Sunday, August 14, 2011

Open Letter to Washington, D.C.


Hi Senators and Congressmen:

You suck. No, really, you suck. All of you. You truly suck the big one.

The rest of the media, and perhaps the blogosphere as well, has taken it easy on you, either praising your compromise on the debt or spinning it for what it is: a simple slowing down of the debt accumulation. Has anyone really taken you to task though, held you accountable, except for a select few?

You play fast and loose with other people's money. You give no thought to repaying it. You've already insured the growth of the debt. Eventually it will eat into the things we need the most, healthcare and retirement income. But you don't care.

Your retirements are already funded by our tax dollars, which you spent in part bailing out Chrysler, GM, God knows how many banks and investment houses and a major insurer you deemed too big to fail.

I guess that makes the rest of us too small to succeed. Are you going to bail out small businesses? Individual homeowners? The homeless? The uninsured?

If my neighbor fails on his mortgage, loses his job, loses his income, loses everything, are you going to bail him out? No, wait...

Have any of you gotten out of your limos and walked the streets with the rest of us, observed how we work so hard for so little? We do. You don't know what it feels like to schlep back and forth to work, pay the bills, make ends meet, save up for our kids' college funds and have something left over to go to the movies, maybe a ballgame, maybe rent a video and order in a pizza.

We don't have the discretionary income for it, for the most part. Most households have $120 of discretionary income a month. Meanwhile, it would take more than $120,000 per American to erase the national debt. That's about how much you guys have to raise in campaign funds every few months by kissing corporate and special-interest asses.

You'd be fired in American business. You should be fired now. As in firing squad. You wouldn't manage your own businesses or households like you manage the national budget. Your bosses would can you, your spouses would disown you.

Get the debt eliminated, not slowed. Call a debt-consolidation service. Call Peter Francis Geraci, the bankruptcy attorney, or listen to him at It would be more than what you guys have done now.

Clinton erased the Bush/Reagan deficits. You can do it now too, if you ever stop holding the national debt and the economy hostage, which you do to have each other to blame for it come election time.

Assholes. You really suck. No, really. All of you.



Monday, May 30, 2011

Time to get caught up

It's time to get caught up. I've been away from the blog for too long. And a lot's wrong here in Chicago.

For one, hey, Cubs, remind us why you hired Mike Quade as manager. Because he finished up a bunch of meaningless ballgames last year going 24-13 as interim skipper (which he did). Because he seemed caring and easy to approach for the players (which he is). Because he's a nice guy (which he is). Because he's a career baseball guy who deserved his shot (which he did; We think).

Once again another Chicago sports franchise hired someone who did great as an interim and can't tie his shoelaces as a permanent. The last two real managers came within a whisper and a yell of the World Series, respectively, in the playoffs (without tickets) three times in eight years, and shoulda' been a fourth if the Cubs hadn't spent the '04 season blaming everyone for their mishaps except themselves.

You get what you pay for. The Cubs have a nice guy and dedicated players. And, once again, can't win for losing. Or sell out consistently anymore either.

Give me Ozzie Guillen and his fiery passion anyday. I'll put up with the f-bombs.

Which is what Scottie Pippen is getting these days. Not-so-smart comments about LeBron James being the best ever, better than MJ. Better than MJ! Isn't that a rock band? Whatever, Scottie should just be stoned for that comment.

Or should he? Did he say what he meant to say or did he speak in a context so contorted no one understood him? Did he mean to say LeBron will be the best ever if he keeps involving others the way he does, especially on a team so front-loaded with talent? Scottie was always Robin to Jordan's Batman. But LeBron, he's Superman (no, that's Dwight Howard). LeBron, OK, he's Spiderman to D-Wade's Green Lantern. Pretty equal. Chris Bosh? He's gotta' be the Green Hornet in this scenario.

