Archive for the ‘New York Yankees’ Tag

Locker Rooms and Sexual Harassment: 90s Style

The recent spate of announcements regarding sexual harassment has been amazing. We may not have been surprised by the harassment in Hollywood with its “casting couch” history.We aren’t surprised about these activities in sports, we can’t be surprised about this occurring in the halls of media organizations either. One incident from the long history of harassment appears in my book, Terry Bradshaw: From Super Bowl Champion to Television Personality.

Fewer than three months into their jobs and co-anchors of CBS’ The NFL Today Pregame show, Terry Bradshaw and Greg Gumbel faced a major incident. Five New England Patriots players had told crude jokes and two fondled their genitals as Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson was covering their locker room after a Monday Night Football game in mid-September 1990. Olson issued a complaint.

Then Patriots owner Victor Kiam, of Gillette Razor fame made things worse. Kiam had a brief exchange with the reporter in the locker room the following week. He turned to a member of his entourage who was standing by his side and said sotto voce, “She’s a classic bitch. No wonder the players don’t like her.” Patriots’ fans piled on, showering her with obscenities and vile suggestions and statements as “If you want
to go into the men’s locker room, you get what you deserve.”

The case of Melissa Ludtke v. Bowie Kuhn, in 1978, had opened the doors, literally, for female reporters. The ruling determined that keeping the Sports Illustrated reporter out of the New York Yankees’ locker room during the 1977 World Series deprived her of the equal opportunity to pursue her profession. The NFL did not enact an equal access policy until 1985. Female sportswriters faced frequent discrimination, harassment, and fraternity-type pranks like wet towels being whipped against their behinds as they waded through the male athletes to reach the person they wanted to interview.

How would Bradshaw and Gumbel address the explosive situation? A Dayton sportswriter described Patriots fans as Puritans.
The abuse they directed toward Olson betrayed their male chauvinism, which basically said, “You are a woman; know your place.” In contrast, NBC’s pregame analyst Will McDonough rushed a quick response to the incident and claimed Olson “exaggerated her story.”

The CBS pregame show made Leslie Visser the lead in the discussions on the issue. Bradshaw described how he thought the public saw the issue, contending, “We can be as lenient and we can be as accepting to the opposite sex all we want to. But there comes an area where a man just absolutely closes his mind up and says no.” Mary Carillo, analyst for women’s and men’s tennis on CBS and ESPN, responded, “I think
that’s valid, a very valid point. Football always has been perceived as a male domain. Tennis isn’t like that—(John) McEnroe and (Ivan) Lendl
know I have the same skills, so it isn’t a stretch.”

Cathy Barreto who became the first female director for NFL games in the late 1980s, argued for female announcers in football. She thought
that for a female announcer to be accepted, “it’s going to have to be a recurring thing—not just once in a while. . . . Really no different than a
man—except people aren’t used to it.”

Bradshaw recalled growing up in Shreveport and witnessing the slow dissolution of racial segregation, another instance where people needed to get used to change. He listened to women analyze golf on television and accepted them because he learned from them. “I’m looking for knowledge. I don’t care what the sex is,” he said.

Nearly 30 years of past since this incident. The culture has only recently began fleshing out incidents of sexual harassment. Women broadcasters do not regularly in the broadcast booth for football. There is one woman appearing along the sidelines as a reporter but no more than one. ESPN did add one woman to their broadcast booth for major league baseball. As Carillo’s comment suggested, sports still seek an name athlete in the sport to appear in the broadcast booth as a color commentator. But broadcast booths can be expanded as ESPN has done to add a woman, and women can also be given more opportunities as play-by-play announcers. First, the sexism, both overt with the harassment, and covert, with hiring tendencies, needs to be contained then eliminated.

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NBA: Losing Big Money

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonis announced before his group made their bid to buy the Washington Wizards that the National Hockey League is in better financial shape than the National Basketball Association. I thought it was partly a negotiating ploy but also knew that the NBA was negotiating a new agreement with the players union in 2011.

Parade Magazine ran a story on the $400 million that owners in the NBA lost this year. Many tried ploys like inviting groups to perform at halftime and charging them and their supporters full price for the tickets in order to fill up empty arenas for a game.

Here’s the article link: Below are the six suggested improvements.

1. CHANGE THE FOUL-OUT RULES.
“Instead of ejecting a player after six foul,” says agent Steve Mountain, who represents Orlando’s Jameer Nelson, “assess a technical for fouls six and seven, and eject after eight. This would keep the best players in the game longer.”

