Wondering Why Ross Shimabuku Is Not At Fox 5 San Diego This Week? Starts With An 'S' – And It's Not Sabbatical

Turns out an apology from Ross Shimabuku, which he is shown here giving last Tuesday in a video posted on the website of his employer, KSWB in San Diego, was not enough, as the Fox affiliate announced that he has been "suspended without pay for a week" as a result of implying NASCAR driver Danica Patrick is a "bitch".

You may recall our item over the weekend regarding Ross Shimabuku, the San Diego sports anchor who had choice words about Danica Patrick upon her debut on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup circuit, which took place on Monday night. She was involved in a multi-car wreck as soon as the second lap started, but in fairness to her, she returned after about one-third of the race was in the books, and finished 38th overall.

Last Monday, Shimabuku berated Patrick, who insisted she not be referred to as “sexy”. Quoth Shimabuku: “I’ve got a few words… starts with a ‘B’, and it’s not ‘beautiful’.”

The comments were initially brought to light when video was uploaded to the YouTube account of Women’s Media Center. We picked up on it, and by the power of other well-known sports media websites (and thanks for the hat tips, folks, partial or otherwise), the video had gone viral.

At around that time, video quietly surfaced on the website of KSWB, Shimabuku’s employer, of the sports anchor apologizing for his comments about Patrick the night before.

“I got a lot of emails regarding some comments I made about NASCAR driver Danica Patrick,” Shimabuku said on last Tuesday’s newscast, “and I truly apologize if I offended anyone by those comments.” He added the comments were “not meant to be an attack” on Patrick, and also told viewers that he “worked with her before in Phoenix” (Shimabuku had worked at a Phoenix TV station before joining KSWB in San Diego). “I think she’s… great for the sport, but more people will be willing to watch her because she’s in the sport.”

What a difference a week makes.

Fast forward to this Tuesday, where KSWB notified followers of their Twitter account that “Ross Shimabuku has been suspended without pay for a week because of his comment about Danica Patrick.” The person handling the station’s Twitter account also took the time to respond to viewers who had tweeted the station informing of Shimabuku’s comments about Patrick. (Except for my Twitter account, oddly enough. Hmmm.)

I’d be interested in finding out what the atmosphere was around the KSWB newsroom in the week since Shimabuku’s comment. “How badly do you think [anchorwoman] Kathleen Bade wanted to slap Shimabuku after that,” pondered AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Clapp.

I also wonder if the person responsible for the “I’m Sexy And I Know It!” chyron that ran over video of Patrick saying she doesn’t want to be called “sexy” in Shimabuku’s report will be reprimanded in any way.

Meanwhile, there’s an ironic twist in the original video. If you go back and watch the clip from last Monday, you’ll also see Shimabuku discuss Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief getting “caught cheating” prior to the Daytona 500. “Probably will be getting a suspension,” Shimabuku said of Chad Knaus.

Little did Ross know, it was his comments about Danica Patrick just seconds earlier that eventually got him a suspension.

Karma. It starts with a ‘B’, and it’s not beautiful.

(Incidentally, for what it’s worth, Knaus has been suspended, too.)


Hump Start: NFL Moves 2012-13 Season Kickoff Game To Wednesday Night

Once again, the New York Giants find themselves in an interesting position: beginning their defense of their NFL championship a little earlier due to a conflict with an election convention. This year, the Giants will kick off the season on a Wednesday night, playing the first Wednesday NFL game since 1948.

Are you ready for some football? On a Wednesday?

As President Obama would say, yes, we can.

For the first time in 64 years, a regular season NFL game will be played on a Wednesday night – and it’ll be the very next NFL game, which opens the 2012-13 season.

And for the second time in five years, it’ll be at the expense of the World Champion New York Giants.

Here’s the deal: The game, which will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home of the Giants, was originally scheduled, as has been the case for the past dozen years, on the first Thursday of September following Labor Day.

This year, that would be September 6. Incidentally, 2012 is an election year, and each election year, the Republican and Democratic National Committees have been hosting four-day conventions during the final week of August and first week of September, alternating each year. The final day of the convention – Thursday – is the crescendo which closes with a speech from the main candidate (or sitting President).

There was no conflict in 2004 because the Democratic convention was held in July of that year. However, in 2008, so as not to step on Republican nominee John McCain’s address, the NFL moved up the time of the season opener – also involving the Giants, who had won Super Bowl XLII – from an 8:30 PM (ET) start time to about a 7 PM kickoff. The ratings were decent, but apparently not decent enough to the point that the Giants will be playing another early Thursday night season opener.

So on Tuesday, the NFL decided to simply move the game to the previous night, Wednesday, September 5. It will be the first time since the fall of 1948 that a regular season NFL game would be played on a Wednesday. On that day, September 22, 1948, to be precise, the Detroit Lions lost to the Los Angeles Rams, en route to a 2-10 season; the Rams finished 6-5-1. (In case you’re wondering, the Philadelphia Eagles won the championship that year.)

This will be the second time in three years that a regular season NFL game will be played on an unorthodox day of the week. In late December 2010, a Sunday afternoon game involving the aforementioned Eagles was moved to Tuesday night due to extreme blizzard conditions in Philadelphia. The visiting Vikings – playing out the string a la the Asheville Tourists after a blizzard back home impounded the Metrodome – won the game behind the unlikely arm of Joe Webb.

The Giants’ first opponents of the 2012-13 season is still to be determined. In 2008, the Giants beat the Washington Redskins in the season opener. With politics once again coming into play in the Giants’ defense of their Lombardi trophy, don’t be surprised if the Giants once again square off against Washington on September 5; the start time will remain 8:30 PM ET. (The two teams have actually faced each other on the season opener for the last two years.)

And in case you’re wondering: no, the Giants don’t play the Chicago Bears this season, so that was not a factor in moving up the season opener to Wednesday to accommodate big-time Bears fan President Obama the following night.

Linsensitivity Knows No Bounds: Ben & Jerry Apologize For Fortune Cookies In "Lin-Sanity" Flavor

This weekend, Ben & Jerry's issued an apology for originally including fortune cookies in its handmade "Taste The Lin-Sanity" flavor, honoring Harvard alum and current Knicks player Jeremy Lin. The fortune cookies have since been replaced with waffle cookies, partly because the fortune cookies get "so soggy."

Over the last two weeks, we have seen a major sports network and a popular sports columnist offer apologies for headlines, tweets and on-air puns that may have offended Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.

Now, it appears the folks at Ben & Jerry’s are in CYIC (cover your ice cream) mode.

Today, the Vermont-based ice cream giant, known for such celebrity-inspired varieties like “Cherry Garcia” and Stephen Colbert’s “Ameri-Cone Dream”, is now issuing an apology for an original ingredient in an assortment of ice cream inspired – or shall we say, “Lin-spired” – by the white-hot NBA player.

“Taste The Lin-Sanity,” which is being sold exclusively at their Harvard Square location in Boston – Lin played four seasons in Harvard before joining the NBA, and became employed, then discarded, by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, before latching on with the Knickerbockers, and subsequently, the media latching onto Lin – includes vanilla frozen yogurt, lychee honey swirls, and – at first – fortune cookie pieces, which have since been replaced with fresh waffle cookie on the side. While a regional manager for Ben & Jerry’s admitted an “initial backlash” regarding the fortune cookie, and disclosed that their inclusion into the “Lin-sanity” ice cream made them “so soggy” that some pints ended up being returned, he said that the ice creamery “obviously weren’t looking to offend anybody,” and as of last week, “the majority of the feedback about it has been positive.”

