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USA Today’s Sam Amick discusses dynamic between NBA players, reporters

Sam Amick of USA Today discussed the struggles reporters have encountered interviewing NBA players and claimed that the problems stem from a lack of understanding. He cited Oklahoma City Thunder players Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, both of whom had standoffish interactions with the media this season, but notes that the situation could improve.

There are plenty of players, PR folks, agents and the like who seem to get it, and an increasing number who just simply don’t. But the invisible walls that sometimes exist between the players and the media do nothing to help, and the end result is always far different when people like Green see the value in truly engaging.

Amick specifically highlights Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green as one of the players who understands the player-media relationship and called Green’s interactions with the media, “refreshing.” He referred to Green as, “the perfect case study” in the recent debates analyzing the roles and responsibilities of NBA players in their relationship with the media.

At a time when so many NBA stars are pushing back against the locker room dynamic between players and reporters, and with first-year National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts seeming to support that stance at every turn, Green offers a refreshing reminder of how good it can be when it’s done right. Perfect storms like this are few and far between, but the combination of player personality, mutual respect and – last but certainly not least – subject relevancy make him the perfect case study in this nuanced debate.

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Steve Byrnes of Fox Sports dies

According to a release by Fox Sports, longtime NASCAR on FOX anchor Steve Byrnes died Tuesday of head and neck cancer. He was 56.

Byrnes was diagnosed with cancer in September 2014. He had been a fixture on sports broadcasts for 30 years, joining Fox in 2001 as a host and reporter for several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He also served as co-host of NASCAR Race Hub for the network.

Byrnes was born in 1959 in Chicago and was raised in Maryland. He was a 1981 graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in radio, television and film. 

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Fang: NFL Network’s draft coverage extensive

For Ken Fang of Awful Announcing, NFL Network’s coverage of the 2015 NFL Draft this year crosses a line of over-extensive coverage of a non-sporting event.

Going by the numbers, it’s practically mind-blowing. First, NFL Network’s plan offers 53 hours of coverage devoted to the player selections between the first pick on Thursday, April 30 to the final one calked “Mr. Irrelevant” on Saturday, May 2.

According to a release from NFL Communications, Rich Eisen will be the main host of the proceedings. Others contributing to the broadcast are Mike Mayock, Steve Mariucci, Stanford coach David Shaw, Texas coach Charlie Strong, Ian Rapoport, Charles Davis, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Daniel Jeremiah, LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Billick.



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Yoder: Managers need to learn media’s job

For Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing, Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price’s angry, expletive-laced tirade against local media highlight a major problem in sports: baseball managers don’t understand the media’s real role in the process of sports coverage.

It’s exactly the job of the local media to publish whatever information they think will serve the interests of readers. What does Price expect them to do? Ask permission before writing every column or breaking story? Have him sign off on those stories?

Yoder also says that it’s not the media’s job to promote or help the team, as Price made clear is what he expected.

No coach can justifiably ask the media that covers their team “How does this benefit us” as a point of contention. In spite of Price’s objections, it is not in C. Trent Rosecran’s job description to benefit the Reds with his writing. He’s paid to be a journalist. Not a cheerleader.

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Pittsburgh columnists feud over GM tirade

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Rob Rossi is taking heat from fellow Pittsburgh sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic for relaying “an obscenity-laced diatribe” from Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford to the public in a column on Monday, according to Awful Announcing.

Kovacevic, a former columnist for the Tribune-Review who operates his own sports website, called out Rossi on Twitter regarding Rutherford’s criticisms. For Awful Announcing’s Andrew Bucholtz, while Rossi wasn’t out-of-bounds for reporting Rutherford’s words, it’s interesting to see another member of the media take sides on an argument he had no part of.

Rutherford’s frustration after a close loss likely played into too, though, and it’s hard to blame him for venting a bit at someone whose coverage he didn’t like. Rossi may also not be wrong to use this as column fodder; it wasn’t specifically out of bounds, and it provides an angle for his larger criticisms of Rutherford. Still, it’s interesting to see a situation where a media member takes the team executive’s side over another member of the media.

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Fox Sports suspends Gary Payton

According to Awful Announcing, former nine-time All-Star point guard Gary Payton, who has worked for Fox Sports 1 as a basketball analyst since the network’s inception in 2013, has been suspended following a lawsuit alleging assault.

Trishtan Williams claims in the suit that Payton assaulted her during an awards gala in Seattle in January. Payton will be suspended while an ongoing internal investigation into the allegations takes place.

Payton’s suspension is the first significant incident from a Fox Sports 1 personality.

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Shelley Smith to return to ESPN April 30

ESPN journalist Shelley Smith will return to the air for the first time in six months April 30, reported Sports Illustrated. Smith has worked for ESPN since 1997, but in October announced that she had breast cancer and took a leave of absence while undergoing radiation treatments. 

Smith’s first assignment back is a pre-NFL draft feature in Hawaii with Marcus Mariota, followed by an interview with Mariota after the draft. Following the draft interview, Smith will begin five more rounds of radiation May 11. However, Smith said that the final treatments are to eradicate any microscopic fibers that may have gone undetected and that she is “basically cancer-free.”

“There are no guarantees, but I have been told if I do everything I have to do now I give myself the best chance possible to stay cancer-free for the rest of my life.”

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