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NFL Promises to Crack Down on Domestic Violence

This afternoon the NFL attempted to fight back against one of its biggest reputation challenges by issuing stricter punishments for domestic violence among players.

Will this move pay off? Some details from commissioner Roger Goodell‘s letter to team owners after the jump.

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ESPN Gets the Memo on America’s Disinterest in Michael Sam’s Showering Habits

ESPN Michael Sam

We wanted to look the other way too.

ICYMI: The St. Louis Rams drafted a gay guy in the NFL draft this year. Many have discussed this fact. We blogged about it. Everyone is watching it.

However, most of us are also over it.

Michael Sam showed true courage, walked over a line, and took a stand for the LGBT community. And while everyone with a pulse and a non-blackened heart applauded him for that move then, we have all stopped clapping.

Why? It’s old news. ESPN, however, thought a story about Sam’s showering habits in the Rams’ locker room was necessary. A day later, they apologized because social media blew up.

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NYC Celebrity Chefs Hold Court During U.S. Open’s Taste of Tennis Week

Celeb Chef Tennis Players Behind Net FinalThis year Taste of Tennis has grown into a feast, expanding from a one-night culinary party into a week of food experiences leading up to the U.S. Open, which starts today. Indeed, associations between food and tennis have evolved greatly since the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza was caught on camera, face smeared by an ice cream sundae, while eating at the National Tennis Center’s food court during the Grand Slam tournament.

The 15th annual Taste of Tennis gala was the signature offering, featuring small plates prepared by several top local chefs, musical entertainment along with appearances by elite tennis players and celebrities. Among the surrounding events was the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, held at the Midtown Tennis Club. The round-robin style mixed doubles tournament paired chefs and restaurateurs with local players. At another fete, Party with the Pros, guests enjoyed food, signature cocktails and live music, while they mingled with top names in tennis.

We spoke with Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS Sports Marketing, the event management company that organizes Taste of Tennis, about the strategy behind the new weeklong ‘food fusion’ program, while we sampled the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge event. Below are takeaways.

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Mike Ditka on Daniel Snyder’s PR Problem: ‘What’s All the Stink?’

Football Pro NFC  Games 1984 Devision Playoff

Funny how he’s looking away from this Redskins situation too.

Some people are celebrated for their lack of — or complete disregard for — a filter. If you want a true opinion, one without all the flowery crap, just holler at people like Donald Trump, Rosie O’Donnell, Sophia from The Golden Girls, or any uptown socialite with a little booze intake.

The NFL has someone like that: Hall of Famer, beloved coach and current ESPN broadcaster (for now) Mike Ditka.

For many months, people have stepped to one side or the other regarding whether the Washington football team needs to change its mascot. Some believe it is a regaled tradition in the NFL and that changing that mascot would be criminal. Others take a more human interest angle, arguing that the act of calling someone a “Redskin” is bad enough to warrant a change.

Guess which side ‘Da’ Bears’ coach is on…

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Steve Ballmer Gets a Little Excited About His New Basketball Team

A clip we somehow missed at EOD yesterday has helped us realize why Steve Ballmer may not have been the best fit for his former employer, Microsoft.

While Ballmer didn’t quite succeed in his ongoing attempt to make the tech dinosaur “cool”, he definitely convinced the folks in the crowd at yesterday’s L.A. Clippers press conference that he really likes basketball. Not that he ever played it, but you know…

We also think we’ve discovered the recently “retired” Ballmer’s true calling: a job as a WWE announcer.

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Open-Ended Twitter Q&As Are Officially a Terrible Idea

“I knew there was going to be some negativity going into it,” FSU sports information director Elliott Finebloom said regarding the Twitter disaster that was #AskJameis.

Well, yes. Shouldn’t we all know by now — thanks to Robin Thicke, JP Morgan, McDonald’s, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the NYPD and the Washington whatever-you-want-to-call-thems — that open-ended Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea?

This is especially true when applied to a creepy R&B singer, a generally disliked financial institution or player who earned a great deal of negative attention for FSU thanks to accusations of sexual assault and “stealing $32 of crab legs from a local grocery store.”

There’s no need to post the most incendiary tweets here; you’ve probably already seen some of them.

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Two Cleveland Newspapers Block LeBron Ad Stunt

highly questionable

ESPN’s Dan LeBatard has made his career off vitrolic opinions on sports — some are spot-on, others are not-so-much. His home is Miami and his allegiance is to the Miami Heat.

Given Lebron James’ “decision” to take his talents back to Lake Erie, LeBatard has decided that Lebron should write a thank you letter to Heat Fans. Seeing how that public plea didn’t get much traction in Cleveland, LeBatard had another idea — to purchase a full-page ad in both the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Akron Beacon Journal

Upon review, his proposal was completely denied because even newspapers don’t need ad revenue that badly.

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ESPN Decided It Needed to Take a Stronger Stance Against Stephen A. Smith

stephen a smithESPN, taking things a step further than Stephen A. Smith‘s long apology, has suspended the commentator for one week after he made gross and misguided comments about domestic abuse against women. The comments followed the NFL’s weak two-game suspension of Ray Rice after footage showed him dragging his unconscious wife out of a casino hotel after he allegedly hit her.

Smith made a lengthy broadcast speech after first trying to tweet-splain what he meant by his warning that women shouldn’t “provoke” men to violence. During the apology he was much more contrite, bringing up the women in his family and his outspoken stance against domestic violence.

To really bring the point home, ESPN also had a female commentator, Cari Champion, say many words after Smith was done. Most of those words were in support of her colleague, who wore his special purple tie for the occasion.

Clearly, the PR team was working overtime on this spectacle. Wisely, the network felt the need to do more, hence the suspension.

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Why the Redskins Lost PR Points by Hiring Burson-Marsteller

redskins_facepalmFULL DISCLOSURE: I am a proud former Burson employee.

That said, the Washington Redskins lost whatever integrity they had left when they hired Burson-Marsteller yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, the hire made sense. If B-M is known for anything, it is a powerful one-two combination of public affairs and crisis communications.

Those are two things that team and its thick-headed owner sorely need.

The problem is that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder didn’t hire them to help his football team do the admirable thing. He hired B-M to help his team continue to do the wrong thing.

And there goes his credibility, swirling down the drain.

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The NFL Shows How Much It Cares About Domestic Violence

ray rice

With all the hubbub about civil unrest in the Middle East, Ukranian dissent and Comic-Con, you may have missed the slap heard ’round the world.

No, not the one that Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice landed on his (for now) wife that knocked her out so cold that he dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator.

We mean one the NFL delivered in response to that cowardly act by Rice: Suspended for two whole games. For those not in the know, if you smoke a joint and get caught in the NFL, you’ll be suspended for four games.

See the problem now?

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