Nonetheless, it’s a sherbet (get it, sure bet) that they were still feeling heat from some groups – namely, the AAJA, which last week issued guidelines and “danger zones” to mind when reporting about Lin, with “food” being one of the “danger zones” – so this weekend, Ben & Jerry’s issued an official apology for initially offering fortune cookies in their “Lin-sanity” brand of ice cream.

“We are proud and honored to have Jeremy Lin hail from one of our fine, local universities and we are huge sports fans,” the company said in a press release. “Our intention was to create a flavor to honor Jeremy Lin’s accomplishments and his meteoric rise in the NBA, and recognize that he was a local Harvard graduate. We try (to) demonstrate our commitment as a Boston-based, valued-led business and if we failed in this instance we offer our sincere apologies.

“We offer a heartfelt apology if anyone was offended by our handmade Lin-Sanity flavor.”

Hopefully, this apology will appease detractors to the point that Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t end up removing the waffle cookie from the variety altogether.

And let’s hope this constitutes last licks in the dark side of Linsanity.

Stay Classy: San Diego Sports Anchor Stops Short Of Calling Danica Patrick A "Bitch"


KSWB sports anchor Ross Shimabuku let his feelings to viewers be known about female NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, saying he's got a word that "starts with a 'B' and it's not 'beautiful'." As you can see, the chyron that accompanied his report was equally condescending to Danica.

Love her or hate her, Danica Patrick has traveled quite a long track in getting to where she is today.

Count Ross Shimabuku among those in the group that hates her.

On Monday evening, the sports anchor on Fox affiliate KSWB in San Diego showed his true colors about NASCAR’s popular female driver, who will participate in her very first Sprint Cup race on Sunday in the Daytona 500, in which she starts in 29th place. She also won the pole for Saturday’s Nationwide Series season opener in Daytona (unfortunately, she crashed on lap 49).

“All right, Danica Patrick is such a pretty girl,” begins Shimabuku. “She makes a lot of money in sponsorships because of it. But what’s not attractive is that she’s sexy and she knows it.”

The station then cues to video of Patrick from NASCAR Media Day on February 16, in which she lamented why media didn’t have a more favorable description for her. The accompanying chyron on the screen reads under her name, “I’m sexy and I know it!”

Danica: “I don’t quite understand why when you’re referring to a girl – a female athlete, in particular – that you have to use the word ‘sexy.’ Is there any other word that you can use to describe me?”

With that, the smug Shimabuku returns to the screen with a rather sexist answer.

“Oh, I’ve got a few words… Starts with a ‘B’, and it’s not ‘beautiful…”

As he closed his segment, Shimabuku, in letting viewers know they can watch the Daytona 500 “right here on Fox 5,” also reminded viewers of his disdain for Danica.

“She always has a chip on her shoulder, trying to prove something…”

Anchorwoman Kathleen Bade tried to reason with Shimabuku: “Well, she’s a woman trying to break in in a man’s world, that can’t be easy.”

Later, anchorman Loren Nancarrow jumped in: “If she’s trying to lose the sexy image, the GoDaddy commercials don’t exactly further that cause.”

Shimabuku responded: “What she says and what she does, two totally different things.”

Granted, he didn’t use the word “bitch” on the air. But it’s clear by the condescending context of his report that when he said, “I’ve got a word that starts with ‘B’ and it’s not ‘beautiful’,” the word he had in mind wasn’t “barrier breaking.”

It’s no secret that Danica Patrick has her share of critics, most notably Kyle Petty. So when you’re a female driver looking to excel in a male-dominated sport, it kind of comes with the territory.

And it’s ironic that the Shimabuku ordeal had transpired on the heels of the whole Jeremy Lin “chink in the armor” thing: Lin, an Asian-American, like Patrick, is looking to excel in a sport dominated by other ethnicities. And while I can’t confirm Shimabuku’s nationality, he was born and raised in Hawaii. But that’s beside the point. When you have the responsibility of being a sports anchor, you must always deliver fair, acceptable reporting of all athletes, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, orientation or disability. In fact, we live in a world where you can’t even post your personal thoughts on things on your Twitter or Facebook accounts, especially if you’re a well-known media figure or personality.

