Erin Andrews replaces Brooke Burke on DWTS

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After Erin Andrews completed her third place finish on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” I posed the question where will she land next? And on June 15th, 2010 I wrote right here in this spot “Erin Andrews should replace Brooke Burke as host of DWTS.” It looks like ABC/Disney is listening to me because today that exact move was announced.

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Erin Andrews Acolytes have Started Worshipping Jenn Brown

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Apparently, there’s a new heiress to the  supposed “Sideline Princess” throne. Watch tonight with the Thursday night college football game of the week.

ESPN’s Jenn Brown is a former bikini model (which obviously gave her more journalistic credentials than even Medill graduates) and gymnast (again making her clearly more qualified in news reporting than the thousands of experienced j-school grads dying for her job). She also attended the same school (University of Florida) as the reigning Media Princess Erin Andrews.

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Fun with TSB Search Term Referrals

By Paul M. Banks

I can’t say how proud I am that the top-referring search engine terms sending traffic to the sports bank.net are for the most part sports related! Nothing x-rated, nothing unsafe for work. It is relevant. This doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, in the world of Google and all the perverts out there, this is indeed an accomplishment. Without further ado, here are the top terms:

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Michigan St. vs Northwestern Live Blog

By Paul M. Banks

So #25 Northwestern has their first ranking in 41 years, and loses to Illinois in overtime, but this is a chance for a statement game here. A win over #11 MSU and the Wildcats would likely keep their ranking.

This is a game of magnitude, why isn’t Erin Andrews here?

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Erin Andrews Video Stalker (and Blazers Fan) Released on Bond

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By Paul M. Banks

The demented weirdo accused of secretly videotaping ESPN sideline princess Erin Andrews through a peephole leading to her hotel room was released from court yesterday. Michael D. Barrett (not the former Cubs catcher, may I remind everyone) is an insurance executive accused of uploading videos of Andrews, and other unsuspecting nude women to the Internet. According to the Federales, Barrett makes his videos by modifying peepholes in hotel room doors, using a hacksaw and a cell phone camera, and then tries to sell them to celebrity gossip site TMZ.

Barrett, the pride of Westmont, Illinois, was released on $4,500 bond and ordered to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet, follow a strict curfew (this should put a damper on his obviously bustling social life) and stay off the Internet. He’s next due in court on the 23rd. After being released late afternoon yesterday, this ladykiller avoided commenting publicly and left in his yellow Mustang. Andrews’ attorney Marshall Grossman, has not publicly commented yet.

More on this from the Huffington Post. Excerpts of this article are in italics, my commentary in bold

Barrett continues to be a danger to Andrews and “a danger to other women,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Grimes told U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys during Barrett’s bond hearing Monday.

Magistrate? People still use that word? it makes me think of Braveheart, and inspires me to start talking in ye olde English

“Yes, Judge, there are other women,” Grimes said. “He has used his computer to disseminate these videos to the world.”
Grimes said the government has confiscated two computers and cell phones used by Barrett, and “feels strongly that those items will provide further evidence.”

Of course, those other women, who are just as victimized as EA, don’t get to go on Oprah
Like the Andrews videos, the videos of the other women were shot through a door peephole and uploaded to the Internet under a name Barrett used, “GOBLAZERS1,” Grimes said.

Barrett’s parents are from Portland. Trailblazer nation, be proud. You have a sick person with a distorted view of the world within your community, but enough about Zach Randolph…

…Of course, you were able to trade him out of town, so maybe you can get Barrett off your bandwagon too.

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Andrews appears in at least eight videos nude. An FBI affidavit said Barrett specifically asked for a room next to Andrews at a Tennessee hotel where seven videos were likely taken. An eighth video may have been shot at a Milwaukee hotel. Barrett was described by his attorney, Rick Beuke, as having plenty of money and a good track record at work. Beuke said his employer, the Combined Insurance Co., based in Glenview, where he is in insurance sales, is “very supportive.”

Well, if he’s such a great North Shore guy, why is spending his time on this stuff? If he has so much money and stability, why can’t he find a woman to willingly take her clothes off for him?