Jordan never had a legion of superheroes to help him out. Just Pippen. He and Pip were the only ones on all six Bulls' title teams. And Pippen was always second fiddle. So no wonder he sounded off the way he did. Maybe he wasn't dissing Jordan. Maybe he was just complimenting James. LeBron isn't the best ever.

Yet. But with some luck, and the next Phil Jackson coaching him, he just might be.

Next week, we'll tackle the problems with NY sports.

Uh, no we won't.

Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media, with his first edition due out next year. He's an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where creativity and learning are embraced hand-in-hand. And he still writes sports for the Daily Herald in Chicago's northwest suburbs.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pay it Forward

Today's blog is dedicated to my Advanced Sports Reporting students. Well, most of 'em...

I need to thank a lot of people as the school year winds down and dis a lot of people as the school year winds down.

Let's get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first: praising people.

Thank you, Brad, for making the transition for me into JSM editor as smooth as you could possibly make it. Someone likes you. I received seven submissions before I even put the word out I was taking over. Now, if I could just find a book reviewer...

Thank you, Louise. I owe you one. You did what you were supposed to do, nothing more or less. No hard feelings.

Thank you, Doreen. You kept things flowing and who woulda' "thunk" you'd be the reigning dean in longevity when you stepped down. Your tenure was as fluid as it was long. Congrats.

Thank you, Steve. You have a future in higher education. Stay with it.

Thank you, Mary, for hours and hours and hours of tireless copy editing. Not just editing, but the kind that makes other people's work better. Your classmates appreciate your class. As do I.

Thank you, Sarah. Somehow, some way, I laugh when I read your blog. Southern Belles ain't the ladies they be cranked up to be now, are they? Well, not always.

Thank you, resident grad student. I threw you a bone. You turned it into a three-course meal and more and helped out fellow students trying to do the same. Very selfless.

Thank you Cy Cy. You rescued others and put their interests ahead of your own. That is the kind of thing future great journalists are made of.

Thank you, Carolyn. Your next Wine Basket gift is en route (jk). It will be coming for Christmas. I'm not here doing what I'm doing and loving every gratifying minute of it if not for you.

Thank you, Mike. With your help, B-T-G got off on the right foot.

Thank you, Deborah Harry. You remain my blond ambition. And inspiration. Thank you, Vicki, my muse, even though you remain at "the heart of it all," as it says on the license plates, in Ohio. May your three girls continue to thrive.

Thank you, Clio. Could there ever be another as sweet as you? Loving, caring, attentive, asking only for the same in return. And cuter than any who came before you. You may have never been in the show, but you'll always be my "Best of Show." When you get to the final destination, your bark will come back, louder, bolder and better than ever. Although it could never top your heart.

Thanks, Jess. Great to see you the other day. You're OK. For a lawyer.

Thanks, Joss. You remain selfless, no matter how much your demons sneak attack.

OK, enough praise. Time for the crabby award handouts.

For those here who rode the "el" way past its final stop, dynamite in hand trying to pave a path well after it had already been marked and dug, may you sit on the dynamite. Lit dynamite. You know who you are.

For those still in silos, look up, dig out and be aware of what's around you. The rest of the world is coming. Are you ready? You know who you are.

For those who think 3 equals 6 and a 7 & 7 needs three fruit garnishes on the side, time to go back to the drawing board. No, wait, unfortunately, you're already there...

For those training the future journalistic minds of tomorrow, tell 'em the truth - it's tough out there, and it's not going to feel fair sometimes as you job hunt. Remember, instead, to tell 'em what Jim Valvano said, something about never giving up, never, ever giving up.

For those out there taking a smoke break - stop. You're fouling the air I'm breathing too.

I could go on thanking many more and dissing many more, but I'm not even sure who all these quips refer to anymore. Which is probably a good thing, in case anybody asks. Like someone's lawyer...

In closing, to borrow from Phil Ochs, "The three men I admire most, the father, son and the holy ghost, they caught the last train for the coast, the day, the music, died..."

