10:15 AM Minnesota State football coach Todd Hoffner, who returned after a two-year absence after being cleared of child pornography charges, said after losing in Saturday's NCAA Division II title game: "It's tough today. But I am grateful, blessed, happy to be doing what I'm doing, helping our guys to become better athletes, better students and better men."
10:00 AMCam Newton didn't like Carolina Panthers fans cheering when Johnny Manziel got injured during Sunday's game: "You don't celebrate when a guy's hurt. It's classless. It takes the integrity out of the game. For the crowd to respond in that type of way, man, we're better than that. That's not who we are."
Earlier today Jason McIntrye of TheBigLead.com broke the news that Jim Rome was moving his weekday Jim Rome is Burning television show from ESPN to the CBS Sports Network. (ESPN has since confirmed Rome’s last TV appearance on behalf of the company will be January 27.)
In response to Rome’s show no longer airing weekdays at 4:30p ET on ESPN2, SbB has learned that ESPN2 weekday offering Numbers Never Lie will be moved from 3:30p ET to 4 and Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable will be pushed back from its normal ESPN2 weekday 4p ET airtime to 4:30.
ESPN will likely eventually fill the 3:30p ET weekday slot on ESPN2 with another original programming production.
Multiple sources Friday indicated to SbB that as part of his new deal with CBS, Rome has agreed to make regular appearances on CBS-owned Showtime.
SbB has been told that Rome will be the centerpiece of an aggressive move by Showtime Sports into the increased production of original sports programming under new executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza.
Before Rome struck the CBS deal he had former ESPN programming chief Mark Shapiro, who worked on Rome’s original ESPN2 show as a production assistant, approach NBC about a similar arrangement.
NBC, which recently launched a 24-hour sports programming channel, passed.
UPDATE: Multiple sources tell SbB that a primary reason Rome departed ESPN was that network executives wanted to move his TV show to ESPN’s production facility in Los Angeles and force the ESPN2 show host to drop his non-ESPN, television-only production team.
SbB has been told that shooting the show near Rome’s Orange County home, while also footing the bill for Rome’s personal TV production unit, was costing ESPN upwards of $7 million per season.
For Rome’s TV show to continue on ESPN, the network would’ve no longer been obligated to defray such production costs.
On December 27 I first noted Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik’s refusal to confirm his entire roster of players as academically eligible for the BCS Championship Game against Oregon on Jan. 10 in Arizona.
(Nearly month after AU semester ended, Chizik confirmed all players eligible)
Monday, all Auburn players on the current roster traveled to Arizona to continue prepping for the big game. After the team arrived in Phoenix, Chizik refused to address a reporter’s question about possible academic eligibility issues facing the team.
Tuesday at a press conference Chizik again was mum when asked if he would not have his full complement of players due to academics.
Finally, two weeks after publicly broaching the possibility that Auburn could face academic casualties for the BCS Championship Game, Chizik broke his silence on the subject. Read more…
In the most recent episode of VH1’s Basketball Wives reality show titled “Cheating Spouses”, current Orlando Magic player Matt Barnes appeared in an excruciatingly uncomfortable scene with his fiancée Gloria, who is a regular on the show, and two other regular cast members.
In the scene, Barnes is essentially ambushed by Jennifer Williams (wife of ex-NBA player Eric Williams) and Evelyn Lozada (Antoine Walker’s baby mama) who do everything but accuse Barnes of straying from his engagement. In the show’s previous episode, Eric Williams admitted on camera to cheating on wife Jennifer while he played in the NBA.
This week Barnes guested on the Jim Romeradio show and was asked about the VH1 reality show.
As it’s such a valuable resource, I’m spending more and more time on Twitter. Tweeting has been a revelation for many athletes and media members in connecting with fans and sharing information in real time. A much more immediate vehicle that Facebook.
While there’s a lot of new and old media members who have enthusiastically bought into the medium, there are many who curiously have not. Here’s a list of people who I would like to see Tweeting regularly. For all I know, many of those listed have Twitter accounts that aren’t public or have accounts that are essentially idle. Or perhaps I’m actually missing someone. If I am, leave in the comments.
