Last night, I watched the maiden voyage of FS1’s new program, Speak For Yourself, hosted by Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock. It was a good program; it has plenty of potential; it also had a few rough edges. In terms of its competition in the time slot – 6:00PM ET – there is not a big threat out there. In the sports domain, ESPN is running SportsCenter at that time and SportsCenter is eminently missable because you can see it over and over again almost any hour of the day on one of the ESPN channels. Here is what I liked about Speak for Yourself last night:
When people disagreed with one another, they did not shout at or over one another.
The positions taken by the participants were rational and were explained clearly.
Everyone with a speaking role was intelligent and articulate.
Here is what I think the program mavens at FS1 Need to work on with regard to Speak For Yourself:
I wonder if the program would be better suited to a half-hour time format as opposed to the current 1-hour format. Last night, they had the NBA Finals and the Draymond Green suspension to float the discussions. I wonder if they can fill an hour during some of the “sports droughts” that happen at various times of the year.
The show can exist and can flourish even if there are some topics where neither host injects controversial opinions into the discussion. I had the idea that they were stretching some points to make sure there was something a bit outlandish in each discussion. Forcing that kind of stuff can create a bad environment for the show – – see ESPN’s First Take as Exhibit A.
Jason Whitlock should not wear a hat on the show. He is indoors; you are supposed to take your hat off indoors.
Enough television reviewing … Yesterday, I happened to have a conversation with a man who does not read these rants because he is not a sports fan. Nonetheless, he knows that I write them on a regular basis and he asked me what I had written about Brock Turner – the Stanford swimmer who infamously got a light sentence from a judge in a sexual assault case. I told him I had not written anything on the matter and he was surprised because in his mind that was a major happening that touched on the sports world. So, after I got home, I thought about what he said and here is why I had not written about it in the past:
1. The story was extensively reported and there are not a lot of nuances in it. This is not a “he said/she said” matter; the facts are no longer in doubt as a result of a trial in a court. There was a sexual assault and Turner was the perpetrator.
2. According to reports, under California law, the judge has the leeway to apply leniency to sentencing in cases of this type. If those reports are accurate, then the judge made his decision and that is what he gets paid to do. You can agree with it or disagree with it, but you should not demonize the judge; he did what the law allows him to do.
3. You can criticize the self-serving letter that Turner’s father wrote to the judge seeking leniency in this matter. At the same time, I wonder how many parents would not have done essentially the same thing in the same circumstances. You can also look at that letter to the judge as one more foundation piece in an edifice that surrounds Brock Turner with a sense of entitlement. If you do that, I would probably agree with you.
4. The victim also wrote a letter to the judge regarding the sentencing and she – not surprisingly – did not seek any leniency in the matter. That long letter was read verbatim on television by a reporter. That was a sensational TV moment but I wonder if having that letter read on TV – and then again replaying it a jillion times on the Internet – is helping the victim to heal from her suffering. I hope it did; I wish I were more confident that it did.
Damn! I circled back to television reviewing … OK, I have one more TV-related item on my clipboard this morning so let me get it out of the way. I found this in Gregg Drinnan’s blog, Keeping Score, yesterday. Too bad we don’t do TV Bloopers anymore; this would be a good one:
“Here’s what Harold Reynolds, an analyst for the MLB Network, offered up when outfielder Kyle Lewis was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the free-agent draft on Thursday: ‘He’s 20 years old. That’s what stands out. Most people are 21 at that age.’ . . . You can’t make up stuff like that.”
About a week ago, Madison Bumgarner said that he would like to participate in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break. Reporters ran with that and lots of people chimed in saying he should do it; someone actually suggested having two different Home Run Derbies – one for pitchers and one for position players. Giant’s manager Bruce Bochy let it be known that he did not want his ace pitcher involved in any such nonsense.
Bochy is right. Rather than TWO Home Run Derbies, what we really need is ZERO Home Run Derbies. The idea has run its course; it was fun while it lasted. It has become a waste of oxygen; it is time to put it six feet under.
Finally, here is an observation regarding fan behavior from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:
“Rory McIlroy was almost hit by a golf ball thrown from the gallery. You look at this incident, drunk NFL fans, NBA fans tossing debris on courts, baseball fans running on the field – the best behaved people in sports now follow the WWE.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports ………