TIME viral

Watch College Football Personalities Read Mean Tweets About Themselves

From famous coaches to Tim Tebow

Jimmy Kimmel is back with another installment of his show’s popular “Mean Tweets” segment. Usually he goes for celebrities like Lena Dunham and Matthew McConaughey, but this time Kimmel goes after a different demographic.

In honor of Ohio State and Oregon’s national title game, Kimmel decided to make college football stars and ESPN personalities read the horrible things people have to say about them online. Victims range from University of Oregon coach Mark Helfrich to Tim Tebow.

You would think that this bit would get old. It literally never does.

TIME Media

Thank You, Stuart Scott, for Your Unapologetic Blackness

Stuart Scott accepts the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles on July 16, 2014.
Stuart Scott accepts the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles on July 16, 2014. Kevin Winter—Getty Images

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

You changed the game forever


There were times when a trip to the ESPN website’s comment section made me want to (a) take a shower and (b) call the Southern Poverty Law Center to file a hate crime complaint whenever legendary anchor Stuart Scott was being discussed.

But Scott, who passed away at the age of 49, didn’t ever let the prejudices he was working against slow him down. On the contrary, he changed the game entirely.

By remaining true to himself despite calls for him to be less “urban,” Scott managed to connect African American sports fans — fans that most sports networks couldn’t be bothered to reach out to — to the games they love and educated all of us in the process.

When I got the news that the ESPN SportCenter host had finally succumbed to the cancer that he had been fighting like a boss for much of the last eight years, I thought about a trip I took in 1996.

A friend of mine was credentialed to cover the National Basketball Association Draft, and because he needed a ride to the Continental Airlines (now the Izod) Arena in the New Jersey Meadowlands, I got a credential too.

Everyone in Philly was paying close attention to this particular Draft for two reasons: one, the Philadelphia 76ers, a team whose ineptitude over the years is the stuff of NBA records, had a Lottery pick, which meant that they were going to get a player that would make an immediate impact.

And two, the buzz was that the Sixers were actually going to do something useful with their lottery pick and use it to grab a flashy, undersized point guard from Georgetown named Allen Iverson.

A.I. was the talk of the City of Brotherly Love. He won the Rookie of the Year award with a game more at home on a guy twice his size. He led the Sixers to the playoffs more often than not.

But Iverson — like sportscaster Scott and his urban language — also caused his share of “problems.”

For example, he refused to wear a suit on the team plane, opting instead for sweat suits and sneakers. He was covered in tattoos and wore his rather large Afro in cornrows on the court.

By the time he retired a few years ago, Iverson had inspired NBA Commissioner David Stern to create a dress code and put a few other rules in place to take some of this influence out of a game played by guys who grew up in urban areas.

But despite Stern’s best efforts to make the NBA a lot more palatable to a crowd that’s waiting for Larry Bird to come through the doors of the Boston Garden, the league’s parquet floors are still filled with men covered in tattoos, wearing cornrows and bringing the urban swagger that they picked up on the courts where they learned the game.

Kind of like the swagger that Scott brought to telling the stories of their exploits on “SportsCenter.” Like Iverson changed the game on the court, Scott managed to change the game for sports television.

For a lot of people, Scott’s phrases like “Can I get a witness from the congregation?!” or “Cool as the other side of the pillow,” or a whole host of other phrases heard commonly in the Black community were landmark and unapologetic.

And if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone shout “Booyah!” to one another just the same way Scott did on TV, I would be writing this piece from my villa in Barcelona, Spain.

My relationship was like many Americans with the sportscaster. Scott was often the last voice that I heard as I fell asleep at night.

I say this because I live with a sportswriter.

ESPN and I became acquainted whether I wanted to or not. Before seeing Scott for the first time at a National Association of Black Journalists convention, I already felt like I knew the man because of that late-night version of “SportsCenter” that played me to sleep every night.

For me, Scott made the hours and hours spent watching “SportsCenter” (sometimes three times in a row, the 90-minute program played again and again) an unforgettable and entertaining and very real slice of television — because Scott brought the games to life in a way that you didn’t see elsewhere on television.