1a) Todd McShay: I’ve got ESPN muted most days, but the sound goes on when McShay appears. He’s one of the few media personalities who consistently tells you something you don’t already know. Mad homework and we’re the beneficiaries. From the way he funs people on-air, he’d light it up on Twitter.
1b) Doug Gottlieb*: Another homework guy who always has college hoops nuggets you get nowhere else. Since I rarely watch college hoops, great catch-up guy to watch. General sports talk host on ESPN Radio and consistently says stuff I can’t believe corporate lets him get away with. Probably the loosest cannon in Bristol. Anyone who drops a “game blouses” while doing a game is automatically on the list.
1c) Brian Kenny: Solid when anchoring but radio show allows him to bring the knowledge you can’t get from the prompter. Best interviewer currently on radio. Asks a pointed question and gets out of the way. (Doesn’t answer question he’s asking!) Voice of reason in the insanity of the boxing world. If I’m driving back from Vegas, he’s the podcast.
4) Matt Vasgersian: I know him well from my baseball broadcasting days. Killer natural sense of humor that gets dumbed-down by MLB Network. He could let that out on Twitter. He’s much more than just a sports guy, but the only place most people know him is when he’s hemmed in by a sports broadcast. He needs to eventually do something professionally that isn’t sports. Funny dude.
5) Jared Allen: Only athlete on the list. Best video pieces from an athlete I’ve ever seen. Has both over-the-top and subtle sense of humor. Doesn’t have a big ego or have every move that he makes mapped by a marketer. (Ochocinco, LeBron, etc.)
Today we got the news that LeBron Jameswants to doff his #23 in order to facilitate the number being retired by the league. Instead, James claims he will soon switch to #6. James says the move isn’t about marketing or merch, it’s about remembrance. About honoring the legacy of Michael Jordan.
One small problem: #6 was worn by a NBA player every bit as influential as Jordan, a player who won nearly twice as many championships as Jordan and who changed the way the game was played. The player? Bill Russell. Oh yeah, and there’s the little matter of Julius Erving’s personal digit too. Like he didn’t have something to say about how the NBA game is played today?
Jordan’s number should not and will not be permanently retired, because if it is, you can get busy mothballing dozens of numbers of players who were just as influential as Jordan. And it goes without saying that Jordan is no Jackie Robinson, something that is apparently lost on the embarrassingly myoptic James.
James’ numbers game is one more fake news story that he’s manufactured for the sadly dogmatic media. Much like his recent, ridiculous claims that he’s tired of the speculation regarding his impending free agency. Jim Rome had an epic take on that yesterday, via ESPN’s Jim Rome is Burning:
But while Rome’s relentless beatdown of James brought me tears of joy, James claim that he cared more about winning than money elicited tears of laughter. Read more…
Based on Blount’s questionable behavior before the Boise State game ever occurred, I didn’t have a problem with Ducks Coach Chip Kelly ’suspending’ Blount for the season. I also think it’s reasonable to rescind the suspension if Blount has shown he can get his act together. (As soon as we found out Tony Dungy was involved, it was a safe bet dude would soon be back in Oregon’s regrettable gear.)
One thing I haven’t seen talked about much, which was mentioned today by Steve Hartman on Fox Sports Radio, was that if Blount’s punch hadn’t landed squarely or the camera hadn’t been so perfectly trained on the jaw-drop moment, Blount most likely wouldn’t have gotten the harsh punishment he received. Of course, that doesn’t excuse what Blount did to Byron Hout, or his outrageous reaction to crowd taunts.
Another interesting observation on Blount’s situation came from respected OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano. Canzano claimed on ESPN-TV earlier today that perhaps Kelly was bringing Blount back because the Ducks had resurrected their season. And that the coach might’ve yielded to pressure from Oregon boosters.
