InternetFM presents sports content from our partner site YourSportsFan.com including podcasts of “The Weekend Sports Report” with Les Grobstein, Steve Leventhal and Alison Moran, along with “Dorf on Sports” with Fred Wallin and Andy Dorf. YSF also features original sports articles.
“As most of you know by now, I had a slip-up last week on the air while covering the Blackhawks playoff series. As a result of the attention it received, an old web-based sports comedy series I participated in several years ago came to light. The intention of that show was to present a satirical, tongue-in-cheek approach to sports but, unfortunately, some of the material it contained was off-color and offensive. I understand why some may have been offended by it and for this I am truly sorry. To be clear, that show in no way reflects my personal opinions.
It has always been my dream to cover my hometown teams on the network I loved watching. I have worked tirelessly to develop my skills as a sports reporter, anchor and host, and I want to thank the city of Chicago for allowing me that opportunity. The outpouring of support I have received is overwhelming and it will remain in my heart, as will Chicago. Always.”
–Susannah (Collins, former CSN Chicago reporter, via CBSlocal.com)
As former CSN Chicago Susannah Collins represents, women maintain a very delicate balance when working in a male-dominated field.
As Anne Doyle points out in an article in Forbes, there are growing numbers of talented, seasoned women broadcasters covering sports, including USA Today columnist and on-air commentator Christine Brennan, ESPN’s Pam Ward, (who was removed, for unspecified reasons, from football broadcasts) and athlete and NBC tennis commentator Mary Carillo.
In sports broadcasting, there are also the “Dream Angels” (my phrase,) like former Comcast Sports reporter Sarah Kustok and Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews, who maintain an ever-so slight distance from their subjects and maintain friendly, non-threatening eye contact. Audiences and advertisers just love them. Because they mean money and ratings to the station.
And then, there are the “Vixens (my phrase):” the energetic, opinionated women-with-attitude. The tart-tongued sharpie can hold her own with anyone, retort when threatened, and come away with the upper hand. One-line, double-entendre innuendos can roll off their tongue. And yet, they’re all having fun out there. Looks, brains and attitude. Think 80′s rockers Pat Benatar and Sheena Easton. Vixens can also mean advertising revenue to the station, because they’re so different. They exude sexuality, usually wearing more provocative clothing….a little cleavage here, skin-tight jeans and boots there.
For example, Turner Sports and CNN reporter Rachel Nichols and ESPNU’s Niki Noto are “vixens.”
Former Comcast Sports reporter Susannah Collins was such a Vixen. From her website:
“While reporting on the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, Susannah’s sense of humor and composure while deflecting inappropriate come-ons from intoxicated fans caught the eye of producers at Showtime Sports.”
Susannah Collins Blogsite
My take on Collins’ tenure at CSN Chicago was that she was highly energetic, knowledgeable about sports, and asked non-threatening questions of the players, which should have been fine with the powers-that-be at Blackhawks and Bulls. She was also, in the words of my male colleagues, a “smokin-hot babe.”
I thought she was a worthy and different successor to the beloved Sarah Kustok, whom she replaced.
But the category of “Sports Vixen” is growing specialty area for women in sports broadcasting. Looks, brains and attitude also sells. And yet, you gotta be careful when you’re the Vixen.
Collins is an example of something I always tell students at Moraine Valley Community College and Columbia College when I guest-lecture: if you can’t show it or tell it to your mother, you probably shouldn’t do it.
Usually, I’m talking about posting nude pictures, provocative poses, or compromising positions on their Facebook or Twitter pages.
Collins lost her prestigious, demanding gig last week for…what? Maybe a slip-up on the air, substituting the word “sex,” for “success? ”
Her reference to the Chicago Blackhawks’ “tremendous amount of sex” during a live shot — one she quickly corrected to “tremendous amount of success.” was no more than an innocent, funny mistake. One that all of us on live sports duty could easily have made. And corrected, just as she had.
Yet, a day or so later, Collins was dismissed from Comcast Sports.
An outcry followed, and speculation ran rampant in media circles as to the real cause of Colllins’ firing, since, as noted by Fox Sports’ Sam Gardner, CSN Chicago vice president and general manager Phil Bedella said Collins’ release was related to “circumstances unrelated to her on-air remarks.”
The Downers Grove native was more than likely fired for participating in a show that her own website labeled her “true calling,” allowing her to “combine her love of sports with her charismatic, on-camera abilities.”
This was her web-based series, “Sports Nutz” which she co-hosted between June 2009 and April 2010.
Nowhere listed on the website was the show’s ability to offend just about everyone, in the name of sports comedy. While researching this blog, I watched Collins in a tete-a-tete focusing on a male co-host’s bulging jeans. Okay, it was a little over-the-top. And I understand the need to be different, to be tongue-in-cheek, and to use talent who can pull off funny-sarcastic in a crowded field of internet-based sports shows.
