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Volume 24 No. 114


Grossi loses Browns beat over
inadvertant tweet about Lerner
Tony Grossi is “no longer the Browns beat writer” for the Cleveland Plain Dealer after he "accidently" sent out a disparaging tweet last week about Browns Owner Randy Lerner, according to sources cited by Vince Grzegorek of the CLEVELAND SCENE WEEKLY. Grossi wrote of Lerner, "He is a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world." Sources said Lerner and the Browns "had zero to do with" Grossi losing his beat, as the Plain Dealer "acted independently." Grzegorek wrote there was “an obvious question whether he could objectively continue to cover the beat” (, 1/25). PRO FOOTBALL TALK’s Mike Florio noted the Plain Dealer last week “addressed the issue [on] its website,” The paper put out a statement that read, "Last night, Plain Dealer Browns beat reporter Tony Grossi made an inadvertent, inappropriate post to Twitter concerning Browns owner Randy Lerner. Grossi has reached out to Lerner to apologize. The Plain Dealer also apologizes.” Grossi also addressed the situation in a video podcast, saying, “It was inadvertent, it was inappropriate, and I do apologize for it. I’ve reached out to Randy Lerner to apologize to him for it and we’ll just leave it at that.” Florio noted Grossi “apparently intended to express his opinion privately to one of his Twitter followers, but he accidentally posted it onto his primary Twitter profile, which can be viewed publicly” (, 1/25). Florio today reports Plain Dealer Managing Editor Thom Fladung confirmed to Cleveland's WKRK-FM that Grossi "has been removed" from the beat. However, the paper "has yet to make an announcement, with Grossi's name and face still appearing on the paper's web page that is devoted to coverage of the team" (, 1/26). The N.Y. Post's Bart Hubbuch wrote on his Twitter feed, "I hope Browns fans know how good they had it with Tony Grossi on the beat for almost 30 years. Great writer who knows his football." The Rock Hill Herald's Darin Gantt wrote, "The @TonyGrossi situation hits a raw nerve with me. Bottom line, Browns fans less informed, worse off today. Congrats PD bosses. Sleep well."

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: Bruins G Tim Thomas earlier this week chose to pass on the Bruins’ Stanley Cup ceremony at the White House, and TSN’s Dave Hodge on his Twitter feed wrote, “Don't know if it's fair to point this out, but Tim Thomas has three children named Kiley, Kelsey and Keegan.” The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin writes the initials are “KKK,” and by Thomas “espousing a libertarian view, Hodge seemed to imply the goalie sympathizes with a racist organization.” He then used the names of Thomas’ kids “to make the point.” Hodge in an e-mail wrote, “As you are aware, my tweets are almost always satirical, sometimes provocative and admittedly designed to elicit reaction. This tweet was no different.” But TSN President Stewart Johnston in an e-mail wrote, “Just to be clear, yesterday we corroborated Dave’s follow-up tweets that clarified his intention was not to offend, and be humorous. While I believe 100 % in the sincerity of Dave’s intent, I also believe the tweet was in poor taste” (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/26).

NBC News and NBC Sports "have produced a series of 10 educational segments called, 'Science of NHL Hockey,' that will debut during NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the All-Star festivities this weekend," according to Christopher Botta of the N.Y. TIMES. The videos, which feature Islanders LW Matt Moulson, Predators G Pekka Rinne, Stars LW Brenden Morrow, Avalanche D Erik Johnson and Blues G Jaroslav Halak, "were made as a learning tool for teachers and students to use in the classroom." Created in conjunction with NBC Learn, the NHL and the National Science Foundation, the segments, which "will be aligned to lesson plans and national and state education standards, are available to the public free of cost." NBC Sports and NBCSN Exec Producer Sam Flood during the broadcast of the All-Star Skills Competition on NBCSN Saturday "plans to show the segment on the science of the slap shot" before the players take part in the Hardest Shot event. Other videos "focus on passing the puck, making a save and stopping abruptly on the ice and analyze the science behind reflexes, reaction time and linear motion." The video featuring Moulson focuses on "Kinematics and the science of positioning, velocity and acceleration." The videos also include "game footage provided by the NHL." The lesson plans accompanying the videos "will be provided by the National Science Teachers Association." The segments "will be available on,, and and will be broadcast on NHL Network and on arena scoreboards throughout the league" (, 1/25).

