The Erosion of the Athlete – Media Relationship

By Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I've worked in the sports media industry for just under four years now, including a portion of that as a sportswriter and reporter. I'm hardly a veteran of the industry so maybe this is my naivety speaking but I am completely fine with athletes refusing to speak with the media. Growing up, I always viewed the relationship between the media and athletes as mutually beneficial. The athlete provided fascinating stories for the media to portray in unique ways to an interested public. Looking back, this viewpoint is more along the lines of cheesy public relations than legitimate journalism but there certainly is a similar dichotomy within an idealistic vacuum of athlete-media relations. Stephen Curry is a prime example. The Charlottean and reigning NBA Most Valuable Player provides fans with dazzling shooting and ball handling displays on a nightly basis. He is also incredibly candid and gracious with the media, giving them plenty of time and thoughtful ...

Thoughts on Shaq Thompson

By Friday, May 1, 2015

Not that it matters, but I entered the first round hoping the Panthers would select an offensive tackle, defensive end or wide receiver, in that order. They did not select any of the three. Instead, the Panthers went with hybrid safety / linebacker Shaq Thompson out of Washington. Thompson was mocked to the Panthers by several outlets in large part because he visited and met with Carolina numerous times. As usual, the Panthers are being roundly criticized for the selection of Thompson. Be it from writers, who have the hilariously stupid task of "grading" draft picks before they even step foot in their respective locker rooms, fans, radio talk-show hosts or whoever. The main concern with the selection revolves around the lack of need for the Panthers at the linebacker position. With Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis anchoring one of the strongest linebacker groups in the NFL, the pick of Thompson does not fill ...

New Faces Needed in Panthers Ring of Honor

By Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Please welcome Thomas Cochran to Thrown Away to Worthy. I'm not sure how you welcome somebody when reading a blog but do it anyways. Thomas is a freelance writer in Charleston, SC. He has attended most of the Panthers home games over 20 years thanks to his father. Read more of his work on his website Covered In Beer. You'll laugh.   The Green Bay Packers have announced that they will retire Brett Favre’s number during the upcoming season. Favre was an extraordinary player, so naturally the team should honor him accordingly. Retiring a number is a nice gesture that shows the team is appreciative of the player’s time with them. Someone needs to explain this concept to the Carolina Panthers, or more specifically their owner, Jerry Richardson. It is time for the Carolina Panthers to add to their Ring of Honor. Sure, the Panthers have a “ring of honor,” but it is pathetic. More ...

2014-15 Charlotte Hornets: What Went Wrong?

By Friday, April 17, 2015

The Charlotte Hornets failed to meet expectations this season. That sentence feels different than it might have in October. As the Hornets prepared for their first regular season since 2002, folks were happy enough that the name was back in the Queen City. The fact that playoff expectations were attached to the return of the Hornets was the glaze on top of a fresh and hot doughnut. Six months later, the doughnut is still there but the glaze of expectations has hardened and grown cold. The fans, at least, delivered this season. Attendance at Time Warner Cable Arena jumped 11 percent to an average of 17, 192 fans per game from 15,518 the season prior. This is part of the reason why the Hornets are one of six finalists for SportsBusiness Journal's annual "Team of the Year" award. Pretty much everything went well for the franchise off the court this year (thanks for ruining the perfect season, Nelly). That's not good ...

Wisconsin Preview: Bring Your Best, Heels

By Thursday, March 26, 2015

With less than two weeks until the end of the college basketball season and only 16 teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament, I might as well apply what I do for a living to "Thrown Away to Worthy," and actually break down a game based on statistics, numbers and such. For those of the Charles Barkley-ilk, these numbers help explain what you see on the court. Statistics aren't at odds with anybody. They're just innocent numbers. Barring an unforeseen collapse by Wisconsin, I believe it's going to take North Carolina's best performance of the season to defeat the Badgers on Thursday evening. This might come as a surprise because Wisconsin is not the best team the Tar Heels played this season. That's Kentucky. Wisconsin boasts a great player in Frank Kaminsky but he's not the best player Carolina faced this season. That's Jahlil Okafor. The Badgers are not even the best coached team ...

