The Rules of Pacers Digest

Hello everyone,

Whether your are a long standing forum member or whether you have just registered today, it's a good idea to read and review the rules below so that you have a very good idea of what to expect when you come to Pacers Digest.

A quick note to new members: Your posts will not immediately show up when you make them. An administrator has to approve at least your first post before the forum software will later upgrade your account to the status of a fully-registered member. This usually happens within a couple of hours or so after your post(s) is/are approved, so you may need to be a little patient at first.

Why do we do this? So that it's more difficult for spammers (be they human or robot) to post, and so users who are banned cannot immediately re-register and start dousing people with verbal flames.

Below are the rules of Pacers Digest. After you have read them, you will have a very good sense of where we are coming from, what we expect, what we don't want to see, and how we react to things.

Rule #1

Pacers Digest is intended to be a place to discuss basketball without having to deal with the kinds of behaviors or attitudes that distract people from sticking with the discussion of the topics at hand. These unwanted distractions can come in many forms, and admittedly it can sometimes be tricky to pin down each and every kind that can rear its ugly head, but we feel that the following examples and explanations cover at least a good portion of that ground and should at least give people a pretty good idea of the kinds of things we actively discourage:

"Anyone who __________ is a liar / a fool / an idiot / a blind homer / has their head buried in the sand / a blind hater / doesn't know basketball / doesn't watch the games"

"People with intelligence will agree with me when I say that __________"

"Only stupid people think / believe / do ___________"

"I can't wait to hear something from PosterX when he/she sees that **insert a given incident or current event that will have probably upset or disappointed PosterX here**"

"He/she is just delusional"

"This thread is stupid / worthless / embarrassing"

"I'm going to take a moment to point and / laugh at PosterX / GroupOfPeopleY who thought / believed *insert though/belief here*"

"Remember when PosterX said OldCommentY that no longer looks good? "

In general, if a comment goes from purely on topic to something 'ad hominem' (personal jabs, personal shots, attacks, flames, however you want to call it, towards a person, or a group of people, or a given city/state/country of people), those are most likely going to be found intolerable.

We also dissuade passive aggressive behavior. This can be various things, but common examples include statements that are basically meant to imply someone is either stupid or otherwise incapable of holding a rational conversation. This can include (but is not limited to) laughing at someone's conclusions rather than offering an honest rebuttal, asking people what game they were watching, or another common problem is Poster X will say "that player isn't that bad" and then Poster Y will say something akin to "LOL you think that player is good". We're not going to tolerate those kinds of comments out of respect for the community at large and for the sake of trying to just have an honest conversation.

Now, does the above cover absolutely every single kind of distraction that is unwanted? Probably not, but you should by now have a good idea of the general types of things we will be discouraging. The above examples are meant to give you a good feel for / idea of what we're looking for. If something new or different than the above happens to come along and results in the same problem (that being, any other attitude or behavior that ultimately distracts from actually just discussing the topic at hand, or that is otherwise disrespectful to other posters), we can and we will take action to curb this as well, so please don't take this to mean that if you managed to technically avoid saying something exactly like one of the above examples that you are then somehow off the hook.

That all having been said, our goal is to do so in a generally kind and respectful way, and that doesn't mean the moment we see something we don't like that somebody is going to be suspended or banned, either. It just means that at the very least we will probably say something about it, quite possibly snipping out the distracting parts of the post in question while leaving alone the parts that are actually just discussing the topics, and in the event of a repeating or excessive problem, then we will start issuing infractions to try to further discourage further repeat problems, and if it just never seems to improve, then finally suspensions or bans will come into play. We would prefer it never went that far, and most of the time for most of our posters, it won't ever have to.

A slip up every once and a while is pretty normal, but, again, when it becomes repetitive or excessive, something will be done. Something occasional is probably going to be let go (within reason), but when it starts to become habitual or otherwise a pattern, odds are very good that we will step in.

There's always a small minority that like to push people's buttons and/or test their own boundaries with regards to the administrators, and in the case of someone acting like that, please be aware that this is not a court of law, but a private website run by people who are simply trying to do the right thing as they see it. If we feel that you are a special case that needs to be dealt with in an exceptional way because your behavior isn't explicitly mirroring one of our above examples of what we generally discourage, we can and we will take atypical action to prevent this from continuing if you are not cooperative with us.

