September 23, 2020
For generations, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a lynchpin and the unofficial beginning of the holiday season for millions upon millions of American families.
Over the years, there have been changes, things have been added, and others have been lost, but the two main attractions – huge balloons and magnificent floats decorated with seasonal themes – have remained.
Since most places, including New York City, went into COVID-19 lockdown, many wondered what would happen to the signature event that opens the holiday season for so many by culminating in a visit from Santa Claus. As it turns out, the show will go on, but it will look a lot different this year.
September 21, 2020
In August, college football conferences were asked to peer into their crystal balls and make a prediction about the safety of their student athletes in the age of COVID-19. Several conferences said they were going ahead with their seasons, albeit with some limitations and added regulations. The Big 10, however, home to such NCAA powerhouse programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, decided that the conference was not going to play, at least until spring 2021, if at all.
September 18, 2020
When Tom Brady went south to Tampa, much of the attention usually paid to the New England Patriots went with him. “Tampa Tom” became the tagline and the hashtag, while New England just went to work, looking for a replacement for the six-time Super Bowl champion.
September 16, 2020
This was already going to be a strange U.S. Open. With some of tennis’ top stars not even bothering to show up for the competition due to COVID-19 concerns, most expected tennis superstar – and number 1 ranked player – Novak Djokovic to run away with the title in the men’s division.
That, as it turned out, was not to be. Instead, Djokovic was tossed out of the tournament after hitting a line judge with an errant ball. At the time, Novak was trailing in the first set of his fourth-round match against Carreno Busta. Angry with himself and his play, while walking off the court, Djokovic smacked a ball, which, according to press reports, “flew right at the line judge, who dropped to her knees…”
The top-seeded player and tournament favorite immediately expressed regret, rushing over to see the line judge. Once the judge was attended to, after a conversation involving the tournament referee and the chair umpire, Djokovic was given a chance to offer his side of the incident. The decision was made that, despite the obvious lack of intent on Novak’s part, the player should be expelled from the tournament.
Speaking to the press after the incident, tournament referee Soeren Friemel said it was clear Djokovic did not act intentionally to strike the line umpire, “He said, ‘Yes, I was angry. I hit the ball. I hit the line umpire. The facts are very clear. But it wasn’t my intent… I didn’t do it on purpose…’ So, (Djokovic) did not believe he should be defaulted for it… We all agree he didn’t do it on purpose, but the facts are still that he hit the line umpire…”
According to the judges, the consequences for those facts were for Djokovic to leave the tournament. After some more discussion, Djokovic eventually agreed to shake hands with Busta and leave the court. While he did not speak with reporters directly after the incident, opting instead to leave the tournament grounds, Djokovic did later release a statement on social media.
“I’m extremely sorry to have caused (the judge) such stress. So unintended. So wrong. Thank God she is feeling okay… This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth as a player and human being… I apologize…”
While it was disappointing for fans and sponsors to see the top seed exit the tournament in that fashion, his statement after the fact seemed to strike the right chord. People understood he made a mistake and regretted it, and it appears that the player’s apology is being accepted as sincere, and his statement about maturing through it is being welcomed.
Djokovic came into the tournament a perfect 26-0 this season, winner of five of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments. In the record books, this will show as a loss, but the presence and message the player sends in the weeks and months ahead will show a lot more.
September 14, 2020
Josh Gordon may be out of chances, but the Seattle Seahawks are going to give the “embattled” wide receiver one more shot if he’s cleared to play this season by the NFL. The ‘Hawks recently signed Gordon to a one-year deal, even as he’s waiting to see if the league will allow him to play. It’s an interesting move, given that Seattle is in the process of trimming its final roster to the 53-player league maximum. That seems to indicate they believe the NFL will let Gordon play… or at least they think his talent level is worth the risk.
September 10, 2020
Ever since Netflix started producing original content, the streaming service began to transform the small screen marketplace. With massive hits like Stranger Things, Orange Is The New Black, Narcos, Daredevil, and Ozark, the streaming service changed the way people watched – and talked about – television, while transforming the kind of programming people could see on TV. Sure, there have been some “misses” over the years, but for the most part, Netflix has gotten significant to acceptable ROI from its original programming.
September 8, 2020
Social media titan, Facebook, is continuing to position itself and a tech brand fighting back hard against misinformation. After a fiasco during the last presidential election that brought the company year after year of negative publicity and bruised consumer PR, Facebook is promising to do better, as Americans prepare to vote in the next Presidential election this November.
In a recent statement, Facebook said the platform would be “restricting” new political ads up to a week prior to election day, as well as removing posts that “convey misinformation about COVID-19 and voting.”
September 4, 2020
For years now, ESPN’s stable media channels have obeyed a hard and fast rule: “Stick to sports.” That rule was in play a few years ago when the network denounced an employee, Jemele Hill, for tweeting negative comments about the U.S. President. Recently, though, some people, both viewers and professional media critics, have noticed a shift, at least in the application of that policy.
August 31, 2020
TikTok is supposed to be funny. Of course, we all know humor is open to interpretation, and there’s an old saw in comedy that says you don’t know where the line is until you cross it. That’s not bad as a general rule in the funny business, but some fairly well-understood societal rules put some topics off-limits. At the top of the list? You probably already know. Unfortunately, and unbelievably, a lot of TikTok users never got the memo.
August 27, 2020
When the pandemic hit, Pepsi had just launched a brand new tagline for the first time in 20 years. The brand was also just coming off a very successful Super Bowl campaign for the Pepsi Zero Sugar. However, instead of putting all of the marketing campaigns on hold, Pepsi decided to shift gears, which included cutting the precious campaigns short and creating new packages that the brand could have an easier time adjusting under the newfound circumstances.