SBD/January 21, 2011/People and Pop Culture

This Week's Newsmakers: Tom Jackson's Objectivity Questioned

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week's newsmakers:

WIN: UNIV. OF TEXAS -- The Longhorns ink a lucrative long-term deal with ESPN to start their own TV network. The agreement will boost the coffers of the school’s academic and athletic departments and will likely provide a template for other big-time programs looking to start their own networks. The channel promises to raise the profile of Texas’ already powerful athletic program, and will provide a platform for the school’s less-publicized sports.

LOSE: TOM JACKSON -- The veteran ESPN analyst’s credibility is called into question this week after he says he used his pregame prediction on “Sunday NFL Countdown” as a way to pump up the Jets and create an “us against the world” mentality for their playoff game against the Patriots. Jackson says picking the Pats to blow out the Jets was part of a “psychological game” and his actions were “premeditated.” He later backtracks on his comments, but not before raising some serious doubts about his objectivity.    

DRAW: VENUS WILLIAMS -- Prior to retiring due to injury during her third-round Australian Open match Friday, the tennis star gets harsh reviews for her yellow, lattice-style dress during the second round. Williams' "Alice in Wonderland"-inspired dress is described as a "mix between Solid Gold Dancer and Edward Scissorhands." Another pundit says Venus is "turning into the LADY GAGA of tennis." The criticism of Williams' garb might normally be a sidebar, but it is the biggest news coming out of an otherwise uneventful Aussie Open, and has clearly given Venus the attention she was seeking with her choice of attire.
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