U. Getting Gruden Screw Like NFL Network Did?

Sunday speculation exploded in the Miami media that Jon Gruden was closing in on a deal to coach the Miami Hurricanes.

Jon Gruden leaking pseudo interest in Miami job?

Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro of the MIAMI HERALD Tweeted Sunday evening, “Hearing Jon Gruden has agreed to $3.4 mil deal to become #UM’s next coach. Trying hard to confirm it officially.

Earlier Sunday Steve Gorten of the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL had reported, “According to a UM source, former NFL coach Jon Gruden initiated contact with the university to express his desire for the job and that the interest is mutual.

Gruden agreeing to coach the Hurricanes would be a shocker, but if you believe Peter King, there’s virtually no chance it will happen.

King Tweeted Sunday night:

I’m hearing the Gruden-to-Miami rumors are fraudulent. But will keep you informed if I hear differently. Jon Gruden is not going to the University of Miami. Period.

To that end, the man who first broke Randy Shannon’s firing late Saturday, ASSOCIATED PRESS reporter Tim Reynolds, Tweeted Sunday:

Doesn’t sound like Miami expects an imminent signing: Jeff Stoutland to meet with reporters Tuesday morning.

But after his Tweet, Reynolds reported:

A person with knowledge of Miami’s search told The Associated Press on Sunday night that Jon Gruden received “parameters” of an offer from the Hurricanes. Gruden, the former Tampa Bay coach who now an ESPN analyst, is atop Miami’s wish list, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because university officials did not authorize the release of search details.

Sources familiar with the UM coaching search told me Saturday night that the school had contracted the coach placement firm run by Chuck Neinas to assist with the hire. Neinas charges a standard fee of $50,000 for his services, and with Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt now on the record about having hired Neinas, the insta-hire of Gruden would be hard to believe.

So why then has Gruden’s name exploded in its association with the Miami job? Read more…

Washington Post Columnist Suspended For Hoax

Yesterday WASHINGTON POST columnist Mike Wise Tweeted that a source had told him that Ben Roethlisberger had been suspended for five games by the NFL in response to the Pittsburgh quarterback’s off-field issues.

Mike Wise Tweets that Ben Roethlisberger to be suspended five games by the NFL

The Twitter report from the Washington Post columnist and former NEW YORK TIMES reporter set off a chain reaction in the mainstream NFL media. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk at NBCSports.com, the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, the MIAMI HERALD and the BALTIMORE SUN all subsequently cited Wise’s report, along with other main media outlets.

(Wise was quoted about Jayson Blair affair during his NY Times tenure)

The reaction of those outlets was yet more confirmation that Twitter is now viewed by main media as a legitimate medium for breaking news - even before that news is published by the employer of the individual breaking the story.

In other words, Washington Post columnist Wise’s move to first report a major scoop on Twitter is no longer uncommon in main media circles.

A couple hours after numerous main media outlets had cited his original report about Roethlisberger, Wise Tweeted his source on the story:

Mike Wise Tweets that Ben Roethlisberger to be suspended five games by the NFL

Then, in a series of subsequent Tweets, Wise revealed that his report about Roethlisberger had been a hoax and was designed to serve “as part of a bit on my show today … I tried to test the accuracy of social media reporting.” (Wise hosts a weekday radio show in D.C.)

Wise later Tweeted that, “I was right about nobody checking facts or sourcing.

Wise was apparently unaware that by citing his original report, numerous journalistic enterprises were counting on the Washington Post and former New York Times reporter’s own facts and sourcing on the story.

In reporting Wise’s report, many of the outlets never claimed to have original facts or sourcing on the story. The citation by those outlets was instead a referendum on the credibility of Wise and his Washington Post employer.

Via email, I asked Florio, who runs one of the main media outlets to cite Wise’s original report, what he thought of the hoax. He responded: Read more…

NY Times: Sports Blog Sold For ‘low seven figures’

Richard Sandomir of the NEW YORK TIMES reports today on the sale of TheBigLead.com.

(Ballin’!)

The Big Lead, an independent blog that Jason McIntyre began as a hobby, is fixated on sports media, news and gossip. Along the way, it has built a devoted, if not huge, social media following.

Now, a buyer has established a value for the blog by acquiring it for a figure in the low seven figures.

When McIntyre began his site in 2006, he was still an editor at US Weekly. “I really didn’t know what I was doing.”

The Big Lead has risen to prominence as newspaper circulation and ad revenue have shrunk; many papers have cut back sports coverage, creating an opening for bloggers.

