Sports Media

Skip Bayless

Skip Bayless is proof that you can be awful on television and not know anything and make millions of dollars:

“Too many people in charge at ESPN, for my taste, were a little too fearful,” says the outspoken host, who leaves the Disney-owned network after 12 years for a new show that will launch Sept. 6.

Skip Bayless says his move to Fox Sports 1 – with a new daily program that is set to bow Sept. 6 – will allow him to remove the “handcuffs” he’s been compelled to wear at ESPN, where he hosted the popular ESPN2 program First Take with Stephen A. Smith.

“Too many people in charge at ESPN, for my taste, were a little too fearful,” Bayless tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview officially revealing his move. "It's a Disney network. There are just certain boundaries that you can’t even tiptoe along. Not that we won’t have boundaries at Fox, because we will. [But] they will trust me to go a little deeper. I can be completely honest on everything."

And people wonder why sports programming has taken such a hit in recent years. Thanks to the carte blanche option, people unplug themselves from sports as soon as they can. It's not entirely because of Skip Bayless, but it's damned close.

What's the over/under on Bayless running for President in 2020?

 

Norwood Teague, Chick Magnet

Amelia Rayno has a powerful piece in the StarTribune. What follows is an account of sexual harassment by University of Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague:

So I agreed to have that drink. But this December night was different. Teague asked me about my longtime boyfriend, as he often did. My mistake was acknowledging that we had just broken up. The switch flipped. Suddenly, in a public and crowded bar, Teague tried to throw his arm around me. He poked my side. He pinched my hip. He grabbed at me. Stunned and mortified, I swatted his advances and firmly told him to stop. He didn’t.

“Don’t deny,” he said, “our chemistry.”

I told him that he was drastically off base, that my only intention in being there was as a reporter – to which he replied: “You’re all strictly business? Nothing else?”

I walked out. He followed me. I hailed a cab. He followed me in, grabbing at my arm and scooting closer and closer in the dark back cabin until I was pressed against the door. I told him to stop. I told him it was not OK. He laughed. When I reached my apartment, I vomited.

Later that night he texted: “Night strictly bitness.’’

The incident wasn’t the first with Teague.

When he first arrived at the university we would communicate via texts, mostly about athletics. But over time the tone of the messages slowly changed, particularly at night.  He would pepper work talk with comments that at first felt weird and eventually unacceptable. Once, he called me “cute.” Another night, after I declined meeting for a drink, he asked me if I was wearing pajamas.

I think it's safe to say that Norwood Teague has a bit of a charisma problem and a whole lot of personal issues that allow him to think himself as being above his accusers. Clearly, he believed himself capable of seducing the ladies and carrying on like a lothario. That crashed when the legal process finally kicked in. His sexual harassment of women has been going on long enough to make you wonder how this jackass got hired in the first place. He should have been fired a long time ago.

Go read the whole piece. And you can look for a photo of Miss Rayno on your own. I could post one here, and we could do a side by side comparison, and it still wouldn't add up to anything because blaming the victim is wrong and always will be wrong. Rayno is a drop-dead gorgeous young woman who, by virtue of her job as a journalist, had to put up with this sleazebag in order to maintain access and do her job. Her looks don't matter because taking one look at Teague should tell you all you need to know about his inability to treat people like a professional.

Powerful mean who look like Teague blame their victims for everything and get away with it far too often.

God, what a sickening story.

The Mainstreaming of Problems in the NFL


This is the way it starts.

When they are discussing your major and minor controversies on entertainment shows, you're in trouble. And this year, the NFL borrowed more trouble than it knows what to do with.

It's not enough to name bullshit committees and dump a little money on research and give out pithy payouts. It's not enough to run a few Public Service Announcements. It might not be enough to simply break a player and drive them out of the league.

Marshawn Lynch is the number one problem in the NFL right now, if you're an owner trying to control the labor pool. Lynch is the one thing that the NFL won't tolerate, and that's a star who defies the League's inviolate rules on maximizing revenue streams and exposing the players to good publicity. So, of course they're going to do whatever they can to make him worse than Hitler and eliminate his defiant pronouncements from the public consciousness.

The problem is, Lynch is not being unreasonable enough and the popular culture has latched on to the excessive zeal that the NFL has used to break the man. This is the unexpected outcome that exposes the NFL for not only being unfair and ridiculous but overly punitive as well. The NFL is an owner's league and operates as if the rise of powerful stars is anathema to the business model. Stars are fine, so long as they do nothing to impact revenue streams.

I just can't figure out what Marshawn Lynch's refusal to mouth cliches is doing to hurt the league. If anything, congratulate him on being thoughtful enough to hold back, right? No, the NFL can't do that. Lynch is breaking through to the fans by refusing to play along with the need for sports writers to fill their columns and their wire stories with what amounts to little more than moral lessons and conformity. Lynch, being a Millennial, sees through the phony world of sports writers and their magnification of inane details (those gold shoes are a distraction! you can't be a cancer in the locker room! we have to establish the running game!) and he represents a modern threat to the outdated morals of the game.