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Sports Weekend | TV-RADIO

Self-Promotion Is Valued Most

November 23, 2001|LARRY STEWART

In sports television, where self-promotion takes precedence over everything, rock 'n' roll apparently rates over a tribute to a fallen football player.

CBS saw the need to show Greed performing at halftime in Dallas on Thursday.

On Monday night, ABC virtually ignored the Minnesota Vikings' ceremony honoring the late Korey Stringer.

Instead, ABC treated viewers to an interview Dennis Miller did with Mick Jagger and another Al Michaels did with Warren Sapp. Why? Because ABC would be airing a Mick Jagger special Thursday night and Sapp's team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, would be playing on "Monday Night Football" the following week.

ABC, besides overdoing the self-promotion, could be accused of sidestepping something that puts the Vikings and the NFL in a bad light.

Stringer died in training camp this summer and his family is planning to sue the Vikings for $100 million.

It all made for an awkward situation, and that was another reason the ceremony should have been televised. But ABC opted for Jagger, and there was no satisfaction in that.

Dickerson Fumbles

The Vikings' Robert Smith has been as elusive with reporters as he was on the football field before his surprising retirement in February. Smith, the NFC's leading rusher last year, never explained why he retired in his prime and has since avoided interviews.

Smith, who is studying to be a doctor--"He may return as the Vikings' team doctor," quipped Miller on Monday night--always has been a little different. As a freshman at Ohio State, he quit the team in protest of two-a-day practice sessions because they interfered with his studies.

Smith, who is writing a book, would be a great interview, if only someone could get to him. Finally, someone did. Unfortunately, it was ABC sideline reporter Eric Dickerson.

Smith was at Monday night's Viking game because of the tribute to Stringer, his close friend and former teammate with the Vikings and at Ohio State.

During the first half, he went on camera with Dickerson. "Better to walk away early than limp away late," Smith told Dickerson, who didn't ask any follow-up questions and let Smith slip away without getting anything of substance.

A Good Story

ESPN's Andrea Kremer has a knack of digging up good stories and reporting them thoroughly, and she has done it again.

This one is about Baltimore Raven safety Corey Harris, a 10-year veteran whose wife has a cancerous brain tumor.

Early in training camp, Antoinette Harris was visiting a friend in Los Angeles when she suffered multiple seizures and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Doctors there found the tumor.

She since has gone home to Nashville, and Harris has been flying back and forth, trying to spend as much time as possible with his wife.

Kremer's report will be shown this weekend on ESPN's "NFL Sunday Countdown."

On the Mark?

The good folks at the UPN TV station in Dallas were kind enough to send along a tape of the second edition of "The Mark Cuban Show." This was the show in which Cuban showed video evidence of Shaquille O'Neal, in a game against the Phoenix Suns, twice stepping over the foul line too soon when shooting a free throw.

Cuban is smiling on the show when he says he is going to turn in O'Neal for violating what he says is rule 10-1-D. "I'm going to turn his big ol' butt in," he says.

Apparently Cuban wasn't kidding. He did turn in O'Neal, and got the Suns to file a complaint as well.

NBA TV Deal

The NBA, expecting a modest increase in its national television deals with NBC and Turner, is looking for ways to make up for the shortfall.

One is teaming with AOL Time Warner, which owns CNN and Turner Broadcasting, on a co-owned channel. One possible scenario would be for CNN/SI and NBA.com TV to be combined, with the name CNN/SI going away.

Bullish Show

There is plenty of football and basketball on television throughout the four-day holiday weekend. And some bull-riding too.

The Professional Bull Riders Bud Light series, which appears regularly on TNN, makes its major network debut at 1 p.m. Sunday when NBC will provide live coverage of a tour stop at the University of Texas in Austin.

Noted rodeo aficionado George Michael will serve as host of the coverage, with Justin McKee and four-time champion Tuff Hedeman calling the event.

Short Waves

Attention golf fans: the 19th Skins Game will on be ABC Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tiger Woods, Jesper Parnevik, Greg Norman and defending champion Colin Montgomerie will be competing in the $1-million event at Landmark Golf Club in Indio. The players will donate 20% of their earnings to the Sept. 11 Telethon Fund.

A new twist this year is that in order to win a skin a player has to "validate" it on the next hole by at least tying for the low score. The announcers will be Mike Tirico, Curtis Strange and field reporter Andy North.

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