SBD/February 24, 2012/Media

SI Group Editor Says Knicks G Lin's Story "Screams" SI Cover

McDonell said Lin's story touches every bumper there is in sports
Knicks G Jeremy Lin this week became the 13th athlete to appear on the cover of SI two weeks in a row, and SI Group Editor Terry McDonell said that Lin's "saga has been irresistible" to date,  according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY.  McDonell said, "Everything about it screams 'cover.' I have never had a story like it. It touches every bumper there is in sports, not just how many assists and points and whether they're winning and losing, but all of the sociology." McDonell noted that beyond the appeal of the story itself "was that a member of the writing staff, Pablo Torre, had known Lin since they were at Harvard together." Best notes what makes Lin's distinction "more remarkable is it came during the regular season; most of his predecessors were on multiple covers during postseason runs." Best notes the cover of SI remains the "most hallowed piece of real estate in print sports journalism." McDonell said that "choosing the subject is 'extremely collaborative' but that in the end someone must make the call -- him" (NEWSDAY, 2/24).

SLAP ON THE WRIST: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes if "anyone had a problem with" Knicks radio broadcaster Spero Dedes' controversial statement following the Knicks' home loss to the Hornets last Friday, then the "alleged 'disciplinary action' amounted to a tug on his ear lobe." Dedes was "not pulled from the air," as he called the Hawks-Knicks game on Wednesday night for MSG TV. A source said that Dedes in one of the days following the incident "received a tongue lashing from a Garden executive." Raissman writes, "Any way you dissect this, Dedes got off a lot more easily" than ESPN online editor Anthony Federico and "SportsCenter" anchor Max Bretos, who made the same reference. An ESPN source said that MSG "should have been tougher on Dedes." ESPN Radio 1050 N.Y. "owns the Knicks and Rangers radio rights, making it partners with MSG." Meanwhile, Raissman writes ESPN "administered cockeyed justice" concerning Federico and Bretos. Raissman: "Why does one guy lose his job and the other, who used the same phrase, receive only a suspension?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/24). Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes ESPN "went about punishing the innocent in the name of politically correct justice." The net "acknowledged that Bretos was guilty of nothing more than the innocent but ill-time use of an old and sustained phrase." Mushnick: "If Bretos spoke the phrase innocently, why would ESPN hang a 'RACIST' sign around his neck, even for a minute, let alone 30 days?" (N.Y. POST, 2/24).

RAISING THE RATINGS: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Alex Ben Block notes through the first seven games on MSG in which Lin has been a starter, the Knicks' "average household rating has increased" 138% compared to the prior 20 games. Lin's presence has also meant an 82% "increase in the average season to date household rating compared to the first" 27 games last season (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 2/23).
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