SBD/August 1, 2014/Media

People & Personalities: Is ESPN As Guilty As Smith For Controversial Comments?

Smith (l) made comments about domestic violence on ESPN's "First Take" last week
In N.Y., Phil Mushnick examines the role of ESPN in the controversy surrounding Stephen A. Smith's comments on domestic violence. Smith was "guilty of rotten, even revolting on-the-spot spewing," yet "how does ESPN escape its own planned, similarly rotten judgments?" ESPN "recruits the worst acts in sports." ESPN also has "enthusiastically selected the most vulgar, women-objectifying, women-trashing rappers to serve as special guests and honored cross-promoters" on "First Take" (N.Y. POST, 8/1). In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes, "Let's put 'First Take' on the sidelines." The show "attracts viewers the way car accidents do, but should ESPN risk its credibility five days a week for a few ratings points?" The sports world can "survive without Skip Bayless" (Albany TIMES UNION, 8/1). In Boston, Chad Finn writes Smith "faced some small consequences" for his comments. But "how could he ever have said such a thing in the first place, under any circumstances?" Finn writes though he finds Smith an "entertaining personality," he "still can't understand how those words ever escaped his mouth, genuine apology or not" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/1). 

BACK TO YOU IN THE BOOTH: In New York, Eric Reinhardt reported Triple-A Int'l League Syracuse Chiefs radio play-by-play man Jason Benetti "has accepted a similar position with WestwoodOne Sports." Benetti will "broadcast both college football and basketball" to a national audience (CNYBJ.com, 7/30). In Memphis, Michael Cohen noted EPL club Everton G Tim Howard "will be analyzing games in his own league" again this season for NBCSN. Howard's analyst role "will be created around his day job in goal for Everton." Bringing back Howard is a "smart attempt" by NBCSN to "continue growing the game of soccer" within the U.S. (COMMERCIALAPPEAL.com, 7/31). 

ACCORDING TO JIM: In California, Michael Lev writes while Jim Nantz' "new fall schedule -- featuring a full season of 'Thursday Night Football' games and a bunch of Sunday assignments -- might seem daunting to some, it’s a challenge the longtime CBS broadcaster embraces." Nantz said, “I don’t know how the rhythm and flow of this is going to feel, to be honest. I’ll figure it out, though.” This is Nantz’ 30th year with CBS, and he said he has "never seen this network get behind anything more" than "TNF." Making things "more complicated" for Nantz is he and wife Courtney "had a daughter in mid-March." But 4-month-old Finley "is a good traveler, and she and Courtney frequently will accompany Nantz" on the road (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/1).

IT'S TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL! In L.A., Steve Dilbeck wrote Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully "will never understand what he means to you." He will "not appreciate how he seems like part of your family." After "all these years ... he truly seems embarrassed by attention." Scully: "In all honesty, I don't ever feel I've done anything. ... I agree with everyone else. It's a long time to be working at one job -- with no advancement. I feel blessed." But Dilbeck wrote, "The true blessing, of course, has been ours." One "sad summer the announcement will be that he's not coming back for another year," and when that day "does come, maybe the saddest part will be knowing that despite all the love he's been showered with, he still will not quite grasp how he touched us on a personal level" (L.A. TIMES, 7/31).
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