But Combined Insurance spokeswoman Amy Burrell-Tichy said later Monday that Barrett has been suspended from his job and “there is no timeframe with this suspension.” She declined say whether he would be paid while suspended. She said the company is cooperating with the FBI and conducting an internal investigation because the affidavit alleges Barrett may have used Combined Insurance computers in the alleged crimes.

So remember that the next time your computer at work kicks you off Facebook.

Erin Andrews Video Stalker Arrested in Chicago

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By Paul M. Banks

The sick weirdo who secretly videotaped Erin Andrews through a peephole was arrested last night at O’Hare International Airport. Who says there’s no justice in the world? Today, there’s a little bit more as the sports media industry’s answer to Bernie Madoff -from a public outrage standpoint, not from an illegal profiteering perspective- was caught and is currently awaiting his first court appearance in the Windy City today.

He’s 48-year-old Michael David Barrett, and the FBI believes he was the perv who planned and shot her infamous voyeuristic footage. Just to be clear this is not Michael Barrett the former Cubs catcher who once got into a dugout fist fight with Carlos Zambrano. EA’s statement, released late last night, gave thanks to “ESPN for its support during this difficult time” and vowed to become the poster girl against such crimes. “I hope that today’s action will help the countless others who have been similarly victimized. I will make every effort to strengthen the laws on a state and federal level to better protect victims of criminal stalking. I am also grateful to those who have expressed their concerns and good wishes for my family and me.”

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Erin Andrews recently appeared on Oprah and vowed to do whatever she can to help bring the perverted criminal to justice. Many of Oprah’s guests and viewers are victimized women, and EA’s appearance was yet another opportunity for victimized women everywhere to build strength through community. Of course, most of them are not the publicity machine that Andrews is.
EA’s lawyer stated that the arrest was “a welcome step in bringing this investigation to a successful close. It is now clear that she was the victim of stalking and invasion of privacy at more than one location. She was not a random victim. She was targeted and violated.”

The case being brought against Barrett is “interstate stalking” for his alleged clandestine filming a naked Andrews changing clothing and walking around her private hotel room through a peephole- and of course then attempting to distribute the tape for remunerative compensation. Barrett’s arrest and impending court appearance gives the sports blogosphere a reason to focus on Chicago…for a reason other than what happened yesterday with that 2016 thing.

Erin Andrews Sexually Harassed by College Gameday Sign

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By Paul M. Banks (photo courtesy of The Big Lead.com)

ESPN College Gameday may want to re-consider broadcasting live if this continues. Or they might want to dip into their deep pockets, and hire some private security to screen out the people coming to see the show. Check out this photo on The Big Lead.com it’s the full size version of the thumbnail above, and I have a feeling that we’ve now found the guy who secretly videotaped Erin Andrews through a peephole. Because the maker/carrier of this sign is just as much a disgusting degenerate as the person who violated her privacy earlier this year.

Whether you love or hate EA, you have to be with her on this one. Seriously, this sign didn’t cross the line of bad taste, it dropped a nuclear bomb on it. This is, to quote Seattle Seahawks Coach Jim Mora yesterday, “unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE.”

It will be interesting to see how ESPN handles their future on-site broadcasts, and possibly censoring the unruliest of fans who show up. Because this network is owned by Disney, and just as last night’s Family Guy reminded us, every thing produced by the world of Disney is happy, and family-friendly. Well, sort of.

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Big Ten Network Playing Erin Andrews Card in Talent Selection

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By Paul M. Banks

Everyone knows “sex sells” and the “news business is actually show business,” but there are still instances when a network overwhelmingly panders to the frat house demographic. Like hiring a bikini model to be a journalist, as the Big Ten Network just did with Melanie Collins. Sure, she did have a stint at NBA TV, but I still just can’t take her seriously as a college football reporter.

For the same reasons, I never took former Playboy Playmate Lisa Dergan seriously as an anchor for Fox Sports West. You can call me sexist, narrow-minded, chauvinistic, socially backwards etc. for what I believe, but I don’t care.thompson

If a woman rises to fame and her position by holding a job which is essentially little more showing T&A and being an inspiration to male self-gratification, how seriously can you view her authority to inform the general public?