So how does a guy turn his sports blog into a low seven-figure payday with accompanying NY Times writeup?

Three easy steps:  Work your ass off. Rinse. Repeat.

Read more…

Adding A Question Mark Makes Everything OK (?)

Total bullcrap journalistic practice that needs to die in an incinerator, #26345: The misleading headline/question mark combo. For whatever reason, writers are able to get away with some of the most absurd, heinous implications with the addition of uncertainty, via question mark. For example, if a headline said “[insert your favorite President] Routinely Murdered Grandmothers With His Bare Hands,” you’d know the article wasn’t worth reading because that is absolutely nowhere in the record of facts. But if it was “[insert your favorite President] Routinely Murdered Grandmothers With His Bare Hands?”, all of a sudden you’re thinking, “You know what? Maybe there’s something there.” And then the article’s about economic policy and you’re just irate.

Matthew Lesko Question Mark Suit
(This uncertainty is so zany!)

So while it’s no surprise, it’s still disappointing that the practice has bled over to PRO FOOTBALL TALK, where a recent headline read, and we quote, “Brandon Jacobs wants to beat up Tony Siragusa?” The article itself had absolutely nothing that suggested that Jacobs was upset; in fact, the only time Jacobs even mentioned Siragusa was to say he didn’t care about him. Booooooo. Poor form.

Or is it poor form? We’re going to print the notes for our fantasy football team, but give it all some fun headlines. Let’s see if we can’t gin up a few cheap pageviews on this one. Read more…

Favre Keeps ESPN From Attacking Cutler’s Agent?

Brett Favre has received doe eyes from the media since, well, since he became culturally relevant after taking over as Green Bay’s starting quarterback nearly two decades ago. In the process, handfuls of NFL reporters and talking heads had to get close to his agent, Bus Cook, to find out what Favre was thinking, and get inside enough to report on it. Now, they have to get through Cook to understand what in God’s name is going on with Jay Cutler, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that while Cook is one of the bus drivers pushing the entire Cutler-Denver controversy, he’s not getting any criticism from ESPN because the network so desperately wants to hire his other, more famous client as an NFL analyst.

brett favre bus cook

(The real reason for Bus Cook’s sudden deification is standing just to the right of him. Here’s a hint about who he is: He’s really famous and wearing a white t-shirt.)

The theory was first postulated this morning by PROFOOTBALLTALK writer Mike Florio, and we think he’s really on to something. After all, if you believe FOX SPORTS’s John Czarnecki, Cook was already asking Denver to trade Cutler, before the Broncos even started tossing his name out to the wolves of the NFL market. Instead of telling the truth about what’s really happening behind the scenes — that Cook is helping Cutler agitate for a trade — ESPN is deifying him as the most upright of all agents, hoping to make inroads into landing Favre for the network’s analyst chair.

Read more…

Speed Read: Devin Harris Miracle Shot Sinks 76ers

You know who had a good night on Monday? Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets. Not only did he score 39 points, but he sunk a game-winning half court shot as time expired to lift his team to a 98-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. The entire play was about as nutty as you can get in the NBA, with Harris having his initial shot blocked before recovering to sink the game-winning basket a fraction of a second before time expired.

Devin Harris

As BLACK SPORTS ONLINE points out, Harris’ shot raised a whole host of questions: was he fouled in the act of shooting; did he travel after recovering the initial blocked shot; and did he really get the shot off before time expired.  Take a look for yourself and be the judge (and please pay attention to Violet Palmer, who emphatically waved off the shot, probably because she’s an awful referee):

As for the 76ers: as THE 700 LEVEL points out, this loss was a microcosm of their season: for the sixth time, they lost a game they were leading with ten seconds to go. So the next time you complain about a close game your team lost, keep in mind that it could be worse - you could be a 76ers fan.

If Devin Harris had a good night on Monday, then the New York Knicks’ Nate Robinson continued his great month of February. Not only did he win the NBA Slam Dunk title by (literally) leaping over Dwight Howard, but he’s been a beast on the court as well. Besides blocking Chris Bosh, Robinson has been on a scoring tear. His 41 points against the Pacers marked the fourth time in the last six game he’s scored 30 points or more, helping lead the way to a 123-119 victory.

