A few second thoughts on our 2015 sports coverage

Yearinreviewedit

SOECharlesHallmansquareA regular practice is that after filing our weekly MSR columns and they make print, a three-point self-critical review is conducted like a Lou Rawls song from the ’70s — a could’ve, would’ve, should’ve (CWS) check. Therefore, as we close our sports journalism notebook for this year, we briefly look at some CWS’s of 2015.

We could’ve done more on concussions beyond the two-part “View” we published in October. “Concussions happen more frequently in contact sports,” noted Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Johnathan Finoff. “Some of those contact sports are not football. You definitely can get a concussion with basketball, but you don’t tend to hit your head.

The Lynx celebrating their third final championship
The Lynx celebrating their third final championship

“Women have a higher risk of concussions, and when they do sustain a concussion, it takes them longer in general to recover. It’s a more significant injury to women, and we don’t know exactly why that is.”

Soccer legend Brianna Scurry retired from the sport after a player’s knee hit the side of her head during a game in 2010. She noted that an estimated 100,000 soccer players suffer concussions each year. It’s an issue that won’t go away.

We would’ve done more columns on women’s sports, such as the 2015 Gopher volleyball team’s first run to the Final Four since 2004 that ended in a 3-1 loss to Texas in the semifinals. Daly Santana, a Gopher 100, won the conference’s best player of the year, and she was one of a school record four All-Americans this season.

We watched Santana grow from a shy freshman still struggling with her second language, English, to a confident senior deftly interpreting for her father during his visit earlier this year. Her smile and personality, along with her excellent net skills, will be long remembered. Santana finished seventh on Minnesota’s single-season list with 584 kills.

We should’ve done more on just how White and how sexist local sports radio still is, a main reason why I basically stopped listening. However, earlier this year I briefly returned to KSTP-AM when Bohani Jones’ program aired on weeknights, the only Black voice in the regular lineup.

A Complex.com article on Jones by Myles Brown calls his show — now on afternoons on the ESPN national radio network, but not locally — “a forum for deconstructing the complex and celebrating silliness, a place where the message is never compromised and the news is only as mundane as you make it.”

“I’m not going to hide the Blackness to make sure that they can relate to me,” said Jones in the article.

Jones perhaps was too much Billy Paul’s “Am I Black Enough for You?” for KSTP because he disappeared off the air this summer, which prompted an email we sent to the station. Program Director Brad Lane said in a July 28 email response that the station got “ZERO traction with Bomani’s show. Appreciate the interest and your listening!”

Huh?

This is just another example of local sports talk’s refusal to infuse “color” into its programming. Henry Lake was on America’s most segregated time, 11 am Sundays, before he bolted to Kansas City doing weekday radio, and Lea B. Olsen’s talent is wasted doing shorts on Wolves highlight shows. Both are local and Black, a seemingly deficit when it comes to local sports radio.

We asked KSTP’s Lane for an interview “to expound on why Jones didn’t make it here,” but our request never was met. Therefore, ESPN’s Freddie Coleman’s late night show is the only diversity on the station. But Coleman, who seems more comfortable tap dancing on-air, is the polar opposite of Jones.

Finally, like Jones, on this page and on our website in the coming New Year we pledge to cover sports issues and people non-conventionally and provide a sensibility and commonsense light on them not often read or heard in the mainstream. One thing we have no could’ve-would’ve-should’ve second thoughts about is our 2015 coverage of the WNBA Champion Lynx, which is why our photo of their euphoric triumph is our favorite of the year.

 

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.