Phoenix Mercury rookie Brittney Griner graces the cover of the latest edition of ESPN Magazine.
It should also be noted that Griner strikes the pose using a giant snake as a prop.
Griner recently made headlines when she publicly announced she was gay and then later revealed to ESPN that the reason she kept her sexual orientation a secret while in college was because Baylor, and specifically Bears head coach Kim Mulkey, discouraged her from doing so in fear of how it may reflect on the school in regards to recruiting.
In this ESPN issue, Griner says: “I am 100 percent happy. When I was at Baylor, I wasn’t fully happy because I couldn’t be all the way out. It feels so good saying it: I am a strong, black lesbian woman. Every single time I say it, I feel so much better.”
If you like sports highlights but spend more time on social networks than watching TV, Twitter and ESPN are going to do their best to meet your needs.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter and ESPN plan to announce a deepening of their existing relationship, agreeing on a pact under which the leading sports channel will unveil a wide variety of highlight clips in its tweets. The videos would be available on Twitter “shortly after” they take place live.
Naturally, the new arrangement which expands on a pact signed in December under which ESPN began embedding replays of college football highlights into its tweets is all about ad revenue. The sports network will place ads inside the clips, and advertisers will agree to purchase a minimum number of promoted tweets related to the highlights, the Wall Street Journal reported. Sports covered under the deal include World Cup soccer and X Games tournaments, according to the Journal.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the Journal’s story, and this afternoon, several people in senior roles at the social-networking giant posted tweets linking to it. Adam Bain, Twitter’s head of revenue, went so far as to note in his tweet,
“More news from the upfronts,” referring to the TV network meetings with advertisers that are taking place this week.
The Twitter-ESPN agreement goes a long way to bolstering the theory that Twitter is moving quickly to strengthen its ties to TV networks. Last month, a Bloomberg report suggested that Twitter was in talks with NBC and Viacom about bringing more of those networks’ content to the tweets users see all in the hopes of boosting ad revenue.
And earlier today, the Journal also noted that Twitter and Fox agreed to bring some of that TV network’s video to users via the tweets they see. As with the ESPN relationship, the Fox pact would be built to leverage advertisers’ ability to reach users.
Every Thursday Sports Grind Entertainment will present you with the Mama Margie’s Major Meltdown. The recipient of this honor goes to Rutgers head basketball coach Mike Rice, who was fired from the program after video surfaced of him berating players verbal and physically. Rice used gay slurs and threw basketballs at players. He was fired a day after the video surfaced by ESPN’s Outside of the Lines.
Once tabbed as the heir apparent to Erin Andrews, Jenn Brown has left ESPN as reported by Sports Illustrated. The reasons for her departure are still unclear, but ESPN confirmed Brown is no longer working for Bristol.
Brown joined ESPN in February 2010, and when Andrews left the mothership last summer, it seemed like Brown would be taking over her role as ESPN’s most visible sideline reporter. But then that gig went to Samantha Ponder, who took over Thursday night sideline reporting duties on ESPN as well as Andrews’ old spot on the College Gameday set. Brown was paired with Dave Pasch and Bob Griese, generally calling the early game on ESPN.
Brown’s future is currently unknown. Brown seemed to slowly fade from the spotlight in recent months and with the nice jobs ESPNers have picked up elsewhere (Michelle Beadle at NBC, Erin Andrews at Fox, Rachel Nichols at CNN), perhaps the grass was greener elsewhere.
During ESPN’s pregame show Friday, Magic Johnson said he would put up $1 million for LeBron James to do the dunk contest. He then somewhat changed his stance by offering $1 million to the winner if James participates, making the offer more of a purse than appearance fee for King James.
“Please, LeBron, get in the dunk contest. I’m going to put up a million dollars,” Johnson said on ESPN’s Kia NBA Countdown. “A million dollars from Magic to LeBron. Please get in the dunk contest. I go every year. I want to see you out there. A million to the winner.”
Mychal Thompson knows a thing or two about the trappings of being an NBA player, and the former No. 1 overall pick and two-time NBA champion is instilling those lessons on his son, Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.
As it turns out, the elder Thompson (and his wife, Julie) control Klay’s finances, game checks are sent to them and Klay is given a weekly allowance.
