SBD/March 1, 2012/Media

Bill Simmons Bashes Duke After Grantland Is Denied Credentials For UNC Game

Grantland.com Founder Bill Simmons has taken to Twitter to express his feelings about the site being denied credentials to Saturday night's North Carolina-Duke men's basketball game. Simmons Tuesday night posted the following message: "Duke wouldn’t credential Grantland for Saturday’s UNC-Duke game. I already hated Duke but was diplomatic about it… no more. IT IS ON!” Simmons' profile picture on the social media site at presstime features UNC F Harrison Barnes dunking over Duke F Mason Plumlee; it earlier in the week featured the phrase "Duke Sucks" (THE DAILY). A Duke spokesperson indicated that the school "would love to accommodate each legitimate request but because of space issues at Cameron ... they must make some tough decisions for the UNC game." SI.com’s Richard Deitsch noted one of those decisions "is the inability to credential blog sites and websites that do not attempt to cover the team on a regular basis.” ESPN's umbrella of networks, websites and branches "have 10 seats on press row for the game, as well as a photographer spot, multiple camera spots required to air the game, and access for College GameDay" (TWITLONGER.com, 2/28). Duke Associate SID Matt Plizga noted that school has 57 spots "on ‘media row’ to dole out, 27 photo and video spots and 12 seats in an overflow booth.” Plizga said, “I have been able to put another 4-10 media members in ticketed seats. I also have 20-25 media that will be provided postgame access but will have to watch the game from the media room in Cameron Indoor Stadium.” Plizga said that this was “the first occasion on which Grantland has applied for credentials.” He added, “In addition, the request was for a credential for one of their bloggers rather than one of their feature writers such as Bill Simmons.” Grantland blogger Shane Ryan said that the site will still cover the game, but added, “We’re gonna figure out a new angle to do it from.” Ryan was credentialed by UNC for the Feb. 8 game between the teams (POYNTER.org, 2/29).

NO NEED FOR TWEET WAR: AWFUL ANNOUNCING’s Andrew Bucholtz wrote Duke's explanation sounds “like a pretty reasonable response." Bucholtz: "It's not like ESPN/Grantland are being locked out here; rather, Duke's saying that they're already giving ESPN a lot of space, and Grantland might not have a better claim to a seat than some other outlets, given that a lot of their writing can be done without access.” Bucholtz added, “That doesn't sound like a huge controversy from here, and certainly not one that justifies an editor-in-chief going on the Twitter warpath” (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 2/29).
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