When a political leader comes to power through illegal or criminal means, how legitimate do you take the individual’s ruling capabilities?

It’s not that I think Collins or Dergan are/were awful at their jobs, I just don’t think they are/were very good. I think Erin Andrews is ok at her job, but nowhere near deserving of the publicity she receives. I think EA is a very attractive woman, but again, nowhere near deserving of the publicity she receives. So much so that the practice of “hottie tokenism” in sports media has become synonymous with her. I don’t think she consciously sought that title, but she certainly doesn’t do anything to shy away from it either.

I probably watch more Big Ten Network that any human being reasonably should. It’s unhealthy, I admit it. I can recite, line for line, all their annoying programming promos- they do run the exact same spots during EVERY commercial break. But I just can’t, and never will, take Melanie Collins seriously. Because I know there are hundreds, maybe thousands of female and male applicants that could/should easily taken her place.

It may be unfair to compare Collins to fellow network denizen Charissa Thompson, because Thompson is a much more accomplished journalist with better credentials. And you won’t find raunchy pictures of her kissing another girl online, like you would in Collins’ case. But Thompson, like Collins is so attractive that they are distracting. There’s eye candy all around the Big Ten Network talent pool, but these two reporters just jump out at you because they distract you from the content. If you held a poll between who was “hotter,” Collins or Thompson, it’s a toss-up. Now BTN’s hottie tokenism has one-upped that of every other network.

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Both of them, whether they want to be or not, have become the story instead of reporting it. And that’s a very bad personnel decision on the Big Ten Network’s part, because now people are talking about the rail-thin blonde delivering the information, instead of the information. Or maybe it’s not a bad decision, as it gets people talking about the network. They did get me.

But I’d still probably watch that network, even if something as visually disgusting as Charlie Weiss hosted every show. Ultimately though, it’s about timing and development. I can take reporters like Jill Arrington and Jillian Barberie seriously because they did the racy photo spread in a raunchy lad-mag AFTER they had already established themselves, not BEFORE.

The Sports Bank’s Live College Football Blog: Week 2

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Greetings college football fans! Well, it’s week two of the college football season and since our live blog went so swimmingly last week, we thought we’d come back and do it all over again.

I’m your host, H. Jose Bosch and I, along with a host of TSB writers will take you on a magical journey throughout the Big Ten and the rest of the nation throughout the day. There may be some more Arby’s jokes, Paul Schmidt might break all rules of journalistic integrity and pound Ron Zook’s face in when Illinois inevitably has another disappointing weekend and David Kay will once again risk his life covering a swine flu-infested football team.

Who knows what kind of wacky mayhem will happen!

So sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. Questions, comments or concerns may be addressed in the comments section, where we encourage you to add your input on any game you’re watching. Bonus points for finding/highlighting embarrassing moments. If you can provide a picture, even better. This thread will be for the noon games and we’ll have a second thread for the 3:30 games and beyond.

Oh and yes, Charlie Weis is fat. Go Blue!
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ESPN Finally Gives Gameday Love to the Illini

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By Paul M. Banks

For some bizarre reason, the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network ignored the University of Illinois when it came to finding a locale to host their popular “College Gameday” pre-game show. The show has been running for six seasons, and during that period of time, the Fighting Illini were 6th in the nation in total wins! They’ve been a NCAA Tournament regular and they’re tied with Duke for the most number of 25+ win seasons this decade. A 2006 USA Today poll stated that Illinois was the 5th most recognizable college basketball program among 14 year old males, who comprise a huge demographic within ESPN’s pregame show audience. Yet despite all these facts, the Eastern biased conglomerate and empire brand NEVER made a single trip to showcase the Orange Crush at Illinois’ Assembly Hall. That all changed today.

Please read this press release sent straight from Champaign-Urbana this afternoon:
Champaign, Ill.-ESPN College Basketball GameDay driven by State Farm will make its first appearance at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall on Feb. 6, 2010, when the Fighting Illini host Big Ten rival Michigan State.

