John Saunders: A Legacy of Love and Respect

If we had more people like John Saunders, we wouldn’t have this violence and the hate. John was about one word. Love.

~Dick Vitale

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The news hit sports media, particularly those at ESPN, like a ton of bricks.

One of the most respected and beloved anchors in the business had suddenly died. The cause of death was’t given. There was no need. John Saunders was gone. 

When someone famous dies, people naturally take to social media to share their reactions. Or, in the case of me, I read others’ reactions. Not in some kind of morbid way. But, rather, to understand the person. 

How people react to someone’s death says a lot about the person. What kind of person were they? What did they do for others? Positive stories. Negative stories. Funny stories. Special moments. Are people feeling the loss? Or, is it simply “RIP”. 

I always want to know what makes people tick. Who are they? 

Be present. Love them first and last and through whatever comes in the middle.

~Scott Van Pelt (on Saunders’ parental advice to him)

As I began to read through various tweets, I began to get an understanding of a man I’d never met. Oh sure, I’d see Saunders every week on my tv or streaming device during college football season, but I had no idea who he was. Most of us never will know who the people are on the inside when the lights are off. 

ESPN’ers and non-ESPN’ers spoke of a kind, genuine, helpful soul. Yet, he was a professional. Saunders wasn’t one for big-timing people or pushing his own personal agenda to the masses. He was skillful, according to many. But, there was one word that kept echoing through my mind as I read all of the messages. 

Respect. 

John Saunders was respected by his peers. John Saunders was also respectful of his peers.

And, by all accounts, he was respectful of people in general. 

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Respect is a lost characteristic today. Far too often in today’s social media world, it’s become about being right and setting people straight when their opinion differs from ours. If they’re wrong, or they tell us we (God forbid) are wrong, it’s our duty, no OUR RIGHT to tell them as much. 

Yes, that is sarcasm. Hard to tell in written word, isn’t it? 

That mindset, however justified in some cases, hinders dialogue. It hinders our ability to not only listen, but evaluate what someone is actually trying to say. Why are they saying what they are saying? What has shaped their thinking? Why do they believe what they believe? Who are they? 

I try to ask myself those questions when I read some of the so-called discourse and conversations that take place on social media. I used to get involved, but it seems (my perspective) that most people don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint. They don’t want to listen. They simply want to speak. 

And that’s what social media has done. It’s given people a voice. But, somewhere along the way, the voice has become paramount. When that happens, respect is lost. 

 

See, if we don’t have respect for one another, it makes it hard to listen. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are different levels of respect. The kind of respect that I am talking about is respecting the fact that we are all human beings. I may not agree with you, but I am (trying to get to this place consistently where I am) willing to listen to you with respect because you are a human being. 

I (try to) value what you have to say because I value you as a human being. A human life who is just as worthy as me of being heard. No person is too big or small. We all start out the same as a human life, so why should we disrespect each other? 

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That’s my take away from what was said about John Saunders. He had respect for people. It didn’t matter if they were a new intern or a seasoned broadcast veteran, a waitress at a restaurant or a national politician, a college student or a tenured professor – he respected you as a human being.

Saunders made time for you as often as he could. He knew who he was and strived to help you find out who you were too – a key element in this sports media industry we work in. 

All I can say is that there are a lot of people on tv who have their own agenda. They’re in it for themselves. But, his main message last Friday at NABJ, was he wanted and accepted the role of being a mentor.  

~Jemele Hill

Our country, our world is changing at a rapid pace. Some good, some not. Many fret over where we are at and want change now. If we truly want change, it begins and ends with respect. 

Want to help out this generation and the next? Be someone that respects self and others. Be one that respects opposing viewpoints. Be one that respectfully dialogues. Be one that respects human life no matter what. Be one that teaches our children to do the same. 

John Saunders seemed to epitomize one who respected himself and others. His aim was to help build others up and, in turn, help build a better society.When we learn to respect ourselves and others, we are helping to build a better society and world for

Like it or not, we’re all in this together. Let’s work together, despite our differences, to build a better world for us and the next generations. Respect should be the cornerstone of our foundation. 

And when our days are gone from this earth, may the words spoken about us be like those said about John Saunders this past week. 

