Bill Belichick Responds on CBS

The Friday Media Megalinks

Ken from Fang’s Bites again. After a busy 48 hours with the Tomase mess, let’s change gears and do your media megalinks. We have a lot of links to get to so let’s get cracking.

Viewing Picks

Interleague play in baseball and the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown headline the weekend viewing picks.

As mentioned, interleague play starts this weekend in Major League Baseball. The Red Sox will host former American League rival, the Milwaukee Brewers and NESN has tonight’s (7 p.m.) and Sunday’s (1:30 p.m.) matchup. In a rare piece of programming, Fox Sports does not jump on the New York Mets-New York Yankees matchup for its Saturday Game of the Week. Instead, Fox chooses the Brewers-Red Sox, Cleveland at Cincinnati and the Dodgers at Anaheim for its games at 3:55 p.m. WGN has the White Sox at San Francisco Saturday night at 9 and the lone National League series, the Cubs hosting Pittsburgh, Sunday at 2. TBS also has Milwaukee at Boston, Sunday at 1;30 p.m. ESPN will take the Mets-Yankees for the Sunday night game.

It’s Game 6 of the Celtics-Cavs series and we’ll see if the C’s can actually win on the road in the postseason. Comcast SportsNet will have its last game of the season tonight. Mike Gorman, Donny Marshall and Greg Dickerson will be at the Loan Sharking Arena in Cleveland. Game time is 8 p.m. After tonight, the NBA schedule is a bit up in the air. ABC is scheduled to carry one game at 3:30 p.m., Sunday and it could be a Game 7 in the Boston-Cleveland series or Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

NBC Sports will have complete coverage of the Preakness Stakes live from Baltimore starting at 4:30 on Saturday. Luckily, we won’t have a silly red carpet show. Big Brown will be the favorite to take the next step towards the Triple Crown. During NBC’s show, Bob Costas will hold a roundtable discussion on the dangers of horse racing in the wake of the Eight Belles tragedy at the Kentucky Derby. And ESPN will have the Preakness undercard starting at noon.

Both NHL Conference Finals could conclude this weekend. NBC Sports has two Games Five, Dallas at Detroit on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. NBC is hoping this won’t go into overtime to avoid a repeat of last year when Buffalo-Ottawa went OT and shuffled the game to Versus so it could start its Preakness Stakes pre-race show on time. On Sunday, NBC will not have potential conflicts as it will cover Philadelphia at Pittsburgh at 3 p.m.

Motorsports is busy this weekend. NASCAR has its annual All Star Race on the Speed Channel this Saturday night at 7. Indy Car continues the Indianapolis 500 Time Trials throughout the weekend on ESPN2 and ABC.

The PGA Tour continues without Tiger Woods with the AT&T Classic on CBS at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The LPGA Sybase Classic is picked up by ESPN2, Saturday and Sunday at 2.

HBO has Boxing After Dark Saturday night at 9:45 p.m. with three scheduled fights.

ESPN2 begins coverage of the NCAA Division I Softball tournament with regional action on Saturday.

The WNBA begins the Candace Parker era with the LA Sparks visiting the Phoenix Mercury on ABC this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

And track and field fans can watch the Adidas Track Classic from Carson, CA Sunday on ESPN at 4 p.m.

The TV sports listings can be seen at USA Today. To the links now.

National

ESPN Ombudsman Le Ann Schreiber takes ESPN to task for the Miguel Tejada ambush interview on E:60.

Michael McCarthy of USA Today says HBO’s Real Sports interview of former New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh keeps the Spygate scandal in the spotlight.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott was busy keeping track of the John Tomase mea culpa at the Boston Herald as well as following a story involving NESN’s Heidi Watney before she joined the network.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe says NESN has hired former Red Sox utility infielder Lou Merloni as a studio analyst.

Newsday’s Neil Best talked with SNY’s Mets announcer Gary Cohen before he called yesterdays game against the Washington Nationals from the Shea Stadium’s upper deck with analysts Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. In his blog, Neil talks with Mets announcers Cohen, Howie Rose, Hernandez and Darling about their childhood experiences sitting in the cheap seats.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times talks with ESPN’s Doris Burke (and Providence College alumnus) who has found a role on the network’s college basketball and NBA broadcasts.