Thus, after Klay found himself caught in the middle of the Warriors-Indiana Pacers skirmish, his parents docked his allowance. Mychal spoke with ESPN Radio Los Angeles about the fight:
“I saw Klay mixed up in the beginning, tied up with George Hill,” Mychal said. “I say to myself, don’t do nothing stupid now, don’t throw a punch, don’t throw the ball at anybody.”“Then Roy Hibbert turned his back & [Klay] was like ‘now’s my chance’!”“I was like ‘you idiot’!”
The NBA fined Klay $35,000 for his involvement and Mychal is ready to pile on.
“He will [find out he's been fined by us] when he sees that cash envelope show up a little short this week,” he said.
When asked how does this financial set-up work between a 23-year-old NBA players and his protective parents?
“Rent is $3K…Walking around money $300 a week…” Mychal explained. “That’s a lot of money to go to the movies & buy pizza…”
But what if Klay wanted to take a girl out on a nice date?
“Go to Langers in Oakland…Go to the grocery store & get a nice [bottle of wine] for $30…”
What about the corkage fee?
“Sit in the car & drink it.”
Reggie Rose told ESPN Chicago he thinks the Chicago Bulls have not brought in enough talent to put around his younger brother Derrick Rose. Reggie, who made clear he was speaking only for himself, said the team has not made enough moves to keep pace with the defending champion Miami Heat.
“What have you pieced together? Have you made any moves? Have you made any trades to get better? You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami,” he told ESPN Chicago. “What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs?
“Joakim Noah is a great player. Luol Deng is a great player. But you need more than that. You have to put together pieces to your main piece. The players can only do so much. It’s up to the organization to make them better.”
“It’s frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him,” Reggie Rose told ESPN Chicago.
Saint Louis play-by-play announcer Bob Ramsey didn’t agree with a foul called against the Billikens Dwayne Evans during game against VCU.
“They’re going to call a cheap foul on Evans and I’ll tell you what,” Ramsey started to say on the live broadcast.
The referee, Bo Borowski, probably wished he didn’t start to jaw with the WXOS (ESPN) radio announcer, who didn’t back down one bit.
“Stay away from me,” Ramsey said, putting his hand near the official’s face.
Swimmer Ryan Lochte is helping ESPN in the athletes and music entertainers special by recreating the Nirvana “Nevermind” cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has agreed to attempt to recreate Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album cover for ESPN The Magazine’s Music Issue. Nothing much more is needed here.
CNN is getting a sports show. The network announced Thursday that it has hired ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols to anchor a weekend sports program. Nichols will also be a reporter for CNN and Turner Sports. CNN did not say when exactly her show would start.
The new show fits in with new CNN chief Jeff Zucker’s stated mission to vary the kinds of programming seen on CNN.
Speaking just after his hiring was announced, Zucker told reporters that he wanted to “broaden the definition of what news is” on the network. He echoed that theme in a memo to staff about Nichols, writing, “As you know, I am committed to offering a more varied set of programs and reporting on CNN and a new sports beat is an important component of that. My hope is that our air increasingly reflects the broad range of interests that we all share.”
Before Zucker’s arrival, CNN hired filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and food personality Anthony Bourdain as additional weekend hosts.
AJ McCarron is once again getting shown up by his model girlfriend. After Miss Alabama Katherine Webb, an Auburn grad, stole the spotlight in the BCS Championship game that saw Alabama convincingly thrash Notre Dame, the Crimson Tide quarterback now has to digest the fact that Webb will have an NFL job before he does.
Webb, who became an Internet star after ESPN’s Brent Musburger made awkward comments about her beauty during the live BCS title game broadcast, sent out a tweet Monday night suggesting she’d have a TV-related role in the Super Bowl.
“So excited to be chosen to cover the Super Bowl XLVII for @InsideEdition in New Orleans!”Webb’s specific job has yet to be revealed, but “Inside Edition” is a thirty-minute syndicated news program that plans to cover the Super Bowl behind-the-scenes.
McCarron’s mother, Dee Dee Bonner had Webb’s back, though.
“proud for you and ignore the jealous folks maybe one day they can host something like the loser convention or something” Bonner tweeted in support.