Problem with that though is Oregon has played its best football without Blount, and it’s likely that even if he returns to the team, he probably won’t be the Ducks’ top running back anymore. LaMichael James is averaging six yards per carry since Blount was blown out by his outburst, and he’s likely to continue getting the bulk of the carries,
While there’s been an orgy of media coverage about Blount’s possible return, another sports figure who also got trucked in a colossal case of bad public judgement quietly slipped back into his highest profile gig this week. Read more…
Over the past week, the sports world has gone from a sadly predictable near-tragedy to a shockingly real one. While most NASCAR fans and drivers could have told you that a scene like Carl Edwards’ car almost flying into the packed stands at Talladega was almost inevitable, no one could have predicted what happened during a freak windstorm at the team’s practice facility on Saturday afternoon: the entire thing collapsed, trapping players, coaches, staff and media inside.
When first reports came out about the accident on Saturday, it looked like any major injuries had been avoided. But Sunday brought additional news, and most of it not good: the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAPH says that scouting assistant Rich Behm has been paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the accident. Among the 11 other people who received medical attention, special teams coach Joe DeCamillis suffered a broken vertebra but somehow was not paralyzed, while assistant athletic trainer Greg Gaither has a broken right leg.
And as horrific as the situation was, it apparently could have even been worse, if eyewitness reports from players and media members who were there for a rookie minicamp (welcome to the league, rooks). Such as former kicker and fifth-round draft pick David Buehler, who wound up with a concussion and various cuts and scrapes.
“My initial thought was, how many people are dead in this?” Buehler said tonight. “I thought I was the lucky one.”
(It should be noted that Buehler became the kicker at USC after incumbent Mario Danelo was killed in a drunken fall from a cliff after the 2007 Rose Bowl, so he’s seen enough football-related tragedies for his lifetime.)
Somehow Buehler suffered the most severe injuries of the players (I guess that armor does help), and many of the players acted as rescuers immediately after the collapse. Two players might have helped save DALLAS MORNING NEWS reporter Todd Archer from further injury after he was pinned down by falling debris:
Then I saw two pairs of cleats near me and two blue jerseys, so I knew they were defensive players. Later, I was told it was cornerback DeAngelo Smith and linebacker Brandon Williams. Eatman said Williams pushed him out of the way so he could help get me out.
With whatever was on me raised a few inches, I was able to turn on my back and inch my way out. I remember seeing players hurdle over pieces of the wreckage to make sure their teammates – strangers to most of them just a week ago – were all right.
I ran into the team’s Valley Ranch complex. Blood trickled down my right elbow. My right shin had some road rash. My left knee was sore, and as the time went by, my left shoulder and right ribs became sore.
It all took about 25 seconds, but it seemed much longer.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones cut his trip to the Kentucky Derby short and returned Sunday morning to grimly look at the resulting carnage. As you could expect, OSHA is investigating; but while you might question the safety of having a 85,000 square-foot inflatable tent in an area hit by occasional huge thunderstorms, chances are this will be just an incredibly fluky situation that had tragic consequences.
Getting back to more positive news: I know it’s a cliche that there’s “nothing like playoff hockey,” and that’s a lie: mint chip ice cream is better than playoff hockey; finding “Caddyshack” on HBO at 3:30 a.m. when you can’t go sleep is right up there as well. But yesterday’s three-OT thriller between the Ducks and the Red Wings was a reminder: the Celtics vs. Bulls series had some great games, but no one does extra time like the NHL.
Why? Because of getting a set amount of time to complete a period, the end of an OT playoff game could come at any second, on a power play, shorthanded or completely against the run of play. It’s that “lightning in a bottle” moment that makes it so unique, and often times the game-winner comes from an unusual source.
On Sunday, that unlikely hero was Todd Marchant. The ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER says the third-oldest player on the team came through when it was needed, putting away a shot from the top of the face-off circle (after breaking up a Detroit rush) to give Anaheim a dramatic 4-3 three-OT road victory to level the series at 1-1.
Think about it: this game went three overtimes - and we’re not talking fake NBA five-minute OTs either, but honest-to-God 20-minute periods. Basically, the Ducks and the Red Wings played 2/3s of an extra game, but most casual fans are too jaded (and expect this every NHL playoff time) to appreciate it. Meanwhile, the Bulls and Celtics go three five-minute overtimes and everyone freaks out.
