Author Archives: The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

The Marathon Continues: When Will Black Lives Matter to America?

By Randy Norman

After graduating from BGSU in the fall of 2018, Randy accepted an internship with the Marcus Graham Project, where he helped launch a pop-up advertising agency for the summer and worked as a brand manager on accounts such as Apple and Trailer Park. He currently works as an Assistant Account Manager at Rhea + Kaiser, a marketing communications agency. 

June 20, 2020

While the Black Lives Matter movement was first started in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who murdered Trayvon Martin, black lives haven’t mattered to America since the birth of the country. Systemic racism and the oppression of people of color have plagued America since the 17th century and the blatant inequality that exists is seemingly inconsequential to the majority, as we have yet to see true progress. “All lives matter” has been a common phrase used in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, and in an ideal world that statement would be true. However, it is impossible for all lives to matter until black lives do.

When will black lives matter to America?

I found myself asking this question in light of the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, amongst others. As I began to reflect on the current state of the country, I became angered at the fact that innocent people who look just like me are continuously being killed for no reason, other than being black. But I became even more enraged at the fact that in 2020, we are still having the same conversations that have been had for the past century. This isn’t a new phenomenon; police brutality, racial violence and social injustice have beset the black community since the abolishment of slavery. In the past 100 years alone, we have witnessed the cyclical nature of history time and time again, as the outcries for help and justice by people of color have been essentially disregarded. 

1921-Tulsa Race Riots

On May 31, 1921 Dick Rowland, a black teenager, was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma after being falsely accused of sexually assaulting a white woman on an elevator (Ellsworth, 2001). Rumors quickly spread of the allegations against Rowland and within less than 24 hours, white citizens burned over 1,000 houses and a number of black-owned businesses in the flourishing African-American community of Greenwood, also known as Black Wall Street. In addition to the destroying of property, over 100 people were killed as a result of the racially charged riot.

1930 – Thomas Shipp & Abram Smith

Thomas Shipp & Abram Smith were publicly lynched after being accused of murder, rape, and robbery. The two men were hung from a tree in front of a crowd of people after being brutally beaten (Kentake, 2015). A photo that captured the lynching was later sold as a postcard. No charges were ever brought against anyone who participated in the murders of Shipp and Smith.

The public spectacle of lynching shows the brutalized bodies of Mr. Shipp and Mr. Smith (EJI, 2020)

1940 – Austin Callaway

In September of 1940, Austin Callaway was forcibly removed from his jail cell by a group of armed men. Callaway’s body was found the next morning in the middle of the road, where he died of multiple gunshot wounds (“Austin Callaway,” 2020). No one was ever arrested for Callaway’s murder. In fact, the police didn’t even investigate his death.

1955 – Lamar Smith

On August 13, 1955 Lamar Smith was gunned down on the steps of Lincoln County Courthouse in Brookhaven, Mississippi in front of nearly 40 people. The shooter was initially detained, but was later released and no charges were brought against him, even though there were multiple witnesses (Cortes, 2017).

1963 – Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Virgil Lamar Ware

Shortly after the integration of public schools in Alabama, there were several bombings in Birmingham within less than two weeks that targeted African-Americans in the community. The third and most notorious bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, left four young girls dead (“Birmingham bombing,” 2020). Following the church bombing, riots and violence broke out across the city. After leaving a segregationist rally, a group of white teenagers shot and killed 13-year-old Virgil Lamar Ware in cold blood, as he was riding his bike down the street. 

1970 – Phillip Gibbs & James Earl Green

In an attempt to disperse student protesters at Jackson State University, a historically black college, police officers fired over 100 rounds of ammunition into a crowd, killing Phillip Gibbs and James Earl Green. There were no arrests made in connection to the murders (Wyckoff, 2010).

1983 – Michael Jerome Stewart

On September 15, 1983, Michael Stewart was arrested for drawing graffiti in a New York subway. Within less than an hour of his arrest, police brought Stewart to the hospital. Upon his arrival, Stewart had no pulse and had been severely beaten; he died 13 days later from his injuries (Nielson, 2013).

1991 – Rodney King

In 1991, a video captured four police officers brutally beating black motorist Rodney King for over 10 minutes after pulling him over. King suffered broken bones, brain damage, and other injuries as a result of the beating (Sastry & Bates, 2017). Although the video clearly showed a use of excessive force, all four officers were found not guilty.