From the New York Post, Phil Mushnick laments the number of young men and women who are entering the professional poker business.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman wonders why Fox Sports omitted the Mets-Yankees from tomorrow’s MLB schedule and chose Brewers-Red Sox instead.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that Fox Sports Radio updates are truly lacking.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun looks at NBC’s coverage of the Preakness Stakes. John Wostendiek of the Sun talks with Dave Rodman, the track announcer at Pimlico, who will call his 17th Preakness Stakes, but you won’t hear him on TV or radio.

Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner says the Preakness Stakes is an event made for ESPN’s Kenny Mayne.

Dan Daly of the Washington Times says sensationalism such as John Tomase’s story in the Boston Herald is hurting sports journalism.

Midwest

Heading to the Akron Beacon Journal, George M. Thomas talks about ESPN taking SportsCenter live in the mornings starting in August.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press also writes about the live morning SportsCenters.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Brewers hit the national TV spotlight this weekend thanks to its interleague matchup with the Red Sox.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune talks with former Toronto Raptors radio voice Chuck Swirsky who’s returning to Chicago as the radio voice of the Bulls.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Judd Zulgad tells us that the family of Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad is looking to buy more radio stations.

Paul Christian from the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says NBC Sports likes the fact that there is a clear cut favorite in this year’s Preakness Stakes.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News wonders why some TV announcers won’t admit they’re wrong after seeing the replay.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune is back from vacation and notes that he didn’t miss the umpire bashing on the Padres TV broadcasts. Jay also has the ratings from last weekend in San Diego.

From the North County Times, John Maffei writes about Hannah Storm returning to sports TV as an anchor in ESPN SportsCenter’s live morning block.

Over to the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle talks about NBC’s roundtable discussion of horse racing during its coverage of the Preakness.

John Scheibe of the Los Angeles Times also writes about the NBC roundtable talk about Eight Belles in the weekly Sound and Vision column.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says ESPN feels the need to send out press releases at breakneck speed. In his media notes, Tom says hearing Charley Steiner and Steve Lyons on Dodgers road games makes him yearn for Vin Scully. One side note, Tom has picked up on Hannah Storm’s sexy poses, something I noted earlier this week.

Canada

William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that Canada’s all-sports cable channels are making good money.

South

The State’s Doug Nye talks with the long time radio voice of Clemson baseball.

Barry Jackson from the now Dan Le Batard-less Miami Herald says the NBA continues to keep the real NBA Draft Lottery off camera.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel is a fan of interleague play and finds an ESPN MLB analyst who agrees with him.

Over to the Houston Chronicle where David Barron says colleague and former Boston Globe Patriots beat writer Jerome Solomon has been dropped by sports radio station KFNC.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says ESPN is competing against itself with its upcoming live morning SportsCenters in August.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman writes about Hannah Storm joining ESPN (again note the sexy pose). In his notebook, Mel has a few ESPN-related items. Finally, Mel has his viewing picks.

Blogs

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says headbands are now a big part of the NBA’s sales.

In his Sports Marketing and Public Relations blog, Joe Favorito says there are plenty niche sites to get your sports news.

The Big Lead says Yahoo! Sports was the most visited sports website in April closely followed by ESPN.com.

Awful Announcing likes ESPN’s promos for Euro 2008.

In case you missed it from earlier this week, the Sox & Dawgs blog has the video of Manny making a catch in Baltimore, high fiving a fan in the stands, then throwing the ball into the infield for a double play.

That’s going to do it. Have a good weekend

Editor’s Identities Not “In The Best Interest Of The Paper”

Adam Reilly talks to Herald editor Kevin Convey about why the specific editors that worked with John Tomase on the story have not been named.

In answer, Conveys says to Reilly:

The issue of the editors’ involvement was on the front page and back page of the Boston Herald, and in my editor’s note. I think that’s the answer I would give to that question. I just don’t see it in the best interest of the paper and the staff to go more deeply than that.

Reilly goes on to speculate some more on the reasons why Convey may feel this way.

Seth Mnookin offers a defense of John Tomase

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As you might imagine, this whole story has been a huge topic of conversation on the BSMW message board. One poster went back through the archives of the board and found a post from October 7, 2007, in which a poster stated the following:

Felger mentioned on his show a few weeks ago that there was “talk” that the Pats had videotaped the Rams walk-thru the day before SB 36.

Leaving out whether Felger did in fact make that statement or not, it was a public topic of conversation at least as far back at October.

In Tomase’s explanation today, he said:

Late in the 2006 season, I was having a casual conversation about the Patriots [team stats] when someone I trust threw out the following tidbit.

“I heard the Patriots filmed the Rams’ final walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI,” he said.

