The strategy that Mark McGwire used Monday to lay out his admission to using steroids demonstrated that lessons were learned from other baseball stars who preceded him in making mea culpa about their drug use.

He did it all in one afternoon, starting with a statement that was distributed widely to the news media, and that came across the Associated Press wire at 3 p.m.

The A.P. followed quickly with a story that featured an interview with McGwire, who subsequently spoke to numerous other news media outlets — including USA Today and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Tim Kurkjian and John Kruk of ESPN (both by telephone, not on the air); KTRS Radio in St. Louis; and The New York Times, before talking to Bob Costas live at 7 p.m. Eastern on MLB Network.

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On Monday, President Obama is scheduled to sit down in the library of the White House residence for his first interview since his State of the Union address.

The interviewer? The United States of YouTube.

In a first-of-its-kind group interview, Mr. Obama will read and watch questions submitted by YouTube users and answer them in a live Webcast. “It’s a way to give people access to the president that feels more participatory,” said Macon Phillips, the Obama administration’s director of new media.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, will allow people both to submit questions and to vote for their favorite ones, “so we get a stronger signal about what the crowd is interested in,” said Steve Grove, the head of news and politics at YouTube and a former reporter for The... +Continue Reading


As we look back on the decade in sports, it will not be all about the Tigers, Kobes and A-Rods.

When we sum up the past 10 years, it will be all about the Benjamins.

It was Dorothy Parker who wrote, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at all the people he gave it to.”

Certainly, fans will argue over whom the sports gods have blessed since 2000.However, one thing that is clear is how big an impact money had on everything from athletes to coaches to teams to fans themselves — and how they experienced the games.

Stadiums and content networks with seemingly unimaginable accoutrements were built for unimaginable sums and designed to produce unprecedented streams of revenue for companies, owners, players and coaches who became intent upon... +Continue Reading


Bill Gates was taking questions at Microsoft headquarters from an audience of the company’s top female executives. The first question came from a woman who wanted to know how, with three young children, Gates was able to balance his personal and work lives.

“Well, I don’t watch television,” Gates began. “And I don’t follow sports. So I can’t participate in those conversations.”

He said it matter-of-factly, as if it were no big deal. As if time spent watching and reading about sports would be better spent on … well, almost anything.

“I don’t watch television and I don’t follow sports.” I found myself actually feeling sorry for the world’s richest man.

So what if he is the most respected philanthropist in the world and has generously used his wealth to take on... +Continue Reading


Historians one day will note the precise hour that the American sports media circus wagon lost its wheel as Tuesday at roughly 3 PM ET.

That’s the time when ESPN aired live a press conference about a $164 traffic citation.

That’s right: a press conference over a traffic citation went out worldwide on a reputable sports network. And who says you’re not getting a bang for your cable/satellite TV buck?

All jokes aside, the feeding frenzy that has become the Tiger Woods Escalade escapade would be as hilarious as a Chris Rock concert if it didn’t shine a light on what sports journalism has become and open a frightening window into what the business may evolve into.
When the fury over just what happened near the end of Woods’ driveway last week finally comes to a... +Continue Reading


Like everyone else, I spent the weekend surfing the Internet to follow the Tiger Woods saga. The New York Times reports that there were 3,200 stories published worldwide in the first 36 hours following Mr. Woods’ errant drive Friday morning. And many more since then.

Ultimately, I never thought I would be turning to John Daly for guidance in this situation, but a report out of Sydney, where Mr. Daly is playing this week, sums up my view here.

“I don’t really care what happened between Tiger and . . . whatever happened. I’m just glad he’s OK,” said Mr. Daly, preparing for the Australian Open. “We need him, probably more than anybody on the tour, to keep things going, the way the economy is. Tiger’s the biggest asset the tour’s had in a long, long time. Whatever happened,... +Continue Reading


Tell it first, tell it yourself and tell it all. That is the tried and true formula for handling a messy public relations crisis in the smoothest possible way.

When Tiger Woods let 13 hours lapse after Friday’s early-morning accident without issuing an explanation, he ceded control of his story not only to legitimate news outlets, but also to celebrity gossip mongers on the hunt for a tale –- made up or otherwise -– of adultery and mayhem. The story of Tiger’s first major off-the-course bogey was in their sights and the race was on to fill in the juicy details.

Woods hired attorney Mark NeJame, which shouldn’t raise eyebrows -– after all, the police are investigating Woods’ crash -– but repeatedly declining to be interviewed by the police makes it look like he has... +Continue Reading


WASHINGTON — Presidents get elected to run the  nation. Some days that means knowing how to heal it.

For the first time since winning the White House,  President Barack Obama faces such a moment  Tuesday at Fort Hood. It his job to offer comfort, if not  answers, after the shooting that left 13 people dead and  29 wounded on the bustling Texas Army post five days  ago.

Obama will privately console families of those killed, and then publicly pay respects at a memorial service sure to be watched by American troops around the world. He and first lady Michelle Obama will also visit wounded troops in the hospital before returning to Washington.

This is Obama’s time to take on healer role that can help shape a presidency at a time of national tragedy.

Obama’s... +Continue Reading


A few weeks ago, the Sporting News ran predictions for the baseball playoffs. I was stunned to see one name on the list of guest forecasters: Mark McGwire.

Mr. McGwire completely disappeared after his disastrous day in front of Congress in 2005. To see a quote attributed to him, even for something as mundane as a playoff pick, caught me off guard.

It got me wondering if Mr. McGwire would ever try to repair his name.

The answer came much sooner than anyone expected with Tony LaRussa’s announcement that Mr. McGwire would be the Cardinals’ hitting coach next year. Now that one was a real stunner.

The Cardinals still haven’t made Mr. McGwire available to the press, but they said he will speak. When he does, expect that he finally will admit that steroids helped... +Continue Reading


WASHINGTON — He is fighting two wars, trying to tame a recession and seeking to remake one-sixth of the American economy by overhauling health care. But President Obama is also the world’s best-known Chicagoan. So should he leave his day duties to fly to Denmark to help his adopted hometown win the right to host the Olympics?

Chicago thinks so, or at least some of the city’s leadership does. In the waning days of its bid for the Summer Olympics of 2016, the city is pressuring its favorite son to put it over the top by making an appearance at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen next month. It does not hurt that one of the city’s top boosters is Valerie Jarrett, the president’s close friend and White House adviser.

Aides said Thursday that no final... +Continue Reading