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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Policing the Media

UCLA players apologize to Chip Kelly after misleading article smears coach, school

Chip Kelly

UCLA football players apologized to head coach Chip Kelly on Friday after a letter they wrote went public and portrayed the coach and his program in a negative light.

UCLA players sent a letter to the program sharing some of their concerns regarding playing/practicing during the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking additional health protections. The letter came in response to ongoing meetings between coaches and players/parents about the subject matter.

Though the letter seemed to come as part of a conversation between the players and coaches, an article published by the Los Angeles Times about the situation on Friday trumped up the matter and made it seem like there was a mutiny with players rebelling against an oppressive coach and athletic program. That’s not at all the case.

Look at how the LA Times publicized their article via Twitter. They framed it as UCLA players “demanding” and saying they “don’t trust” Kelly’s program.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson shot down that notion, saying there is not a trust issue with Kelly or a time to bash the coach. He said the focus of the letter was on ensuring health protocols that will make the student-athletes more comfortable given the situation.

“I apologized to coach as I was unaware the letter would be given to the media for them to mislead,” Thompson-Robinson told The Athletic.

Yahoo’s Pete Thamel says that multiple UCLA players apologized during a team meeting as they did not realize the letter would go public. The players also acknowledged they should have gone to Kelly with their issues.

Further, Thompson-Robinson says Kelly agrees with the health/safety protocol demands from the student-athletes and supports them.

Thamel says UCLA’s athletic department had already addressed all the health concerns, such as providing an independent medical advisor and ability for players to anonymously report health protocol violations. Plus, UCLA’s athletic director assured student-athletes that they would not lose scholarships for not participating in sports given the situation.

The way the entire original story was framed was completely unfair to Kelly and UCLA. Neither the coach nor the school is acting unfairly, unsympathetically, or in a way that is not understanding of the student-athletes’ concerns. In fact, the coach and school seem to be working to help address those matters. Not only that, but the UCLA football player who was a representative on a committee of student-athletes addressing health concerns says all of the issues in the letter were already being addressed prior to the LA Times’ publishing of the article.

Deadspin makes change after backlash for Greg Hardy headline

Greg Hardy

Deadspin made a change to a headline for a story about Greg Hardy after receiving negative backlash online.

Deadspin is back in operation following a hiatus after their staff quit in protest over the new ownership’s “stick to sports” directive. The new staff is trying to keep the edginess that defined the site for the past decade, but they missed the mark with a headline and copy in a story Sunday morning.

The story was about Hardy winning his UFC fight at UFC 249 on Saturday night in Jacksonville. The headline from writer Dan Shapiro said “Greg Hardy Shows He Can Still Beat The Crap Out Of Men, Too”.

One sentence in the story said that Hardy was able to “fight back like no domestic abuse survivor has ever been able to before.”

Both the headline and sentence were references to Hardy’s past. The former NFL player was arrested in 2014 for allegedly strangling and threatening to kill his girlfriend. The photos from the incident told a disturbing story.

I understand trying to have an edgy tone for a website, but there is nothing funny about the crimes Hardy is alleged to have committed. It really makes you wonder how the site approved such a headline and story.

Reporter Will Reeve caught wearing no pants on ‘Good Morning America’

The world has undergone some significant changes in the past month or so, and for many people that has meant adjusting to life working from home. ABC reporter Will Reeve seems to be enjoying the change, though he should probably only be filmed from the waist up going forward.

Reeve was reporting from what appeared to be a home office during Tuesday’s edition of “Good Morning America,” and he was all business above the waist. However, the camera shot was a bit wider than Reeve expected it to be, as evidenced by his decision to not wear pants.

Reeve, who is the son of famous actor Christopher Reeve, addressed the incident with a funny statement on Twitter.

We’ve always heard rumors of reporters and anchors not bothering to wear pants while on the air at home, but it’s rare to see it in action. Reeve is never going to live that down.

NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the reporter was Tom Llamas. We apologize for the error.

Jay Glazer addresses backlash over hyping up coronavirus story

Jay Glazer faced a lot of negative backlash this week for the way he shared the news of Los Angeles Rams center testing positive for the coronavirus, and the reporter later tried to explain what happened.

Glazer has broken a number of huge NFL stories over the years, so fans were understandably excited when he tweeted earlier in the week about a big story he was sitting on. Because of all the hype his teaser created, Glazer decided to specify that the news he was going to share had nothing to do with a trade or transaction.

That didn’t sit well with fans. Many people felt it was inappropriate for Glazer to hype up a story about a player testing positive for COVID-19. In an appearance on the “Green Light Pod” with Chris Long, Glazer tried to justify his approach.

“(People) are joking and I’m trying to be like, no guys, there’s something serious. I have legit breaking news tomorrow night, but it’s serious,” Glazer explained. “They then pulled (that piece) out and just say, ‘I have big breaking news tomorrow night, it’s serious.’ So when you put that out alone, it’s like, ‘Hey, hey look at me I’ve got this (big story),’ but that’s not how it was.”

