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September 25, 2007
John Molori's Media Blitz
BY: John Molori

THIS WEEK:

- McNabb on the money
- Speeding Sports

Fox analysts show ignorance toward McNabb
TV and radio veteran Ed Berliner starts sports website

Things can get ugly when certain middle-aged white men attempt to analyze race related comments made by an African-American. Such was the case this past Sunday when Fox "NFL Sunday" analysts Terry Bradshaw and Barry Switzer o pined on Donovan McNabb's recent comments.

McNabb told James Brown on HBO's "RealSports" that African-American quarterbacks are criticized differently than their white counterparts. In response, Bradshaw stated, "Psychologically speaking, it seems to me that Donovan is one of those kids that's reaching out for some love."

Bradshaw went on to talk about how McNabb was largely unwanted as a talented high school recruit, booed by Philly fans when he was drafted and criticized for not winning a Super Bowl despite tremendous success as an Eagle. Hmm, sounds like McNabb has a point, doesn't it, Terry?

Bradshaw continued, "(McNabb) gets hurt with a groin injury, goes on the bench, then he gets hurt with a knee injury and Jeff Garcia plays so well. Now we hear this thing about the black quarterback. I'm just wondering if we' re not hearing from Donovan McNabb that he's saying, I want out of Phil adelphia. I don't trust anybody.'"

Well, thanks for that diagnosis Dr. Terry. I understand that Bradshaw has battled depression for years, but when it comes to psychology, he has experience as a patient, not as a professional. This is a classic example of the media creating a story and putting words in a player's mouth.

McNabb never said he needs more love from the Philadelphia fans, and he never said that he wants out of Philly. Of course, those with an IQ similar to Bradshaw's (i.e., a mason jar, a butter churn and chewing tobacco) will take Terry's comments and run with them, further painting the portrait of McNabb as a disgruntled player.

Speaking of IQ's similar to Terry Bradshaw's, I give you Barry Switzer. In response to McNabb's comments, Switzer stated, "I thought that we were long past this but I look at it this way. I played a black quarterback in 1972, before Donovan was ever born.

"He thinks that maybe he's being criticized with what he's going through today. It didn't compare to what my guys had to go through."

Exactly who is the "we" that Switzer is referring to when he says that we are long past this? How does he even begin to know what it feels like to be an African-American quarterback? Maybe he has some tertiary knowledge based on players he has coached, but he has never coached McNabb.

Moreover, Switzer's comments make it sound as if McNabb is being disrespectful to those who came before him. On the contrary, McNabb is a part and a product of past struggles, and there is a real difference in the histories of white and African-American quarterbacks.

I take McNabb at his word for one simple reason. He is an African-American quarterback and I am not. As for Bradshaw and Switzer, their ignorant analysis and opinions served not to refute McNabb's points, but rather to give them even more credence.

Berliner's bullet

Former Fox, ESPN, CBS, WFAN and CN8 sportscaster Ed Berliner is back with a speeding bullet. Speeding Bullet Network (speedingbulletnetwork.com) is Berliner's new website providing regional sports content in a fast-paced, opinionated style.

"Newspapers are struggling and radio is struggling," says Berliner. " TV is scared to death of the Internet. They don't know how to use it and they don't know how to make money on it.

"Most television station or network websites just push people to watch their shows. The Internet is becoming the new broadcast hub. In truth, the Internet is another TV and radio channel."

As a media lifer, Berliner recognized the immense amount of sports content available and that led to a question.

"How do I get all this information in one spot? We won't have highlights because you can get that anywhere. Look at any station in Boston. They all run the same highlights, especially with the NFL's ban on sideline cameramen. We want to show targeted regional information in a national and international forum."

The genesis of Speeding Bullet Network lies in the desire of the fan. Says Berliner, "Sports fans want things that start an argument. The idea is to get differing regional perspectives in one place. A Cowboys fan in Boston can log on and hear or see a reporter from Dallas talking about the Cowboys. It is a platform.

"Reporters who come on as contributors will be pushing viewers back to their sites or stations. I am in talks with 15-20 websites to provide video and audio exclusively to us. It will be a constant promotional site between Speeding Bullet and our contributors. It's all about creating traffic."

Berliner's enterprise is ever growing with big plans for the near future. "I am actively talking about including an instructional piece to the puzzle, where lessons in golf, hockey and other sports will be available on our site.

"We are expecting NASCAR to do some things next year. I've also spoken to a couple of ex-NFL players about creating content that prepares high school athletes for college and college athletes for the NFL draft. It's all about seeing it and hearing it, not just reading it."

The site will also provide opportunities for original concepts. "People with original programming ideas will have a forum," explains Berliner. " These days, you have to hijack a station to get new ideas considered. If you can create content and edit it to five minutes, we'll run it."

Keeping with the theme of fan-friendliness, Speeding Bullet will include a vital interactive component. "We call it Vox Populi, or the Vlog," says Berliner.

"Fans can send us one minute of video or audio and we'll post it. They can rant, rave, scream, holler and opine. There is no centralized place where sports fans can go right now. Our site will allow Red Sox and Yankee fans to go at it online."

Berliner calls Speeding Bullet "a web site run by media professionals for media professionals, a content service that reporters and commentators can use 24/7, via voice or video."

More to the point, it is an exciting business venture for a long time media pro. "This is my baby and it has taken a lot longer than I thought to get to this point, more than two years. Safety NetAccess and its owner Sean Gorman have been instrumental in the fabulous design and look of the website. They do amazing work."

Speedingbulletnetwork.com is currently in test mode with the official launch scheduled for October 8. Berliner has put much work into it, but is poised for even greater labor pains from his baby.

"We've been working at this 24/7," he explains. "I've had so many outlets say that they love the idea , but we need to grow and show them what we can do. We'll hit bumps and make mistakes, but the Internet is constantly a work in progress. I don't expect to get much sleep for the next six months."

So what drives a seasoned radio and TV guy to the still vastly unknown world of cyberspace? "In the next 5 years, sports fans' viewing habits are going to change drastically," Berliner responds. "TV is losing numbers in droves and people are not buying newspapers."

Berliner spent three years at CN8 in Boston before leaving abruptly in June of 2006. His award-winning "Sports Pulse" show helped launch the television and radio careers of then-unheralded writers such as Shira Springer, Mike Reiss and others

"Compared to the Internet, a network like CN8 reaches two people," says Berliner. "I am happy to say that many of my former CN8 guests are going to be working on Speeding Bullet Network.

"It's refreshing to work with good media people from New England and around the country, not those who suffer from a lack of professionalism."

John Molori's columns are published in Boston Sports Review, Boston Baseball Magazine, New England Hockey Journal, BostonSportsMedia.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportz.com, Methuen Life and several newspapers and websites throughout New England. Email John at MoloriMedia@aol.com.


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