The popular network show will feature a pair of one-hour telecasts, at 10 a.m. CT and 7 p.m., followed by the 8 p.m. tip-off of the Illini and Spartans in ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Game of the Week.

“We are thrilled to have College GameDay coming to the Assembly Hall,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “We have watched the show at various college sites the past few seasons and have been anticipating the opportunity to host it on our campus. There are so many factors that make this a perfect fit. We enjoy a tremendous relationship with both ESPN and State Farm, we have high expectations for the upcoming season, and we are facing an outstanding opponent in Michigan State. I’m sure the Orange Krush and Illini Nation will be out in full force as we showcase our program to a national audience that day, and for what should be an incredible game-time atmosphere that evening.”

The complete ESPN Gameday schedule is as follows:

Jan. 16 – Notre Dame at Connecticut (women’s); Jan. 23 – Duke at Clemson; Jan. 30 – Kansas at Kansas State; Feb. 6 – Michigan State at Illinois; Feb. 13 – Tennessee at Kentucky; Feb. 20 – UCLA at Washington; Feb. 27 – Villanova at Syracuse; March 6 – North Carolina at Duke.

“We obviously feel the choice of Illinois men’s basketball and Assembly Hall, which is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s great home court atmospheres, create a great match with the College GameDay brand,” said Chris Hanna, Illinois Assistant Athletics Director for Sales and Marketing.  “We take great pride in our ongoing relationships with State Farm, the sponsor of College GameDay and a long-time Illinois corporate partner, and ESPN through our Big Ten Conference television agreement. We will approach this event with the intention of establishing a new attendance record for College GameDay in addition to filling Assembly Hall with 16,618 orange-clad fans for the Illinois-Michigan State game.”

Write About Erin Andrews, Increase Your Blog Traffic!

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By Paul M. Banks

If you’re a start-up sports blogger, here’s a tip for you. It’s a way to increase traffic quicker and more effectively than any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) program or employing any social media consultant. Write and post pictures about Erin Andrews.

And this isn’t simply saying “sex sells” either. There’s something about her, and just her that seems to rev up the search engines of web geeks, bloggers, and horny sports nerds.

As the major buzz surrounding the peephole video conveyed, as did a half-dozen EA stories on the internet prior to that, no one else in sports has a cult following on the internet this large. But the question is, why the obsession with Erin Andrews? She’s good, but not great at her job, so it’s not that. And it’s not the eye candy thing either; as there’s plenty of other women who are just as beautiful on Eastern Seaboard Programming Network; and many more on competing networks.

Don’t get me wrong, I like blonde hair, boobs and booty as much as the next guy. And I’ll be the first to admit that EA is quite easy on the eyes…but she’s not a modern day Helen of Troy, who mythically possessed “the face that launched a thousand ships.”

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Perhaps it’s the geek factor. She’s described herself as a dork and homebody, despite what others may think, and perhaps all the web nerds identify with that. I’ve me Ms. Andrews once in person in the media room, before an Illinois-Wisconsin game. It was a very pleasant although uneventful exchange. She was quite polite, and probably a lot nicer in person than the “FSU Cowgirl” Jenn Sterger would be in person. You forgot who Jenn Sterger was? Yeah so did I, and the rest of the sports blogosphere.

I only bring her up because Sterger attacked Andrews on a Florida sports talks radio show about a year or so ago. The bitter and dejected Sterger devoted part of her slot to trying to figure out why there’s such a following surrounding Andrews, and then described herself as the “number one girl on the computer.” What metric she used for that remains unclear, but I’m sure Google Analytics is making no effort to copyright that technology. Andrews is the number one girl on the computer, period. And probably a big part of that is due to her seeming down to Earth and nto obsessed with herself, her image, her looks and her popularity. I can’t say the same about most of the sports blogosphere darlings. It seems like many of them never matured past the tenth grade.

Of course, how many of them once had to be fondled by the slimiest man alive, Bruce Pearl

Is ESPN Going to Cover the Erin Andrews Story?