Glazer’s point seems to be that people interpreted his clarification as a teaser for big news, but the reason all the speculation erupted in the first place was because he teased the story. His explanation didn’t really cover why he chose to hype up a story about a player contracting an illness, which is what most fans ripped him apart for.

No matter how he wants to frame it, that was a bad look for Glazer. If he had to sit on the news for some reason, he should have done so quietly. Teasing a story about a player contracting an illness just feels wrong.

Fans upset over Jay Glazer teasing coronavirus news

Jay Glazer broke the news on Wednesday that Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen has become the first active NFL player to test positive for the coronavirus, but many people feel the way the FOX reporter revealed the information was inappropriate.

Glazer has broken a number of huge NFL scoops over the years, so fans were understandably excited when he teased some big news earlier this week. Glazer specified that the news he was going to break had nothing to do with an NFL transaction, and that only ended up making things worse.

Naturally, many fans and followers were still curious about the big piece of news Glazer was sitting on. Shortly after 11 p.m., he reported on “FOX Football Now” that Allen tested positive for COVID-19.

The way Glazer hyped up news related to the coronavirus and a person testing positive for it was not well received. His tweets were ratio’d by people who felt the delivery was in poor taste. Here’s a sampling of the reaction:

Plenty of other fans were simply upset that Glazer hyped something up that they felt wasn’t a big deal at all considering how many people have contracted COVID-19.

Glazer made it clear that his news had nothing to do with football, though that didn’t stop some people from thinking he had info to add to the rumor about Odell Beckham Jr. that was floating around. Either way, the fact that Glazer broke the news about Allen wasn’t the issue for most. Rather, it was the way he went about it.

Tony Grossi suspended by ESPN for calling Baker Mayfield ‘f—ing midget’ on hot mic

Baker Mayfield

ESPN Cleveland reporter Tony Grossi has never gotten along with Baker Mayfield, and the opinion Grossi shared of the Browns quarterback on Tuesday has resulted in an indefinite suspension.

Grossi was caught on a hot mic at the NFL Combine referring to Mayfield as a “f—ing midget.” The context of the conversation, which Grossi did not realize was being aired live, was that the Browns have missed out on a number of top quarterbacks over the years and are now stuck with Mayfield, whom Grossi has openly criticized in the past. The conversation was aired on a video feed by TheLandonDemand.com while “The Really Big Show” on ESPN Cleveland/WKNR 850 was at a commercial break.

As you might expect, Grossi’s remark went viral on Twitter. It wasn’t long before ESPN announced that Grossi has been suspended indefinitely. The network issued a statement saying it will not tolerate the use of “derogatory language that demeans other groups of people.”

Grossi has bashed the Browns numerous times in the past for drafting Mayfield. The issues began even before that, as Grossi accused Mayfield of demanding first-class flight accommodations for pre-draft visits and painted the former Oklahoma star as a high-maintenance prima donna. Mayfield has since been openly defiant when fielding questions from Grossi. The quarterback walked out of a press conference last season following a heated exchange with Grossi.

Grossi used to write for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and he was pulled from the Browns beat years ago for criticizing the team’s owner in a tweet.

Matt Gutman suspended by ABC for false report about Kobe Bryant’s family

Kobe Bryant family

Reporter Matt Gutman has been suspended by ABC for his false report about Kobe Bryant’s family on Sunday.

Gutman was speaking live on ABC within hours after TMZ first reported the news that Kobe had died in the helicopter crash. At the time, there were few confirmed details but numerous rumors and speculation about the situation.

Gutman added to the confusion in a big way when he reported live on air that he was hearing all four of Bryant’s daughters were on the helicopter and died. Reports later indicated Bryant’s second-oldest daughter, Gianna, was the only one of Bryant’s four daughters on the helicopter.

Gutman remained on air for ABC for several more hours, though he apologized for his inaccurate report.

“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” an ABC News representative told The Los Angeles Times in a statement. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”

Gutman also issued a statement on the matter.

“We are in the business of holding people accountable,” Gutman said, via the LA Times. “And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret. I want to personally apologize to the Bryant family for this wrenching loss and any additional anguish my report caused.”

Gutman, 42, has been with ABC since 2008.

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
Vanessa Bryant posts first Instagram message since death of Kobe, Gianna
NBA players changing jersey numbers in honor of Kobe Bryant
Bill Belichick shares touching anecdote in tribute to Kobe Bryant
UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
Video: Shaq gets emotional talking about Kobe Bryant on TNT
LeBron James had inspirational message for Lakers during meeting about Kobe
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Gilbert Arenas vows to begin coaching career like Kobe Bryant urged him to
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Investigators release chilling drone footage from Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Shaq says he had not spoken to Kobe Bryant in nearly four years
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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