(Now-former Dodgers beat writer Tony Jackson, enjoying a power nap.)
Take a deep breath, Red Sox fans: the BOSTON GLOBE say popular commentator and former second baseman Jerry Remy has Twittered (does everyone Twitter?) that he missed the four-game series with the Rays as a precaution, and should be back in the booth soon.
New York Islanders owner Charles Wang tells NEWSDAY that he “regrets” buying the team nine years later. I guess looking at putting $23 million a year into the team with no hope of a new arena in sight will do that to you. What’s the return policy on a broken NHL franchise, anyway?
Another week, another Tiger Woods final round falling flat. The NEW YORK TIMES says he shot a 72 on Sunday, finishing two shots back of winner Sean O’Hair at the Quail Hollow Championships in Charlotte, NC. Can we just revoke this bum’s Tour Card now?
The SOUTHTOWN STAR says that 19 players from the St. Rita baseball team in suburban Chicago were suspended from their game on Wednesday against De La Salle. Their crime? Stopping to get breakfast after a TV taping for WGN. It’s not their fault Waffle House is so deliciously tempting!
For anyone looking to get into the endless grind that is sports talk radio, JOURNALISM JOBS says the Jim Rome Show is looking for a writer. You’re telling me that his riffs aren’t all off the cuff? Rack him!!! Also valuable skills for the job: having a take, not sucking.
Former Arsenal and Barcelona soccer star Marc Overmars came out of retirement four years ago to help Go Ahead Eagles - the club he started his career with and is currently director of - try to make the Dutch first division. After snapping his leg in a game this weekend, OFF THE POST says he probably wishes he had stayed in the boardroom:
Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf tells the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS that he has “no comment” on rumors about Brett Favre coming to the team, but that “we’re always improving“. Translation: get ready for FavreWatch 2009 any day now.
No matter your personal political beliefs, we can all agree that anyone from Alaska is just too goofy to be near the Presidency. Case in point: the AP says that two people have won an annual betting contest and will split a jackpot of almost $284,000. What were they guessing? When the ice on the Tanana River would crack. Nope, no excess pork spending getting into the economy here.
While the Ducks and Red Wings were having a mini-marathon game yesterday afternoon, MLB.COM says the Mariners and A’s were doing the same thing, with Seattle gutting out an 8-7 win in 15 innings after having to rally from three runs down in the 13th to tie the score. These guys can’t possibly be for real, right?
The NEW YORK TIMES says that owners of Kentucky Derby-winner Mine That Bird will now “listen to the horse” to decide if it runs in the Preakness Stakes. Guys, I’m pretty sure the horse is going to answer no, or at least “neigh!” I’ll be here all week, folks!
As we wait here in Los Angeles for the titanic tilt between USC and Ohio State in three weeks, we need something to keep us entertained. (The Trojans eating Virginia on Saturday just will not do.)
(Maybe L.W. was just talkin’ bout OSU sucking down his favorite, In-N-Out?)
Enter former Trojan and current Tennessee Titan LenDale White. Tomorrow night White will appear on ESPN’s “Rome is Burning” (4:30pm ET) as part of a correspondent piece by Kevin Mawae. In the segment, Mawae attempted to interview White about the upcoming season. After Mawae’s opening, standard question, White responded, “Ohio State sucks!” (audio after the jump). Read more…
Earlier this week, Charles Barkley talked to Jim Rome about how much he lost betting on the Super Bowl this year. Barkley claimed that he changed his bet to the Patriots because he was swayed by the “experts” at ESPN. Here’s part of the exchange - found by The 700 LEVEL, via THE BIG LEAD:
Rome: “How much did going with the experts cost you (on your Super Bowl bet?)”
Barkley: “About $400,000.”
So everyone assumes Barkley lost $400K on the bet. But in an interview last week with Dan Le Batard on WAXY-AM in Miami, Barkley makes it clear he did not lose $400K (audio link after the jump). Read more…