Monday, November 26, 2012


Invest in Starbucks quickly, because this sports gal is coming back to mornings!! 

Starting January 2nd, 2013 you'll find me on the brand new CBS Sports Radio Network.  I'll have two new men in my life, Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney, as we launch a morning show (6-9am) I hope will be as informed, opinionated, and entertaining as any sports show out there.

As most of you know,  I left ESPN back in May despite an offer to stay.  At the time, few seemed to understand my desire to find a new challenge, to leave the World Wide Leader for uncertainty.  Perhaps now it makes more sense or it will.

This is an amazing opportunity to start something new, to go where few women do: sports talk radio, and to be me.  As I see it, I get to talk and debate sports, the days hot topics and whatever else within reason may come to mind.  I get to do so with two men who, like me, share a passion for it all.  Now that is a dream job.

A TV gal at heart, radio won't be my only new adventure.  See I'm joining a family again in CBS, a family full of opportunities.   One which I will get from the very start will be working on TV for CBS Sports Network.  I'll keep you updated on the TV shows/times as we go forward and as I continue to find other opportunities and challenges, some of which I'm sure I haven't even thought of.

I also promise that as we get closer and definitely once we launch, I'll be tweeting, blogging, and overall bombarding you with info on the radio show. I hope you'll welcome us into your daily lives as you did for years while I was at ESPN.

On that note, let me just say thank you. Thank you to those of you who have continued to ask via twitter, email, or even in person about "when you can see me again" and those who have simply reached out to say you've missed my presence in the media world.  It was a good vacation while it lasted. I'm glad I chose to take it. I am also ready to get back to work!

The icing on the cake in all of this: I get to stay in New York City.  I fell in love with Manhattan several years ago and while Michigan will always be my native state, I finally feel like I am home again.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Patience may be a virtue but does anyone have it anymore?

I ask this question after hanging up my cell phone (instantaneous communication), unpacking a dress I ordered online last night (instantaneous cross country delivery), downing another cup of Starbucks (instantaneous caffeine rush found on every corner in NYC), and tweeting to total strangers about Saturday's Michigan game (instantaneous connection).

I'm sorry, did I make you wait too long for the answer?

Because I'm certain the response to that question is "yes," the answer to my first question is "very few of us."

We are without a doubt an instant gratification society.  

Think about it.  It's not just text messaging or cell phone calls at any time of the day or night.  

Don't go to the bank to deposit a check.  Just scan or snap a shot and hit send.  Want to see friends who live overseas or next door? Don't get off the couch, you've got Skype and Facetime.  And forget about waiting a week for pictures to be developed (yes we did that). Use your iPhone and iCloud links the photos to your iPad and Macbook instantly.

That's just scratching the surface. So is it any wonder that in most aspects of our lives whatever we want we want right now? 

As one who is well aware of her own lack of patience I willingly own up to this desire for "instant gratification."  From my perspective it isn't necessarily a bad thing, but trust me it can be.

Take our current state of politics or more specifically the election which for many hinges on the economy. 

As I see it, when President Obama took office nearly 4 years ago that economy was in shambles.  I'm not going to give you numbers if you disagree but I will turn to a quote from the Economist earlier this month: "NOT since 1933 had an American president taken the oath of office in an economic climate as grim as it was when Barack Obama put his left hand on the bible in January 2009.  The banking system was near collapse, two big car manufacturers were sliding towards bankruptcy; and employment, the housing market and output were spiralling down." 

Let the political debate begin.  

Did the President take the right steps?  Has he created enough jobs?  Are we better off than we were 4 years ago?  Democrats say yes Republicans say no, but this is certain: Better isn't necessarily good when it comes to the economy.  

I mean it's been three years and eight months, this whole economy thing should be completely fixed right?! 

That right there is the problem.  This overwhelming societal need for "instant gratification" whether it's realistic or not.  It takes 10 seconds to blow up a building but how long to rebuild?

With the US economy as dire as described in The Economist, Bill Clinton was dead on last night saying that no previous President could have fully fixed all of our economic woes in this amount of time, not even him.

Still we want it and we want it now.

The problem is, some things take time. 

