About Brent Weber

Storyteller, artist, photographer, journalist, sportscaster, actor, writer, father, seeker, budding real estate professional and video production professional. For more info, visit http://www.weber-creative.com or find me on facebook.

Would accountability have saved Lawrence Phillips and protected others?

Earlier this week, Scott Smith of the Associated Press reported about a former football star  who is implicated in the murder of his prison cellmate. Lawrence Phillips, who was considered the best running back in college football by many while at the University of Nebraska. He also had a severely troubled and criminally inclined life leading up that point, and in the years that have followed.

I remember at the time, the mid-1990s, how transparent it seemed as to why Phillips was even still playing college football. The Huskers were national champs, and on their way to another title run. Phillips was the Heisman favorite when he dragged his girlfriend down a flight of stairs. The assault led to his “suspension”, but not expulsion from the team. I was at a press conference where I asked – as did others – about Phillips later reinstatement, since the incident would have led to the expulsion of most students under the university’s  codes of conduct. Coach Tom Osborne talked about “losing him” if football was taken away. What he didn’t want to hear was that bringing him back in time for the Fiesta Bowl (actually, with one game in the season), was pretty darn helpful to his football team.

There was so much anguish in covering this story for CNN, because I wanted to say what so many of us are afraid to say: you are using this man, who needs help (whether he would take it or not.) You promise to take care of him? Invite him to live in your home and give him a chance, as you would a son. (Something Osborne said he owed to his players, to treat them like family.) But do not allow him to keep the coveted opportunities that are reserved to law abiding students. The message was and is obvious: wait until this blows over and we’ll get you back out there. You’ll be a big star in the pros after this.

Phillips was later a first round draft pick of the Rams, and his problems were not solved by football. Phillips will likely spend the rest of his days behind bars.

What’s the message in allowing someone like Osborne, who became a US Senator and again returned as Nebraska AD, to have so much authority over a university which, by and large, will create hundreds of thousands of successful students and citizens who adhere to rules, learn from mistakes and do not act as sociopaths and dangers to society? It was a long time ago, but this type of dangerous coddling remains.

Today, it seems more evident in the academic “freeways” created by suspect degree programs tailored to athletes, thanks in part to journalists reporting properly stories of criminal behavior (which is the rarity among student-athletes).

As for keeping the few student-athletes who demand broken rules? Who are we helping? Who are we hurting? Give people chances in life, as many as your compassion allows. Help. But protect others, enforce the rules and laws and, by all means, stop treating elite athletes as elite human beings. They earn, usually, the former. Why not make them earn the latter?

 

My ebook is FREE for BEA and NAB – The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scribblings From An Ordinary Journalist 2nd edition

This week is special for anyone in broadcasting, including broadcast educators. It’s the BEA/NAB week in Las Vegas, and I’m stoked to be here this week. As I meet people in both areas, I am learning, listening and growing…. and in return I would like to make the 2nd edition of my book The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scrubbings From An Ordinary Journalist. So starting Tuesday, April 14 and running through Saturday, you can get the Kindle edition of the book (yes, you can read it on your iPad, iBook, etc. with the free Kindle app) absolutely free. Otherwise, the introduction price is $2.99. It’s suitable for young (and not-so-young) people interested getting into the business, as well as for those in an academic environment.

So download it, read it… if you like it, please go to Amazon and post a review… and if you don’t, send me an email with your critique. Thank you. (You can read an earlier post about the book below the cover photo.)

Kindle ScorecardScribblings Cover

 

 

 

 

For the past several years, I’ve been adding, subtracting and multiplying elements of the 2nd edition of The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scribblings From An Ordinary Journalist. I’m finally done. The hard copy update of the book for prospective sports journalists, broadcasters and creative folks is in its final copy-edit and type-setting stages and will be ready for the fall.

I feel strongly that this update for this generation, one that has many new jobs (and newly defined old ones) for a convergent and social media conscious sports world, is useful, sometimes funny and hopefully ultimately inspiring. So to kick it off – thanks to Amazon’s Kindle store – I am able to offer preview copies to you at the price of just $2.99. This special Kindle-exclusive price is only available until the end of April. By then we should be ready to take orders for the new color cover, paperback version of the book. Of course, the Kindle version will still be there, but the regular price will follow. To get it just click on one of the links above, or go to Amazon.com directly by copying and pasting this link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VOJIEGS . And if you’ve never read books on Kindle since you have an iBook or iPad or other reading device, the Kindle app is free and works like a charm.

