• TV Timeout: Quoth The Raven

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    CBS Sports Network’s Jim Rome said of Steve Bisciotti’s press conference, “I don’t know what’s worse, you saying it didn't cross your mind to further investigate a video of one of your players dragging an unconscious woman out of an elevator, or you trying to discredit ESPN sources” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 9/23). ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "A man with that much money doesn't have to answer to people very often and he did a really bad job of pretending to actually care what we think" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 9/23). ESPN's Jackie MacMullan asked, "Did you ever once hear him express remorse about the fact that we're talking about a domestic abuse?" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/23).

    DAMAGED REPUTATION: Sports commentator Frank Deford, on Roger Goodell: "I think his moral sway has absolutely evaporated. He's a ghost now. I don't know when he'll leave but I don't think he can continue to have any kind of real credibility. I think what the league needs is somebody from the outside. Remember, Goodell grew up in the league. He's a lifer. He only sees it from a football point of view" ("Real Sports," HBO, 9/23). ESPN’s Ashley Fox, on the NFL: “They've said this is an organization that cooperates with the Department of Homeland Security to protect its Super Bowl, but you cannot get a video tape from a casino that's gone out of business in Atlantic City? It doesn't make any sense” (“NFL Insiders,” ESPN, 9/23). NFL VP/Social Responsibility Anna Isaacson said of what the league can do to educate against domestic violence, “These are societal issues. We know there are many societal issues that not only impact the public, but impact our players and we have a lot of programs in place to try to prepare players for playing in the NFL”  (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 9/24).

    EMPTY NEST: NBA TV’s Dennis Scott said of the Hawks' front office issues, “This is going to be a busted situation until they sell 100 percent of the team or until Adam Silver says, ‘I have to let my authority come and help you in this situation cause I don’t see how this can continue to go on’” (“NBA Game Time,” NBATV, 9/23). ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said of Magic Johnson’s comments on Hawks GM Danny Ferry, “Even though he shouldn't be labeled a racist and shouldn't be refrained from receiving another job as an executive in the NBA, in the city of Atlanta, Magic Johnson and others are going to have to respect that they do have the right to feel like he's not the guy they want” (“First Take,” ESPN2, 9/24).  

  • A Point of Reference for Media Coverage of Sports Scandals

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    Maybe because of the timing involved coinciding with the NFL domestic violence scandal, but if you haven’t read Matt Bai’s New York Times Magazine piece on the media’s coverage of the fall of Gary Hart, do so. It brought up themes of power, hubris, process and media coverage of a story that wasn’t traditionally covered at that time in 1987. Those same themes have haunted the NFL this summer.

    Bai’s argument was that the media’s examination of Hart’s personal life forever changed political coverage in America. I’m certainly not equating a public figure’s personal affairs with racism or domestic violence. But the fact is, in addition to leagues and teams reacting to the new challenges of information gathering today, the sports media is figuring some of this out as it goes along, too. Have the Donald Sterling and Ray Rice incidents and the way they were uncovered through video and nontraditional means forever changed how organizations respond? Will these cases that pulled the sports media to cover stories of social importance and the role that leagues and sports organizations play in society forever change the way teams, leagues and athletes are covered?

    Let me know what you think.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Addressing The Issues

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    Atlanta-based marketing consultancy Ries & Ries President Laura Ries, on the scandals in the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell: "He is not the whole problem, but he has become the face of the problem" ("Opening Bell," Fox Business, 9/22). SI’s Lee Jenkins said, “As long as these commissioners continue to work for owners and not for the good of the league, we’re going to have situations like this" (“Rome,” CBSSN, 9/22).  ESPN’s Skip Bayless said of the NFL, “The people who run these teams and this league are going to have to get enlightened and conditioned enough to understand if a NFL player slaps his wife, that can do a lot of damage” (“First Take,” ESPN2, 9/23).

    PLAY ON: ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, on MLB’s pace-of-play committee: “I want to hear from someone from within the baseball world who is in his 20's or his 30's about these ideas” ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 9/23). ESPN's Keith Olbermann: "A majority of the members of the pace quickening committee have strong ties to the Red Sox and/or the Yankees, whose games usually last four hours or more. Genius, I tell you, genius" ("Olbermann," ESPN, 9/22).

