Over at The Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio this week, the main storyline was Naomi Osaka doing her first press conference since the French Open. The world’s number two tennis player on the WTA Tour was asked a question by Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer that has been criticized by some.
Here is video from the press conference earlier this week in case you missed it courtesy of The Guardian:
Daugherty was on The Tony Kornehiser Show this week in what is a rare interview for him about the topic. The first question Kornheiser asked him was why he wanted to write about Osaka, who has been one of the lead advocates for mental health and social justice, and the origin of how he came up with the question he asked her that has drawn backlash:
“The obvious focus of my question was how do you balance the fact that you are not especially comfortable in the press conference setting nor dealing with media generally with the fact that you have an incredibly large platform from which to spread your ideas not only about anything you want to sell…but also she has an acute social conscience,” Dauerghty said. “How do you reconcile the two being media shy but also needing and using and having people handle you push your multiple platforms/agendas? Logical question as far as I am concerned.”
For Daugherty, it was not a question that he hasn’t asked before to a professional athlete as he mentioned he once asked the very same thing to Pete Sampras. In fact, he was so pleased with how Osaka answered his question that he did something in his column that he rarely ever does.
“After a while, she asked me to repeat the question twice. She gave a very thoughtful answer. It was such a good answer, Tony, that I just quoted her verbatim in the column, which is something I almost never do. I thought her answer made her a little more human to lots of people who aren’t familiar with her story, enlightened people as to why she felt the way she did. I thought it was great. She did not cry while giving that answer, she didn’t walk out of the press conference after giving that answer.”
Some of the backlash from the interview came from Osaka’s agent, who said that Paul Daugherty was a bully for asking his question and he said if it was the other way around, legal action would have been taken.
“I was accused of bullying by her agent. Said it was appalling what I did, the question that I asked, and I was a big reason why athletes don’t like talking with the media. The guy basically libeled me Tony in a tweet. If I had written about an athlete what he wrote about me, we would be preparing to go to court and I would be the defendant in a lawsuit.”
In the end, Daugherty doesn’t believe athletes have a responsibility to talk to him and he is disappointed with the way he and the back and forth with Naomi Osaka have been portrayed.
“I’ve never said that athletes have any responsibility at all to talk to me. The only thing I don’t want them to do is complain about what I write if they don’t want to talk to me. Don’t complain after the fact if you didn’t talk to me the first go around. They don’t really owe me anything. I’m not confrontational, which is why the bullying thing was so-off base.”
Parker Hillis Named Brand Manager of Sports Radio 610
Goodbye snow and hello heat! Parker Hillis is headed to Houston. Audacy has announced that he will be the new brand manager for Sports Radio 610.
“Parker is a rising star,” Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy in Houston, said in a press release. “He has impressed us since day one with his innovative ideas, focus on talent coaching and work ethic. We’re thrilled to have him join our Audacy team.”
Hillis comes to the market from Denver. He has spent the last three years with Bonneville’s 104.3 The Fan. He started as the station’s executive producer before rising to APD earlier this year.
In announcing his exit from The Fan on his Facebook page, Hillis thanked Fan PD Raj Sharan for preparing him for this opportunity.
“His leadership and guidance set the stage for me to continue to grow and develop in this industry, one that I absolutely love,” Hillis wrote. “This is a special place, one that I am honored to have been a part of and so sad to leave.”
Sports Radio 610 began the process to find a new brand manager in February when Armen Williams announced he was leaving the role. Williams also came to Houston from Denver. He started his own business outside the radio industry.
“I’m excited to join the Sports Radio 610 team in Houston,” said Hillis. “The opportunity to direct and grow an already incredible Audacy brand is truly an honor.”
Schopp & Bulldog: NFL Has To Figure Out Pro Bowl Alternative That Draws Same Audience
“The game just could not be less interesting.”
After years of criticism and declining television ratings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly stated this week that the Pro Bowl, as it is currently contested, is no longer a viable option for the league and that there would be discussions at the league meetings to find another way to showcase the league’s best players.
Yesterday afternoon, Schopp and Bulldog on WGR in Buffalo discussed the growing possibility of the game being discontinued, and how the NFL could improve on the ratings it generates with new programming.
“The same number of people [who] watched some recent… game 7 between Milwaukee and Boston… had the same audience as the Pro Bowl had last year,” said co-host Chris “The Bulldog” Parker. “….Enough people watch it to make it worth their while; it’s good business. They’ll put something in that place even though the game is a joke.”
One of the potential outcomes of abolishing the Pro Bowl would be replacing it with a skills showdown akin to what the league held last year prior to the game in Las Vegas. Some of the competitions held within this event centered around pass precision, highlight catches and a non-traditional football competition: Dodgeball. Alternatively, the league could revisit the events it held in 2021 due to the cancellation of the Pro Bowl because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a virtual Madden showdown and highlight battle, appealing to football fans in the digital age.
Stefon Diggs and Dion Dawkins of the Buffalo Bills were selected to the AFC Pro Bowl roster this past season, and while it is a distinct honor, some fans would rather see the game transformed or ceased entirely – largely because of the risks associated with exhibition games.
In 1999, the NFL held a rookie flag football game on a beach in Waikiki, Hawaii before the Pro Bowl in which New England Patriots running back Robert Edwards severely dislocated his knee while trying to catch a pass. He nearly had to have his leg amputated in the hospital, being told that there was a possibility he may never walk again. Upon returning to the league four seasons later with the Miami Dolphins, Edwards was able to play in 12 games, but then lost his roster spot at the end of the season, marking the end of his NFL career.
“You might not want to get too crazy with this stuff, but there’d have to be some actual contests to have it be worth doing at all,” expressed show co-host Mike Schopp. “Do you not have a game? I don’t know.”
The future of the Sunday before the Super Bowl is very much in the air, yet Goodell has hardly been reticent in expressing that there needs to be a change made in the league to better feature and promote the game’s top players. In fact, he’s been saying it since his first days as league commissioner in 2006, evincing a type of sympathy for the players participating in the contest, despite it generating reasonable television ratings and advertising revenue.
“Maybe the time has come for them to really figure out a better idea, and maybe that’s what’s notable [about] Goodell restating that he’s got a problem with it,” said Parker. “If there’s some sort of momentum about a conversation [on] creating a very different event that could still draw your 6.7 million eyeballs, maybe they’ll figure out a way to do something other than the game, because the game just could not be less interesting.”
Iowa Adds WCKG As Chicago Radio Affiliate
“The Hawkeyes open their season at home on September 3 against FCS power South Dakota State.”
Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, sits just over three and a half hours from Chicago. It makes sense to assume plenty of alumni move to the Windy City after school and that other Iowa fans live in the metro area as well. That is why the Hawkeyes have struck a deal with WCKG to become their radio affiliate in Chicago.
The station, which is heard on 1530 AM, will air the entire season of Iowa football.
“Iowa Football’s storied history, continued success, and loyal fan base and alumni network throughout Chicagoland made this move a no-brainer for WCKG,” WCKG Sports Director Jon Zaghloul said in a press release. “I’m excited to bring the Hawkeyes to Chicago, and can’t wait to start airing games this Fall. It’s a huge acquisition for our brand, and, more importantly, our devoted listeners.”
The Hawkeyes open their season at home on September 3 against FCS power South Dakota State. Gary Dolphin has called all of the school’s sports on radio since 1996. Ed Podolak is his partner in the booth during football season.