2006 – Sean Bell

Sean Bell was killed by five undercover police officers as he was leaving his bachelor party. The officers fired a total of 50 shots at Bell and his friends, even though they were unarmed. All police officers involved in the shooting were acquitted of all charges (Johnson, 2019).

 2012-Present

…Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Antwon Rose, Jordan Edwards, Jayson Negron, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks…

Do you see the trend here?

This is only a small list of black men and women who have been subject to police brutality and/or racial violence, and unfortunately that list is continuing to grow. Over the years there have been a countless number of black people who have been harassed, beaten, and killed simply because of their skin color, and often times the people responsible for committing these horrendous acts are not even held accountable.

Change is long overdue. Its unfathomable that we have to fight just to matter in America. We shouldn’t have to fight for equal opportunities. We are not animals; we are human beings and are deserving of the same rights as everyone else.

When will black lives matter to America?

The time for change is now. This isn’t just a black problem; this is a human problem.  No matter your race, gender, age or sexual orientation, you have a voice and you have the power to make a difference. If you genuinely believe that all lives matter, don’t sit back and ignore the racism and social injustices that are ever-present in our society. Additionally, once the protests and media coverage cease, let’s not forget that these problems exist. Just because the headlines stop, that doesn’t mean the issues have been resolved. Persistence is imperative.

It’s impossible for all lives to matter until black lives do. Together, we can end the cycle and change the narrative.

References

Austin Callaway: A lynching in LaGrange. (2020, June 7). Troup Together. Retrieved from https://trouptogether.wordpress.com/austin-callaway/

Birmingham bombing (Sixteenth Street Baptist Church). (2020, June 5). Civil Rights Digital Library. Retrieved from http://crdl.usg.edu/events/birmingham_bombing/?Welcome&Welcome

Cortes, D. (2017, July 16) Lamar Smith (1892-1955). BlackPast. Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/smith-lamar-1892-1955/

Ellsworth, S. (2001) Tulsa race massacre. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved from https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=TU013

Johnson, S. (2019, November 27) Sean Bell died at the hands of police 13 years ago. Amsterdam News. Retrieved from http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2019/nov/27/sean-bell-died-hands-police-13-years-ago/

Kentake, M. (2015, August 7) Strange Fruit: The lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Shipp. Kentake Page. Retrieved from https://kentakepage.com/strange-fruit-the-lynching-of-thomas-shipp-and-abram-smith/

Nielson, E. (2013, September 16) ‘It could have been me:’ The 1983 death of a NYC graffiti artist. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/09/16/221821224/it-could-have-been-me-the-1983-death-of-a-nyc-graffiti-artist

Sastry, A., & Bates, K.G. (2017, April 26) When LA erupted in anger: A look back at the Rodney King riots. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2017/04/26/524744989/when-la-erupted-in-anger-a-look-back-at-the-rodney-king-riots

Wyckoff, W.B. (2010, May 3) Jackson State: A tragedy widely forgotten. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126426361\

A Moment the Media Missed

February 2, 2020

By Kelsey Kohlman

Kelsey Kohlman graduated from BGSU’s Sport Management program in December 2013 and has been working at ESPN in the Stats and Information Group (SIG).

It was December of 2013 in my final week of being an intern for the Charlotte Bobcats (Hornets). The Lakers had just beaten Charlotte in a close game, and I was doing my normal postgame intern duties of going back and forth from the court, to the locker room tunnels, to the printer, to the media room, etc. However, soon that night was going to be unforgettable.

There was a young boy decked out in Kobe gear from head to toe in the tunnel leading to the locker rooms. Literally, I didn’t know that many Laker accessories existed lol. He was a quadriplegic in a motorized wheelchair with a trachea coming out of his throat. I couldn’t help but notice he was beaming with excitement everytime I walked past him.

A few minutes later, I just so happened to walk by the boy again (with a cart full of monitors) just as Kobe was coming out of the locker room. This was the boy’s “Make a Wish.” Since the hallway was too narrow to squeeze past, I got the pleasure of witnessing such a heart-warming interaction that I will never forget.

This wasn’t a 1 minute hello and good bye. Kobe squatted and put his arm around the boy’s shoulder and they started talking like they had known each other for ages. No awkward silence, no forced interaction, no sad puppy eyes, and no negative annoyance body language that some celebs may show when doing a “checkbox” quota meet and greet. It felt more genuine than I would have ever imagined.

