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Karraker Toes The Line With Rams Address

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It was impassioned. It was pointed. And it sure seemed to be from the heart. But was Randy Karraker’s emotional speech Tuesday night — at the public forum the NFL held in St. Louis to address the team’s possible move back to Southern California — proper?

The session, at which he took shots at Rams owner Stan Kroenke and stuck up for St. Louis interests, was supposed to be for the general public — not members of the media. And Karraker is a prominent sports-talk show host at Rams flagship radio station WXOS (101.1 FM).

But Karraker, who has worked at other high-profile local stations over the years, doesn’t hide his St. Louis fandom on the air. And he said he took the microphone as a fan, not a sportscaster, saying he has been a season-ticket holder since the team arrived in town in 1995. And it was an emotional moment for him when he was called to speak.

“You can see the passion, I am a passionate football fan,” he told the committee members as he choked back tears and his voice cracked. He quickly gained his composure and went on to talk about Kroenke’s absence locally, how it has been nearly four years since Kroenke last addressed the team’s followers. He contrasted that to the public activities of Blues owner Tom Stillman and the Cardinals’ Bill DeWitt Jr.

“His detachment is a big reason … he’s trying to make it a bad football market,” Karraker said. “This is not a bad football market, it is a speculator football town.”

He added that St. Louis is in better financial shape than when Kroenke took control of the team in 2010, hinting that the LA plan already might have been in Kroenke’s thoughts then.

“If the market was so bad, why did he take a bad deal?” Karraker asked. “He’s a great businessman. … The market is less challenging now.”

Karraker also detailed some of the items in the NFL’s policy on teams moving and said the Rams “don’t meet 90 percent of relocation guidelines.”

His parting words were pointed:

“All we can ask for as fans is a chance and an opportunity from you, the league, because clearly we aren’t getting that from our owner.”

Karraker, in an interview, looked back at his night in the spotlight and said it was “complete luck” that he was called on to talk after he met a friend at the meeting, which was held at Peabody Opera House.

“Within minutes NFL people came to our section and asked if anyone wanted to speak,” Karraker said, adding he was surprised. “I went there with the idea I probably wouldn’t be able to speak. I was prepared for that, I was actually shocked when they came and made the offer.”

But was it right for him to accept? There’s a big difference between having an opinion on the air and becoming an activist, which could lead to listeners questioning his objectivity — and that of the station in general, which has a lot of its programming based around the Rams.

Karraker emphasized that he was speaking strictly as a fan.

“I made it a point to not even request (media) credentials,” he said. “If I didn’t get in as a fan, I wasn’t going to go. That’s why I introduced myself (at the podium) as a charter PSL holder. I went there with the idea that I wasn’t the guy who sits in the ‘Fast Lane’ chair every weekday from 3-7. I went there as the guy who sits in Section 413, Row A, Seats 10-11 every Sunday.”

On the air Wednesday, Karraker said he feels the fans’ frustrations.

“We are all in this same boat,” he said. “I’m glad they recognize I love them.”

But not everyone was impressed. KXFN (1380 AM) sports-talk host Kevin Slaten called Karraker a “crybaby” and unprofessional on the air. He added that it isn’t as if a relative had died, and belittled the entire tone of the event in which many fans spoke, some rambling. He said it made St. Louisans look like they were displaying a “hillbilly hoedown” atmosphere to the NFL.

Karraker, meanwhile, said the emotional start to his speech was a reaction to the energy in the room generated by Rams fans.

“The moment hit me,” he said in the interview. “I was thrilled at the response that Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz got. (They lead the movement to keep the NFL in St. Louis.) To feel the passion in that room, from those fans from so many different walks of life, it did hit me. Then when they started chanting my name — I’m not that big of a deal — that really hit me.”

 

To read the rest of the article visit STL Today where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

UConn Basketball’s Mike Crispino Less Critical of Referees As Official Himself

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this. Because I realize how hard it is.”

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@mikecrispinonyk on Twitter

While basketball broadcasters may not have as contentious a relationship with referees as coaches, players, and fans, part of calling the action can involve criticizing a call. And with broadcasters typically positioned at courtside, there is certainly more opportunity for exchanges with officials than in football or hockey, for example.

