NEW YORK – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) took advantage of the NBA All-Star break to get together for a private meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday and agree on four ways to improve relations between the two sides.
The two unions released a joint statement announcing the results of the meeting, which included three players, three referees and officials from both unions, according to a report from ESPN.
The actions agreed to are the following: Enhanced education and clarification around the “Respect for the Game” rules, the opening of an additional channel of communication for future conflicts, plans for future meetings and discussions and a broad review of existing rules and regulations and developing joint recommendations to enhance them.
“In this meeting, we took some important steps in identifying existing frustrations for both sides,” said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts in a statement. “Now with that information, we plan to move forward and continue to work together to find solutions that will enhance the on-court experience for both parties.”
“Our two unions met out of the necessity to examine issues that have previously been left unaddressed,” said NBRA spokesperson Mark Denesuk in the same release. “We look forward to continued collaboration between our two organizations to explore common interests.”
Growing tensions between players and referees has been an oft-discussed topic in the NBA this season. The NBPA and NBRA intend to continue to meet through the spring and into the summer in order to make further progress toward improving relations, according to the joint release.
Earlier this season, the NBA introduced a new a five-tiered strategy designed to address and improved the on-court working relationship between NBA players and the league’s referees. The announcement was made by Byron Spruell, NBA President, League Operations.
“As a league, we take great pride in standing for the best things about sports: competition, teamwork, respect, sportsmanship, diversity and inclusion,” Spruell said. “Recently, we have seen instances in which we have not lived up to our own collective standards with regard to sportsmanship. It is important for us to place a renewed emphasis on proper communication and respect to make sure we are meeting the standards expected from all members of the NBA family.”
Recently appointed NBA Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Operations Michelle Johnson and former game official Monty McCutchen, who was named NBA Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training in December, will oversee the program.
The five initiatives:
- Johnson, McCutchen and their staffs are conducting meetings with all 30 teams to discuss rules interpretations, on-court conduct and the expectations of NBA referees.
- The league will re-emphasize its “Respect for the Game” rules with referees, coaches and players to ensure consistent enforcement of those violations.
- The NBA referee operations department will expand its overall rules education initiative for coaches, players and team personnel to ensure clarity of the game’s rules and their proper interpretations.
- Johnson and McCutchen will conduct enhanced training for the referees on conflict resolution. In addition, they will more closely monitor the on-court interactions of coaches, players and referees to ensure referee decorum meets league standards.
- Through the NBA’s Officiating Advisory Council, the league will create opportunities for engagement with all key stakeholders to find common ground between all parties.
Following the current season, the league will reassess the expected professional standards of coaches, players and referees and the penalties associated with falling short of those expectations.
DAYTONA BEACH – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The LPGA is taking a step previously made by the PGA Tour as the women’s golf tour announced a new deal with opendorse, an athlete marketing platform that helps the biggest brands in sports share content on social media platforms. The alliance with the Ladies Professional Golf Association will provide more than 200 LPGA Tour players with access to share content and create new revenue stream opportunities while optimizing social media outreach and exposure.
The agreement marks the largest and most comprehensive agreement the opendorse platform has in women’s sports, with the LPGA becoming the first major women’s sports property on the company roster.
“By providing players access to the content they create on the course, the LPGA allows pros to engage their fans with valuable media in a seamless social experience,” said (opendorse) CEO Blake Lawrence. “This partnership is a great example of how properties and players can work together to expand their audience, maximize the value of content, and ultimately grow their game.”
Tina Barnes-Budd, the LPGA’s Senior Director of Social Media/Marketing, noted, “Our (LPGA) athletes are some of the most social savvy and brand active on the planet, so tying them to the great work opendorse is doing is a natural fit. The opportunity for our athletes to be more actively engaged in social and brand conversations is something that will enhance not just their storytelling but the LPGA overall, and we are excited to get things moving.”
Brittany Lincicome became the first LPGA Tour player to use opendorse’s athlete marketing platform at the season-opening tournament last month.
“I was thrilled to utilize the opendorse system during the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic,” said Lincicome, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour.
“As the defending champion, the LPGA created some very cool content with me that I was then able to organically share with my fans through my social channels. It’s exciting to know that more players will now have the opportunity to utilize this program and share LPGA-created content through their personal social channels as well.”
The platform will allow the LPGA to send unlimited content for players to share on social, enabling them to grow their personal brands while using the distribution platform to approve and share content from leading brands. Over 100 professional golfers now use opendorse, according to the company.
By TERRY LYONS, Editor in Chief
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will celebrate the Opening Ceremonies on February 9th and there’s a first for these Games. No, I’m not making reference to the fact this will be the first Olympics with the Olympic Channel on your cable tv box and I’m not noting that it’ll be the first Winter Games since the 1998 Games in Nagano without the NHL shield playing a role in the men’s ice hockey tournament. This is the first Olympic Games – Winter or Summer – with Digital Sports Desk’s popular “Diggies” being awarded. (Click here for the entire LIST).
