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Is that Lifetime or the NFL Network?

Lifetime is known as television for women. Their programming is filled with shows such as Designing Women, Golden Girls, Gay, Straight, or Taken?, How Clean Is Your House?, and Cheerleader Nation.

NFL Network is the home for football 24/7, also known as television for men. Their programming is filled with shows such as NFL Total Access, NFL Gameday, NFL Replay, NFL Draft, and NFL Scoreboard. Notice a theme?

That’s why it was so hard for me to figure out exactly what the NFL Network was trying to accomplish with their coverage of the combine this weekend. Exactly who was their was target audience?

One after another, players came out sorted by position, wearing nothing but boxers, and they proceeded to get felt-up like male strippers at a bachelorette party full of horny divorcees.

They entered the room, knees shaking, millions of dollars hanging on the measurement of every quarter inch. Kevin Kolb, followed by Troy Smith, followed by Trent Edwards, followed by JaMarcus Russell…all half-naked, all getting their height measured right down to the quarter-hundreth of a centimeter, wingspan taken, and sperm count measured. OK, maybe no sperm count, but nearly everything else was considered.

I’m sorry, I may be interested in a quarterback’s vital stats and completion percentage, but I don’t need to be in the doctor’s office when you’re measuring the dude’s johnson — comprende?

A little advice to NFL Network: let me know when you’ll be airing fully-clothed sessions of these players running passing drills and then I’ll tune in. Until that point, count me out.

Media Pleas for Marty as Victim

Just yesterday I discussed the firing of Marty Schottenheimer by the Chargers. At the time, the most interesting aspect of the firing to me was the sequence of events and how it would result in the futures of the Chargers, Cowboys, and Dolphins (Cowboys hired Wade Phillips, Dolphins hired Cam Cameron) being forever intertwined. Now however, a more interesting twist to this saga is unfolding.

From watching and listening to sports talk shows, and reading various articles, I have mercilessly seen Schottenheimer treated as a victim. The same people who have called Schottenheimer a choke for losing to the Patriots and for “never being able to win in the playoffs” are now taking Marty’s side. I have constantly heard the same two argument over the last 24 hours

  1. How can you fire someone who went 14-2?
  2. How can you do this to Marty after all the jobs have been filled?

To give you an example of argument one, over at ESPN.com they have a little sidebar graphic saying the last time a 14-win coach didn’t return to the team the following year was 80 years ago. If that’s not designed to illicit sympathy then I don’t know what is.

Well, to answer question #1, if you feel that you have the most talented team in the league and that your head coach is holding you back from attaining higher levels, then you have the right to fire him free of criticism (regardless of Schottenheimer’s less than stellar playoff record of 5-13). Dean Spanos (according to his statement) felt that the Chargers could not achieve the levels he hoped for

Events of the last month have now convinced me that it is not possible for our organization to function at a championship level under the current structure.

So that answers media plea for Marty as the victim #1.

As for media plea for Marty as the victim #2, the San Diego Union-Tribune points out what it heard was the reason for the firing (which both Foxsports.com and ESPN.com also report)

According to sources, the final straw occurred yesterday when Schottenheimer wanted to interview his brother Kurt for the defensive coordinator position. Spanos and Smith did not approve, but Schottenheimer held firm in asserting that he had the right to hire his own staff.

From what these reports tell us, Schottenheimer did this to himself by trying to get his brother in as a coach. Additionally, it does not help that Marty did not sign a contract extension when it was presented to him in January. Put those two incidents together and Marty sealed his own fate.

That’s why it annoys me when I read an article by a writer I usually agree with (and hold in high respect) Jason Whitlock, describes Marty’s dismissal as “unfair.”

Peter King in SI titled his column “Chargers mishandled entire Schottenheimer situation.” He wrote,

That’s the way this relationship [hopelessly severed] was a month ago. And Spanos should have made the decision then, when his staff wouldn’t yet have been in tatters.

Jay Glazer on Foxsports.com asked:

The only thing that should come as a shock here in the timing. Why now?

While I respect all three journalists in the highest degree, I must maintain that Schottenheimer did it to himself, not the other way around. Again, if Schottenheimer hadn’t apparently tried to bring his brother in, this probably wouldn’t have happened now.