Also please be aware that you will not be given a pass simply by claiming that you were 'only joking,' because quite honestly, when someone really is just joking, for one thing most people tend to pick up on the joke, including the person or group that is the target of the joke, and for another thing, in the event where an honest joke gets taken seriously and it upsets or angers someone, the person who is truly 'only joking' will quite commonly go out of his / her way to apologize and will try to mend fences. People who are dishonest about their statements being 'jokes' do not do so, and in turn that becomes a clear sign of what is really going on. It's nothing new.

In any case, quite frankly, the overall quality and health of the entire forum's community is more important than any one troublesome user will ever be, regardless of exactly how a problem is exhibiting itself, and if it comes down to us having to make a choice between you versus the greater health and happiness of the entire community, the community of this forum will win every time.

Lastly, there are also some posters, who are generally great contributors and do not otherwise cause any problems, who sometimes feel it's their place to provoke or to otherwise 'mess with' that small minority of people described in the last paragraph, and while we possibly might understand why you might feel you WANT to do something like that, the truth is we can't actually tolerate that kind of behavior from you any more than we can tolerate the behavior from them. So if we feel that you are trying to provoke those other posters into doing or saying something that will get themselves into trouble, then we will start to view you as a problem as well, because of the same reason as before: The overall health of the forum comes first, and trying to stir the pot with someone like that doesn't help, it just makes it worse. Some will simply disagree with this philosophy, but if so, then so be it because ultimately we have to do what we think is best so long as it's up to us.

If you see a problem that we haven't addressed, the best and most appropriate course for a forum member to take here is to look over to the left of the post in question. See underneath that poster's name, avatar, and other info, down where there's a little triangle with an exclamation point (!) in it? Click that. That allows you to report the post to the admins so we can definitely notice it and give it a look to see what we feel we should do about it. Beyond that, obviously it's human nature sometimes to want to speak up to the poster in question who has bothered you, but we would ask that you try to refrain from doing so because quite often what happens is two or more posters all start going back and forth about the original offending post, and suddenly the entire thread is off topic or otherwise derailed. So while the urge to police it yourself is understandable, it's best to just report it to us and let us handle it. Thank you!

All of the above is going to be subject to a case by case basis, but generally and broadly speaking, this should give everyone a pretty good idea of how things will typically / most often be handled.

Rule #2

If the actions of an administrator inspire you to make a comment, criticism, or express a concern about it, there is a wrong place and a couple of right places to do so.

The wrong place is to do so in the original thread in which the administrator took action. For example, if a post gets an infraction, or a post gets deleted, or a comment within a larger post gets clipped out, in a thread discussing Paul George, the wrong thing to do is to distract from the discussion of Paul George by adding your off topic thoughts on what the administrator did.

The right places to do so are:

A) Start a thread about the specific incident you want to talk about on the Feedback board. This way you are able to express yourself in an area that doesn't throw another thread off topic, and this way others can add their two cents as well if they wish, and additionally if there's something that needs to be said by the administrators, that is where they will respond to it.

B) Send a private message to the administrators, and they can respond to you that way.

If this is done the wrong way, those comments will be deleted, and if it's a repeating problem then it may also receive an infraction as well.

Rule #3

If a poster is bothering you, and an administrator has not or will not deal with that poster to the extent that you would prefer, you have a powerful tool at your disposal, one that has recently been upgraded and is now better than ever: The ability to ignore a user.

When you ignore a user, you will unfortunately still see some hints of their existence (nothing we can do about that), however, it does the following key things:

A) Any post they make will be completely invisible as you scroll through a thread.

B) The new addition to this feature: If someone QUOTES a user you are ignoring, you do not have to read who it was, or what that poster said, unless you go out of your way to click on a link to find out who it is and what they said.

To utilize this feature, from any page on Pacers Digest, scroll to the top of the page, look to the top right where it says 'Settings' and click that. From the settings page, look to the left side of the page where it says 'My Settings', and look down from there until you see 'Edit Ignore List' and click that. From here, it will say 'Add a Member to Your List...' Beneath that, click in the text box to the right of 'User Name', type in or copy & paste the username of the poster you are ignoring, and once their name is in the box, look over to the far right and click the 'Okay' button. All done!

Rule #4

Regarding infractions, currently they carry a value of one point each, and that point will expire in 31 days. If at any point a poster is carrying three points at the same time, that poster will be suspended until the oldest of the three points expires.