It didn't die. They just turned down the volume. Crank it up. Oh baby, crank it up. And thank you ASR for B-T-G 2011. Nice job. Love you all.

But don't let that influence your reviews. Good night, Gracie...

Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media, with his first edition due out next year. He's an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where creativity and learning are embraced hand-in-hand. And he still writes sports for the Daily Herald in Chicago's northwest suburbs.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Top 10 (12, 14, 16...whatever...) Reasons I'm A Lazy Blogger

I have a little problem.

I like to put things off. No, I mean really put things off. Like this blog: it's three weeks late and I'm always all over my students about making deadline. So, to make up for that, this is going to count for three blogs. And not just because I said so.

It's not going to be three times as long as usual to make up for being three weeks late. It's just going to count for three because it's going to be three times as good.

By the way, this blog is dedicated to Vicki in Ohio.

So, anyway, instead of writing my blog the last three weeks, I was attending to other things. I graded papers (and blogs). Hey, I'm a college professor.

I recruited others to play in my longstanding rotisserie (i.e., fantasy) baseball league. We're down to the bare-bottom required number of participants. Yikes, I'll have to play on ESPN with all the supposed know-it-alls.

Hey, I'm a sportswriter (Frank Deford says it's one word and that's good enough for me).

I've been reading and distributing submissions to "Journal of Sports Media," outstanding research papers regarding the very topic the title infers. I'm the new editor. There's a lot more to editing an academic research journal than I thought.

But hey, I'm a sportswriter (one word)-turned-college professor of sports reporting, as you might suppose.

And I want to thank Vicki in Ohio for inspiring this column. Uh, blog...

I've also been vacationing, sort of. Hiking hills outside Phoenix, and mountains, getting a workout and finding some activity to replace my usual morning workouts back home. Following teams in spring training too. Most of the players can be found in the bars and clubs of Scottsdale at night, tracking down the college girls out there on spring break and the local 20-somethings looking for high-salaried ballplayers to finance their way of life. For life.

Married ballplayers are not a problem for them. As long as they have money. And they do.

So I've been discovering the best that greater Phoenix has to offer in dining, entertainment and recreation. Even ran into some old friends and the parents of old friends and made some new friends (Vicki in Ohio, my new muse). Found out an old friend watches FOX News Channel. FOX News! Egads! What ya' don't know about some people. I'm getting her a CNN T-shirt for Christmas. She deserves it.

I also trained myself this past week in accessing TV through the Internet. Which totally sucks. Twenty-seven moves later and I was watching the NCAA Regional semifinals Thursday night. I think. Logitech, huh? Logi-test, more like it. I also got to access years-old episodes of "The Closer," "Monk," Fairly Legal" and "Royal Pains." No, wait, "Fairly Legal" is brand new, not years old and "Royal Pains" was not available for access. Interesting, but not fun after 57 moves on the Logitech keyboard.

I did badly hook my first golf swing since my shoulder surgery last May. Gonna' be an interesting summer on the links. Especially since I don't like to practice at the range. Maybe I can do something Tiger Woods can't - get Butch Harmon to coach me.

By the way, the Top 10 (12, 14. 16...) reasons you're an ineffective blogger include:
  • You procrastinate
  • You put things off
  • You can say all this in 140 characters on Twitter
  • You're not as motivated as Vicki in Ohio
  • You actually bothered to follow your now worthless NCAA bracket
  • You spent a whole night unsuccessfully trying to access the Northwestern-Washington State NIT quarterfinal game on Google TV via Logitech
  • You have a crush on Garcia on "Criminal Minds" and continually scan for reruns
  • You have a crush on Robin Meade (who doesn't?)
  • You procrastinate
  • You put things off so you can procrastinate on other things
I love blogging. Thanks for the assist, Vicki in Ohio.

I'd say so long, everybody, but I'm putting that off. Sort of like the Cubs winning a World Series.