Take the drive from NYC to Bristol, CT. I made it on average four times a week for a solid year.  It took 90 minutes without traffic.  I wanted it to take less.  I needed it to take less.  I had no time in my life for a repeated 90 minute drive.  It didn't matter.  It took 90 minutes, sometimes longer.  My need for instant gratification would not be fulfilled and half the time I was so annoyed by this unrealistic need or expectation, I discovered what road rage was about.   

Back to the economy, the reality we faced four years ago was that fully fixing it was not a four year process.  That just doesn't sit with our need for "instant gratification," does it?

By the way the political arena isn't the only place where an "instant gratification" attitude can hurt.   In sports, it can be even worse.  I say worse because sports trumps politics even in a presidential election year. (According to ratings more people watched the NFL season kick off on NBC last night than the televised speeches at the Democratic National Convention.)  

Allow me to use my brother Mark as an example of "instant gratification" gone wrong.  He's a sports fan and involved in politics so that seems fair.

To be completely honest, I am in shock that his fiancee didn't call off their October wedding after she sat through the Michigan-Alabama game with him Saturday.  I say this knowing his understandable yet at times overzealous passion for Michigan football which requires instant gratification leading to unrealistic expectations for our team. (I also got a text play by play of the first half viewing laced with colorful comments and "insight" into Michigan's performance.)

Now I should point out, he's a really intelligent guy.  

A brief summary of his CV would read: BA in History from the University of Michigan, PhD in Military History from Ohio State (that's a whole other blog), combat veteran who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, Pentagon official, Capitol Hill staffer for Michigan's Senator Levin, and former advisor to Generals' McChrystal and Petraeus.  

Still on Saturday he had the expectation that Michigan wouldn't just beat Alabama, it would be a substantial win.  

He believed that after completely changing the programs philosophy and style of play for a three year span, resulting in a 15-22 record and just six Big 10 wins, that it would take just one full season before Michigan knocked off the reigning national champs.  One full season.  Just two recruiting seasons. 18 months time.  

Forget SEC size, speed, and everything else he knew, Michigan had to 

Look, I get it.  There was reason for optimism. Michigan was much better in 2011 than in the previous three seasons. Under new head coach Brady Hoke the team equaled those six conference wins I referenced, finished at 11-2 , and won the Sugar Bowl.  It was a huge step forward, but it was just a step.

Much as it pains me to say, the reality is Michigan football hasn't been completely fixed, it's not back on top, not in two years time.  Afterall, better is an improvement but when the starting point is subpar it's a long journey to the top. 

Still we want it and we want it now.

Why can't we wait?  Why can't we be patient be it in sports or politics or even our economy much as it hurts?

My guess: We just aren't wired that way. I go back to all of the things I was doing before blogging: the instant communication, overnight delivery, immediate connection, etc. 

During my time at ESPN I remember hearing stories about how long it took SportsCenter to become the brand that it is, how it was given time to grow an audience and identity.  I wonder if it was started now if it ever would have been given that time it needed?  

It's not just ESPN, TV across the board is very quick to extinguish shows that don't draw. Some have gone off the air before I've even been able to watch the pilot on my DVR.  Don't get me wrong, it's been a good thing at times (think My Generation and Anchorwoman), but how about at least giving a show a full season?

I know it's ratings which mean money but look at SportsCenter.  Again If it didn't get the time where would ESPN's finances be?

We want it and we want it now.


I want our economy to be in good shape, I want the perfect man, I want to land my dream job, I want to get from the Upper West Side to the Village in less time than it actually takes, I want my planes to leave as scheduled, I want Michigan to be as ferocious as in my college years, and I want the muscle tone of the woman who's often on the treadmill next to me at the gym. 

When you're done laughing please realize, I want those things, I don't expect all of them.  Some are unrealistic, I know that. Forget those and think about the others: an economy in good shape, Michigan's return to ferocity, the muscle tone (yes it can happen).  

Those things take time.  Those things take patience.   

Looks like I'm back to that whole patience is a virtue thing.  Thanks for having a little while reading this and putting off that "instant gratification" desire to check your texts.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I'm often asked what's the thing I love most about my job as a broadcaster.  The simple answer is the people: some that I've worked alongside, others that I've interviewed, and especially the ones from either group that I've gotten to know a bit beyond the work scope.