Rule #5

When you share or paste content or articles from another website, you must include the URL/link back to where you found it, who wrote it, and what website it's from. Said content will be removed if this doesn't happen.

An example:

If I copy and paste an article from the Indianapolis Star website, I would post something like this:
Title of the Article
Author's Name
Indianapolis Star

Rule #6

We cannot tolerate illegal videos on Pacers Digest. This means do not share any links to them, do not mention any websites that host them or link to them, do not describe how to find them in any way, and do not ask about them. Posts doing anything of the sort will be removed, the offenders will be contacted privately, and if the problem becomes habitual, you will be suspended, and if it still persists, you will probably be banned.

The legal means of watching or listening to NBA games are NBA League Pass Broadband (for US, or for International; both cost money) and NBA Audio League Pass (which is free). Look for them on

Rule #7

Provocative statements in a signature, or as an avatar, or as the 'tagline' beneath a poster's username (where it says 'Member' or 'Administrator' by default, if it is not altered) are an unwanted distraction that will more than likely be removed on sight. There can be shades of gray to this, but in general this could be something political or religious that is likely going to provoke or upset people, or otherwise something that is mean-spirited at the expense of a poster, a group of people, or a population.

It may or may not go without saying, but this goes for threads and posts as well, particularly when it's not made on the off-topic board (Market Square).

We do make exceptions if we feel the content is both innocuous and unlikely to cause social problems on the forum (such as wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Easter), and we also also make exceptions if such topics come up with regards to a sports figure (such as the Lance Stephenson situation bringing up discussions of domestic abuse and the law, or when Jason Collins came out as gay and how that lead to some discussion about gay rights).

However, once the discussion seems to be more/mostly about the political issues instead of the sports figure or his specific situation, the thread is usually closed.

Rule #8

We prefer self-restraint and/or modesty when making jokes or off topic comments in a sports discussion thread. They can be fun, but sometimes they derail or distract from a topic, and we don't want to see that happen. If we feel it is a problem, we will either delete or move those posts from the thread.

Rule #9

Generally speaking, we try to be a "PG-13" rated board, and we don't want to see sexual content or similarly suggestive content. Vulgarity is a more muddled issue, though again we prefer things to lean more towards "PG-13" than "R". If we feel things have gone too far, we will step in.

Rule #10

We like small signatures, not big signatures. The bigger the signature, the more likely it is an annoying or distracting signature.

Rule #11

Do not advertise anything without talking about it with the administrators first. This includes advertising with your signature, with your avatar, through private messaging, and/or by making a thread or post.
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ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries

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  • ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries

    The latest batch of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentaries have been officially announced and scheduled for the fall, and like always, there are some that look absolutely phenomenal. The first film will premiere on Tuesday, October 1 at 8 PM, and will continue in the same timeslot for six weeks.

    October 1. Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau. This film will examine the tragic life of Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau, and is directed by Sam George.
    October 8. Free Spirits. This one is going to look at the Spirits of St Louis leading into the NBA/ABA merger, and how the team is still existing and making money for their owners today. It's directed by Daniel H. Forer.
    October 15. No Mas. The name should tell you all you need to know about this documentary: a look behind the scenes of the two fights between Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. The director is Eric Drath.
    October 22. Big Shot. Hey, another hockey documentary! Big Shot will break down the scandal involving John Spano's attempted purchase of the Islanders in 1996, and is directed by Kevin Connolly.
    October 29. This is What They Want. Jimmy Connors' miraculous run in the 1991 US Open is examined, and is directed by Brian Koppleman and David Levien.
    November 5. Tonya and Nancy. This is another one where the title makes it obvious what the subject matter will be: the incident between figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding in 1994. The director is Nanette Burstein.

    It's a pretty solid crop of documentaries (as usual), and the only ones that don't immediately appeal to me are Hawaiian and This is What They Want. Drath previously directed the Renee 30 for 30 along with the 30 for 30 short about Pete Rose, but all of the other directors this go-around are newbies to the franchise.

    Nothing has been announced for the traditional post-Heisman ceremony slot yet, but it's rumored that a film on former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett will be featured. The college documentaries in that timeslot (The U, Pony Excess, You Don't Know Bo) are generally the most entertaining of the 30 for 30 films, and hopefully this year's selection will continue that trend.

  • #2
    Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries

    Free Spirits will be an interesting one.


