One to Follow: @SI_DamonHack

Damon Hack of Sports Illustrated is one of the better sportswriters working today, a throwback to a time when it wasn’t about getting your words out to the world first, but crafting each word with precision to evoke a story in all its unique detail. He’s also got a pretty good sense of humor.

A true testament to his talents: He covers both the NFL and golf. The man has range. (Cue the drumhit.) Today, he’s chronicling The Player’s Championship:

@SI_DamonHack Some random fan just fished a driver out of a water hazard #gatorbait

@SI_DamonHack Back from walking TPC. Hot, humid. Not a lot movement on the board. Resurgent Graeme, no Tiger, Phil in retreat…

Follow him at @SI_DamonHack.

 

One to Follow: @ESPNLandOLakers

How is it that the Kamenetzky Bros. have under 7,500 followers on Twitter?

Brian and Andrew Kamenetzky are the official Los Angeles Lakers bloggers for ESPN Los Angeles. Prior to that, they were the Lakers (and Dodgers) bloggers for the Los Angeles Times. Point is: When it comes to being experts on the most popular professional basketball franchise in the world, you won’t find anyone more knowledgable. Period.

They regularly provide insights you won’t find anywhere else, whether they’re from their ESPN Los Angeles blog, their late night post-game video streaming and Facebook chat sessions (named, appropriately, Lakers Late Night), their work on ESPN radio and TV, or from other nuggets they discover from around the web.

One of the latest examples: analysis of Ron Artest’s suspension:

@ESPNLandOLakers Thoughts on how Artest’s suspension affects the Lakers in Game 3. AK http://es.pn/kdQkJw

And that’s why @ESPNLandOLakers is one to follow. (Do it soon — who knows how much longer the Lakers will be playing this season.)

One to Follow: @JonesOnTheNBA

Every Friday, we’ll be picking one person on Twitter worthy of following, with a brief explanation of why.

After that, it’s up to you to make the call whether to follow them or not.

@JonesOnTheNBA is the Twitter account of Nate Jones. As described in his profile:

USC Biz + UCLA Law Alum. Digital Media and Pro Athlete Marketing @GoodwinSports (GSM). Work with great athletes like @KDThunderUp and @Candace_Parker

Nate provides a wealth of information to anyone who follows him, ranging from content related to the players he works with to insights regarding the NBA collective bargaining agreement and more. A few recent tweets include:

If you’re an aspiring agent or sports marketer @mattSOS is a must follow. Tracks sneaker sales.

Folks assuming guys with player options in 2012 are opting out. Let’s see what the CBA serves up for us.

Who thinks if Magic Johnson would have switched from Converse to Nike in the mid-80s that he’d still have a successful shoe line out today?

And those are just a few reasons that @JonesOnTheNBA is one to follow.

How Did Peyton Hillis Wind Up on the Cover of Madden 12?

This year, Electronic Arts decided to engage the public to help determine the cover of the forthcoming Madden 12. So it launched a contest in conjunction with ESPN that got tremendous run on television via SportsNation.

And in the end, somehow, Peyton Hillis of the Cleveland Browns emerged victorious, defeating Michael Vick in the finals, and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, Jamaal Charles, Matt Ryan and Ray Rice along the way.

Nothing against Hillis, but it’s a somewhat shocking development for a player who really has one great year under his belt.

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Adrian Peterson and How Content Gives Context

Evidently, this is the week when professional athletes intend to deal themselves mortal image wounds by speaking without thinking.

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson gave the sports media and fans days worth of discussion fodder by comparing the NFL labor situation to modern day slavery. In the context of the Yahoo Sports article in which the comment appeared, it was a passing moment in an otherwise lengthy interview. Given the inflammatory nature of the comment, however, the line is the only thing that people are paying attention to.

Here’s the original excerpt from Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner:

SC: We’re talking about 15 minutes after the NFLPA sent in the paperwork to decertify, so the lockout’s on everybody’s minds. I’ve talked to a lot of players about this recently, and I always ask the same question — what is the message you want to get out to the people who love the game and are tired of hearing all the labor talk?

AP: We’re business-minded, also. It’s not just fun and games. A lot of football players, whether it’s Sunday or Monday night — we’re out there on the field, competing, hitting each other. But people don’t see everything else behind it. It’s a job for us, too — every day of the week. We’re in different states, sometimes thousands of miles away from our families and kids, and a lot of people don’t look at it like that. All some people see is, ‘Oh, we’re not going to be around football.’ But how the players look at it … the players are getting robbed. They are. The owners are making so much money off of us to begin with. I don’t know that I want to quote myself on that…

SC: It’s nothing that I haven’t heard from other players, believe me.