That we exemplified love and above all else, respect. 

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CadChica Sports

Culture Matters, Fox Sports

Culture Matters

When it comes to speaking Spanish, my conversational skills are minimal. I can sort of understand when others speak it, but speaking it…no. If a Mexico team is on tv, if there is an English option, I try to tune into that channel. I want to know about the players on El Tri – insight into players that tend to play in Liga MX.

For years, I had the luxury of watching ESPN. Say what you will about ESPN on the whole, but they understood the Hispanic sports fan demographic was growing quickly in this country. They recognized it and immersed themselves in the culture. They made an investment to cater to these fans through a Spanish-channel, website and numerous broadcast and writing talents.

Even within that, they have evolved. Spanglish (Spanish-English) is part of their marketing efforts. Journalists who were once thought to be solely ESPN Deportes talent, today find themselves on the ESPN mothership.

All because ESPN invested in connecting with the Hispanic sports fan.

Mexico played Senegal in a friendly at Marlins Park in Miami tonight. As this version of El Tri was filled with many younger players – again, I want insight on the Mexican players – I tuned into FS1. And, after several minutes, I changed the channel.

It doesn’t matter that I can’t always understand the announcers, there is something reassuring about a Univision or Telemundo. I can pick up enough insight in what little I understand in Spanish than what Fox offered tonight.

That isn’t the fault of the announcers, John Strong and Stu Holden. Fox put them in the unenviable position of trying to do a Mexico game. But, it’s not enough to simply put someone in the booth. Liga MX is nothing like MLS. Players, seasons, coaches, fan bases, formations of teams – it’s so very different.

Because it’s about culture.

With Fox set to broadcast more Mexico games, as well as future World Cups and other regional tournaments, they need to make an investment beyond just securing broadcast rights. Make an investment in the culture with those who know the culture.

Culture matters, Fox.

Culture matters.

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CadChica Sports

Trending: Athletes In Their Own Words

The MMQB. Sports Illustrated. The Players Tribune. The Cauldron.

Aside from their common sports thread, what do these outlets have in common?

They are giving athletes a voice through their own words.

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Having Their Say: Ali

This isn’t a new phenomenon – athletes having their own say. Athletes in their own words. Athletes have had their say for decades, either through newspaper, radio, or television interviews. When I think of athletes having their say, I think of Muhammad Ali. Love him or hate him, Ali was outspoken and unafraid to speak his mind.

I can remember some of the old Muhammad Ali-Howard Cosell interviews. They were classics. Sometimes, it was hard to figure out if it was just all a show by two showmen. But, in my child mind, Ali would always outshine Cosell. Ali shined like only he could. They were his words. One only needed to watch his post-fight interviews like this one:

His words.

But, it wasn’t that way for every athlete.

Much of what we as fans saw was controlled by the media. Editing an interview to only provide us with a few quotes in a news or magazine article. Taking a single quote and making it into a story. Leaving key athlete quotes on the cutting room floor.  That’s how we fans came to “hear” from athletes throughout the years.

Today, there is social media.

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Controlling the Message

The athlete-media relationship has always been a tricky one. They’ve needed each other. Media needed athlete quotes for stories. Athletes needed media to help them be “recognized” (think: sponsors). Getting quotes, especially post-game quotes after a loss, from a surly athlete wasn’t always pleasant. Having to deal with media members who didn’t like you wasn’t exactly a high point of an athlete’s day either. The dreaded “I was misquoted” became a staple in the athlete-media relationship.

But, they needed each other. 

RELATED: EPL vs NFL Media Restrictions and the Marshawn Lynch saga by Andrew Bucholtz (via Awful Announcing)

RELATED: Lessons From Sports Media’s Bad Week by Brian P Moritz (Sports Media Guy)

Then along came social media. Social media has become an outlet for athletes to use to have their voice heard. Their voice. Not filtered through the media. Their voice.

A bad play on the field? An athlete could take to Twitter post-game to share their side of the story. Or, to even apologize to fans. Retirement or off-field issues? No character limit on Facebook. Bypass the standard email press release route – go to where fans are. They control the message.

