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.

Continue reading

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

NBC Sports Radio’s Page to visit Quinnipiac

Courtesy NBC Sports

Courtesy NBC Sports

Jason Page, host of NBC Sports Radio’s The Jason Page Show, will speak to Quinnipiac University students from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17 in SC120.

After an introduction by assistant professor of journalism Molly Yanity, Page will speak with all interested students, faculty and staff about current topics in sports and sport media.

Page is an NFL expert and has plenty to say about everything from the Knicks to the Oscars.

He is also one of just a handful of national sports radio personalities to publicly come out as gay.

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Te’o & an epic fail of journalism, culture

Maybe you believe star Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o had nothing to do with the hoax that allegedly broke his heart.

teo-cover-resizeMaybe you buy that an online relationship could serve as the foundation for a hero-triumphs-over-heartache story.

Maybe you swallow what Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick is serving up with online hoaxes, social media ills, ” a lot of tragedy,” and real tears.

I do not know Manti Te’o and I hope — for everyone’s sake — that it is all true.

This bizarre story of a made-up girlfriend, uncovered today by Deadspin (and Ohio University Scripps School alum Timothy Burke), is an indictment of many things, Te’o included, to be sure. Continue reading

AWSM@OhioU takes off

I’m excited to announce a new student organization at Ohio University I launched last month: AWSM@OhioU. It is a provisional student chapter of a national group to which I’ve belonged for years: The Association for Women in Sports Media.

The student chapter is open to both young women and men who are interested in careers in sports media — everything from writing and editing to producing and broadcasting to public/media relations.

With the help of some of the classiest women in the profession, our weekly gatherings will mostly consist of Skype sessions.

CBS 2’s morning sports anchor, Lisa Kerney, kicked things off for us this week. The former Lisa Gangel, with whom I became friends while she worked at KING5 in Seattle, is now making it happen in the Big Apple. She discussed her career path, which began in Butte, Montana, and some of the challenges and successes along the way. After her talk, AWSM@OhioU member Taylor Petra tweeted, “Makes me so excited for the future!” and Olivia Arbogast added, “Going to AWSM meetings always inspires me to go and apply for jobs or internships.”

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A Penn State problem?: Not by a long shot

A trail of university administrators may be following Jerry Sandusky to prison, and Joe Paterno’s legacy is drowning in a scum-covered pond.

The Joe Paterno statue outside of Beaver Stadium.

The rest of us sit in our Ivory Towers and pretend Sandusky’s systematic rape and abuse of young boys was an isolated incident, something that will never happen again, a terrible tragedy confined to the halls of the Lasch Building.

Some of my favorite journalists have weighed in with categorical judgments of administrators and coaches. Sally Jenkins explained the weight and specificity of Paterno’s lie. Rick Reilly implicated himself in helping to launch Paterno from coach to deity.

It’s all good reading, but – like the rest of the overall reaction to this tragedy — the focus is entirely too narrow. Continue reading