The parents were standing near me, behind their son, probably because they didn’t want their son to see them bawling uncontrollably. Their happiness and being overcome by emotion was so evident, it made me tear up.

Kobe, the boy, and both parents then began walking toward my office, to an empty room where they could all chat in a more private setting. As I followed not far behind to continue on with my work, I just couldn’t get over how genuine Kobe looked/felt/sounded, how overly-happy this child was, and how something so simple can mean so much to a struggling situation..if done right. And Kobe did it all right that night.

Kobe was never a favorite for me, but seeing that interaction has always “hit” and stuck with me. I’ve told this story many times before because those few minutes were so shockingly heartfelt.

Millions of these “moments” happen each year. Am I saying Kobe was the best person to walk the planet? No. But I am saying people have so many sides to them. A superstar athlete can have a tender touch and a warm heart. A person that has had rough acts in the past can rebound and evolve into something greater.

Thank you Kobe for that memory. It will never fade, and in my eyes, it was better than anything you had ever done with a basketball.

Welcome to 2019-2020 Maxwell Media Watch

By Nancy E. Spencer, Faculty Adviser, Maxwell Media Watch

October 1, 2019

Welcome to the Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project as we enter the 2019-2020 academic year at BGSU. This year marks the eighth year that we have had undergraduate and graduate students write entries that critique print and/or broadcast media as well as social media. This past week, 15 students attended our initial meeting to discuss goals and potential topics for the coming semester. Within the next few days, students will begin to post entries on a variety of topics – ranging from how professional athletes utilize social media, to ESPN coverage (or lack of coverage) of European futball, to debates about who is No. 1 in hockey (Crosby vs. McDavid). Our goals for the coming year are to increase the quantity of entries and continue to improve the quality of writing in each entry that we post. We hope that you will enjoy reading the entries that our students submit and share them with others who might be interested in reading them.

Two students will play significant roles in processing this year’s entries. David Dietrich is a senior Sport Management student who won the Collins Scholarship this past year and will assist with editing and posting entries this semester. A photo of him receiving the Collins Scholarship award from Dick Maxwell appears below.

“I am looking forward to another productive year with the Maxwell Media Watch,” said David. “When I joined last year, I never expected to receive a scholarship from distinguished alumnus Dick Maxwell. I am very excited to continue working on this wonderful project this year!”

In addition, we would like to welcome Tyanna Smith, a first-year graduate student in Sport Administration, who will be helping to organize our meetings and assist with editing entries.

We look forward to a productive year ahead and hope that you will read and reflect upon the topics that our students and guest writers post in the year ahead.

The Robert Kraft Scandal

By Jessica Rollins

Jessica is a third-year sport management student who minors in marketing and is from Laguna Beach, CA. After college, Jessica aspires to work for a professional sport team in community relations or marketing. Jessica is a fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams.

March 14, 2019

On February 22, 2019, the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, was charged with “two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019, para. 17). Prior to these charges, Kraft was known as a well-rounded business and franchise owner. The community had much trust in Kraft.

Among two-hundred individuals, the 77-year-old billionaire has been linked to a Jupiter, Florida day spa and massage parlor. At the day spa, the Jupiter police claim that Kraft was one of many individuals that were caught under surveillance accepting the “paid acts” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019). Although Kraft was caught under surveillance twice, the owner could face “up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service” (Seifert, 2019, para. 5). Surprisingly, one of the “paid acts” was filmed on the “night before and the morning of [the] AFC championship game” (“Robert Kraft visited,” 2019, para. 1).

Although scandals are standard involving the high-profile team, this story caught many by surprise. When the news broke, social media went into a frenzy. Fans explained how Kraft and the Patriots cannot be trusted. As the scandal develops, many are questioning their loyalty to the New England Patriots. One fan stated, “everybody in their life has done one thing, two things, that they really really would like to get a pass for, me, you, Robert Kraft, doesn’t matter how much money you have, human is human” (Burcham, 2019, para. 7). Another fan wrote, “I would never expect something like that from him…I mean, he has such a high reputation” (Burcham, 2019, para. 5).

Along with the charges, Kraft could face additional punishments from the National Football League. Since NFL owners are subject to the personal conduct policy, the NFL has an important decision to make. The NFL released a statement later that day which stated: “the NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019, para. 24). According to ESPN, “the policy covers ‘conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible, puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL’” (Seifert, 2019, para. 7).