Howard Schlossberg is editor of "Journal of Sports Media," a twice-annual compilation of the best of academia on the title topic. Send your submissions to him at He's also an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches Sports Reporting, among other classes and his students produce an award-winning magazine ( He likes to complain about other people breaking the rules and getting away with it. He loves his dog, Clio. And has a new muse in Ohio. He also writes sports for the Daily Herald (Paddock Publications), the largest suburban newspaper chain in Illinois and third-largest in the state.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What To Do, How To Do It, About...Everything

So, I've got this problem. No, not that problem...

...what should I write my blog about this week?
  • How about the National Football League and the inability of the grown men who play in it and do the coaching and administration of it to fairly split up $9 billion? Nine billion dollars! That's 9 billion. What the ...?
  • I know, how about what happens despite the best intentions of doctors, scientists, trainers, coaches, referees, rules makers and the people in charge of them all when athletes collide head-to-head and then forget what they were doing there. Like, forever...
  • How about, why did Dave Duerson kill himself? Kill himself? Why did a two-time Super Bowl safety and a proud, retired athlete and family man, just 50 years old, take a gun and kill himself? Was it the concussions? Or the aftermath thereof? Was it the violence of the game he played and loved or the violent men who made it so? I suppose it could've been worse. How? He could've played in the same era as James Harrison of the Steelers.
  • Why is it that all four major sports (hockey's No. 4, not NASCAR, you dummy) have their collective bargaining agreements expire within a year of each other? First time ever. Maybe all four sports will have to shut down. Cancel their postseasons, their championships. No Super Bowl. No Stanley Cup Finals (eh, no biggie, already happened and the Red Sox took advantage to win the World Series for the first time since there previously was no Stanley Cup Final - 86 years before that). No NBA Finals. No World Series (been there, done that too).
All because grown men can't split up a lot of money. Two billion dollars. Three billion. Nine billion. Does it make a difference?

What will you do if there's no NFL season? No MLB season? No hockey (celebrate actually on that one)? What if players had to take time off while billionaires decided just how much money they wanted to take back from their millionaire employees? What would you do in the meantime?

Watch college football (same old concussions)? Watch minor-league baseball (whoopee!). Watch your kids play soccer (there's a novel idea)? Develop a workout regime of your own? Discover (God forbid) your family? Do cultural (yuck) stuff? Join a bridge club? Play chess? Stalk Erin Andrews (no, strike that).

Travel? What's that? You already throw the family into the trailer every weekend and follow NASCAR around? Alas...

I've got it - UCF! No, wait, that's a concussion waiting to happen. Boxing? The same. WWE? Who doesn't love Smackdown? Raw? Wrestlemania? It's fixed, you say? Hasn't that happened in pro and college football and basketball anyway?

Hey, gambling, of course, gambling. Gimme' the Packers, lay the points. No, wait...

And kiss your fantasy sports good-bye too. No more computer drafts, or better yet, barroom drafts, and drafts, know what I mean? You might have to take your girlfriend out to dinner. Or dancing. Yeah, dancing. Remember how to do that?

"American Idol" or some trashy show like "Cake Boss" or "Say Yes To The Dress" on Monday nights in the fall is looking pretty good about now. You might get so hooked on it you won't go back to MNF when the NFL returns.

Yeah, the NFL, remember that? And SportsCenter. The Top 10 would be billiards shots and gymnastic floor routines. And the lead story on the nightly news would be who got eliminated on "Survivor" or "Celebrity Apprentice." Hopefully, it was Rod Blagojevich.

But just to keep things in balance, maybe they should donate his brain to science too for further study.

Like, now, maybe?

DeMaurice, Roger, good luck. Call when you have something.


Howard Schlossberg (hbssports) is editor of "Journal of Sports Media," the only publication totally dedicated to groundbreaking academic research in the field. He's also an Associate Professor of Journalism at Columbia College Chicago and is a sports correspondent for The Daily Herald, a Chicago-area metro daily. He is the author of two books.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just Me and the F'Kowie Tribe

Little is known about the F'Kowie Indians. So few are left they don't even have casinos. It is believed that discovering their secret, sacred stones - which resembled dice - will lead you to wealth and good fortune on gambling tables. So, while the bold treasure-hunters among us continue to search for their secrets, think about this...

