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Profile: Bethlehem Shoals of The Classical

*Ahem* Time for a new profile!

Hardcore basketball fans will know the name Bethlehem Shoals from the highly successful blog Well FreeDarko is no longer up and running (well technically it’s still up but not running anything new), but Shoals hasn’t stopped writing good basketball stuff. You can find his work on, Bleacher Report and on the new start up blog The Classical which you may remember me writing about here.

See what Shoals has to say about writing and editing as well as what he thinks about those big sports stories that have dominated multiple news cycles.


1. You’ve recently started a new blog, congratulations! I know from experience that the business side of blogging can sometimes be more time-consuming than producing/editing content. How are you balancing the two?

Well, in our case, we have someone who understands business way better than I do handling a lot of that stuff. The real tensions for me has been between my own writing and the editorial role I’ve taken on. I didn’t realize that editing and writing wear out the same part of the brain. And since we’re so intent on putting everything through a fairly intensive editorial process, I’m finding myself with less and less time, and energy, to get my own stuff up on the site.


2. In addition to writing for your own blogs, you also contribute to other sites. Do you see the trend toward more freelancing as being good or bad for writers who are just starting out? (take this question in any direction you wish)

Well, freelancing is how I make my income. The Classical is a dream project that, hopefully, will turn into a real revenue stream down the road. But I couldn’t really give up freelancing and work on my site full-time. At the same time, I do make a little money from it, drawn from the funds we raised via Kickstarter. The time I spend writing or editing for The Classical is time I’m not spending on my freelance career, so I have to make at least a little bit of that back. If someone starting out can freelance right off the bat, more power to them. Generally, though, folks need to start blogging and establish themselves before other outlets come knocking.


3. In the past year, we’ve seen how one sports story can dominate media coverage whether it’s Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin. Does this bother you? Do you see it as a good or bad thing?

I don’t think it’s a real trend. Both of those cases were pretty singular; you had figures who were already of interest to the public going on magical runs of success that defied all logic. Any time that happens to this degree, you’re going to get total media overkill. What bothers me is that stories like this can effectively blot out everything else. It seems like, even if there’s something truly miraculous going on in the world of sports, the rest of it doesn’t just cease to exist. Again, though, I don’t know if we really need to be worried about this phenomenon, since the odds of having Tebow and Lin within a few months of each other are astronomically slim.


4. What, if anything, do see yourself contributing to sports journalism? Is there some style or approach you’d like to be associated with or known for?

It’s impossible for me to answer that question without sounding either falsely modest, self-deprecating, or hopelessly arrogant.


Until bounty scandal Scott Fujita was one of the NFL’s model citizens

So many reasons to love Cleveland Browns LB Scott Fujita.

As I said before, I totally understand why the NFL had to come down hard on the Saints regarding their bounty program. With over a dozen lawsuits filed against the NFL regarding injuries and medications used the league just can’t afford anymore liability. For these same reasons I understand that the players involved have to be punished too. Right now, it looks like  Scott Fujita, once a vocal leader of are the two that are being focused on the most.

It’s hard not to feel a lot of sympathy for Fujita who has been a model citizen both on and off the field for a very long time. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true.  Fujita has been the kind of guy the NFL claims it wants to promote: intelligent, aware, thoughtful, respectful, eloquent, and charitable. And it wasn’t just sports sites that noticed what a great guy Fujita is. Check out this piece from called “Reasons to Adore Saints linebacker Scott Fujita.”2) He lent his name to the National Equality March and has been outspoken about gay rights issues.

3) He supports an orphanage in New Orleans and started speaking out on gay rights in part because of his objection to laws limiting gay adoption. “What [such laws] are really saying is that the concern with one’s sexual orientation or one’s sexual preference outweighs what’s really important, and that’s finding safe homes for children,” he has said. “It’s also saying that we’d rather have kids bounce around from foster home to foster home throughout the course of their childhood, than end up in a permanent home.”

4) He’s active on behalf breast cancer awareness (his mother is a two-time survivor), filming PSAs for Susan G. Komen New Orleans Race for the Cure and wearing a pink hat during interviews.

5) He’s not afraid to speak up for his beliefs in a respectful, reasoned way. “People tell me, hey, that’s pretty courageous. You come out in favor of gay rights. I don’t think it’s that courageous,” he told The Times. “I think I have an opinion, that I wish was shared by everybody, but I honestly believe that it’s shared by more [football players] than we know because a lot of people just won’t speak out about it.”

[To finish this post click on Read More]



Quick Profile Interviews: A New Feature on Playerperspective you will LOVE

When I started playerperspective my thinking was that I really wanted a place where I could examine all players in sports—from publicists, to writers, bloggers, analysts, coaches, team staff, agents etc. The question was how to do it. Obviously, I write a lot about all the people involved in sports just by way of blogging and assessing everything whether its performances in games, announcing, agent actions and clients, or analyzing coaching methods and style.

