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Nancy Grace being blackballed by WWE over Ultimate Warrior coverage

Nancy GraceTV host Nancy Grace is being blackballed by the WWE over the way she covered The Ultimate Warrior’s death, according to a report.

TMZ says past and present WWE wrestlers are being warned not to appear on Grace’s HLN show after she had Diamond Dallas Page on her program last week and strongly insinuated Warrior’s death was rooted in steroid and drug abuse.

We reported on Grace’s coverage of Warrior’s death and pointed out that she had a scroll of wrestlers who had died young and included Owen Hart on the list, even though Hart’s death was a total fluke due to a complete malfunction during an event rather than steroids or drugs.

Grace’s coverage was enough to upset the company to the point that they don’t want anyone appearing on her program in the future.

The way the program covered the death was simply irresponsible and unprofessional.

Hawk Harrelson gets stereotypical, says Chen-Chang Lee has ‘typical Asian motion’

Hawk HarrelsonChicago White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson is best known for being a huge homer and not for delivering play-by-play with the type of tact that legends like Vin Scully display. So it’s probably not too surprising to hear the poor phrasing he used when talking about Cleveland Indians pitcher Chen-Chang Lee.

Lee is a relief pitcher from Taiwan who threw 4.1 innings last season in the bigs. He made his season debut on Thursday and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief against the Sox. While he was facing his second batter of the inning, the White Sox announcing team seemed intrigued by his sidearm delivery and sweeping finish.

“It’s a nasty slider from down under,” Steve Stone said about a slider Alexei Ramirez took for a strike.

“Yeah that’s a typical Asian motion,” said Hawk. “Deception involved.”

Yeesh.

Yes, many Asian pitchers have different motions from North American pitchers. They most likely have different instruction in Japan and other Asian countries compared to North America, which is also why many Asian hitters have different stances, swings and finishes from what we’re used to seeing. Hideo Nomo had his tornado thing, Dice K Matsuzaka had a hesitation, and Hiroki Kuroda has a hitch in his leg kick, just to give a few examples.

But is Lee’s motion a “typical Asian motion”? If so, what is a typical Asian motion, Hawk?

If Hawk wanted to point out that many Asian pitchers have something with their delivery that is different from what we are used to seeing, that would be fine. If he wanted to say Lee has a tough ball to pick up because it’s sidearm, that’s fine. But what about this was typical Asian deception? The way he phrased and worded things was just plain bad.

Via Deadspin

Deion Sanders says Johnny Manziel has ‘ghetto tendencies’ then denies it

Deion SandersDeion Sanders is a fan of Johnny Manziel because he likes the former Heisman Trophy winner’s flashy ways on the field. In fact, Primetime says Manziel’s behavior reminds him of the way he used to act, and that’s a big reason why Prime is a fan. But Deion had a little bit of a problem on Wednesday when he denied saying people will have a hard time accepting Manziel because the ex-A&M QB has “ghetto tendencies,” even though the comment was caught on audio.

Sanders was a guest on “Roland Martin Reports” and spent most of the interview defending DeSean Jackson. At the end of the interview, he was asked about Manziel.

Below is a transcription of what Deion said via the Roland Martin website:

SYBIL WILKES: So before you go, Deion, what do you think about all of this talk about Roland’s boy, Johnny Football, Johnny Manzel in all of the conversation about him?

DEION SANDERS: Oh, please. I love Johnny Football. See, the reason people won’t accept Johnny Football is because Johnny Football has ghetto tendencies. I love Johnny Football.

TOM JOYNER: He’s got ghetto tendencies?

ROLAND MARTIN: He’s got ghetto tendencies? What are ghetto tendencies, Prime Time?

DEION SANDERS: Because he was successful, he made it, and he let you all know he made it, and he was cocky, he was flamboyant, and he let you know.

ROLAND MARTIN: So he was a white Prime Time coming out of college.

DEION SANDERS: Thank you. And I love him. (Laughter) I love him. They had the music playing when he came in. Put his whole equipment up, who go out there all do your pro day with all your equipment on? (Laughter) That’s some hula stuff, I love Johnny Football.

They even posted the audio on their website (skip to the 6:27 mark to hear it):

Sanders’ point was understandable, but the phrasing “ghetto tendencies” is more than questionable.

Now here’s where the fun begins. Our friend Rob Littal at Black Sports Online says someone from Roland’s program sent him the audio clip along with the headline that Manziel has “ghetto tendencies” in an effort to receive more coverage and publicity for the story. One of Rob’s writers, Vashti Hurt, posted the story on their site, and Rob tweeted out the link. Someone showed the link to Sanders, who flipped out and denied saying what he said:

Unfortunately for Deion, the Roland program posted the audio clip on their site and transcribed all the comments, so everyone could hear and see exactly what Deion said. And there’s no denying that Deion said Manziel had “ghetto tendencies.”

Deion never apologized for denying making those comments, but that’s not too surprising. Would you expect him to admit where he was wrong?