My fellow ChicagoNow blogger and good friend Paul M. Banks compiled the best of the bunch of Sports Nutz shows. Just look at the titles for some of these shows…. the “Jew Fantasy Draft,” and “Douchebag Nation,” among others. Certain to offend someone.
I understand why Comcast Sports got nervous. Advertisers and viewers/listeners are the “kwon” of the broadcasting world, to use the “Jerry Maguire” word. Without these, the outlets don’t exist. Respect and political correctness, which was not a strong point of “Sports Nutz,” probably made the bosses fearful of retribution.
Given the outcome, I have to question why a broadcasting venue such as CSN Chicago failed to find and study these shows prior to hiring Collins. Or if they did, why would they reverse course and risk a lawsuit? It’s not as if “Sports Nutz” was difficult to find online. And her very own online bio provided links.
That said, I speculate that since she’s had a few jobs after she left “Sports Nutz,” Collins may not have submitted video from the show. They could have dealt with it, then.
Catching your bosses unaware in 2013 is the unpardonable offense. Full disclosure as to prior questionable, possibly offensive activity, no matter how tongue-in-cheek or comedic, is the responsibility of the interviewee, i.e. Collins, to provide.
Another point is how hiring decisions are made. As Doyle points out in Forbes, there is a clear double-standard, in that credentialed, skilled female broadcasters (see above) are competing for air-time with “smokin hot” babes.
Doyle asks a great question about the double-standard:
How long would Brent Musburger last if his contract depended on his ability to attract female viewers, measured against the likes of Ryan Gosling?
Anne Doyle, Forbes.com
And why is Musburger still employed anyway, after drooling all over Katherine Webb, the beauty queen who used to be known as the Alabama quarterback’s girlfriend before TV cameras made her a 15-minute wonder?
What I find most disturbing, though, is something that echoed in Doyle’s article: sports crazed young girls are getting powerful messages that beauty queen titles and tight pants may be hotter tickets to careers in sports (broadcasting) than athletic scholarships or college degrees. And that the more provocative you are, the better able you will be to find a job.
Collins’ case proves that being a smokin-hot Vixen can get you in the door. But if you have the mouth to call a “Jew Fantasy Draft,” and don’t tell potential employers about it, you might just be fired. Wise up, friends.
For the ‘past’ Zero, we’ll go with NBAer, and former Duke player, Dahntay Jones. Keeping in his tradition as a thug he showed at Duke, he tried to injure Kobe Bryant while Kobe was taking a shot. Jones is not a bad player, but when faced with someone better, as he was in college when Raymond Felton was running past him all game long, he resorts to trying to hurt the other player.
For the HERO of the week, we’ll choose Warriors guard Stephon Curry! His play has been astounding in their series against Denver. In game 1, the Warriors lost, and their best player, (or at least the one who was thought to be their best player) David Lee, was lost for the season due to injury. (No, Dahntay Jones does not play for Denver!!) The Warriors, with Curry tremendous shooting, and great ball-distribution, won the next 3, and can clinch the series tonight at home.
On the TV Show, The Five, they were talking about how President Obama announced they were stopping the tours of the White House, because of the Sequester. Of course Obama was trying to be political about this, he could have cut stuff like aid to people here illegally, or funds that SHOULD be cut, but he wanted to prove a point. So DURING the broadcast, Co-host Eric Bolling announced he would personally cover one week’s worth of tours, at a cost of $74000.00. Within minutes, Sean Hannity also pledged $74000 for another week. Lead by the co-Hero(s) of the week Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity, many more pledged enough for one week. President Obama finally realize how absurd this looked, and reinstated the tours.
New Northwestern basketball coach Chris Collins has had a large shadow cast over him all his life, that of his six-foot, eight inch dad, Doug. The current coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and a first overall selection in the 1973 NBA draft, finally took a back seat to his son Chris, a prep star at suburban Chicago Glenbrook North and Duke basketball player.
Doug Collins was quick to point out, “people don’t realize all the places that Chris has been. They don’t stop to think that he went to Finland to play professionally, for a year. He coached with Nancy Lieberman in the WNBA, and with Tommy Amaker at Seaton Hall for three years.” He added, “Chris has learned a lot from me along the way,” noting how even this season, his team had not achieved its expectations, and he’s imparted that wisdom to his son.
The Wildcat’s newest coach says, “part of me wanted to work hard to create my own name. So as I was coaching and being at a place like Duke, where it’s prepared me in every way to be a part of this. To come to Northwestern, and be able to make this my own, it just was an exciting, exciting challenge.” A challenge it will certainly be, considering the Wildcats have never been invited to the big dance. Furthermore, they play in a small building that usually has more visiting fans than home fans in Big Ten conference play.
“I know it’s a lot of hard work. But Part of it too, is getting out there and getting excitement into this program, and having be a new energy, a new beginning, and getting on campus, and getting the students excited about it. If we do that and get these seats filled, it can be a heck of a home court advantage. You get eight plus thousand people in here, going crazy cheering, right on top of the players. It can be a tough place to play.” Not unlike Cameron Indoor Stadium, where he toiled as an assistant to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski for seventeen years.