Under the personal conduct policy, NFL owners should be held to a higher standard. Kraft is the face of the franchise. Owners should be “subject[ed] to more significant discipline when violations … occur” (Seifert, 2019, para. 7). Along with the controversy, many fans wonder if NFL commissioner, Rodger Goodell, will punish one of the “NFL’s most powerful owners” (Seifert, 2019, para. 12). As the story unfolds, the media will cover if the NFL sweeps this scandal under the rug or punishes Kraft for his unlawful actions.

References

Burcham, K. (2019, February 23). ‘Human is human:’ Pats fans react to charges against Robert Kraft. Boston25news. Retrieved from https://www.boston25news.com/news/-human-is-human-pats-fans-react-to-charges-against-robert-kraft/924216340

Hanna, J., & Maxouris, C. (2019, February 23). New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft accused of soliciting sex, police say. CNN.com. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/22/us/robert-kraft-solicitation/index.html

Robert Kraft visited parlor for sex on day of AFC championship game, authorities say. (2019, February 25). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-robert-kraft-prostitution-charge-20190225-story.html

Seifert, K. (2019, February 25). What charges could mean for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. ESPN.com. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26056293/what-solicitation-charges-mean-new-england-patriots-owner-robert-kraft

 

Media Spreads the Word about Jazz Matthews

By Dr. Nancy E. Spencer

February 19, 2019

The entries that we post on Maxwell Media Watch typically focus on critiques of the media with suggestions for how they could do better. This post will be different since it recognizes the outstanding work of several area media outlets that have shared the story of a former BGSU student and basketball stand-out. Thanks to a story that appeared in the Toledo Blade (Briggs, 2019) and another that was broadcast on WTOL (Paley, 2019), tens of thousands of dollars have been raised in support of a woman who needs a miracle.

If you follow BGSU Women’s Basketball, you may be familiar with Jasmine Matthews (Jazz), who played on the team from 2011-2015. The Toledo Blade writer David Briggs (2019) described her as “the picture of athletic grace, a sweet-shooting guard for the Bowling Green women’s basketball team” (para. 1).

Jazz was a Sport Management major as an undergraduate and decided to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Sport Administration. I was fortunate to have Jasmine in my classes as both an undergraduate student and as her graduate adviser.

I vividly remember the day that Jazz told me what she decided to do for her Master’s Project. She had been talking to her godfather (Gerald) who was the head coach at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. Gerald knew that Jazz had been contemplating a career in coaching after she finished her master’s program.

But he had a better idea.

“Officiating.”

At first, Jazz was skeptical about the suggestion. But as Gerald talked to her more, he began to convince her that her training and knowledge of the game, plus her fitness made her a prime candidate to succeed as a basketball official. She could get experience at an entry level, and if she did well, she could eventually advance to Division I women’s basketball.

Once she was convinced, Jasmine pursued the idea with all the vigor of a motivated athlete who suddenly sees the big picture and trains hard to prepare for the biggest game of her life. Better yet, her godfather’s suggestion gave her an idea for what she could do for her Master’s Project.

As Jazz filled me in on what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, she explained how it related to her idea for a final project. She wanted to write about her experiences in becoming an official. We discussed the idea of doing an autoethnography, which would enable her to integrate her personal experiences with literature about her potential career path. She even found an autoethnography by another woman who had played basketball in college – Claire Schaeperkoetter (2016), whose article on “Basketball officiating as a gendered arena” became the template for her to examine and reflect upon her own experiences.

In December 2016, Jasmine completed her project and received her Master’s degree.

A year later, she was diagnosed with MS, “multiple sclerosis… the insidious disease with no cure that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord” (Briggs, 2019, para. 6). Within three weeks, she had lost everything, and was completely disabled (Paley, 2019).

Jazz has made progress in fighting the disease, but she needs support to take the next step in her journey. Thanks to a doctor who lives near her home, Dr. Richard Burt, she is a candidate for “the use of stem cell transplants to treat” her (Briggs, 2019, para. 15). But the treatment is expensive and her insurance does not cover it. Therefore, Jazz set up a GoFundMe page on Facebook to raise the $125,000 needed for the treatment. Nearly $60,000 in donations have already been contributed by 790 people, as of this writing.

Jasmine’s dream to become a basketball official is still alive. She concluded her interview on WTOL by saying, “Once I get my life back I plan on being a Division I official, referee” (Paley, 2019, para. 14).

