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ESPN’s John Anderson: USC is a ‘clown college’

John-Anderson-ESPNESPN’s John Anderson said what a lot of people are thinking on Wednesday when senior cornerback Josh Shaw admitted he was lying about saving his 7-year-old nephew. The Trojans have dealt with a lot of distractions in recent years and rarely ever have a season of just football. Take it away, John.

“If you go back to Pete Carroll and the embarrassment of getting stripped of a national title, the Heisman Trophy that Reggie Bush got back, how they handled Lane Kiffin’s firing,” Anderson said Wednesday. “There was the probation. This is a clown college. How should I look at this place?”

When Anderson says “clown college,” I’m guessing he’s just referring to the football program. USC ranked 23rd in US News and World Report’s national university rankings this year, so we don’t want to insult the 18,000-plus students who study there.

As far as football is concerned, Anderson makes a good point. USC certainly botched the Lane Kiffin firing and there’s no denying the sanctions stemming from Carroll’s tenure were a major blemish. The fact that a senior captain got himself wrapped up in such an embarrassing lie doesn’t help.

Michael Sam is not showering with teammates, according to ESPN

Michael Sam RamsMichael Sam seems to be adjusting to life in the NFL quite well, at least on the field. Sam, who made headlines on Saturday when he sacked Johnny Manziel and flashed the money sign, appears likely to make the St. Louis Rams 53-man roster. But what about his showering habits? It’s important that we hear all about that, right?

Don’t worry, ESPN has you covered. During Tuesday’s edition of SportsCenter, Josina Anderson updated viewers on how Sam is fitting in with his teammates. Things started out pretty normal.

“Defensive tackle Kendall Langford said that Michael Sam is just one of the guys,” Anderson began. “He seems to be taking a rookie approach in terms of just listening and learning at his own pace. He’s just trying to feel his way through and, perhaps, see what guys he can relate to.”

Anderson then brought up showering, and things got a little too personal.

“Another Rams defensive player told me that Sam is respecting our space,” she said. “From his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is kind of waiting to take a shower as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable. Langford and linebacker Alec Ogletree didn’t know that specifically and also weren’t tracking that.

“Langford told me, ‘I have not been in the shower at the same time as Michael Sam,’ but said there could be a million reasons as to why that is. He said (Sam) could be doing extra work on the practice field, riding his bike or doing extra cardio. But overall Langford said he seems to be adjusting to life in the NFL and the speed of the game.”

[Also see: Chris Long rips ESPN for shower report]

If you ask me, that’s too much information. We know having an openly gay player in the NFL is going to create some unprecedented situations in the locker room, but Sam’s shower schedule isn’t something ESPN needs to be passing along to their viewers. This is the exact type of stuff Neil Everett was angry about when he took a shot at the World Wide Leader.

Video via The Big Lead

Jeff Fisher has great response to Adam Schefter report

Jeff Fisher Rams

Adam Schefter is one of the most well-connected, accurate and resourceful reporters in the NFL. The guy constantly breaks scoops and provides insightful information. Sometimes breaking that news and sharing information doesn’t go over well with the club it affects.

After Sam Bradford left Saturday’s preseason game with a left knee injury, Schefter provided an update on the quarterback’s status:

Schefter having that information clearly bothered Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who was asked about his QB’s status during his postgame news conference.

“I cannot give you details on anybody’s situation right now until we do testing and get MRIs,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said of his injured players.

When told there was a report (Schefter’s) saying there was no damage to Bradford’s ACL, Fisher got defensive.

“Ummm … who’s saying that?” Fisher asked.

“Schefter,” the reporter replied.

“Oh. Oh, you know, I didn’t see Adam in the locker room or the training room today. That’s funny. If you see [Schefter] tell him I say hi.

“Really? Yeah, he knows everything,” Fisher said sarcastically.

Fisher did offer some detail on Bradford, saying it appeared to be a hyperextension of Bradford’s knee and that the QB was walking around normally after the game.

It seemed pretty clear to me that Schefter was dead-on with his info. Why else did Fisher get so defensive?

Neil Everett angry with ESPN over lack of Jason Bitsko death coverage (Video)

ESPN on-air personality Neil Everett took a very brief but very blatant shot at his employer during Thursday morning’s edition of SportsCenter. Everett was clearly upset over the lack of coverage ESPN gave to Jason Bitsko, the 21-year-old Kent State football player who was found dead in his off-campus apartment on Wednesday.

