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Media column: Foul NBA picks; More Barkley; Hartline/WQAM host go at it; Media notes

FRIDAY MEDIA COLUMN

Our May media lessons/conclusions:

### Your mailman has as good a chance predicting these NBA playoff series as the guy on television.

Charles Barkley bristles whenever TNT's Ernie Johnson calls him an expert. “We’re just guys giving opinions,” Barkley says.

Barkley’s right, if only because his recent predictions couldn’t have been more wrong. And he isn’t alone.

Jeff Van Gundy, one of the best TV analysts in any sport, inexplicably predicted, in mid-April, that the Houston Rockets would win the championship.

Barkley said in February that Evan Turner’s acquisition would seal the Eastern Conference title for the Pacers (Turner’s impact has been negligible), said the Wizards would beat the Pacers (they didn’t) and insisted San Antonio’s “old players” would struggle against Portland (they were very good). And Barkley, of course, predicted the Pacers would oust the Heat from the playoffs last season.

Shouldn’t analysts know more than the average fan? Sure. But predicting results is risky business, and Barkley expresses opinions with such conviction that he leaves himself open to ridicule when he’s wrong.

TNT pays Barkley for his larger-than-life personality, snappy one-liners and ability to draw casual fans to a postgame show that often airs very late on the East Coast. And if faulty predictions undermine Barkley’s credibility with fans, it hasn’t seemed to hurt his talent for drawing eyeballs. Viewers are watching Barkley to be amused and entertained –-- he does that better than anybody --- not for advice on bets.

(And what about Barkley's assertion that Heat supporters aren't "real fans"? It's unjustified, obviously, but don't take it seriously. He likes to needle Heat fans after they taunted him during TNT's postgame shows outside AmericanAirlines Arena a few years ago.)

### Be careful trusting mock drafts.

Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock do outstanding work, but Kiper had only five player-to-team picks correct in his final first round mock draft, and Mayock four --- an indication of the difficulty of this exercise. As recently as February, Kiper’s mock draft listed UF’s Marcus Roberson and Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson as first-rounders. Neither was drafted.

### Show professionalism when criticizing players.

WQAM-560’s Brandon Guzio was a bit too personal and confrontational in recent Twitter criticism of Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline.

It’s fine for Guzio to say the Dolphins should cut Hartline based on cap savings and that Brandon Gibson is “the better player,” though I don’t agree with Guzio on either opinion.

But Guzio crossed the line by tweeting: “Hopefully, Fins cut Hartline after this [Jarvis Landry] pick. Get that fool off my team.” And “take a walk, Hart.”

Guzio then added: “Catches balls with his chest, zero yards after catch, no separation, only reason he gets # is because him and his wife hang out with Tannehills.”

(By the way, Hartline's 4.4 yards after catch average ranked 77th of 111 qualifying receivers last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com.)

Hartline, trying to become the first Dolphins receiver with three consecutive 1000-yard seasons, responded on Twitter with this, among other comments: “I embrace criticism but your lack of knowledge is astonishing.”

Guzio shot back: “Lack of knowledge!? I think Dolphins fans who are realistic think my evaluation of your game is spot on.”

WQAM program director Andy King said he does not believe Guzio's tweets were inappropriate and noted Guzio did not include Hartline’s Twitter handle in his tweets, which King believes makes a difference.  (I don't believe it makes any difference. Calling someone a "fool" is insulting regardless.)

### Steve Kerr is going to be missed badly on TNT’s NBA game coverage.

Kerr’s sensible analysis, understated humor, candor and quick retorts to Marv Albert’s quips have made him one of the top 10 TV analysts in sports, and his decision to coach Golden State leaves a huge void on Turner’s staff.

Reggie Miller holds one of TNT’s top two analyst slots but there’s no obvious choice for the other. Chris Webber has improved marginally but still spews too many head-scratchers, such as “you can’t take losing for granted.” (Huh?)

Greg Anthony and Steve Smith are serviceable but too dull to enhance the viewer experience during games that aren’t compelling. The wild card could be Barkley, if he asks Turner to allow him to do more games. Retiring Heat forward Shane Battier also figures to apply.

### If you say you want to be treated just like everyone else, don’t give the green-light to your own reality show.

Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, presumably learned that lesson when he decided, along with Oprah Winfrey’s Network, to put on hold (perhaps permanently) his reality show.

### It’s not a good idea to order the beaning of a 10-year-old player during a youth baseball tournament, even more so if you work in television!

Former Phillies closer Mitch Williams reportedly did that recently (according to Deadspin) and now he’s on leave from his job as an MLB Network analyst.

### Former players hired without broadcasting experience need more coaching.

Exhibit A: Carl Pavano. The former Marlins pitcher, hired recently for a Marlins studio job, has a pleasant demeanor, but isn’t anybody at Fox Sports Florida telling him he needs to say something substantive? 

Pavano’s cliché-ridden analysis has consisted largely of stating the obvious or offering something of a pep talk to struggling players. Based on off-air discussions with him over the years, we suspect he’s capable of more, but it would help if somebody at Fox would offer guidance on what qualifies as cogent analysis and what doesn’t.

### Networks can’t resist hiring sideline reporters, even if they feel they’re obsolete.

After previously opining that sideline reporters aren’t particularly necessary on NFL games, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus promoted Tracy Wolfson to that role this week, on the network’s lead team. She had been working CBS’ SEC games.     

Wolfson will work CBS' Thursday night package, among other games. Incidentally, James Brown, Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher will handle the CBS pre-game and postgame shows on those games.

Comments

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Bob Griese 12

Heat if healthy is the best in the NBA. Hartline is a very good football player, if every member of the team played as hard as he does, Miami would be a better team.

