SBD/Issue 145/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • MLB Earns First Ever "A" Grade For Race In Lapchick's Study

    Hudson Disappointed By African
    American Presence In Baseball
    Univ. of Central Florida (UCF) Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport Dir Richard Lapchick in his '09 MLB Racial & Gender Report Card awarded the league its first ever "A" for race and a "B" for gender, up from an "A-" and "C+," respectively. The number of African-American players in MLB increased during the '08 season to 10.2% after reaching a low of 8.2% in '07, marking the first improvement since '95. Also, there are 10 managers of color at the start of this season, equaling the previous high set in '02. MLB's five GMs of color is also an all-time high. With the league also improving its gender grade, it earned a combined "B+" grade, its best ever (UCF). MLB yesterday celebrated its annual Jackie Robinson Day, but despite the UCF report, Dodgers 2B Orlando Hudson said that Robinson "'would probably turn over in his grave' seeing how few African Americans" play in MLB. Hudson contends that the "increased popularity of basketball and football among African Americans isn't the only reason they're not playing baseball." Hudson: "There aren't too many blacks in baseball, period. They feel like they won't get the chance. You watch the College World Series, how many African Americans do you see?" Hudson said that he is "trying to do something about it," and unveiled plans for his Around the Mound Tour, under which he and other MLB players will "visit schools in various cities to promote baseball in African American communities" (L.A. TIMES, 4/16). However, in L.A., Kurt Streeter notes the Dodgers have six African-American players on their 25-man MLB roster, up from zero in '97, a "humble sign that baseball's push to boost inner-city participation, and its efforts to show a more welcoming side ... may be having an effect" (L.A. TIMES, 4/16).

    Lee Says Wearing No. 42 Is About Giving
    Robinson "The Recognition He Deserves"
    HONORING NO. 42: Every MLB player wore Robinson's No. 42 during yesterday's games, and Cubs 1B Derrek Lee said, "I like it. It's about honoring him and giving him the recognition he deserves, and maybe educating people along the way." Cubs LF Alfonso Soriano: "I remember last year, three or four players used the number. Now, everybody has to use it, and it's nice. Everybody will remember the history now" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/16). Astros manager Cecil Cooper said, "I think it's neat everybody wears it." Cooper added MLB "ought to do it" for Baseball HOFer Roberte Clemente as well. But Astros P LaTroy Hawkins said, "It loses its luster when everybody does it. I think everybody has a certain level of respect for Jackie, and it's not like anybody now shouldn't know who he is and what he's done for the game. I'd hate to see if there is a professional baseball player that doesn't know his legacy in the game. Shame on him if there is" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/16). In Toronto, Richard Griffin writes, "Yesterday was not only a celebration of a great moment in sports history, but also an event that many believe helped launch a civil rights movement. Unfortunately, it's a reality that many of the young players that ultimately benefitted financially and in quality of life do not understand and appreciate. But at least for one day they were part of the celebration" (TORONTO STAR, 4/16).

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  • Cornwell Seeks Penalties On Reporters For Prospect Drug Stories

    Cornwell Says Players'
    Confidentiality Most Important
    In the wake of "questionable reports regarding failed drug tests by NFL draft prospects," attorney David Cornwell has "reiterated his call for penalties on reporters and news organizations for such accounts," according to Jason Cole of YAHOO SPORTS. Cornwell, who was a finalist for the NFLPA Exec Dir position, wrote in a letter to that access to NFL-controlled events "should be withheld from and reporter Tony Pauline until they reveal the source of a story" that claims NFL Draft prospect and former Boston College DT B.J. Raji tested positive for marijuana. Whether the report is accurate is "largely irrelevant to Cornwell, who maintains that the confidentiality of the [testing] program outweighs any media need to report test results." Cornwell wrote, "The public has no right to know information that (the) NFL has an obligation to keep confidential. No legitimate interest overrides a player's fundamental right to confidentiality. ... It is preposterous to look the other way when players' rights to confidentiality are breached, then wave the flag for journalistic integrity to protect the people who violate those rights." Cornwell Monday said that "even those organizations that are rights holders to the NFL should be subject to scrutiny." Cornwell said in an e-mail, "I do not suggest that reporters or outlets should be shunned or punished for reporting a story. I believe their access to NFL events should be restricted if the manner in which they report a story protects a person who has violated an important league policy. Similar to every other business, a reporter or organization can make their own assessment as to whether the price to pay for aiding and abetting the violation of a league policy is worth its business interest in covering league events" (, 4/15).

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  • NHL Benefiting From Big Market Success, Young Talents Emerging

    Blues Have Sold Out 29 Games This Season
    The beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year "stands as a seminal moment for the NHL in its fourth playoff season since the lockout, a nod to a new wave of talent and a return of the old markets," according to Scott Burnside of NHL Exec VP/Production & Programming John Shannon: "It's the year of the return of the big city. All of a sudden, we're in a situation where it's actually less about players and more about the team. It's the first time in a long time, for me." Burnside noted the Blackhawks, Blues and Bruins "are all back," and the Blues are "one of the most compelling stories this season, less than three years removed from ... being roundly ignored by their fans." The club sold out four games in '06-07, Blues President John Davidson's first season in the role, but this season sold out 29 games. Davidson: "That's the biggest story for us. These people have fallen in love with our team. ... It's a hockey city, and the fans just wanted to be treated honestly, and they wanted some hope." Meanwhile, Burnside noted the league has gone from Penguins C Sidney Crosby and Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin "being the faces of the new NHL, the touchstone for fans across the NHL landscape, to a host of teams that have captured the enthusiasm of fans." Shannon "challenges: Pick three players to put on your NHL marketing poster." Shannon: "Gosh, I have a difficult time. I think there are 10 or 12 guys" (, 4/15).

