Bill Michaels
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Wed, July 29, 2015

Some thoughts on last week's Colin Cowherd fiasco ...

If you listened to the show on Wednesday, you heard me have this conversation with our regular guest Brittany Anderson from Fox Sports 1340 in Las Vegas ... a conversation that centered around the comments of Colin Cowherd last week that ultimately led to his 12-year run with ESPN ending a few weeks premature (Cowherd was set to leave ESPN closer to the end of the month but the network saw fit to part ways sooner given the firestorm that accompanied his comments). Since that time, Cowherd's former colleague Dan LeBatard has come out in defense of the future Fox Sports personality, suggesting we all should have known what Cowherd meant and that his argument had merit. Let me start with Cowherd's comments. As I said on the show, I believe Cowherd to be a very bright individual, but what he said in this instance was stupid and incredibly insensitive. The crux of the argument centered around football being more of a thinking man's game than baseball, and this was supposedly evidenced by the fact that a good percentage of baseball players were Dominican, a country with a poor educational standing. The logic here is so flawed that I still have a hard time believing it came out of Cowherd's mouth. First of all, I genuinely believe Cowherd, like all radio hosts, was simply trying to illustrate his point in a unique way ... to make himself stand out. In an attempt to be different from everyone else, he was looking for an outside-the-box way to make his point and somehow landed on this. Now back to the faulty logic ... to equate intelligence with education is a mistake that would seemingly only be made by an unintelligent person (again, Cowherd is not that, which makes this all the more surprising). Since Cowherd's dismissal, LeBatard has chosen to defend his friend and former colleague. I think it's important to note the two men were friends because part of me believes LeBatard would not be so quick to forgive were they not so close. That said, a good portion of what LeBatard had to say made sense but some of it, not so much. He chose to point out that Cowherd was correct in suggesting Dominican education was not great ... which would be fine if that was the point in dispute. I don't doubt that education on the island is lacking but it still doesn't mean the country does not produce intelligent people. It simply means that it does not produce well-educated individuals at the same rate as others ... and this has little to no bearing on whether someone is able to grasp the rules of a particular sport. Conversely, do Cowherd and LeBatard both think that all football players are incredibly bright individuals -- it would seem they'd have to be in order to grasp such a thinking man's game (sense the sarcasm). The long and short of this post is that I don't believe Cowherd to be a racist but he did make one awful comment and deserves to be chastised for it ... that's part of this business we work in. For LeBatard, it's great to see that kind of loyalty to a friend and former colleague but there are some obvious holes in what he's saying as well. 

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Marques Pfaff's Bio
As someone who grew up in Holmen, Wisconsin, I – like most people in this state – have spent a good portion of my life rooting for every team that calls the Badger State home. As a kid, I would make the weekly, fall pilgrimage from Holmen to Madison to take in Badger football games with my dad at Camp Randall Stadium. I was there when Jump Around debuted, I was there when Jamar Fletcher picked off Joey Harrington three times in a win over Oregon, and I was there when Ron Dayne broke college football’s all-time rushing record. They were some of the most exciting experiences of my youth and may likely contributed to my choosing UW-Madison for college. While there, I was given the opportunity to walk on to the football team. I didn’t stay long but I did have a chance to put the pads on and run out of the Camp Randall Stadium tunnel. It’s something I’ll never forget.

It was during my college days that a passion for radio would also develop. After spending three years working for WIBA and WTSO in Madison, I took my first full-time job with WSSP radio in Milwaukee. This was a tremendous experience as I had a chance to cover virtually every team I loved watching. That said – despite my love for all things radio – I was offered a great opportunity in Las Vegas to work in public relations for many of the major sporting events that came to town. I took it and would wind up spending the next six-and-a-half-year in the desert. Many of those years saw me working in college athletics at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV). It was a tremendous experience and one that will always lead to me referring to Las Vegas as my second home.

All of these experiences have contributed to my perspective on sports and I look forward to sharing that with you every day from 2 to 5 p.m.
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