    MET EXPECTATIONS: N.Y. Daily News' John Harper said of the Mets giving GM Sandy Alderson a three-year contract extension, "When he came in here, the big thing was build this organization from the ground up. He's done a good job with the farm system, and it’s not what you want as far as what he's done with the free agents. Still, I think they are going in the right direction” ("Daily News Live," SNY, 9/22).

  • TV Timeout: Style Over Substance?

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    USA Today’s Nancy Armour said of Roger Goodell’s Friday press conference, “There was really nothing of substance. He had been incommunicado for ten days and I think most people were expecting him to come out with something very substantive and say, ‘We’re going to do this, we’re going to do this, we going to do this,' and really all we got was, ‘We’re going to try really hard and we’re going to talk to a bunch of experts. … I think part of it is just some tone deafness” (“Today,” NBC, 9/20). N.Y. Times’ William Rhoden: “I think that the owners should suspend him for two games and give him tone deaf management and then when there is an outcry, they should say, ‘No, no, no Roger, not two games. We’re going to suspend you for the entire year. We changed our mind.’ That’s how ludicrous this has been” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 9/21). USA Today’s Christine Brennan: “This is a mess. This is, as we said, the worst scandal I think in U.S. sports history” (“GMA,” ABC, 9/20). ESPN’s Tom Jackson: “I believe there has to be a change in the culture that created everything that's gone on here” (“NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 9/21). CBS’ Boomer Esiason said, “He's a compromised commissioner right now. I think his judgment was clouded when he came to the sentence that he gave Ray Rice. I thought that he was too lenient because he was lobbied by his friends Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome and Dick Cass from the Baltimore Ravens” (“The NFL Today,” CBS, 9/21). NBC’s Peter Alexander, on Goodell: “He offered plenty of promises, but really very few details. This was heavily scripted damage control, but it didn’t satisfy many of his critics” (“Today,” NBC, 9/20).

    WANTING MORE: Fox’ Troy Aikman: “If you're going to hold players and coaches to a certain standard, then you as the commissioner, who has served as judge and jury since 2006, you've got to be held to the same standard as well” (“Fox NFL Kickoff,” FS1, 9/21). CBSSN’s London Fletcher, on Goodell: “My thoughts are leaders must lead. That's the No. 1 thing a person in leadership must do is lead. Throughout this whole process, Roger Goodell and the NFL have followed” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 9/21). CBSSN’s Jim Rome: “Goodell's press conference was essentially a disaster. I saw your lips moving, Rog, but I did not hear you say anything, at least nothing that mattered” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 9/19). Former NFL coach Kevin Gilbride, on Goodell's presser: “As a long-time employee (in the NFL) … it saddened me to see the league portrayed in such a powerless and mercenary fashion” (“PFT,” NBSCN, 9/19).  ESPN’s Tedy Bruschi: “We needed someone to go up there and be a leader and say something substantial … and that wasn’t done. I don't think Roger Goodell is a guy that can do that anymore" (“NFL Live,” ESPN2, 9/19).

    STILL OPTIMISTIC: NBC’s Bob Costas, on the Goodell presser: “It seems on Friday the consensus was that the press conference didn't go so well. But that can become a footnote if, in short order, not by the Super Bowl but sooner than that, these various committees come up with protocols that make sense, that can be consistently applied and that show that the NFL means business” (“FNIA,” NBC, 9/21). NFL Network’s Michael Silver: “I know people might not have liked the style of his press conference, but if you look at the substance, the most important thing he said is, ‘Everything is on the table,' and that includes how much power he wields in terms of the personal conduct policy. That is very new. That is not the talk of an arrogant man who believes he has all the answers" (“Around the NFL,” NFL Network, 9/19). FS1’s Peter Schrager said, “I think the NFL has been dealing with integrity issues the last several weeks and he addressed those straight up. I thought a lot of the questions about the Ray Rice situation, Goodell was open and honest” ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 9/19).

    BROTHERLY LOVE? Fox' Joe Buck, on a fight breaking out between the Eagles and Redskins: "The last thing the league needs right now is some brawl along the sideline here in Philadelphia" ("Redskins-Eagles," Fox, 9/21).

