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ESPN

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11Mike Ditka Falls Asleep on 'Sunday NFL Countdown' (Video)

Josina Anderson was doing a remote report for "Sunday NFL Countdown" when the show cut back to the ESPN studio where co-host Mike Ditka had fallen asleep.

Fortunately, it was a wide shot, but co-host Keyshawn Johnson can be seen rousing Ditka from his sitting slumber, noted Mediaite.com (video below).

When Johnson nudged the former Chicago Bears' coach, he twitched before regaining consciousness. 

USA Today posted a grainy close-up GIF of the snoozing Ditka (below).

Sources: USA Today and Mediaite.com

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11ESPN Forces Catholic Charity to Drop 'God' and 'Jesus' from TV Ad (Video)

A commercial for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation was reportedly turned down by ESPN because it mentioned the words "Jesus" and "God," which the sports channel found "problematic."

The Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation supports the Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis.

According to BreitBart.com, the original "Reason for the Season" ad for the foundation (video below) included this voiceover: "At Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the season of giving, bringing hope to the many children, parents, and families that we serve."

The commercial ended with: "Help us reveal God's healing presence this Christmas. Send your message of hope at Glennon.org."

Fox News was upset because ESPN dropped the original ad, but is running an Obamacare commercial encouraging young people to sign up for health care insurance (which has nothing to do with religion).

ESPN issued a statement to Breitbart.com, which read, "As originally submitted, the spot did not meet our commercial advocacy standards. We have since been supplied with a different commercial which will air on the 14th."

The new ad that will air on Dec. 14th during the Virginia Commonwealth vs. Northern Iowa basketball game does not mention "God" or "Jesus" as the original ad did (video below).

Former half-term Alaska governor and Fox Commentator Sarah Palin was upset about ESPN's decision to reject the original ad.

"I used to be obsessed with ESPN," Palin told BreitBart.com. "In how many interviews have I admitted that was my goal, my dream job, as I earned my journalism degree and creds in the 80's. My repeated quote is: 'But I didn't want to move to Bristol, Connecticut [home of ESPN], so I named my first daughter Bristol, instead!'"

Palin also slammed ESPN on her Facebook page:

ESPN, you've come a long way, baby... from your known wholesome, bold Americana "persona" to now being afraid to support freedom and not being bold enough to allow acknowledgement of the "Reason for the Season." So disappointing. Well, I hope you guys catch and enjoy the Christmas spirit anyway!

Sources: BreitBart.com, Facebook, Fox News

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11ESPN's Heather Cox Asks Jameis Winston About Rape Investigation, Winston's Lawyer Attacks Cox (Video)

Florida State University (FSU) quarterback Jameis Winston led his team to a 45-7 win over Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Saturday night.

While Winston had a great game, his post-game interview with ESPN reporter Heather Cox was also memorable (video below).

First, Cox asked Winston how the recent rape investigation had affected FSU's team and what he (Winston) had learned from the controversy.

He was willing to answer those questions, but when Cox asked the Heisman Trophy favorite why he refused to talk to the Florida state attorney during the investigation, he quickly walked away, notes SportsGrid.com.

Winston's lawyer Tim Jansen later blasted Cox on Twitter and demanded an apology:

Heather Cox was classless and unprofessional after the game. Trying to ambush a 19 year after the game with a flury of inappropriate ques.

@heatherespn your actions after the game w my client were inappropriate and unprofessional. Ur actions were deliberate.

@heatherespn when u realize ur actions were improper u can make amends. Please write me a note to Jameis and his family to apologize.

Coz has not apologized, but defended her questions, which are protected under the First Amendment.

“I certainly knew if we talked to him I needed to ask questions about the investigation,” Cox told Sports Illustrated. “I had thought through the way I wanted to handle it and presented the questions to our team. We all decided it was the correct way to handle it. It was not an issue of me going rogue and deciding last-minute that I would ambush him."

“[FSU] were fully aware that I was going to ask about the investigation,” added Cox. “I was never once asked not to ask about the investigation and if I had been asked not to ask those questions, I would have declined to do the interview because I would not have been able to do my job."

"I think a lot of people out there think I ambushed him and went against Coach Fisher and the Florida State PR group, and that is not at all the case," said Cox. "They were fully aware of my intent to ask questions about the investigation.”

Sources: Twitter, Sports Illustrated, SportsGrid.com


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11ESPN Anchor Says Jeremy Lin is 'Cooking with Some Hot Peanut Oil' (Video)

ESPN anchor Jorge Andres made an odd reference to Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin during last night's SportsCenter broadcast.

Andres was showing clips of the Rockets' game against the New York Knicks when he made the obligatory "Linsanity" comments, but then went even further (video below).

"Jeremy Lin coming into tonight's game with 30-point games for the first time in his career," said Andres. "And he was cooking with some hot peanut oil. Take a look at that!"

According to BleacherReport.com, Andres made an apology later during the broadcast.