It's one of those who gave me a kick in the pants today, inspiring me to get back to my blog.  

So if you don't like what you read from here on out, blame him!  

Ok, not really, but I wouldn't mind having someone to shoulder some blame if needed or share some responsibility.  I don't really mean this as it relates to the blog, I'm thinking on a much bigger scale.

Brace yourself.

The time has come.

I am officially ready to be rescued.  

My knight in shining armor can feel free at any point to come riding in on a white horse or white Mercedes or Prius or in fact preferably any SUV out there (due to the unpredictable winters in the East) and save me!

Look, I just heard Ann Romney addressing the Republican Convention say that women don't really expect our lives to be easy and that's fine, "we don't want easy."  No disrespect Ann, but I kind of do, at least for a little while.

Confused that a woman who's managed to "make it" in a man's world is saying something so scandalous?  Allow me to explain.

HmmmmHow can I put this simply?  Ummmmm.

How about this:just because I can do it all on my own doesn't mean I want to.

Of course I can shovel snow off my roof, use a drill - adjusting bits and everything, and tell the difference between a hex and socket wrench.  I have no choice.  I owned a home.  If I called someone in every time something went wrong, I'd be broke.  On top of that, my dad was one of those "fix/build anything" guys up until the day he died and I followed him around on weekends taking it all in.  He'd be appalled if I couldn't do the above mentioned things.

Still, just because I can doesn't mean I want to.  Take my move to the city recently.  I remember taking apart my desk so it would fit in my car for me to drive it to New York and all I wanted while I was dismantling and assembling and hauling everything to and from, was a guy to do it for me.  Not a mover, not someone I paid, but that guy who does stuff for you.  You know the one.

Is it such a hard concept to grasp?

I don't want you to ask if you can help me with it, just do it.  Don't tell me how great I am because I can take apart a desk with my trusty allen wrench, grab the wrench and take it apart for me!

Worst part is, guys act like they're impressed but I'm convinced even if they are, most also think I'm too independent, think I don't need them.


I need you.  In fact I may need you even more than the woman who can't do any of that stuff because frankly I need a break.

It's not fun always having to be the responsible one.  I want someone else to take charge sometimes.  Don't ask me where I want to go to dinner, just make the reservation.  You don't have to order for me, I mean I can do that.  If you want to though, you could probably pull it least my SUV knight could.

I'm not alone either.  While I refuse to get into the whole 50 shades of grey phenomenon (no it's not the book's content, more the group think aspect of now reading it) it's popularity is worth noting.   Don't you wonder why so many women are taken with this idea of being controlled or dominated?  I realize the books go beyond that, I'm just talking at a basic level.

Look we want equal rights we deserve them: equal pay, consideration, etc.  However, we're still women and you're still men and when it comes to relationships there are certain male-female roles that frankly I like.

I want you to offer your chair when there aren't any more (no I won't always take it), to ask me out, to make the first move, and yes sometimes I really want you to rescue me.

If you're thinking about now I want to have my cake and eat it too, I've got one better.

I also don't want to gain any weight from it.  

Oh! I know the perfect new workout to try that can hep with that.  Think the knight in the SUV can give me a ride to the gym?


Monday, July 23, 2012


I never thought I'd say this but the NCAA got it right today, for the most part.

In the words of NCAA President Mark Emmert "No price the NCAA can levy will repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims." He's right, it can't; but that doesn't mean the NCAA should simply have done nothing or looked the other way.  

Isn't that what so many of us were upset about in reading even just the initial reports surrounding this scandal?

Unlike the leaders at Penn State written about in the Freeh report, the NCAA is trying to do something.
For a moment, put the overall sanctions aside and simply focus on the monetary fine the NCAA slapped on Penn State: $60 million.

As I understand it, $12 million a year for the next 5 will go into an endowment fund to help not only the victims of sexual abuse but also the detection and prevention of it. Instead of just taking money away from the program, the NCAA is putting it to good use.  The organization I've often criticized for not trying to instigate change, finally did just that.