Maybe Nancarrow has a point that Patrick’s participation in an ad campaign for GoDaddy – whose commercials usually end with a prompt for viewers to log onto their website to “see more” material, which is usually designated as “unrated content” – somewhat defy her plea for journalists to refer to her using adjectives other than “sexy.” Perhaps if Shimabuku expressed that viewpoint – and no doubt, it’s one shared by many – it would be far less brass than insinuating that Danica’s a “bitch.” He should not have let his personal feelings about Patrick get in the way of his objective reporting.

The Women’s Media Center took notice of Shimabuku’s arrogant piece on Patrick and initiated a petition for KSWB “to reprimand” their sports anchor “for calling Danica Patrick a bitch.” It only managed 113 signatures before the time period allowing additional signatures to the petition had expired. I don’t know if Shimabuku could or should be suspended for his choice words about Patrick. There have been broadcasters that have been suspended for far worse comments about public figures. Last year, radio host Ed Schultz was suspended for a week without pay for referring to Laura Ingraham – another radio host whose political leaning is not on the same side of the spectrum as Schultz’s, let’s say – as a “slut.” And recently, Los Angeles afternoon drive hosts John and Ken just got finished serving a seven-day suspension for referring to Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” on their radio show. (That’s just plain disrespect for the dead, if you ask me.)

Yes, Ross Shimabuku’s comments about Danica Patrick were pompous and demeaning. (And the graphics certainly were no help, either.) But Danica has been hearing these sentiments for years – and she’s only managed to make her way to the top circuit of auto racing.

Ross, meanwhile, will probably be confined to California if he doesn’t keep his feelings under control.

UPDATE: This was not on KSWB’s website when this story broke on Saturday, but on Sunday, a video of Ross apologizing on Tuesday for his anti-Danica comments he made on Monday magically appeared on their website.

Oops 'Em Horns: Program Guide Lists Longhorn Network Program As "E-Rotic"

Night owl viewers in Texas got an eyeful earlier this week when the women's softball game on the Longhorn Network mistakenly bore the listing of a Playboy TV series. Thankfully, there were no signal malfunctions, and the actual Playboy show didn't air instead of the game. (Hat tip: Deadspin.)



Last year, ESPN started a brand new, much-ballyhooed regional cable channel, Longhorn Network. It’s slogan, perhaps taking a cue from a Helen Lemmel hymn, is “Put Your Eyes Upon Texas.”

Well, earlier this week, an eagle-eyed viewer did just that – and was quite amazed at what he saw.

While LHN has not been cleared on many major cable systems across the state of Texas, they are carried by the popular Verizon FiOS service. A subscriber identified as Geoff was “channel surfing a few days ago” and when he arrived at channel 579 – LHN’s HD channel location on FiOS systems in Texas – what appeared to be a softball semifinal game featuring the Texas Longhorns as part of the ironically named “Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational” – TWC does not carry LHN – was supported by a listing from FiOS’ electronic program guide that detailed otherwise.

“e-Rotic” was how the program was listed on FiOS’ EPG on early Monday morning. “The two gorgeous hosts showcase the latest updates in the online world of porn, including the best sites to find great breasts and online fetishes.”

Oh yeah – and this happened to be a women’s softball game that was broadcasting at the time.

How unfortunate that a women’s softball game airing in Texas, or anywhere else in the country, for that matter, actually carried a listing for a Playboy TV series.

For the record, Playboy is carried on channel 440 on FiOS’ systems – a long ways away from 579 – and “e-Rotic” had last aired prior to the EPG snafu on Sunday at 4 PM ET – and its next airing was just this afternoon… and no, I know this because the network’s schedule is listed on their website, not because I’m a charter viewer.

