Miscellaneous articles from around sports media.
Michael Tillery, The Starting Five, “The Skip Bayless Interview Part I: Colorful, Conscious and Of Course, Controversial“
[Skip Bayless]: [Mark Shapiro] started this show called Cold Pizza and it was going nowhere. He tried to make it a sorta morning variety show loosely based on sports, but it just wasn’t connecting with the audience. It couldn’t find an audience. Shapiro asked me to help bring the show up out of the ratings toilet. He paired up Woody Paige and I for debate and bring a sports component to a non-sports show. Woody stayed for a couple of years and then decided to go back to Denver. Then we started this rotation. I don’t know what the plan was originally, but we sorta fell into the fact that this was really fun for me because I get to debate someone different every two to three days. I’m high energy, high passion to a fault and for a while it began to wear Woody out. It’s great bringing in the rotation. We have ten, twelve different people and we’ll bring in other various people for one day stands. It’s great because their passion will be high because they are only going to do it for a couple of days. They can get revved up, come in and try to match my rpm and then they can go rest for a couple of days and get geared back up for their real job. It started working and they liked it, we moved from New York City to Bristol, Connecticut and hear we are.
Mizzo: Why do you feel it necessary to exclusively have a Black debate partner?
Skip: Once Woody Paige left our show, and we began to audition new debaters, I pushed for Black or minority partners because a day rarely passes without a racial component to a sports issue, and our show never shies away from tackling the most controversial of these issues. It is obviously impossible to have a credible, healthy discussion or debate without both sides represented. Sometimes I’ll defend the Black perspective — see Barry Bonds — and sometimes a Black debater will defend the White perspective — as happened recently with Stephen Bardo taking up for Michael Phelps and me continuing to criticize him as a role-model fraud. The previous Monday, Jemele had blasted the predominantly White media for giving Phelps a pass because that White media has been so quick to condemn Black athletes for similar behavior — and I whole-heartedly agreed. I had no sympathy for Michael Vick; some of my Black partners did. This gives our show great balance and the freedom to take on topics many shows would not.
Rob Longley, Slam Sports, “Latest Hab controversy unsettling“
Of all the potentially corrupt things that can happen when professional athletes get involved with alleged organized crime members, gambling is one of the biggest fears.
While specific gambling allegations have yet to be made, reports have suggested that the alleged mob figure named in the investigation, Pasquale Mangiola, had regular access to both Sergei and Andrei Kostitsyn and other Canadiens players. Furthermore, it has been suggested that Mangiola often discussed the play and state of the team.
While it’s important to note that none of the Canadiens players have been suspected of any criminal pursuits, here is the concern. What if, for example, players casually or otherwise discussed team injuries or other issues? What if that information got in the hands of individuals associated with gambling? What if players felt they owed something to the man who reportedly did them a lot of favours?
On the surface, it might sound far-fetched, given that hockey wagering barely makes a blip in the legalized sports books of Nevada. But with internet wagering booming worldwide, a bet on NHL game can be made with a couple of taps on a keyboard.
Modi, Sports on My Mind, “Rick Reilly Forgets Albert Belle’s New MVPs“
Rick Reilly’s latest morality play is “It’s Time to Write Some Wrongs, One MVP at a Time” where Reilly wants to return past MVPs to their “rightful owners” during “the steroid era”. Okay, rather than spending the rest of the column detailing past “pure eras” that included segregation, and rampant amphetamine use, let’s play his little game. …
Why did he forget about the MVPs awarded to Jeff Bagwell, Mo Vaughn, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Miguel Tejada? All these players have steroid allegations with much stronger evidence than Sammy Sosa. Firstly, besides the New York Daily News and blogs, Bagwell does not seemed to get touched across mainstream media, but we’ll leave that “white pass” story alone today. What about Juan Gonzalez, his airport bust, and the various allegations that have followed him? If you remove his 1996 trophy, then it goes back to… a young Alex Rodriguez!
Doh! … What if Reilly decided to eliminate young A-Rod just on morality principle (MP). Then the 1996 award would go to… Albert Belle! … Doh!
Reilly and every other writer on the planet hates that mean S.O.B! That’s why Reilly’s SI magazine campaigned in 1995 to do everything in its power to wrongly give the 1995 award to Mo Vaughn. I know that you guys remember that cover whose subtitle read “No one in baseball is more important to his team and his city than Mo Vaughn”. Want proof? Check out the little smiling white boy with one tooth on the cover! …
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Mitchell Report. Mo Vaughn was cited for purchasing HGH from former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. TAINTED!!! We don’t know when Mo Vaughn started, so Reilly must remove Vaughn’s MVP. But Reilly somehow forgot. … Even in Reilly revisionist history, Belle still can’t catch a break!
And do you know why? Because all this morality talk has nothing to do with “just steroids”, “just baseball records”, “just personality”, or “just race”: it has to do with all of it. Sure, it gets a little murky sometimes, but we need to sort through it.
Reilly’s MVP justice stopped at Albert Belle. Belle getting the new trophy posed a ”conflict of morality” puzzle that Reilly couldn’t solve. And provided one more reminder of what A-Rod and Bonds have already taught us: With the exception of the New York Daily News, mainstream media will choose heros and villains according to who they like or don’t like.