Jazz has only begun to write her story, and I cannot wait to read the next chapter!

Briggs, D. (2019, February 12). As a former BG player hopes for a ‘miracle,’ a basketball community rallies. The Toledo Blade. Retrieved from https://www.toledoblade.com/sports/bgsu/2019/02/12/former-bowling-green-falcons-player-jasmine-matthews-battles-multiple-sclerosis/stories/20190212137

Paley, T. (2019, February 12). Community donated thousands to former BGSU basketball player with MS. WTOL.com. Retrieved from http://www.wtol.com/2019/02/12/community-donates-thousands-former-bgsu-basketball-player-with-ms/

Schaeperkoetter, C. (2016). Basketball officiating as a gendered arena: An autoethnography. Sport Management Review, 128-141.

BGSU Sport Management Students Experience Super Bowl LIII First-hand

By Dr. Nancy Spencer, Professor in Sport Management, BGSU

February 3, 2019

Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people standing

About ten days before Super Bowl 2006 was played in Detroit, BGSU Distinguished Alum Dick Maxwell (recently inducted into BGSU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni)  organized a Super Bowl panel of experts who spoke to BGSU’s Sport Management students and faculty. Through his position in the NFL Commissioner’s Office as Senior Director of NFL Broadcasting for 36 years, one of Maxwell’s responsibilities was to coordinate the annual Super Bowl broadcasts. Among those who appeared on the 2006 panel were NFL representatives in public relations/communications, broadcasting, international media, game security, and the Vice President in charge of the Super Bowl. Before the panel began, ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman introduced then Sport Management Association (SMA) President Stephanie Serda via a taped message.

In addition to hearing from the distinguished panel of experts, Maxwell explained that the company that the NFL hired to put on the NFL Experience and the NFL Tailgate Party interviewed BGSU Sport Management students who volunteered to work at the 2006 Super Bowl. Dr. Jacquelyn Cuneen, Professor Emeritus in the Sport Management Program, said that, “We sent 20 kids to Detroit for the week to help with the festivities and 20 more on game day.” As a result of their work at Super Bowl XL, SMA students from BGSU volunteered the following year in Tampa Bay. Thanks to rave reviews about the performances of those first SMA student volunteers, BGSU students have been able to volunteer for subsequent Super Bowls.

Fast forward to 2019 and Super Bowl LIII is being held in Atlanta, GA. This year, 24 SMA students from BGSU are volunteering in preparation for game day (see photo above). The students left for Atlanta this past Tuesday and have been working “at the Super Bowl Experience at Georgia World Congress Center” (Piotrowicz, 2019, para. 10). Among the activities of student volunteers was to “guide visitors through exhibits and help them get photographs with the Lombardi Trophy that the winning team will hoist after Sunday’s game” (Dupont, 2019, para. 8). On game day, the “BGSU students will assist the 1,700 fans who bought $20,000 Super Bowl packages” by helping them “find their way around Mercedes-Benz Stadium” (Dupont, 2019, para. 11).

SMA Adviser, Dr. Amanda Paule-Koba explained that by “going to the Super Bowl they can see what they learned about in the classroom enacted in the real world” (Dupont, 2019, para. 13). Several students who volunteered at last year’s Super Bowl echoed the value of their NFL experience. As current SMA President Kyle Edmond said, “being part of the experience shows how much planning goes into the Super Bowl, a worthwhile trip for a group of students who are interested in working in the sports industry after college” (Piotrowicz, 2019, para. 14). Cory Radebaugh, another student who volunteered last year, said that unlike previous years when students were able to see the game, “no volunteers will be allowed on the concourse after kick-off” in this year’s game (Dupont, 2019, para. 26).

Regardless of which team wins Super Bowl LIII, the 24 SMA students who volunteered in Atlanta will bring back the memories of a lifetime. I look forward to some of them sharing about their experiences on the Maxwell Media Watch. BGSU faculty members and students are grateful to Mr. Maxwell for affording our students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

References

Dupont, D. (2019, January 31). BGSU sports management team headed to Super Bowl. BG Independent Media. Retrieved from http://bgindependentmedia.org/bgsu-sports-management-team-headed-to-super-bowl/

Piotrowicz, N. (2019, January 28). BGSU students fundraise way to Super Bowl LIII. Toledo Blade. Retrieved from https://www.toledoblade.com/sports/bgsu/2019/01/28/bowling-green-bgsu-students-fundraise-super-bowl-LIII/stories/20190128136

The Spurs Team Doctors Will See You Now

By Bre Moorer

Bre Moorer is now a graduate student at Bowling Green State University, where she is studying Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Psychology.  She is originally from Akron, Ohio, about forty miles south of Lake Erie.  Her primary sport interest is basketball – at the amateur and professional levels.