DJ Baracus

ironically, Barkley's analysis of college basketball is spot-on...go figure.

Spivey

Guzio's credentials to criticize athletes is solid...he was the 2007 Coral gables Youth Center Summer Camp Chess Champion.

DJ Baracus

hartline is no fool...there are/were a LOT of fools on the team. not sure hes one of them.

no way to R Miller, he is too biased in his coverage. both in pro and college coverage.

anyone know of a kipper/mayock side-by-side analysis of their picks vs reality? this needs to be public because their mock drafts while entertaining are tiring.

love the media column Barry, keep it up! hold these chumps accountable!

Jeff

Criticism of Hartline is warranted. Not only was his yards after catch terrible, he ranked 4th in the NFL last season in dropped passes. A young quarterback like Tannehill needs receivers who can make plays. Hartline literally and figuratively dropped the ball. Another example of Jeff Ireland over-paying players after a slightly above average season.

garyinstuart

Guzio is the fool. Too many reporters in their attempt to stir up controversy throw insults at players. My question is do they have the cajones to insult these players in person? I seriously doubt it. What ever happened to respecting other people?

202canesfan

I actually perfer Greg Anthony over Webber!

Dom

I just cant wait for the heat to reup bosh/wade/bron on new deals, add new players ,and shut up the Lebron to cle stuff . HE just left there, and has been to the finals every year he has been in miami. What reason would he go back there? And the owner publicly humiliated him and the organization has Zero stability. Big deal they got the #1 pick again They have not even made the playoffs yet, and lebron is going to risk his prime years rebuilding all over again.. ? Stupid articles on espn every day

AnonymousCane

Wow, Herald limit free speech and to those who support it's agendas. Great thing for a Newspaper, what a bunch of hypocrites!

AnonymousCane

Wow, Herald limits free speech and only to those who support it's agendas. Great thing for a Newspaper, what a bunch of hypocrites!

Cual?

What? How does the Herald limit free speech?

Ape Tamer

JAJAJJAJAJAJAJ. THole and Harthole can go suck an EGG eH?
GET THE F OFF OF MY TEAM YOU SCRUBS eH?

Cual?

What? How does the Herald limit free speech?

Cual?

What? How does the Herald limit free speech?

IMAWriter

Excellent work as always Barry. I especially like your little (#)headers in italics.
You've found a good hook for the comments.

HeatFan since '87

"Thanks for the veiled sarcasm. Truth is although I consider myself a
"regular" on this blog and I post as much as I can, I am not here anywhere close to 24/7 like the loser you imply that has no life. " - Posted by: Reality Bites | 05/23/2014 at 11:28 AM

What sarcasm?

Okay, there might have been a pinch, here and there...

Barry Jackson

Anonymous Cane: Not understanding "Herald limits free speech" comment. I have not deleted any comments. Anyone is free to post.

joe r

hartline is not a fool; hartline is overpaid but thats not his fault its on previous management; tannehill throws to him because he cant throw the deep ball and thus hartline gets a ton of yards;hartline and tannehill play lots of pitch and catch together..tannehill needs to be doing that with the deep receivers but our deep receiver decided to take the off season and chill; get rid of the chiller, get rid of hartlines bloated contract and find a new qb after this season

jmike

Anonymous Cane, are stupid or what. The 1st amendment only limits government intrusion into free speech. The federal government can't sanction free speech, or have prior restraint on it. The Herald, Steve Ross, or you employer can limit free speech in any way they want. The Herald has the right to not publish information if it likes, Steven Ross can sanction what a player says by fining him or suspending him, and your employer can fire you because you're stupid.

jmike

Oh and BTW Anonymous Cane, the Herald can limit free speech by deleting and offensive remarks on the blog, and the federal gov can limit free speech by defining what can be broadcast over the airwaves. Get an education PLLLLLLEEEEEAAAAAAASE

jmike

joe r, I bet you didn't know that Hartline had a lifetime 14.6 yards per catch, and that he may be the only Foin receiver with 3 straight 1000 yard seasons receiving. If you think Hartline is a bad receiver I know of 30 teams that would sign him in a sec...........

jmike

joe r here are a few more little Hartline tidbits, 53 of his 76 catches last year went for 1st downs, he has 53 catches of 20 yards are more lifetime, 28 of those coming in the past 2 years. And Jeff Hartline percentage of dropped pass/reception isn't even in the top 30. So you can play with number anyway you want, but I would want a receiver that has a good percentage of catches vs dropped passes. Don't you think that makes sense. Oh and Brandon Marshall led the league in drops with 12, but he too has a superior stats in drop/catch.

ManFin

Another great post ! Look forward to your blogs every day . Unless this rookie out of LSU is a stud , Hartline is still the best WR on roster.

Gllmiaspr

Criticism of Hartline is warranted. Not only was his yards after catch terrible, he ranked 4th in the NFL last season in dropped passes .....

Posted by: Jeff | 05/23/2014 at 11:27 AM

Jeff: You are certainly entitled to your opinion but where are you getting your facts about Hartline?

According to PFF Hartline dropped 5 passes in 2013. His drop rate was 6.17% which makes him the 8th best receiver. By comparison Wallace dropped 11 passes, Brandon Marshall dropped 15 and Wes Welker 10.

On YAC you are entitled to call Hartline terrible and I had to agree that with 309 yds, it was not great. However it was again better than Brandon Marhall and Mike Wallace YAC. (Hartline was ranked 28 among 110 receivers)

I do not believe that Hartline is an elite receiver but he certainly was not the cause of the problems with the passing offense last year.

Russell

Dom, come CFB season I hope you remember your basketball comments on what you find relevant and possible when you make one of your asinine predictions of Miami 50 to FSU 10 or any other ridiculous Cane Homer comment/prediction.

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