Bleacher Report will expand its Lead Writer program, hiring as many as 20 new writers over the next six months. The open-source sports journalism hub began the program last August, hiring five paid contributors to lead its content and direction including former and writer Dan Levy. The latest move marks a significant deepening of the original plan to recruit full-time, paid writers. Negotiations have begun with a handful of undisclosed writers, said Bleacher Report CEO Brian Grey. "We're putting a lot of faith in the Lead Writer program," Grey said. "We're making an additional investment in the kind of content experience we want to deliver. We're going to be able to get a little more specialized and go deeper into the various leagues and conferences." With about 100 employees currently working for Bleacher Report across all departments, the editorial initiative will also represent a major employee expansion for the company at large. "We're going for it. We want to play big, and these are the kinds of moves we need to make," Grey said.

Representatives from both Time Warner Cable and MSG Network said that they are "nowhere near a deal after more than three weeks of wrangling," according to Nina Mandell of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. MSG Network Exec VP & GM Dan Ronayne said Tuesday night, "There are no productive talks going on at this time." He later added that it was "likely the dispute could go on as long as the 2005 blackout, which lasted two months." Mandell notes on both companies’ Facebook pages, fans are "demanding a solution that gets the games back on television." TWC on Tuesday "took 10 fans who couldn't get the game on TV to see the Knicks play the Bobcats" at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. MSG Network "held more watch parties at bars that get the games on TV from providers other than Time Warner." Since going off the air, the network said that it has "held 20 watch parties, where it gives away logo merchandise" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/26).

WHERE TO WATCH: In Rochester, Britney Milazzo writes the "local Sabres fans' loss was good news for some local restaurants and bars -- but only those that can get the games" through DirecTV, which carries NHL Network. Local restaurant The Retreat Manager Roz Hickey said, "Even as a hockey-themed bar, we're seeing more people than before come on game days." However, Docksiders Owner Steve Hillman, whose restaurant does not have DirecTV, said that "business is down about 35 percent with no Sabres games to show." TWC Manager for Western New York Joli Plucknette-Farmen said the cable provider, which also recently added NHL Network, is "reminding (customers) that switching video providers doesn't guarantee they'll be safe from losing MSG programming in the future." Plucknette-Farmen: "Our customers are doing their homework and educating themselves on this issue." Plucknette-Farmen added that "the number of customers who have left Time Warner over the MSG squabble has been insignificant" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 1/26).

CABLEFAX DAILY’s Steve Effros writes an Administrative Law Judge at the FCC has “remarkably decided that there is no difference between golf and tennis, that they are both in the ‘sports genre.’” Thus, Comcast “cannot make an editorial decision to place one channel it owns, The Golf Channel, on a more broadly distributed tier than The Tennis Channel, which it also carries, that likewise features those three attributes.” Effros asks if  people “take out the use of a ball, then will the FCC start deciding based on what it generally considers a ‘sport’?” The IOC has “already accepted synchronized swimming and curling, and is being petitioned to include ballroom dancing.” Is the cable industry at the point “where the FCC is going to decide what we can and cannot treat ‘equally’ on our channels based on its editorial judgment?” (CABLEFAX DAILY, 1/26).

FUTURE OF 3D: DAILY VARIETY’s Michael Ventre noted Cameron-Pace Group co-Chair Vince Pace at the Sports Entertainment Production Summit at Luxe Sunset in L.A. “talked about 3D in sports programming and said that after witnessing the new technology by Sony and others, the proliferation of glasses-free 3D is not far off.” Pace said, “It’s incredible to me that we’re on the right path.” Spike TV’s Tim Duffy talked of meeting Lakers F Metta World Peace “to discuss a possible sports-based reality show.” But World Peace said that he “didn’t want to be depicted as a bad guy.” Duffy on the project, “Pass. Not everybody deserves to be on TV” (, 1/25).

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS: In Buffalo, Jerry Zremski wrote Sports Fans Coalition, “a national group that has been fighting the Federal Communications Commission’s blackout rules, announced Tuesday that it has formed a Buffalo chapter to press the FCC on the issue -- and to explore ways to ensure that the Bills remain in Buffalo.” The group has “set up a website,, where fans can write their comments to the FCC regarding the blackout rules.” The FCC is “accepting comments on the matter through Feb. 13” (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/25).

TRYING TO DRIVE INTERST: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin wrote IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has said that it is his goal “to get the TV show that IndyCar did on Versus back at least for May.” Cavin: “We’ll see where it goes from there. The overall lack of broadcasting programming is a big problem for IndyCar.” There are “scads of NASCAR alternatives; virtually none for IndyCar” (, 1/25).