Again, no amount of money can repair the damage that's been done, but money can help in the ongoing fight to raise awareness about sexual abuse, to protect children, and to help those who are victimized.  $60 million will go a long way in that fight.

That brings me to some of the other sanctions and my belief that the NCAA got it right "for the most part."

Take the 4 year bowl ban.  Instead of a ban, why not let Penn State go to a bowl if it can get there and simply take any bowl revenue for the next 4 years and give it to that endowment?  

I guess I have a hard time punishing the current program for the wrongs of the past.  I do believe in the team concept with the program being a team, but my issue here is that the program has changed.  Penn State is trying to get out from under this "reputation black cloud" with new leadership on the field and in the program as a whole.  So I'm not sure how punishing the current players/program helps in going forward.  

Again, nothing can undo the harm Jerry Sandusky inflicted.  At least in the case of the endowment, there may be help for others in the future.  I'm not sure how not playing in a bowl game is going to help anyone.

As for helping the players who wish to leave, make it another pat on the back for the NCAA. That looming "reputation black cloud" is like few I've seen and no one knows how long it will take to escape it.  The NCAA allowing immediate transfers is the right thing to do.  Like I said I have a hard time punishing the current players/program for the wrongs of the past.

That brings up the vacated wins. This one's more complicated for me.  I've long said vacated wins are meaningless.  You can't take away memories from teams or fans.  The players, whether it's the Fab 5 or Reggie Bush's USC comrades or Joe Pa's PSU teams from 1998-2011, did the work required to win.  They know it as does the world.

However, I also understand the meaning behind this often used NCAA action.  It's the statement vacating wins makes.  In this case the statement being anything that happened during the cover up outlined in the Freeh report should be seen as tainted.  It hits at the reputation of a program, it's heart, and one that in the case of Penn State already seems beyond repair.

Again, I feel for the players who left it all out on the field during the time in question and now are being told their wins don't count.  I just see it a bit differently than those players who are under new leadership.

Earlier, I was listening to a former Penn State player ask why everyone was being punished for one man's actions.  Why?  Because you were a part of a team.  

I have no doubt that with as great of a coach as Joe Paterno was (and I do believe he was great) he taught the basics of the team concept: working together as one unit.  To me that means whether you succeed or fail, you do it as one unit. 

In this case failure means punishment as well.

None of this is black and white and there was no precedent here. Thankfully, that didn't stop the people in charge from taking action, no matter what it meant for their collective reputation.  Like I wrote at the start, the NCAA got it right today.


Monday, June 25, 2012

thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!

Silly me thought this morning's blog was tough to write.  I didn't think about the follow-up!

Where do I begin?

Your comments? Your retweets? The emails, calls, and texts I got?

It was overwhelming.


I was in tears reading some of the stories below my post, on Facebook, and Twitter. My heart broke for those of you who told stories of abuse yet filled with pride that we are continuing the conversation.  Some of you sharing what you'd told before, others speaking out for the first time.  What courage that took. You should be proud.

Many of you commented on the courage I showed in posting my blog and then later going on CNN to talk more about my story.  I thank you, but to me it wasn't courageous, it was just the right thing to do.

I wanted to keep the conversation going.  Now I know I wasn't the only one.

One reply that really struck me, a mother who told the story of her daughter being abused but telling her parents.  Talk about courageous.   Keep talking to your kids, keep asking questions, even when it is uncomfortable.  

Another person talked about their child being a survivor not a victim.  She is right.  I was a victim, now I am a survivor.  Therapy, support groups (many of which were mentioned in the comments section), whatever it takes you can come to terms with abuse.

I think at the heart of this, beyond removing the stigma, I wanted people to realize it can happen to anyone.  Awful as that sounds it's the truth.  I wanted to raise the issue of the varying statute of limitations when it comes to child molestation.  I didn't do it in the blog but CNN gave me a chance to discuss it.

We kept the conversation going.

One more thought for you, something a friend mentioned in an email and just happens to be how I also feel.  I don't define myself by my abuse.  Actually, I don't define myself by any one experience.  I do however, learn from them,  all of them, including this one today.



The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial is over.  The long road to recovery for his victims, is just beginning.

I should know, as it's a path I'm currently traveling.

