Monthly Archives: October 2018

CLEan House: Browns Fire Hue Jackson, Media Members Speak Their Minds

David Dietrich is a second-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. The Tiffin, Ohio native is a Sport Management major, with a minor in journalism. His primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, at both collegiate and professional levels.

On Monday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns’ front office announced they would be relieving head coach Hue Jackson of his duties. This marks the sixth time since 2010 the Browns have fired their head coach after a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is justified by Sunday’s game, which was one of the ugliest games in recent memory. Jackson is notorious for leading his teams to competitive games, only to lose in the final minutes of the 4th quarter. This time, the Browns faced a three-touchdown deficit with under a minute to play. A last-minute touchdown drive against a cruising Steelers’ defense brought the score to a more respectable number, but the damage was already done. The day of reckoning had passed, and Jackson failed yet again.

Both local and national media publications are aggressively criticizing Jackson for his unsuccessful stint in Cleveland. The combination of his numbers (three wins and one tie in 40 games, good for a winning percentage of .088) and his constant mishandling of adversity made Jackson an easy target for frustrated writers and analysts. Terry Pluto (2018) of Cleveland.com  wrote that this action “won’t make things any worse” (para. 13), while SB Nation’s Ryan Van Bibber (2018) asserted that “Hue survived by creating chaos and then positioning himself as a victim and the one person who can clean it all up” (para. 36).  In perhaps the most opinionated piece, Pluto’s colleague Doug Lesmerises (2018) took several digs at Jackson, including “anyone could have done better” (para. 10), “every single problem Jackson faced for 2 1/2 seasons, he took and made it worse” (para. 19), and “the future of the Browns is brighter today because Jackson isn’t part of it” (para. 33).

Local media members will continue to take their shots at Jackson this week, then turn their attention towards interim head coach Gregg Williams as he prepares the team for a match-up against the AFC-best Kansas City Chiefs. Williams has not been a head coach since 2003. For now, Cleveland fans will do what they always do: tune in on Sunday afternoon and hope their beloved Brownies can somehow pull out a rare victory. This is potentially the most discouraged fan base across all major sports, and the loyal fans simply deserve better. As NFL teams progress through the back half of the season, there will be one question looming in the back of the minds of fans, players, and media members. For many people, it will be a rallying cry; for Browns fans, it will be a cry of desperation. As they try to salvage another disappointing season, Browns fans will be among many asking the all-important question: who’s next?

References

Lesmerises, D. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson fired by the Browns, and no coach ever deserved it more. Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/10/hue_jackson_fired_by_the_brown.html

Pluto, T. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson’s firing should set up John Dorsey to pick new Browns coach. Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/sports/columns/2018/10/hue-jacksons-firing-should-set-up-john-dorsey-to-pick-new-browns-coach-terry-pluto.html

Van Bibber, R. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson finally ran out of excuses for the Browns being terrible. SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2018/10/29/18035166/cleveland-browns-hue-jackson-todd-haley-hot-seat-rumors-excuses-losses-steelers

 

National Media Aims to Make Le’Veon Bell Bad Guy in Holdout Fiasco

Drew Gallagher is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is a working towards getting a major in Sport Management and a minor in General Business. He is a proud native of Aurora, Illinois and is interested in many sports. He generally focuses on Baseball and Football at both the professional and collegiate levels.

Another week goes by as Le’Veon Bell still has not signed his $14.5 million franchise tender with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Being as good as he is, one would think that his teammates and fans would be incredibly eager to get him back. This might have been the case when the Steelers started 1-2-1; but after two big wins against the Falcons and Bengals, and two consecutive 100-yard, 2-TD rushing games from James Conner, fans in Pittsburgh are much less reluctant to beg for Bell to come back.

Le’Veon Bell is still of course the best running back in the league. Those involved with the Steelers have seemed to come to terms with the fact that chances are, they won’t have him on their team next year no matter when he comes back this year. Most fans have even gone a step further and are in hopes that he won’t come back at all. According to a poll surveyed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the largest newspaper in the Pittsburgh area, 66% of people don’t want him to come back (Cook, 2018). Ben Roethlisberger has also expressed his neutral stance on the topic (Gentille, 2018). While this may not completely be his fault, national media has tended to put the blame on Bell throughout this entire process.

