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Why Is The Media Giving Urban Meyer A Pass?

“In those reports, his record at Ohio State was mentioned 100% of the time. Nowhere in those reports was the controversial nature in which he exited Ohio State.”

Seth Everett

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Despite the hopeful inauguration of a new President this week, the sports media is just as fractured as the country that we live in. 

This column was planned last weekend when it was revealed that the Jacksonville Jaguars were hiring former college coach and FOX Sports broadcaster Urban Meyer.  During the media cycle of tweets, articles, podcasts, radio shows the media rushed to break the news. In those reports, his record at Ohio State was mentioned 100% of the time.  Nowhere in those reports was the controversial nature in which he exited Ohio State.

6 takeaways from Jaguars HC Urban Meyer's introductory press conference -  Big Cat Country

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, and countless other media outlets all omitted his administrative leave in 2018. The tweets I saw weren’t about Meyer not reporting his own assistant coach for abusing his spouse.

Less than a full week after, ESPN broke a story that New York Mets general manager Jared Porter sent inappropriate texts to a reporter.  The story was trending instantly and before 9 am the next morning, Porter had been fired by the Mets. 

The incident between Porter and the reporter where he sent 62 unanswered texts to a reporter was in 2016. Meyer was put on administrative leave by Ohio State in 2018, and that wasn’t touched by any media outlet. Why the inequality?

If the reason is that baseball writers are more socially conscious than football reporters then I have trouble thinking that there is no one in the media in the city of Jacksonville that had an issue with Meyer’s arrival.

“You lose a lot of respect for Urban (Meyer),” Ohio State alum and longtime radio host Bill Michaels told me this week on my Sports with Friends podcast. “And he’s had transgressions in the past. If you watch the Aaron Hernandez story down in Florida, he knew some of things going on behind the scenes regarding Aaron Hernandez.”

“He is a prime example of an incredible motivator of men, an incredible gatherer of leaders of men, and incredible strategist when it comes to leading,” Micahels added. “But when it comes to the day-to-day concern of people, don’t upset the apple cart of the program because its my program and it’s a whole as opposed to the individual warts on the whole. He looks the other way.  That is a crime, and that is a shame. To me, that’s the cowards’ way out.”

Maybe it is football in general.  One of the hottest rumors in the NFL coaching carousel is Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy. He has been linked to half a dozen NFL jobs this offseason. 

Bienemy may be a fantastic football coach, but the only reports I’ve seen about his not getting hired have to do with his race as a potential reason for him not getting a head coaching job. His multiple arrests don’t get written about mostly.  

Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy joins growing list of names in the Eagles coaching  search - nj.com

Most of his transgressions were from his playing days both in college and the pros. I’m not saying he can’t be hired, but shouldn’t it be a factor in judgement?

Bieiemy has been arrested multiple times but the one arrest that floored me was in 1993, when he was allegedly harassing a female parking attendant. The Orlando Sentinel wrote then that in the police report, while with his friends, Bieniemy put his hand on the attendant’s neck, startling her. She told police he also made a comment about “a bunch of black males all at once being her worst nightmare.”

Nowadays, that’s not in any media reports.  Andy Reid told Brian Mitchell on ESPN 980 in DC that, “”There’s nobody that’s a better leader of men than Eric Bieniemy. Nobody. He is tremendous, and for an organization to have him be a part of that and to just take off and run with that is an owner’s dream.”

Try finding a story about Jared Porter that focuses on his work in baseball front offices without his recent firing. Porter will forever be linked to his scandal.  Meyers, Bienemy not so much.

If Porter’s legacy is connected to his indiscretions (rightly so), why aren’t Biemeny and Meyer held to the same standard? The countless articles, talk show segments, and podcasts about Porter being a scumbag are all justified.

Can I please see one reporter say or write that Meyer should not be a leader of men?

At the end of the day, Urban Meyer will be judged on his winning record in Jacksonville. Reporters will write novellas on if his coaching style translates to the pro game.

Over the course of my career, I’ve created the “Seth Everett No-Interview List.” It’s my list, and I can refuse to interview whomever I want, for various reasons that are mine and mine alone. Curt Schilling, Aubrey Huff, Manny Ramirez are a few characters over the years that I have actually turned down interviews with. (Anyone who doesn’t know why can ask me on Twitter, I’m quite transparent, and not very shy.)

Urban Meyer will not be on any broadcast that I’m a part of. The only question I would ask is one no one asked him at his Jaguars introductory press conference.

Urban Meyer explains how he views taking Ohio State staff to Jacksonville  and why he came back to coaching - cleveland.com

Why did you not stop your assistant coach from (allegedly) beating his wife? No football question tops that.

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BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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