Tag Archives: NFL

SI’s Peter King Opines on NFL, Offers Advice to Merrill College Students

Peter King speaks with students at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Peter King speaks with students at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

By Adam Zielonka
For the Povich Center

Longtime Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King filed his Wednesday article about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension from the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

It delayed King’s speaking engagement for the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism by about 15 minutes, but as Povich Center director George Solomon said, “at least we’re late for a journalistic reason.”

King was the Povich Center’s guest speaker Wednesday afternoon at the Eaton Theater in Knight Hall. The MMQB founder addressed a variety of topics about America’s true pastime and the sport he has covered the most during his 37-year journalism career.

King and Solomon were joined on the panel by Callie Caplan, a 2017 Merrill College graduate who covers high school sports for The Washington Post, and Jake Brodsky, a Merrill College senior and editor for The Left Bench.

Perhaps the strongest opinion King delivered during the panel had to do with football’s violent nature and the increasing issues around player safety. King thinks it’s in the NFL’s best interest for players to wait until they are 16 years old to play tackle football.

“I believe the NFL should come out right now and institute an edict that basically says that we do not support tackle football before a person’s 16th birthday,” he said.

When Solomon noted Bob Costas’ comment at November’s Povich Symposium that “this game destroys people’s brains,” which made national headlines, King asked, “How do you argue with him? You can’t argue.”

Caplan first brought up player safety when she asked King how much the Monday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals this week hurt the league’s stance on safety.

Players on both teams were injured in that — two players received suspensions for illegal hits and Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was carted off with a back injury.

“What really hurts [the league] in my opinion is Ben Roethlisberger saying to [ESPN reporter] Lisa Salters, ‘This is AFC North football,’” King said. “Well, then the AFC North should secede from the union. That was a disgrace.”

Left to right: Povich Center Director George Solomon, Sports Illustrated MMQB editor Peter King, Merrill College senior Jake Brodsky and Merrill College graduate Callie Caplan.

Left to right: Povich Center Director George Solomon, Sports Illustrated MMQB editor Peter King, Merrill College senior Jake Brodsky and Merrill College graduate Callie Caplan.

King also discussed his reporting about Goodell’s contract extension. Several weeks ago, when it was reported that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was organizing formal opposition to Goodell receiving an extension, King got in contact with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the chairman of the owners’ compensation committee.

Blank told King there really wasn’t as much organized opposition as Jones made it sound.

“The one kind of journalism lesson for this is every time I ended up talking to Arthur Blank I said ‘Hey, we need to keep in touch about this,’” King said.

King also was cognizant of his role as one of a handful of respected football reporters working for national publications.

“This will happen to you. It’s a great example of about how, in my opinion, owners and big influencers are going to try to use people at the highest parts of their profession,” King said. “It’s a very, very interesting kind of dance when you try to figure out, after every conversation, ‘what is this person actually trying to do with me, and how much of what I was just told do I trust implicitly and how much do I have to check out?’”

King has worked for Sports Illustrated since 1989, but in 2013 the magazine gave him a budget to launch his own football-only vertical website, the MMQB. King wanted to hire “people who were extremely young and did not think like I thought,” and one of his first hires was Merrill College graduate Robert Klemko.

Klemko worked for USA Today and was covering the Baltimore Ravens on their path to winning Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. After one playoff game, King saw Ray Lewis get “nose to nose” with Klemko for pursuing a line of questioning Lewis didn’t like, having to do with the linebacker’s 2000 murder trial. Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in that case.

The way Klemko “hung in there” stood out to King, who soon hired him for his MMQB staff.

“There had to be a couple of PR guys who had to separate them,” King remembered. “And I just said, ‘I’m impressed with him.’”

King likes working with writers with different visions and who aren’t afraid to disagree with him, he said, because he is “not the god of editing or the god of journalism.”

“We’re not going to do what’s best for somebody’s ego,” he said. “We’re going to do what’s best for the story.”

King also discussed his opinions on everything from Colin Kaepernick’s lack of an NFL job to the possibility of a lockout or strike at the league’s next collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Football likely will go on “uninterrupted,” King said, partly because players might not want to lose a year of their careers to strike.

King bookended the football talk with two key pieces of advice for budding journalists. In his opening comments, he advised young reporters to “do everything,” to be more flexible than he said he was upon graduating from Ohio University in 1979.

“There was a dividing line between radio and TV people and the newspaper people,” he said. “Now when I talk to students, the one thing I say is ‘do everything, because you never know.’”

And King closed the event by recalling how he never worried about money in the early stages of his career, advising journalists to do the same.

As a general assignment sports reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer in the 1980s, “I covered Xavier basketball. I was the backup guy on the Reds. I covered a high school football game every night in the fall,” King said. “I covered whatever came up, whatever needed to be covered.

“I just thought ‘man, this is incredible. They’re paying me $13,000 a year to do this? This is awesome, man.’”

Talk of Football’s Future Highlights Shirley Povich Symposium

Maury Povich, Michael Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser, Bob Costas and Christine Brennan discuss the biggest stories in sports during the Povich Symposium.

Left to right: Maury Povich, Michael Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser, Bob Costas and Christine Brennan discuss the biggest stories in sports during the Povich Symposium.

A panel of some of the nation’s top sports journalists say football is in trouble.

During a discussion about the biggest issues in sports during the Shirley Povich Symposium at the University of Maryland, longtime broadcaster Bob Costas said there are “cracks in the foundation” of football’s popularity because of its violent nature.