Former Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (below right) is now a Toronto Raptor.  The 2019 NBA free agency run this summer was rocky for the California native.  For the 2017-18 season, Leonard played fewer than 10 games due to an injury that team doctors in San Antonio missed.  At least that is what the reason was early on.

An injury to Leonard’s right thigh kept him out of 2017-18 preseason play, the season-opener, and the first 2 months of NBA action.  It should be known that Leonard was a major part of the San Antonio Spurs organization.  The former San Diego State standout lead the Spurs to their fifth championship in 2014, in addition to winning NBA Finals’ MVP for his outstanding performance.  How did he only play 9 games last season?  Shortly after his limited-minute comeback against the Dallas Mavericks in December, Leonard felt that he was being rushed back.

Leonard is known for his quiet and private personality, but fans could tell he did not feel confident playing yet.  Sometimes Leonard suited up, but most of the time he took a night or two off.  Leonard took it upon himself to travel to New York to get a second opinion on his injury.  He felt like he should have been 100% by then.  NBA analysts wondered why he would embarrass the Spurs staff by refusing the services offered to him for free and in his own backyard.  Leonard was portrayed by the media as bratty and just another professional athlete who was not patient enough after an injury. Sports reporter and well-known Spurs fan Michelle Beadle said Leonard did not have the qualities that a leader is supposed to have.  She even went as far as saying that he is coming off as an “obnoxious diva.”  Leonard took verbal beat-downs from fans, journalists, and social media for not playing and refusing to work with the Spurs team doctor.  Of course, the reserved NBA All-Star did not publicly defend himself, but his decisions would become clear to critics after teammate Danny Green told all.

Just like Leonard, Danny Green (above left) was traded from the Spurs to the Toronto Raptors this summer.  Seemingly before the ink could dry on his Toronto contract, Green said that his end-of-the-season physical examination revealed a torn groin that went undetected by Spurs staff, which lead to Green getting a second opinion while he was still a Spur.  Maybe it is because of the difference in personalities or the fact that Green still managed to play through his injury, but the general public was not as hard on Green for going elsewhere for treatment.  His Twitter mentions were filled with users that claimed getting another opinion on injuries is very common.  It was even discussed on ESPN that Green’s undetected injury may let Leonard’s actions off the hook.  In other words, now that Danny Green had a problem with the Spurs staff, we can believe Kawhi Leonard.

However you look at it, there is an issue that needs to be fixed in San Antonio.  It could be negligence or innocent lack of knowledge, but it is costing players their reputations, health, and market value.

Good On You, Liz Cambage!

By Bre Moorer

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) will have its 19th annual All-Star Game at the Target Center in Minnesota, where the home team Lynx won the championship against the Los Angeles Sparks last season.  The game is on Saturday, July 28 at 3:30 pm ET as Team Parker takes on Team Delle Donne.  Maya Moore earned the Verizon WNBA All-Star MVP trophy last year, but this year all eyes will be on the woman from Down Under – Liz Cambage.

Elizabeth “Liz” Cambage has been a professional since 2008, as she took part in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).  The 6ft 8 in center was drafted 2nd overall by the Tulsa Shock, now the Dallas Wings, in 2011.  She even represented Australia in the Olympic Games in 2012.  Although the 26-year-old has had an eventful and successful career, something happened on Tuesday, July 17 that fans of basketball will remember for a long time.

In a 104-87 home win against the New York Liberty, Cambage scored a record-setting 53 points for all of Twitter and women’s basketball fans around the world to watch.  In addition to her whopping 53 points, Liz had 10 rebounds and 5 blocks.  Before Cambage, the WNBA record for most points in a game was 51.  That record was held by Riquna Williams, who also played for the Tulsa Shock, but is now a member of the Los Angeles Sparks.  As the Wings pulled away from the Liberty in the 4th quarter, every sports site had their article ready to publish about Cambage’s special performance.

