Tony Kornheiser, a former Washington Post columnist and Monday Night Football analyst, was clearly out of line in his snarky comments about “SportsCenter” anchor Hannah Storm’s wardrobe last week. ESPN has suspended him for two weeks.
On the Feb. 16 edition of his radio talker on WTEM (ESPN 980) in D.C., Kornheiser noted that Storm wore “a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She;s got on red go-go boots and a Catholic school plaid skirt … way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now.”
“She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body … I know she’s very good, and I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won’t … but Hannah Storm … come on now! Stop! What are you doing?”
Kornheiser later issued an apology. “I was wrong. This is sort of what I do, and I’m sorry for it,” adding, “Not the first time and won’t be the last time, but I apologize for it this time.”
ESPN Executive Vice President John Skipper said the comments were “entirely inappropriate… are not acceptable and have significant consequences.”
NBC caught a lot of grief for airing the U.S.-Canada hockey game Sunday night on MSNBC, instead of its main channel. NBC probably should have shown more than just a brief glimpse at the end of the American team’s 5-3 upset victory, but it’s hard to argue with the network’s logic of not carrying the game in full. Hardcore hockey fans found the game on MSNBC and NBC still had a huge audience for ice dancing on its main channel.
The game pulled the third-highest ratings in MSNBC history, the second-largest audience ever on MSNBC, and was the second-highest rated hockey game ever on American television (8.22 million households). In Oklahoma City, the game earned a 2.8 rating. Nevertheless, ice dancing, skiing, and bobsled averaged 23.3 million viewers on NBC.
Some viewers were upset the hockey game was not available in HD, but Cox does carry MSNBC’s HD channel in Oklahoma City.
Viewers need to remember that the Olympics are more an entertainment spectacle than a pure athletic event. NBC paid — more likely overpaid — $820 million for the rights, and has to be careful to maximize its return. Chris McCloskey, vice president of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, noted in an e-mail to me that the Winter Olympics are the most-female skewing sports event on TV and hockey skews male.
It’s not surprising two Australian TV sports commentators are in hot water after making homophobic remarks about male ice skaters at the Winter Olympics. Many of the figure skaters’ frilly outfits are strikingly femine.
Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy’s comments include describing routines as “Brokeback Mountain” exercises and even joked about organizers being shocked at discovering one skater was not gay.
They then added the non-gay skater was unlikely to be controversial and flamboyant U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir because he wore a black and pink outfit while holding a heart-shaped cushion.
The comments have sparked a backlash in Australia where the Channel Nine regulars have gained a reputation for their schoolboy humor. Dozens have complained to the TV station while others have started a Facebook page called “Eddie McGuire is ruining the 2010 Winter Olympics coverage.”
As they watched a procession of skaters appear in ever more outrageous outfits, Molloy remarked: “They don’t leave anything in the locker room these blokes, do they?”
To which McGuire responded: “They don’t leave anything in the closet either, do they?”
The pair said Daisuke Takahashi’s outfit reminded them of the Oscar-winning gay cowboy film “Brokeback Mountain,” the Oscar-winning film about two gay cowboys.
What will Tiger Woods talk about when he makes his public statement at 10 a.m. Friday? CBS golf analyst David Feherty talked about it on the “The Dan Patrick Show” on Thursday. Here are some of his comments:
Feherty on what his first question to Tiger would be tomorrow:
“So, how was your off-season?
Feherty on the curious timing of Tiger’s press conference (the same time as the Accenture Match Play – a sponsor who dropped him quickly):
“I don’t think he has that kind of streak in him. He just lets his golf clubs do his talking. I don’t see that. I think he’s just ready to get back in front of a camera and get it over with.”
Feherty on what Tiger might announce regarding his future in golf:
“I think he’s going to put his family first. It wouldn’t surprise me if he announces you won’t see him for a while.”
Feherty on whether or not Tiger will skip The Masters:
“I think he could quite easily. I think he could skip the year.”
Feherty on how Tiger will perform once he decides to compete again:
“There’s been a lot of talk about will he be the player he was? Hell, yes.”
As a sports writer for The Oklahoman from January 2000 to July 2007, George Schroeder did an excellent job of keeping readers of The Oklahoman up to date on fortunes of the OU football team. Schroeder moved to Eugene, Ore., in 2007 to work as a columnist for Register-Guard, writing columns on the Oregon Ducks.
His best reporting may be the last few months as he keeps readers informed about his infant son Christopher, who had a heart transplant Jan. 16 at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for the Schroeder family.
Here is his latest installment on Valentine’s Day.
In a TNT All-Star game conference call last week, analysts Doug Collins, Kevin McHale and Reggie Miller spoke highly of Thunder star forward Kevin Durant. Here are a few of the quotes from the call.
