Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fox Sports Commentator Fired and Claims Religious Discrimination


Just after one appearance on air, Fox Southwestern commentator, Craig James has been fired after making homophobic remarks. James did not say the remarks on air while working for Fox Sports, but the comments came during his political campaign for the U.S. Senate.

“People choose to be gay,” he said during an April 2012 campaign stop. “I think it’s a choice, I do. Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, that’s done. And God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions. And in that case right there, they’re going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”

Fox claims that James was not fired for his position on gay marriage and homosexuals. Fox representatives stated that he was fired because he was a good fit for the position he was originally offered. James thinks differently, he is moving forward in pursuing a lawsuit against Fox Sports for religious discrimination. 

James, despite his conservative views on various topics, needs to keep in mind that anything he says on and off the campaign trail will always represent him. But Fox also should be open to all beliefs and ideas as everyone is entitled to freedom of speech and religion. 

The homophobic comment was made in the past that should not reflect his current work. Fox hired James after his run for the U.S. Senate. Fox should have done more research and properly vetted James before offering him the position.

It should be interesting to follow this pending lawsuit as it continues to unfold with more details and what Fox will do despite denying they fired James for his stance on homosexuality.

Portland’s NBA team becomes Trailblazers on State Marriage Equality Initiative


The Portland Trailblazers are making history this week by endorsing marriage equality. This comes during a time when same-sex marriage has been covered extensively in the media. 

“The Portland Trail Blazers are in support of the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection ballot initiative,” said in a team statement. 

Within the year, legislation has been passed in several states including Washington and California allowing same-sex couples the right to get married. Now the state of Oregon has introduced a ballot initiative. The amount of publicity and media attention that sports receive provide a great forum for spreading the word on the marriage equality that needs to take place in Oregon.   
“We know that we have a really unique position to shine a bright light on an issue like this that is probably not completely traditional in professional sports today,” said Trail Blazers Vice President of Community Relations Traci Rose.
The national media has covered stories related to marriage equality heavily. And the sports world took note when one of their own had a big announcement to make.
Earlier this year, NBA player Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay active professional athlete.  The media praised him for his courage to come out during such a time when marriage equality laws are being challenged. He was featured on ESPN, nightly news shows, and honored in the LGBT community. 

With sports media supporting Collins and now the Trailblazers, the world of sports is shaping the way others are looking at marriage equality.

The Miami Hurricanes Case Provides ESPN another Shot at the NCAA


The NCAA released its decision on the University of Miami this week and gave ESPN yet another opportunity to ridicule their judgment.

The NCAA decided to not impose a bowl ban to the Hurricanes, but instead penalized the program by taking away nine football scholarships over three years, three basketball scholarships, and adding probation to the athletic program for three years. These sanctions followed an unprecedented self-imposed bowl ban that kept the Hurricanes out of two bowl games and an ACC conference championship game. 

ESPN chose to reflect on the case as another inconsistency from the NCAA compliance department as anchors and analysts compared the case to the sanctions imposed on USC and Ohio State. 

By displaying the negative reaction USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and stating that people at USC and Ohio State should be furious, the network again took a verbal stab at the NCAA.

ESPN constantly scrutinizes the NCAA on issues such as sanctions, the payment of players, and the BCS system and persuades their viewing population to also form a negative opinion of the system. 

Instead of the network reporting on how the NCAA lightened the sanctions on Miami because of their self-imposed penalties costing the university a large portion of potential revenue from bowl games, they attempt to undermine the association by highlighting inconsistencies. 

The NCAA simply cannot catch a break from ESPN and their image will continue to suffer.

ESPN throws Freeman under the Bus


The day after a Monday Night Football game, SportsCenter usually starts off by airing highlights from the game, analysis, and post game press conferences from the winning team. This was not the case this past Tuesday following a hard to watch Monday Night Football game involving the Giants and the Vikings.

SportsCenter began with a small montage of Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman getting sacked, overthrowing receivers, and analysts verbally ripping the quarterback to shreds.

ESPN focused on the inadequacies of a quarterback who has only been with the team for two weeks instead of the Vikings coaching and management that set him up for failure on a nationally televised game.

ESPN could have decided to lead SportsCenter with reaction of the New York Giants notching their first win, highlights from the three NHL hockey games from the night before (all decided by one goal), or even a preview of the World Series. 

Instead, ESPN put a dunce hat on the NFL quarterback that underperformed and has made, the once promising prospect, now the laughing stock of the league instead of the people in power that set him up for failure.