Just to name a few, Bleacher Report, CBS, Ballislife, SB Nation, The New York Times, ESPNW, and Sports Illustrated expressed their amazement in Cambage with tweets and articles.  NBA player Kevin Durant left a comment on Instagram that suggested we all are witnessing Liz’s “era of dominance.”  During her post-game interview, Cambage addressed those who doubted her ability to play in the American league.  She mentioned her “big numbers” in other leagues and ended the interview with, “I guess this game is for y’all.”  The attention that Liz is getting comes at a time when WNBA players and fans are asking for more attention and support for the league. If making history does not do it, then what will?

The WNBA’s Low Pay in the Age of Social Media

By Bre Moorer

For the past couple of months, WNBA stars have been more outspoken than usual about the pay gap.  Or maybe they have always shared their thoughts, but did not get as much attention as they are getting now.  It could be because they can just type their thoughts out in 140 characters or less and simply hit a button that shows their message to millions of people.  That has been an option for years, but why are the fed up women of the professional basketball league seemingly being heard now more than ever?  With the help of social media, specifically Twitter, the low salaries in the WNBA are back in the spotlight this summer, but this time it feels different.

To get the discussion started this time around, Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Dallas Wings appeared on ESPN’s Get Up on May 28th to address the issue with Jalen Rose and Michelle Beadle.  Jalen directed his frustration toward the NBA by saying they need to do a better job of “dedicating resources to help promote” the women’s league since the WNBA is a “subsidiary of the NBA.”  While Diggins-Smith did not flat out agree with Jalen’s point about the NBA being responsible for WNBA players not getting paid as much, she did bring up the fact that “it’s all about exposure.”  In the same breath, the fearless leader of the Dallas Wings also mentioned social platforms should be better utilized.  She recommended showing more games on Twitter.  The South Bend legend’s comments inspired her peers to express themselves without regret.

In the wake of LeBron James signing a 4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers for a whopping $153.3 million, rookie sensation A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces took to Twitter to “congratulate” King James.

While some Twitter users backed Wilson, most users bombarded the 1st overall pick in the 2018 draft with reasons as to why they think she should get back in her lane.  One person said ratings are too low for the women hoopers to get more money, to which Wilson responded it is more than just viewings.  A couple of users tweeted that if she was as good as LeBron, then she would earn more.  The power forward laughed at those tweets for the most part, but she did say to one troll that bench players in the NBA get paid more than starters in the WNBA – eliminating the arguments that the pay gap is about skill set.  Perhaps the most popular argument against the WNBA getting paid more is the NBA bringing in more revenue than the WNBA.  The 2017 NCAA champion had a response for that too.  She said that the NBA gets more of a percentage of the revenue they bring in than the women so it is still unfair regardless of how much revenue is brought in.  Wilson spent a whole weekend defeating Internet trolls in the beginning of July. She ended her run by hoping that the men in her mentions had daughters who want to play basketball so that they can grasp where she is coming from.  She was “glad to stir the pot.”

This past weekend, NBA superstar Damian Lillard watched A’ja Wilson’s Las Vegas Aces and the Connecticut Sun work.  He was obviously impressed by what he saw and backed Wilson’s call for equal pay.  By the end of the game, a video of Lillard revealing his thoughts on the lack of respect WNBA players get was trending on Twitter.

In Lillard’s opinion, the women as individuals should be treated as the pros they are as far as salaries go and their league deserves to be exalted.  Having someone like Damian Lillard, who is a 3-time NBA All-Star, could start a trend of NBA players speaking up in support of WNBA players getting paid more.

After all is said and done, the WNBA is in need of support and exposure in order for its players to get what they deserve in the first place – more money.  As long as the women continue to use their platforms and their male counterparts actively show their love for the WNBA, the future looks bright for equal pay between the NBA and WNBA.

Welcome (back) to Spring 2018!

It has been several months since we regularly published entries on the Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Watch Project. But we are ready to resume and look forward to a fruitful semester of writing by a talented group of students. At the beginning of the semester, we were fortunate to meet with BGSU alumnus Jay Crawford, former ESPN host of Sportscenter and Cold Pizza, and currently serving as Executive in Residence at his Alma Mater.

Jay has been generous with his time in meeting with students as he shared with us about the importance of journalists as “truth tellers.” Our goal as always is to analyze and critique media practices in their coverage of sport, in the hope that we can find ‘truth’ in what they are writing and saying about sport. We welcome your comments and feedback on our entries, and encourage you to share our posts with others who are interested in cultivating the skills of good sport journalism.