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Guest Columns

NBA-China a lose-lose situation

Tim Dahlberg The Associated Press If the NBA really wanted to make a statement it should have never issued a statement, much less two. No need to complicate things when two team owners had already genuflected to the irate citizens of China. Or when James Harden took it upon himself to ...

No easy fix to NFL’s instant replay

Steelers fans saw something during last week’s Monday Night Football broadcast as their team played the Bengals that they thought never see — a seemingly sure-fire replay challenge victory for coach Mike Tomlin. It’s been two-plus years since Tomlin has tossed a red challenge flag and ...

Rubbing elbows with Bill Bidwill

It was Oct. 1963 and I had just finished my sixth year on active duty with the Navy. I decided to leave the service and try to get hired for some job in professional sports (PR, traveling secretary, gofer, anything). I wrote letters to every major league baseball, football and basketball team ...

New rule hits home in Steeler game

It’s of little consolation to Steelers fans, but their team played a role in NFL broadcast and officiating history last week. With a replay challenge of a non-call that led to a pass interference penalty being called, the Seahawks-Steelers game was the first in which the NFL’s rule to ...

Beating Pats may be wishful thinking

By Ira Kaufman For the Mirror Last Sunday I went to Gillette Stadium to see if Ben Roethlisberger, in the twilight of his career, could finally beat the GOAT, Tom Brady. Nearly two decades ago, the underdog New England Patriots (with Drew Bledsoe replacing an injured Tom Brady) upset the ...

NFL’s ratings bonanza set to begin

The return of regular season NFL football means good things for many people, among them bettors, diehard fans, fantasy football players and, especially, TV programmers. It might be weeks until network series like “This is Us,” “9-1-1” or “Modern Family” return, but the fall TV ...

Whose football dreams will come true?

In theory, opening week of the NFL and college football season brims with the promise of championships, team milestones, and more wins than losses for every team. The reality is that the favorites in the preseason often fulfill their aspirations for postseason and bowl game appearances, ...

Baseball must improve on its safety

ATLANTA — There’s always a surge of excitement when a foul ball comes your way, mixed with a sense of dread. It’s a thrilling souvenir to take home from the ballpark. Yet too many fans have been left bloody and maimed by these projectiles hurtling into the stands. One person even ...

Little League coverage hits home run

After 10 days of on-field action and an abundance of made-for-TV fun, the Little League World Series concludes this afternoon with the championship game from Williamsport airing at 3 p.m. on ABC. As it has for years, ESPN packages the event as a slice of Americana, full of camaraderie, ...

An honor to play ‘for something bigger’

I will never forget the phone call I made to John Boyer the first week of March in 2014. That phone call was to offer him the first spot on the Sideline Cancer basketball team. When he picked up the phone, I told him that I wanted him to play in honor of the Griffith Family Foundation of ...

Boxing pays price for chasing money

There’s nothing new about those who make their living in sports chasing every dollar they can. NFL owners do it every time they threaten to devastate a city by moving a team to greener pastures. Baseball does it by signing lucrative broadcast agreement that make it more expensive — and ...

Marketing displaces sports’ traditions

Few things can evoke expressions of nostalgia and sentimentality like holidays, family milestones and trips to professional sporting events. There was a time not that long ago when even a casual sports fan could recite the name of the home stadium, ballpark or arena for all or most of the ...

To be top dog, Ga. needs to roll Tide

Paul Newberry The Associated Press ATHENS, Ga. — If you’re looking for a terser-than-usual response from Kirby Smart, just bring up how the last two seasons ended. The Georgia coach will shoot you a steely eyed glare that falls somewhere between disgust and disdain, then respond with ...

Sports writer helped instill a calling

Bellwood native authored long career We all mourn when a family member or good friend dies. But I can’t help standing up, yelling the “We Are — Penn State” cheer and heartedly singing “Taking Me Out to the Ballgame” for Bill Summers, one of my first sports writing gurus. ...

You can smell football in the air

It’s four days until the NFL season kicks off, and that makes it the best time of the year. OK, it’s the preseason — as the Denver Broncos visit the Atlanta Falcons (8 p.m., NBC) in the Hall of Fame game — but it’s still the NFL. Some may claim that’s a lesser-value property ...

Smith-Schuster leads by example

With Pittsburgh Steelers training camp beginning on July 25, a lot of fans are reflecting upon last season with disgust. Failing to make the playoffs was unexpected, but some positive stories emerged. One of them was at wide receiver. When the Steelers drafted JuJu Smith-Schuster out of ...

Cheerleading taints soccer coverage

According to ratings and viewership numbers, the Women’s World Cup completed last week with the U.S. women’s national team claiming its fourth championship (and second in a row) was a big success. Still, the broadcasters faltered at the most important time — as the championship match ...

Announcing’s Mount Rushmore

Everybody has got their list of favorites, and here is mine It’s holiday travel season, the time when people visit landmarks, national parks, water parks and whatever else. What better time for a Mount Rushmore of Sports Broadcasting? So here are my four all-time top TV sports ...

Division rivals ready to challenge Blues

By Stephen Whyno The Associated Press The NHL isn’t a copycat league. It’s a response league. After the big and gritty St. Louis Blues muscled their way to the Stanley Cup, division rivals have responded in different ways. The Nashville Predators inked top free agent center Matt ...

Ley leaving a giant void at ESPN

With the retirement of Bob Ley last week, ESPN lost an 11-time Sports Emmy Award winner, but Ley’s impact and legacy really have little to do with awards. Ley was the all-sports network’s longest-tenured anchor. He made his “SportsCenter” debut on Sept. 9, 1979, the third day of the ...