Anyone notice that ESPN's Sports Reporters show on Sunday morning, for the first time I can remember, featured an entirely African-American panel on its four-member set? Maybe they've done that before, I don't know. But it was the first time I'd noticed.

Maybe it was because February is Black History Month. Maybe it was because that was just the way their rotating panel of contributors shaped up that week. Maybe it was because if you just listened to the show instead of watching it, you wouldn't have known the ethnic origin of the quartet.

Now, this is where you're expecting a patronizing remark to the effect of how it's about time they did this. No, instead, this is the patronizing remark about how much I enjoyed it and how much I didn't miss regular panelist Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News cut off and interrupt everyone so as to deliver his rant on everything (he's an expert on whatever it is, just ask him).

What I am going to say though is that ESPN doesn't have to wait for Black History Month to feature a panel such as this. Whether it's Barry Bonds or Satchel Paige, Warren Moon or Cam Newton, Rafer Johnson or Michael Johnson, Walter Payton or Peyton Hillis, the time is never wrong to be retrospective about the black athletic experience and legacy in this country.

Except I must have missed the commentary where they cited a piece by former ESPN'er Dan Patrick, who, in an interview with Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis, got the rookie's revelation that he regularly gets trash talk from opposing black players to the effect of, "You ain't runnin' on us today, white boy," or something to that direction.

Now then, if white defensive players had said that to a black running back, do you sort of wonder if the NFL investigation by the commissioner's office would still be ongoing? And can you imagine where the football media would've gone with a story like that? They'd still be camped out at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's door awaiting judgment on the situation. And the columns and blogs would be merciless.

I'm just sayin' all. Now, before we resume the search for the all-knowing, all-seeing F'Kowie...


...Baseball teams are at spring training and the sports writing flow of words and columns and blogs is as slathering as ever. All over, the optimism spews, with repeated chants of how good "we" look this year, how much better "we" look this year, how much improved "our" pitching is this year and how "we" can't be overlooked as a legitimate division contender this year. Yes, it's "we," because you and the sports writer on the beat are part of the team and don't you forget it.


Each off-season acquisition has the sports scribes who follow their local teams making World Series reservations already. And did you know Albert Pujols is joining the Cubs? Well, maybe next year. Did you know The White Sox are the pick to dethrone the Twins in the A.L. Central? OK, maybe the Tigers will do it. Except their slugger, Miguel Cabrera, just got busted again. Don't worry, despite that and the media whiplash he's experiencing, he'll bust some balls over walls too. He always does, no matter how much trouble he's in over how much booze he allegedly had in his car.

Did you know the Orioles loaded up with free agents and are serious this year? Yes, that's right, the Yankees and Red Sox might even take them seriously for 4 or 5 of the 19 games they each play against them. And Tampa Bay, well, watch out. With retirement-home residents Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, they are the da' bomb this season. Except neither one of them can run like the departed Carl Crawford (Red Sox) or pitch like the departed Rafael Soriano (Yankees) or Matt Garza (Cubs). The Rays are dead in the water. Just ask the media.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are making comebacks this year. In court. We'll find out which one of them has been lying about steroids, let alone affairs with teenage country recording stars and travel privileges with personal trainers and concubines, respectively. Somebody close down the Hall of Fame for a while - nothing but Steroid Era guys coming up for eligibility for the next few years anyway. And we all know the sports reporting community that votes on their admission has made up its collective mind that they ain't gettin' in.

