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SBD/August 24, 2011/Media
Tennis Channel Signs New Multiyear Affiliation Agreement With NCTC
Published August 24, 2011
A HEALTHY DEBATE: WORLD TENNIS MAGAZINE's Charles Bricker noted ESPN analyst Mary Joe Fernandez' husband works for IMG, which seems to be "one massive media conflict of interest." Fernandez on Sunday called a match on ESPN featuring IMG client Maria Sharapova, which "leaves you wondering how ESPN ... could allow this sort of obvious conflict to take place." Bricker wrote that Fernandez "should have recused herself. She shouldn’t be commenting on Federer, Sharapova or any other player who is in the IMG stable." But in "all fairness, Fernandez had a few mildly critical remarks to make about Sharapova" (WORLDTENNISMAGAZINE.com, 8/21). In a follow-up to his criticism, Bricker noted he received an e-mail from an IMG representative "displeased with the piece" about Fernandez. The agent wrote, "Do you really believe that Mary Joe thinks about IMG when she is commentating?" The agent indicated that he "saw nothing wrong with Fernandez," or any other tennis announcer with a potential conflict of interest, calling matches on TV. Bricker: "If you could crystallize the point being made by the IMG spokesman, it would be that (in my words), 'Lots of people do it, so it’s OK.' No, it’s not OK. Not just the tennis public, but the public in general is entitled to know if the people purporting to present them with media information have a vested financial interest in the people on whom they’re reporting. It doesn’t mean any of those people are doing a dishonest job, but at the very least the public deserves to know about their associations" (WORLDTENNISMAGAZINE.com, 8/23).