It was just a rumor, and certainly not actionable intelligence, as they say. He had heard it from a friend of a friend. I filed it away, and then forgot about it. Reporters hear stuff like that all the time.

Little did I know that comment would resurface from a much stronger source in the days after the Patriots had been caught filming the Jets’ defensive signals in September 2007.

The rumor was certainly making the rounds during that time. Whether or not Tomase and Felger had talked about it, (It seems natural that they would.) it’s interesting that Felger is apparently one of the ones who was circulating the rumor as well.

In recent days Felger has said that Tomase’s only error was using the wrong verb. He says “monitored” should be used rather than “filmed.” This also has seemingly been proven false, as the statements from Brian Daboll and the NFL would seem to indicate.

Where Are The Editors? Tomase Abettors Need To Be Named.

I still can’t decide on the Tomase explanation. I’m sufficiently assured that Tomase knows he truly screwed the pooch on this one. I’m disappointed in it because it was so hyped by the Herald- clearly they’re tried to capitalize on all the publicity this is generating. They appear to be firm subscribers to the notion that there’s no such thing as bad publicity…except, it seems for Tomase.  

He plans to go right back on the beat, and the paper appears willing to let that happen.

A couple quick things that I don’t really understand:

While I have no regrets over going to print the day before the Super Bowl, this is a story I simply could not afford to get wrong. And I did.

I guess he could afford to get it wrong, because what punishment has taken place? What price has been paid, save the outrage of the fan base of the Patriots?

Also, while I do somewhat understand not naming the sources – it doesn’t seem like it would do any good anyway – why is Tomase being allowed to fall on the sword alone on this one? Why aren’t the editors that worked with him to put this story into the paper being named and held accountable for this error? As far as we know, there has been no punishments at all handed out for this entire episode.

There has to be some sanctions for punishment here, right?

It really seems to me that the Herald is content to sit back and enjoy the wave of increased exposure that this incident has brought them.

Some reaction from around the Internet about the explanation in the Herald today.

Dan Kennedy still has some questions after Tomase explained the process of how the story got into the paper.

Paul Flannery on the Boston Daily blog wants to know where the Herald’s editors were in all of this.

Awful Announcing is shocked that Tomase still has a job after this.

Mike Florio says that he can’t help but feel that this is all “part of a broader, and carefully calculated, P.R. effort aimed at ensuring that Tomase keeps his beat, and that various editors at the Herald keep their jobs.”

Neil Best of New York Newsday has a pretty good idea who Tomase’s source was, but he’s not talking, either.

Toni Monkovic on the New York Times Fifth Down blog asks “Who among us hasn’t screwed up?”

Michael David Smith says that Tomase didn’t really explain much of anything.

Deadspin wonders how long Tomase will be able to deal with all the comments and remarks after every single thing that he writes.

The Coffin Corner demands reprimands and punishments to be handed out.

Heck, even Jets fans think that the Herald has gone too far this week!

Tomase Explanation A Bit Light In Detail

(Edit: 10:00am – Tomase has also posted some specific apologies on the Point After blog as an addendum to the explanation story below.) 

Boston Herald Front CoverUm….so that’s it?

Really?

Here’s the thumbnail version of John Tomase explanation before you decide to go out and buy the paper or click and read the story yourself:

A couple people told me that the Patriots taped the Rams walkthrough. I checked it out,  it sounded good, though I didn’t have any proof. I thought the New York Times was closing in and I didn’t want to get beat. We ran with it. I was sure. I was wrong. Sorry.

No sources named.

I guess I need some more time to digest this, meanwhile, you can check out David Scott‘s analysis of the explanation, along with some Bill Simmons and Heidi Watney notes.

The Celtics are in Cleveland tonight still trying to get their first road win of the postseason and to close out the Cavs. Check all the coverage from CelticsLinks.com. I’ve also got an article over at the Metro where I miss Eddie House.

Herald, Massarotti Continue Alienation of Readers

There will be no approval ratings today. Instead, we’re going with this analysis of the Boston Herald’s ongoing apology.

Has the Boston Herald been carefully orchestrating this whole walkthrough apology in order to generate the most attention (and revenue)?

It would appear so.

Yes, I certainly wanted more from the paper than simply the statement that was issued retracting the story and apologizing to the Patriots, but in addition to the apology, I would also expect some humility, contriteness, and sincerity to be a part of that package.