For a fan, there is something powerful in hearing from an athlete directly. Dr. Jimmy Sanderson, Assistant Professor at Clemson University, researches and teaches on the growing dynamic that is athletes on social media. “One of the biggest capabilities that social media offers athletes is that they have the ability to introduce counter-narratives if they object to the way they are being covered, or simply want to put their own spin on it,” says Dr. Sanderson. “Social media enables them to do this without any filtering from PR officials (which is why teams sometimes cringe) but it does give an authentic viewpoint right to fans.”

Authentic viewpoint. 

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Add a little bit of body text

It’s About Information

Fans crave information on their favorite teams and athletes. Any bit of information, true or potentially true, fans want to know about it. If it affects their team, it affects them. They don’t want to be left out in the dark. Fans want to know what’s happening…and they want it now. 

Twitter is the best resource for that information. Sports journalists have embraced the platform as part of their daily routine. Tweeting play-by-play, commentary, story links, quotes, press conferences and interviews, Twitter has empowered them (think: personal branding) like never before. Without them, fans might not have taken to the platform at all.

But, athletes have seen that empowerment too (again, think: personal branding). They see the instant connection Twitter and other platforms provide. Bypassing traditional media, social media lets athletes give information fans want, but in an athlete’s time. “Social media has been a tremendous asset to athletes and helped fans see that they are more diverse than just what they do on the field or court,” said Dr. Sanderson.

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It’s Nothing New

Even if athletes want to go beyond-140, social media may not be the ideal route. Using their own website to share news is in their best interests from a branding standpoint. It drives people to their website. As journalists today well know, it’s about clicks and views. The more clicks-and-views, the more attractive a site is to advertisers.

Not every athlete has the time or the people to run a site. Sports Illustrated, The Cauldron and the rest are high-traffic sites. Utilizing one of these sites can give an athlete high, instant impact to what they have to say. And, relatively unfiltered. 

Because of social media, athletes, -have

 

Fans have received filtered information on athletes for as long as sports and media have been around. But, fans have also received first-person athlete accounts too. According to John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball, some form of first-person article has been around since the 1800’s. “Both newspaper/magazine articles and books were ghosted for athletes as early as the 1870’s,” said Thorn.”

Thorn cited Cap Anson’s A Ball Player’s Career (1900) as the first “active or former player” to write his own book. As for newspapers, Thorn says when their playing days were over, some players took to writing careers in retirement. Players like Tim Murnane and Sam Crane (1870’s, 1880’s) became sportswriters. “Who was the very first baseball player to have his words appear in a newspaper? I think that must have been William H. Van Cott, in 1854 (ourgame.mlblog.com),” says Thorn. 

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Now and In The Future

The athlete-media relationship is a constantly evolving dynamic. One reason? “Media and communication technology have had a significant impact on sport,” says Dr. Sanderson. As technology advances, more opportunities arise for athletes to take control of their message.

Will it be through websites like The Players Tribune? Video? Whatever it is, long-form writing by athltes will be part of the equation. For now, expect to see more athletes writing their own stories. Recent stories like these:

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  • In October 2014, now-retired New York Yankee short stop, Derek Jeter, launched The Players Tribune, an athlete-driven content platfrom. First up? Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson.

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  • A more recent The Cauldron article from DeAngelo Williams caught my attention. Williams, in his own words, spoke to athletes about their social media habits.

You Better Check Yourselves Players — The Cauldron — Medium

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  •  The Arizona Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett recently took the NFL to task over health and contracts on The MMQB.

Darnell Dockett NFL hypocrites on concussions guaranteed contracts The MMQB with Peter King

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CadChica Sports

What Twitter Video Means for Sports Media

Two new Twitter features were rolled out today: group Direct Messaging and in-app video capture/upload. 

While many are thankful for the group messaging feature, it is the in-app video feature that I think is the win here. A win for sports journalists and their brethren. 

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WHAT IT MEANS FOR SPORTS

One of the biggest keys to Twitter’ growth has been its adoption by journalists. Sports journalists, especially. I’ve written on this before how I believe the secret to Twitter’s success has been because of sports. Live-tweeting of sporting events, press conferences or breaking news in a 140-character space has enabled Twitter to become a must-have news source in sports. 

