ESPN releases statement on Feldman, prays gullible swallow it whole

14 Comments

At 7:16 p.m. ET Thursday, SportsByBrooks.com posted a story on ESPN indefinitely suspending highly-respected college football writer Bruce Feldman for his participation in Mike Leach‘s new book, Swing Your Sword.

Shortly after that story broke, both Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports.com and Richard Deitsch of SI.com received “no comments” from the network after asking for confirmation to Brooks’ story.  CFT sent three different emails to ESPN seeking a confirmation/denial on the story, but those missives went unanswered.  In fact, there were zero on- or off-the-record comments from the network on the situation to anyone that we are aware of even as #freebruce and “Bruce Feldman” nearly blowed upthanks, Emmitt — Twitter, until…

At a little after 3 p.m. ET Friday, and nearly 20 hours after the story first broke, ESPN released a statement on Feldman’s status.  And, apparently with a straight face and everything, claimed there was never a situation in the first place.  The following is ESPN’s official statement on the uproar, although we’d strongly urge donning a pair of quality hip waders before reading:

“There was never any suspension or any other form of disciplinary action. We took the time to review his upcoming work assignments in light of the book to which he contributed and will manage any conflicts or other issues as needed.   Bruce has resumed his assignments.”

Additionally, ESPN released a companion video to accompany the written statement:

Of course, all ESPN’s “statement” did was lead to additional questions, namely…

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why did it take ESPN and its myriad mouthpieces and platforms nearly a full day to address something that one ESPNer labeled a “danger [of Twitter]: rumor presented as fact.”

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why were “no comments” given to major media outlets seeking information on the reported suspension?  If one of the dangers of Twitter is rumor being presented as fact, why was it allowed to sit out there and grow when there were many members of the media willing to put out the fire of false speculation?

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why was it necessary to note that “Bruce has resumed his assignments”?

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken, why has Feldman, who has not gone a single day without tweeting at least once since before Dec. 1 of last year, gone Twitter dark since the evening of July 13?

Of course, we’ll never get any answers to these questions, or any others that have evolved from this latest black eye for the network.  Instead, all we’ll get is the same thing we’ve gotten from the World Wide Leader for more than a decade when it comes to internal hypocrisy…

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

1 Comment

Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
1 Comment

It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.