Stuart Scott: Guts. Grace. Cool.

Here’s my personal Stuart Scott story.  I was attending a journalism convention and hustling from one part of the host hotel to another to meet some friends at a party.  I saw Scott standing outside of a hall where ESPN was hosting an invitation-only gig.  I stepped to him, introduced myself and we exchanged “hellos.”  I was surprised by how short, but fit he was.

When he died Sunday, Scott was only 49, Scott fought a long, hard fight against cancer, but he never lost the fight.  He simply ran out of time.

Stuart Scott brought something to ESPN and SportsCenter there wasn’t much of when he got there: soul.

The average score-reader can pronounce the right words and read the script and tell you who won and won lost. Scott brought realness, flavor and some street style swagger to his presentation and that made him my favorite anchor on ESPN.

It’s not surprising Scott’s approach rubbed some the wrong way who didn’t dig what he was doing. That’s okay. Innovators always attract plenty of critics who don’t get it as well as fans who do and Scott was an innovator. He wasn’t just another diversity hire delivering the details in the same old way  all the old White guys had already done it before .  Scott was young, stylish, was up with the current slang and down for not pretending to be something he wasn’t.  Scott was more Authentically Black than any other anchor on ESPN ever had been before and he did so while crossing over to enjoy mainstream acceptance.

Scott was funny, smart and pulled off the delicate trick of keeping it real without selling out, which is why he got love today from across the spectrum:

Michael Jordan:  I’m so sad to hear the news that Stuart has passed away. He was truly a trailblazer in his field, and by refusing to change his style, made himself into a star. I always enjoyed sitting down to talk to him. But to me, he wasn’t just a broadcaster, he was an old friend, who I’d known since college. He fought so hard against cancer and I hoped he’d win the battle. I send my sincerest condolences to his daughters, Taelor and Sydni, and his family and friends. Boo-yah, brother.

LeBron James: Can’t believe you’re gone from us! I am deeply saddened because not only will not be replaced as an anchor or reporter but more than that as a genuine cool person. What u did for our culture, bringing that Swag to reporting can only be copied(which I hear it today on tv watching sports). I would say not because they stealing your swag, it’s all out of RESPECT! It was always a breath of fresh fun air when u would show up and we’d chat up. Thank you so much for being u and giving us inner city kids someone we could relate to that wasn’t a player but was close enough to them.#RIPStuartScott #FuqCancer#GoneButSurelyNotForgotten

Tiger Woods: Stuart wasn’t covering heroes & champions, it was the other way around. Thinking of my friend & his daughters.

Samuel L. Jackson: “I had a lot of laughs with Stuart Scott & he was truly one of the Good Guys, beginning to end. RIP on da cool side of the pillow!!”

Danica Patrick: “Mornings like this remind me of how short life can be. Carpe diem and love like there is no tomorrow. Stuart Scott, you will me missed.”

President Obama: “I will miss Stuart Scott. Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays. For much of those twenty years, public service and campaigns have kept me from my family – but wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on SportsCenter were there. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us – with courage and love. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues.”“I will miss Stuart Scott. Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays. For much of those twenty years, public service and campaigns have kept me from my family – but wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on SportsCenter were there. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us – with courage and love. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

R.I.P. Stuart Scott. You lived like a champ and you fought like a boss. Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Boo-yah!

Don’t give up the fight. Scott never did.

The Hypocrisy of the NFL’s N-Word Ban

“Don’t hurt me N-words.”

In yet another clumsily misguided attempt to exercise control over the players, the NFL is considering making the saying the slur, “nigger” on the field punishable by a 15-yard penalty.  Well, isn’t that sweet?   A league run by a pompous ass of a commissioner who cashed $44 million in checks last year given to him by 32 billionaires and millionaires and not a dark face among any of them are going to impose their morality upon the 70 percent Black young urban men who make up their teams.

The NFL is in full reactionary mode in the aftermath of the investigation into the sordid and ugly racial harassment suffered by Jonathan Martin by the crude Richie Incognito and other Miami Dolphins players.   Trying to impose a ban on a troublesome word won’t solve the problem of bullying in the locker room, but Roger Goodell isn’t one of the world’s most thoughtful CEO’s.   His approach is that of a hammer with nails all around him.