For the record, I am very impressed by Marty Schottenheimer’s parting comments and the “high road” that he has taken. Additionally, given the fact that he says he has a desire to continue coaching, I think he would have been a great fit for teams stuck in a culture of losing recently, such as the Cardinals and Dolphins. However, I won’t feel bad for Schottenheimer because he did it to himself.

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Nick Saban Coonass Update

If you remember a few days ago I wrote about a story in which an audio clip of Nick Saban using the term “coonass” became public. To recap, Miami Herald writer Jeff Darlington emailed an off the record comment from Nick Saban to a sports show host in Miami who wound up playing it on his show. I was originally incensed that comments made off the record wound up being released to the public.

In fact, I contacted Jeff Darlington to see if he would speak about the incident in an interview. Jeff politely declined saying he was unable to do an interview at the time. It is important to note that he had a sincere tone and indicated a regret that the audio became public. I hope to follow up with Jeff in the future when he’s able to freely speak about the incident.

The aforementioned incident does raise an interesting debate. We know that Jeff intended to keep Saban’s comments off the record. The question I want to answer is this – is it ever the moral duty of a journalist to report on “off the record” comments? If a public figure makes blatantly racist or incriminating remarks, are those worthy of being reported?

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Saban Comments were Off the Record

After a little digging around, I’ve come to find that Saban’s comment (that you can hear in the post below) in which he uses the term “coonass” was made off the record.  From the Miami Herald:

“The coach’s slur was not initially published by The Herald because of the coach’s request for that portion of the interview to remain private.  Two weeks later, [Miami Herald reporter Jeff] Darlington e-mailed an audio file of the conversation that included the slur to 560-WQAM radio host Orlando Alzugaray, who aired the comments on his morning radio show in both South Florida and Mobile.”

Yet another reminder why you can never put something in print that is potentially incriminating or offensive, and how things can spread so quickly on this lovely internet (may larrybrownsports.com be so blessed). 

As for more details on the circumstances of the story – Saban says he was

“first told that story by LSU Board of Supervisors member Charlie Weems of Alexandria on Jan. 3. That was the day Saban took the job at Alabama and the night LSU beat Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.  Saban used the word coonass in later telling the story to a group of Miami reporters following a news conference.”

Memo to Saban - just because the comments were off the record doesn’t excuse you from what you said.  If you feel that “coonass” is an inappropriate term, then you should filter it when you re-tell the story (as you were doing).  The fact that you left it in there indicates your insensitivity towards the potentially derogatory nature of the term. 

I am not personally familiar with the term “coonass.”  However, knowing that it is taken with offense by a sector of the population is enough to keep me from using it.  Just because it is the norm to use the term in Louisiana does not make it OK.  In fact, the people who say it’s OK are probably the ones who aren’t the ones being called the name.

For the record, I would pay to see Nick Saban call a 5 star recruit of Cajun descent “coonass” in the family living room.

Terry Bradshaw Lives!

You remember that game you played back in kindergarden?  You know, that game telephone?  Of course you do.  It went a little something like this – kids are all seated in a circle, teacher whispers some “code phrase” to the first kid, they’re supposed to repeat the phrase to the person sitting next to them, and so on and so forth until the code phrase has come all the way around the circle to be repeated to the teacher by the last student. Typically the code phrase starts out as something like trucks and blocks, but by the time it’s made a trip around the room, it comes out the other end as something like monkey a** f***.  You get the picture. 

Now it’s expected to have such an extreme lapse in communication when you’re dealing with a group of 5 year olds.  But it would be a little bit harder to picture amongst a group of professional adults.  Or maybe not.  From television station KTBS 3 in Shreveport:

“Rumors that [Terry] Bradshaw, a Shreveport native, had died of a heart attack swept through the area Thursday.  One theory as to how the rumor got started was that a local radio station reported a wreck on the Terry Bradshaw Passway — part of the Inner Loop — and that was misunderstood to say Bradshaw had passed away.”

Regardless of how the rumor was started, we have come to find that Terry is alive and well (or however you describe him), and he was in fact playing golf somewhere in Mexico when all the rumors were started.  Memo to media members: You have a lot of power.  What you decide to broadcast reaches and effects the lives of millions of people.  Is it too much to ask you to check the facts and do some INVESTIGATING journalism before you report things and cause a huge frenzy?  Didn’t think so.  As for the rest of this case…maybe we should examine what life would be like if Terry really had died?