Like the young men who bravely took the stand in the Sandusky trial, I was molested as a child.  That's still not easy for me to say, let alone write and share publicly, but if we've learned anything from the Sandusky scandal it's that the time for silence is over.  As I heard one Sandusky victim put it, it's time to "find my voice."

It was something I couldn't do when I was molested.  I didn't speak out, no matter how many chances I may have had.  I just couldn't.  Travis Weaver, one of the young men who testified in front of the grand jury in the Sandusky case but not at trial did an interview which aired on Rock Center last week.  He said he was scared to say anything because he thought no one would believe him.  I know that feeling.

That's what these monsters count on, our silence.  They have the power and they know it.  

In my case, my monster was a babysitter, a neighborhood teen that my parents and others trusted.  I had been told to obey him, like any other babysitter or authority figure.  Forget the shame, fear, and overwhelming confusion that went along with the sexual abuse, we both knew that he was the one in charge.  Is it any wonder my silence came so easily?

Strangers are supposed to be the ones we fear, not people we know.  How many times have you heard the phrase "stranger danger?"  Yet in many cases of child molestation if only the opposite were true.  One expert I heard Friday night on MSNBC said that about 90% of the cases of child sexual abuse involve someone known to the victim.  That held true for me and for the victims of Jerry Sandusky.

Like some of those young men, I was in my early 20s when I first acknowledged that I had been molested.  The abuse happened twice.  It was inappropriate touching, fondling of genitalia.  It may not have been as frequent or severe as what I read about in the case of Sandusky's victims but that doesn't make the abuse I suffered any less real or the shame I felt any less overwhelming. 

As I tried to come to terms with the abuse through therapy,  I  eventually had to tell my parents and my brother what had happened.  It wasn't just to take the shame or embarrassment away, there was more to it.

You see the kid in me, the kid that was abused, had expected them to protect me and they didn't.  That sounds crazy seeing as they didn't know what was going on and surely would have stopped the abuse if they had.  The thing is as children we expect people like our parents or older siblings to protect us no matter what.  We can't rationalize between when they realistically can or can't.   

My feelings surrounding the abuse were those of the child that was molested not the adult trying to overcome it.

When I did tell my parents and my brother, I remember the reaction as if it were yesterday.  All of them told me how sorry they were that they didn't see any signs, that they didn't stop the abuse, that they weren't there for me.  Just knowing they wanted to protect me, as I had expected them to do, helped ease the pain I was still feeling from childhood.  I only wish I could ease the feeling of guilt I fear they will always have.  

The truth is, no one suspected the abuse in my case.  

I remember faking a stomach ache to try to keep my parents from going out when I knew my abuser was coming to babysit, but my silent cry was also the same tactic I used when another sitter was scheduled and I just wanted my parents to stay.  How would they know the difference?  I truly believe no one could have stopped the abuse unless I had told someone.

Maybe that's why I'm so sickened and angry by what unfolded in the Sandusky case.   People knew.  One mother spoke out.  Mike McQueary was an eye witness.  At the very least, we know alleged abuse was reported within the Penn State football administration and Athletic Department.  Still it continued.

I understand being scared of a program.  I understand being beyond uncomfortable talking about child molestation.  I don't understand so many people putting their fear and discomfort ahead of the safety and innocence of children.

I can't even imagine the anger that's added for Sandusky's victims. 

I've heard people talk about those boys being "at risk kids", lacking the support system to help protect them.  I had an incredible support system and it still happened to me. 

There's no discrimination when it comes to child sexual abuse.  It isn't a socioeconomic issue, a racial issue, or even one of gender.  

Think about it.  Travis Weaver, who I mentioned earlier, was a young boy from a broken home, growing up without a lot of means.  I was a  young girl from a supportive and loving family growing up in an upper middle class neighborhood.  We couldn't be more different and yet we both suffered, in silence.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General talked about people like Sandusky lurking in dark corners.  I couldn't disagree more.  Sandusky was out there for all to see, so was my babysitter.  Sadly, so are many others.  If they were in dark corners it might be easier to spot them.  In the open, it's any one's guess.

While we may not want to see abuse like this, it is time to open our eyes.  Just like it is time to find our voices.

