Monthly Archives: January 2013

Flacco’s apology commendable, but more work is ahead


During a recent media interview, Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco used a painful word when describing his reaction to next year’s Super Bowl being in a cold weather location. He called it “retarded,” which sent a collective cringe across the country.

And cringe they should. Retarded is a discriminatory word and one he should not have used.

As soon as the word left his mouth, Flacco immediately realized he should not have said it and corrected himself.

He later issued a statement to the media apologizing for his use of the word.

Here is the statement he made, according to USA Today:

“Obviously, it was a bad choice of words. I wish I hadn’t said it. I have a great relationship with 

Special Olympics back in Baltimore and have had one for many years. I didn’t mean to offend anybody, but I definitely apologize for it.”

I commend Flacco for knowing he was in the wrong. He began apologizing before he finished his sentence. He then took it another step by addressing the word with a statement to the media within 24 hours.

Interestingly, however, Flacco did not utilize social media to get his apology out.

According to his official Twitter page, his last tweet, as of late Wednesday, was to announce a gummy bear endorsement deal.

Given the relevance of social media and its ability to get the message out of multitudes, why didn’t he?

One might argue Flacco was busy with interviews, practice and preparing for Sunday’s big game. However, I am sure Flacco has an agent or public relations officer who could have crafted a tweet for him.

Furthermore, the fact that “retarded” rolled off Flacco’s tongue on a national media stage says something about where we stand as a society.

Retarded is still common rhetoric in our society. Discriminatory words like the “R-word” or the “F-word” or the “N-word” are still used everyday and signal that we, as a society, have more work to do.

I don’t doubt Flacco’s sincerity with his apology, but I also hope young people who watched him say the word don’t make it part of their vocabulary.

Broadcasters’ commentary sexist and across the line


During a Tuesday telecast on the Big Ten Network, two commentators discussed the new contract and raise received by OSU Coach Thad Matta. But, instead of reporting on the new contract, the commentators exhibited sexism and lost credibility with at least one viewer.

The discussion began over Matta’s salary increase from $2.9 to $3.2 million. After discussing a few points of the contract, the Big Ten Network commentators began painting the picture of Matta’s long-time wife, Barbara, as a money-hungry companion.

“You know who is most happy about that is Mrs. Matta,” one of the commenters said.

This same commentator went on to discuss some shopping “Mrs. Matta” planned to do as well as a trip she could now take because of her husband’s raise.

His comments were across the line.

While a listing for Barbara Matta’s profession could not be obtained, how were these commentators to know how much “Mrs. Matta” makes herself? For all we know, she is a prestigious lawyer pulling in $1 million a year.

And to go as far as to say she wants to go shopping and on a trip to New York? I wonder what “Mrs. Matta” would have to say about that?

Who knows if she even said that to this network crew? And, if she did, I highly doubt she wanted it broadcasted to an entire viewership.

One has to wonder what the outcome would have been if such comments were made on a larger network, like ESPN.

Also, let’s cut the “Mrs. Matta” reference. I am sure Barbara Matta has her own personality and life outside of being “Mrs. Matta.” Such a reference is also sexist and belongs in the 1950s.

Females, journalists and feminists alike should be outraged and offended by these comments.

Notre Dame left Te’o out to dry


A recent article by Fox Sports’ Greg Couch argues Notre Dame let down Manti Te’o amidst the hoax/scandal that has swept the nation.

Couch argued the university didn’t protect him like they should have. He felt Notre Dame went into crisis protection to help protect its reputation instead of Te’o’s.

It was alleged Te’o went to the Notre Dame staff to tell them he felt he had been part of a hoax.

What didn’t set well with me was Notre Dame waited until after the championship game to really put forth an effort into the investigation.

After the story broke, it seemed Notre Dame barely moved a finger because Te’o was no longer their problem; it was up to his agent.