But I wanted to profile people a bit more formally but not be too typical with it. So I decided to start to start sending folks questions to answer that would let us all get a better understanding, over time, about the different approaches people use to cover sports or participate in them or help others participate in them. No, sending people questions via email isn’t anything new. But what’s different for this feature is that I chose the questions based my personal knowledge of the profilee. I’m not sending everyone the same 4 questions.

I have some great features lined up already including—you know what, I won’t even say who. Because it’s not as much about “who” as much as it is about the answers and knowledge they bring to the table. And I think you will see a lot of good stuff in these profile interviews (that’s what I’m calling them for now!).

I’m excited about this and I have 3 profiles already ready to go starting tomorrow. Woot woot


Tough Transitions: Patriots running back Kevin Faulk cried after learning he wouldn’t dress for Superbowl

If there’s one thing the Patriots Super bowl run proved this year is that the team doesn’t mind hurting some feelings. Move over Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco and Tiquan Underwood, and welcome Kevin Faulk to the Patriots discard bin (though I hear Underwood has been picked up by the Pats for the 4th or 5th time after being released the night before the game). On the day of Super Bowl when I saw that Faulk was designated inactive I felt bad for the guy. I think on most teams, if a guy has been around 14 years and you know full well it’s likely the end of the line for him you dress him for the Super Bowl just because.  I just think that that’s what  classy organization would do when possible.

Yeah yeah, it’s all about winning. Patriot way. Belichick system. Trust me I get it. That’s why I cringe whenever Vince Wilfork refers to the late Myra Kraft as mom. You’re part of the family, sure…until suddenly you’re not. .

On the bright side(?) the Pats didn’t win anyway and Faulk knows that 14 years in the league is three lifetimes for any player ESPECIALLY a running back. He has a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to even if he doesn’t realize it right now.

From his interview with Greg Bedard:

That’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in a long time – a very long time. It’s what’s been taking care of me and my family for a long time and I have to make a decision based upon what’s best for me and my family. Right now and with the emotions that are going on and with the game that just happened last week, I know everyone was speculating that I was going to make a decision, probably today or what not; it’s kind of early. I don’t want to tie my emotions into exactly what went on Sunday that passed, what went on the course of the season, I just think it’s something that I have to sit down and talk with my family and my agent, teammates, former teammates that I’ve talked to, people that I really trust, for me to base my decision off of,” Faulk said.

Kevin went on to describe how he felt after finding out he wouldn’t dress including the tears that he couldn’t fight.

“That morning, when I got the word that I wasn’t going to dress…wow. I went in the room, cried a little bit, because 75 percent of me knew that this could be my last game playing, not playing, just dressing. If I dress there could be that chance that I could play. So that really crushed me a whole lot…

I thought it was interesting that later in the interview Faulk mentions former Patriot Troy Brown who was inactive the final game of his career and Faulk says he draws some inspiration from him. And there’s your “it’s all business” moment for the day. Happy now???

Fittingly, after football season is over we always get a post mortem on the Super Bowl but it’s also the time when guys we love walk away from the game and we start talking about just how hard it is for them. Faulk’s comments were right in line with this ESPN piece that touches on how the decision to walk away from football is a difficult one that not only involves health but finances and emotions.

My favorite line about why it’s so difficult for some guys to walk away was from the Ravens Matt Birk.

It’s the greatest high a person can legally get, Birk said. It builds all week, from meetings to practice to the moment he runs out of the tunnel.

I was complaining the other day about how I HATE how much the end of football season affects me. I feel addicted to the excitement every week. I guess you’d have to multiply that X 100000000 in order to feel the way most players feel. And that is kind of scary.

Speaking of players after the game, I will be returning to LaMar Campbell’s Life After The Game Monday around 6:30 to talk about athletes and love. oo la la






Secret Weapons: Jordy Nelson’s Teammates Think He Is Underestimated Because He’s White

All my real life brothas throw your hands up!! Whoa...wait a minute now Jordy.

Ran across this article on Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson and how he and his teammates think that opposing defenders don’t take him as seriously cause he’s white.

There’s a joke in the receivers meeting room that Nelson benefits by being the only white receiver on the team because perhaps opposing defensive backs don’t take him seriously.

“Honestly, I think it is (a factor),” Nelson said. “As receivers, we’ve talked about. I know (cornerbacks coach) Joe Whitt tells me all the time, when all the rookies come in, he gives them the heads up, ‘Don’t let him fool ya.’ That’s fine with me.”

Said Jennings: “He uses that to his advantage. Don’t put this out there because that’s our secret. But no, seriously, he has taken full advantage of every position that he’s been in whether it be special teams with the kick return game, now being the No. 2 … however you want to put it, he’s taken full advantage of it. It’s not because he didn’t put the time in. It’s not because he’s the white guy. A lot of it has to do with the fact that guys look at him say, ‘OK, yeah, he’s the white guy, he can’t be that good.’ Well, he is that good. He’s proven to be that good, and it’s because of the work and the time that he’s put on not only on the field but in his preparation off the field.”

I can see there being some truth here though I think Wes Welker has pretty much blown whatever cover white receivers had completely to pieces at this point. Anyway, cute little secret weapon inside joke on the Packers team. Use what you got.


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