Freedarko's answer to Oscar Night

We promise. The SAS posts will be over soon once the dust settles, but we would be remiss not to remind our readership (AS IF THE FEW OF YOU DONT ALREADY KNOW) that this Thursday, 630 PM EST on ESPN2's Quite Frankly:

(This man right here needs no introduction)

Now, on a very related note, the ESPN "Ombudsman" has taken it upon himself to criticize SAS on the front page of ESPN.com. Now let me just lay down the race card Royal Flush right now. Has any network, on their own website, publicly gone out of its way to criticize one of its own shows and question whether it can live up to the hype? THE VERY FACT OF THE MATTER IS, THIS IS BULLSHIT:

I saw more attitude from Smith than opinion, and I sensed Iverson and Pittsburgh's holdout wide receiver, Hines Ward, were getting a friendly forum in which to air their views. Smith has the ability to elicit revealing comments from guests, but to be taken seriously, he has to stop telling guests how much he "loves" them, as he did with Iverson. For example, Smith's byplay with Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb worked well precisely because McNabb chose to needle Smith rather than seek his love.

Smith became more combative when taking questions from the audience during the week and seemed to jab at a would-be agent who offered a pro-management slant on some issues. I would suggest to Stephen A. that if you're going to be tough, be tough on the big stars as well as the little guys. Also, more shows like the one last Friday about Chicago's fascination with the Cubs aren't likely to hold viewers for a full hour.

(exit music: It Takes a Nation of Millions...)


At 8/10/2005 1:48 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

what this paragraph seems to miss is that yes, SAS can be a hard-hitting journalist, or at least seems to have to potential to do so. but just as significantly, he's the player's journalist, and can get them to open up and act like human beings.

in a perfect world, he could do both. but given what a joke the relationship between athletes and the media has become, it seems like the latter is a necessary step toward a fully-realized former. and if it's a choice between SAS giving his boys in the business the full-court press, with occasional, and uncomfortable results, and seeing them show some actual personality (as one of the nbasource.com guys suggested), i'll go with personality any day.

before players owe the media the truth, they at least deserve a forum where they can be themselves without being judged, where maybe they can answer the hard questions as THEY—not ownership or the media—thinks they ought to. the matter of whether these answers are viable, well, that can come later.

At 8/10/2005 10:52 AM, Blogger Ken said...

They just want a reaction. "The hype might be too much", come on. Who is hyping this show other than NBA superfans? This article is a commercial. ESPN wants "Quite Frankly" to be controversial, they want people talking about the show, hence the story on the front page.

At 8/10/2005 1:28 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Thats an interesting take, Ken. See, I am of the mind that people actually ARE upset that Stephen A is on TV, and this article is an attempt to quell all of the old-white-ChrisBerman types who are raising a fuss. Either that, or the show is a bit more racy than ESPN expected, and they are trying to put out some flames...Either way, I find it very suspicious that ESPN a) decides to have an "ombudsman" and b) his INAUGURAL column is a critique of SAS.

At 8/10/2005 2:44 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I think ESPN has been trying to be edgier and cool for a while now:
Stu Scott, The Bobby Knight movie, Playmakers, Mohr Sports, Rome is Burning, ugh Page 3.

Steven A. has been appearing on PTI and Sportscenter for years now. I mean, they know what he brings to the table.

ESPN wants some appointment TV, especially now that we're in the middle of boring ass baseball season. They might as well say in the SAS promos "whether you hate him, or love him just don't miss him" If it looks like Steven A is sticking it to the "white stuffed shirts" in charge then that's even better.

At 8/10/2005 2:48 PM, Anonymous Brickowski said...

THC is right that a lot of people are upset that Steven A. has a show. But I don't see the racism behind 1 column criticizing the show (albeit unfairly), when there has been CONSTANT promotion for the show throughout the empire. I've seen the Sheff clip roughly 17 times since yesterday on Sportscenter and ESPNews, and each time they ended with: "tune in for more of this excitement everyday on Quite Frankly!" Throw in the SI spread and the Times piece, and I don't see how anyone can say that ESPN isn't giving their full support to the show.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of America doesn't like Smith. Surely some of those folks are racists, but a lot of others, including Simmons and myself, just find his schtick to be annoying and over-the-top. Who wants to be constantly yelled at? QF can be great for the reasons BS pointed out--there's no other place where heroes like AI and Ron are comfortable and given this much of a forum--but a lot of people will always hate Steven A. ESPN knows this. ESPN wants this. ESPN is banking on this. The Times article (titled "ESPN's New Master of the Offensive Foul") featured some ESPN exec saying that Smith is a lightening rod for controversy and that people tune in because they hate him.