Zolak Goes Zany for Brady’s Game Winner


The New Orleans Saints looked as if they had the game won last Sunday in New England.  A Garrett Hartley field goal put them up by three with just over two minutes left in the game.  But the Patriots would get one more opportunity.

With just five seconds remaining, Brady capped off a 70-yard drive with a touchdown pass to rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, which put New England ahead 30-27.

Of the nearly 69,000 fans at Gillette Stadium, one of, if not the most excited one was Scott Zolak, the color commentator on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub.  As play-by play announcer, Bob Socci made the call, Zolak, who could not contain his enthusiasm, interrupted him.

There were a few seconds when they both spoke, rather yelled simultaneously about what just happened.  Then Socci let Zolak take the wheel.

“Unicorns! Show ponies! Where’s the beef?!”  These were the most intriguing of the things Zolak shouted following the improbable Patriots’ victory.

It was a very entertaining play call, but I’m not sure what any of those things had to do with Brady, the Patriots, or football in general.  Zolak is clearly a fan of the Patriots, and I don’t see anything wrong with that for a local broadcaster.  It definitely makes for a better listening experience when broadcasters are enthusiastic about the game.  However, it is also a good thing when they make sense.  And Scott Zolak made no sense.

I am not a Patriots fan, and after hearing that call, I’m not really a Scott Zolak fan either.  I don’t blame him for being happy about his team winning, but the things he said sounded quite foolish and unintelligent.  While it was a good end to the game, it was not a very good end to Zolak’s broadcast.

The NFL and Peterson Moving Forward


One of the NFL’s most beloved and talented players, Adrian Peterson, is facing a tragic loss. The running back for the Minnesota Vikings, received the news that his 2-year-old son had passed away from an alleged assault.

Reports confirm that Peterson’s son suffered injuries from an alleged assault and later that day died of the injuries. A man identified as Joseph Patterson, the boyfriend of the son’s mother, is a suspect.

Through this tragedy we as fans see the NFL, other professional leagues, teams and players around the nation come to together to support this one player and his family. Peterson has tweeted numerous times his gratitude toward the NFL and its players. 

We can expect this to be a high profile case due to the fact Peterson is a public figure and this is an infant death involving assault. 

While right now it might be too early to talk about moving forward, I can see Peterson being an advocate for child abuse. I can see him donating money to child abuse organizations and really being a “face” for these non-profit organizations. 

We as fans hope the NFL does something to honor the child, Peterson, and the overall issue of child abuse. As much as Peterson does for the league, it’s the least they can do for him during this tragic time. The NFL does a good job of stepping up in times of tragedy and I expect nothing less from the league.

Peterson is known for his perseverance. NFL fans saw him dominate in the league in 2012 winning the Most Valuable Player award after coming off an ACL injury. We can only expect Peterson to come back stronger and ready to play harder, whenever that may be, and show us the definition of perseverance following his tragic loss.

Overreaction to Lane Kiffin Firing


It seems like the University of Southern California (USC) finally did what everyone was waiting for and fired Lane Kiffin, causing a media up roar. But my question is, did the media perpetuate Kiffin as an awful coach that should have been fired long ago?

When Kiffin became coach at USC, they were ranked number one in the nation. They were one of the very few teams that were unranked by the end of the season.

After a 62-41 loss to Arizona State, Kiffin was fired by athletic director Pat Haden as the team returned home.

There have been many former players as well as future prospects that have given their input on Kiffin’s firing. Former USC cornerback Terrell Thomas claims that he still loves Kiffin but is glad they are looking for a new coach stating, “It’s about time.”

The media focused only on the negative portions of Thomas’s comments making it seem like former players didn’t respect him as a coach.

Snoop Dogg’s son, Cordell Broadus, made a comment on his twitter about how Kiffin was not leading the team in the right direction. Broadus is currently the number six-ranked wide receiver in California.

The media said because of his firing, USC will now have a higher chance at recruiting top prospects because of Kiffin’s firing. The media made it seem like USC had no chance of recruiting high prospects because the future prospects didn’t want to play under Kiffin.

Rumor has it that Kiffin may lose his house because USC loaned Kiffin 500 thousand dollars. Should schools even be allowed to loan money to coaches?

What is Kiffin’s response to all of this? Kiffin has fully accepted blame for the poor play of USC. While it was very hard for him to have his job taken away, he stated, “Pat has a very hard job…at the same time it was hard to deal with the sanctions and reduced roster.” 

In my opinion, the media was too hard on Kiffin. I feel as though they made it seem like Kiffin was the sole reason for USC’s fall. The media seems to have forgotten all the things that go into a winning team. USC has other coaches. You don’t hear anything about the defensive coordinator. 

