Silver sees gold in ‘inevitable’ legalized sports betting
NBA commissioner Adam Silver broke with predecessor David Stern by embracing legalized nationwide sports betting. Speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York, Silver said, “It’s inevitable that if all these states are broke, that there will be legalized sports betting in more states than Nevada. We will ultimately participate in that.” He would like to see America be like Britain, where bets are made through legal bookmakers on smart-phones. Nevada sports book reported $3.6 billion in bets last year, while polling indicated $380 billion was bet illegally on sports in America. In 2012, Stern joined the NFL, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the NCAA in suing New Jersey for trying to bring legalized sports betting to its casinos and horse tracks. The Justice Department joined the sports leagues in the lawsuit in which federal courts ruled against New Jersey.
Between the Lines: If Silver succeeds in legalizing betting on the NBA, the other leagues will be forced to follow suit or risk losing much of their fan base.
Atlanta Hawks: Donald Sterling’s kind of team
Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levinson and general manager Danny Ferry both were caught and apologized for making racial slurs. Ferry publicly quoted someone else’s opinion that Luol Deng, who is from Sudan, “is a good guy overall, but he is not perfect. He’s got some African in him.” A 2012 e-mail was unearthed in which Levinson made racially insensitive comments about Hawks fans. “Inflammatory nonsense,” Levinson called his commentary, after revealing his intention to sell the team.
Esiason says Eli is ‘disinterested’
Eli Manning and the New York Giants have become a punching bag for the one U.S. city that still has newspaper wars. The Post, the Daily News and Newsday savaged the Giants throughout their 5-0 preseason. One headline called them a “Giant Mess,” and another, above a picture of Manning: “He’s Lost.” But perhaps the most hurtful dart came from CBS analyst Boomer Esiason, who told Newsday that Manning looks “disinterested.” This is the quarterback who has won two Super Bowls and is always described as one of the most diligent workers in the game.
Dear Boomer: Perhaps you mean (though how could you?) “uninterested.” Not “disinterested,” which is actually a compliment, meaning he’s impartial, not interested in promoting himself.
Showtime exec calls NFL highlights ‘breathtaking’
If you tuned into the season debut of Showtime’s Inside the NFL, you might not have recognized it. Yes there was Phil Simms taking his usual verbal shots at Cris Collinsworth. But there was no Collinsworth, who after 15 years decided he’s tired of flying from his home in Cincinnati to New York every Wednesday to tape the show.
One of the new Showtime analysts is Brandon Marshall, Pro Bowl receiver for the Chicago Bears. Marshall is one of the NFL’s most candid and articulate players. But we may hear the dread word “distraction” when he comments on his own team. Needless to say, Showtime is overhyping its new look. Stephen Espinoza, general manager of ShowtimeSports, said: “We’ve assembled, perhaps, the most dynamic cast in the show’s long history. . . . The program will continue to deliver breathtaking highlights.”
ESPN apologizes for story on Sam’s showering
After St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher and star defensive end Chris Long complained of ESPN’s Josina Anderson reporting on Michael Sam showering apart from teammates, the network apologized: “We regret the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.”
Between the Lines: Note ESPN’s advertisement for its journalistic “standards” and its all-out pander. What’s disgusting or shocking about saying pro football’s only openly gay player prefers to shower alone?
Griffin’s flaw: too worried about not being loved
Robert Griffin III admits he’s unpopular with some of his teammates, and Washington Post columnists Mike Wise and Jason Reid offered explanations. Wise cited his “inability to let go of negative things said or written about him. He wants to be liked so much in a profession where 50 percent of his weekly audience wants him to fail. LeBron James and many of the greatest athletes of all time suffered from this psychological malady early in their career.” Reid: “Griffin promotes his brand on social media so much, you wonder whether he has time to do anything else.”
Rose steps to the plate in Frontier League, sees ban lifting
Pete Rose, who 25 years ago was banished from baseball for betting on games, is hopeful of reinstatement even before commissioner Bud Selig retires at the end of the year. Selig has not ruled out the possibility. Rose said: “Everyone wants to talk about the new commissioner (Rob Manfred), but I haven’t given up on Bud.”
Meanwhile, the Florence (Ky.) Freedom of the independent Frontier League showed their forgiveness by letting the Hit King lead off a game and take three pitches before being lifted for a pinch hitter.
Ozzie: Chicago baseball fans must wait until 2016
Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen believes the Sox and Cubs are doing right by committing to youth. But he said fans must be patient. He expects next season to bring more suffering: “I might have to give it a couple more years to see pretty good young talent back in Chicago.”
Astros fire Porter after ‘drama’ with GM Luhnow
Bo Porter’s tactical moves were often criticized but were not the main reason he was fired as Houston Astros manager. Bench coach Dave Trembley, who also lost his job in last week’s shakeup, said Porter felt he was getting too much interference from general manager Jeff Luhnow. “I thought it really got to be a lot of drama all the time, and something had to happen. . . . There really wasn’t probably the best level of communication between the manager and the front office.”
Between the Lines: He hit on a new trend in baseball, the general manager making decisions on how players are used and requiring the field manager to be basically a “yes man.”