I suppose it could be worse – subscribers may have actually been fed Playboy TV content instead of what they intended to watch.

Or worse – the program itself might be mistaken for a similar sounding adult film with an unprintable title.

Even computers aren’t perfect.

AAJA Imposes Jeremy Lin "Danger Zones" For Media, Including "Chink," "Yellow Mamba"

In the wake of the usage of derogatory terms in the media when the subject is Jeremy Lin, the AAJA has put together a set of guidelines to adhere to when reporting on the Knicks player, including several "danger zones" that are off limits, including references to food, eye shape, and, as shown here, driving.

After three unprecedented uses of the phrase “chink in the armor” with regards to Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin – all of which happened to be on ESPN platforms – you can tell that the Asian-American Journalists Association was so perturbed to the fact that they have issued guidelines for journalists to uphold, including over a half-dozen “danger zones” referring to features or customs of the average Asian.

The first “danger zone” is a given: “Chink” – not, mind you, the controversial “armor” phrase, but the entire word in general. Writes AAJA for this word: “Pejorative; do not use in a context involving an Asian person on someone who is Asian American. Extreme care is needed if using the well-trod phrase “chink in the armor”; be mindful that the context does not involve Asia, Asians or Asian Americans.” (Are you paying attention, Ben Yakas?)

The next “danger zone” on the list: “Driving.” “This is part of the sport of basketball, but resist the temptation to refer to an ‘Asian who knows how to drive.'” You may recall that Conan O’Brien did a bit on his TBS show last week on “offensive Jeremy Lin graphics at MSG”; one of them showed Lin in a faultless pose in front of a totaled car, with the words, “He’s only good at driving to the hoop.”

“Eye shape” in the next “danger zone”, and AAJA says such focus on this characteristic of Lin is “irrelevant. Do not make such references if discussing Lin’s vision.” Last week, a day before the “chink in the armor” phenomenon reared its ugly head, an anchor on the morning show of the Fox owned-and-operated station in New York, WNYW, wondered of Lin, “What about his eyes?”

“Food” is another no-no when writing or discussing Linsanity. “Is there a compelling reason to draw a connection between Lin and fortune cookies, takeout boxes or similar imagery? In the majority of news coverage, the answer will be no.” Hopefully, members of the sports media won’t be taking the time to construct their own “fan signs” and bring them to the Garden anytime soon.

Next on the list of “danger zones” is another Asian stereotype: “Martial Arts.” “You’re writing about a basketball player. Don’t conflate his skills with judo, karate, tae kwon do, etc. Do not refer to Lin as “Grasshopper” or similar names associated with martial-arts stereotypes.” While you’re at it, don’t forget to include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You know… cover all your bases.

The next “danger zone” is a sentence construed by the AAJA that, to my knowledge, has not been used by a sports journalist, but I think this is their way of – speak of the devil – covering all their bases: “Me Love You Lin Time.” They took Lin’s name and placed it in lieu of the word “love” in the phrase “me love you long time,” which was derived from the movie “Full Metal Jacket” (it was spoken by a Vietnamese prostitute) – you may recall this line being sampled like crazy in the song “Me So Horny” by 2 Live Crew in the 90’s. Quoth the AAJA: “Avoid. This is a lazy pun on the athlete’s name and alludes to the broken English of a Hollywood caricature from the 1980s.”

The final “danger zone” was actually inspired by another popular NBA player: “Yellow Mamba.” “This nickname that some have used for Lin plays off the “Black Mamba” nickname used by NBA star Kobe Bryant. It should be avoided.” AAJA added another facet to this term: “Asian immigrants in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries were subjected to discriminatory treatment resulting from a fear of a “Yellow Peril” that was touted in the media, which led to legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act.” All I can say to this is, Heaven help the media member who’s caught wearing a “Yellow Mamba” T-shirt.