And will someone tell me why it's such a big deal that Kerry Wood is back with the Cubs? He was supposed to be the next great thing after he struck out 20 Houston Astros in 1998. Instead, his prospectively greatest moments went up in smoke when he blew the biggest game of his career in the 2003 National League Championship Series against Florida. The Cubs were headed for the World Series when he let the lowly Marlins complete an improbable comeback and win game 7. The media blamed it on manager Dusty Baker for overusing the injury-prone right-hander. In reality, it doesn't really matter how he used Wood, because the Cubs aren't even in game 7 without Dusty's "managing." And they would've won it if not for Wood's faulty pitching that night. And "overused" Mark Prior's the previous night. And a guy named 'Bartman.'

That's all Dusty Baker's fault too, y'know.

Now Wood's back with the Cubs, finishing up his journeyman career as a middle reliever plagued by a surgically interrupted career that otherwise kept him from being a Hall-of-Fame starter. Big news. Big news indeed. I'd rather they'd have brought back Dusty Baker to manage the club. Y'know, the Dusty Baker who won the division last year with the Reds. Yeah, that Dusty Baker.

So, go Cubs go. And take the Kerry Wood fan club with ya', please.

Sort of like the legend of the ever-lost, ever-wandering F'Kowie... where the heck are they anyway?


Howard Schlossberg is editor of "The Journal of Sports Media," a twice yearly publication dedicated solely to academic research on the impact of sports coverage. He teaches journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where's he an Associate Professor and is a Sports Correspondent for the "Daily Herald," a major metro in Chicago's suburbs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Those Nasty F-Bombs

Those nasty f-bombs. They are everywhere.

I hear them uttered while I'm walking through the mall, with all kinds of accents attached to them, from unknown Eastern European to something South American.

I hear them on TV, if I'm watching something racy on HBO, that is.

I hear them, or better yet, see them mouthed on TV, along the sidelines of a football game by a coach whose team just got burned by a penalty flag or a challenged call not overturned. Cameras are oh so quick to zoom in on the colorful coach who TV directors calling the shots and camera angles from the truck know are mouthing something unprintable.

Rex Ryan, says the director, we love you. We can't hear what you're saying, we can't retransmit what you're saying and we can't let our announcers and sideline reporters repeat what they know you just said. But we can let our viewers, ages 9 to 90, watch you mouth the f-bomb.
Networks live for these moments. Or so it seems. It's ESPN's Jon Gruden as he guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship. It's Ozzie Guillen, as he rants over a call against his White Sox or angrily laments over the firing of his son from the Sox organization because his son tweeted something as foul as Ozzie often launches aloud.
We laugh. We repeat the word aloud. In our living rooms, comfortably ensconced on our couches and recliners. We chuckle over it. We profess admiration and respect for the athletes and coaches who don't hesitate to utter an f-bomb when it suits them over a play that has gone against them.

It's gotten so commonplace in sports that it has completely spilled over into life. Hey, if it's OK for some of our sporting heroes to mumble f-bombs that are easily recognized by even the most-casual of lip readers watching live on a Sunday afternoon or in prime time, then we figure it's OK for us to do it too. And our kids.

Athletes and sportsmen profess to not be role models. Yet, they mutter the f-bomb word regularly and follow it up with a "WTF."

WTF? What the (f-bomb) does that mean? Uh, that's exactly what it means. Athletes and coaches are the people Americans look up to, yet they f-bomb away freely, on HBO documentary specials covering football teams in training camp or, as aforementioned, along the sidelines when questioning what they feel is a bad call or what should become or should have become an overturned call upon the flinging of the f-bombing challenge flag.

Fans in front of their TVs and all throughout sold-out stadiums and high school gyms utter the word over and over. Sometimes they use the "push it" chant in unison to simulate their feelings for a call with which they disagree. "Push it, push it."

Get it, get it?

So, next time your 9-year old lets an f-bomb rip or mutters "WTF" when asking what this sordid-looking vegetable is you're trying to get him or her to eat, remember, they either got it listening to you yell at the TV when a call went against your team or when the coach or manager made a questionable decision with which you disagreed.