    SEMINOLE MOMENT: ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, on Florida St. suspending QB Jameis Winston for Saturday's game against Clemson: "This has everything to do with the climate of the sports world, the NFL and what Roger Goodell is going through" ("College Gameday," ESPN, 9/20).

  • Podcast: Analyzing autonomy in college sports

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    College writer Michael Smith and Assistant Managing Editor Tom Stinson discuss autonomy among college sports, the uncertainty it has created and what comes next.

    Tags: Colleges, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Podcast: NFL 'Behind The Headlines'

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    NFL writer Daniel Kaplan, sponsorship reporter Terry Lefton and TV writer John Ourand talk about the NFL in crisis, whether it's affecting the league's business and what's next in this week's NFL "Behind The Headlines" podcast.

    Among the comments:

    "This is really just posturing. These brands want to let the public know, and the politicians, that they're on the right side of the domestic violence issue."

    "All these companies kind of rattling their sabers a bit, which is unusual, are all public companies, so they saw some exposure there and wanted to take care of that. What most of the media misses on this whole thing, while this is the worst NFL PR black eye in memory, all their business metrics are at or near an all-time high. … So I don't think they should worry from a business perspective yet."

    "It's interesting to see these marketers say anything at all in the court of public opinion because generally marketers are a timid lot."

    "(The NFL has) to realize, they're all but a government entity now. … They need to realize they're going to be held to a higher standard, whether that's fair or not."

    Tags: NFL, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Goodell speaks to media; additional hiring part of NFL’s expected changes

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    The NFL next week plans to announce a high-profile female hire, the second such hiring in as many weeks as the league looks to add more gender diversity in the wake of the domestic violence scandal that has roiled the league in the last two weeks.

    The development comes after Roger Goodell’s 43-minute-long press conference today, in which he outlined cooperation with the NFLPA on crafting a new personal-conduct policy. That is a sea change for Goodell, who appeared willing to cede some of his ultimate authority in deciding punishment for player misbehavior.

    Goodell not only admitted the Ray Rice suspension of two games was an error, but also that the process of considering punishment was broken.

    Before the press conference, Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s executive vice president of human resources, said next week the NFL would be making another high-profile announcement about a female hire. The position will be at least a senior vice president. The only rank higher at the NFL, other than commissioner, is executive vice president.

    This week, the NFL hired Cynthia Hogan, a former deputy assistant to President Obama, as senior vice president of public policy and government affairs.

    Many of Goodell’s executives attended today’s press conference at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan, including Gulliver, Joe Siclare, the league’s chief financial officer, and Mark Waller, the new executive vice president of international. Waller is the outgoing chief marketing officer.

    Asked about Anheuser-Busch’s statement this week expressing strong disapproval of the NFL’s performance, Waller responded he had not heard from the beer maker.

    Goodell, when asked in his press conference about whether he had heard from A-B or talked to its representatives, did not answer directly.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Getting To Know The Game Changers: A Great Day

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    We asked the members of this year’s class of Game Changers to complete the following sentence:

    It’s a great day at the office when ... ?

    Here are their responses.

    Alex Baldwin: Deals get done.

    Renee Baumgartner: I know I have made a difference in a student athlete’s life.

    Kim Bohuny: I can be proactive and not reactive.

    Christine Brown: My dog isn’t barking; I work from home.

    Mary Byrne: We break a story.

    Stephanie Cheng: We help a client close a sponsorship or naming-rights agreement.

    Sandy Cross: I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life.

    Stephanie Druley: We’ve created something memorable on the screen as a team.

    Donna Fiedorowicz: The team is smiling and enjoying the journey.

    Kelly Flanagan: I leave knowing that I helped make somebody’s day better.

    Karen Forgus: We’re serving Skyline Chili in the press dining room.

    Erleen Hatfield: We issue construction drawings.

    Sue Hunt: The team is positive and everyone is talking about all the new ideas they have.

    Gail Hunter: We successfully execute a cross-department initiative.

    Beth Hutter: During the final round of a golf event, several players are all tied for the lead. While it’s exhilarating, it presents a challenge in trying to figure out the best way to broadcast it since, in golf, all those players could be hitting their shots simultaneously. I love having that challenge!

    Julie Kikla: We get a note from one of our partners thanking us for our support or teamwork.