There are seven first time All-Stars this year, which one are you most impressed with this year?
Doug Collins: Kevin Durant to me has been amazing. This young guy, I mean he scores so easily. He can shoot the ball with range. He’s getting out on the break, running the floor. And more importantly, Oklahoma City is playing well. This is a team that has a winning record on the road. They are in the playoff hunt. Kevin Durant has just been phenomenal. This is a guy if he stays healthy is going to win three or four scoring titles before it’s all said and done. He gets to the foul line now. He can shoot the 3. He’s going to be able add a little post up to his game. He’s the complete offensive player. He’s been terrific.
Fans at the Ford Center have started chanting “MVP! MVP!” for Kevin Durant. What does Kevin have to do to actually get in the diologue with Lebron and Kobe?
Doug Collins: I put him in my top five. I also had Lebron, Kobe, Durant, Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony. The thing I go on is what has he brought to that franchise. I mean those people are so excited about basketball in Oklahoma. It’s an incredible environment, what they’ve done there. … He’s consistent. He’s fun to watch. He plays with great energy. And Reggie and Kevin you guys know, a big part of being a star is that charisma, that energy you bring where you walk out on the floor and you can just feel it. You bring a presence and he has that. At the same time, I think he is incredibly humble. His team is winning. They have done a nice job of putting pieces around him and they have a lot of draft picks. They are in the thick of things in the playoff race. As long as they are, I think have to start talking about him now. Is he probably going to win over Lebron or Kobe, the chances are probably not. Now that he is an All-Star and you are starting talking about the breadth of what he does for his team, I just love the young guy and they way he plays the game.
Kevin McHale: I talked to Rex Kalamian, their assistant coach there and I know Rex pretty well, and Rex was saying what he did this year that was different from previous years. Granted he is such a young player, but he came in with a real mental and physical commitment to the defensive end. Where he was going to try on the defensive end. He was going to work hard. He was going to get better defensively. … I think as he gets better on the defensive end, their team improves, they start getting better, he will be talked about as an MVP candidate. I personally believe he will win a couple of MVPs. You’re talking about a guy at this stage in his career in Doug’s top five, which I agree with, those are great players. I think he will win MVPs. There is a time for all things and right now is not his time to win a MVP. But it his time to shine and his time to really put Oklahoma on the map as far an NBA team.
Reggie Miller: Look, will he win an MVP this year, no. That’s obviously going to go to one of the big two in Kobe and Lebron. This is my magic number. If they can get to 50, 55 games (on his 25-point streak), you certainly have to strongly consider this guy if he continues to play like this. I go back to what Doug touched upon earlier, when you talk about these teams, how do they perform on the road, Oklahoma City is winning huge games on the road. What is scary when a young athletic team finds a way to win on the road. So 50 to 55 games and he can continue to play like this and score and elevate his team, you absolutely have to put him in the same breath with Carmelo, with Lebron, even Dwyane and Kobe. You have to put him in that same conservation. I agree with Kevin, It probably will happen more so later on his career because these guys are at the pinnacle of their career right now. I hate to muddy the waters, can you imagine if the Portland Trail Blazers, if hindsight looking back and I hate to say that because I love Greg Oden, but can you imagine him with Brandon Roy and LeMarcus Aldridge and that young team as well. That’s even scarier. You can definitely put him in the same breath, 50 to 55 games.
Here are some of the postgame comments from NBA TV analysts Kevin McHale and Chris Webber after the Thunder’s 89-77 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. It was the Thunder’s fourth appearance this season on the network’s “Fan Night.”
McHale on a new nickname for Kevin Durant, as compared to Basketball Hall of Famer George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin: “He’s ‘The Icicle.’ Long, skinny and cold-blooded.”
Webber on the Thunder’s defensive effort against the Trail Blazers: “This year, out of all the games we’ve watched, this is one of the best defensive efforts I’ve seen by a team.”
McHale: “They are confident and they know they can play defense.”
Webber on the Thunder: “This team is mature. This doesn’t happen much in the NBA with a team jumping like this. This is really something special to see.”
McHale on Thunder guard Kevin Durant’s scoring ability: “He scores very easily like any great scorer. What makes him unique is that he can make the long jump shot and he makes contested shots. There are times when you are up on him and you’re playing great defense and he rises up and knocks it down right in your mouth.”
Webber on Kevin Durant: “He’s one of the smoothest players I’ve ever seen. Every game he continues to break down this myth. I remember when he came into the league, people said, ‘he needs to lift weights. He needs to gain 50 pounds.’ For what? He’s going by you, he’s not going through you. This guy is a beast. When it comes to scorers in our league, (Durant) and Carmelo (Anthony) are right there at the top of the list for who can score the easiest.”
