Archive for the ‘CBS’ Category

woodsdroppenaltyIn 1966, CBS commentator Jack Whitaker referred to a patron gallery at Augusta National Golf Club as a “mob.” He was banned from ever covering the Masters again. In 1994, Gary McCord, another CBS broadcaster, remarked that the 17th green was running so fast as to have possibly been “bikini-waxed” prior to the day’s round. He followed this nana-appalling comment by suggesting that “body bags” were located behind the green for players who missed approach shots. At the request of the club, he has not returned to broadcast a single Masters since.

This is the legacy of irreverence at the Masters. The three terms: mob, bikini-waxed and body bags. Bold expressions, each and every one of them.

We were reminded of this on Friday when NBC’s Bob Costas, sports commentary’s Audrey Hepburn, visited Dan Patrick’s radio show and expressed a no uncertain amount of disapproval with CBS’s coverage of the Masters. Specifically, his disdain was aimed at the network completely ignoring Augusta’s long and sad history of discrimination.

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Louisville VS. DukeWith six minutes and 39 seconds remaining in the first-half of Sunday’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Midwest regional final between Duke University and the University of Louisville, Cardinals guard Kevin Ware leaped to block a shot from Blue Devils guard Tyler Thornton, and landed awkwardly on his right leg. The results were horrific. Scream of agony. Compound fracture. Hands over heads of teammates. Looks of terror on the faces of opponents.

Ware’s leg had broken in a manner reminiscent of Joe Theisman’s career-ending injury after getting sacked by Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor on November 18th, 1985, or Eduardo da Silva’s left fibula being broken while playing in a match on February 23rd, 2008. Bone was visible, and body parts were bending in a fashion for which they were not meant to bend.

It seems to be of secondary importance to note that Louisville somehow went on to win the game and advance to the Final Four. However, they did, thus fulfilling Ware’s request as the player was being transported to Methodist Hospital with two fractures in his right leg. After surgery on Sunday evening, Ware was resting comfortably, posting photos through social media and speaking with teammates. He now faces at least an entire year of recovery.

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tabler-buck-july-16Last weekend, Rogers Sportsnet executed its plan to broadcast the first Toronto Blue Jays game of their Spring Training schedule. The response from viewers was as overwhelming as the network’s coverage, which included the full fleet of presenters, announcers and on-field reporters. More than 2-million Canadians tuned into the team’s exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers at some point during the broadcast, with an average viewership of more than 450,000.

To put that number in context, more people in Canada watched a Spring Training game involving the Blue Jays than they did Game Two of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, averaging 450,000 viewers would be an impressive number for a regular season game between Toronto and Detroit.

Despite a drop off at the end of last season, television ratings for Blue Jays games have been on a consistent rise over the last two seasons. Following this off-season’s roster bolstering, excitement among Canadians for the country’s only Major League product is higher than its been in some time. The addition of marketable players like R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes has only served to add momentum to the following that Jose Bautista and Canadian Brett Lawrie garnered last season.

Shortly after the impressive Spring Training debut, Rogers Sportsnet announced that it would be broadcasting five additional Spring Training games on FX Canada. While the cynics among us immediately wondered if Rogers wasn’t once again using the lure of its baseball content to encourage increased subscriptions to additional cable tiers, doubts were quelled by the fact that Rogers cable subscribers would be enjoying a free preview of the network that represents a partnership between majority owner and managing partner, Rogers Media, and minority partner, FX Networks.

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The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl of sports broadcasts. Everything about the spectacle is enormous, and spectators have come to expect that enormity along with everything that goes with it. Less than three per cent of Americans claim to be fans of the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers, and yet more than ten times that percentage of the United States watched last night’s game. It’s a sporting event that goes beyond the classification of a mere distraction and enters into the realm of cultural significance.

A successful broadcast of such a happening is a fake wizard that doesn’t get noticed. An unsuccessful exhibition of the spectacle will keep Toto barking for hours. Unfortunately for CBS, it didn’t take a yappy dog for tens of millions of viewers  to be made painfully aware of the machinations of the television broadcast throughout the network’s six hours of coverage.

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Shannon Sharpe of CBS Sports was shocked and appalled that New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick would dare to avoid his network’s sideline reporters following the team’s AFC Championship Game loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.

There’s something to be said about being gracious in defeat. We’ve seen the New England Patriots five times in the last 12 years be victorious [in the AFC championship game). We've seen the opposing coaches who lost come out and talk to our Steve Tasker. Coach [Bill] Cowher did it when they lost to them, we saw this last week. Bill Belichick makes it real easy for you to root against the Patriots. You can’t be a poor sport all the time. You’re not going to win all the time, and he does this every time he loses. It’s unacceptable.

Sharpe’s comments might have carried more weight if even a single viewer of Sunday evening’s NFL coverage noticed that Belichick wasn’t interviewed. Or if, for once – just once – something of any interest to anyone was to be asked of a head coach following a football game. Instead, Belichick revealed himself to be one of the 7 billion people on earth who don’t enjoy talking about their failures, and for this Sharpe, in the parlance of our times, called him out.

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If we are to be judged, it’s likely best that we’re judged by the decisions that we make. However, some people’s decisions, and the process by which they make them, are a little more accessible than others. So, it makes sense that the decisions that these unfortunate people make receive a greater amount of scrutiny than what is typical.

The Toronto Maple Leafs fired General Manager Brian Burke this past week, and while the termination likely has to do with factors beyond the decisions that the head of the team made during his tenure in charge, such matters were only hinted at during a press conference on Saturday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre. There was a moment during the question and answer period though where it appeared as though Burke’s manicured and restrained response to his dismissal might break down. It came on a question from Paul Hendrick of Leafs TV. He asked, “How disappointing is it that you’re not going to be able to stay here and finish the job.”

Burke started with a stock answer, “Well, I think. I think you can make the case …” He paused. Looked away. Looked back at the reporter. “I think I can make the case that ….” Pause. He looked down. Silence. It promised to be a President Bartlett moment, but then, gathered and collected, he resumed, “I think that’s a case that I’ll let the media make.”

There was little doubt that in this moment, Burke’s honesty was being kept in check by either a sense of honor or desire to find another job. Both motivators would play a role in causing one to carefully consider one’s actions. He decided on the restrained approach. Moments later, Burke’s path along the high road took a slight detour.

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