Brent Musburger was calling his first game since making headlines during last week’s BCS national title game for ogling Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron and almost made it through almost all of Monday’s Kansas basketball victory over Baylor without referencing the incident or alluding to his network’s apology for the comments. Then
“Once again, your final score, Kansas 61, Baylor 44,” Musburger said in the manner he has hundreds of times before. “Coming up next, SportsCenter. For Fran Franschilla and Holly Rowe, who was really smokin’ tonight, I want to say ‘so long from Lawrence.’”
Extra emphasis on the “really smoking,”
Every Thursday Sports Grind Entertainment will present you with the Mama Margie’s Major Meltdown. The recipient of this honor goes to ESPN sportscaster Brent Musburger who got extremely excited about Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron during the BCS National Championship game. The 73-year-old Musburger expressed repeated adoration for 23-year-old Webb that didn’t exactly sit well in the public eye. ESPN offered up the following statement: “We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
N.C. State will wear special uniforms honoring Jim Valvano at next week’s Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The red jerseys feature Valvano’s famous rallying cry “don’t ever give up” on the back.
You know all about that famous speech at the 1993 ESPYs, delivered eight weeks before Valvano died from cancer. His inspirational words live on today with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which has awarded more than $90 million to 100 cancer facilities nationwide.
Chris Berman was forced to apologize during Monday Night Countdown after a graphic reading “Roethlisberger ‘Drink and Drunk’” was aired on the left-side preview of the show. The segment was entitled “Roethlisberger ‘Dink and Dunk.’”
“We have to tell you this for sure, earlier in the show we had a graphic error in the rundown,” he said. “We apologize for the mistake. Not sure how it happened. It won’t happen again, we’ll be back.”
NBA fans were waiting for the comic stylings of Stan Van Gundy before a deal with ESPN seemingly blew up with Van Gundy saying the network was “as is usual” full of “BS.”
But Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops did ask the former Orlando coach what he would have provided his audience. And as usual, Van Gundy let rip.
“…I wasn’t maybe David Stern’s favorite coach in the league. David likes to control everybody and I would say some things he didn’t like. I’m not looking to be outrageous or say things. I get asked questions, and unfortunately, sometimes, I’ll just say the first thing that pops into my head without really editing myself, and that’s gotten me into trouble at times.”
“I’m not going to be out there killing people because, number one, I have great respect for NBA players and NBA coaches and I think that will come through. I don’t care how good a team is or a player is or anything else. There’s times when things are being done well and I think I’ll have the honesty to come out and point that out. “I’ll certainly try to have fun. If you’re not going to be coaching, which is absolute misery, if I’m going to be involved in games where I get to watch, the I’m going to make sure that I enjoy it and have fun, and hopefully that will come through too.”
Scott Torgerson, a sports radio host in Columbus, Ohio, was suspended for an offensive tweet about ESPN personality and former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard.
The co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” on 97.1 The Fan (an ESPN affiliate) took to Twitter to unleash his negative feelings toward the former Michigan star.
“I wish Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch Gameday again,” he wrote.
Torgerson has since been suspended.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a busy man so busy, in fact, that he couldn’t carve out time for Deron Williams. Cuban, in California to film his “Shark Tank” TV show, was not present when Williams spoke with the team as a free agent in the summer. Coach Rick Carlisle and general manager Donnie Nelson met with the point guard during his offseason search for a team.
Williams, who later signed a five-year, $98.7 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets, told the New York Daily News that Cuban’s absence played a large part in his choice to spurn the Mavericks.
“I think (Cuban) would have been able to answer a lot of the questions me and my agent have for him that really didn’t get answered that day pertaining to the future,” Williams said. “And I think if he was there he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better. It maybe would have helped me.
“(I wanted to hear about) the direction of the future of the team, other than Dirk (Nowitzki). Players they were thinking about. Everything was basically just their track record, trust their track record, which is, you know, I can honor that, because they do have a good track record but it’s not enough for me, especially when Billy updated me daily.”
During last season’s NBA lockout, when Williams played for Besiktas in Turkey, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King went beyond roster updates they jumped on a plane to gather with the three-time All-Star. Turns out that diligence paid off.
Williams explained how a big-name coach who didn’t make himself available for a visit might have hurt Cuban’s push to sign him this offseason.
“Of course (Cuban’s absence had an effect),” Williams said. “My top four when I was coming out of high was Illinois, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Maryland.
