On such a light news day, there was room for some sports coverage on all three networks. CBS' Bill Whitaker found "the Dunkmaster," a personal trainer in Los Angeles whose punishing regimen allows "Michael Jordan wannabes" to accomplish their dream of dunking a basketball. Gil Thomas, a five-foot-eight-inch dunker himself, told Whitaker he could clear the rim after "about a year, the shape you look like you are in."
NBC's Martin Savidge covered NASCAR's cheating scandal a day later than ABC's John Berman (no link) did. Racer Michael Waltrip's primary car has been disqualified from the Daytona 500 because his team was caught with adulterated gasoline, perhaps boosted with aviation jet fuel. "This is a huge embarrassment for Toyota, since this was its first foray into NASCAR racing," said Savidge. Waltrip will have to drive his back-up.
This time Berman (subscription required) covered the book Man in the Middle by John Amaechi in which the former NBA player comes out of the closet as gay. Berman noted that there is "only a small handful" of known homosexuals in men's professional team sports and even they went public "only after they retired." Their closeted status comes as no surprise when they can be targets of the sort of animosity that former star Tim Hardaway registered to Amaechi, calling in to the 790 The Ticket sports talkradio show: "I hate gay people…yeah, I am homophobic."
Berman structured his story to make Hardaway's tirade the news hook rather than Amaechi's book. Man in the Middle turns out to be published by ESPN Books, a corporate sibling of ABC News. Such cross-promotion should have been transparently noted by Berman.
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