Monthly Archives: April 2013

23 Current & Former NFL Players to Participate in New “Sports Journalism & Communications Boot Camp” May 13-16 at Bowling Green State University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Four-day program for current & former players includes “final exam” covering Toledo Mud Hens baseball game

Twenty three current and former NFL players — including 12-year NFL veteran CHARLIE BATCH, 2012 Patriots Hall of Fame inductee TROY BROWN, and 2001 Heisman Trophy winner ERIC CROUCH — will take part in the first-ever NFL Sports Journalism & Communications Boot Camp from May 13-16 at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. With the new longer offseason, the boot camp is one of a record 10 training programs for post-NFL careers that NFL Player Engagement offers to current and former players.

The four-day program will focus on improving each player’s writing skills for newspapers, radio, and the expanding digital media industry. A field exercise at a Toledo Mud Hens home game will include a mock press conference as part of the player’s game coverage.  Players will write and record their own radio commentary as part of one of the other planned exercises. 

Faculty for the boot camp will include ED BOUCHETTE (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), PETER KING (Sports Illustrated, NBC), and BARRY WILNER (Associated Press) as well as former NFL players-turned-journalists SOLOMON WILCOTS (CBS, NFL Network), MATT BOWEN (Chicago Tribune), MATT CHATHAM (Boston Herald), and BUCKY BROOKS (NFL.com and NFL Network). 

The boot camp is hosted by the BGSU School of Media and Communications and the Sport Management program and was developed with NFL Player Engagement, under the auspices of the Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project.

“BGSU is both honored and thrilled to welcome the inaugural NFL Sports Journalism & Communication Boot Camp to our campus. We have both highly skilled professors and alumni teaching interactive sessions and providing excellent instruction in the fast-changing sports media industry,” said DR. TERRY RENTNER, professor and director, BGSU School of Media and Communications. 

Player enrollment criteria include previous participation in NFL Player Engagement programs, prior media experience, essays, and NFL playing experience.

Following are the NFL players participating in the NFL Sports Journalism & Communications Boot Camp:

Player / Current/Former team(s)

Brendon Ayanbadejo / Free agent

Charlie Batch / Free agent

Ralph Brown / Former (NYG, MIN, CLV, ARZ)

Troy Brown / Former (NE)

LaMar Campbell / Former (DET)

Bryon Chamberlain / Former (DEN, MIN, WAS)

Eric Crouch / Former (STL)

Derrick Dockery / Free Agent

Leger Douzable / Free Agent

Jamie Duncan / Former (TB, STL, ATL)

Andre Fluellen / DET

Jay Foreman / Former (BUF, HOU, NYG, SF)

Nick Ferguson / Former (NYJ, DEN, HOU)

Kendall Gammon / Former (PIT, NO, KC)

Ken Hamlin / Former (SEA, DAL, BAL, IND)

Erin Henderson / MIN

Tyoka Jackson / Former (MIA, TB, STL, DET)

Austen Lane / JAX

Ovie Mughelli / Former (BAL, ATL)

Brady Poppinga / Free Agent

Denard Walker / Former (TEN, DEN, MIN, OAK)

Ellis Wyms / Former (TB, SEA, MIN)

Michael Young / Former (ARZ)

For further information, please visit https://www.nflplayerengagement.com/.

Kudos to Griner, Delle Donne and Diggins

BY JORDAN CRAVENS

Brittney Griner, the No.1 pick in the WNBA draft and a player who has changed the landscape of women’s basketball, has come out as a lesbian.

Her public acknowledgement of her sexuality comes during a time when gay rights and same sex marriage are highly controversial topics in our country as the Supreme Court reviews related legislation.

Griner is not the first WNBA to come out as a lesbian, but she should still be commended for having the strength to do so publicly. Each time a professional athlete “comes out” it will make it easier for future athletes to do so.

Griner came out during an interview with SI. Com that included Elena Delle Donne (Delaware) and Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), who were the second and third picks in the WNBA draft, respectively.

Not only did Griner come out, but she also had a positive message for others who struggle with revealing their sexual identity.