Webber on Oklahoma City fans watching the Thunder grow up together as a team: “(Golden State) had a young team that grew (together) and they beat Dallas (in the first round of the playoffs). That whole fan-base got to watch that team grow. Oklahoma City fans better take advantage of this because, believe me, it does not happen often when it grows (like this). I’m a (Detroit) Lions fan and you see where I am today. This Oklahoma City team is young, they’re good and hopefully they can stick with the plan of youth.”
Before the game, Webber on OKC’s formula for a winning team: “You have to give the coaches and GM’s credit. There are some teams that win because you have a great player and a great coach. This team wins because they have great players, but they have a great system. If you are playing good, you can be thrown in any spot and still get your game off so it is really a great system team.”
Fired ESPN analyst Steve Phillips, who recently left the sex rehab clinic in Mississippi that has reportedly treated Tiger Woods, appeared Monday on NBC’s “Today” show to discuss his sex scandal and addiction.
Interviewed by Matt Lauer, Phillips said. “People look at sex addiction as an excuse; it’s not an excuse. I’m fully responsible for everything that I did and accept responsibility for that.”
Phillips said he knew he had a problem before his affair with 22-year-old production assistant Brooke Hundley went public.
“I started calling facilities in August, well before everything blew up, and before there really was a problem where I ended up losing my job,” he said. “I knew I had a problem; I needed to get help.”
Hundley crashed her car into Phillips’ house after dropping off a letter detailing their affair to his wife, Marni. “I’m sorry for him and his family,” Hundley told NBC. “I’m sorry for my family. I was 22; I made some mistakes. If I could take them back, I would, OK?”
Phillips offered insight on sex rehab and sex addiction.
“People who go there are broken people,” he said. “That’s really the essence of the addiction, that you’re broken inside. You’ve got a hole that you’ve tried to fill, whether it was with alcohol or drugs or sex or gambling, with whatever. You go there and try to get the basics of why did you do what you did. For most addicts, whether it’s alcohol or sex or whatever, it is that you have that hole inside based upon shame and trauma that occurred from childhood.”
For football fans, the excitement of watching two teams give it their all in head-to-head competition is a weekly ritual. But what they see on the field is actually the result of countless hours of hard work.
Debuting at 9 p.m. Monday, truTV and NFL Films will provide unprecedented, exclusive access to what really goes on behind the scenes of professional football in the new series “NFL Full Contact.” The series will follow the action from draft day to the Super Bowl, showing football fans what happens beyond the playing field.
The show pulls the curtain back to show the people called upon to pull off the biggest live NFL events. From providing security to coordinating halftime performances, jobs are on the line.
The premiere looks at a Steelers home game. Subsequent episodes will follow the NFL draft, the opening game of the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, the third annual NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium in London and, finally, the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl, both held in South Florida this year.
— NBA TV’s Tuesday Fan Night will feature the Oklahoma City Thunder for the fourth time this season whey they play Portland at 9 p.m. The game received 43 percent of the fan vote on NBA.com. NBA TV host Matt Winer will be joined by analyst Kevin McHale and Chris Webber for the pregame show at 8:30 p.m. The telecast is blacked out in Oklahoma.
— Fox’s “Saturday Baseball Game of the Week,” which debuts April 10, will feature prime-time interleague games on May 22 and June 26. The St. Louis Cardinals are featured eight times and the Texas Rangers seven times.
— ESPN has announced two college football for its third annual Kickoff Week: Arizona at Toledo at 7 p.m. Sept 3 and Boise State vs. Virginia Tech from Landover, Md., at 7 p.m. Labor Day Monday, Sept. 6.
— The second annual Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational, which benefits the CP3 Foundation, will air at 1 p.m. Sunday on ESPN. Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio are among the celebrities.
— Showtime’s “Inside NASCAR” debuts at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Host Chris Myers will be joined by analysts Randy Pemberton, Brad Daugherty and Michael Waltrip.
The University of Oklahoma will produce its first ever signing day television show to complement its coverage on SoonerSports.com.
Produced by SoonerVision, the 2:30 p.m. show on Cox 7 will include coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Brent Venables and OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
Throughout the day, SoonerSports.com will offer up-to-date news on official signees. Jason Matheson, director of internet services for the athletics department, will post signings on SoonerSports.com after each letter of intent is deemed official.
Each signee will also be posted to the OU athletics department’s Twitter feed and Facebook page, while AT&T customers who have signed up for the service will receive text alerts.
Premium subscribers to SoonerSports.com’s All-Access platform will see a live Web show at 8, 8:30, 9 and 9:30 a.m., featuring members of the OU coaching staff.