Tar Heel Season Superlatives

By Thursday, March 19, 2015

North Carolina begins what it hopes is a lengthy journey in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday evening against Harvard. This season has been another Tar Heel voyage filled with ups and downs. No group of games summed up Carolina's season better than its final three ACC Tournament games. North Carolina took the game from Louisville, weathered a dramatic Virginia run thanks to a clutch shot by Marcus Paige, and collapsed in all phases of the game amid an onslaught by Notre Dame. All three versions of North Carolina have appeared at times over the course of this season, making the journey as fun as its been frustrating. The success of this season will be judged by what does or doesn't happen in the NCAA Tournament, but before we get all sappy let's take a look at a few individual superlatives from the 2014-15 North Carolina Tar Heels     Best Comeback: Stilman White White earns this award not for overcoming a ...

Carolina – Duke: Respect Makes It The Best

By Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's the time of the college basketball season when I revive an old post commenting on the comical yet irritating reasons why I, as well as many others across the country, either grew or were born to despise Duke basketball. The annual game at Cameron Indoor Stadium offers a blank slate for animus commentary on everything Duke. Not this year. While I will always enjoy laughing at numerous things Duke such as the team managers scurrying across the court at halftime like Mose running alongside Jim and Pam's car in The Office, this week seems like the proper week to put aside petty observations for at least one year and pay homage to the respect that exists between North Carolina and Duke. "I think that's what makes this rivalry special is the mutual respect," North Carolina guard Marcus Paige said this week. Paige's comment or something similar is relatively common for those involved in the rivalry as a player or coach. In many ...

Pointing to Dean Smith

By Sunday, February 8, 2015

When sports legends pass, they are often remembered by a singular moment involving the game that made them famous. A game winning jump shot or being doused by Gatorade while celebrating a championship. At the very least, sports figures are remembered by the totality of their accomplishments. Career record, championships, All-Americans, points scored. Sports are defined by numbers, and that's how we look back at those involved in the games we love. Dean Smith is not a sports legend. He is much more. Sure, people can try to define him with numbers. 879 wins, 11 Final Fours, 2 National Championships, 27-straight 20-win seasons, countless All-American players, more innovations than you can point a finger at. The list is as extensive as it is impressive. But to stop, or even start, with those numbers is doing a disservice to a man who was not defined by basketball. The game is merely a side-note on a life ...

2014 Carolina Panthers: A Success By Any Measure

By Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Football is not unique. Like any other job, those employed by a NFL franchise are judged by the end result. The path a team takes is often forgotten in favor of whether or not the season ends positively, with a playoff berth at the very least. Much like any regular 9-to-5 desk job, it's a results-based business. As long as everything is done legally and ethically, nothing matters but the final tally. Judging solely by the final result, the Carolina Panthers just completed the franchise's most successful season in nearly a decade. The team won a playoff game for the first time since 2005 and became the first in the history of the NFC South to win back-to-back division titles. Short of making or winning the Super Bowl, that is about as successful of a season as a team can have. However, many will not look at this season in such a positive light. ...

Stuart Scott: A Tar Heel, An Inspiration and A Fighter

By Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Call me insensitive, but the passing of public figure rarely moves me to tears. I don't know if it's the obvious disconnect between someone you only see on television or in movies, or how society tends to portray those in the public spotlight as soulless entities rather than human beings with feelings. Whatever the reason might be, the death of a famous person rarely causes me to stop and reflect. Sunday was one of those "rarely" moments for me, because someone like Stuart Scott is rare. I briefly shared my thoughts on the passing of Scott via Facebook on Sunday. I'll repeat those words here but also want to expand on them a bit. I only met Stuart Scott once. I was a freshman in high school and lucky enough to attend the 2003 NBA All Star Game in Atlanta with my father. Before I continue, let me tell you about 14-year old Bryan. I, like I still do to ...