By Matt Rogers
For those of you that have not caught an episode of Jim Rome on Showtime, whether it be because cable is an added expense you can’t afford to take on, or that Showtime is an added fee on top of whatever it is you may pay for cable, you are definitely missing out. Personally, I do not subscribe to Showtime at my own home, but I was able to catch an episode of the show while visiting my family, and it is nothing short of phenomenal.
By now, most people who follow sports or listen to sports talk radio are familiar with Jim Rome. He has been a radio personality for almost two decades, and he had a show on ESPN called Rome is Burning, but neither of his other endeavors compare to his show that airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.
In the episode of the show that I caught, Rome sat with a three-man panel consisting of former NFL Running Back, and winner of the 1995 Heisman Trophy, Eddie George, NFL Hall of Fame Wide Receiver, Michael Irvin, and former NBA forward, Brian Scalabrine. During this segment, Rome and the panel discussed a few of the most controversial current issues in sport. These issues were the case of the sexually assaulted athletes in Sayreville, New Jersey, the increase in domestic violence cases in the NFL, and their thoughts on what LeBron James would accomplish in his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The most interesting topic that was covered during the show was the Sayreville incident. During the segment covering the incident, Rome read a quote describing the incident that I have not seen or heard on any of the national media outlets. The quote read: “[A] freshman football player would be pinned to the locker room floor, his arms and feet held down by multiple upperclassmen. Then, the victim would be lifted to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum.” Being that this case was initially reported as a case of hazing, this quote reveals that there was much more to what was being widespread through the most viewed national media outlets.
This plays into what I believe makes this show more interesting than what you would see on ESPN or any of the national networks. Showtime does not filter the language of responses of Rome or his guests. This helps Rome and the guests deliver thoughts and responses that are more indicative of what they are actually thinking at the moment, rather than needing to stop and filter their answers of any profanity or any other language that the people watching may not agree with.
This element of the show implies that it is geared more toward adults rather than the watered down version of Rome that children would view on ESPN, which would explain why the show appears in a weekday, prime time slot, on a premium cable channel. This element also creates a more genuine feel to the show than that of the shows that air on weekday afternoon cable or television shows, where the responses in interviews seem scripted.
Jim Rome on Showtime is also an example of how the freedom of press, in regards to sport, is expanding. Although the show appears on premium cable, it pushes the boundaries that exist when covering sports, especially when dealing with the issue of what can, or cannot, be said publicly.