So if I’m a NFL player and I can’t say “nigger” but I can say “REDSKINS! REDSKINS! REDSKINS!”  that’s all good with Goodell?   Smells like a double standard to me.

“Wassup, my N-words?”

ESPN’s  Outside the Lines recently discussed the usage of “nigger” in popular sports and how the word is considered radically differently by generations with some seeing it as nothing but a vile and vicious insult while a younger generation that grew up dancing to it in rap music and hip-hop culture embrace it as a term of affection.

I didn’t get a lot out of the conversation except being disappointed in Michael Wilbon, a well-respected sports journalist,  shrugging off the slur as something he’s okay with because he uses the word when he’s kickin’ it  with the fellas.   The rationalization that it’s time to fight if a White guy asks, “Are you my nigga?”  but it’s all good when a Black guy does it is garbage.

There is no racial slur equal to being called a “nigger.” That is always the ultimate trump card a White person can throw on the table to insult a Black person. What’s the equivalent retort? White trash? Cracker? Republican?

Why someone thinks it is empowering to refer to themselves or others by a word that has always been to cast doubt on the very humanity of Blacks is a bafflement to me. I’m sure there’s an explanation of how this works, but I’ve never heard a good one.

I neither have nor want friends that feel comfortable in calling me a nigger and misspelling it as “nigga” is bullshit that doesn’t fly with me either.  Still, you can’t regulate and legislate “nigger” out of existence.   The NAACP staged a mock burial of the epithet several years ago, but that failed to kill it off.   How could it?  Only time, education and a greater sophistication of how unnecessary and stigmatizing it is to keep pumping life into what should be a dead word will drive the stake through its rancid heart.

Chris Murray, the Philadelphia-based sports journalist added his disdain for using “nigger” as a term among friends in his Facebook news feed with some in agreement and a few in vehement disagreement with one guy making a point of letting everyone know it too.

 Everybody in this thread is a nigger. I said it!!!

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made a common mistake.  I attempted to being reasonable with an unreasonable man.  I said, “Please brother, speak FOR yourself ABOUT yourself. If you want to wear that tag, wear if for yourself, but don’t try to hang it around my neck.”

“I don’t know any niggers, don’t hang with any niggers and don’t call anyone a nigger.”

Jeff Winbush oh yea…you a nigger too. And you know quite a few.

I’m a proud nigga. Gonna be one until I die. And Jeff Winbush do your homework before you try to insult me. Nigga!!!!

No hood talk, not tryin to be tuff. Just truth. Ya know, it ain’t bad bein a nigga. I’m just not a white mans nigger! Get the.point!

Nigga nigga nigga nigga.

Trying to insult someone you don’t know with an ignorant word is really kind of ignorant. It’s a strong indicator you have to resort to dumb words because you don’t know enough smart ones.  I’m a proud Black man and nobody’s nigger or “nigga” which is just a cowardly way of trying to remix a vile and foolish word.

You can’t polish a turd. Trying to reclaim “nigger” as a term of endearment is a fool’s errand and an epic FAIL.  You’re saying “we” never had a problem with the word when you mean “I” never had a problem with the word.

I DO have a problem with the word and the word has gone away from my vocabulary. I don’t associate myself with an ignorant word that has only been used to degrade and diminish the humanity of Black people.

For the sake of accuracy, there’s no such thing as a “nigga.”  That’s a hip bastardization of a troublesome word.   Either you believe in the slur or you don’t.  All in or all out.  I’m out.

The NFL should be too.  Out of trying to be the P.C. police imposing the ethical standards of White owners on Black players.   They should trust in the ability of the players themselves to police their own language and each other.   If the NFL really finds the N-word so offensive they should stop treating the players like that’s what they are.

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Trapped In the Closet When Bigotry Blocks the Door

"Multiple sources say I'm a damn fool."

“Multiple sources say I’m a damn fool.”

Sometimes the backlash to a news story interests me more than the story does.

Veteran NBA journeyman Jason Collins coming out as the first active player in the NBA is a big deal.  It’s  not a new deal.  Women have come out for years in tennis and basketball, but this is a man’s world so apparently nothing means anything until a guy does it first.