Nate Robinson

Meanwhile, not having such a great day or month is Marvin Harrison. It’s hard to imagine the possibly second-greatest wide receiver in NFL history playing for another team than the Indianapolis Colts, but that’s the real possibility after the INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports that Harrison is all but certain to be cut by the team, barring a last-ditch effort by team owner Robert Irsay. Then again, if Jerry Rice can play for the Seahawks…

After Jerry Rice, who is the second-best receiver in NFL history?

View Results

NFL Shamed Into Giving Color Guard SB Seats

I can imagine that one of the greatest honors a member of the military can receive is being selected as part of the Color Guard presenting the American flag at the Super Bowl. You are literally the symbol of the nation you might fight and die for with up to a billion people watching. Even for someone whose closest relation to military service was a dad who was an Air Force mechanic in Korea, it gives me goosebumps.

Color Guard

After being a part of the ceremonies, you would think that the Color Guard would then be rewarded by being able to relax and watch the game. Perhaps not luxury boxes, but at least a block of seats and some free popcorn. But of course, we’re talking about the NFL, and you would be wrong - the league has stuck the servicemen and women with the thousands of other “extras” watching the game on a big-screen TV at an undisclosed location deep inside the bowels of the stadium.

Read more…

Brog: ABC Might Want To Freshen Up NBA Display

I’m happy to report that I’m back in Los Angeles for the summer, after five delightful days driving from Miami. First day back, I was at Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which extended the inevitable Boston series triumph by at least one more 48-minute epoch (has a team ever looked worse in a win than Sunday @ Staples?)

Brooks Bill Walton Stephen A Smith

Before the game, I waited for Jerry Buss to pull up with a limo-full of teenie strippers drank in the *electric* atmosphere outside the arena, which featured a chance to admire an embarrassingly outdated display of ABC NBA broadcasters. Best part: Getting to let Stephen A. know how the vast majority of respirating, bipedal NBA fans felt about his past on-air contribution.

Mike Tirico Jeff Van Gundy

The fan photo-op broadcast desk was part of an RV-display that featured cutouts of ABC’s NBA broadcast team, which as you can imagine had passing fans bursting with excitement. One small detail: Smith and Bill Walton aren’t on ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals.

Staples Center Parking

It’s also nice to see the (Celtics-operated?) Staples-area parking guys weren’t in a mood to gouge Game 5 attendees. Let’s see, buy a quarter-tank of gas, or park for the game?

I traveled around Los Angeles (Pasadena down to Venice) quite a bit yesterday to acquaint myself with how my town was feeling before the game. I was surprised. No car flags, no lines outside of sports bars, no buzz. I know it was Father’s Day, and the Lakers were down 3-1, but I expected at least some excitement around town. But it’s been exceedingly flaccid, especially compared to the early ’90s championship Shaq-n-Kobe era.

Apparently, the country is similarly laissez-faire. The ratings have been better than last year’s putrid numbers, but as Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS wrote, “(ESPN/ABC and the NBA) dreamed of a return to double-digit ratings with Lakers-Celtics, but the numbers have been a disappointment. America knew Michael Jordan. Apparently, Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan.

Rocco Mediate as a poker player, from WICKED CHOPS POKER:

Rocco Mediate Poker

More golf coverage after the jump … Read more…

Football Website’s Prank Freaks Out Dolphins GM

We aren’t going to get out of here without something April Fools-related, however lame we find the holiday.

Jason Taylor Robot Pigeon

(*not impressed* (guttural sound))

Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK reported this morning, with a straight keyboard, that Jason Taylor had retired from professional football: “Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, currently a contestant on that showcase for show business has-beens and wannabes known as Dancing with the Stars, will announce on Tuesday night’s broadcast his retirement from the National Football League.

Since it was Florio’s first post out of the box, we found it a little suspicious, and didn’t mention it. Subsequently, the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL’s Ethan Skolnick, who is covering the NFL owner’s meetings up the road in West Palm Beach, reports that a couple reporters did fall for the *gag* and asked Fins GM Jeff Ireland about it.

Ireland’s response: “HAR HAR!” Read more…

Kolber Gives Baby Same Name As (Sober) Jets QB

Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports today that “Suzy Kolber is a new mother, according to an ESPN spokesman who confirmed what apparently was mentioned at some point late Wednesday night on the air.

Suzy Kolber

We reported several months ago (more than three and less than nine) that Kolber is pregnant. Our own MDS told me that he saw her while he was covering the Vikings-Bears Monday nighter in December for AOL, and that she obviously was expecting something other than an alcohol-induced fondling from a retired quarterback.”

Florio has also tracked down the sex and rather coincidental name of Kolber’s new daughter. Read more…