Recalling his early memories of being in Chicago, Collins recalled being a Bulls ball boy and watching Michael Jordan at team practices, who had to win every ball drill, every scrimmage. “I’m competitive guy, “he notes. “I’m passionate about what I do, and I want to create a culture of those same qualities.”
Perhaps this is the catalyst that Northwestern needs to generate the same excitement that Pat Fitzgerald has been able to bring to Ryan Field. There are a lot of similarities between the two. However, Collins inherits a team that been in reverse the past few seasons, going 13-19 in 2012, with only four conference wins.
Listen to Chris Collins’ Q&A with the media. (not the over the air press conference.)
Just like the Bears training center is under construction this offseason, so is the team It wasted no time during free agency jumping into the pool of available players by signing a Pro Bowl offensive tackle in Jermon Bushron, a former Saint, and Martellus Bennett who migrates from Broadway to the Second City.
The could not provide a greater contrast in personalities. Bushrod, a quiet soft spoken lineman from tiny King George, Virginia, by way of Towson University was the 125th pick in the 2007. He worked his way into the starting lineup and played on the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV Championship team.
By contrast, Matellus Bennett, while not exactly a free spirit, professes a love of abstract art and writing, a far cry from the average six foot six tight end. Nevertheless, he also like run blocking and pass catching which should please his coaches greatly. So much so that Chicago cut both Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth from the roster. He did however explain during his introduction to the Chicago mediahow he acquired the nickname “the black unicorn.” It involved his professed like of unicorns, and the fact that all unicorns were white in color. He saw himself in his black uniform racing down the field as the black version of the mythical creature.
GM Phil Emery noted that these two acquisitions will allow the Bears to focus on the drafting players to fill the remaining team needs, presumably a backup quarterback included.
Coach Marc Trestman praised the front office staff for making the signings a reality and looks forward to working with them.
Both players spoke of wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his role in their choosing to come to the Bears. Maybe Marshall will have a future career as an ambassador after his playing days are over.
Listen to comments from Emery, Bennett, Trestman, and Bushrod.
Yet, in Northwestern University basketball coach Bill Carmody, we always seemed to want more. Why not an NCAA bid? Why did we do so badly in Big 10 Conference Tournaments? (Ohio State and Wisconsin, that’s why. And now, Indiana). Alumni grew impatient with coming so close…and yet so far…from the NCAA March Madness that kept eluding them.
At one point, even a play-in game in the field of 68 would have probably satisfied the NU faithful.
After all, Coach Pat Fitzgerald’s football team broke a 49-year drought by winning the Gator Bowl, winning over a tepid Missisippi State team. Why not the roundballers getting their first-ever NCAA bid to March Madness?
It all looked possible as the Wildcats zoomed through six consecutive victories to start the 2012-2013 campaign. They won the South Padre Island Invitational by beating the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs and the Illinois State Redbirds to take the championship. Senior Jared Shropshire was named tournament MVP. It looked good. It felt promising. Besides Shrop, there was fellow senior Reggie Hearn, ranking 13th in the Big Ten with an average of 13.5 ppg. And Naperville’s own Dave Sobolewski, who lifted the Wildcats over their first meeting with the Nittany Lions at Happy Valley with 18 points.
And then….in game number 7, at home in Welsh-Ryan Arena on December 27, against future Big 10 opponent Maryland, the Wildcats starting losing…77-57…then against city rival UIC, 50-44. And against Big 10 opponents…much worse. On January 3, the Wildcats lost big to Michigan, 94-66, then split with the Minnestota Golden Gophers, Fighting Illini, and lost twice to Iowa and Ohio State. They played impressively in a loss to #1 Indiana at home 67-59.
Injuries to key players, particularly the high-scoring Jared Shropshire, may have killed the euphoria, and possibly, the momentum of the first six games. Shrop was injured during the February 9 game at Iowa. Hurting his right knee, he had arthroscopic surgery two days before Valentines Day, thus ending his career at Northwestern. Shrop led the Wildcats’ injury parade, that also included Drew Crawford’s shoulder, Chier Alou’s knee, and Sanjay Lumpkins’ wrist. JerShon Cobb was lost to violations of team policy.
Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said.”I’ve never seen injuries like this in my entire life.”
“We won’t use injuries as an excuse for this season,” said Hearn, who said he was mad at himself and ignored a standing ovation from the crowd as he fouled out of the Wildcats’ 66-59 loss to Penn State on March 7. “The way we were able to compete and stay in games, it’s a credit to Coach Carmody.”
After 13 years as Northwestern University’s basketball coach, it looks like Bill Carmody is on the bubble. He said as much in the postgame press conference. He admitted that he’d been thinking about it. “We’ll have the Big 10 tournament, and then I’ll talk to Jim (Phillips, NU’s VP of Athletics and Recreation) after that.”