With a 30-second native Twitter video, with ability to record and upload, the game has been changed in sports reporting. An ESPN reporter can record an in-game update with a tweet. A CBS Sports sideline reporter can do an additional report during commercial break of a college hoops game…with a simple tweet. No need to wait until the network is on air. The possibilities are endless. 

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But, just like the limit on characters in tweets, it will force said reporters to condense their words to fit within 30-seconds. 

The 140-character limit in a tweet has forced many to refine their writing skills. Make it quick, to-the-point and tweet it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to re-type a tweet because it didn’t fit within 140 – that dreaded red color pops up in the numbers

6  Twitter

That 140 limit makes you get to the point. 

Same with video. 

citizen

Is there a down-side? Yes. 

Just as has been the case with typed tweets in that errors have been made or outlandish rumors become “fact”, the same goes for video. Anybody can create a report, especially during a live-event. Non-sports live events will truly see a rise in citizen journalism. There are positives and negatives to that idea. A tragic event with citizen journalists reporting? The potential for misinformation is great. But,

The flip-side to that is reputable reporters can use the video to report breaking news with their own voice. How many times have respected media been fooled by a tweet from a fake account? A big trade in the NBA or NFL? Yeah, with video, reputable reporters can take care of that problem easily. Think no more adarnschefter tweets.

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FINAL THOUGHTS: Love this idea from Twitter. Keeping in mind the broadcasting rights during games (which is key), I love the idea of being able to provide an in-game update beyond 6 or 15 seconds. Hard to give the game details or an injury update in that short of time. 

Another benefit I see is for young sports journalists. Breaking into sports media is a challenge. Working within a sports department or interning is great, but what if a student isn’t able to or not at that level yet? This new video option allows them to do their own updates. They can practice giving updates from a live-event – which doesn’t have to be from one of the major sports. It enables them to rehearse a 30-second update like you hear on tv or radio. For young sports journalists, this update can be empowering.

I’m not so sure about the group DMs for one point only: the beauty of Twitter for fans is access to sports journalists, getting that behind-the-curtain interaction with them directly or seeing the conversations between them. In the early days of Twitter, I felt empowered to know what media were discussing with each other on a topic. Now, with this DM feature, if sports journalists want to talk with each other privately between three or more of them, they can do that. It might seem like a minute detail to some, but it’s about information and access for fans.

Would love to know your thoughts. Let me know in the comments below.

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CadChica Sports 

Live-Tweeting: Routine or Expectation?

It started with a random Twitter comment.

David O Brien on Twitter    Evan_P_Grant Be bold  E. Live tweeting s gotten out of hand. I m as much to blame as anyone  of course. It s kinda lame. I m kinda lame.

 

Random. It is the “live tweeting” comment that caught my eye. So I went looking for the original tweet.

For background, it appears this tweet from Evan Grant was related to a press conference the Texas Rangers were to have on Friday.

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Why are sportswriters on Twitter? Why don’t they gravitate toward Facebook or Google+ more? Why do they take to Twitter? What is it about Twitter that works for them?

In April, I wrote The Secret to Twitter. I stated, “Within moments of a story breaking (tweets and retweets), dialogue happens.” That dialogue occurs between media and other media, media and fans, media and athletes. Everyone within a sports journalist’s audience is on Twitter. “Everyone” in the general sense. There is an audience connection and interaction that one gets on Twitter that isn’t found elsewhere.

As Twitter has grown, so have the expectations and routine. Routine as in “live-tweeting”.

There are some who believe “live-tweeting” (aka play-by-play) is overkill. But, from a fan perspective, it’s an instant-connection with those who are there. If one can’t be at a game, connect with those who are there. Sort of a live-vicariously-through-them type of thinking. But, there’s also what I call “Twitter is the world’s largest sports bar” aspect. Not just communicate with those there, but others watching just like you. It helps fans get an additional perspective from those at the game or other media/fans watching it. It’s relationship. In all relationships, there are expectations.

Because of how news (including live-events) can be shared instantly on Twitter, there’s a tendency to cover every event with live-tweets. If one works in media, social media sharing/interaction is part of the job now. But, for print (newspaper, magazine) media, there seems to be an expectation of tweeting every single action that occurs with teams as Grant tweeted. Live-tweeting press conferences is part of that routine. 