Dan Kennedy wonders how anyone could doubt the Herald’s sincerity, but he also admits that he believes Curt Schilling’s shoulder is a bigger story than the Super Bowl…

Herald editor Kevin R. Convey issued the following statement in regards to the episode.

A newspaper’s bond with its readers rests on credibility and accountability. When a mistake is made in reporting a story, that bond can remain intact, but only if the mistake is acknowledged, and acknowledged boldly, clearly and unequivocally.

The Herald did just that yesterday with its unprecedented front-page apology to the New England Patriots. We thought our story was solid. It wasn’t. And we owned up to it.

Nevertheless, I continue to stand behind the work of the Herald sports department and John Tomase, a talented journalist who has dealt with this difficult matter professionally while continuing to do his job under intense pressure.

In the end, as editor in chief of the Herald, I take full responsibility for the publication of this story, and I offer my own apology to our readers and our staff.

In tomorrow’s Herald, you’ll hear from John Tomase directly. And I hope that you’ll see, as our coverage of this story and others goes forward, that our dedication to accuracy remains unchanged, and that our first priority will always be maintaining that bond of trust with our readers.

I might be a bit too sensitive here, but his line about the “unprecedented front-page apology” strikes me as just a tad self-congratulatory. Look at us! We shouted it from the rooftops! Why couldn’t he have called it their “sincere” front page apology? Or just said “our apology?” Now is not the time to bask in your deeds.

He praises John Tomase for dealing with this “difficult matter professionally.” I’m just glad he didn’t laud John for his courage under “intense pressure.” Tomase brought this “difficult matter” and “intense pressure” upon himself by his lack of professionalism. We can’t forget that.

How about that last line: “our first priority will always be maintaining that bond of trust with our readers.” A little late for that, I’m afraid. Rather than maintaining, you’re going to have to build it first.

One sure way not to build a bond and trust with your readers is to publish pure garbage and hate like that spewed by Tony Massarotti this morning.

Not in New England, now the official home of yahoos, hero worshipers and gutless suck-ups. To this entire group, it was all about whether there was a tape; anything else doesn’t matter so much.

I don’t know about you, but reading that in the Herald gives me the warm fuzzies. I’m feeling a warm bond of trust building between the Boston Herald and all Patriots fans. Not that Tony is very specific. He says “this entire group” can’t see that the Patriots broke the rules. That means YOU.

Now let’s get to the stories behind the story, the stuff nobody wants to talk about for fear of being exposed. The media is a sordid business. Professional and personal relationships frequently collide. Patriots coach Bill Belichick gives Christmas gifts and holiday cards to some members of the media, cyanide-tipped glares to others. You’re either a Belichicklet or you are not, and there is no base-level membership.

If you’re going to buy in, you have to sell out.

Thanks but no thanks.

Right. Tony’s not going to sell out. I said Tony’s not going to sell out. Really. He’s above all of that material bullsh*t. He would never allow his personal and professional relationships to collide or get involved with a subject he covers. Never.

Whoops. I guess it really is a material world and Tony is a material girl.

As you are a member of the public, we strongly urge you to review all media stories (particularly this continuously developing one) with a cynical and skeptical eye. Try to discern which members of the media show up to work wearing Patriots Super Bowl jackets, and which of your pathetic, repressed middle-aged neighbors wear their Tedy Bruschi jerseys on Sundays.

I think he’s writing about my friend Matt here, but I can’t be sure. Oh wait, Matt has a Vrabel jersey. Can’t be him. Again though, the Herald is just cuddling me in a warm blanket of trust. A pathetic, repressed blanket of truth.

Oh, I see, he’s talking about Glenn Ordway, Pete Sheppard and Fred Smerlas. Do they also qualify as “pathetic, repressed” and “middle-aged?” Check. (according to Tony.)

Meanwhile, take time to wonder if those same neighbors are blogging and posting on message boards while spending hours on hold so they might hear their voices on the radio.

Listen, mom!

Just like karaoke!

Ah…now we’re into it. It’s the bloggers fault!

By the way, Tony would sell his firstborn child for a permanent co-host position on WEEI. When Eddie Andelman left the station, Tony badly wanted the job which eventually went to Bob Neumeier. He was so disgruntled, that he abandoned WEEI and jumped over to 1510 because they would give him more hours. Eventually when 1510 started to go South, he came back to the WEEI fold. I guess Tony likes to hear his voice on the radio too.

If WEEI calls and wants him on the Big Show this afternoon to capitalize on this story, he’ll gladly take the $75/hour (or whatever they’re paying Big Show co-hosts these days) and sit right next to those media members “wearing Patriots Super Bowl jackets.”

