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Juxtaposing the Olympics with Trump: Absolute opposites

Despite Brazil’s crumbling economy and its pre-Olympics scrum of a preparation, the athletes have turned the public’s attention to competition.

And, oh, it is glorious.

A sprite-like little girl born to a drug-addicted mother and put into foster care led the U.S. women’s gymnastics team to gold – a team, it should be noted, that includes two black women, a Jewish woman and a Puerto Rican.


The diverse gold-medal winning women’s gymnastics team. (David Ramos / Getty Images)

A guy with two DUIs and an infamous photo of him smoking marijuana out of a bong won his 25th – 25th! – Olympic medal.

An out lesbian is leading the U.S. women’s soccer team.

A Muslim American competed in fencing.

An all refugee team, that includes a swimmer who saved 20 lives, is competing under the Olympic flag.

The Olympics, despite the catastrophe that hosting the Games drops upon most nations, are magical.

They represent all that is good in the world: Triumph, perseverance, commitment, selflessness, diversity.

The Olympics are the antithesis of Donald Trump.

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Reflecting on Orlando after a week of love, friends & the Dixie Chicks

150745860This week started with a great night out in NYC with my brother and brother-in-law.

It peaked Wednesday in a gorgeous cabana in Las Vegas celebrating the birthday of a dear friend, and in the presence of my favorite people in the universe.

On Thursday morning enjoying a delicious breakfast and cocktails, I laughed so hard I cried.

Tonight, this week concluded with the Dixie Chicks masterfully, brilliantly performing their inspiring music just feet from me in Hartford.

Happy. Exhausted. Thankful — All vastly underestimate the joy and love I feel. Understanding the privilege I’ve enjoyed my entire life, and even more so this week, make me all the more thankful.

All of the fun, laughter, happiness and love I’ve experienced this week does not erase, but rather magnifies the sadness and anger I feel about last weekend’s murders in Orlando, where a self-loathing, angry closet case sprayed bullets from an automatic weapon into a crowd of people and killing 49 of them.

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More Women’s Voices: A Plea for a Dixie Chicks Comeback

The Dixie Chicks need to make a comeback.

Promotional photo from the MTS Centre website (2013)

Promotional photo from the MTS Centre website (2013)

Forget the fact that only four of the 100 top songs in the 2014 Billboard year-end songs were performed by women or all-female acts. Forget the fact that the Chicks are still the biggest selling all-female band with 30.5 million certified albums sold, and sales of 27.4 million albums in the U.S. alone. Forget that they are the biggest selling country group ever. Forget that the majority of Americans adopted their anti-war stance after nearly 7,000 Americans lost their lives in Iraq and a dozen long, conscious-numbing years have passed since their great “crime” of speaking out against invading Iraq.

This plea isn’t about music, or the void their absence on the music scene has created. It certainly isn’t about politics, or how even free speech can be drowned out by the clamor of the free market.

This is about reminding women that what they say matters – especially when what they say is true, honest and unpopular.

Women are the toughest people on the planet. Continue reading

Can we teach sports journalists to care? I think so

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 12.25.36 PMSports journalists are tasked with considerably more than Xs and Os.

We cover everything from labor strife to domestic violence, sexual violence to racial tensions.

But, like most in our audience, we seem to forget about the ramifications of these big, cultural issues as soon as the game starts, or as quickly as another topic catches our attention.

I think one of the biggest challenges of sports journalism educators is to literally “train” students to care and to show it in their work.

My column, published on PBS MediaShift, discusses how I think we can do this.

On Ray Rice, Domestic Violence & the NFL: “Hyper-masculinity wrapped in this profit-making machine” – me on FOX CT


Janay and Ray Rice from a May 2014 news conference. (Patrick Semansky / AP photo)

Though this post is mostly self serving — I need a place from which to link this video — I do so in the hopes that sports and media fans get a chance to watch, as well.

Discussing Ray Rice, Domestic Violence & the NFL on FOX CT’s “The Real Story” (aired Sept. 15, 2014)

Clearly, this issue is not over. The NFL does not get to wave off this flag, especially in light of the latest arrest of an NFL star, Adrian Peterson, who is accused of beating his son.

My PBS MediaShift debut: Sports journalism programs

MediaShift is a PBS endeavor that attempts to guide its audience through the “digital media revolution.”

Its editor, Mark Glaser, has put together a stable of educators, professionals and thinkers that are focusing on issues in legacy and digital media, while attempting to unearth and develop ideas in innovation, entrepreneurship, education, ethics, as well as technology.

Glaser asked me to weigh in on new — and old — topics in sports journalism. To me, this includes sports media education, too.

Sports Journalism Programs Rise, But Can They Take the High Road?” is the first post, published on MediaShift’s website Tuesday, Sept. 2.

I’ll publish links to the articles/columns here, but you can also find it by following @PBSMediaShift, @PBSIdeaLab or by searching #EdShift.


Shaw, Sarkisian & Trouble in College Football — again

To talk about the Josh Shaw/USC story, I will be on “Voices of the Game” with Newy Scruggs on NBC Sports Radio today at 12:18 p.m. ET.


You can listen [to the recorded segment] here.

We learned yesterday that Shaw’s tale of heroics was a lie and that the athletics department — and head football coach Steve Sarkisian — is brushing it aside to focus on football. I find this to be funny since they are the ones who initially told the story.

My blog post on the situation is available here. I wrote it before it had been revealed that Shaw’s story was not true, but as the coaching staff was “vetting” it. In my opinion, the coaching staff should have never given the story to its communications staff to begin with — and, from what I have observed of how Sarkisian and his minions operate, I do not doubt that is what happened.

Listen in today. I’m excited to talk with Newy again.

If Josh Shaw’s story is a lie, this is not just on the sports media, but on USC, Sarkisian

This is not as simple as getting our facts correct.

 Of course, if even one reporter had insisted that a story on the team’s website wasn’t enough verification, we wouldn’t be here.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 7.21.10 PM

The cover of shows Josh Shaw less than 24 hours after a story on USC’s website revealed a heroic action performed by the newly anointed team captain. []

If even one journalist had questioned someone – anyone – beyond the people in the athletic department, or the football office, or the athlete himself, we wouldn’t be here.

But, how often do we doubt the head coach? How often do we contest the word of the athletic director? Or that of the sports information director?

OK, it happens on occasion. And what happens then? Sometimes we see a coach throwing an on-camera tantrum directed at a reporter. Maybe we hear about a sports editor getting a phone call.

Whatever happened to Josh Shaw’s ankles is being called Manti Teo Part II. USC coach Steve Sarkisian is “vetting” it. And, suddenly, neither Shaw nor his family is available for comment.

On the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 25, Jordan Moore – USC’s director of social media – posted a story explaining that defensive back Josh Shaw’s two sprained ankles were the result of a heroic plunge off a balcony to save Shaw’s nephew.

Sarkisian spoke to the media about it. Shaw spoke to the media about it.  And the media took them at their words.

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Sterling, the NBA, race & sports media’s racist history

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is right.

L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. (Photo from

In his editorial for Time, the former Los Angeles Laker great wrote that Clippers owner, billionaire racist Donald Sterling is “a handmaiden to the bigger evil. In our quest for social justice, we shouldn’t lose sight that racism is the true enemy.”

But what do sports writers do with an enemy within, an enemy that can’t be defeated?

Today, the establishment sports media wrote about a winner: Adam Silver. Twitter lit up with praise for the NBA commissioner when he banned Sterling for life.  Continue reading