During an interview with SI.com last week, Ward was thoughtful about her time in college football. She dealt with more vitriol than possibly any college football announcer short of Craig James, the latter far more deserving of wrath. How did Ward deal with the many websites that chronicled her every broadcasting move? "Mostly by ignoring it," she said. "When I first started, I was sensitive of that and made the mistake of reading the stuff. But in talking to other colleagues who have gone through it, I basically started ignoring it, which is the best way to deal with it because it is just ridiculous, most of it. And it's not just me. When people blog and post, they are not going to say nice things.
"But I do feel I am the only broadcaster who has to be perfect, and nobody is perfect. And even when I don't make mistakes, people perceive them to be mistakes or biases. I've even had people tell me I was criticized for doing a game I did not do. It is absurd. I know it is part of the culture now, but I think the best way to deal with it is to ignore it. I think it is pathetic and mean-spirited and it did not deserve to be addressed. So I did not address it."
I asked Ward if she would ask ESPN to reconsider its decision at the end of the season. "I would hope, and this was part of my conversation with Ed Placey and others at ESPN, is that they would keep an open mind about things," she said. "As you know, a lot of times, historically speaking, when you are reassigned, you usually don't go back. But there are exceptions. I asked them to keep an eye on me and keep an open mind. That is all anyone can ask. I would hope I have not called my last football game. Under the right circumstances, I would like to do it again, and it does make me sad that I might have called my last football game."
Ward continues to call college softball for the network and is assigned this month to the College World Series. She will also continue as a play-by-play voice for the network's WNBA and women's basketball coverage, and has also picked up some women's college soccer for ESPN and the Longhorn Network
Mowins is now on an island as the only female calling college football. Will Ward's removal have a chilling effect for those women who want to follow in her path? "I hope not, but now it's just Beth," Ward said. "So you look and you see the entire female workforce doing it has been cut by 50 percent. That's not exactly encouraging."
This was the group behind the HBO Sports feature on Lolo Jones that turbo-charged the U.S. hurdler into the national sports conversation. Jones grew up with an imprisoned father, and she, her mother and four siblings occasionally lived in a church basement in Des Moines. But it was the frank, on-camera discussion of her virginity that received the most buzz, even though she had revealed that news months earlier on her Twitter account.
"I was as interested in her willingness to tweet something that personal as I was in her love life," Carillo said from Paris, where she is calling the French Open for NBC and The Tennis Channel. "We got to spend a pretty good amount of time with Lolo and she was warm and welcoming, funny and self deprecating. But I rather quickly became her unsolicited spiritual adviser and told her I worried that with all the rude, crude wing nuts out there in the Twitter sphere, she might not want to share such things with perfect (and imperfect) strangers. But does anyone listen to me? No. Last I'd heard, Lolo's
Carillo continued: "Surely the reasons for her virginity going viral are very much wrapped up in her stunning looks. Her father is African-American and Native American Indian, her mother is Norwegian and German. Lolo has mocha skin, piercing green eyes, a lithe body built for speed. She's also smart, funny, rich, and, by your standard hurdler standards, famous. She's also crowding 30. Not many people with that combination of characteristics seem willing to wait for marriage."
Carillo said she and Downes, the lead producer on the piece, knew that what they had would be newsworthy. Downes and associate producer Teal worked on the first drafts of the script before Carillo did the narration. If you have HBO, it's worth checking out the feature, smartly done as always by that program. Here's a schedule
Beadle said her former employer, ESPN, made legit attempts to keep her, but no job at the network was enough for her to stay. "We all know that Colin [Cowherd, her SportsNation co-host] is done with
The Buccigross signing was low radar, but ESPN made a nice call retaining one of its professional voices with a multi-year deal. He'll co-host the 11 p.m. ET
Van Pelt was romanced by NBC Sports, but ESPN is a better fit for him given its many platforms and Van Pelt's connection with that audience. His radio show with Ryen Russillo is engaging, devoid of the Gong Show-inspired antics we see on
"If you are curious why I stayed, there were a number of factors, one of which was the golf crew that is literally like my family," Van Pelt said. "I could not have walked away from Andy North, [producer] Mike McQuade and that crew. The radio piece could have been replicated somewhere else in theory, but not with this group, and I would not want to do the show without Ryen. Radio takes a long time to click with people, and though we are only three years in, we think we are getting to the point where people get us."
College football is where Van Pelt plans to branch out as part of his new deal. "The tricky thing is how much I respect the people currently in the roles, and I am not angling to take anyone's job," he said. "At the same time, I am trying to find a place to pitch in. An example likely will be a small handful of
A word of advice for Skip Bayless, the cacophonous leader of ESPN2's morning Gong Show: If you are going to brag about going Pete Maravich on teams in high school, it's probably better if that's accurate, especially when you've made a lot of cash blasting athletes for being frauds. Showing Woodward and Bernstein initiative, The Lost Ogle.com, an Oklahoma-City based website, did the legwork
On the plus side was the addition of Brad Friedel to its Champions League finals coverage. The longtime U.S. national team goaltender is the current stopper for Premier League club Tottenham. He was funny and engaging, deeply knowledgeable about the players, and transparent to the point of admitting that he wanted Bayern Munich to win so his club could advance to the Champions League next year. In a recent profile of Freidel, SI's Grant Wahl reported that his contract with Spurs runs through 2012--13, then he'll re-evaluate. With FOX gearing up its coverage with an eye toward the 2018 World Cup, Friedel should get serious consideration for some role.
The more reckless comments were regarding New Orleans, which Cowherd called the least safe major city in America. This has become a Cowherd specialty: spew some nonsense socio-economic take that often flies in
What's fascinating about all this flotsam is that the more Cowherd talks, the more his star rises in Bristol. Last week, colleagues
I should have paid more attention then, but what's clear right now is that this is Cowherd's world we're living in, just another young, cheap person getting it done in the sports media.