“Don’t worry about what other people are going to say, because they’re always going to say something, but, if you’re just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don’t hide who you really are,” she told SI.com

What was also encouraging from the interview were comments from Delle Donne and Diggins. They both expressed support for Griner and other athletes who are gay. They also said they hope women’s sports can serve as a catalyst for the first openly gay professional male athlete.

According to various media reports, some male pro athletes are ready to embrace athletes who are gay, while others are not.

One thing I find interesting about the debate is discussion over the locker room. Some have opined that being openly gay in the pros is OK, but to keep it out of the locker room.

Why has the locker room become the central point of debate? I assume other athletes don’t want to be made to feel uncomfortable showering and changing in front of gay athletes? I can’t speak for them, but that excuse comes to mind.

So, as a society, we aren’t comfortable with heterosexuals and homosexuals showering in the same locker room, but we are stamping our approval on the misogyny and homophobia that already exists in the locker room?

I’m not comfortable with misogyny and homophobia. Is it OK if they are kept out of the locker room?

The answer is: they haven’ t been. Locker rooms are a place ripe with derogatory insults toward women and gays. They are a place where masculine hegemony and testosterone run wild.

It’s hard for me to understand why the locker room has become such a sticking point in this debate.

If I were a professional athlete, my bigger concern would be whether my teammate was going to block for me or whether he can shoot a three-pointer in clutch situations.

If you support inclusion for gays in the professional sporting world, then be fully inclusive and ditch the locker room caveat.

And kudos to Griner, Delle Donne and Diggins. Let’s hope the male sporting world is taking notes.

Racial Slur Used During Masters

BY LORI RAUDIO

During the coverage of the Masters this past weekend, CBS announcer Bobby Clampett used a racial slur when referring to Chinese golfer Liang Wen-Chong. While on air, Clampett called Wen-Chong a Chinese racial slur to which many viewers took offense.

CBS acted swiftly, removing Clampett from the broadcast immediately following the comment. He also issued an apology very quickly, saying, “It has been a privilege to be here with you the last 2 days describing action of all of the players. In describing the Asian player Wen-Chong Liang, if I offended anybody please accept my sincere apologies.”

While I commend Clampett for issuing an apology, I think saying “I’m sorry” would have sounded more sincere than “if I offended anybody.” It seems obvious people were offended if an apology is necessary. In light of recent on air slurs, however, I think Clampett handled the aftermath well and is unlikely to face any additional punishment.

CBS handled this issue very well. Recognizing the offensive comment and removing Clampett from the broadcast was a smart move that required quick thinking. They also issued the apology very promptly, before the incident escalated via the Internet and social media.

This incident, however, is just another on a long list of racial slurs and inappropriate comments made by announcers recently. Sensitivity training or harsher punishments needs to occur to deter these inappropriate remarks from occurring so frequently.

TNT’s Analyst-Only Experiment

BY ANTHONY ALFORD

For TNT’s broadcast of the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, TNT used three analysts and no play-by-play announcer. This marked the first time in NBA history a broadcast team did not include a play-by-play announcer. Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller, and Chris Webber were on the call.

It could have been a train-wreck, but proved to be an effective line-up.

There were quite a few positives about this broadcast. First, more people watched an otherwise meaningless regular season game and TNT became “trending” topic on Twitter. Fans showed interest in this style of broadcasting because nobody has ever done it. The broadcasting team also had great chemistry from having worked together on NBA TV’s “Open Court.” Despite the game becoming a blowout in the second half, the broadcast team kept it conversational, like three friends at a bar talking about the game.

However, there were some major drawbacks. Because there was no traditional play-by-play person, there was hardly any mention of stats or relevant context to how the game was progressing.

This is not the first time a network tried a non-traditional sportscast. In December 1980, NBC aired an NFL telecast with no announcers. While this was different and interesting, it was insulting to the sports broadcasting profession because, as Dick Enberg said, “We’re paid to talk.” In my opinion, NBC’s experiment was meant to kill an entire profession unlike the TNT experiment.I believe it is OK to do something different for telecasts as long as the experiments are not at the expense of the profession. TNT could do this again in the future, but America will be fine with Marv Albert and Kevin Harlan calling NBA games.