Collins has bounced around the NBA with six teams and the kindest thing you can say about his game is he’s tall and far from a prime-time player.  As a NBA insider, Chris Broussard is a prominent figure in ESPN’s army of experts.   During a discussion on Outside the Lines with LZ Granderson, a fellow ESPN contributor and former Journalist of the Year as named by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Broussard showed another side of himself; a devout Christian who condemns homosexuals  for “openly living in unrepentant sin.”

“I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is. L.Z. knows that. He and I have played on basketball teams together for several years. We’ve gone out, had lunch together, we’ve had good conversations, good laughs together. He knows where I stand and I know where he stands. I don’t criticize him, he doesn’t criticize me, and call me a bigot, call me ignorant, call me intolerant.

jason_collins-si

“In talking to some people around the league, there’s a lot Christians in the NBA and just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant and things like that. That’s what LZ was getting at. Just like I may tolerate someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, he can tolerate my beliefs. He disagrees with my beliefs and my lifestyle but true tolerance and acceptance is being able to handle that as mature adults and not criticize each other and call each other names.

“… Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an opnely premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

— Chris Broussard, ESPN, 4/29/2013

Jason Collins in “action.”

Throwing in premarital sex between heterosexuals with an “openly homosexual lifestyle” is a slick bit of false equivalency by Broussard but I don’t see him criticizing an “openly HETEROsexual lifestyle. ”  Not everybody believes in the Bible, Jesus Christ or God and their lack of belief deserves the same tolerance as Broussard’s  devout Christian beliefs.

The capper is this bit of smug intolerance by Broussard, “So I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

Religious Theory 101 taught by Professor Broussard will be beginning in 10 minutes class, so please take your seats!

It’s good Broussard can contain his disgust with Granderson’s sexual orientation long enough to play a pick-up game of basketball and swallow a sandwich afterwards without gagging on it, but he’s still playing the “love the sinner, hate the sin” card.   How’s that shake out for the millions of other gays who Broussard doesn’t break bread with?  To me it sounds like some of that bigotry, ignorance and intolerance Broussard doesn’t want to be associated with, but pointedly perpetuates is kicking in.

Broussard could have–SHOULD have–said he had “no comment” and kept his religious dogma to himself. Instead he chose to cast the first stone.

He can’t complain now when he gets stones flying back in return.

We’re all entitled to our opinions and they can be as strong as vinegar, but when we put those opinions out there on Front Street, we’re RESPONSIBLE for what we say and write. Broussard is an employee of ESPN and if they choose to defend or suspend him that’s their call. There will be consequences either way. But when you go on national TV saying things about homosexuals that Broussard did, you aren’t going to win that fight. Homophobia is indefensible and even when presented as “God’s will” it remains so.

If Broussard is so religious, how does he square the NBA playing games on Sunday, the Lord’s Day?  Doesn’t the Bible frown on tattoos?  If it does LeBron James is going to hell.  I look forward to Broussard’s future expose of NBA Baby Daddy drama caused from all the horny heterosexuals spreading their seed in the wombs of willing women across America

That should be upcoming sometime soon.  Like NEVER.  Thou shalt not infringe upon the prerogative of straight men to screw around.

The beliefs of Christians should be respected, but their faith does not trump another human being’s rights to live and love how they choose. Aren’t there enough dire emergencies for people of religious faith to worry about than what consenting adults do?

I no more want a “gay agenda” intruding upon my life than I do a “Christian agenda.” This is an excellent opportunity for people to mind their own business. They should take it.

Let Jason Collins live his life. You don’t have to applaud his decision to come out but to stand in judgment of it risks your own moral standing as your own sheets may not be as spotless as you imagine them to be.   The end of the world has been prophesied since the first man looked up at the darkening sky in fear until he realized it was only the sun setting and night falling.

One day the world will end.  I sincerely doubt its cause will be because two people of the same sex fell in love.

The End of Tim

Football Jesus needs a new gig.

Tomorrow Timothy Richard Tebow will wake and face the day no differently from millions of other Americans.

Unemployed and looking for work.

After the horrendous New York Jets drafted Geno Smith they found themselves with half-a-dozen quarterbacks on their roster.   So they cut Tim Tebow and put ESPN into crisis mode with round-the-clock coverage with updates from all 32 teams where reporters pestered puzzled general managers and coaches about how soon they would be flying Tebow in for a visit.

The headline from CBS Sports wondered, “Where will Tim Tebow play now that the Jets have set him free?”

The answer is, Canada or nowhere.