All I ask is that if you like it, pass the word and please, write a review on the Amazon web page or even send me an email. If you’re a teacher, consider offering some of the advice up to your students or using the book in your class. If you’re a sports journalist and it helps you at any stage of your career, I would love to hear from you. And if you have any thing constructive to say – or anything you think will make the book better – I welcome that, too. I am thin-skinned, but at age 50-something I’m working on it. That’s why I hammered out a reboot of the book.

And when the hard copy comes out, as part of Kindle’s MatchBook program, you will be able to go back and buy the color cover 2nd edition at a special discount price.

What’s new? Some self-serving photos, of course. A decade has passed since the first edition. That means the production of my TV show Action Figures, taped along the beaches of southern California. There are stories to tell from my time with the NBA’s OKC Thunder. I have input from more peers, some famous, some not-so-famous – but all who draw paychecks covering sports.

Thanks for taking the time to buy this specially priced preview of the book.

Brent Weber

Some pics from The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scribblings From An Ordinary Journalist

Yep, we added some new photos to the long-awaited 2nd edition  – and for the Kindle version – there are some color photos, too. But to let you know what those might be, here are a few. Yes, I know, most are just pictures of me. But the stories? They’re about my thirty-plus year career (careers?) covering sports (and news), with anecdotes that I hope you’ll find interesting. Each week, I’ll try to share an excerpt or anecdote from the book here on the website, and maybe a few that didn’t make the book, too. I hope you enjoy the scribblings… and these photos.

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Until the end of April, 2015, you can purchase a special Kindle-only advanced preview of the 2nd edition for just $2.99. Please pick up a copy, pass the word, write a review. And thanks.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VOJIEGS

2nd edition of The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scribblings From An Ordinary Journalist available at special ebook price of only $2.99

Kindle ScorecardScribblings CoverI need your help – and to get it, I’m offering my book for just $2.99 on Amazon.

For the past several years, I’ve been adding, subtracting and multiplying elements of the 2nd edition of The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scribblings From An Ordinary Journalist. I’m finally done. The hard copy update of the book for prospective sports journalists, broadcasters and creative folks is in its final copy-edit and type-setting stages and will be ready for the fall.

I feel strongly that this update for this generation, one that has many new jobs (and newly defined old ones) for a convergent and social media conscious sports world, is useful, sometimes funny and hopefully ultimately inspiring. So to kick it off – thanks to Amazon’s Kindle store – I am able to offer preview copies to you at the price of just $2.99. This special Kindle-exclusive price is only available until the end of April. By then we should be ready to take orders for the new color cover, paperback version of the book. Of course, the Kindle version will still be there, but the regular price will follow. To get it just click on one of the links above, or go to Amazon.com directly by copying and pasting this link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VOJIEGS . And if you’ve never read books on Kindle since you have an iBook or iPad or other reading device, the Kindle app is free and works like a charm.

All I ask is that if you like it, pass the word and please, write a review on the Amazon web page or even send me an email. If you’re a teacher, consider offering some of the advice up to your students or using the book in your class. If you’re a sports journalist and it helps you at any stage of your career, I would love to hear from you. And if you have any thing constructive to say – or anything you think will make the book better – I welcome that, too. I am thin-skinned, but at age 50-something I’m working on it. That’s why I hammered out a reboot of the book.

And when the hard copy comes out, as part of Kindle’s MatchBook program, you will be able to go back and buy the color cover 2nd edition at a special discount price.

What’s new? Some self-serving photos, of course. A decade has passed since the first edition. That means the production of my TV show Action Figures, taped along the beaches of southern California. There are stories to tell from my time with the NBA’s OKC Thunder. I have input from more peers, some famous, some not-so-famous – but all who draw paychecks covering sports.

Thanks for taking the time to buy this specially priced preview of the book.

Brent Weber

“Lessons from Lutz” Preview

Brent Weber:

Just one of several previews done by my students in advance of an event this evening at Auburn.

Originally posted on AU Sports Journalism:

By Becca Riley


Tragedy hit the Auburn community June 28th of last year hearing the news of Lutz’ death. Philip Lutzenkirchen, former Auburn student and football player, died in a drunk driving accident. His loss was a tough one to swallow for just about everyone that knew him.

