Darren Rovell At The NBA Store

The flock gets sight of a spot of blood on some chicken and they all go to peckin’ at it, see, till they rip the chicken to shreds, blood and bones and feathers. But usually a couple of the flock gets spotted in the fracas, then it’s their turn. And a few more gets spots and gets pecked to death, and more and more. Oh, a peckin’ party can wipe out the whole flock in a matter of a few hours, buddy, I seen it. A mighty awesome sight.

- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

An increased hostility toward ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell has erupted during the fortnight following Will Leitch’s column for Sports On Earth, in which the former Deadspin editor likened the self-branded social media expert to sleet, a foul smell on the subway and pop-up spam (and that’s just the first paragraph). Its begun the human equivalent to a modern day hen pecking.

Leitch pointed out something that several among us felt to be true – Rovell’s commodification of the human experience in sports through corporate shilling – but perhaps couldn’t quite express in the same terms as the writer’s recent piece. This spotting of blood produced a reaction with more pecking from the public.

Rovell, in the days following the article, has carried on with renewed vigor in his engagement with Twitter followers.

The tweet, which represents the pettiest reference to a single, unimportant tree while ignoring the rest of the forest, is nothing new for the narrow-minded Rovell. What is new, is the outspoken reaction from followers, almost entirely negative, and filled with an increased amount of vitriol. From there, sub-arguments erupt, new blood is spotted and another point is pecked to death.

What’s unclear is the end-result of this practice. It’s relatively easy to compare Rovell to a chicken, and Twitter to an especially aggressive coop in practice. However, the outcomes aren’t so synonymous. There is success to be found in trolling, as the popularity of several of ESPN’s personalities will attest.

Trolling and heel play is nothing new for the network. Colin Cowherd recently enraged the entire Indianapolis market by suggesting that racism explained the attendance problems for the city’s NBA franchise.

You’re holding an organization to a standard that happens because of race. There’s no other explanation why people don’t go to Pacers games.

Indianapolis punishes the Pacers more than they punish the Colts for indiscretions off the field or off the court, and a lot of that is racial.

The comments on his nationally syndicated radio show just so happened to coincide with the program going back on the air in the same market he was insulting for the first time in eight months.

Such obvious attention-seeking trolling wasn’t Rovell’s game prior to the Sports On Earth article. Leitch seemed to believe that Rovell was largely ignorant to how loathsome of a figure that many considered him to be.

The thing that’s strange is that he doesn’t seem to recognize it. Rovell is not Skip Bayless, gleefully spewing horse manure with a Cheshire grin, feeding off your hate, the giddy troll.

However, it’s frightening to imagine that Leitch’s column might have only served to make Rovell aware of how embraceable such a status could be in terms of increasing reaction – social media’s capital. An eager villain might have been created right before our eyes, and our increased participation in that creation makes us as ignorant as this newly formed monster used to be.

The Dumb Thing That Don Cherry Said

There is no crime and there are no drugs in hockey according to Don Cherry because hockey is the only sport in the world where athletes have respect for themselves and respect for one another as evidenced by young hockey players dressed in shirts and ties. This followed his commentary on a selection of hand-picked hockey highlights from the week that included him saying four times that “You can’t …” do something that didn’t lead to increased violence on the ice.

It’s completely unsurprising that no reason was ever supplied for why a player can’t do what Don Cherry said he couldn’t.

The Dumb Thing That NASCAR Did

During the DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide Series race on Saturday afternoon, a horrific collision sent more than a dozen fans, including a child to hospital after debris flew into the crowd. The day before NASCAR’s biggest race – the Daytona 500 – the auto racing governing body’s first reaction was to block online video of the crash.


While NASCAR tickets come with a warning that “NASCAR owns the rights to all images, sound and data from this NASCAR event,” copyright law doesn’t actually allow anyone to own facts. So while official recordings and presentations might be copyrighted, the recording done by those in attendance is not.

A copyright lawyer who spoke to Poynter.org further explains:

The way copyright works now is that the copyright automatically attaches at the moment the work is created; in this case, when the fan recorded the video. Now, NASCAR was asserting that it actually owned those images because of the ticket. But to enforce the copyright, NASCAR would need to actually register it. And I don’t think NASCAR could actually walk into the copyright office, carrying the recording and a copy of the ticket, and be granted enforceable rights to that video.

Saturday night, Steve Phelps, NASCAR SVP/Chief Marketing Officer, claimed that the video of the crash was blocked for different reasons than copyright laws.

The fan video of the wreck on the final lap of today’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race was blocked on YouTube out of respect for those injured in today’s accident. Information on the status of those fans was unclear and the decision was made to err on the side of caution with this very serious incident.

Later on Saturday night, YouTube restored the videos, as seen below:

On The Lighter Side

Fortunately, this video has managed to survive NASCAR’s YouTube policy:

Erin Andrews refusing the lip led advances of 50 Cent was the highlight of FOX’s coverage.

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Following his long-form piece on former Chicago Bulls guard Jay Williams, Greg Bishop of the New York Times has written an essay entitled Hope For The Teamless In Seattle, about how the return of an NBA franchise would fill a massive void in the city. Bishop is emerging as one of sports’ best writers, able to weave a riveting narrative with expressive word selections that remains thankfully without the syrupy godding up of athletes or the expression of single events as being more meaningful than they actually were.