Bitsko, who received an award during this year’s spring game for “exemplifying hard work and dedication,” passed away from an undetermined medical condition. His death has already had a huge impact on the Kent State community, but ESPN dedicated just 30 seconds of coverage to Bitsko. This did not sit well with Everett.

“You know, guys like Bitsko don’t get headlines,” Everett quipped. “Those go to (Johnny) Manziel not starting in Cleveland and (Braxton) Miller unable to play in Ohio.

Point taken. Everett has been with ESPN for nearly 15 years, but I’m sure the World Wide Leader is not going to appreciate him basically bashing the network to its own audience. That doesn’t mean he was wrong.

Neil-Everett-Jason-Bitsko

Video via Cork Gaines

ESPN screws up big time with Kevin Ward Jr. funeral tweet

ESPN sent an extremely unfortunate tweet from their NASCAR account on Thursday afternoon. Funeral services for the late Kevin Ward Jr. were held on Thursday in upstate New York, where more than 700 mourners flooded South Lewis Senior High School to pay their respects. Here is the tweet NASCAR on ESPN sent and quickly deleted, courtesy of Deadspin:

ESPN-Kevin-Ward-Jr-tweet

We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but that is a pretty drastic one. A typo with the name would be bad enough given the sensitive nature of the subject, but the photo of Stewart made it really brutal. Realizing that plenty of people had seen the tweet, ESPN later issued an apology:

Again, everyone makes mistakes. Some are just more cringe-worthy than others.

Max Kellerman suspended by ESPN for domestic violence story

Max Kellerman ESPN

Max Kellerman was suspended by ESPN for his on-air discussion about domestic violence that took place on ESPN Radio LA earlier this week. ESPN would not confirm nor deny the suspension, but the New York Daily News says the network issued a statement saying Kellerman will return to his regular jobs on Thursday.

Kellerman co-hosts ESPN’s “SportsNation” on TV and “Max & Marcellus” on ESPNLA Radio and shared a story Monday about a domestic violence incident he had with his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife. He shared the story during a cross-talk segment with “Mason & Ireland” prior to his show starting.

The Daily News described Kellerman’s comments and explains why ESPN was not happy with him:

Kellerman said they both had to much too drink. He said when he tried getting things under control his then girlfriend slapped him. Kellerman said he slapped her back. He was quick to tell listeners that the woman is now is his wife and they have been happily married for 20 years.

Industry sources said while the content of his story was disturbing, the suspension was all about Kellerman, who once worked for ESPN New York Radio, not adhering to ESPN brass’ warning concerning the Rice topic being a highly sensitive one. “My understanding is that it was part of a larger conversation ESPN had with all its on-air people,” a radio industry source said. “Kellerman obviously didn’t pay attention.”

Kellerman’s comments came not long after ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for his comments on the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. Clearly the network is highly sensitive to the issue and does not want any employee giving off the appearance that they condone domestic violence in any way, shape or form.

ESPN suspends Dan Le Batard for LeBron James billboard

Dan-Le-Batard-LeBron-billboard

Dan Le Batard has never been one to weigh the potential consequences of his actions before going through with them, which is one of the reasons he is more entertaining than a lot of other sports radio personalities. It’s also the reason he was given a long weekend by his employer this week.

On Thursday, ESPN released a statement announcing that Le Batard has been suspended for two days because of the funny billboard he paid for in Akron mocking LeBron James.

“Dan Le Batard will be off the air for two days, returning Monday,” the statement read. “His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”

I think everyone knows Le Batard’s publicity stunt does not reflect the views of ESPN, considering it was a joke that Le Batard and his father attached their names to. Le Batard even said earlier this week that it was all in good fun.

“It’s just fun anarchy. All meant in fun — which, of course, will turn into Cleveland people getting filled with rage, poison and irrational hostility and want to use those billboards as a guillotine,” he told Greg Cote of the Miami Herald. “Sports are so great, the more irrational the better. This is a publicity stunt disguised as a movement. Please don’t tell anyone there is no actual movement.”

We know how protective of its image the World Wide Leader can be. But remember, Le Batard is the same guy who sacrificed his MLB Hall of Fame vote for life just to make a point. A two-day suspension won’t change him in any way.

Photo via @JeremyinAkron