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SI's Peter King on Monday night was recognized by his peers as the National Sportswriter of the Year, accepting the honor at the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Awards banquet in Salisbury, N.C. King has become infamous for his "Monday Morning Quarterback" column, chiming in on all aspects of the NFL. King took a few minutes to chat with Staff Writer Theresa Manahan about the process behind his weekly column, what the future of sports media holds and Twitter.
Favorite Starbucks coffee: A triple grande whole milk hazelnut latte.
First Red Sox jersey you owned: CARL YASTRZEMSKI, 1964.
Favorite non sports person to follow on Twitter: NPR’s DAVID FOLKENFLIK because he’s a smart person who sees all sides of a story and gives me interesting things to think about. I also like Huffington Post.
Summer reading list: I’m in the middle now of “The Last Boy: Micky Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood.” My wife just gave me the memory book. Humm… it’s a memory book that I forget the name of. “Moonwalking with Einstein.” And then I finished “Unbroken.”
Roger Goodell: Under pressure
DeMaurice Smith: Has the upper hand
Chad Ochocinco: Wearisome
Cowboys Stadium: Ninth Wonder of the World
Q: What is one thing you think you think about the future of sports media?
King: I think anybody who is in the sports media better be able to adjust and better be able to do multiple things, because my daughters don’t get news the way I get news. I love spending an hour with the New York Times. That would be the most nightmarish thing that they could do. So I have to learn how they are getting information and how they are learning. When I go speak to schools, high schools or college, I want to find out "Do you like Twitter? What do you do on the Internet? What sites do you go read? Do you go read a website?" It’s up to us to learn how 20-year-old kids are going to learn. And if we don’t, we will be left by the side of the road.
Q: If you were NFL Commissioner for a day, what would be the first three things on your agenda?
King: Number one, I would ask De Smith if he would be willing to go away for a weekend with me or two or three days with me where we turn the cellphones off, there’s no e-mail, there’s no anything. You just talk and it is all off the record. And you have a discussion about how can we get this done. The second thing is, I would get the owners together and I would say, "As much as we want to make more money and raise income in this game, it’s unconscionable to think we should ever play an 18-game regular season." Too many players getting hurt too seriously to think that 18 games is anything but a bad idea, unless teams are willing to sit players so that the maximum number of games that any player plays in a season is 16. … Number three, I would continue to press to be more vigilant and more proactive about head injuries and concussions, because it’s very clear that players are hitting each other harder than they are before.
Q: How has Twitter changed your reporting?
King: I think Twitter is fantastic, even though twenty-five percent of the tweets I get are telling me I’m a worthless bag of crap. I think in a lot of ways our predecessors in this business had it easy. They were shielded from the world. They wrote their stuff, they went home, nobody knew who they were and at the end of the day, they made their paycheck, they went home and that was it. They didn’t really respond much to the outside world. And I think the thing that I like about it is not only that I can see what people out there are thinking, but in many ways, people can keep me honest. When I write Monday Morning Quarterback and it’s posted by let’s say seven in the morning, by 8:15 many times I’ve had three corrections. … The thing I believe that’s dangerous about Twitter is it’s easy to become a slave to Twitter, and it is easy to sit there for four hours in a row and answer questions.
Q: Can you take me through the process of MMQB?
King: During the season it’s between 7,000-9,000 words and then in the offseason, it’s about 4,500-6,000, somewhere in there. Basically I try to make sure that during the week I gather enough so that when I wake up Sunday morning a quarter of it is done. It’s impossible when I sit down to write at 11:30 on Sunday night, it’s impossible to write 9,000 words in seven hours. ... So I think it’s important to get a head start. A lot of things happen during the week that you can comment on. I find that I get into a mentality of it that I start thinking "Oh this would be a good factoid,” or "This would be a good travel note." Because I know how many times I have sat there at 4:30 in the morning on Monday morning and said, "My God! I didn’t travel this week, what should I write about?" The biggest concentration point is get a lot done before midnight on Sunday because if you don’t, you’ll pay for it.
Q: If you weren’t in this profession, what line of work would you be doing?
King: I’d be the general manager or groundskeeper for a minor league baseball team.
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: RICK WELTS – One of the most respected executives in sports received overwhelmingly support for his decision to reveal that he is gay in an effort to "pierce the silence that envelops the subject of homosexuality in men’s team sports.” Welts refuses to stop with his own revelation, going a step further and stating that he wants to mentor gay people questioning careers in the sports world. After 40 years in NBA circles, Welts' decision clearly wasn't arrived at easily, and hopefully it will prove to be a defining moment toward developing a better workplace atmosphere for homosexuals in sports.
LOSE: FOX -- Cross-promotion went awry last Saturday when comedienne SARAH SILVERMAN brought her raunchy brand of comedy to Fox' MLB booth during a Red Sox-Yankees telecast. Silverman opined on the benefits of LSD for pitchers, leaving TIM MCCARVER speechless and forcing JOE BUCK to flat out state that the network does not condone such use. After incidents with ARTIE LANGE and now Silverman, it seems like Buck hasn't had much luck with comedy since his Budweiser commercials with Leon.
DRAW: DAVID KAHN -- Definitely a case of it being best to leave comedy to the professionals. After missing out on the No. 1 pick in the NBA Lottery, the T'Wolves President of Basketball Operations hints with reporters that the process is fixed. After the entire sports media world publishes Kahn's remarks, he is forced to backtrack and say his comments were misconstrued and meant to be lighthearted. Watching video of the interview, one can see Kahn meant it to be a joke, but on paper the comments look like accusations toward the NBA, and that is something the league never takes lightly.