    • #3
      Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries

      Free Spirits is the only one in that batch that is screaming out for my attention.
      "Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough NO BODY!" ~ Frank Vogel

      "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen. "


      • #4
        Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries

        I can't wait for the Free Spirits one. As someone who follows all St. Lou sports, I've always wanted to hear more about that story.


        • #5
          Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries

          Next Documentary in ESPN Films 30 for 30 Series, “Believeland,” Premieres May 14

          ESPN Films’ award-winning 30 for 30 series will continue on Saturday, May 14, with “Believeland” at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The documentary will chronicle the struggles of Cleveland’s major sports franchises over the past 50 years and the impact it has all had on the psyche of a typical Cleveland sports fan.

          There’s a special place on the southern shore of Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Known as Cleveland, it is the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the home of the Indians, the Browns and the Cavaliers. But it’s also the home of an agonizing losing streak. Of all American cities that have at least three major sports franchises, Cleveland is the only one that has failed to win a championship in the last half-century. Those sports teams, and the hearts they’ve broken over and over again, have inspired a different name for the city, and the title for this 30 for 30 film: “Believeland.”

          Directed by Ohio native Andy Billman, this evocative documentary will take you on a trip that goes back more than 50 years and captures the seminal ups and downs of the once-thriving metropolis. Despite the economic and athletic misfortunes, and the t-shirt that reads “God Hates Cleveland,” the people still believe and worship Jim Thome and Jim Brown, LeBron James and other Cleveland sports heroes. But they also can’t forget Edgar Renteria and John Elway and Michael Jordan, the men who extinguished their dreams of a long-awaited championship. Painful as it may be at times, “Believeland” is a celebration of faith, a testament to how much sports mean to Cleveland…and how much Cleveland means to sports.

          “This film is a testament to the unique power of sports to create communal bonds, regardless of the final score,” says director Billman. “Having cheered for Cleveland teams my whole life, I understand what it is like to be a fan whose love and loyalty have endured despite half a century of heartache and I hope that everyone who sees “Believeland” will come away feeling some of that hard-earned love.”


          • #6
            Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries


            30 for 30 on Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, Co-Directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, to

            The next installment in ESPN Films’ Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series will be “Doc & Darryl,” premiering Thursday, July 14, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Directors Judd Apatow (“Trainwreck,” “This Is 40”) and Michael Bonfiglio (“You Don’t Know Bo”) will explore the lives and careers of former New York Mets superstars, the young flame thrower, Dwight “Doc” Gooden and feared power hitter Darryl Strawberry

            When they were good, they were great; the biggest stars on a team that captured the imagination of New York City and won the 1986 World Series. But when life spiraled out of control for both men, Gooden and Strawberry inadvertently broke the hearts of Mets fans. “They were going to be our guys for years,” laments Jon Stewart in this evocative yet searing 30 for 30 documentary.

            Reunited at a diner in Queens, the pitcher and the power hitter look back on the glory days of the mid-80s and the harrowing nights that turned them from surefire Hall of Famers into prisoners of their own addictions. Listening to Doc talk about missing the World Series parade down the Canyon of Heroes, or Darryl counseling others at his ministry, you can only wish that these two very different men had not followed the same destructive path. Watch the trailer:

            “As a New Yorker and diehard Mets fan, it was an honor to be allowed to explore the lives of two men whose journeys defined my childhood,” says Apatow.

            Added Bonfiglio: “Darryl and Dwight have both lived such extreme lives, and trying to understand what drove and continues to drive them has been a truly fascinating experience.”

            “Doc & Darryl” will screen at AFI Docs on Sunday, June 26, prior to its broadcast debut in July. The film is executive produced by Radical Media’s Dave O’Connor and Justin Wilkes.

            “Working with directors as talented as Judd and Mike is what drives 30 for 30 forward as the pre-eminent brand in documentary filmmaking,” said Connor Schell, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of ESPN Films, “In ‘Doc & Darryl,’ they have told an incredible story about the personal struggles of two of baseball’s all-time brightest stars. It is a remarkable film that we are proud to showcase.”

            Advance press screeners available upon request. Additional information including film clips and director statements and bios will be available on the 30 for 30 website; Follow 30 for 30 on Facebook ( Twitter (@30for30) and Instagram (@30for30). 30 for 30 is presented by Mini Cooper.