This day was long anticipated and now that it is here, I don’t know why anyone would be surprised.   Tim Tebow may be a God’s favorite son not named Jesus, but he sucks as a quarterback.   I specify “quarterback” because if he were willing to convert to a tight end or fullback, Tebow might be able to play in the NFL.  But as someone to lead a team as a quarterback, nobody wants to be bothered with the Tim Tebow Show coming to their town.

On Sale. Cheap.

If Tebow wants to be mad at anyone he should be mad at his own rabid fan base and ESPN which has swung on his nutsack since he came over from his glory days as a Heisman Trophy winner.   He wouldn’t be the first stud whose game in college didn’t translate to the pros, but the bread and circuses that follows Tebow wherever he goes makes him unemployable in the NFL.

Tebow’s presence sucks up all the oxygen in the room.   The sports media led by ESPN’s fawning over all things Tebow is a constant distraction and divides locker rooms.   Tebow can throw a bit, run a little bit better and win just enough to instantly becomes the biggest star on any team.

And for what?   Last year in a 34-0 skunking of the Jets by the 49ers, I watched with amusement as Terrible Tim loped onto the field and accomplished the following:  A 1-yard run, and he had a 9-yard completion that resulted in a lost fumble.   The mystery isn’t why Tebow is likely over and out as far as the NFL is concerned now that the Jets and Broncos have given up on him.  The real mystery is how he suckered two teams into thinking he could ball?

Hey man, nice haircut.

Tebow is an imposter.  He’s been impersonating a professional football quarterback.  He isn’t.  He wasn’t.   He never will be.  He can’t read defenses.  He can’t check down to a second or third receiver when he can’t find his first.   He can’t even make plays with his feet when his suspect arm fails him as it usually does.

The hype and hysteria that follows Tebow is what now makes him an unwanted commodity in a league where the fall-off from first-string to second and third-string quarterback is drastic.  Most of the 32 teams carry three QB’s over the grind of a NFL season.  That’s 96 potential job openings and what’s it say about Tebow that he isn’t good enough for one of them?

In one way it’s nobody’s fault but Tebow he’s joined the long list of unemployed players looking for a job.   His fans act as if the Chosen One is owed a job in the NFL and his enablers at ESPN have done nothing to discourage that ridiculous notion.    Because he’s a good Christian and God-fearing soldier for Christ, Tebow has become a cause for conservatives, but most NFL teams don’t choose their field generals based upon how much support they have from The 700 Club crowd.    Production is still the bottom line and Tebow didn’t get it done.

His fans will cry and weep and gnash their teeth that Tebow wasn’t given a fair chance which is utter bullshit.   He was given ample chances on the field to make plays and didn’t.  They will say Tim just wants to play.  That isn’t true.  When the Jets gave Tebow’s agent permission to shop around for a new NFL home, the handful of interested teams said, “Sure.”  Providing he was willing to change positions to tight end, but Tebow wants to play quarterback or nothing.

Looks like nothing won.

Tebow posted a message to his two millions Facebook fans, “Proverbs 3:5-6:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Tim had better hope He makes a path for him straight to Canada and the CFL because for now time has run out for Tebow Time.

“Oh, NFL Gods. Why hast thou forsaken me?”

 

“Are You Ready For Some Hitler?”

"Yeee Haaaaa! Wanna hear what I think about Obama's jobs plan?"

When you’re comparing the President of the United States to Adolf Hitler and you’ve got a deal with a major television network, there’s no way that’s gonna end well for you.

Add in that you’re an aging honky tonk country singer living off your daddy’s legacy and one hit song and it only gets even more ridiculous.

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — ESPN pulled Hank Williams Jr.’s classic intro song from its broadcast of Monday night’s NFL game after the country singer famous for the line “Are you ready for some football?” used an analogy to Adolf Hitler in discussing President Barack Obama.

In an interview Monday morning on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” Williams, unprompted, said of Obama’s outing on the links with House Speaker John Boehner: “It’d be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”

Asked to clarify, Williams said, “They’re the enemy,” adding that by “they” he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Anchor Gretchen Carlson later said to him, “You used the name of one of the most hated people in all of the world to describe, I think, the president.” Williams replied, “Well, that is true. But I’m telling you like it is.”

