Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – May 5, 2017

Baillie Gibson in Casper, WY. (Nicole Noren/ESPN)
Baillie Gibson in Casper, WY. (Nicole Noren/ESPN)

Outside the Lines reporter John Barr investigates the University of Arizona and its handling of a track and field coach’s abuse of power on this Sunday’s Outside the Lines (ESPN, 9 a.m. ET) and for a concurrent digital piece on ESPN.com.

John Barr in Arizona. (Jeff Halperin/ESPN)
John Barr in Arizona. (Jeff Halperin/ESPN)

Although he’s investigated hundreds of stories, Barr said this one was different.

“This is a story unlike any I’ve ever covered. Craig Carter was a former national assistant coach of the year for women’s track and field, and the way he behaved toward one of his athletes was startling,” Barr said. “Death threats, which he admits to, alleged stalking and a violent attack that is disturbing, to say the least, when you hear about it in detail.”

The footage obtained by Outside the Lines contains an interrogation with Carter where he admits in great detail how he threatened to disfigure student-athlete Baillie Gibson while holding a box cutter to her face.

Later details revealed that Gibson wasn’t the only woman who felt threatened by Carter.

“This is a story about a coach who crossed the line and lost control and a young athlete, whose athletic career was marred as a result and who now carries deep emotional scars,” Barr said. “Ultimately three women associated with the University of Arizona track and field team wound up taking out protective orders against Carter. They were all afraid of this man.”

Although this piece focuses on Carter’s abuse of power, Barr also wants viewers to consider the fact that this might have been prevented had the University of Arizona properly investigated the situation when it was brought to the attention of school officials.

“This is also a story about a school that could have acted sooner when it had credible information that Coach Carter may have been having sex with one of his athletes,” Barr said. “You couple all of that with the fact Baillie Gibson, a former All-American thrower for the Wildcats, an athlete who once had dreams of making the U.S. Olympic team, decided to be identified for the first time and speak in depth about her ordeal with Carter and it adds up to what we believe is a compelling story.”

Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight has special meaning for SportsCenter’s Toni Collins

Toni Collins with Oscar De La Hoya. (Courtesy Toni Collins)
Toni Collins with Oscar De La Hoya. (Photo courtesy of Toni Collins/ESPN)

SportsCenter’s Toni Collins is providing live coverage from Las Vegas where Saul Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will fight on Saturday night. Collins took some time from her busy schedule to share more about covering the fight and why this one is so meaningful to the people of Mexico.

How do you prepare differently to cover an event like this in comparison to a day on SportsCenter?
Well, it’s so corny, but for live coverage of events like this one, in my case, I am legit living in the moment. I have the opportunity to pick the brains of analysts, reporters from ESPN and other local and national stations and they love talking about the fight! Also reading as much as I can about the event.

What does this fight mean to the people of Mexico, in your opinion?
This fight has been in the making for some time, and it’s finally happening! Both Saul Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr are the most popular fighters of this generation in Mexico. This is about pride, lineage, legacy and the ultimate title. . . the REY, the KING of Mexican boxing and as we’ve seen in Mexican boxing history, whenever two Mexican boxers get in the ring, we are bound to have an epic fight. As a Mexican-American, this fight means so much; I can’t help but wonder if a new generation of boxing fans will come about like when it happened to me 20 years ago when my childhood hero Oscar de La Hoya upset the King of Mexican boxing, the boxer of the people, Julio Cesar Chavez [an ESPN Deportes boxing analyst and the father of Chavez Jr.]

Journalism on Display

  • Australian adventurer Sebastian Terry created a bucket list of 100 things to do after the death of a close friend. And as viewers will see in this Sunday’s SC Featured segment on SportsCenter, what started as one man’s journey to find purpose in life has grown into a global movement of people chasing their dreams and helping others do the same. “100 Things to Do” will debut in the 10 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Sunday, May 7, and will re-air in other editions of the program throughout the day.
  • Senior NBA writer Marc J. Spears spent time with the Houston Rockets James Harden and his mother to discover what helped shape the NBA star in a story for TheUndefeated.com. Spears writes how sports were responsible for keeping Harden focused throughout his life and out of trouble. Now the MVP candidate’s story is helping motivate youth on AAU teams in Houston and beyond.
  • D’Arcy Maine reveals some insight about women athletes in a story for espnW’s Body Image Confidential. After surveying female college rowers, results showed that one in three said they had an eating disorder. Maine examines the sport itself to discover what is fueling the disorders in “The Pressure of Pulling Your Weight.”
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s final episode of The Sports Reporters (ESPN, 9:30 a.m.,) will be Mike Lupica (host), Mitch Albom, William C. Rhoden and Bob Ryan. Next Sunday, May 14, E:60 debuts in its new hourlong time slot of 9 a.m., encouraging fans to “Start Your Sunday With a Story.”
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