Just like any Black church in South Philly on Sunday, he spoke the words of the preacher: “Can I get a witness from the congregation?!”

He could and he did.

Scott also made it a point to reach out to another group that sports networks don’t often bother to reach out to: young, African American reporters. Every year, the NABJ Sports Task Force holds a Mentor Breakfast that’s sponsored by ESPN. He was a constant presence there and mentored in a way that’s become legendary.

We don’t even notice how much our language has changed in the years since Scott first presided over the network like a formidable, unflinching presence breaking the rules and ignoring the common parlance.

And that is his legacy.

Denise Clay is a journalist and educator in Philadelphia. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME mma

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones Enters Drug Rehab Just Days After Defending His Title

UFC 182: Jones v Cormier
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones speaks to the media during the UFC 182 post-fight press conference inside the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on Jan. 3, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brandon Magnus — Getty Images

Officials say the UFC light heavyweight champion tested positive for cocaine

Mixed Martial Arts sensation Jon Jones has reportedly entered a drug rehabilitation center after testing positive for cocaine just days after successfully defending his UFC light heavyweight title in Las Vegas.

“Jones has checked himself into a rehab center,” Bob Bennet, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, told ESPN on Tuesday. “And at this time, I would direct any further questions regarding his situation to Mr. Jones or the UFC.”

Traces of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, were found in a pre-fight urine test taken by the champ. However, in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, Jones’s win on Jan. 3 over Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 will stand, as the fighter was not on the substance during competition.

UFC President Dana White said the organization supported Jones’s decision to seek professional help.

“I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility,” said White in a statement. “I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.”

TIME Media

You’ll Soon Be Able to Stream ESPN Online for $20 Per Month

New service will also include TBS, TNT and CNN

Cable’s great unbundling continues Monday with Dish Network’s announcement of a new slimmed-down package of streaming TV channels that will include the most valuable cable network of them all — ESPN.

The new streaming service, dubbed Sling TV, will offer live online broadcasts of 11 cable channels for $20 per month. No long-term contracts or additional hardware are required for the service, which will launch in the first quarter of 2015.

Nabbing ESPN could be a particularly lucrative get for Dish. The sports network has been notoriously reticent to offer up its most-watched content to people who don’t pay for pricey cable subscriptions. Dish’s new offering doesn’t do away with the cable bundle entirely, but it offers TV viewers a more affordable way to gain access to a small selection of channels for the first time (the average American cable subscriber received 189 channels in 2013, but watched only 17 of them).

The full list of channels available on SlingTV are ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN. Customers will also be able to add extra channels through “add-on packs” that cost an additional $5 per month. A kids-themed package will feature channels like Disney XD and Boomerang, while a news-focused version will include HLN and Bloomberg TV. A sports add-on pack is also on the way.

The service will be available on desktops and laptops via a Sling TV website, as well as on iOS and Android devices. Dish is also making specific apps for Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Google’s Nexus Player, select LG and Samsung Smart TVs, Roku’s streaming devices and the Xbox One. Users will be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward content on most live channels, and some channels will will let viewers automatically pull up any show that aired in the last three days.

Notably absent from Dish’s channel lineup is any content from the broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox—and Viacom, which owns cable mainstays like Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Dish says it plans to expand its channel offerings in 2015.

Dish has cast Sling TV as a play to lure millennials back into the world of pay-TV, as many of them have opted to buy cheap services like Netflix instead of cable subscriptions. “This service gives millions of consumers a new consideration for pay-TV; Sling TV fills a void for an underserved audience,” Dish CEO Joseph P. Clayton said in a press release.

However, it’s also possible that the proliferation of cheaper ways to access live TV could accelerate the decline of the traditional cable bundle. With HBO also planning to launch a standalone online streaming service in 2015, the number of alternatives to the tried-and-true cable model will only increase as the year progresses.