Also, isn’t it just amazing how much these bloggers and message board posters get under skin of these media types?

These are the people who preserve the sports fantasy world that justifies their own sorry existence.

Tony goes to the games, watches the athletes play sports, eats well, gets quotes from the athletes, writes snide columns, and gets paid. Who’s living in the sports fantasy world here? For most people sports is a fun subset of their life. They work in the real world. Sports are an escape. For Tony, it is his life. Does Tony feel he leads a sorry existence? Is that what this is about?

Somewhere along the line during this Golden Era of Boston sports, maybe we all went soft. In the past year or so, the Pats have been fined and stripped of a first-round draft pick, had two players arrested for drug possession and another suspended for the use of human growth hormone. Then the Pats went out and lost one of the biggest games in the history of professional sports against a team they were favored to beat by two touchdowns.

How dare anyone criticize them?

Let’s move the goalposts on what the subject is this week. Who said the Patriots couldn’t be criticized? That’s not remotely what this is all about. This outcry is about the fact that Tony’s paper ran a story that wasn’t true…and one they didn’t check their facts on. This isn’t about criticizing the Patriots, it’s about shoddy journalism.

Speaking of which, Convey emphasized the “dedication to accuracy” at the Herald. So much for that. The Patriots didn’t have two players arrested for drug possession this offseason. Kevin Faulk was not arrested. Small point, yes, as Faulk did get in trouble, but this “dedication to accuracy” should dictate that Massarotti and the Herald get their facts straight.

What was the point of this column?

My instinct tells me it’s the Herald capitalizing on the publicity that this whole incident has generated. Tony writes angry column. Fans can’t help but read it. They respond by commenting and talking about it with others. More papers are purchased. More ads are shown online as more pageviews are generated. The comments fly in on the page. People return again and again to read them, creating even more page views and thus ad views. The column gets analyzed on blogs and on sports radio.

Get ready for groundhog day, as the same thing is going to happen tomorrow. Tomase’s explanation of what happened and where the story went wrong is on tap. The paper is teasing it, getting people talking about it, building anticipation.

I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to say. It should be interesting, seeing as how he’s still been playing the antagonist with his reporting this week, even having a post removed from the Point After blog -(the one with the lede about Walsh admitting to spying on the Rams) either by himself or by the higher-ups at the paper. We’re supposed to believe he’s suddenly contrite and humble about the whole thing? I’d like to see Tomase address the issues laid out by Scott Benson. We also should see the source named. We will be waiting to see what he has to say.

Which is exactly what the Herald wants.

Yes, the Herald is orchestrating this whole event so as to capitalize on the publicity. I guess you can’t blame them. If they’re going to get all this attention they might as well make some money off it, right?

Celtics Hold Serve At Home

The Celtics remained undefeated at home during the playoffs with a 96-89 win over the Cavs in the critical game five of the best of seven series.

Mark Murphy has the Celtics finally exploding in the second half last night to take game five. Marc J. Spears has the roller coaster ride continuing for the Celtics in the postseason. Tim Weisberg has Paul Piece coming up clutch in the crunch with his performance last night. Kevin McNamara says that LeBron James threw the fear of God into the Celtics in the first half, yet they failed to panic and went about the business of winning the game. Scott Souza has another happy homecoming for the Celtics at the Garden last night. Bill Doyle has the Celtics getting to within one win of closing out the second round. Jeff Howe has home cooking doing the job for the Celtics.

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press has the Celtics mad libbing their way to a game five victory.

Steve Bulpett says that Rajon Rondo and his performance (20 points, 13 assists) saved the season for the Celtics. Michael Vega has Rondo rising to the occasion in game 5. Bill Burt has the battle at point guard taking center stage in game 5. Robert Lee has Rondo having a career night while playing the entire second half. Jeff Jacobs also focuses on Rondo, who got the attention of LeBron last night. Mike Fine has back-to-back three by Rondo giving the Celtics a spark.

Dan Shaughnessy continues his streak of taking a jab at the Patriots in every single thing that he writes. Bill Reynolds has the Celtics once again coming up big at home, where they’ve been so tough in the postseason. Lenny Megliola has the Celtics finally getting things turned on last night. Julian Benbow has the Celtics passing the test of getting good ball movement on the offensive end. Jeff Horrigan has Glen “Big Baby” Davis providing a big lift off the bench for the Celtics in the second half. Lee has Ray Allen leaning on his teammates once again last night.