    THE TIME IS NOW: In DC, Tim Lemke writes the NHL "has a chance to dominate the sports landscape for a few weeks as it opens the Stanley Cup playoffs during a deceptively slow period in the sports landscape." It is a "small window of opportunity for the NHL, but the league is poised to take advantage with a number of compelling early-round matchups that should push the Nielsen meter upward for networks" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/16).

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  • NHL's Playoff Tweetup Draws Fans At 23 Different Locations

    Bettman Sends Tweets From Pittsburgh
    As Part Of NHL's Debut Tweetup
    The NHL last night held its debut Tweetup, a gathering of fans who actively follow the league via the microblogging utility Twitter. The N.Y. event at the NHL Store, one of 23 Tweetups being held worldwide in conjunction with the start of the league playoffs, drew about 150 people. As part of the event, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman began sending tweets from Pittsburgh, where he was attending Game 1 of the Flyers-Penguins series. As of 9:45pm ET last night, Bettman had 343 followers to his Twitter feed. “I am so pleased to welcome you all to the first ever NHL Tweetup,” Bettman wrote in one of his tweets. “Enjoy the games!” Bettman in another tweet linked to an open letter he posted on Meanwhile, the Capitals became the second pro team to be formally aligned with Twackle, the Twitter sports aggregation engine developed by Octagon Digital. The Suns were the first club to partner with Twackle (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). WPXI-NBC reported around 70 Penguins fans gathered at a TGI Friday's in Robinson Township, Pennslvania, as part of the Tweetup, the "second largest crowd" among the various events. One fans said of the Tweetup, "A lot of us talk to each other online during the day but never get a chance to meet each other face to face and watch Pens' hockey" (, 4/15). Bettman was not the only league employee to take part in the event. NHL Manager of Communications Schuyler Baehman, under the username schuylerb, tweeted from the N.Y. gathering, "Having a great NHLtweetup so far. Great on-ice action.” He later acknowledged one of the sponsors of the event by writing, “Thanks to McDonald's for the great food.” NHL Dir of Corporate Communications Michael DiLorenzo, with the username umassdilo, tweeted, “Buckle up folks #nhltweetup” (THE DAILY).

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  • WTA's Stacey Allaster Heavy Favorite To Replace Larry Scott

    Allaster Likely Will Succeed
    Outgoing Chair & CEO Scott
    The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour reportedly "won't be welcoming an outside face" to replace outgoing Chair & CEO Larry Scott, as WTA Tour President Stacey Allaster is Scott's "likely successor," according to Sandra Harwitt of The WTA BOD last week met to discuss who will replace Scott when he leaves to become Pac-10 Commissioner on July 1, and while no decision was made, Octagon's Micky Lawler, a BOD member, said that she would "be amazed" if Scott's successor "didn't come from within the organization." Lawler: "I think Stacey would be a great choice. She's run one of the most successful tournaments on the tour. She's got a great relationship with the players. She'd be very, very good, but I do think it is too soon to tell you. I know there are a lot of interested candidates, even from outside of the organization." But Lawler added, "This isn't just about replacing the CEO. When somebody like Larry leaves this position you have to shuffle the strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, there are some very, very talented people there. Larry did a lot to strengthen the sport and bring investment into the sport, and that strengthening process needs to continue, because momentum cannot be lost." Harwitt noted inside the WTA, "there's the prevailing opinion that Allaster's appointment should be a foregone conclusion." One WTA employee said, "I think it would be a kick in the teeth if they didn't offer it to her first." Allaster's role with the WTA, "throughout the formation of the tour's new road map, suggests a smooth transition if she takes over." Sony Ericsson Open Chair Butch Buchholz said, "I would be very surprised if the board decides to go out and hire a headhunter and do a search. She's very level-headed, she's experienced, she understands the television side and I don't think that there's anything she doesn't know." Buchholz contends that Scott's immediate interest in hiring Allaster in '06 was "because she met the criteria to be his eventual replacement." Buchholz: "I'm assuming he brought her in with the idea that when he left he would feel good passing the baton to her" (, 4/15).

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  • IPL Instituting Mid-Innings Breaks To Generate More Ad Revenue

    IPL Commissioner Modi (r) Plans To
    Institute Lengthy Time-Outs In Each Inning
    Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi is "planning to bring in a lengthy time-out -- each lasting seven-and-a-half minutes -- at the halfway stage of each innings," the primary intention of which is to "generate more money from advertising," according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. For broadcasters, the time-outs will be "split into three equal-sized chunks." One will be used to "carry normal adverts, another for an extended two-and-a-half minute message of some kind (Queen Rania of Jordan is understood to have bought several slots for an improving film about the children of South Africa), and the third for miscellaneous shots from the ground: teams massing in huddles, cheerleaders dancing and so on" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/16). CRICINFO's Neil Manthorp reports the IPL is "planning to market the added time as an 'innovation' by calling it a tactical 'time out' but the fact that each innings will now come to a halt for seven-and-a-half minutes after exactly 10 overs makes it neither tactical nor ... practical." A senior production official said, "It is a move that is driven completely and totally by commercial objectives. It is designed purely to make even more money by selling airtime. Nobody could argue that this adds any cricketing value to the tournament or that it can be in the viewers' interest, either in the stadium or watching at home." Manthorp notes production teams have been told that they "need to fit 2000 seconds (around 33 minutes) of advertising into every match, a task described by a different member of the production team as 'virtually impossible'" (, 4/16).

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