Or they watched Rex Ryan or Ozzie Guillen repeat it over and over.

Funny, I watched Rex Ryan play ball in high school when he roamed sideline to sideline for his alma mater, Stevenson, in Lincolnshire, Ill. Don't recall hearing him say the f-bomb then, although he likely did under his breath, trash-talking an opponent out of earshot of a referee. I've heard it all walking the sidelines at football games, from coaches, players and most definitely fans.

Schools and park districts have instituted rules that spectators and participants for that matter can't utter language like that and get away with it. There will be a penalty, a technical foul, maybe a dismissal from the game.

As fans cheer the offender being chased off the field, someone, somewhere in the arena is asking, "WTF?" But when it's your turn, don't forget to carefully craft your answer to your kid when he or she inquires about the dismissal of said player, coach or fan by asking you the same thing. And don't have a surprised look on your face when that happens while your kid has an innocent look and the built-in excuse that he lip-read Rex Ryan and Ozzie Guillen doing it.

I mean, after all, WTF?

Howard Schlossberg is editor of the "Journal of Sports Media," a twice yearly academic research-based publication featuring the latest and best on trends in the genre from the best minds studying it in the industry. He's also an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago and a sports correspondent for "The Daily Herald," a Paddock Publications product out of Arlington Heights, Ill. And he ain't gonna' let any WTF-bombs get into the journal either.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stupor Bowl Memories...

Cherished moments from SB XLV:

Take it from the top, which Christina Aguilera should do. Thank you, Christina, for reinventing the lyrics to the national anthem. The freakin' national anthem, girlfriend! Sorry, but Maurice Cheeks wasn't there to bail you out. And thanks to you, now, for future Super Bowls, the national anthem will have to be prerecorded and lip-sync'd. If I want a real offbeat interpretation of the anthem, I'll call up my Jose Feliciano version from the World Series a few decades ago.

Speaking of musical interpretations, loved the Super Bowl halftime show, but is it over yet? Anyone else they're gonna' trot out? Maybe Smokey Robinson? Robby Robinson? Sugar Ray Robinson? Tell 'em to turn on Fergie's mike next time. And You're not. I am hereby nominating Cheap Trick for next year's halftime show. Rock icons, legacy band, don't need Slash and Usher to make 'em complete. Sound as good live as they do in the studio. Plus, they're from Rockford, Ill., so at least one entity from the Prairie State will be a winner at the Super Bowl for the first time since "SB XX."

And as noted in the latest WIRED, as Super Bowl games keep getting better, closer and more competitively exciting, halftime shows couldn't be getting more distant (Paul McCartney?), sterile (Tom Petty) and predictable (last night) since the Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. The Black-Eyed Peas are good - very good - but that performance would've been better taped in a studio and rebroadcast on the Jumbotron. And it wouldn't have looked much different if they had.

Sorta' like Ben Roethlisberger's performance (on the field, that is), y'know what I mean?

Speaking of Big Ben, I kept hearing and reading commentaries all week and all day game day, that a Steelers' win would've given him redemption from his off-season fiasco that earned him a four-game suspension (should've been four years). Redemption, huh? Is that so? As if that would've made him a better person? Somewhere in Georgia (or wherever), a young girl who thought she was going to meet a football hero at a bar one night, got her redemption, so to speak.

The Rooney family may deserve better as pioneers of the game. But I don't think an "At Home With The Roethlisbergers" reality show is going to be appearing on VH-1 any time in the immediate future. I'd sooner watch Ozzie Osbourne and Justin Bieber do a commercial together.

No, wait...


Howard Schlossberg is the editor of the academic research-oriented "Journal of Sports Media" and invites your submissions. See the web site for details. He is also an Associate Professor of Journalism at Columbia College Chicago and a sports correspondent for "The Daily Herald" in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Credentials Don't Make You Credentialed

Media day at the Super Bowl.