“The reality is this sport destroys people’s brains,” Costas said, referring to the risk of players suffering traumatic brain injuries.

Talk of football’s future highlighted the symposium, hosted annually by the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. The center is directed by George Solomon, former sports editor at The Post.

USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan, “Pardon the Interruption” hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon and moderator Maury Povich joined Costas on stage at the Riggs Alumni Center.

The symposium honors sports columnist Shirley Povich‘s 75-year career at The Washington Post.

Kornheiser, a former longtime columnist for The Post, said the decline in popularity of horse racing and boxing prove it’s possible for popular sports to fall out of favor.

Sportswriters of Povich’s time used to “set their schedules by three sports,” Kornheiser said. “They set them by horse racing, by boxing and by baseball. Two of those are done. … Football’s headed there.”

Wilbon, also a former Post columnist, said the NFL also has a problem connecting with fans “beyond our shores.” He said that’s partly because the NFL allows less access to its players than other professional leagues, like the NBA.

“Football wants to distance itself and put a moat around itself, between itself and its fanbase,” Wilbon said. “It doesn’t want to talk to them. Well, Tom Brady’s available on Tuesdays to talk. Well, LeBron [James]’s available every damn day.

“He’s available every day on Instagram, on Twitter, whatever it is, it’s not filtered. And so are a number of NBA personalities.”

Earlier in the evening, panelists discussed how social media and other technology had dramatically changed covering sports since the first Povich Symposium, held in 2003.

Brennan, another former Post columnist, said the news cycle was 12 hours then. Now, it’s 10 minutes.

“Whatever happened in the middle of the night, there wasn’t a darn thing you could do about it,” she said.

MABJ Panel Tackles Domestic Violence and the NFL

Article by Jessie Karangu, junior broadcast major

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The intersection of domestic violence, sports and journalism launched a lively discussion at Tuesday night’s MABJ panel held in a packed Eaton Theater.

The University of Maryland’s student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists convened the summit to dissect the media’s influence on the saga of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and how a violent elevator video led to his release from the Ravens and turned into a national conversation about domestic violence, the NFL, crime and punishment.

Tuesday night’s panel featured NFL writer David Steele of Sporting News, domestic violence survivor Rebecca Hinton who is a speaker bureau volunteer with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), Managing Editor Mary Byrne of USA Today  Sports and former NFL player Wally Williams of CBS Baltimore.

“If the video didn’t come out, some would still be questioning and blaming Janay (Rice’s wife) for her role in the situation,” Steele said.

“The NFL is lucky this was Ray Rice and not an even bigger name.”

The panel also delved into why U.S. women’s soccer player Hope Solo is not facing as much criticism from the media as Ray Rice, despite being charged with domestic violence against her sister and her nephew.

“I’m proud to say that Christine Brennan was the first person in the mainstream media to cover (this story) but women’s soccer is not the NFL, it’s not a $10 billion business,” USA Today’s Byrne said.

The discussion reached its peak after audience members weighed in on whether Rice deserved a second chance in the league. Most panelists felt Rice would play again. Domestic abuse survivor Hinton said forgiveness helped her get through her own personal situation, and the same standard should apply to Rice.

Hinton also questioned the necessity of playing Rice’s elevator video in subsequent media reports.

“The release of the latest video caused me to re-live my own battles with domestic abuse and opened new wounds,” Hinton said.

Maryland Association of Black Journalists plans to hold its next panel discussion on October 14th looking at the media’s influence in Ferguson, Missouri, after a police officer shot and killed an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.




Merrill College’s Capital News Service Will No Longer Use the Name “Redskins”

cnsheaderCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – In a story released Thursday, October 30 to its clients, the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Capital News Service announced that the student-powered news service will no longer use the name “Redskins” when talking about the NFL franchise.

In a note to editors, CNS writes: “After consultation with our reporters, and among our editors, we have decided that it is not appropriate for us to use what many Native Americans, and others, consider a racial slur. From now on, CNS style will be to refer to the team as “Washington’s NFL franchise.”

Read the complete story:

Sports Columnists, News Organizations Dropping Name of Washington’s NFL Franchise

Capital News Service

WASHINGTON – The ongoing debate over the name of Washington’s NFL franchise has led a growing number of media organizations and journalists to forgo using what many consider a racial slur.
NBC’s Bob Costas called the name “an insult, a slur,” during a recent Monday Night Football game between Washington’s team and the Dallas Cowboys. Peter King and his site The MMQB have stopped using it. Slate, the Washington City Paper, USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan and others also have stopped using the name.

Read more ...

The Other Redskins: The Rest of the Story

The Other Redskins Banner

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Washington, D.C.’s football team isn’t the only one facing questions about its use of the name “Redskins.”

A new report from the Capital News Service at the University of Maryland shows that despite press releases to the contrary from the Redskin’s organization, there is a growing controversy over the use of the name at the 62 high schools still using “Redskins” as their mascot.

The Capital News Service (CNSMD) is a student-run news service from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism – with bureaus in College Park, Annapolis and Washington, D.C.

The online multimedia report – by CNS reporters Kelyn Soong,  Sean Henderson and Angela Wong with support from students Krystal Nancoo-Russell , Rashee Raj Kumar, Allison Goldstein and Eric Morrow- is called “The Other Redskins” – and details the controversy going on in many communities across the U.S. about the use of the name “Redskins.”

Read more ...