The challenges will be many, as PyeongChang, South Korea is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the USA and NBC Sports will be juggling some 2,400 hours of multi-platform coverage. Long gone are tape-delayed coverage of the 1980 Miracle on Ice (from Lake Placid, none-the-less) or the “Somewhat Ahead-of-its-Time” Triple-Cast from Barcelona. These Winter Games will be a streaming, social media fest, similar to the 2016 Rio Games, but on South Korean time.
With the Opening Ceremonies scheduled this Friday. February 9 and the competition running through February 25, we give you the “Diggies 2018 Winter Olympics” listing of the “Must-Follows” on twitter for the cap “G” – Games!
For simplicity, we’re listing our Diggies 2018 Winter Olympics honorees in three categories – Organizations – Media – and a select few standout Athletes.
- The International Olympic Committee – IOC – @Olympics is a pretty special Twitter account. In terms of #Hashtags for the Games? You can tag: #WinterOlympics or for the spelling aficionados amongst us, #PyeongChang2018 while a few might use #WinterGames or #2018WinterOlympics
- The official organizing committee account is @PyeongChang2018 and should be followed for any and all breaking news.
- The United States Olympic Committee has a bevy of content and represents each and every winter sport while it pops many an athlete, especially medal contenders and winners. Follow along at @TeamUSA
- The Olympic Flame has its own account and you can follow along @OlympicFlame
- A Must-Follow during the Games and from March 9-18 is the Paralympic Games account @Paralympics
- For those in the know, the IOC Media account is a great source of information. Follow it @IOCMedia
- While there are dozens of Federations, one that stands out is that of the United States Ski Team @USSkiTeam
- The official governing body for ice hockey in these United States can help NHL hockey fans learn about all the other great hockey players this country (and world) have to offer. Follow along @USAHockey
- Hockey, eh? Be sure to follow Canada Hockey at guess what? @CanadaHockey
- For a deeper dive into the Ice Hockey tournament, try the International federation @IIHFHockey
- Our neighbor to the north fields one serious Winter Games team, so be sure to root on our friends in Canada @TeamCanada
- Figure skating is one of the most televised events at every Winter Olympics, and the International Figure Skating fed is @ISU_Figure – Go figure?
- The United States figure skating team can be found @USAFigureSkating
- USA Hockey’s Media Officer Brian Kelley (@BKelleyBU) will be on-site in PyeongChang, away from his usual post on campus at BU’s athletic offices.
- The Olympic Channel comes under the NBC family of broadcast outlets this year and can be found @OlympicChannel
- For US viewers, @NBCOlympics will provide the most comprehensive coverage and will help guide tv viewers
- As with many of the NBC Sports properties, the company tags @NBCOlympicTalk and hopes fans tag #NBCOlympicTalk or #BestofUS to share viewpoints on social. Boston’s ice hockey fans might like to follow @KathrynTappen for old times sake
- For lovers of photography, you might check out Getty Images’ sports feed @GettySport
- Again, we lean towards Canada for all things winter, and the Canadian Broadcast Company has its coverage @CBCOlympics
- British sports fans follow @BBCSport for coverage. Of course, there are many other broadcasters you can follow, depending on your sport, heritage and interests.
- We learned at the Sydney 2000 Summer Games that Australia’s home for the Games @7Olympics just kicks Luge
- While no longer employed by the Chicago Tribune, Olympic writer Philip Hersch does a great job covering all aspects of the games @OlyPhil
- USA Today has columnist Christine Brennan and she is simply a MUST FOLLOW @CBrennanSports
- The sports biz world will be following @SBJSBD and reporter Ben Fischer (@BenFischerSBJ) for all sponsorship and #SportsBiz deals
- While veteran sportswriter John Powers files on anything and everything to do with the Winter Games, he isn’t much of a twitter type of guy, but Matt Pepin @MattPep15 , Rachel Bowers (@RachelGBowers) and new Boston Globe columnists Tara Sullivan (@Globe_Tara) fill-out the Boston Globe’s great team for coverage. As a New Englander, I can provide the tip to sign up for the Globe’s newsletter, too.
- Christopher Clary trots the globe, covering everything from the Australian Open to the Winter Games. Follow the 14x Olympic vet @ChristophClary
- Sean Gregory is the senior writer at Time Magazine, covering sports and the Olympic Games. Follow for all sorts of scoops @SeanMGregory
- The Los Angeles Times will be double-teaming the Winter Games with Nathan Fenno @NathanFenno and NHL media Hall-of-Famer Helene Elliott @Helenenothlen manning the Bureau
- Sports Illustrated, (@SI_Olympics) once the king of Olympics content and publisher of daily magazines each of the 16 Days, is sending Tim Layden (@SITimLayden)
- NBC Sports sends dozens of talented correspondents and producers to cover the Games, try @RutledgeWood for a change of pace.