Transgender Fighter Causing Stir in MMA

BY LORI RAUDIO

The mixed martial arts world has been making headlines recently surrounding the first transgender fighter, Fallon Fox. Fox was born a man, but identifies as a woman and has testosterone levels legally classifying her as one.

Fox’s entry into the MMA world has created controversy as to whether she should be allowed to compete against other women. The International Olympic Committee has ruled yes, as she is legally a woman. Others, however, do not feel the same way. Ultimate Fighting Championship announcer Joe Rogan said on his podcast, “You’re a man. That’s a man, OK?”

Rogan was not the only one to speak out about Fox. The UFC recently suspended heavyweight Matt Mitrione for his remarks. In an interview with MMA Hour he said, “That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak. And I mean that, because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting. You should be embarrassed for yourself.”

UFC Champion Ronda Rousey also weighed in, saying Fox has an unfair advantage. If Fox climbs the rankings enough, Rousey may have to compete against her. “It’s not something that happened to her,” Rousey said. “It was a decision she made. She should be aware in her career after that, it’s going to be an arduous path.”

Transgender athletes have long been a point of debate in sports including the cases of Renee Richards, a tennis player and Kye Allums, a college basketball player. These people have met the requirements set by sporting organizations to legally play, yet there is still resistance from society and questions of fairness.

This debate surrounding transgender athletes is likely to continue on, and surely more transgender people will emerge over time. Like homosexuality in sport, transgender athletes in sport also needs to be addressed, without the backlash of negativity and hatred. This will likely be a hot topic over the next few years, and it will be interesting to follow how Fox and similar individuals are accepted into the sports world.

Minnesota’s Historic Season Goes Unnoticed

BY LORI RAUDIO

This past Sunday, the University of Minnesota Gophers women’s hockey team made history. Not only did they win their second straight NCAA Championship, but they completed a perfect season (41-0-0). If you only catch the sports headlines, however, you probably didn’t even know women’s hockey was having its tournament.

What the Gophers did is no small feat and they are the first women’s hockey team to complete an undefeated season. Despite their success, there was little to no mention of the team in the media. It wasn’t covered on Sportscenter or any other major sports network, but it was covered online by ESPN’s female counterpart, espnW. The article did make ESPN’s homepage, but only at the very bottom of the page.

Sportscenter doesn’t show many NHL hockey highlights, so women’s hockey coverage is pretty much non-existent. Many other media outlets also chose to ignore this story, as it was overshadowed by March Madness, the Miami Heat’s win streak, and Tiger Woods regaining his world ranking. The Gophers’ accomplishments are a rare achievement and at least deserved some acknowledgement.

This echoes issues raised in my previous article about Brittney Griner and problems in women’s sport. It seems to be a never ending cycle. Women’s sports are seen as less competitive and exciting so the media doesn’t report on them very much. People who rely on these media outlets for news don’t hear about women’s teams or even know they exist. Therefore, women’s sports are silenced and ignored, unable to gain popularity.

It’s a shame the Gophers didn’t receive more recognition for their achievements. Their undefeated season is something no men’s team has done since 1970. These women, and other female athletes in every sport, are achieving exciting things, and the media needs to step up and give them the respect they deserve.

ESPN Announcers Give Viewers Incentive to watch NIT Game

BY LOREN BRANCH

With the NCAA Tournament being the focus of March Madness, there are some who forget there are other college basketball post-season tournaments such as the second most important one, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Credit goes to the announcers in the Maryland v. Alabama NIT matchup.

Before the tip-off, the announcers made a statement that sounded something like this, “If you’re wondering why you should watch this game, besides the fact that it’s a matchup between two good teams, we’re going to tell you some things we plan to discuss during the broadcast.” They continued to list off a few things that included the pro-potential of Maryland star big man, Alex Len, and some potential rule changes for college basketball. Throughout the game they actually spoke on each of these points and I believe it made the game more interesting for the novice fan.

This was a different way of attracting viewers, but also creative. My only question now is, why did they feel the need to pull out this new trick? Maybe the ratings were down for the tournament, or maybe they were just trying to draw in more viewers. Either way, I think this was a great idea that could definitely draw in sports fans.