Until now I hadn't shared my story publicly. 

After telling my parents and brother years ago, I went on to share it with people I trusted or I thought needed to know: a few serious boyfriends and some of the people I consider lifelong friends.  When news of the Sandusky scandal first broke, I told a few colleagues about the abuse. 

I soon realized the good that could come out of such an awful thing.  

You see a couple of the people I shared my story with were also victims and went on to share their stories for the first time.  My courage helped them find theirs.   I can't begin to tell you what that means to me.

Beyond that, I've learned that each time I tell my story, I let go of some of the shame and guilt I've carried with me for years.  Those feelings so deeply buried at times they seem never ending.  So truth be told, my sharing right now is really just a part of that long road to recovery I mentioned earlier, the one Jerry Sandusky's victims are just beginning.  

I'd like to thank them for helping me take this latest step, finding my voice.  I hope by doing so, I can help others find theirs.


Thursday, May 31, 2012


Can someone please explain the zen of gardening to me, because I just don't get it.

In the span of a week I've planted flowers, mulched, replanted flowers, and made a dozen trips to Home Depot.  I spent money that could have gone for at least one really cute floral dress that I would have enjoyed more than the previously mentioned real flowers.  I got dirty, well that part wasn't bad. I got sweaty, again not bad for the workout value. However, when all was said and done, I just don't get it.

I've heard people talk about how digging in the dirt brings them to a zen place, that they feel one with nature.  I just wanted to get the damn flowers in the ground and have it look pretty.  There was no zen.  

Running brings me to a zen place with its repetition and ability to free your mind.  Gardening?  I had to concentrate on the soil mixture and water and making sure that the flowers were appropriately spaced. I was lifting bags without bending my knees, trying to fix leaks in the hose, and frankly getting annoyed.  That's not zen, that's work. 

Oh, and you can forget any zen place after the flowers were planted, then it's upkeep and worry.  Watering those flowers to keep them alive was like having a second pet.  If only my dog Chewy could take care of them for me instead of trying to sleep in them.  Why was I worrying anyway?  My colorfully flowered and freshly mulched front yard took like 2 days before it lost that "new glow."  Shouldn't I get at least a week's worth from 2 extra large trays of flowers and 8 bags of mulch, I'm sorry  make that 12 after the return trip to Home Depot (don't even get me started on that stuff.)

New clothes give me several wearings if not an entire season's worth of "new glow."  So again I ask where's the joy?  Where's the zen?  What am I missing?  

Now in fairness, one of the joys my dad always had was planting and replanting, building decks and beautifying.  He was a physician and educator by trade but a gardener and handyman by hobby.  In fact 10 years ago he had a heart attack replanting bushes for the umpteenth time at my parent's house in 90 degree Florida heat.  Thankfully, a double bypass surgery later, he was fine and for a decade continued his gardening, roof climbing, fixing everything lifestyle.  He'd have it no other way. 

This past fall, as you may know, my dad died.  It was an accidental death, quite sudden, and took him from us long before we were ready.  So maybe part of the zen I wasn't finding in the garden was due to missing him, wanting him to be there in his familiar beautifying role.  

He always got the pleasure of planting, the zen feeling I couldn't find.  In that familiar parent-child role, I simply accepted the benefits and got the joy of taking it all in. Though, even then it bothered me that 2 days later the "new glow" was gone.

Writing about this now, I'm wondering if I'll eventually find that zen in the garden like he did?  You know connect with him, once time passes and has the dulling impact I hope it will.  Sounds like a storybook ending right?  Peace and zen in the garden with my dad?  

Oh who am I kidding?  That's a nice thought and for many people that probably would be the case.  Thing is that just doesn't fit me, it's not my zen.  I'm a product of my family but no doubt a unique individual.  I can honestly say there's no shot I'll ever find that gardening zen that my dad did.  As I famously announced at a young age: "you're not the boss of me, I'm the boss of me."

You know what, my dad's probably somewhere laughing right now at my mere mention of gardening zen and his favorite "Dana quote."

Now the thought of him laughing, I can find the zen place in that and it's something I also share with him, my whole family in fact.  Best part there's no trip to Home Depot required, no digging in the dirt or shelling out cash, and that "new glow" from laughter, never goes away.