Bulpett has Ainge being honored as the NBA Executive of the Year last night. Jim Fenton has more on the award for Ainge.

Horrigan has Delonte West battling an eye infection, while still playing strong. Dan Ventura has LeBron James finally breaking out last night, but preferring that his team won. Monique Walker has LeBron held down in the third quarter as the Celtics made their run. Jennifer Toland notes that big numbers didn’t add up to a win for LeBron. Howe says LeBron knows that the playoffs are a different game.

Ventura reports that the pyrotechnics shows before the games will continue at the Garden. I’m not sure why. All they do is annoy the audience at home which has to watch on a smoke-filled screen for much of the first half.

Murphy’s notebook has Kevin Garnett showing the needed aggressiveness in this one. Spears’ notebook has Ainge enjoying his honor, but focusing on the job still in progress. Burt’s notebook has Garnett answering the challenge in a big way. McNamara’s notebook has more on Garnett bouncing back after a quiet game 4. Doyle’s notebook has more on the honor for Ainge.

Red Sox

The Red Sox are in a slump, folks. They dropped another in Baltimore, this time on a seventh inning grand slam from old friend Jay Payton off Hideki Okajima in the 6-3 Orioles win.

Gordon Edes has the weary Sox finally returning home after a trip which starting with such promise. Michael Silverman has the Sox finishing off their longest road trip of the season in gruesome fashion. Steven Krasner has the Sox looking forward to today’s day off. Jeff Goldberg has the Sox blowing a 3-0 lead for the third day in a row. Bill Ballou says that the end of this road trip couldn’t have been much worse.

Nick Cafardo looks at the struggles of Okajima this year when coming in with runners on. Silverman has more Manny Ramirez hijinks in the outfield, this one with a happy ending all around. Krasner has a quick look at Jonathan Van Every who got called up yesterday to play centerfield.

Edes’ notebook has Clay Buchholz going to the DL so that the Sox can get an outfielder for the game yesterday. Silverman’s notebook has more on the roster move. Krasner’s notebook has more on the latest Manny moment in the outfield. Goldberg’s notebook also focuses on the incident. Ballou’s notebook looks at a crowded trainer’s room for the Sox.

Herald Fallout

I’ll have another post on this subject this morning, including some more on the fact that Tony Massarotti is simply a bitter, bitter, hateful, angry little man.

Boston Herald editor Kevin R. Convey has issued an apology over the walkthrough story, and John Tomase has assured readers that an explanation is coming.

Scott Benson has a few things he hopes Tomase will include in his explanation tomorrow. David Scott offers more analysis on the Herald situation as well.

For the latest Patriots stories, including the Specter press conference, visit PatriotsLinks.com

Approval Ratings – Andy Gresh

Andy GreshToday we’ll look at football analyst and radio host Andy Gresh.

Gresh is a fixture on the WBCN Patriots Rock Radio network pre and post game shows as well as a frequent guest on Comcast SportsNet, especially during the football season.

Up until March Gresh co-hosted a daily show alongside former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak on sports radio 790/99.7  The Score in Providence. The station eliminated their local sports programming leaving the duo without that daily gig.

Gresh also does work for ESPN radio, filling in on shows such as Game Night and hosting his own show on Saturday mornings, ESPN Today.

Gresh played college football at URI, which he refers to often to as his source of expertise when analyzing the NFL.

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Andy Gresh Approval Ratings
Total Votes: 1647 Started: May 14, 2008 Back to Vote Screen

Boston Herald Apologizes To Patriots – Is It Enough?

After yesterday’s testimony by Matt Walsh to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Boston Herald has issued an apology for their erroneous story the day before the Super Bowl which said that the Patriots taped the St Louis Rams walkthrough the day before Super Bowl XXXVI. The story caused a nation-wide furor which has continued since that day. Here is the apology:

On Feb. 2, 2008, the Boston Herald reported that a member of the New England Patriots [team stats]’ video staff taped the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI. While the Boston Herald based its Feb. 2, 2008, report on sources that it believed to be credible, we now know that this report was false, and that no tape of the walkthrough ever existed.

Prior to the publication of its Feb. 2, 2008, article, the Boston Herald neither possessed nor viewed a tape of the Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI, nor did we speak to anyone who had. We should not have published the allegation in the absence of firmer verification.

The Boston Herald regrets the damage done to the team by publication of the allegation, and sincerely apologizes to its readers and to the New England Patriots’ owners, players, employees and fans for our error.