Really, how often do the best stars foul out of games and usually not until the very end of the game. Seems like a lame fix that causes a loss in strategy.
2. INCREASE SCORING.
“Shorten the 24-second shot clock to 20 seconds to make for more possessions,” Falk says. “Or create a four-point play. People thought the three-point shot would destroy the game, but it added to it instead.”
Many people I know think the League lacks defensive effort from players as is. They like the NCAA games which have more intensity and less scoring.


3. RAISE THE AGE LIMIT.

“You should have to be out of high school for three years to play in the NBA,” Falk says. Playing college hoops would allow athletes to develop a fan base that they could carry with them into the pros.
Don’t buy this argument.
4. ENCOURAGE QUIRK.
“There’s a reason why Charles Barkley, who is retired, is still getting endorsements,” says Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim, who has covered the NBA for 13 years, “and, say, Tim Duncan and Carmelo Anthony aren’t. Today, the players with personality often have the color bleached out of them.” Blogger Bethlehem Shoals of FanHouse.com advises, “They should Twitter all the time. It could be a lifeline to these guys’ personalities.”

The NBA chose to market by personalities since the Magic Johnson Larry Bird era so they lost a lot of fan support for particular teams. Now they need to market the game also solely by personality. However, they need more personalities such as Le Bron James and less of the Gilbert Arenas (post gun scene) that do not have the same ability to play to mainstream US and international markets.
Many have told me that they do not like Kobe Bryant because he comes across as arrogant. This is certainly a problem that other sports have as well, such as the dislike of ARod by many. However, ARod’s personality can be encompassed by the larger Yankee team and Yankee fans will continue to support the team even with some individual players on it that they do not like. Can the same be said for NBA fans?
5. CHANGE THE TRADE RULES.
“Eliminate or significantly reduce rules that require salaries of traded players to match up,” Mountain says.

6. SHORTEN THE SEASON.
The NBA’s season comprises 82 games. Reducing the number of contests could make each one matter much more to players and fans alike. As Falk explains, “In pro football, there are only 16 games, so every game is critical.”

Would like to see this happen in Hockey and Baseball too but what are the odds, particularly if team owners are already losing money.

My Suggestions:

1. Reduce Ticket Prices

Who can afford the face value of tickets to a professional basketball game? The article talks about people who have lost their jobs, geez I still have my job and I don’t want to pay $150 for a mid-level ticket.

Reducing the cost will bring in more people and that can help build back their interest in both the sport and the team.

2. Change the Playoff TV Times:

Start the playoff games at hours when most people can stay up to watch the entire game. Cut down on the introductory talk (not a half hour) and limit the commercials so the games do not go three hours.

Changes coming in the next contract are going to make the game quite different. I imagine that many of the guarantee contracts are going to be bargained away and that will lead to more inspiration out of players and probably more despotic moves by owners.

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Yankees’ Loyalty

Yankee fans, baseball fans, sports fans don’t you get tired of seeing players jump from team to team.

Don’t you root for teams because of who is on them?

Don’t you want to have the same guys and women on the team for a period of time.

Isn’t it sad when a beloved player leaves your team.

Fox sports writes about the stupidity of replacing Johnny Damon with Randy Winn.

Others argue about agents like Scott Boras or teams’ crying about being in the financial poorhouse.

I agree with all these sentiments. What hurts the most is the revolving door. Winn might be a great guy and a decent player, but we now have to start a new relationship with this guy who we don’t really know. Worse, we lose our relationship with a guy we really liked.

What we like about celebrity, and sports stars are celebrities, is the kinship we develop with the person.

For Yankee fans it was bad enough we watched Phil Coke and Melky Cabrera be traded away.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta] We also witnessed the World Series MVP leave town too.

Movie Stars and Athletes

An intriguing article on Alex Rodriguez and his latest tribulations.

a_rod

The writer suggests ARod needs to get a handle on who he is and be that. Easier said then done.

He’s right that movie stars can’t be seen as cheaters in the way that athletes can.

They can have affairs and leave one woman for another (as long as their in the same star orbit) and face little condemnation whereas everyone jumped on ARod for leaving the wife.

They can jump on couches and get arrested for driving while intoxicated (as long as they don’t issue racist/anti-semetic remarks while gonig to the police station).

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