As Grant stated, his hope is to be the “one-stop shop”. I’d expect that to be the same for many sports journalists – to be the source for fans to find news on “their” teams. Being the “go-to” source…is that part of the routine now? 

Or, is it today’s expectations? Expectations of fans?

Or, maybe it’s expectations of other media. 

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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CadChica Sports

Review: We Need to Talk Gets Solid Start

CBS Sports Network debuted a new show tonight. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps not. If you’re a regular follower of this blog, I wrote about it back in August saying it was about time. The “it” I’m referring to is the debut of the all-female sports talk show, “We Need to Talk”. Twelve ladies with sports backgrounds on one show to talk about sports. Unprecedented. As I and many other ladies in this business have long believed, it was overdue.

In its debut, all but one of the ladies was present (Summer Sanders made a video appearance from Africa where she is working with the Right to Play organization). Veteran broadcasters, Lesley Visser and Andrea Kremer, highlighted what appears to be a stellar cast that included: Katrina Adams, Laila Ali, Swin Cash, Dana Jacobson, Allie LaForce, Lisa Leslie, Dara Torres, Amy Trask and Tracy Wolfson. In today’s age, every sports tv event is analyzed (or overanalyzed) on Twitter. Although I had high hopes for the show going in, I wanted to be free of any outside opinions of the show. As such, I did not access any social media while it was on the air.

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OPENING AND FIRST SEGMENT: Dramatic music set to a video montage of the hottest sports stories of recent times (i.e. Roger Goodell, Ray Rice, etc..). Scene opens with the ladies at three different areas of the studio. At the main table, Visser, Wolfson, Trask, Ali and Kremer were seated. Wolfson welcomes everyone to the show and immediately tosses to Visser and away we go. Really liked the opening montage. Keep that, please! 

The opening story, as one would expect, was the NFL, Goodell, Rice and domestic violence. Right away with Visser and this story, her Hall of Fame credentials (as mentioned by Wolfson, I think) shine through. She knows the game. She knows the players in this saga. She has command of the topic. Drawing the others’ into the conversation was key to get things moving from the get-go. Laila Ali spoke first – strong presence – stating the NFL should be more proactive. Kremer asking what I’ve read so often these last few weeks, What did they think domestic violence looked like?.

One great question that got my attention early on was when Amy Trask asked Ali about a violent sport like hers (boxing) transferring over to real life. Solid take from Ali in that in the end it’s about character and morals. BINGO!

Overall, this first segment flowed well. Thoughtful responses. Knowledgeable. Not always agreeable, which is going to be key.

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SECOND SEGMENT: After returning from commercial, Allie LaForce and Katrina Adams discussed Hope Solo’s recent trouble with domestic violence. Raising the question about letting the process run its course, Adams was agreeable with the innocent until proven guilty stance that U.S. Soccer has taken. Rice and Adrian Peterson’s incidents were on a different level — Adams even referenced social media being a part of their troubles in the process. And that’s where the Solo discussion ended. Abruptly. Which makes me feel as if the thinking going into the show was Oh, Hope Solo’s been a hot topic recently so we need to address it. Yeah, a bit disappointed. Why not address the outcry among mostly female media over it? That’s partly why it was a hot topic.

LaForce would go on to mention that suspensions alone won’t do anything – need to take money away. I think the NFL Players Association might have something to say about that. NBA policy was added to this discussion, but that felt like the Solo issue above…forced.

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THIRD SEGMENT: Standing ovation here from me.

Domestic violence is no respecter of persons. It can happen to any person, any age, any race, in any country and any financial status. Dana Jacobson brought us back from break sitting with Swin Cash, Lisa Leslie and Dara Torres on the couch on the set. The victim’s point of view, as Jacobson referred to it, often gets lost in the discussion. Cash, Leslie and Torres each spoke on their own instances of being victims of domestic violence. Cash gave voice to the African-American community perspective. Leslie’s was one of not wanting to be the victim any longer. Torres, who had not spoken publicly before on the subject, showed what many who have suffered from mental abuse deal with – the mental gymanstics of was it abuse, was I a victim, unworthiness. It was raw and the collection of the three made it powerful. 