            • #7
              Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries


              ESPN Films Announces Next Three Documentaries in 30 for 30 Series

              “Phi Slama Jama” Premieres October 18; “Hit it Hard” Premieres November 1; “Catholics vs. Convicts” Premieres December 10

              ESPN Films’ Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series continues this fall with three new documentaries that will air in October, November and December. Currently in the midst of its third volume, the series is fresh off a summer which featured the popular and critically acclaimed premieres of both “O.J.: Made in America” and “Doc & Darryl.”

              Providing the tip-off for the fall offerings on Tuesday, October 18, will be “Phi Slama Jama,” a brief yet captivating era at the University of Houston and a story ultimately captured for all it was and what might have been in the famous 1983 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game. Two weeks later, another intriguing narrative is revealed in “Hit It Hard,” a look back at the rags-to-riches-to-rags saga of golfer John Daly. Then, following the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday, December 10, ESPN will debut “Catholics vs. Convicts,” a return to the unforgettable 1988 football game between Notre Dame and the University of Miami that sparked far more than just a t-shirt.

              “With each of our 30 for 30 films this fall, there’s a level of rebelliousness, controversy and intrigue in the main characters,” says ESPN Films Vice President and Executive Producer John Dahl. “That desire to do it their own way brought along a fair share of criticism, but also helped fuel the pursuit of their goals.”

              30 for 30 is presented by MINI. Advance press screeners available upon request. Additional information, including film clips and director statements and bios, are available on the 30 for 30 website; Follow 30 for 30 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join the conversation with hashtags #PhiSlamaJama, #HitItHard and #CatholicsVsConvicts.

              30 for 30 Film Summaries and Dates:

              “Phi Slama Jama” directed by Chip Rives

              Tuesday, October 18, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

              They were the most popular fraternity on the campus of college basketball in the early 1980s. Led by a Nigerian soccer player named Hakeem Olajuwon and a lightly recruited hometown kid named Clyde Drexler, the University of Houston Cougars not only electrified the NCAA Final Four with three straight appearances (1982-84), but they also helped transform the game itself. In this 30 for 30 film, director Chip Rives brings back the high-flying circus act under ringmaster Guy V. Lewis and spins a tale of true greatness and crushing heartbreak. But while exploring that larger narrative, Rives also focuses on the disappearance of enigmatic role player Benny Anders and the lasting brotherhood that compels teammates and 1981-82 co-captains Eric Davis and Lynden Rose to try and find him after more than two decades of mystery. Trailer:

              “Hit It Hard” directed by David Terry Fine and Gabe Spitzer

              Tuesday, November 1, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

              If professional golf were put to country music, then the song would be about John Daly. Ever since he shocked the sports world by winning the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick 25 years ago, the blond bomber from Dardanelle, Arkansas, has been one of the most popular—and polarizing—figures in a sport that cherishes its traditions and minds its manners. In this revealing and rollicking 30 for 30 film, directors Gabe Spitzer and David Fine cover Daly’s rise and fall, his redemption at the British Open in St. Andrews in 1995, and his struggles with booze, food, gambling, women and depression. They also uncover a person whose story runs much deeper than his motto of “Sip It, Grip It, Rip It.” Trailer:

              “Catholics vs. Convicts” directed by Patrick Creadon

              Saturday, December 10, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

              On October 15, 1988, Notre Dame hosted the University of Miami in what would become one of the greatest games in college football history. It was tradition vs. swagger, the No. 4-ranked Fighting Irish versus the No. 1-ranked Hurricanes, one coaching star, Lou Holtz, versus another, Jimmy Johnson. But the name still attached to the contest came from a t-shirt manufactured by a few Notre Dame students: “Catholics vs. Convicts.” In this 30 for 30 documentary, director and narrator Patrick Creadon (Wordplay, I.O.U.S.A.) doesn’t just look back on the epic game. He explores the deeper narrative as a Notre Dame senior at the time, a close friend to the young men in the middle of the “Catholics vs. Convicts” controversy (Joe Fredrick and Pat Walsh) and a fellow classmate of the player behind center for the Fighting Irish (quarterback Tony Rice). The coaches and players open up about the fight that started the game, the highly debatable calls that are still being talked about and the insensitive aspects of the irresistibly popular t-shirt. As compelling as the tale of Notre Dame’s dramatic victory is—even losing quarterback Steve Walsh calls it “a helluva ballgame”—the backstory is just as riveting. Trailer:


              • #8
                Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries

                I'm here for all those, those're some good picks


                • #9
                  Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries


                  ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 “This Was the XFL” to Premiere in February

                  Documentary, directed by Charlie Ebersol and featuring Dick Ebersol and Vince McMahon, to debut on February 2 at 9 p.m. ET; World Premiere to Take Place at DOC NYC Tomorrow

                  Three days before Super Bowl LI, ESPN Films will premiere the 30 for 30 documentary “This Was the XFL,” directed by Charlie Ebersol, chronicling the short-lived, ill-fated pro football league. The documentary, airing on February 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, tells the story in fascinating, candid, and often rollicking fashion featuring fellow television legends and close friends – Dick Ebersol and Vince McMahon.

                  A bold challenge, a fearless experiment and ultimately, a spectacular failure. In 2001, sports entertainment titans Ebersol and McMahon launched the XFL. It was hardly the first time a league had tried to compete with the NFL, but the brash audacity of the bid, combined with the personalities and charisma of Ebersol and McMahon and the marketing behemoths of their respective companies — NBC and WWE — captured headlines and a sense of undeniable anticipation about what was to come.

                  Bringing together a cast of characters ranging from the boardrooms of General Electric to the practice fields of Las Vegas, “This Was the XFL” is the tale of — yes — all that went wrong, but also, how the XFL ended up influencing the way professional team sports are broadcast today. And at the center of it all – a decades long friendship between one of the most significant television executives in media history and the one-of-a-kind WWE impresario. This film will explore how Ebersol and McMahon brought the XFL to life, and why they had to let it go.

                  “I grew up on the sidelines watching my father and Vince enjoy incredible success with just about everything they touched, and then, along came the XFL,” said director Charlie Ebersol. “I saw them take bold creative risks, face unparalleled success and failure with dignity, but most importantly they maintained and celebrated a friendship where most would have cut and run. I learned more about integrity and character in those 18 months than just about any other time in my life, so when ESPN Films asked if I wanted to tell the story of the XFL, I jumped at the opportunity because I knew that the real story was that of an unbreakable friendship.”

                  John Dahl, Vice President and Executive Producer, ESPN Films said: “We felt that the colorful personalities and storylines featured throughout the rise and fall of the XFL deserved a more detailed examination, and as Dick Ebersol’s son, Charlie provided a personal understanding of it all. The XFL was a gamble, and even though the league didn’t ultimately succeed, we think audiences will really enjoy this tale of risk and ambition.”

                  “This Was the XFL” will have its world premiere tomorrow at the DOC NYC film festival in Manhattan. Additional details and ticket information can be found here:


                  • #10
                    Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries


                    John Calipari 30 for 30 will explore all angles of polarizing coach

                    There are few bigger personalities in the world of basketball than Calipari. ESPN's 30 for 30 will tackle the Kentucky coach's complex career and his larger life story.

                    His detractors like to point out he’s long been one step ahead of the basketball law, a coach who presided over two Final Four runs vacated by the NCAA (at Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2008).

                    His supporters, former assistants and players will tell you no one is better at developing young players. If recruiting and growing NBA talent is any guide, he’s unmatched among current college coaches.

                    Few college basketball coaches are more polarizing than Kentucky's John Calipari, which makes him a tremendous subject for a documentary. There have been previous reports of ESPN working on a 30 for 30 on Calapari—including this Louisville Courier-Journal piece from last May—and this week the network will announce the premiere date. The documentary is titled One and Not Done and will air on April 13, 11 days after the conclusion of the college basketball season and two days before the start of the NBA playoffs. The film will be produced and directed by Jonathan Hock, a multiple Emmy Award-winning producer and director whose previous 30 for 30s include The Best That Never Was (2010), Unguarded (2011), Survive and Advance (2013) and Of Miracles and Men (2015).

                    In an interview with Sports Illustrated last week, Hock called Calipari (whom he met on a previous project) the most complicated subject he has ever dealt with for a project. He also said few subjects have ever given him better access. Hock and his crew made 10 visits to Lexington in 2015 for the documentary, which included watching seven games and many Kentucky practices. The premise of the film is to weave the 2015–16 season around Calipari’s larger life story.