In addition to these guidelines, the AAJA also compiled a list of facts about the player. “Jeremy Lin is Asian American, not Asian (more specifically, Taiwanese American)… To characterize him as a foreigner is both inaccurate and insulting.” I don’t know… does anyone think the New York Post’s “Amasian” cover is insulting? It encapsulates a winning moment – but it also flirts with being a bit derogatory, especially if you know that Lin is not a native of Asia.

Additionally, AAJA pointed out that Lin is actually “not the first Asian American” to play the game. That honor actually goes to Wat Misaka, of Japanese descent, who appeared in a few games for the Knicks in the late 1950’s. That’s right: before Linsanity, there was Misaka Mania! Subsequent Asian American players that suited up were Raymond Townsend (Golden State Warriors, 1970’s) and Rex Walters (New Jersey Nets, 1990’s).

You can read AAJA’s complete list of Jeremy Lin media guidelines from their website here. (In the event their website is down, you can also find it here or here.)

FOX, ESPN Start Their Engines For NASCAR 2012 Season

FOX and ESPN are gearing up for the 2012 NASCAR season, as both have issued press releases tting their respective coverage of this year's racing action. FOX's pre-race and studio crew will be different for reasons expected and unexpected, while Ray Evernham will return to ESPN after a one-year absence.

Four days before the green flag drops on the Daytona 500, FOX fed a press release trumpeting fanfare for “the great American race,” as well as a preview of their coverage for the first thirteen Sprint Cup races of the year, not including the All-Star Race on May 19, which will be aired on SPEED, which is operated by FOX Cable Networks.

Not to be outdone, ESPN, whose own Sprint Cup coverage doesn’t kick in until late July, felt the need to already start driving pace laps, and put out its own press release profiling NASCAR events airing on ESPN as well as ABC, including a full-season Nationwide schedule, which begins on Saturday afternoon, also in Daytona. (TNT usually issues a press release once their own leg of NASCAR’s coverage starts in July.)

FOX’s pre-race crew and “Hollywood Hotel” residents will look different than in seasons past. First, with Chris Myers still mourning the tragic death of his son last week, SPEED personality John Roberts will be the lead host. As for Myers’ partner Jeff Hammond, FOX is sending him to the garage, bringing “his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to where the action is.” Roberts will be joined by the brothers Waltrip, Darrell and Michael. The younger Waltrip may also be a part of the starting lineup for this year’s Daytona 500, pending results from Thursday’s Gatorade Duel. The race announcing trio of Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and the double-duty-pulling Darrell Waltrip, as well as FOX’s “pit crew” of Krista Voda, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Dr. Dick Berggren, remain unchanged.

FOX also announced other additions and modifications to their coverage, including a “makeover” for the aforementioned “Hollywood Hotel,” a new “virtual car,” designed to enhance the viewer understanding of how a car operates (one of Hammond’s new tasks being assigned to garage duties effective this year) and a smaller “Gopher Cam” – which may or may not impact the mundane presence of Digger the animated gopher on FOX’s NASCAR broadcasts.

Over on ESPN, their NASCAR crew remains mostly intact, with the re-addition of Ray Evernham. He had previously been with ESPN until he departed last year to consult a business venture for Rick Hendrick, for whom he was a crew chief in the 1990’s. Evernham’s duties in 2012 will include co-hosting selected editions of their pre-race program “NASCAR Countdown,” alongside Nicole Briscoe, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace. Last year, Allen Bestwick was originally announced as the “Countdown” host with Briscoe handling “several races”. The wording in ESPN’s 2012 NASCAR press release seems to suggest this will be the first year Briscoe will be hosting “Countdown” full-time.

Courtesy of Fang’s Bites, here are the full press releases for the upcoming NASCAR season from FOX and ESPN.

(And memo to Krista Voda: Make sure you commit all 43 drivers’ names to memory before interviewing the winner of the Daytona 500… just sayin’.)