Dan Shaughnessy calls second game ‘must win’ for Red Sox

Dan-ShaughnessyDan Shaughnessy is the resident pessimist of the city of Boston. The longtime Boston Globe writer has made a career out of overreacting and annoying Boston Red Sox fans by counting the team out before it’s over. After the Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day, Shaughnessy was up to his old tricks.

In his Globe column on Tuesday morning, Shaughnessy wrote about how the Red Sox were “lacking championship intangibles” and failed to do all the “small things” that helped them win the World Series last season. He finished up the discussion with this gem:

Those were the things they did not do on Monday. Luckily, the Red Sox do not play in a town that’s likely to overreact to a loss on Opening Day.

Wednesday night, however, just became a Must Win for the Olde Town Team.

There is obviously some sarcasm in there. Boston fans overreact to just about everything, so Shaughnessy was being facetious with his claim that the Red Sox don’t play in a town that will overreact to a loss on Opening Day. We can only hope calling game two of a 162-game season a “must win” was also a sarcastic remark.

Even if it was, the column was written with a “sky is falling” tone. Red Sox fans may overreact, but no one is panicking after the first game of the season. In fact, no one will panic if the Orioles sweep John Farrell’s club. If Shaughnessy’s point was that the fans consider game two a must win, he’s still wrong.

Then again, the only time Shaughnessy expressed optimism for the Red Sox was in 2011, when their season ended in disaster. The team is at it’s best when Shaughnessy is at his worst.

H/T Hardball Talk

Tim Cowlishaw takes shot at Kentucky as a school

Tim-Cowlishaw-Backtracking-For-Tweet-About-Darrelle-Revis-and-JetsOne of the most interesting stories of the week has to be the deal that fell through between Steve Masiello and the University of Southern Florida. USF announced that Masiello would be the school’s next basketball coach on Tuesday before pulling the offer because of some information that was uncovered during a background check. It turns out Masiello lied on his resume.

Various sources reported on Wednesday that Masiello never actually graduated from the University of Kentucky, where he played four seasons as a walk-on from 1996-2000. Tim Cowlishaw doesn’t think that should matter.

“What’s the difference between having a degree from Kentucky and almost having a degree from Kentucky?” Cowlishaw quipped on Wednesday’s edition of Around the Horn. “Are either of those things really relevant?”

Cowlishaw was obviously looking to ruffle feathers, and he accomplished his goal. Tony Reali and the rest of the panel instantly began discussing the possible ramifications of Cowlishaw’s comments, which included a healthy bashing from our friends at Kentucky Sports Radio.

You know Cowlishaw is enjoying every second of it.

Sports writer dropped by Chicago Sun-Times for giving postgame lecture to team

Rudy speech

The Chicago Sun-Times is no longer using the services of freelance sports writer Clyde Travis after he went into the locker room of a high school basketball team after the game he covered and proceeded to lecture the team with a speech.

Jim Romenesko has the scoop, and there apparently was video of Travis lighting into Curie High School’s basketball team following a narrow win over Hyde Park on Wednesday. The video was taken down, but according to Romenesko, here’s what Travis said:

I hope you all gave yourselves a good round of applause. You know why? Because you all stunk that shit up worse than anything I’ve seen. That was the worst exhibition of basketball that I’ve seen in about 30 years. And not that they weren’t trying, it’s that you guys did not come out focused. You are the number one team in the state, and they played like they were the number one team in the state. …

The word that I would use in terms of looking at how you all played was it was a very unintelligent game. ….”

Is this a journalist or the team’s head coach? Sheesh. I’m getting confused here about roles.

Curie (23-1) is ranked No. 4 in the state according to MaxPreps and won 58-56 over 16-9 Hyde Park. Imagine what Travis would have done had they lost!

If there’s any good news to come out of this development for Travis, it’s that he should have more time to pursue coaching and motivational speaking gigs.

Did First Take manipulate postgame video clip to make Cam Newton look bad?

Cam Newton postgameDid ESPN manipulate a clip of Cam Newton speaking in his postgame press conference on Sunday to make him look bad? It sure seems like it.

While watching “SportsNation” on ESPN Monday, I saw a video clip of Newton answering a question about Colin Kaepernick mocking him by doing the Superman celebration. The clip played on “First Take” earlier in the day, and it also aired on “SportsNation.”

In the clip, Newton is asked whether Kaepernick doing the Superman celebration bothered him.

“That’s not the first nor will it be the last time somebody does that,” Newton said.

Cam then said “umm” and “but” and was looking to see if anyone else had a question. It sounded like someone — most likely a PR director — said “thank you” to let Newton know he was excused and could leave. So Cam walked off the podium.

The way the clip was presented, it seemed like Cam walked out of the interview because he didn’t like the question about Kaepernick doing the celebration and that he was being a poor sport. But if you watch Cam’s entire postgame news conference on the Panthers website, you’ll see that that was the last question of a 10-minute long presser. Newton gave thoughtful, detailed comments to the reporters and was congratulatory of the Niners. He gave a fine postgame media session for someone whose season ended.

If that edited clip from ESPN lacking context was the only clip of Cam you saw, you probably walked away with the impression that Newton was bitter and has a bad attitude. In reality, he behaved in the completely opposite manner.