Teams in college sports have been known to lie to protect themselves instead of the players. They fail to tell the truth until it is to late. This is something that needs to be addressed and controlled because it is unfair to the players. Now, Te’o is left to handle the situation on his own.

The Power of Oprah


During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong finally admitted he was doping during his cycling career. He also doped before all seven of his Tour de France victories. But this article is not about Lance Armstrong’s wrongdoings. It is about how Oprah Winfrey returned to the spotlight and did something no sport or news journalists were able to do. She got Armstrong to open up about everything he had done wrong. But why did he open up to Oprah and not anyone from ESPN,  CNN or other media outlets?

The answer is actually much simpler than people may think. For the last 25 years, Oprah has developed a reputation people in the media profession can only dream of. If a superstar wants to repair their image, they talk to Oprah. Just ask Jay Leno who did his only sit-down interview with Oprah after he was largely blamed for Conan O’Brien losing The Tonight Show on NBC after only hosting for seven months.

So, what makes Oprah different from everyone else?

Oprah has a unique interview style. Unlike many journalists, who just fire away questions just for a “got you” moment, Oprah conveys a comforting presence for the person she is interviewing through the setting and the tone of her voice. Notice during the Armstrong interview how the set looked like a living room in someone’s house.

However, despite her comforting presence, her questions are direct and straight to the point, unlike another set of journalists’ who avoid asking tough questions because they want to maintain contact with the person they are interviewing for future reference. It helps Oprah is able to perfectly transition from a serious interview with a damaged superstar to a joyful celebrity interview. She has the rare ability to interview any human in this country and not only get something out of them, but make the interview interesting for her viewers. If anyone wants to study how to conduct an interview, there is nobody better to watch than Oprah.

Lance Armstrong is going to have some rough days ahead of him. Who knows what will happen with him and the people he affected. But one thing he did right was he told the truth, even if it took him eight years after his last Tour de France win to do. Armstrong understood if he wanted to begin the process of repairing his image, he had to start with Oprah.

Deadspin Offers Detailed and Fair Explanation of Manti Te’o Girlfriend Hoax


Wednesday’s revelation by about Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman finalist Manti Te’o was certainly a bold and controversial claim, but given its detail it is clear this was not a side project taken up by the writers.

Authors Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey did extensive research on the topic. They conducted background checks into the identity of the girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who appears to not be a real person. The perception is that the identity was that of a “catfish,” a term used to describe someone who uses a different identity online.

This part of the story sets up the possibility that Te’o was the victim of a hoax, but there are also points that make it seem like he may have been behind it all along.

Burke and Dickey did a great job posing both possible sides of the situation, without making accusations that could come off as too bold. They lean towards the side that he was behind the situation, but they posted his statement that said he was a victim. It is a fair and professional approach to a story of such magnitude.

While many media outlets have picked up on this story, it was Burke and Dickey who broke it.

They set up a basis of evidence that will be used to further investigate their claims, which will certainly be a popular topic in the near future.

Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend A Hoax


Most people who followed college football this season heard the story of Notre Dame player Manti Te’o. The Heisman candidate inspired thousands of people when he led the Fighting Irish to an undefeated season despite two devastating losses in his family: his grandmother and his girlfriend.

Te’o’s tragic tale consumed the media. His story was featured in Sports Illustrated and on College Gameday and became one of the biggest stories of the year. He even wrote a letter to a family who lost a child, identifying with their pain and offering comfort.

Today, however, the story came crashing down. In a story by Deadspin, authors Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey revealed Te’o’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed. They found no record of her birth, no death certificate, and supposed pictures of her were traced to a different woman. This news broke on Twitter and immediately went viral.

Within a few hours of the article being published and the Twitter overload, Notre Dame and Te’o released statements. Both acknowledged the hoax as well as an ongoing investigation. Te’o called the situation “incredibly embarrassing to talk about,” and said the woman he thought he was in an online relationship played a sick joke.

This news leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Who is the woman Te’o thought he was dating? Where did Deadspin obtain its information, and why didn’t Te’o comment before the story broke?