                    “I think the most important thing the film does is embrace the antipathy to Calipari as part of who he is,” Hock said. “You can’t be John Calipari without the haters. I have had more fun filming Calipari than I can remember having following any team. He is so unfiltered and entertaining and real when you are embedded with him. He has been wide open. Making the film has been a really great experience.

                    “The thing I find most interesting about Calipari and what makes this film fit within the personality-driven films I have done about Marcus Dupree (the lead subject of The Best That Never Was) or Chris Herren (Unguarded) is that Cal comes from a working-class world. He is of the laborers. His mom worked at a cafeteria and his dad handled bags at airports. His grandparents were coal miners. So I think when Cal wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror, he doesn’t see this super-wealthy, successful, famous coach. He sees those coal miners looking back at him, and that is what keeps him going and motivated.”

                    The film is expected to run two hours and chronicles Calipari’s life, from growing up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, to his assistant coaching jobs at Kansas and Pitt, to top jobs at UMass, Memphis and Kentucky. Both Hock and John Dahl, ESPN's vice president and executive producer of ESPN Films and original content, promised that the film is not a one-sided presentation of Calipari. The UMass years are featured more than the Kentucky years, according to Hock. “As the writer Marty Dobrow said in the film, there are some people who love him and some people who think he is Satan on the sidelines, and we look at both sides of that,” said Hock. “You have to understand UMass before you can understand Calipari at Kentucky.”

                    The film features long interviews with those drafted No. 1 overall after being coached by Calipari, including Derrick Rose, John Wall, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns. Former UMass and NBA star Marcus Camby is also interviewed. (Camby admitted in 1996 to taking thousands of dollars in cash and gifts from agents, in violation of NCAA rules, while he was an All-America at UMass. That same week Calipari left for a job with the New Jersey Nets.)

                    “I anticipated that John Wall and Derrick Rose would be a little bit closed off, or maybe not trusting, but both of those interviews were so warm and heartfelt,” Hock said. “They brought so much to the film with not only their personal recollections and emotions, but amazing insight into how Calipari does it. The thing about all of Cal’s great players is they have all butted heads with Cal, where he wore them out and they had enough with him. But Cal does not yield with them. It’s an interesting dynamic.”


                    • #11
                      Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries


                      • #12
                        Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries


                        • #13
                          Re: ESPN releases next batch of 30 for 30 documentaries


                          Year of the Scab 30 for 30 on replacement players, plus Strike Team short, to air Sept. 12

                          Both Year of the Scab and Strike Team involve the 1980s Washington Redskins, but in very different ways.

                          ESPN has announced another 30 for 30 documentary’s air date, and it will be accompanied by a 30 for 30 short. Year of the Scab, which is directed by John Dorsey (who previously directed The Marinovich Project and was an executive producer on Pony Excess) and tells the story of the replacement players who suited up for the Washington Redskins during the 1987 NFL strike, will air Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

                          Dorsey (seen at left above at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere, with executive producer David George) presents this as a look at the real story that inspired the fictionalized 2000 film The Replacements. It will then be followed at 9:30 p.m. Eastern by 25-minute short Strike Team, which discusses a U.S. Marshals’ sting to lure fugitives with free Redskins’ tickets. Here are more details on Year of the Scab from ESPN’s release:


                          “Year of the Scab,” which has screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York as well as closing night at AFI Docs in D.C., looks at the men who served as replacements for the Redskins in 1987 when NFL players went on strike to gain bargaining power in their struggle with the team owners. Crossing the picket line to play in the NFL changed their lives, but not in the way they’d expected or hoped. For most of them, what was billed as the last shot at a dream became the final blow to their careers. This group, who were called “scabs,” braved ridicule and threats of violence for one last chance at glory.

                          Now 30 years later, director John Dorsey introduces viewers to some of these players and their stories, as well as the men whose jobs they took and other participants in one of sports’ strangest chapters. The replacement squad won all three games before the strike ended, and the Redskins went on to win the Super Bowl that season. Yet most of the “scabs” were watching from home as the team they had helped get to the playoffs won the biggest game of the year.

                          …“In 1987, a bunch of nobodies were offered a second shot a dream they thought had died,” said director John Dorsey. “What they didn’t know was that their golden ticket would become a scarlet letter. For 30 years, an experience that should have been a badge of honor has been the scab that never healed, and I hope that through this film their story will be given the recognition it deserves.”
                          And some information on Strike Team, which focuses on the U.S. Marshals’ December 15, 1985 sting to lure fugitives to the Washington Convention Center for free tickets to the Redskins’ game that day against the Cincinnati Bengals:

                          Director Willie Ebersol retells the story of the operation, from the planning stages when it was met with skepticism, through the comical dress rehearsal, and on to its suspenseful execution. All in all, more than 100 fugitives were arrested that day without a shot being fired.

