Louisville player mistakes TV sideline reporter for spy

Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 6:53 AM



Icon Sports Wire/Corbis via Getty Images

It was a case of mistaken identity. Friday night Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino assured one of his players that the woman on the sidelines near the Cardinals’ huddle Friday night was not a spy, but a television reporter.

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Pitino, whose team advanced in the NCAA tournament with a 78-63 victory against Jacksonville State, said one of his players mistakenly thought CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson was stealing plays Friday for Jacksonville State.

"This is a very inexperienced team," Pitino told reporters. "We're down two scholarships. Our backcourt is a little thin. Show you how inexperienced we are, one of my players said, 'There's a lady in the huddle stealing our plays.' It's Tracy Wolfson."

CBS' Wolfson said via Twitter she found Pitino's assertion humorous, ESPN reported, although the coach apparently was not joking.

"They thought she was giving it to the other team," Pitino said. "I told [sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell], she's not doing that.”

Opinion: The ESPN we used to enjoy is dead and never coming back

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 11:36 PM

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The worst thing that ever happened to ESPN was the success of PTI.

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Shortly after Pardon The Interruption debuted in October 2001, the network set about trying to replicate it on every other show on the network.

That has proven to be a disaster because nobody in Bristol gets the debate isn’t what makes that show great, it’s the debaters.

Tony Kornheiser and Michal Wilbon, not just colleagues but friends who genuinely seem to love arguing with each other about things they’ve actually put some thought into, have a unique rapport that can’t be copied easily.

And yet more than 15 years later, the people running ESPN continue to try in vain.

Collateral damage in this war against people who want good content has been mounting for years, and Wednesday was one of the worst as the company parted ways with a bunch of people who actually do good work and produce things worth consuming (mostly for their website) in an effort to offset financial losses wrought by spending more than they can afford on the rights to broadcast live sports.

If you wondered if the product on ESPN was ever going to get better, the answer is now clear.

For the most part, it appears ESPN kept the carnival barkers while cutting many of the people who actually gather the information people like Stephen A. Smith hyperventilate about.

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There’s a theory out there that mixing in too many liberal political messages has hurt the network’s bottom line, but I’m not sure I buy that. Of course, I don’t watch it enough to know just how liberal those messages are. It could be true. It’s probably at least a small factor.

I can’t imagine skewing in one direction politically helps, and I believe the whole stick to sports thing is actually good advice most of the time.

Not that everyone isn’t entitled to their opinion and encouraged to share it whenever they want, but there are a lot of sports fans who really don’t want political commentary in their sports.

And that’s a very fair request, at least 99 percent of the time. There are plenty of sources for news, politics and whatever else, but ESPN has the market cornered on live sports. So feel free to be obstinate, but don’t be surprised if there are consequences. 

Responding to consumer demand is important in any business, but ESPN hasn’t made a habit of that lately.

As often as they take a former athlete off the street and throw him or her into the studio – or worse yet, onto a broadcast – with no experience and much to learn about how to actually express themselves in an informative and entertaining manner, it’s clear ESPN doesn’t care about the quality of what it puts out there.

So at this point I assume if ESPN is having ratings problems (they are), it’s mostly because their product sucks.

I assume they’re cutting people from their website because it doesn’t generate much revenue in the grand scheme of things. The people who have run the network so poorly probably also figure whatever money the web does bring in can probably be maintained mostly by posting viral clips from their terrible sports opinion shows anyway.

Maybe I’m making a lot of assumptions for someone who gave up on ESPN long ago, but actually watching ESPN didn’t used to be essential in appreciating it.

I grew up without cable, but I knew all about SportsCenter.

There was no Twitter to make the catchphrases of Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Stuart Scott, et al, go viral as they might today, but ESPN became a cultural icon in the 1990s anyway.

That was, oddly enough, because they presented sports in a fun and entertaining way. 

A lot of the good stuff was still there when I finally got cable in 2001 (dorm livin’, baby!), but it didn’t last long.

Within about three years, I quit watching for the most part (aside from live events and PTI), and nothing since has indicated I’m missing much. Certainly social media gives few endorsements, and neither have I found the few snippets I catch here and there appealing.

That’s why I keep coming to the same conclusion.

ESPN is dead and never coming back. Today is just one of the sadder reminders. 

ESPN lays off 100 employees including on-air talent, reporters

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 3:34 PM

(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)
Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN

Cable sports network ESPN is expected to lay off close to 100 employees on Wednesday.

Several on-air personalities and reporters have already been notified.

“Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent -- anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play -- necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement to employees.

Below are messages from a few broadcasters and reporters affected by Wednesday’s decision:

ESPN laid off around 300 employees in October 2015.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rumored to have left hefty tip at restaurant

Published: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 @ 8:39 PM

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich left a hefty tip while in Memphis, Tennessee, last week, according to a post on the social aggregation site Reddit

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The Express News reported about the post, which originally showed an image of a receipt that indicated Popovich left a $5,000 tip on a bill for $815.73, at McEwens, a restaurant that serves American food. 

According to the report, the handwriting on the receipt matches Popovich's. The bill was from Friday, April 21.

“Coach Popovich has been in our restaurant in the past multiple times,” McEwen's owner Bert Smithe told mySA.com

Smithe would not say if Popovich dined at the restaurant at the time on the receipt.

“We don't discuss anything that goes on when VIPs are in the building,” he said.

Sports Illustrated reported that the image posted to Reddit has since been deleted, but the Express News took a screen shot of the image.

Both publications reported that Popovich has been rumored to have left a hefty tip before.

Reports: Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush group agrees on deal to buy Miami Marlins

Published: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 @ 4:38 PM

A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have joined forces in their attempt to buy the Miami Marlins. The person confirmed the partnership on condition of anonymity because Jeter and Bush have not commented.
(Steven Senne, Andrew Harnik, File/AP Photo)/AP

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has reached an agreement to sell the team to a group of investors that includes New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, according to a report from the Miami Herald on Tuesday afternoon.

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There are "other details to be worked out," but that deal would have to be approved by Major League Baseball, according to an MLB source.

The source told the Herald that Bush and Jeter's group has agreed to pay $1.3 billion for the team.

Though both the Marlins and the purchasing group are confident that the deal will get done, the actual process could take months to finalize.

The MLB source suggested that Bush, who recently ran for the Republican nomination for president, plans to be the Marlins’ “control person,” or the individual who would have ultimate control over franchise decisions.

The report suggests that Jeter, too, will have an active role with the team.

This news comes just hours after Marlins president David Samson ripped to shreds a Forbes magazine report suggesting that the Bush/Jeter group was the only one interested in buying the team. Forbes had reported earlier in the day that another potential ownership group — this one including Tagg Romney, son of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine was out of the running to buy the Marlins.

“As with most things published by Forbes regarding the Miami Marlins,” Samson told the Herald, “this most recent story is also inaccurate. There are inaccuracies contained in each paragraph.”