As you can see at the top of this post, the apology is prominently mentioned on both the front and back cover of the Herald.

Is it enough? David Scott has some pretty thorough analysis of the situation over at Scott’s Shots.

Here’s my beef: You certainly remember how, when the whole spygate thing originally went down, and Belichick remained silent on the matter outside of just a single statement? That he steadfastly refused to answer questions about it, no matter how many times they were put to him.

Remember the heat he took for it? He was virtually crucified by the media for not even reading the statement, or addressing it “live” or taking questions about it. Consider some of the comments from that week:

I’m no sports expert.

But I know a coward when I see one. And a coward is what I saw scowling behind the podium Friday at the New England Patriots’ press conference.

Bill Belichick, the legendary coach who demands fearlessness from young men bashed and smashed all over a football field, was too afraid to get the words out of his mouth: “wrong” or “sorry” or “mistake.” Or even “mistakes were made,” the preferred term of 21st century politicians also too afraid to tell the truth.

With the world watching, Belichick hid behind his “statement,” the one he actually deigned to admit he wrote only after two questions in a row about it. But the leader of the gridiron behemoths lacked the courage to read it aloud.

Yeah, that one was from Margery Eagan – of the Boston Herald.

How about this one, which begins:

On behalf of the sports enthusiasts of New England, the Boston Herald today issues the following statement:

While we find formal releases like this to be cold, impersonal and lacking humanity and humility, we felt compelled to address the recent actions of the New England Patriots, one of the most celebrated and supported teams in sports.

So the Herald here is firmly and deliberately placing themselves on the moral high ground to pronounce judgment. Yes, they felt compelled to address the Patriots behavior. Later on in the article, the writer, one Tony Massarotti, says:

In the days immediately following disclosure of the Patriots’ unethical behavior, both Belichick and Kraft issued statements apologizing for the incident and the shame it has brought on our region. We found those admissions to be hollow and completely meaningless. Whatever words the Patriots printed on a sheet of paper and distributed to media outlets throughout the nation, not a single team official has stepped up and said the most important words – “I’m sorry.” Consequently, there has been absolutely no attempt on the part of team officials to explain themselves and show any remorse whatsoever.

Regret, after all, is an emotion. It cannot be replicated or replaced, even by a color laser printer. In any apology or admission, the words are not as important as the feeling behind them, and the written word can frequently come off as corporate, sterile and devoid of all human feeling. (On this matter, the Herald, among other print media outlets, has particular expertise.) In short, we have questions that we had hoped would be answered. Communication is important in any relationship, even one between the followers of a football team and the team itself.

At a time like this, forgive us if we cease being mindless lemmings who have filled football stadiums in Foxboro from September through January since Mr. Kraft took over the franchise.

While we understand that no person or organization is perfect, we have found the events of the last week to be quite troubling because they violate the first rules of human decency. In the end, the only thing that connects us all is our vulnerability. We all make mistakes and we all look to move on at the appropriate time, but not until we all acknowledge that we ultimately share one responsibility.

It’s called accountability.

Unlike the Patriots, we hope to discuss this matter further.

So the Herald was right there in front leading the cries of accountability in the days following spygate, demanding an explanation, wanting more than just a simple, issued statement.

In this current incident, all we’ve gotten is a simple, three paragraph statement, which doesn’t even name John Tomase or the editor responsible for letting the walkthrough story get through.

If a football team is being castigated for not being accountable to society for their actions, how much more should a newspaper, which is held and bound by the ethics of journalism?

The Herald will have to forgive us if we cease being mindless lemmings, who read the paper daily, trusting that due diligence is being done in bringing us the news each day.

The Herald’s apology is also weird on a number of fronts. Yesterday, material was flying on and off the Herald’s website at a dizzying rate. A post from Tomase was removed from the Point After blog, a story was given a number of headlines, the first one focused on Walsh admitting to “spying” on the Rams at the walkthrough, with little emphasis placed on the fact that the event had not been recorded. Headlines were reworked, and the “spying” material taken out.

If they were still sticking to their story and angle, why the sudden changes and then the apology? Did the Patriots statement from yesterday give them a bit of a jolt? Who was the original source, and what does it say about the Herald that they trusted that source enough to run with the original story? It appears we won’t know, since the Herald isn’t talking.

There’s plenty more coverage of this out there, but I’ve already used most of my time here. Check in at PatriotsLinks.com for all the headlines on this subject. Also, over at Patriots Daily, Scott Benson weighs in on the events of the day as well.