With the way the media hyped Te’o’s story, it is simply shocking to believe it isn’t true. While I feel sorry for Te’o, I also feel a little betrayed. How long were we led to believe his story after he learned the truth?

More information will surely come out pending the investigation, and this story will surely be a headline in the media for the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see how Te’o’s fans react and how it affects his NFL prospects.

Sportswriter Questions Lance Armstrong’s Doping Admission


Lance Armstrong has once again captured headlines after he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. In an interview with Oprah, yet to air, Armstrong reportedly came clean about what most people have known for a long time. Yahoo Sports reporter Dan Wetzel analyzed the situation in an article titled “Lance Armstrong’s Doping Admission: Questions Oprah Should Have Asked.”

Most people know cycling is riddled with performance-enhancing drugs, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. Rather, people are questioning the time of his admission and his motives. As Wetzel asks, “Why now, Lance?”

Wetzel made many great points in his article. For one, he mentions Armstrong did some positive things in his career. He did beat cancer and used his platform to inspire millions of others through his Livestrong foundation. Beyond this, however, Armstrong’s choices negatively impacted the lives of people who tried to reveal his secret.

If Armstrong simply admitted to doping a long time ago, I think it would be easier to forgive him. But, as Wetzel showed in his article, there is a laundry list of people who Armstrong took down in his denial. He falsely sued the Sunday Times of London for libel, he threatened those who spoke against him including former teammates and employees, and created many other lawsuits just to protect his lies.

There are probably more people Armstrong hurt to keep the truth from coming out. Why is he now choosing to admit his wrongdoings, and will he be forgiven by his fans and the sports world? These are all questions to be answered in the next few weeks. After the Oprah interview airs, it will be interesting to see if Armstrong is truly sorry for his actions or has ulterior motives for his doping admission.

McCarron’s girlfriend becomes ‘overnight sensation’


Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, became an overnight sensation following ESPN’s extended commentary on her during the BCS National Championship game.

Was the commentary too much for Miss Alabama? Not so, she said.

Webb called Brent Musburger’s apology unnecessary,  “stating that he never said any derogatory terms toward her.” She told E News she was flattered and any person should be if called pretty in a respectful manner.

ESPN also issued an apology to Webb for the momentary indiscretion of their employee.

Musberger, an ESPN analyst on the call for the game, went on, at length, about how pretty Webb and McCarron’s mom were. He told parents to make their son a quarterback because it will net them a pretty girlfriend.

Many people chimed in on this story. Donald Trump said, “Musburger said what everyone was thinking.” Others called it funny because of Musburger’s age.

Announcers Make Inappropriate Comments During BCS Blowout


It was clear early on in the BCS Championship game Alabama had control of the game over Notre Dame. The Crimson Tide scored quickly and easily, so announcers Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit were forced to look for other topics to keep things interesting.

After Alabama took an early 14-0 lead, the cameras panned to a woman in the crowd, who Musburger and Herbstreit took quite an interest in. Musburger identified the woman as Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. He told viewers this “lovely lady” is a student at Auburn, the University of Alabama’s rival, and a former Ms. Alabama pageant winner.

Musburger didn’t stop there. He continued and said, “Wow, you quarterbacks get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman, whoa!” Herbstreit can be heard laughing and saying, “AJ’s doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa.” Musburger chimed in again with some advice for the kids watching. “If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pops,” he said.

Viewers immediately took to Twitter to talk about Mursburger and Herbstreit’s comments, and the video has since gone viral. This incident is just another example of how fast a comment can be spread with today’s technology. Media personnel need to be more aware of what they say and the possible implications it could have.

I think Musburger and Herbstreit’s comments were highly inappropriate. Instead of just introducing Webb as McCarron’s girlfriend and moving on, they took it a few steps too far. The game may have not been as interesting as they hoped, but they should have found other talking points than a player’s attractive girlfriend.