- Gracenote supplies much of our Digital Sports Desk @DigSportsDesk content, and can be quite a resourceful follow @GracenoteGold
- Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, aka @GabrielleTF is a reporter for Reuters covering the intersection of Sports, politics and business from Moscow and can lend some insight on the Russian athletes who will still compete in the Games.
- Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel (@danwetzel) is a great read and captured the great Olympic media “party” bus on his first day
- Do you want to follow a guy who was born in Hawaii, grew-up in California and has covered the Winter Games for the San Diego Union-Tribune more times than Bill Walton has been to Dead concerts? @sdutziegler is for Mark Zeigler, columnist for XIV Olympiads.
- Rachel Axon @RachelAxon is the investigative and Olympics reporter for USA Today Sports who admits to practicing sarcasm in her tweets.
- Curling anyone? Scott Cacciola (@ScottCacciola) is on the job already and Ken Belson (@el_Belson) is arriving in Korea to cover for the NYT, flying from the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.
- Toronto is one of the greatest cities in the world and its coverage needs to serve a diverse readership. Dave Feschuk (@dfeschuk) and Kerry Gillespie (@kerrygillespie) cover the Olympics and will report on Team Canada along with the Star’s staff. The Globe and Mail is the place to find Lori Ewing (@EwingSports) of the Canadian Press
Athletes (We could list hundreds of deserving Olympians, but have a select few) current and former stars:
- Nathan Chen has high hopes heading into the 2018 Winter Games and is the USA fave for a gold medal in men’s figure skating. Follow him @NathanWChen
- Everybody’s favorite snowboard champion Shaun White is back for yet another Olympics. He’s been an Olympian longer than John Pinone played at Villanova! Follow along @ShaunWhite
- Lindsey Vonn? Say no more but follow the downhill skier @LindseyVonn as she even has her own Topps card.
- Justin Olsen is a pilot on the US Bobsled team and is worth a follow @JustinBOlsen Who knew?
- Bode Miller was pretty damn good, so follow along on his official account as he calls the Olympic skiing event for NBC Sports @BodeMiller
- Who Rocks? Mikaela Shiffrin Rocks, so follow her (as she’s faster than the boys) @MikaelaShiffrin
- Snowboarder Chloe Kim has a cool twitter handle, and she can play in the snow! Follow @ChloeKimSnow
- When there’s “Gold” in the surname, it’s surely an advantage as a snowboarder, 4x X-Games champ and World Champion. That is the case for Arielle Gold @Arielletgold
- Karen Chen is the 2017 US National champion in women’s figure skating and can be followed @Karebearsk8 while teammate Bradie Tennell will compete against the world’s best as well. You can follow @bradie_tennell
- David Wise, an American fave in the Halfpipe, can teach you how to pack for a ski trip @MrDavidWise
- The USA’s Erin Hamlin (@ErinHamlin) and Summer Britcher (@SummerBritcher) have a chance to medal in the Luge
- Alex Rigsby (@aRigs33) is a 4x World Champion and a member of the USA Women’s Ice Hockey team.
- Elana Meyers Taylor (@aemslider24) is a 2x Olympic medalist and 2x world champ from the US Bobsled team
- Former ice hockey gold medalist, turned broadcaster and a mother of four kids AJ Mleczko @AJMleczko is our final recommendation
MINNEAPOLIS – (Staff Report from Official News) – The lead-up to the Super Bowl includes some mundane routines each year, as the team arrivals, player and coaches press conference/media day, the NFL Commissioner’s press conference and Pro Football Hall of Fame speculation and announcement feed the news cycles just as the weekend parties begin today.
NFL Players and Kids at Nickelodeon Slime event
One annual event – the Nickelodeon Slime Showdown – is always an entertaining show and it’s geared to kids (of all ages). Airing Sunday, Feb. 4, at 12pm ET/PT on Nickelodeon, Superstar Slime Showdown at Super Bowl is an hour-long competition pitting two teams of NFL athletes and Nickelodeon stars against one another in a series of fun and exciting football-themed challenges. Mimicking the four-quarter format of a football game, teams will compete in four NFL-inspired challenges with a Nickelodeon twist, including slime-filled obstacle courses and an end zone celebration dance off.
The one-hour special features host Nick Cannon, current NFL stars (Drew Brees, Stefon Diggs, Todd Gurley and the pride of Boston College, Luke Kuechly), along with retired NFL legends (Deion Sanders and DeMarcus Ware).
Tune-in on Sunday.