Blogs > The Back Page

The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Questionable ethics popping up in sports

It started with the questionable practice FSN Detroit engaged in by not showing a dugout skirmish the Tigers had in Chicago. What I read later in the day sent my ethics sensors skyrocketing. Apparently, two members of the Cincinnati media were escorted from the Broncos' locker room following Denver's first preseason game, the first of heralded, former Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow. Their crime: Asking the Eye-Black Scriptured One for his autograph.
This might not sound like a big deal to many readers. But the issue at hand is when you are representing a news agency, you're not there as a fan. You are supposed to be a fly on the wall. You are not supposed to be the story. You don't wear sports jerseys and ballcaps to games. Not just because that would look unprofessional, it impairs your impartiality. Even if it doesn't make you write your stories slanted, it will change the opinion of the people around you. And having people discredit your writing for a perceived bias. Don't take the chance. (And for the record, I'm still not related to OU coach Greg Kampe.)
I'm a graduate of Oakland University and I cover the OU basketball team. Do you think I've ever applauded, even when Johnathon Jones hit a game-winning shot against Oral Roberts in an O'Rena packed with homecoming enthusiasts? Nope. In fact, even knowing Jones well, I had a hard time convincing myself it was OK to "friend" Jones on Facebook. Alas, I waited until the season was over before pursuing friendship.
Sure. I sure felt like clapping when Derick Nelson returned from debilitating back pain and had the game of his life, steering Oakland to the NCAA tournament. But I kept it to myself.
I often feel uneasy clapping for national anthem singers and other charitable causes. Not because I'm a horrible human being, but because slapping my palms together while I'm on the clock is quite amateurish.
I'm willing to bet the pair had their credentials yanked. I wonder if they even still have jobs. One woman in Arkansas wasn't so lucky.
Reporter Renee Gork, of KAKS, a radio station devoted to Arkansas sports, wore the hat of her alma matter to a press conference held by Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. He called Gork out for wearing the hat. Not because it was a fashion faux pas, but because the hat was emblazoned with the emblem of Razorback rival Florida, Gork's former college. She insists she wasn't making any statement by wearing the hat, but rather grabbed it as she left the house because it had been raining. Sorry lady. Don't buy it. I'm not going to be wearing my Oakland jacket to the NCAA tournament in Milwaukee because it's chilly, just like she should have had the presence of mind not to wear a ballcap of any distinction to work. Get an umbrella with your first paycheck at your new job.
Here's to hoping people get their acts together next week.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Get your prep football Bible Sunday

Our single-biggest production of the year hits stands Sunday. Tucked inside your Sunday Oakland Press will be the 2010 prep football section. Everything you need to know to get ready for the season is in there. League-by-League breakdowns, top 50 players, schedules and feature stories about some of the county's best players. And with such a nice cover, it makes for a great keepsake. I wish we could sell a spiral-bound edition separately.
If you buy one Sunday paper this year, get this one. If you want to have any idea what other people are talking about at your kid's game while you can only make out a couple names and figures, it's in the prep football section.
Pick up the paper, slide the section out and save it for the rest of the season.

Monday, August 16, 2010

FSN admits wrongdoing for ignoring Tigers dustup

I was in Chicago for the weekend, but didn't happen to make it over to US Cellular Field to catch the Tigers two-game coup over the White Sox, but I was quite surprised when I learned they had taken two of three from anyone.
Catching up on Twitter in the hotel lobby, scrambling to keep up with the sports world while having a personal life, I read brief reports about a shoving match in the Tigers dugout. I didn't learn until this morning that FSN Detroit had neglected to air the footage.
The network was at commercial between innings early in the game. That's understandable. I can forgive that - if the announcing crew had simply acknowledged some kind of altercation within the team.
Maybe FSN Detroit didn't have any footage. Again, if they had simply admitted something happened without withholding the news from their audience.
Alas, I'm assuming the crew was handcuffed by the brass and dragged into their altogether dismissal of the event. The network has since admitted its mistake to a local paper. I have to think if Chicago's Comcast station carrying the game had also neglected the situation, no one would be the wiser. And that's probably what FSN Detroit was counting on.
I stopped watching the games weeks ago, but I assumed the people covering the game were still paying attention.

(Thanks to WCSX's Jamie Samuelsen for getting ahold of the footage on his blog)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

LeBron pays (presumably) for good-bye ad

As the headline says, Lebron said good-bye to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, with a full-page ad in the Akron Beacon Journal. Notice, it was the Akron paper, not the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which skewered him with its front cover the day he left for greener pastures in South Beach, Fla.
LeBron says he feels lucky to hail from Akron, but apparently didn't feel the need to make amends with the Cavaliers franchise, owner Dan Gilbert or spurned Cavaliers fans.
The paid good-bye full-pager is a time-honored tradition for revered athletes. Leave it to LeBron to screw it up.