The conversation made its way to colleges, Texas football coach Charlie Strong, child discipline (Leslie discuss teaching her own kids. Society only gets a brief mention in the discussion) and of course, Roger Goodell. Cash said all levels of the NFL need to be held responsible. Nothing that hasn’t already been said. 

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FOURTH SEGMENT: Good for Tracy Wolfson for saying right off the top that she was a Michigan alum. Why? Because the next topic up was the discussion about Michigan’s handling of quarterback Shawn Morris and his continuing to play over the weekend.

Both Wolfson and Allie LaForce are sideline reporters for CBS. While the position often gets ridiculed, both Wolfson and LaForce can speak to what actually happens on the sideline, particularly with a player injury in a college game. LaForce offered up plausible explanations as to why Michigan’s Coach Brady Hoke may not have known about Morris’ concussion – it’s up to the medical and training staff. Wolfson, for her part, described the different ways the NFL and NCAA sidelines handle the concussion issue in detail – PERFECT! Not so perfect was Trask chiming in about the NCAA being dismantled. Not much substance to that statement, but she’s not alone in saying that. 

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FIFTH SEGMENT: The previous two segments were highlights. Touching on the Dennis Allen firing by the Oakland Raiders…not so much. As part of the Raiders organization for over two decades, Trask knows the team well. When asked where the Raiders go from here/what do they need to do, Trask offered very little. Saying ‘he needs to be aware of the advice he gets’ was fine. But, saying that’s what happened in 2012? My curiosity is piqued…but NO ONE ASKED A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION!!! Fans don’t know the inner-workings of what happened – why no follow-up

This wasn’t a fast-moving segment, per se, but it did touch on several different subjects: Dara Torres, a swimmer herself, spoke on the Michael Phelps DUI from Tuesday (LaForce called it a “selfish decision” and expected better from a 29 year-old. But, the discussion ended quickly with just a weird (non-existent) segue into the MLB playoffs. Again, this felt forced. It’s a current topic so “let’s talk about it”. Meh. 

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SIXTH SEGMENT: De-rek Je-ter. Getting back on track with Turnback Tuesday – at least, I think that’s what this was supposed to be called – Lesley Visser and three retired athletes brought a fresh perspective on Jeter and retiring athletes. It wasn’t so much a discussion of Jeter, but rather it was their retiremet stories. I didn’t know that Adams’ last singles match was against Serena Williams – yeah, she lost. I like those kinds of tidbits. Ali describing her last bout in South Africa with Nelson Mandela watching – okay, I admit it…coolness factor with Ali is off the charts. 

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SEVENTH SEGMENT: Meaningful or Meaningless — it’s only the first show so I’ll wait until I see this a few more times to decide if I like it or not. Torres, Adams, Ali and Leslie were gathered around the table with Kremer. Different topics were discussed and a member of the panel would describe if it was meaningful or meaningless. Topics included the Buffalo Bills’ change at quarterback, status of the New England Patriots, Carmelo Anthony’s I’m underrated comment, America’s Ryder Cup loss and bulletin board material. Decent topics. But, the star for me was Laila Ali weighing in on the bulletin board material topic. The competitor in her came through as she described how she would look for every little edge. Any amount of disrespect, she’d take it and use it as motivation. Fresh perspective. 

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EIGHTH SEGMENT: Social media hottest topics. Having worked on a show that incorporated social media hot topics or latest buzz, I know how difficult it is to do these types of segments. Even when we did it on Unite, it was a challenge to stay current. And, that’s the challenge here. Overall, it felt forced. Gotta have a social media segment thinking. Most of what was shared was old news to me. Perhaps for others who don’t work in social media or sports, it was new. As a Seattle Mariners fan, I enjoyed the Tom Wilhelmsen dancing video. The Mariners broadcast of it live shared with the audience that this was normal for Wilhelmsen to do in the bullpen – he just simply brought it out for the world to see on the last game of the season. That tidbit wasn’t shared by either Allie LaForce or Swin Cash because they didn’t know. Instead, they joked about Wilhelmsen’s dancing skills and tried to do their own. Yeah…umm…no. 

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CLOSING SEGMENT: We Need to Listen. 