At first, they reported the story as if he was a selfish person and wasn’t concerned with how his team would fare this year without him. While this may be true from a certain standpoint, it seems that it is rare for anybody in the national media to take Bell’s side throughout the holdout. The truth is that this entire issue has been a long time coming between Le’Veon Bell and his current team of five years.

Bell has previously expressed communication issues with the Steelers regarding a contract extension for the pro-bowl running back. These issues have dated back to the 2016 off-season after his rookie contract had expired. He has been tagged twice since then as the two sides have still been unable to reach an agreement on an extension. Near the end of last season, Bell made it known to the media that if the Steelers decided to tag him again, he would consider holding out or even retiring (Quinn, 2018). During this year’s training camp, he also made it clear multiple times that he would not play in the regular season without a long-term contract and a good amount of guaranteed money. The media still seemed to be surprised and disappointed when he didn’t sign his franchise tender before the season started, and they continue to feel the same way every week that has gone by since.

The fact still remains that Bell has been over-worked by the Steelers in the past and has continuously risked injury while playing a position that is arguably the most dangerous in an already dangerous sport. Continuing to play would be a huge risk for Bell without a long-term contract. We’ll see how long this holdout lasts, but I’d be willing to bet that Bell will continue to remain the bad guy in the eyes of the media until then.

 

References

Cook, R. (2018, October 15). Ron Cook: One Steeler ready for Le’Veon Bell’s return — James Conner. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ron-cook/2018/10/15/Ron-Cook-Steelers-running-back-James-Conner-welcome-back-Le-Veon-Bell-Deion-Sanders-Ben-Roethlisberger-ESPN/stories/201810160027

Gentille, S. (2018, October 23). Ben Roethlisberger has thoughts on ‘Coach Todd’ and Le’Veon Bell. Sort of. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/10/23/patrick-peterson-steelers-ben-roethlisberger-937-the-fan-leveon-bell-james-conner/stories/201810230110

Quinn, S. (2018, October 10). The unabridged timeline of Le’Veon Bell’s holdout. In 247sports.com. Retrieved from https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/ContentGallery/LeVeon-Bell-absence-timeline-121486548/#121486548_4

 

Hue Jackson Under Fire Once Again

David Dietrich is a second-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. The Tiffin, Ohio native is a Sport Management major, with a minor in journalism. His primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, at both collegiate and professional levels.

Following yet another close loss on Sunday, fans and media alike are wondering how much time Hue Jackson has left as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Many consider this Sunday’s match-up against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers the day of reckoning for Jackson. This is primarily because the last five Browns coaches have been relieved of their duties after a game against Pittsburgh. This year, Jackson is in a very different situation than his predecessors. As ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi (2018) points out, this game is only the Browns’ eighth of the year. The past five coaches were relieved of their duties after the last game of the year, coincidentally against Pittsburgh each time.

With a record of 3-35-1 over the past 3 seasons in Cleveland, it comes as no surprise that Jackson has not been portrayed as a savior by the local media. What is surprising is the recent increase in criticism for the man who has won twice as many games this season as in the previous two combined. Granted, that number is only two, but it is still an improvement for a young team playing in the very competitive AFC North. Phrases such as “the worst coach in all major sports” and “end of the road” are being posted on both local and national media sites (Gurzi, 2018, para. 11), and Jackson was criticized for saying he would “get this thing to where I think it needs to be” (Orr, 2018, para. 4).

After this postgame statement, rumors flew about Jackson taking over the play-calling duties. NFL.com (Teope, 2018) and CBSSports.com (Wilson, 2018), among others, reported that Jackson would contemplate this decision, leading Jackson to clear up his statements in Monday’s press conference. He asserted that he would not be taking over as the play-caller, telling reporters “I will infuse myself to help and assist our offensive coaching staff.” The lack of clarity in his original statements led to an influx of criticism for possibly the most criticized coach in the NFL.

Cleveland has lost three games by one field goal, and most of the blame is placed on the man in charge. Local media members like Tony Grossi and Terry Pluto have voiced frustration with the Browns, who have long struggled with inconsistent play. Grossi believes the 2018 Browns practice the same habits as last year’s team, despite having more talent. He writes about the Browns’ inability to manage critical situations, their lack of discipline and their fragile mentality, and Pluto (2018) bases Jackson’s future on the Browns’ upcoming offensive performance.