Saturday, May 26, 2012


Sorry to have introduced you to this blog and then left it unattended for so long.  I promise some new original thoughts coming soon but first I wanted to share something that I read that moved me to tears.

Last weekend in Ann Arbor once again my eyes were opened to the power of a child's spirit and the true meaning of a hero.  As some of you may for the past 3 years I've been honored to participate in the Griese Hutchinson Woodson Champions for Children's Hearts weekend.  The annual fundraiser at the University of Michigan is spearheaded by members of the '97 National Championship football team: Brian Griese, Steve Hutchinson, and Charles Woodson with a great deal of inspiration from their coach Lloyd Carr.  It's the usual fundraising type weekend: a reunion of sorts with parties and dinners, auctions and golf.  Of course all the fun is to raise funds and they've done a great job at that.  Over a million dollars has been donated each year to Mott Children's Hospital and Woodson's Research fund from the weekend.  The best part for those of us representing Michigan there, a chance to see the money put to use in a visit to the hospital.  And while I had intended to tell you about my time there, my account is nothing compared to what one mother wrote.  Once again GHW opened my eyes to the power of a child's spirit and the generosity of some of the athletes I've come to know. 

One more thing, this may be a "Michigan" event but this story isn't even about a Michigan Man.  It is about someone who whether he knows it or not, understands what being a Michigan Man is all about.  Hope you enjoy.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I didn't know Junior Seau the way his former teammates did or even some other members of the media.   Come to think of it, whenever we spoke we were either rushing off a field, standing among a sea of reporters or talking via satellite, not exactly ways to build a personal bond.  Still his suicide last week really stuck with me and it goes way beyond Seau himself.

We may never know why he took his life but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if he had just reached out for help instead of that gun.

In 9 and a half years at ESPN, I met a lot of former athletes.  One question I'm pretty sure I always asked them at some point was about how they were adjusting to life away from the game.  I can't think of a single one that didn't mention missing the "routine."  That's probably not even a strong enough word for it.  I mean this is a schedule of life that's been ingrained in most of them since childhood, at the very least from high school on.  Imagine after all those years it's gone.  How lost would you feel?  I miss a couple days of my morning workouts or flip flop the time I'm on air for a week and it's like the life's been sucked out of me.

So if I'm aware of how big an adjustment leaving can be for these guys, don't you think the leagues they play for are aware too?  A better question: what can they do about it?

The NFL and other pro sports leagues do their best to welcome the rookies in.  From financial planning to warning guys about people who see them as prey, at the very least leagues offer advice and resources to their newest.  What about the veterans?  Why aren't there more resources for athletes who are leaving behind the only life they've ever known? There are no more OTAs or 2 a days, no play books to learn or team meetings to attend.  The sport that's loomed larger than anything else in their lives, even family sometimes, is now just something they used to do to earn a living.  I have to believe even the strongest man out there feels the impact of that.

I'm not saying this was the case for Seau.  Again, I didn't really know him.  I have heard speculation from some guys who did and we've all seen athletes struggle to varying degrees after leaving their sports behind. So why not help them make the transition? During collective bargaining we heard some talk about taking care of the veterans from a financial health standpoint and even physical health.  What about mental health?

Yes it may be a taboo topic, but I'm going there.  In a world full of strong men both physically and mentally, some may need help coping and that doesn't make them weak.  Now as a gender, men seem to have a harder time asking for help than women.  (Don't argue, just think about the pre-GPS days and who was more willing to ask for directions.  Enough said.)  So take that generalized male trait, add the machismo that goes with playing a sport like football and asking for help is not going to come easily.  Help that is needed.  Help leagues need to encourage, make accessible and destigmatize.

I know there's been lot of talk about how concussions may have played a role in this.  They may have, I'm not a doctor.  My dad was and the brain was his specialty so I can't help but think of what he used to say about the impact of head trauma, quite simply "the brain doesn't like to get messed with."  My understanding is that Junior Seau's family is still considering donating his brain to be looked at as it relates to concussions in the NFL.  While it may not be an easy decision, if it can help any of Seau's football peers, perhaps his family can find some peace in that.