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By Paul M. Banks

Erin Andrews is the most recognizable on-air personality for the most powerful entertainment network on Earth. Due to her combination or looks, knowledge, personality, looks, plum story assignments, intelligence and looks, she’s become possibly ESPN’s biggest rock star. And now that she’s been victimized, her star is set to rise way beyond the stratospheric level it currently resides at.

ESPN has been called many things: the four-letter, Eastern Seaboard Programming Network, the Boo-Yah Network. But the most appropriate nicknames are “The Evil Empire” or “The Mothership.” Because they’re the 400 lb gorilla in the room of sports media; actually, they’re so powerful that the Disney-owned concern makes 400 lb sports media gorillas look like 4 ounce gorillas. If you’re living in a cave and haven’t heard the Erin Andrews saga by now, here’s the gist of it

Some creepy, pathetic weirdo taped EA changing in her hotel room and then posted/distributed the video online. Its now been pulled off the internet and most places claiming to host it actually give the user malware, a Trojan horse or some other computer virus when they download it. I usually think that hackers are the lowest form of primordial ooze life has to offer, but on this one I give them a high-five. Because Andrews’ privacy has been violated and her image tarnished, and those who add to this injustice (by watching the video) compound the problem by receiving stolen property. Both the producers and watchers of the video are committing illegal acts, and I sincerely hope Erin Andrews is able to recover some form of compensation for the humiliation that she has suffered.
Any web page with a picture or mention of Erin Andrews is blogosphere gold. Her internet cult following makes web traffic flock to anything EA related. This goofy YouTube tribute video has been viewed well over two million times. As awful as this situation seems for her now, in the end she’ll be fine. If there’s anything America loves, it’s an underdog story. Look at every politician who has risen to high office: every one has a story of overcoming adversity in their biography.

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ESPN produces a full roster of personalities that have engaged in controversial (and sometimes harassing) behavior relating to sex, including:

-Chris “Mr. Family Values” Berman and his penchant for “making it rain” in strip club V.I.P. rooms.

-Sean Salisbury emailing a female co-worker a picture of his…”little friend.”  The part of his body that seems to make his decisions.

-Harold Reynolds, fired for supposedly giving “an inappropriate hug” to an intern at a Boston Market. And if there’s anything defining sexy in this world, it’s a Boston Market hug…especially one that inspired the name of a sports blog.

-Mike Tirico and his lurid tales that helped sell books

None of these incidents were reported at all by ESPN (for obvious reasons). So if the four-letter network ignores or under-reports this story, it won’t exactly set precedent. But the Andrews story is much bigger than all of them combined. And the demand for information on it is too high to keep ESPN from covering it. If they’re truly “the worldwide leader” than they need to keep the public updated on the story that the world is demanding to know about- even if it revolves around one of their stars.

Of course, this incident is completely different from the four I just mentioned in that here, the ESPN personality is the victim, not the “victimizer.” It mostly resembles another incident in which the journalist was the one begin harassed, not doing the harassing. erin-andrews

The popular blog Kissing Suzy Kolber got its name from the night a drunk-of-his-ass Joe Namath tried to pressure sideline reporter Suzy Kolber into kissing him during a NFL game carried by the network. The duo calling the game for the Bristol boys that night repeatedly said how “happy” Namath was. What an often “happy guy” he truly is. Obviously happy=drunk and horny in that context, but it was a perfect example of how the Disney-owned sports media empire “Disniefied” an “adult situation.”  So that’s what I think the network will do here.

They’ll probably try to minimize a situation that the world wide web buzzes about and try to find some way to give a G or PG rated account of a NC-17 situation. Given the corner they’re backed into- probably the best thing they can do.

Tune in this weekend for more ESPN criticism. A friend of mine who actually works for the evil empire asked me to DVR the Espys for him. I’m going to have him over for dinner Sunday night, and for the first time ever, watch the Espys! Lots of sites do anti-ESPN material. But I’ll be blogging my vitriol with a member of the network actually beside me.