"Earlier in this show, I made a comment about Jeremy Lin's basket that I should not have made," said Andres. "This was clearly a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize. I am very, very sorry for offending anyone, that was never my intention."

Andres later apologized again on Twitter, claiming his reference was actually to the A&E reality show "Duck Dynasty":

I once again want to apologize if I offended anyone about a TV reference to Duck Dynasty I made earlier today on a highlight to Jeremy Lin.

Andres then followed that up with another apology on Twitter:

I sincerely meant no harm to anyone at all, it was a poor choice of words and bad judgement on my end. My sincere apologies.

This isn't the first time ESPN has gone this direction.

SportsRants.com reported in Feb. 2012 that ESPN anchor Max Bretos asked the famed Knicks' player Walt Frazier about Lin: “If there is a chink in the armor, where can he improve his game?”

In the same month,  ESPN’s mobile website featured the headline: “Chink In The Armor,” noted LarryBrownSports.com.

Also in Feb. 2012, the MSG Network aired a picture of fan holding a sign with Jeremy Lin's face above a fortune cookie and the words ''The Knicks Good Fortune," reported the Associated Press.

Sources: Associated Press, LarryBrownSports.com, SportsRants.com, Twitter, BleacherReport.com


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11Home Depot Apologizes For Racist Photo Tweeted From Official Twitter Account

Home Depot Inc. apologized Thursday for a racist tweet that included a photo of two African-American drummers with a person wearing a gorilla mask sitting between them.

“Which drummer is not like the others?” the tweet asked from its official @HomeDepot account. It was part of a promotion for College GameDay on ESPN, which it sponsors, the Huffington Post reported.

The home improvement retailer says it has terminated the person and outside agency responsible for the tweet, but did not release their names.

"We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive," said Stephen Holmes, spokesman for the Atlanta-based company.

"We're also closely reviewing our social media procedures to determine how this could have happened, and how to ensure it never happens again," Holmes said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

The Associated Press reports that Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates, said the tweet if "the worst possible message Home Depot can send out ... even if it gets attributed to stupidity.

"In a Twitter world where everyone can see everything instantly I think you'll see more rather than less of this because people tweet before they think."

According to AP, Home Depot is not the first company to land in hot water for offensive tweets. AT&T apologized back in September for a tweet that commemorated the attacks of Sept. 11 because of complaints that they were using the event for self-promotion. There was also unfavorable reaction towards KitchenAid last year when one of its employees accidentally tweeted about the death of President Barack Obama’s grandmother on the official KitchenAid Twitter account.


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11ESPN’s Keith Olbermann Predicts Olympics Sponsors Will Bail Over Anti-LGBT Laws: ‘The Russians Are Screwed’ (Video)

ESPN host Keith Olbermann pointed out early signs of panic from corporate sponsors in America over Russia’s anti-LGBT laws on his Monday show.

A senior official on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said sponsors are “afraid” of the fallout that could occur if there are demonstrations at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

“I think this could ruin a lot for all of us,” marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg said. “We have to be prepared.”

Sochi organizers pleaded with the IOC to “stop this campaign and this speculation,” but there is no reasonable intervention that could stop demonstrations or even a boycott from happening.

“There might be an American boycott of the Olympics, but much more likely — at least reading the tea leaves of the remarks of that terrified IOC marketing chairman — much more likely is a boycott by advertisers or the American broadcasts of the Sochi Olympics,” Olbermann observed. “And if the advertisers bail — and they could bail out over the Russian anti-gay laws or the Russian stance on Syria or the quality of NBC’s announcing team, it doesn’t matter which — the Russians are screwed, and the American telecasts are screwed and, in the only thing that matters to the International Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee is screwed.”

Olbermann said “amoral power broker” IOC President Jacques Rogge “carried the Russians’ water for them” when he promised to remind athletes that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Days later, in July, a Russian official announced that pro-gay attendees at the games would be subject to arrest if they were found in violation of Russia gay propaganda ban.

Russian President Vladimir Putin assured the IOC last week that the “homosexual propaganda” ban would not be enforced at the games.

Olbermann said sponsors will not be subject to a repeat of the 1936 Olympics, when Adolf Hitler hosted the games in Berlin. In lieu of a boycott, the U.S. track and field team benched Jewish-American runner Marty Glickman to appease the Fuhrer. He pointed out that African American runner Jesse Owens was allowed to run in Berlin and took home four gold medals.

“So Owens raced and won, and Hitler didn’t attempt genocide against African Americans,” Olbermann explained. “But Marty Glickman’s relatives in Europe … they wound up in the camps. Whatever we did or did not do in the 1936 Olympics, it does not sound like we made the right call.”

“However, just mentioning them now, just comparing the 2014 Sochi ‘MasterCard’ Olympics to Hitler’s master race Olympics, this has terrified the money,” he added. “And the money terrified is money that will do what you want.”

Sources: Raw Story, American Blog


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11Want To Get President Obama's Attention? Try Using ESPN

If you’re looking to catch President Obama’s attention and happen to have a few thousand dollars sitting around, try advertising on ESPN.