Did anyone ask Ben Roethlisberger for his hand in marriage? Did anyone ask him and/or Aaron Rodgers what they thought (again) of Jay Cutler's act in the NFC Championship Game? Or was it an act?

Depends on who you ask.

Media members and retired players-turned-analysts for assorted media outlets couldn't jump down his throat fast enough, questioning his guts, his bravado, his mental toughness, his will to win, his lack-of-cheerleader appearance on the sideline after being removed from the game, his lack of animated protestation when said action happened.

Those are the same media members whose own mental toughness, will to win and animated protestations upon being removed from a high-profile assignment might as well be just as transparent.

Are you a mentally tough journalist? Is every piece your write up to Pulitzer standards? Have you exhausted your sources for every drip of information that they can give you? Have you drained the archives relevant to your pursuit? In this day and age of "Google it," that shouldn't be too hard to do. Unfortunately.

We all want to go to the big game, cover the big story, write the lead piece, interview the big star, ask the most-forthright question, bleed the interviewee dry, get the "sound bite" that makes us the stars we think we are.

In fact, I'm so mentally tough that I resisted the urge to ask Ben Roesthlisberger to marry me. I had a list of questions so pointed and forthright that they were sure to get me a Pulitzer once I pieced all the responses together. My peers would've been dangling their tongues in my wake. My Tweets would've stirred the echoes under the Golden Dome. My Facebook posts would've made Lady Gaga blush.

Damn, if I only had credentials.

Sometimes, the best questions don't make it to the press conference. Sometimes, the supposed best questioners do make it, but only because they have credentials or are part of the humongous media organization that is broadcasting the event. Those are the guys who have access to every nook and cranny about the game and waste it in empty-headed analysis based on questions they never asked, let alone never thought of. Too busy palling around with their sources instead of grilling them.

I always tell my students to ask the question. Don't leave the game, don't leave the room, don't leave the meeting, don't leave the media session without asking the question. There are no dumb questions. Just dumb people who don't ask them.

Dumb ones with credentials, that is. Credentials that I don't have. So who's the dumb one? Trust me, I won't treat your submissions and contributions to my beloved Journal of Sports Media like that though. Every piece gets a fair shake.

Sort of like Jay Cutler, right?

Thanks for asking.


Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media as of Feb. 1, 2011. He is Associate Professor of Journalism at Columbia College Chicago and a sports correspondent for The Daily Herald (Paddock Publications), Arlington Heights, Ill.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Do you settle?

Do you coast when you have a big lead? Do you not study for a test when you know you're running an A-minus or B-plus in a class? Do you lighten up on an opponent in tennis when you're up a set and 4-love in the second?

I hate settling. Yet, we see it in sports all the time. Teams that let up and lose their focus and/or aggressive nature when they get a big lead and then, despite outplaying the other team for the majority of a game, allow the opponent to make a comeback. It leaves the would-be winning team snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I hate it. I watched my beloved NY Giants do it against the Philadelphia Eagles just recently. I've watched so many teams do it so many times in every sport, so many individuals do it in so many one-on-one matches so many times.

Why? Why does it happen? Why do we let up when we should be beating up on an opponent? You can shake hands afterward, maybe even apologize (I wouldn't but you can). But don't let up.

Not just in sports either. In all things. Don't take your love for granted. Or your lover. Don't take victory for granted. Or the vanquished. Don't take a championship for granted, or the prospective runner-up.

I like to read books through to the end rather than assume the ending. Or read the "cliff notes" (remember those?). I like to watch mysteries through to the end, rather than assume I know "whodunit." I like to do research through to the end rather than assume I know how the study will turn out.

I hope prospective contributors to "Journal of Sports Media," which I'll be editing in the future, will already have the same attitude. Every outstanding piece of research usually concludes with the acknowledgment that another study for further evidence is necessary.

Just like every football game is 60 minutes, not 52-and-a-half. Ain't that right, NY Giants?

Welcome to JSM 2011. Happy New Year.

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