AP: It’s modern-day slavery, you know? People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too. With all the money … the owners are trying to get a different percentage, and bring in more money. I understand that; these are business-minded people. Of course this is what they are going to want to do. I understand that; it’s how they got to where they are now. But as players, we have to stand our ground and say, ‘Hey — without us, there’s no football.’ There are so many different perspectives from different players, and obviously we’re not all on the same page — I don’t know. I don’t really see this going to where we’ll be without football for a long time; there’s too much money lost for the owners. Eventually, I feel that we’ll get something done.

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Phone a Friend, Cappie Pondexter

Cappie Pondexter

Over the past weekend, a professional women’s basketball player made a name for herself in precisely the way any athlete would be wise to avoid.

Cappie Pondexter, one of the stars of the WNBA, published the following tweets in response to the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami on her Twitter account. As reported by the Associated Press:

“What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes.”

“u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less.”

Pondexter later posted the following apology:

“I wanna apologize to anyone I may hurt or offended during this tragic time…I didn’t realize that my words could be interpreted in the manner which they were. People that knw me would tell u 1st hand I’m a very spiritual person and believe that everything, even disasters happen 4 a reason and that God will shouldn’t be questioned but this is a very sensitive subject at a very tragic time and I shouldn’t even have given a reason for the choice of words I used.”

“The least thing I wanted was to hurt or offend anyone so again I truly apologize. If you’ve lost respect for me that’s totally fine but please don’t let me or my words lose the respect of u the WNBA and what it stands for.”

“I’m very strong woman evn strong enough 2 admit an apologize when I’m wrong. Twitter is a voice and wth tht I wanna apologize again.”

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A Week in the Life With Steven Jackson

We couldn’t be prouder to announce the debut of our latest project, “A Week in the Life With Steven Jackson.”

Filmed during Week 11 of the current NFL season, it’s a never before seen look at what life is like behind-the-scenes for one of the league’s premier running backs, and his team.

A trailer appears below. Check out the three-part documentary series in its entirety at http://aweek.sj39.com.

What Tiger Woods Should Really Do

Tomorrow, the process of image rehabilitation will begin for Tiger Woods, and from that point forward, he’ll be putting the scandal of the last few months behind him.

Many, many people — sportswriters, public relations specialists, etc. — have weighed in with their thoughts of what he should have done, or be doing in the days ahead. I’ve put together a few representative samples here to a) take a look at some of these suggestions and b) debunk some of the assumptions that have been/continue to be made about Tiger’s situation, primarily because Tiger Woods and the reaction to him provide some noteworthy examples of the world professional athletes inhabit, and ultimately, what they should be prepared to deal with.

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Tiger Woods, and a Strike Against MLB.com

In the course of going to Tiger Woods’ web site earlier this week to read his statements about the current controversy involving him, I was surprised to see that the site was now being operated by MLB.com.

I’m not sure what the thinking was behind that. The site itself — the current maelstrom aside — does little to brand him in any meaningful way; in fact, it really is just straightforwardly generic. Moreover, it’s not as if Tiger Woods needs MLB for increased distribution of his content or to make it easier for people to find him online.

But if there’s a compelling reason for having a company dedicated only to managing the branding of pro athletes handling your online activities instead of a corporate entity like MLB.com, it’s that MLB.com is not paying attention the way that they should be. To make this point, I need go no further than the statement Tiger posted today about his personal transgressions. It’s not the statement that concerns me — it’s the fact that the site has allowed upwards of 4,000 comments to be posted (with more happening every second) without any apparent vetting whatsoever.

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Just Ask Tony Romo: Awareness Isn’t Enough

Generally speaking, brand awareness is a good thing, and if you’re an athlete, and you’re instantly recognizable to people off the street, some of whom may not even necessarily be fans of your sport, that’s typically not bad, either.

But if an athlete has goals for himself regarding how he’s perceived, both in the short term (in regard to his talent, for example, or other characteristics that define who he is as a player) or in the long-term (how he eventually fits into the pantheon of players who preceded him), just having people know who you are isn’t enough.

There’s no better example of this than Tony Romo.

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