Many players have probably given up on the current season because they know they will not get into a good bowl game. Kiffin does not make every call and it is up to the players to complete each play. I guess as a head coach, Kiffin had to take responsibility for everyone’s failure.

Bob Costas Expresses Opinions on Sunday Night Football on NBC


Bob Costas, commentator for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” addressed the controversial issue surrounding Washington’s team name during the halftime show of the Washington vs. Dallas football game on national television on October 13. 

Costas said the term used for the team name is “an insult, a slur to the Native American culture” and “ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or members of any other ethnic group.” 

This broadcast was shortly after President Obama commented to the media about team’s name. But the larger story revolves around how Costas addressed the ongoing issue on national television. 

As a journalist/commentator, your responsibility is to be unbiased and report the facts. Specifically a commentator’s job, is to comment on the game, provide the fans with information pertaining to the game and players, and to provide viewers with an inside scoop of the game, team, and players. 

Commentators should not state their own opinions during a broadcast. As controversial as this issue is, Costas only added more fuel to the fire especially considering he was commentating during a Washington game. 

NFL and any other professional league commentator should do what they are getting paid for and that is to strictly comment on the game and its players. The controversial issues regarding teams and players should be left up to the league and the team itself.

Fans should be able to tune into any professional game and be able to enjoy the game without any politics. The great thing about sports is it provides an escape from the real world. For fans, it provides fun and entertainment, and a commentator’s job is to promote exactly that.

Legal Process Halts Coverage of Aaron Hernandez


Aaron Hernandez was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd on June 26 of this year. He had been connected to the murder since June 18th, but it took that amount of time for him to be formally arrested and charged.

From the moment he was first attached to the murder up until his arrest, one could not turn on ESPN or go on any sporting news web sites without seeing headlines about Aaron Hernandez. This is not a complaint, as it was certainly a major news story, but rather an acknowledgement of the story’s significance. 

After his arrest, it was a daily topic of conversation on sports talk shows and news programs. The talk first surrounded his alleged involvement, but once evidence began to surface it focused on his troubled past. 

The talk has died down recently, with the only mention of his case being the legal process itself, such as the prosecutor and judge involved. The latest news had to do with the prosecutor asking the judge to recuse herself, which does not mean for sports fans.

This is not a call for more Hernandez coverage, as it is indeed monotonous to watch legal proceedings that are not even the trial when sports coverage is the desired viewing material.

The issue is that the legal process itself does not allow for proper coverage for an event with such magnitude. It is easily the biggest legal-based story of any athlete since the OJ Simpson trial back in 1994. 

The legal process creates a major gap in time between the arrest itself and a trial. The trial will not take place for months, and by then people may have forgotten that it was set to take place in the first place. 

Once the trial begins it will be a major news story, but his situation is still of major significance in the current moment, and it is not being talked about in such a way. That is not the fault of the media, as there is little to talk about, but it further points out how the legal system in this country is extremely delayed in its proceedings.

Frazier Attacks Pelini on Twitter, Team Comes to Rescue


After an upsetting 41-21 loss to UCLA on September 14th, former Husker Quarterback and University of Nebraska legend, Tommie Frazier decided he had seen enough.

Instead of keeping his anger to himself he took it to social media. He made statements on twitter regarding the need to fire the defensive coaching staff for the Nebraska football team, including head coach, Bo Pelini, if the Huskers wanted to improve.

Many Nebraska fans look up to Frazier, so naturally when the fans saw his comments they started to agree with him. This led to an ambush of tweets from Nebraska fans.

Luckily, countless players came to the rescue of their coach after seeing the comments made by Frazier and other husker fans, stating that the coaching staff did not control the outcome of the game, the players did. They took the blame for the loss and encouraged the Husker faithful to stay true to Coach Pelini and the team.

The comments made by Frazier and the fans seem to have set a spark under the Husker football team. Since the comments were made, Nebraska has gone 3-0 outscoring their opponents 142-46, thanks in big part to the Nebraska defense that has stepped up big time and earned the “black-shirt” defense name.

The Nebraska faithful seem to have forgotten the comments made by Frazier and are back to their full support of Coach Pelini, at least for now.

Although the comments might not have gone over the way that Frazier planned, they have served their purpose in improving this team. They seem to have been what this Husker football team needed all along, something to fire them up, get them excited about playing football again, and give them something to play for.

It is unclear of what lies ahead for Coach Pelini and his coaching staff at the end of this season. We will have to wait and see how the rest of this season plays out and how many more twitter rants they can overcome.