When multiple games are decided by one field goal, writers such as Grossi and Pluto are quick to blame the person in charge. Whether or not this is the case is up to the fans, but head coaches consistently take the blame. Hue Jackson is no different, but the Browns are seemingly the same. After the interpretation and report of his postgame remarks, Hue Jackson’s seat may finally be hot enough to melt the already thinning ice beneath him. This could ultimately, and in some eyes mercifully, end his tumultuous tenure in the “Hardland of America.”

 

References

Grossi, T. (2018, October 21). Just what Hue Jackson needs — a pre-Halloween date in Pittsburgh. ESPNCleveland. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/blog/cleveland/post/_/id/5677/just-what-hue-jackson-needs-a-pre-halloween-date-in-pittsburgh

Gurzi, R. (2018, October 19). Cleveland Browns: Is Hue Jackson the worst coach in all major sports? Dawg Pound Daily. Retrieved from https://dawgpounddaily.com/2018/10/19/cleveland-browns-hue-jackson-worst-coach-major-sports/

Orr, C. (2018, October 22). Are we nearing the end of the road for Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns? Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/10/22/hue-jackson-cleveland-browns-john-dorsey

Pluto, T. (2018, October 21). Cleveland Browns: Can Hue Jackson rescue the offense? Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2018/10/cleveland_browns_can_hue_jacks_1.html

Teope, H. (2018, October 22.) Browns’ Hue Jackson mulls play-calling responsibilities. NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000977339/article/browns-hue-jackson-mulls-playcalling-responsibilities

Wilson, R. (2018, October 22). Hue Jackson’s plan to save the Browns: Possibly taking over play-calling duties from Todd Haley. CBSSports.com. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/hue-jacksons-plan-to-save-the-browns-possibly-taking-over-play-calling-duties-from-todd-haley/

G-League to Offer Salary to High School Prospects

Bre Moorer is now a graduate student at Bowling Green State University, where she is studying sport administration with a specialization in sport psychology.  She is a proud Akron, Ohio native.  Her primary sport interest is basketball – at the amateur and professional levels.

Starting in summer 2019, the G League, minor league of the NBA, will extend contracts worth $125,00 to top-notch prospects who are at least 18 years old as a substitute to going to college.  In what some are calling a motion “that could challenge the NCAA’s monopoly on elite talent,” new or soon-to-be high school graduates can skip the one-and-done drama to develop on and off-court skills at a level that is more comparable to the NBA (Givony, 2018, para. 1).  Major media outlets have been too caught up in the NBA’s opening week to deeply cover this announcement, but there are media figures who have made their viewpoints clear.

Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN insider, believes that it is highly unlikely that elite players will choose the G League route as opposed to competing under the bright lights of big schools (Clay, 2018).  The decorated gyms, popularity on campus, and school gear are attractive, but Wojnarowski is leaving a group of athletes out.  The glitz and glam of being the campus hero does not mean much to young players who live in poverty and need to support their families.  The stipend, and even free education, they would receive in college does not have the same instant impact as the opportunity to get closer to the NBA and the millions it has to offer.  Other members of the media are critical of the select contracts, but for different reasons.

Natalie Weiner (2018), sports writer for SB Nation, is not fully opposed to the idea, but wonders why the WNBA is not getting the same investment from the NBA as the G League.  In Weiner’s case, select contracts are savvy and strengthen the NBA’s hold on the basketball market.  The problem is that players that have just graduated high school with no professional experience will make more than veterans in the WNBA.  This angle on the NBA’s program, unlike Wojnarowski’s, compares the NBA’s treatment of two organizations it controls.  Weiner dismisses outside factors and dials in on a parent organization showing more love to one of its children.

Overall, there has not been much coverage on the NBA’s latest announcement.  Perhaps, more popular media outlets will analyze the select contracts when the excitement of the NBA starting dies down.  It will be interesting to see who turns to the hot topic of WNBA salaries and who keeps it education-based.

 

References

Clay, J. (2018, October 19). NBA’s G League salary offer is market competition for college basketball. Kentucky.com. Retrieved from https://www.kentucky.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/sidelines-with-john-clay/article220293140.html

Givony, J. (2018, October 19). G League to offer $125K to elite prospects as alternative to college one-and-done route. ESPN. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/25015812/g-league-offer-professional-path-elite-prospects-not-wanting-go-one-done-route-ncaa

Weiner, N. (2018, October 18). G League’s $125,000 select contracts underscore how WNBA players aren’t paid what they deserve. SB Nation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/wnba/2018/10/18/17996350/g-league-salaries-select-wnba-pay-players