adolf Hitler and nuclear war, apologized for being "thoughtless and insensitive." Hill: "I got too comfortable with my own knowledge and history of dealing with racial issues. I forgot to ask questions, perhaps subconsciously thinking I knew it all. ... My consequence is losing some of my credibility, and for me, that's a stiff penalty." Hill added, "I learned some good and some not-so-good things about people during the week of my suspension. I've learned who my friends are. ... I promise to be the same columnist I was before -- the one who gets on your nerves, makes you think and laugh. But on one condition: I'll be better and wiser than before. I'm not going to stop writing about race. It's just that next time I do, I'll be carrying an enhanced perspective" (ESPN.com, 6/23).

FANNING IT OUT: On Long Island, Neil Best notes WFAN-AM's Chris Russo yesterday on the "Mike & the Mad Dog" radio show confirmed that he and co-host Mike Francesa, who was not part of yesterday's broadcast, "feuded for much of the spring, but he insisted their friendship since has improved." Russo's remarks were in response to a Sunday Newsday story about the uncertain future of the radio show. Russo yesterday "never specifically denied that he or Francesa would leave" the station, but he "reiterated that both hosts currently are under contract." Russo said that he was "shocked to be asked about the possible end of the show." Russo said that Newsday was "taking 'a big leap' with its report and wondered where it had come from." Russo's contract with WFAN runs through October '09, and he said, "You abide by contracts. Mine's got a long, long way to go, not to mention that quote unquote non-compete clause following it." Best writes Francesa and Russo are "believed to have other job opportunities, but to take advantage in the short term, either would have to buy out his deal." An industry source said that satellite radio is the "likeliest destination for Russo." And Best writes if Francesa leaves, he "could draw interest from TV in addition to radio, perhaps NBC, where he has a local show on Sunday nights" (NEWSDAY, 6/24).

NOTES: NBC Sports & Olympics Exec Producer David Neal said that the net for its coverage of this summer's Beijing Games "hopes to move [Bob] Costas out of the studio and around and about the Olympic Green." Neal: "We want to get on the ground (in Beijing) and get a better feel for the place. The idea is to let Bob have some freedom" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/22)....NESN did not renew the contract of Bruins reporter Rob Simpson for the '08-09 season. NESN Bruins play-by-play broadcaster Jack Edwards last weekend "handled reporting duties" at the NHL Draft (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/22).

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