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The Red Sox dropped another one last night, this time in Baltimore. Get the news at RedSoxLinks.com.

The Celtics play a crucial game five with the Cavaliers tonight at the Garden. On the BSMW Full Court Press, Matt Richardson and Kevin Henkin team up for some observations on the series. Get your Celtics news and headlines at CelticsLinks.com.

What’s Next for Tomase, Herald?

So now that the dust is settling on Matt Walsh’s anticlimactic meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today, it’s natural to wonder this meeting means for the future of John Tomase and the Boston Herald.

The situation isn’t as cut-and-dry as it might appear at a casual glance. The original story by Tomase was very detailed in describing what his source told him:

According to a source close to the team during the 2001 season, here’s what happened. On Feb. 2, 2002, one day before the Patriots’ Super Bowl game against heavily favored St. Louis in New Orleans, the Patriots visited the Superdome for their final walkthrough.

After completing the walkthrough, they had their team picture taken and the Rams then took the field. According to the source, a member of the team’s video staff stayed behind after attending the team’s walkthrough and filmed St. Louis’ walkthrough.

At no point was he asked to identify himself or produce a press pass, the source said. The cameraman rode the media shuttle back to the hotel with news photographers when the Rams walkthrough was completed, the source said.

But then, Tomase got very ambiguous when he later added:

It’s not known what the cameraman did with the tape from there. It’s also not known if he made the recording on his own initiative or if he was instructed to make the recording by someone with the Patriots or anyone else.

According to the Goodell’s press conference today, Walsh had no knowledge of any such event, and he was there. He was even on the field while the Rams were going through their workout…in his Patriots gear. Here are the comments from Goodell on this matter in today’s press conference:

“We were also able to verify that there was no Rams walkthrough tape. No one asked him to tape the walkthrough. He’s not aware of anybody else who may have taped the walkthrough. He had not seen such a tape. He does not know of anybody who says there is a tape. He was in the building at the time of the walkthrough along with other Patriots video personnel. They were doing their job prior to the game. He in fact was even on the sidelines in his Patriots gear while the Rams were practicing. So it was clear that there was not an overt attack addressing access into the Rams walkthrough.”

Clearly there is a conflict here. The Herald posted one update today on the Walsh meeting, but it is not clear whether anyone from the paper was actually in New York for the event. (Edit: As of 3:50 this afternoon, that post has been removed. How strange. Also, commenters are saying Tomase was in NY today…) It would make sense that they would be reticent about sending Tomase, as he could’ve found himself quickly in the spotlight and having to address questions about his role in the whole tidal wave of publicity regarding the supposed walkthrough tape.

There is a lot of talk about whether the Patriots will file a lawsuit against the Herald, but I can’t see that happening. (Mike Florio suggests that Walsh could be the star witness for the Patriots in a suit against the Herald) What do they really have to gain from that? The damage is done. What would they be looking to prove? Reckless reporting? I can’t see maliciousness being a motive. The Patriots could potentially lean on the Herald and try to get Tomase sanctioned or taken off the beat, but I don’t see that happening either. I can see the Patriots making a statement now that this part is over, and refusing to discuss it ever again. (Edit: Right on cue, here is the statement.)

But what does the future hold for Tomase? He’s not a favorite of Patriots’ fans right now, the comments section of his blog and posts have been closed by the Herald because of the outcry. I even had to edit and remove many comments in the Tomase approval ratings post last week.

I don’t think he’ll be punished by the paper, but will they take him off the Patriots beat? I’d imagine he’s not getting a very warm reception down at Gillette these days. Will his future work be tainted by this incident? His name is always going to be brought up when this incident is mentioned.

I asked Frank Shorr, who runs the Boston University Sports Institute, which includes a seminar on sports journalism for a comment on what is now facing the Herald and Tomase, he had the following to say:

I think John needs to set the record straight but that in and of itself presents problems….identifying a source is not something any reporter wants to do but somewhere along the line you have to clear the air… John’s and the Herald’s credibility is at stake here…

Clearly they can’t remain silent forever. This needs to be addressed. For the record, I don’t advocate Tomase losing his job, his editors should bear just as much responsibility for the story being published as Tomase himself. Something however, needs to be said or done to acknowledge or explain what has happened here.

The mainstream media (including employees of the Herald) loves to crow about bloggers having no accountability for the things they write and get wrong.

Where’s the accountability here?