                          “It’s so rare for a documentary to actually place an audience inside an event from over 30 years ago,” said Willie Ebersol, director. “But after discovering a treasure trove of never-before-seen footage, we were able to give viewers a front row seat to this fun and wild operation, from conception to execution, making sure to not miss a single epic 80’s mustache along the way.”

                          He added, ”‘Strike Team’ gives a truly behind-the-scenes look into the most elaborate, can’t-believe-it-actually-happened sting in U.S. law enforcement history — all without ever breaking tension or era by cutting away to interviews.”
                          Both of these sound like pretty remarkable stories, and it makes sense to pair them up given how they’re both covering the Redskins in the 1980s. The timing also makes sense, as Sept. 12 is a Tuesday, just after the first week of the NFL season wraps up; that’s probably a good time to attract viewers looking for more NFL-related content. Both of these stories could be pretty interesting, too, as they’re covering events that haven’t often been discussed in great detail (unlike some recent 30 for 30s like the one on the Lakers-Celtics rivalry).

                          Many are certainly aware of the 1987 player strike (and the fictionalized portrayal it received in The Replacements, which also focused on the Washington team and the three of four games it won to make the playoffs), but the details aren’t necessarily common knowledge. The reality of what happened to these players could make for a good story. And as’s Jake King-Schriefels explored in a May article talking to Dorsey and some of the players involved, the team’s approach to that strike was particularly unique:

                          What made the Redskins a worthy subject throughout this forgotten period in time – besides the fact that the team would eventually win the Super Bowl – was the way it managed those three weeks of league-wide chaos. Unlike other teams, which eventually saw several of their star players cross the picket line to collect their paychecks and play again, the Redskins fielded a team comprised of replacement players for the duration of the strike – and to the surprise of everyone, they won all three of their games.

                          “I realized there was this irony in valuing team cohesion as a methodology to survive the strike, and ultimately that philosophy paid dividends in the Super Bowl run,” Dorsey told “It was pretty clear that Washington was the only team to focus on during the strike.”

                          …This was only the beginning. Even as the replacements practiced and played, they faced the stigma associated with breaking a strike, an unpopular act, especially in a major city of working people. The film captures archival footage of fans protesting their entry into RFK Stadium on their first game against the Cardinals, one they would win and turn wide receiver Anthony Allen into a replacement star. The animosity was understandable. It also informs the way these replacements have lived the rest of their lives, burdened with guilt for fulfilling a lifelong ambition.

                          “They thought they had the golden ticket but it ended up being a scarlet letter,” Dorsey said. “That kind of emotional whiplash left them emotionally tender when it came to the memories of their experience. The indignity of being cast aside and forgotten largely en route to a Super Bowl and not getting rings is something that many of them just wanted to forget. They never really had the forum to present their accomplishments in the proper context.”
                          So, that could definitely be interesting, and could present a side of this that hasn’t been frequently told. And Strike Team is definitely an off-the-radar story, too, and one with some potential to be entertaining. We’ll see how these turn out.

                          [Correction: this piece initially said Dorsey directed Pony Excess. He was an executive producer; Thaddeus Matula directed it.]


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                            • #15

                              ESPN to release 30 for 30 on Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire's 1998 home run race

                              "The Last Dance" docuseries will come to a close on May 17, but fear not, sports fans. Another 1998 Chicago documentary is on its way.

                              Tuesday, ESPN announced it will premiere a 30 for 30 documentary chronicling the 1998 NL home run race between Cubs' and Cardinals' sluggers Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. The documentary will debut on June 14 at 8 p.m. CT.

                              Sosa and McGwire are credited with reinvigorating interest in baseball after fans grew disillusioned following the 1994-95 strike. Summer 1998 saw the sluggers battle to break Roger Maris' single-season record for home runs (61, 1961), with McGwrie ultimately coming out on top (70-66).

                              The documentary includes interviews with both players and is "a journey back through time that recalls how seismic and emotional the story was – even as the legitimacy of the accomplishments at its center would later be called into question."