Coca-Cola names Bea Perez
its Chief Sustainability Officer
FOX MOVES: There have been a couple of changes in the Fox Sports Media Group production department. DOUG SELLARS has been promoted to Exec VP/Production & Exec Producer, overseeing all studio and event production for Fox Sports. He is based in L.A. and had been Exec VP/Production & Exec Producer for Fox' regional sports networks since '07. Sellers is taking on a lot of the responsibilities previously held by Senior Producer BILL BROWN, who is relocating to the East Coast in July and will continue as a Senior Producer for Fox Sports. Brown, who will be based in N.Y., will oversee logistical operations for Fox Sports' big events from the NFL, MLB, NASCAR and college football (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
WELCOME ABOARD: Online gaming outfit World Golf Tour has added IGN Entertainment Founder & CEO MARK JUNG to its BOD and hired former SI Associate Publisher JOHN RODENBURG as VP/Media Development. The personnel moves were made with an eye toward building out further its online advertising and virtual sponsorship components. WGT.com now generates more than 3 million visits per month, with an average user session of 30 minutes. "Bringing on these executives puts us in a much better position to meet the growing demand we're now seeing from brands," said WGT co-Founder & CEO YUCHIANG CHENG (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
EXECS: Nike named Converse CEO MICHAEL SPILLANE Umbro President & CEO and Hurley CEO JIM CALHOUN Converse President & CEO. Spillane replaces JIM ALLAKER, who is retiring. Both Spillane and Calhoun will continue to report to Nike President of Affiliates ROGER WYETT. Wyett will also serve as interim CEO of Hurley while Nike searches for a successor (Nike)....Volkswagen VP/Marketing TIM ELLIS has left the company. The company's sports activities will be overseen by Chief Product & Marketing Officer TIM MAHONEY (THE DAILY)....NASCAR has promoted GEORGE SILBERMANN to VP/Regional & Touring Series (THE DAILY)....SUNY-Geneseo has named MICHAEL MOONEY Dir of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation, effective July 7. Mooney had served as interim Dir since Jan. 1 following the retirement of MARILYN MOORE (THELCN.com, 5/16)....UNLV has hired KREIGH WARKENTIEN as Dir of Basketball Operations for the school's men's basketball team, and has named Video Coordinator RICH HILLIARD Dir of Student-Athlete Development (UNLV)....Sponsorship firm Redmandarin named DAVID WHELDON a Non Exec Dir (Redmandarin).
Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Baltimore, Childs Walker notes NFLPA Exec Dir DEMAURICE SMITH was the keynote speaker Thursday at the Univ. of Maryland's commencement ceremony, and as he took the podium, a group of students chanted, "We want football!" Smith shouted, "I want football, too!" Smith, who "grew up rooting for the Terps," donned a red hat before he began his speech about "living with courage and a commitment to fairness." Smith addressed the lockout in his speech: "There are many who would like to myopically reduce the last few years, my leadership, into the sound bite of just getting a new contract done. But the larger decision in March of 2009 was to stand before the players and ask a simple question: 'Do we care enough about who we are and who we want to be?' ... The decision to pursue and if necessary fight for what is fair is a vastly different frame of mind than simply being content with 'shut up and play'" (Baltimore SUN, 5/20).
METS LIFE: In N.Y., Thompson, Coffey & Vinton report Mets ownership "immediately denied" a claim made Thursday by Madoff trustee IRVING PICARD in his billion-dollar clawback lawsuit. Picard "expanded on an allegation" in the suit, claiming that FRED WILPON and SAUL KATZ "went 'shopping' for fraud insurance in 2001 and therefore knew [BERNIE] MADOFF was corrupt." Picard said that the fact that Katz' and Wilpon's Sterling Partners was in the market for this "one of a kind" policy that "may have protected against Ponzi schemes 'establishes incontrovertibly' that Sterling Partners was on notice that Madoff was suspicious." Wilpon and Katz continue to "deny knowing anything of Madoff's schemes," and Sterling Equities General Counsel Greg Nero said that the "most sensational claim in Picard's new filing was 'just wrong'" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/20).
YOU DON'T KNOW MAGICJACK: In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib profiles WPS majicJack FC Owner DAN BORISLOW and writes, "MARK CUBAN Lite is one way to describe" him. Like the Mavericks Owner, Borislow is "an unorthodox sports owner who speaks and does as he pleases." Borislow "made millions by inventing a device to make phone calls over the Internet, yet his club has no Web site, virtually no front office and does no marketing -- he says he isn't concerned with selling tickets." His "rogue methods" caused the league last week to issue a news release "accusing him of lying about WPS issues and blasting him for failing to fulfill obligations to sponsors." But Borislow "thinks the entire enterprise depends on his financial clout." Borislow: "If we go away, they don't have a league" (PALM BEACH POST, 5/20).
NAMES: The PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii raised more than $1M for Friends of Hawaii Charities, Inc., "for the seventh straight year" (Honolulu STAR-ADVERTISER, 5/19)....Dodgers P MATT GUERRIER has made a donation of $25,000 to benefit the Salvation Army's tornado relief fund (Dodgers)....A's GM BILLY BEANE had left shoulder replacement surgery on Wednesday. The procedure was performed by team orthopedist Dr. WILL WORKMAN. Beane "will be out the rest of the week" (SFGATE.com, 5/19)....Washington County, Pa., ticket seller NATHAN ROESING has sued Iron City Brewing LLC and a part owner over the rights to the company's 14 Steelers PSLs at Heinz Field. Roesing alleges that Iron City "has not turned over the seat licenses to him after he purchased them for $112,000" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 5/19).