TIME Sports

A Look Back at the Life of ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott

Stuart Scott passed away Sunday morning after a seven-year battle with cancer

TIME Television

Here’s How the World Is Remembering Stuart Scott

'Words cannot express the grief'

The sports world mourned the death of longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott on Sunday and recognized his groundbreaking role as a sportscaster who embraced a more personal style.

ESPN president John Skipper credited Scott’s approach to hosting with helping the network define its style.

“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” said ESPN president John Skipper in statement. “He leaves a void that can never be replaced.”

READ MORE: Watch Stuart Scott’s 2014 Acceptance of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award

President Barack Obama issued a statement Sunday:

“I will miss Stuart Scott. Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays. For much of those twenty years, public service and campaigns have kept me from my family – but wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on SportsCenter were there. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us – with courage and love. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

Here’s what the world was saying across the internet:

TIME Television

Watch Stuart Scott’s 2014 Acceptance of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award

'You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live'

Longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who died at age 49 Sunday morning, will inevitably be remembered for the skill and enthusiasm he brought to his job as a sports broadcaster. But his death from cancer also has colleagues and fans recalling the inspirational way he kept on going in the face of a seven-year battle against the disease.

Scott shared what persevering meant to him in a speech at the ESPYS last July, where he was officially recognized for doing just that.

“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live,” he said, holding up the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. “So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest, and let somebody else fight for you.”

TIME Television

ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott Dead at 49

'He leaves a void that can never be replaced'

Longtime ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott died Sunday morning after a prolonged struggle against cancer, according to the network.

Scott became one of ESPN’s most recognized personalities during his 21 years at the sport’s network where he hosted SportsCenter and other shows. ESPN president John Skipper said Scott’s approach to hosting “changed everything” for the network and helped define its style.

“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” said ESPN president John Skipper in statement. “He leaves a void that can never be replaced.”

For the full story, read ESPN.

TIME Sports

Here Is What a Group of Toddlers Have to Say About College Football

Some incredibly high-level analysis, mostly about badgers and bulldogs

ESPN gathered a group of very young (but clearly very well-informed) sports analysts to discuss who should win this year’s Maxwell Award, given to the best player in college football.

The conversation mostly centered on team mascots, eliciting smart responses from the panelists like “I don’t like the badger” and “He’s a doggy” and “I like the ducky.” Even smarter than these comments, though, are the panelists’ outfits. One rocks a sharp blue bowtie and a velveteen blazer, for example, while another goes for smart but sensible in khakis, boat shoes and a crisp sport jacket.

Man, we’d watch ESPN so much more often if it featured more toddlers.


Why You Can’t Find the Baseball Playoff Game on TV

Baseball Matt Carpenter
St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter hits an RBI single during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee on Sept. 7, 2014. Morry Gash—AP

Big events, like the final games of the Major League season, are moving to harder-to-find cable networks. And cost of your cable bill is only getting biggger

At a Bay Area retirement community this past Monday, a group of elderly baseball fans gathered in a room to watch their San Francisco Giants take on the Washington Nationals in the National League playoffs. One problem: the game was nowhere to be found on the TV. The MLB Network, a league-owned cable outlet that requires a special subscription in many areas, was airing the game. The old folks were out of luck, until a worker called the cable company for a quick fix. “An associate and I were able to negotiate a deal (probably not such a good one) to get the game and the channel instantly,” a worker at the retirement community told the San Francisco Chronicle, “for an additional $18/month.”

These retirees weren’t alone: the Chronicle reported that its sports desk fielded over 150 calls from fans trying to find a playoff game on TV. The migration of sports programming away from free TV is nothing new. But now even the crown jewels are on cable. For the first time ever, the bulk of baseball’s two league championship series will air on cable channels. TBS will carry the American League Championship Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals, which starts Friday; Fox Sports 1, the network Rupert Murdoch launched in August 2013 to compete with ESPN, will handle Games 2-5, and Game 7, of the National Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, which starts on Saturday. The Fox network will broadcast Game 1 and Game 6.