“While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to ‘Monday Night Football,”‘ the network said in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”

Williams released a statement through his publicist, saying: “Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme – but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me – how ludicrous that pairing was. They’re polar opposites and it made no sense. They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the president.”

ESPN did not say whether the intro, synonymous with “Monday Night Football” since 1989, would be used again after this week’s Colts- Buccaneers game.

Personally, I could care less what Hank Williams, Jr’s politics are. I watch Monday Night Football for the football and not some country singer’s asinine opinions. Sing the damn song, cash the check and stay out of my face with your weak Hitler analogies.

This redneck knows just enough about politics to be informed, but not enough to know what the hell he’s talking about.   His interview on Fox and Friends proves a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Williams Jr., has been singing that opening for Monday Night Football since 1989.  He’s as much a part of the show as Andy Rooney was for 60 Minutes.  The difference being Rooney got paid to give his opinions (and be a professional curmudgeon) and Williams is paid to wear sunglasses and lip synch to an overcaffinated remix of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.”

He’s being paid by ESPN/Disney to be a lovable good ol’ boy.  When he expresses an asinine opinion on Fox that’s so extreme even Gretchen Carlson has to call him on it, he’s making himself a figure of controversy and that’s not what he’s being paid for by The Mouse House.

Nobody gives a sweet shit what Hank Williams Jr. thinks.  About anything.   He cashes ESPN’s checks and they get the right to suspend his ass when he says dumb stuff.  I’m not seeing the problem here.

I know nothing about contemporary country music and who’s hot and who’s not, but my guess is MNF is the best gig Hank Jr. has going for him so he’d be a damn fool to blow it because he wants to make silly comparisons between Barack Obama and Der Fuhrer.

Or as Frank Zappa would say, “Shut up and play yer guitar.”

ESPN will probably bench him for a week until the brouhaha blows over and he’ll back with all his rowdy friends.

I just watch the game.  I don’t even hear the song anymore.

It’s still better though than Faith Hill desecrating Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Buckeyes Were Victims of NCAA Hypocrisy

Pryor and Tressel: both winners and both gone.

(I’m celebrating my son’s 21st birthday today (Hi, Kamal!) and didn’t have to finish the article I was writing.  Fortunately, I am blessed to know and have worked with one of the finest sportswriters I have ever met, Charles Farmer, a contributor to The Columbus Post and other publications.  Charles is one of the best in the business and has forgotten more about Ohio State football, the NCAA and how big money rules over it all than I have ever known.  This is a column he wrote after the Buckeyes victory over Arkansas in this year’s Sugar Bowl).

DESPITE DISTRACTIONS BUCKEYES HELD UP THEIR END OF THE DEAL

By Charles Farmer

There was lots of controversy surrounding the Ohio State Football program prior to the team participating in the team participating in the AllState Sugar Bowl. Most became quite familiar with the facts that included six student athletes being suspended from the football team for violations of NCAA rules. Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas will miss the first five games of the 2011 season while Jordan Whiting will miss the first game.

The biggest issue for most was why the accused players did not start serving their suspension immediately and who should have made sure that happened? Many people have stated they thought Coach Jim Tressel should have done the morally correct thing and sat the players himself and perhaps are now looking at the coach in a different light. Can we be honest for just a minute, while I cannot speak for Coach Tressel, one thing I do know is he is paid to win ball games and he also probably took in account not wanting to disappoint the members of the football senior class.

These might be considered a lame excuse by some, but I ask while others sit back in their recliners and serve as armchair coaches; who would have taken the stand by his or her self and sat the players despite the opposition they would have faced from the people handling the money? I’m waiting.

The NCAA declared that the players were eligible based on a rule that states they have the authority when to punish student athletes for stated acts and they decided to deliver the punishment later. The organization also stated later that the decision had nothing to do with money, but it did ensure that the Sugar Bowl would be a financial success because the accused players would be able to participate in the game.

While in contrast, the Sugar Bowl Chairman came out publicly and stated how he lobbied for the accused players to be eligible to play in the game. Making these players eligible also allowed the Sugar Bowl, ESPN and Sponsors to make a return back on the initial investment they made into the game. But the $64,000 question remains what would have happened if these players were not allowed to play? What kind of contest would the Sugar Bowl have been without Terrelle Pryor (336 yards of total offense – two td passes and game MVP); Dan Herron (87 yards rushing and one touchdown); DeVier Posey (three catches for 70 yards and one touchdown); and Solomon Thomas (who grabbed an interception late in the game securing a Buckeye win)?