    Heidi Massey-Bong: We won on Sunday.

    Bernadette McGlade: Everyone’s happy.

    Michelle McKenna-Doyle: I get to visit with our clubs or fans.

    Kimberly Meesters: I can get out of the house and to the office by 7 a.m. Early morning is quiet and a great time to focus.

    Marla Newman: We are not in the office and are out meeting with clients learning how we can help achieve their marketing goals.

    Anne Occi: Energy is flowing and plans are falling into place.

    Jay Parry: I feel the hum of activity and enthusiasm from my team.

    Kristen Rose: I spend time with clients. It is all about the relationships for me.

    Jennifer Sabatelle: There is no drama and we get to take a minute to realize how fortunate we are to be working in the sports industry.

    Heidi Sandreuter: Someone on my team gets recognized for their creativity and contribution.

    Meredith Starkey: I get to leave before 7 p.m.

    Maribeth Towers: One of our projects comes to fruition exactly as planned.

    Ali Towle: I solve a problem that seemed unsolvable.

    Ronnie Tucker: My team is in sync working to achieve a common goal and they know they have made an impact.

    Alyson Walker: Teamwork is proven to be successful.

    Alison Weber: Our team lives up to one of our mantras: “Nobody is as smart as everybody.” It’s all about great collaboration and inspired work.

    Pamela Wheeler: Everyone is smiling.

    Andrea Williams: The staff is engaged and excited about an upcoming event. The air is electric.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Staff writer John Ourand, radio host Dan Patrick discuss controversies swirling around the NFL

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    SBJ/SBD media reporter John Ourand went on The Dan Patrick Show Wednesday to talk about the implications of the NFL’s domestic violence and child abuse controversies in the wake of Anheuser-Busch’s statement that the longtime league sponsor was “increasingly concerned” about the incidents. “That’s the first sign of any kind of commercial erosion. Basically, now there’s like a scintilla of a notion that it might hurt the business.”

    Tags: NFL, Media, ING, Ally
  • TV Timeout: Feeling Minnesota

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    ESPN's Pablo Torre said, "A corporation, like the Vikings or Nike or Anheuser-Busch, they don’t have consciences, they have cost/benefit analysis and what they are seeing is that the marketplace of ideas is shifting. We're finally getting enough noise to make it unprofitable to support a player like Adrian Peterson" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/17). NFL Network's Mike Silver said of the Vikings’ Wednesday press conference, "Left unsaid was, 'We faced a tremendous amount of pressure from sponsors, from our business partners … and from fans" (NFL Network, 9/17). ESPN's Jason Whitlock said, "These corporations associate their brands with the NFL and pay hundreds of millions of dollars and so (the players) have a responsibility to uphold themselves and to present a great image for the league so the corporations want to remain attached to that NFL brand and clearly Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and some other NFL players have damaged the brand" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/17). ESPN's Keith Olbermann said, "Even with its track record on child labor, Nike thought Peterson was toxic" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 9/17).

    FRONT AND CENTER: SNY's Marc Malusis said of Roger Goodell, "His league is under an utter state of barrage each and every day" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 9/17). ESPN's Michael Wilbon asked, "Why is Roger Goodell simply issuing more policy or statements but not answering any questions?"  ("PTI," ESPN, 9/17). CBSSN's Jim Rome, on Goodell: “Owners are paying him an excess of $44 million a year to prevent things from happening. Come out of your bunker, get in front of a camera and own this disaster that this shield is becoming” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 9/17).  

    AGENTS OF THE SHIELD: Former NFLPA President Kevin Mawae said of owners hiding from the media, “My personal feeling is it's your team. Suck it up, stand up there and take the hit. You are the face of the franchise, not the quarterback. Get out there and take charge of this” (“The Herd,” ESPN Radio, 9/17). Comedy Central's Jon Stewart said the NFL ‘s handling of its current off-the-field issues, “It's the kind of firm decision-making we've come to expect from people who don't know what the (EXPLETIVE) they're doing” ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Comedy Central, 9/17). ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said of Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson, “This is difficult stuff and it’s above the pay grade of someone like (GM) Dave Gettleman and frankly he shouldn’t be answering these questions. Jerry Richardson should be answering these questions” ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 9/18).

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