The baseball playoffs have moved way down the dial. I, for one, never thought I’d be watching a league championship series on Channel 99, home of Fox Sports 1 in my New York City neighborhood.

TBS broadcast the Final Four national semifinal games last season, will do so again this coming season, and will add the title game in 2016. The Super Bowl still rotates between CBS, NBC, and Fox: the Super Bowl of college football, the championship game of the new College Football Playoff, will be on ESPN. The sports cable boom isn’t going anywhere: on Monday, the NBA announced that it extended its rights deal with ESPN and TNT through the 2024-2025 season. These networks will pay the NBA a combined $2.66 billion a year, almost triple what they pay in the current contract.

Such lucrative agreements fatten the wallets of players and owners. But they do consumers no favors; they’re driving up the cost of cable. An FCC study shows that the average monthly cable bill for expanded basic service grew 30%, to $64.41 between 2008 and 2013. According to SNL Kagan, a media research firm, sports networks account for 40% of the fees that operators pay cable network to carry their programming.

Operators pass those costs along to consumers, while building in some margin for themselves. So if ESPN and TNT are tripling their investment in the NBA until 2025, they’re going to charge operators more to finance this investment, further spiking your bill. According to SNL Kagan data, ESPN and TNT are already the two most expensive national basic cable networks: operators pay an average of $6.04 per month per subscriber to carry ESPN, and $1.44 per month for TNT. That’s right: ESPN can command a price that’s three-times as high as the second most-expensive national basic cable channel. Four of the top-10 most expensive basic cable networks are sports channels (ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1). Two others — TNT and TBS — feature high-profile sports content like the NBA regular season and playoffs, the baseball playoffs, and March Madness. (Disney Channel, Fox News, USA, and Nickelodeon round out the Top 10, according to SNL Kagan).

In some areas, the regional sports networks are among the most expensive for operators to carry. For example Fox Sports North, which serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other states, costs $4.67 per subscriber per month. Comcast SportsNet Washington (DC) costs $4.60 per month. NESN, in New England, costs $4.22. The rates dwarf the top-tier, non-ESPN basic cable nets like TNT ($1.44), CNN ($0.61), MTV ($0.47) and AMC ($0.39). The network that shows Minnesota Twins games is nearly 12 times more expensive than the one that airs “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”

Over the past five years, ESPN’s carriage fees have jumped 48%. NFL Network fees are up 100%. CNN’s have spiked 22%; fees for Lifetime Television are up 18%. Two forces have driven — and will continue to drive — the accelerated growth in sports cable prices.

First, sports remain DVR-proof. You can record a great TV show, and catch up to it later while fast-forwarding the commercials. (Just stay away from spoilers.) A great sporting event is perishable: going back three days later to watch a Super Bowl just doesn’t make much sense. “Sports is an anomaly,” says Derek Baine, research director at SNL Kagan. “People watch it live.” So ESPN and other sports networks can still attract advertisers, and this ad revenue allows these networks to keep upping the ante for sports rights.

Second, blame Murdoch. If the Fox chairman is going to mount a serious run at ESPN, Fox Sports 1 needs big events. This year’s NLCS, in many respects, is a dress rehearsal. Murdoch’s presence alone made ESPN and TNT pay a premium for the NBA; the networks knew that if they didn’t ante up, Fox would likely swoop in. Fox Sports 1 and other new outlets like NBCSN (NBC Sports Network) increase competition for rights, which create bidding wars that drive up cable bills.

The more expensive monthly bills may not be a bad deal for avid sports fans. For less than $10.00 per month, ESPN comes out to pennies on the hour. But if you don’t want sports, you’re getting rooked. Since cable companies bundle channel packages, you have to pay premiums for ESPN and other sports networks in order to get the stuff you want. Sen. John McCain has pushed for “a la carte” cable — just pay for the channels you know you’ll watch. He won’t get his way any time soon though. The cable industry is fine with their bundled revenues, thank you. The sports boom is just too good. No matter how it costs you.



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