But as David Borges writes in a feature for CT Insider, UConn men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino might go a bit easier on referees than his colleagues. And that’s because Crispino works as a referee himself when he’s not at the mic, officiating high school basketball and baseball games in Connecticut

Crispino has been a referee for 12 years and says it completely changed how he viewed officiating while calling play-by-play for the New York Knicks and UConn Huskies. Prior to donning the stripes, he would often question calls during a broadcast.

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this,” Crispino told Borges. “Because I realize how hard it is. It’s not easy. You’re on-call all the time. You’ve got to have two hours of being sharp. You can’t get lazy, you can’t get distracted, you can’t listen to too many people barking about stuff. You have to be on it. Otherwise, you’re not doing the service that you’re getting paid to do.”

Despite having the perspective of a working referee, Crispino — who’s been broadcasting UConn men’s basketball for the past four years — still gets caught up in the moment and questions certain calls, sometimes with the officials standing right in front of him.

Unlike broadcasting, where young announcers are always trying to break into the industry, Crispino is concerned about the future of officiating. He says fewer people work as referees because of stories about angry parents and coaches.

Of course, Crispino has also experienced such exchanges from the other side with high school coaches disputing his calls as a referee. But he’s only issued one ejection during his officiating career, along with just a few technical fouls. Seeing referees work at the college and NBA levels as a broadcaster has helped him understand how to deal with such situations. That perspective has clearly been beneficial in both jobs.

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Pat McAfee Irritated At Fans’ ‘Throw Rogan’ Nickname For Aaron Rodgers

“His haters got very loud.”

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The Pat McAfee Show

Many NFL fans, both casual and diehard, were ready with jeers and nicknames for Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff game.

As Pat McAfee pointed out on his show Monday, fans were eager to throw insults at Rodgers, waiting for the opportunity like a batter waiting for the ideal pitch to hit.

“People were sitting on ‘Throw Rogan,'” said McAfee, who naturally supported the person who appears on The Pat McAfee Show every week and made those conversations must-see viewing.

That particular nickname is a play on Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host whose advice Rodgers followed for batting COVID-19. As Rogan recommended, Rodgers took the drug Ivermectin, which is typically used to treat roundworms and other parasites.

McAfee cited last week’s ESPN.com feature on Rodgers by Kevin Van Valkenburg in which the reporter detailed the turn perception has taken toward the Packers QB this season and Rodgers’ strident belief in himself as a free thinker and intellectual.

Co-host A.J. Hawk agreed, adding another popular nickname posted to social media Saturday. “QAaron Rodgers” mocks the quarterback’s stated belief in conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine.

On the field, the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and considered in prime position to advance to the Super Bowl. Rodgers will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award (despite some voters feeling otherwise) for the second consecutive season after passing for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns (to just seven interceptions), while completing 68.9 percent of his throws and leading Green Bay to a 13-4 regular-season record.

But off the field, Rodgers gained national notoriety and became a controversial figure for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers refused to get vaccinated, which put him at odds with many throughout the country. But what became the subject of national outrage and discussion was the quarterback giving the impression that he’d been vaccinated by saying he was “immunized” against the virus.

That turned many people against Rodgers for the past three months and those fans took delight from him losing in the playoffs. (The quarterback also lost some fans for trying to force a trade during the offseason and it’s possible Rodgers played his final game in Green Bay on Saturday.) And they flooded social media with nicknames.

“His haters got very loud,” said McAfee. “But I will say, I don’t think he has a lot of haters in general managers around the NFL on whether or not they can get him in the building.”

The trade rumors will begin gaining heat soon. Will fans tossing out derisive nicknames right now — especially those supporting the Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Saints, and Steelers — eventually embrace him as their quarterback? You know the answer to that.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI (Update)

“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”

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Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.

Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.

In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.

In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.

On Monday, Jeff Rickard took to Twitter to update fans and followers on his situation. He did not have anything negative to say about WEEI, Audacy, or anyone involved with him coming to Boston. He even noted that this move is likely what is best for him and his family.

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