City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: How Come Sports Journalists Ain’t Journalists?

During the Redskins Broadcasting Network's telecast from Baltimore, Lindsay Czarniak asked Albert Haynesworth, in street clothes, if it was enjoyable watching his teammates play the Ravens.

"Nah, it ain't enjoyable," Haynesworth said.

Which means one thing: Big Al didn't bet the Cheap Seats Daily Double™!

Because had he followed Cheap Seats Daily's Tout #1 and bet this month's mortgage on the Ravens, laying three points, he would have won. And if he'd have followed Cheap Seats Daily's Tout #2 and bet next month's mortgage on the under (31 1/2), he'd have won that, too.

Haynesworth would be rich!

***

Lindsay Czarniak showed up during the game broadcast and the post-game show wearing a licensed Redskins shirt, logo and all. That makes sense, since she was working for the Redskins Broadcasting Network, owned by Dan Snyder.

But Czarniak was carrying a WRC microphone. She took off the Redskins costume and put on a blue fluffy top for her 11 o'clock news segment from Baltimore, so clearly her superiors have some inkling about the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Why is this dual role allowed? Czarniak works for the news department of an NBC affiliate. But she works for Dan Snyder, too. For the ethics police, other than the import of the subject matter, what's the difference between Czarniak's Redskins deal and Armstrong Williams taking money from the Bush White House?

(AFTER THE JUMP: Why not have Redskins salons? Joe Theismann, musicologist? Will Ladell Bettis ever get over it? What's Cora Masters Barry trying to get away with now? Karl Swanson writes in? The Tom Boswell Curse lives on?)

If the Washington Post hosted a salon where it promised sports reporters and Redskins would be available to anybody who ponied up big money, would that bother anybody?

Ain't sports news news?

***

Jim Zorn, talking with Czarniak's co-worker Larry Michael of the Redskins Broadcasting Network about fumbles and penalties and assorted miscues after his team's shutout loss: "All these things were like bullets hitting me in the chest."

***

This morning, early in the debut of "The Joe Theismann Show" on Dan Snyder's WTEM, host Theismann came out of commercial with a song from what he called "one of my favorite bands in the world, Journey." As the music faded he advised fans, "Don't stop believing!"

Later, also coming out of a break to Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog," Theismann said, "I love music. Elvis, Michael Jackson. The next one to be in that [class] is going to be Justin Timberlake. Justin is such an amazing talent. As was Brian Orakpo last night."

Smooove...

***

Prediction: The Bettis jersey debacle will be referenced much more than any play in last night's game, and remembered much longer.

***

Redskins and Dan Snyder spokesman Karl Swanson wrote in to dispute wording I used here yesterday when describing Snyder's sneaky parking surcharge at concerts and other non-Redskins events held at FedExField, which he owns. While all other venues in the area include parking charges in the advertised price of the ticket, Snyder adds it as a line item on the invoice on top of the advertised price. This scheme can mean an extra $700,000 for Snyder for U2's show next month. I wrote: "And this is with zero overhead."

Swanson, via email, responded:

Regarding your City Desk post of today, contrary to your claim "this is with zero overhead" there is significant overhead in the form of parking attendants, security, police, and post-event cleaning.

What I wrote was not clear. I meant that adding a line-item on an invoice costs Snyder nothing, not that operating a parking service has no overhead.

***

Cora Masters Barry got an eviction notice yesterday from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center because, according to the Washington Post, the corporate registration of her organization, the Recreation Wish List Committee, had lapsed. She's got 30 days to vacate the building, according to reports.

In a puffy WRC interview aired last night, Masters Barry, who only talks to the media when she needs 'em, acted like she was crying.

And Masters Barry, who's as good an actor as her husband and has as many lives, whined to the Washington Post, "This has been my life's work!"

That's not really true. Her life's work also includes a stint as commissioner of DC's Boxing and Wrestling Commission. At the time, she was known as Cora Wilds.

In that job, which former members of the commission say she got only because of her relationship to her future husband, then-Mayor Marion Barry, Masters Barry made the DC boxing scene a national laughingstock. Her only accomplishment came in earning a federal conviction for defrauding the city and its residents.

Masters Barry was boxing commissioner from 1980 to 1987. A 1987 investigation by the Washington Post showed that while on the job Masters Barry had taken 25 trips around the globe, to spots such as Venice and Aruba, to watch championship fights. She flew first class despite city regulations that required coach for business travel. Masters said her back hurt too much to fly coach.

But Masters Barry couldn't explain away all the receipts that showed she'd been illegally double-billing both the DC government and the boxing commission for all her travels. She was convicted in federal court in 1988 for the fraud.

In her seven years as commissioner, for all the championship bouts she flew to abroad on our dime times two, Masters Barry never brought a single title fight to DC.

The one big match that was scheduled during Masters Barry's reign, a bout between Michael Spinks and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad for Spinks’ undisputed light heavyweight crown in July 1983, was cancelled hours before the bell was to ring because of, depending on who you believe, either Muhammad's weight or a problem with the scales used at the weigh-in, which were provided by Masters Barry.

York Van Nixon, a DC boxing commissioner before and during Masters Barry's reign, told me last year: “Boxing still hasn’t come back here from what she did to it. It never will.”

***

Update on the The Tom Boswell Curse:

Nats get crushed in Cincinnati. No runs, two hits.

Nats' record with Boswell on vacation: 14-6.

Nats' record since Boswell returned from vacation: 0-3.

Good thing it's betting football season!

***

Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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