“Maryland told me they wanted me to come on a visit but Gary Williams wouldn’t be there. So I told them, ‘It’s okay. I’d rather not go.’ So that was that. It’s similar.”
Cuban instead added Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo to a backcourt that also includes Delonte West and Rodrigue Beaubois. The Mavericks owner went as far as saying his team benefitted from its failure to sign Williams.
“I think we’re in better a position now than we would have been if we would have gotten (Deron Williams).” Cuban said on ESPN Radio in Dallas during an August interview.
Williams isn’t buying it.
“That’s Mark. He does that about a lot of people,” Williams said. “He did that with J Kidd. It doesn’t matter. I’m not concerning myself with that. I’m a Brooklyn Net, I’m not a Dallas Maverick. I’m worried about what I’m doing here.”
Back on March 7, we posted the report that LSU women’s soccer star Mo Isom was going to tryout for the kicking spot on the football team. Today we post the news that Isom’s football dream ended.
Isom, bidding to become the first women’s football player in Southeastern Conference history, did not make the LSU team when Les Miles made his final decisions concerning which walk-on players to add to his roster after three days of tryouts.
“I am heartbroken, but my head is held high,” Isom tweeted. “Knowing I gave everything I had is the greatest victory. Unending thanks to my LSU football family.”
Isom, 22, was a standout goalie for the LSU soccer team from 2008 to 2011 and had one year of athletic eligibility remaining. As a freshman she became the first LSU goalie in history to score when she soared one in from 90 yards away against Brigham Young, and it made ESPN’s play of the day list. She has also kicked field goals of more than 50 yards on the LSU practice fields.
The 6-1, Marietta, Ga., native made history again last fall by becoming the first LSU student-athlete to be named homecoming queen.
But she fell short of her goal of becoming the first female kicker at a major college since 2003 to score in a game. That was done by New Mexico’s Katie Hinda, who kicked two extra points against Texas State.
The Dallas Cowboys have instituted a strict set of off-the-field rules for troubled wide receiver Dez Bryant that includes a ban on strip club visits.
ESPN Dallas’ Calvin Watkins reports the modern day 10 five commandments went into effect Aug. 23 when the Cowboys returned from training camp. Among the new rules for the third-year wideout:
– Thou shalt not go to a strip club, nor any other club unless it’s approved by the Cowboys.
– Honor thy midnight curfew.
– Thou shalt not drink, nor covet the booze.
– Thou shalt travel at all time with a one-man security detail. Watkins says a team of three guards will trade shifts so someone is with Bryant at all times.
“(He is) very open-minded and cooperative,” Jerry Jones told reporters. “He’s doing the right things by his teammates, and everybody is counting on him.”
Former All-Star pitcher and current ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe doesn’t think that a 50-game suspension is harsh enough for San Francisco Giants Melky Cabrera.
Just days after Major League Baseball hit the Giants outfielder with a 50-game ban for testing positive for synthetic testosterone, Sutcliffe suggested a far more aggressive punishment during an appearance on Dave Rothenberg’s ESPN radio show.
Sutcliffe believes Cabrera, a 28-year-old from the Dominican Republic, should have his visa revoked.
“First of all, this guy is over here in the United States on a working visa. He broke the law. What’s he doing still here? I mean, forget the 50-game suspension from baseball and whether he can come back if they make the players [sic] or not. Why’s he still here? That visa should be taken away, and he should not be allowed to play over here again, or work over here again, in my opinion.”
While there may be no action taken by MLB that satisfies Sutcliffe, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that Cabrera could still be subject to additional punishment due to his attempt to avoid the suspension, including a fake website.
The Department of Justice and MLB are undertaking a joint investigation into the source of the testosterone used by Cabrera.
In an interview with ESPN’s Bram Weinstein and Ryen Russillo, Hall of Fame football coach Joe Gibbs explained his zeal for the value of the positons by telling the radio hosts that “they always said I was queer for tight ends.”
Pele the movie is expected to play in the next World Cup. Imagine Entertainment is planning a film about the Brazilian soccer superstar to coincide with the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, who wrote and directed “The Two Escobars” for ESPN’s 30 for 30, have been tapped to write the film. The movie will be in English with some scenes in Portuguese.
“This will be more of a coming-of-age story that will trace Pele’s childhood until he won his first World Cup in Sweden at the age of 17,” said Imagine’s Kim Roth.