Since Philips’s death, his father, Mike Lutzenkirchen, has been raising awareness about alcohol abuse, and on Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m., he will be coming to the Auburn Arena to present “Lessons From Lutz.”

Auburn school of communications professor Jennifer Johnson, along with Auburn director of health promotion and wellness services, Eric Smith, spoke to Auburn’s sports reporting class about the upcoming event.

Johnson, who was Philip’s teacher throughout his time at Auburn, spearheaded the event. She thinks this event will be an eye-opener not only for students, but for everyone.

“He says he’s talking to 14 to 24-year-olds,” Johnson said…

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Checking in on the Thunder in Atlanta

In the years I covered the Oklahoma City Thunder both as a member  of the broadcast team and the media in general in OKC, I developed an admiration for the way the organization handled basketball business. Quite simply, I saw Sam Presti and company focus on character, teamwork, passion for the energy required to play the game and organizational control.

Character is self-evident, but the straight poop is this: OKC is a small market without big market funds to waste and, I think in the long haul, with a conservative fan base that will not accept players who don’t have strong team character. If a player wants bright lights, big city, they won’t be happy in OKC. The money, well, that’s good anywhere in the NBA.I’m not saying they won’t accept “weird” dudes; they loved some young players who had problems in the Hornets era. But this organization just sees no reason to plug holes with leaky corks.

Teamwork and teaching are two reasons why Scott Brooks has been an NBA success. I hope he will remain in OKC for the length of his career because of it. Like Gregg Popovich  in San Antonio (yes, the Thunder basketball organization is built on the same ideas as San Antonio), if the superstar cornerstone stays (K-D), Brooks’ defensive (“two more stops!”) and flowing, adaptive offensive strategies will locate to conference titles and more. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are their Tim Duncan and David Robinson (let’s not argue the position differences here): two extraordinary superstars who individually require immense attention from other teams over a seven game series. And the teaching part requires players with what some call Basketball IQ (I just call it, smarts); great players always want to learn more, and Brooks and his staff are always looking to improve as coaches. It works if your star players work at it. So far, so good.

This also plays to passion for the energy required to sustain success. You must have certain players. This is why Brooks  had a relatively long career as a role player in the NBA. He was a gym rat, and he likes players like him. Great talent abounds on every bench (and on the waiver wire) across the N-B-A. Extraordinary results, however, come from a willingness to trust and bust it, to attack rebounds five deep when needed, to close down perimeters when the switch is made, even if it’s not your strength. To shoot when the shot is yours, to drive when the lane beckons, to dive when the ball is rolling. Win championships? The formula applies. Not all great talents will do the things above. That’s the difference between talent and results.

Organizational control, well, there are many or franchises that exhibit that – and I never had a problem with it. That’s an idea for another day, but it’s one that creates an avenue of consistency within and clarity of goals as presented publicly. Personally, I wish fans would just enjoy the games more and tweet and blog less. One team loses every game, and those losses are not always failures.

The Hawks are building a team with similar ideals, minus a Durant or Westbrook, and it’s fun to watch. The Thunder came to Atlanta playing well, but in the midst of a challenging stretch of their own. This time around, OKC couldn’t sustain the energy needed for four quarters to beat the hottest Hawks team Atlanta has ever fielded. They beat OKC by 10 for their franchise record 15th straight win, 103-93, and they did it buoyed by their crowd and their style of play. Right from the Thunder playbook. I enjoy this type of basketball, and frankly, I hope to see these teams play again – best of seven – at the end of the campaign. Good health, and sticking to their formulas just may make that possible.

Here is the post-game wrap I filed with my buddies at InsideThunder.com in OKC.

 

My life since MLK died

Originally posted on Postcards from The Web:

I remember my mother crying. I remember her sadness. It was unlike anything I had ever sensed before. She was in disbelief. She was frightened. She was shaken.

When you are six years old, you remember the first time your rock is shaken. That’s my first recollection of my rock, my mom, being shaken. I know now she loved who Martin Luther King Jr. was. I know now that she believed the things he believed in. I know now, she was a woman from the North, raising four kids (along with my hard-working dad) in the South at a time when many old, opposing values still existed. She was an outsider in terms of social thought. She wasn’t like many of the old white southerners in Tucker, Georgia who lived in the town we moved to a few years earlier.

Now, I can look at the history of the day…

View original 535 more words