SBD/Issue 49/Sports Media

Islanders Bar Blogger Botta From Covering Team He Once Worked For

Botta Is Former Isles 
VP/Media Relations

The Islanders have informed blogger Chris Botta that he "no longer will be given media credentials" to cover the team, according to NEWSDAY. Botta, who started the NYI Point Blank blog and also writes for AOL's FanHouse, worked for the Islanders "for two decades" and was VP/Media Relations when he resigned in '08. The move has been "protested by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and prompted a meeting Wednesday between NHL and Islanders officials in an attempt to resolve the matter." Botta said that his blog, which was initially sponsored by the team, "has grown to an average of 1.5 million page views per month." Why the team banned Botta is unclear, and Islanders Dir of Communications Kimber Auerbach said, "We funded his blog for the first year. When that changed he went from reporting the news to making the news." Auerbach said "nothing really changed" after yesterday's meeting with the NHL and added, "We have not stopped his blog. ... He just won't have access" (NEWSDAY, 11/18). NEWSDAY's Neil Best writes the Islanders' decision "is strange given the limited coverage the team gets these days." Botta's blog likely is "second only to Newsday as a source of independent information about the Isles for fans." The Rangers and Devils "have issued full season credentials to Botta" (NEWSDAY.com, 11/18). Botta yesterday posted an entry on the blog that read in part, "Due to circumstances currently beyond my control, Point Blank will be closed indefinitely starting today at 4:00 pm. Could be for a few days or longer. I do not know, but will keep you posted" (ISLANDERSPOINTBLANK.com, 11/17).

HOT HOT HEAT: Heat VP/Sports Media Relations Tim Donovan yesterday said after Esquire.com blogger and author Scott Raab "used inappropriate language via Twitter directed at one of our players, we conferred with the league office and decided to no longer offer credentials to Mr. Raab for our games and practices." Raab, who had been eligible for Heat credentials on a game-by-game basis before his Twitter posts on Sunday, said, "As far as I’m concerned, it’s an ad hoc policy. Plenty of nonbeat writers get the credential. If my name was Feinstein or Halberstam, it would be different." Donovan and NBA Senior VP/Marketing Communications Michael Bass indicated that they are "not concerned that forcing Raab to buy tickets to attend Heat games (which he has done) would focus more attention on him than if he were ignored." Bass: "Our issue isn’t whether he gets more publicity for his forthcoming book, but there is a standard of professionalism that he didn’t uphold in his incendiary remarks" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/18). Raab today said of the language he used in the offending tweets, "I guess perhaps my professionalism is debatable in some of those, but I do want to point out I think the NBA's integrity is no longer debatable. They've denied me the same credential they hand out by the score to non-beat reporters at ESPN, ESPN.com, SI, SI.com" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 11/18).

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