That the Ombudsman is just now coming out with his article is interesting since USA Today recently reported that QF is doing terribly in the ratings thus far, drawing in fewer viewers than ESPN2's coverage of the US Open of Competitive Eating. I think Ken's on to something.

At 8/10/2005 3:03 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

someone said last week that they're going to run out of guests, which i think is true. at least interesting ones. because let's face it, not every athlete is worth listening to for an hour, no matter how candid they're being.

i'm also not so sure about the time slot. it's way too close to ATH and PTI, which already should probably not be shown back to back. granted, all three do very different things. but on a day when not much has happened, it's hard to justify spending that much time in front of the television watching people shout sports.

i guess i would make QF my "must-see" if there were a great guest on, but otherwise, I'm going with the calming familiarity of the other two. plus they're on first and i'm ridiculously impatient when it comes to ending my "work day" and starting up with the tv.

At 8/10/2005 3:12 PM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

I am in discussions with a notable Spanish league PF who was drafted this year to be FreeDarko's own ombudsman.

More to follow...

At 8/10/2005 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The fact of the matter is that a lot of America doesn't like Smith. Surely some of those folks are racists, but a lot of others, including Simmons and myself, just find his schtick to be annoying and over-the-top. Who wants to be constantly yelled at?"

i'm in this category. I liked to be entertained as much as the next person, but ESPN is being turned into "Whoever shouts the loudest has the best point" PTI, Around the Horn, Stephen A's show, even NFL Tonight guys are screaming as loud as they can....I dunno, this doesnt appeal to me at all.

I've never been a fan of Stephen A. even when he was a regular columnist in the philly inquirer and not some guy screaming on espn.

It's pretty easy to critique screamin' a, that's all i'm saying

At 8/10/2005 4:27 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

right...certainly the yelling gets annoying. SAS's yelling is the yang to Chris Berman's schtick being charming's ying. and there are 1000 non-racially motivated reasons to hate on Stephen A. for one, he doesnt sound like he knows what he's talking about when he's doing actual gametime analysis. still, he has managed to take Barkley's outrageousness and Thompson (,John)'s ability to make a man with tattoos cry and combined them into a quite entertaining model.

At 8/10/2005 4:28 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

oh, i forgot my most important point: from now on, the phrase "THE FACT OF THE MATTER" must be written in all caps, especially when referring to Stephen A.

At 8/10/2005 7:32 PM, Anonymous brickowski said...

hehe. I didn't even realize I did that, but that's a great call.

Deciding who I dislike more between Berman and SAS is pretty tough. There's really nobody on ESPN that I'm wild about except Gammons and HR. I'm cool with the PTI guys.

I don't see any similarity between SAS and Barkley though. Barkley is lovably outrageous. I don't think SAS would allow anyone to love him.

And I know mentioning this to an avid Wolves fan is pointless, but SAS' obsession with Rasho is mindboggling to me. Dude focuses entire segments on how awful Rasho is! What's the point? He's a 7 foot Slovenian bunny rabbit incapable of harming anyone. Christ, he brought his parents to San Antonio and had them move in with him because he was lonely and missed his mother's Slovenian cuisine! And yeah, he's bad, but he was the starting center on a title contender for 2 years until he got hurt, so he's certainly not the worst player in the league. What could possibly explain Mr. Smith's fixation with Rasho? Quite frankly, this is where I think the race card is applicable.

At 8/10/2005 8:11 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Ombudsman hit it right on the head. I have better things to do with my hour than be yelled at and watch someone suck up to some athlete so they'll all love him. God forbid he have a difference of opinion with an athlete. Also, another reason people don't like him that much is because he tends to pull a Billy Hunter(throwing the race card around for no reason). He kept egging Gary to talk about racism so he could rant. Besides that he just gives the athletes what they want to hear. His show(if it stays around which it probably won't in the distant future) will become the sports version of SNL. Anytime a player has an embarassing incident(fan altercations, police problems, drug/steroid things, etc...) they're gonna go on the show so SAS can make them look like a martyr. I'm not looking forward to it. At least PTI and ATH are pretty balanced and interesting(more than 1 person helps a lot see Jim Rome).


Post a Comment

<< Home