Pryor was OSU's most exciting player in years.

According to Coach Tressel, the accused players had to promise him they would return to school next year, if they wanted to take part in the Bowl Game and all agreed to do so.

The Ohio State University has formally issued an appeal with the NCAA regarding the players’ suspensions and will have a hearing later. History shows that there is a slim chance that the suspension will be reduced, but I wonder how the NCAA can not reduce the players’ sentences when they have clearly used these individuals to make sure that a Bowl Game and its investors received return on their investments.

Perhaps I am too much of a realist but this situation seems a little shaky or wrong too me. I guess we will have our answer when the results of the NCAA hearing are unveiled but this was a clear example of Big Business at work. I thought the focus of this column was to be about college football and student athletics. I digress.

The 31-26 victory was the Buckeyes first against a South Eastern Conference school in ten attempts which dates back to the days of Woody Hayes.

With all the accused players participating, the AllState Sugar Bowl turned into an exciting game and the investors got what they wanted at the players’ expense.

This Bowl game should have sports fans thinking about what is most important, the game itself or what is the right thing to do?

While many have said suspending the players immediately would have taught lessons or even set a precedent for future incidents, but who wanted to deal with the fallout which included being ridiculed by those connected to the money? In this instance cash ruled the day and everything around it, dollar, dollar bill.

The AllState Sugar Bowl needed a great show to take place between Ohio State and Arkansas, and ESPN delivering its television audience a Buckeye team minus Pryor and the others would have been totally unacceptable to those involved with the money.

This postseason the College football bowl ratings were down nine percent, including an 11 percent drop in the national championship game.

The AllState Sugar Bowl was down four percent from last year, but ESPN said the title game received the highest audience rating ever on cable. The BCS cut off 15 million homes that do not receive cable or satellite by shifting all BCS games to ESPN for the first time, the result of a four year deal vaulted by Sports Business Journal at $495 million.

 (Charles Farmer is a sportswriter and contributor to The Columbus Post newspaper)

Pryor will now take his talents to the NFL.


Hey Mike, The Name Is “King,” Not “Coon.”

Mike and Mike: One played sports. The other knows nothing about sports.

On the day the nation honors Martin Luther King, Jr., ESPN radio’s Mike Greenberg “slips” and calls him “Martin Luther Coon.” Greenberg later apologized in a written statement, but NOT on the radio yet.

From the ESPN website:

I just came home from the Knicks game and found out about the mess that was created by my garbling a sentence on our show this morning;  I apologize for not addressing it sooner.

And I’m sorry that my talking too fast – and slurring my words – might have given people who don’t know our show the wrong impression about us, and about me.

I feel horrible about that, because nothing could be further away from who I am and what our show is about.

I would never say anything like that, not in public, or in private, or in the silence of my own mind, and neither would anyone associated with our show, and I’m very sorry that my stumble this morning gave so many people the opposite impression.

Your wife is absolutely right.

As apologies go, that’s a pretty weak one.  It doesn’t even set the record straight as to what Greenberg was trying to say.   In fact, it’s not even an “apology.”  It’s a “clarification.”

Clarify what?  The man said, “Martin Luther Coon.”  He said it.  What is there to clarify?   Apologize?    That he should do.  Publicly.  On the radio and/or television.   Either that or he should be given a few days off via a suspension.

I’m trying to give Greenberg the benefit of the doubt.  Anyone can misspeak, but that’s a particularly puzzling remark.  “Coon?”  How do you mangle “King” into “Coon.”  It’s not as if they sound even remotely alike.

Greenberg is an annoying little know-it-all, but I’ve  never confused the “Mike & Mike” show with Howard Stern and Don Imus.  Still,  just dismissing Greenberg’s butchering of King’s name as just his mouth outracing his brain cuts him too much slack.   I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt but that doesn’t mean he should get a total pass for his stupidity.

So I dropped ESPN ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer a line asking for Greenberg to apologize on the radio or on television for his racially insensitive remarks.   I was polite, but I made it clear I thought Greenberg had some forced vacation days coming to him.

I don’t expect anything to come from my petty little protest, but if it does, I won’t be terribly upset.