The President has never been shy about his love of sports. According to Politico, Obama is such a big sports fan that ESPN is often the channel of choice for White House TVs. Media strategists have taken note of this, and as a result they’re actively advising clients who want to grab the President’s attention to buy ad-time on the immensely popular sports network.

Though companies have advertised products on ESPN for years, it is only recently that the network has been used as a platform for policy-related ads. Microsoft ran ads on the network criticizing Google’s business practices. Conveniently, the ads were aired just as federal investigators were considering taking action against Google over competition issues.

Microsoft isn’t the only company to air issue-related ads on ESPN. The American Petroleum Institute and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has done so as well.

The move to advertise on ESPN makes perfect sense. ESPN is one of the few remaining network giants in the country. Cable television has divided news viewers among an entire group of channels. ESPN, on the other hand, remains the sole giant in the sports news market. On top of that, ESPN’s non-politically-based viewership means smart advertising can make an impact on voters from a wide range of ideological backgrounds.

As is the case with President Obama, market research indicates that some pretty important people are watching ESPN. Many lawmakers are known sports fans as well. Senators and House Representatives frequently log on to Twitter and Facebook to post about their teams latest wins or losses. Since sports viewers are inseparably connected to ESPN, the network is a great way to grab the attention of legislators who possess the ability to influence public policy in a major way.

Source: Politico


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11Richard Sherman Has a lot of Growing Up to Do

Richard Sherman is an extremely talented football player. In fact, with the absence of Darrell Revis for most of 2012, it’s hard to argue that Sherman wasn’t the best cornerback in the NFL last year.

On Thursday though, Richard Sherman showed that off the field has a lot of growing up to do.

After only two seasons in the NFL, Sherman, just weeks removed from his petty twitter war with Darrell Revis, was on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday.

It was going well for Sherman… until he opened his mouth.

Sherman, who had a prime opportunity to get his name out there on a national level, ended up hurting his reputation in a big way. Granted, if you are a Skip Bayless hater (which there are many), you may have appreciated/found it humorous.

Any neutral party would find it pathetic though.

First, let’s take a look:

Even Stephen A. Smith— who gets paid to barrage Skip Bayless on a daily basis— knew that Sherman was crossing the line and being completely inappropriate.

Bottom line is (unless you’re a bias Seahawks fan): Richard Sherman is not in the same league as Darrell Revis (yet) and he made a fool out of himself on national television on Thursday.

Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson


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11Running Back Recruit Alex Collins Can't Commit to Arkansas Because His Mom Won't Sign The Papers

As of Wednesday evening, running back Alex Collins still had not signed his letter of intent with Arkansas. Earlier in the day, Collins' mother, Andrea McDonald, refused to sign the letter of intent papers. 

According to ESPN, she wants Collins to stay closer to home and sign with the University of Miami.

Initially it looked like the papers were going to get signed as McDonald arrived at the school at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday. However she left abruptly without ever putting pen to paper.   

Collins' older brother, Johnny, said the family hoped Collins would re-consider Miami.

“I would prefer him to go to Miami, too, because it would be a better program for him, a better environment,” Johnny Collins said. “He could get home faster and it's more convenient if Mom wants to go to a game -- instead of having to fly to Arkansas.”

According to the NCAA's official website, The National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.

“If you are under the age of 21, regardless of marital status, your parent or legal guardian must sign the NLI in order for it to be considered valid,” the website states. That’s the reason why it is McDonald, and not Collins, who ultimately can control where the young man takes his talents.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Collins verbally committed to Arkansas on Monday, choosing the Razorbacks over Miami, Florida, Wisconsin and Florida State, but that commitment means nothing until the letter is signed.

Prior to attempting to commit to Arkansas, Collins had been a longtime commit to Miami, but he reopened his recruitment in November. He ran for 1,276 yards and 14 touchdowns during his senior season of high school.

The only public response Collins has made was to send tweet from his account that said, "Everything is going to be alright."

Source: (ESPN)


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ONE FC Will Air on ESPN

ONE FC's second show of 2013 is set for April in Singapore and will air across Asia on ESPN Star Sports. Lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku (20-7-2) is set to make his first defense against Shinya Aoki (32-6-1 NC) in the main event.

Boku won the inaugural title by knocking out Aoki's teammate Zorobabel Moreira in October and currently rides a two fight win streak, where he finished his opponents with his hands. After Aoki lost to Eddie Alvarez in his only Bellator appearance, he too has been able to finish his previous opponents. Those wins came out of DREAM and ONE FC.

All other ONE FC shows have only been available via a delayed telecast on sport network channels or live from an online PPV stream. The April event, which has no date set, will be the first live broadcast on TV.

The promotion makes their first appearance this year with ONE FC: Return of Warriors on February 2 from the Putra Indoor Stadium in Malaysia and can be seen live on the promotion's website, onefc.livesport.tv, for $9.99.

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