Pink or purple – that is the question. With the change of the calendar to October, the color pink will be plastered across our screens. Breast Cancer Awareness month. It also happens to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As Kremer eloquently pointed out, perhaps the NFL shouldn’t just trot out the pink, but instead, allow players the choice to incorporate purple into their uniforms this month too. Or, better yet, combine the two colors and make it relevant. 

Well said, Andrea. Great idea, We Need to Talk.

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FINAL THOUGHTS: In a word, yes!

Yes, this was a successful show. Yes, the show proved women can talk about sports because they know about sports. Not women’s sports – just sports! As with any show debut, yes, there were some rough spots: weird camera angles, camera shots of someone who wasn’t speaking, segments that I didn’t quite get. But, overall, I was pleased with what I saw. 

I’ve said this before in my blog, but I need to say this again. I’m a sports fan. I don’t want to be called a female sports fan. I love sports. I have all of my life. Long before many on social media were even born, I was a sports fan. Men would always be surprised at how knowledgeable I was when it came to sports. We’d argue, trash talk, ask questions – and there was mutual respect once they saw I knew my stuff. Some even said I needed to have my own show (Yeah, well, you can’t have everything). That reaffirmed my belief that women could talk sports. Not women’s sports. Just sports. 

You don’t have to be a beautiful blonde. You don’t have to be a size 2. You don’t have to be in your 20’s. You don’t have to fit the stereotype of what many in sports media still believe today about women (just look at their commercials, popular stories and website ads and you’ll know what I mean). You just need to know your stuff

There are women like me out there. Not putting myself in their category whatsoever, but Visser and Kremer prove it every single day. They know their stuff. They back it up with what they say and bring to the discussion table. THAT’s what I want to see from this show. I want sports talk. Not the blowhard kind seen or heard in many sports shows today (tv and radio). I want reasoned, well-thought-out, sports talk. Even sports talk that will make me think.

Challenge my thinking.

Give me fresh perspective.  

Don’t dumb it down for me. 

Give me substance so I can say YES!

And here’s hoping CBS Sports says YES to many, many more We Need to Talk shows. 

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WHAT OTHERS HAD TO SAY

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Congratulations to everyone involved in the show. 

Did you watch the debut episode? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below. 

CadChica Sports

Define “Fun” Again, FS1

When FOX Sports announced that it would be launching a “rival” to ESPN in the form of FOX Sports 1, many in sports and social media circles were thrilled. ESPN needs competition said some. The amount of drivel on ESPN makes it unwatchable said others. That was over a year ago. Some still believe that. 

How did I feel? Meh. 

Meh for the simple reason that sports networks just didn’t resonate with me anymore. I long ago tuned out ESPN’s non-event offerings. Only exceptions: 30-for-30 and E:60. Even their ESPN Radio offerings were a turn-off. Same goes for Fox Sports. Aside from a soccer match or an occasional NFL game, Fox’s sports offerings were putrid. So what would I need with a new sports network? Nothing. Especially since I have Twitter and my phone. 

Why watch a highlight on SportsCenter when I could see a GIF of it on Twitter? Do I really need to see the scores when it’s so easily accessible on the beat writer’s Twitter feed or on a phone app? Everything I need for sports news is easily accessible these days without turning on the television. What could Fox Sports 1 offer someone like me? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

Now that they’ve been around for a year and seeing stuff like this…I’m not missing much am I?

Didn’t think so.

*

Truth be told, I couldn’t watch much of that video. I know some people who work at Fox Sports. I have no idea if they had anything to do with that ad or not. I truly hope not. FS1 has made some smart moves in recent months by hiring the likes of Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel for their college football offerings. Those two additions make up for the extreme misstep of the Crowd Goes Wild show and the still-employed Clay Travis. But, just barely.

The expectations and braggadocio of Fox last summer about FS1 were, in a word, FUN (The One for Fun).  They would challenge the mighty behemoth, ESPN. One year on, those expectations and braggadocio are gone. Disappointment might be a better description.

Long-term disappointment? Maybe not. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But, with ads like that “one” FS1, your definition of FUN might need a bit of refining, especially for your long-term prospects.

***

FINAL THOUGHT: Just in case you thought I was alone, a few replies to Richard Deitsch’s second tweet:

Twitter   richarddeitsch  College football is abt. passion  ...

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CadChica Sports

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