As for his football family, the decision seems easier.  Under Commissioner Roger Goodell the NFL has done a lot to protect its players from harm on the field, seems like it may be time now to try and do the same even when they're off it for good.


Sunday, May 6, 2012


I didn't forget about this blog,  I'm just enjoying some time off with my dog, watching playoff basketball and hockey, catching up on all those shows on DVR, and trying to sleep past 6am.   I'll be writing again soon.  


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Life isn't fair.

That's a sentence I've said, make that screamed, more times than I'd care to admit. In fact today as I watched big sports story after big sports story break, knowing I wanted to take some down time before diving into blogging, I'm quite sure I muttered to Chewy (that's my 13 year old dog for those who don't know) "life's not fair."

Here's the thing.  It isn't.  My dad always told me that whenever I came to him with some injustice.  It wasn't because he didn't care about my feelings, he just knew the sooner I accepted that life isn't fair, the sooner I could actually start to do something about it.

So here I am, doing something about it.  In this case, writing.

To those who say Jonathan Vilma's punishment, a season long suspension, for his role in the bounty program isn't fair, what would be?  How do you put a number on repeatedly breaking a rule BUT doing so under the guidance of your coordinator not to mention awareness by your head coach?  Don't even bother trying to answer.  You can't quantify that.  Here's the thing "life isn't fair," move on from that.  Look at the bigger issue.  Commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to end programs like this.  All the players I've talked with say they've existed to varying degrees from Pop Warner on up.  If a year long suspension for a captain like Vilma doesn't make the rest of the league take notice, nothing will.  Punishment is supposed to deter and this will deter. Should those in the coaching ranks and front office like head coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis have fared even worse than Vilma?  They are "in charge,"  so I could make that argument, but don't forget this is pro sports.  How many times have we seen players determine if a coach or GM stays?  I've always heard "it's easier to change the coach than the player."  To me, that means no matter who's higher up in title or job description, there's an awful lot of power in the player ranks.  Power which brings responsibility with it and accountability. Doesn't seem right to you?

Like I said, life isn't fair.

You don't need to tell Junior Seau's family that.  Not on a day when it's believed he took his own life leaving his mother weeping in front of camera's knowing she'll have to bury her son.  

Life isn't fair.

You don't have to tell Eric LeGrand that either.  

You know LeGrand, he's the former Rutgers star defensive lineman who back in 2010 was paralyzed while playing in college.  I mean if anyone has reason to say life isn't fair, it would be that kid.  From all accounts, he never even did.  He did something about it: refocused himself instead of pitying himself. His positive attitude and endless energy a reminder of what you can do when you leave behind the "life's not fair" whine. Today LeGrand's former head coach, Greg Schiano, now head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs did his part in undoing the "unfair," at least in a symbolic sense.  Schiano announced LeGrand is joining the Bucs.  In what would have been his draft year, LeGrand's being signed as a free agent, filling Tampa Bays final roster spot.  Eric LeGrand has made it to the NFL, just as he'd once dreamed. It may not be the way he'd hoped to get into the league, he can't play, and other than keeping his already high spirits high this won't help him walk again.  But it will do some good.  From the interviews I saw, LeGrand plans on talking with his new teammates about his attitude, effort, and basically sharing his story as he has with so many others.  If that doesn't have an impact on at least one of them, I'd be shocked.  So LeGrand will be helping the Bucs, the way HE can.  He will be a part of the team and any success they have as a team he can take some pride in.

I know these stories aren't related but I'm glad that on a day that had such large scale negative and sad news in sports, with the bounty punishments and the death of Junior Seau,  we were reminded of the good.  Life may not be fair but that doesn't mean it isn't full of reasons to be optimistic.


Monday, April 30, 2012


Nearly a decade after uttering my first, I just said my last SportsCenter "see ya".  I'll always treasure my time at ESPN, but I'm ready for a new challenge! Thanks for all of the kind words about my work, good thoughts for my future, and questions about where you can find me next.  I promise to let you know as soon as it's settled.  Until then, you can find me here: and on twitter @danajacobson 



Check back at 8pm Eastern for what truly will be my first post.