2-22 Hoffman and Platt

Jeff and I are live Saturdays at 2 pm CT on 103.3 FM in Dallas and online at KESN1033.com. Follow along on twitter @craighoffman and @jeffplatt. We'll also be taking calls at 855-787-1033 and you can text the show at 64636. Type "ESPN" and then your message. Here's what we're doing on Feb. 15th:

2:00 - Mavs discussion
  • The Mavs get LeBron'd, survive a turnover plagued first half to beat Philly and get ready for Detroit
  • Dirk Nowtiski sits down with Bill Simmons - watch here.

2:15 - Cowboys - Keeping up with the Joneses
  • The initial installment of "Keeping up with the Joneses," trying to make sense of the senseless statements made by Stephen and Jerry Jones.
  • Just as senselessly, Jason Garrett tries to explain the Cowboys off-season thus far

2:30 - Richard Durrett live from Surprise
  • It was a bad, injury plagued week to open Spring Training. We get the latest from ESPN.com's Rangers insider.

2:45 - Best of the Six Pack
  • The top "other" stories from the week in sports and entertainment.

3:00 - Amin Elhassan/"Things that make you go hmm"
  • ESPN NBA Insider Amin Elhassan joins us as the "smart basketball guest of the week"
  • The opposite of smart is dumb. We look at some of the things that made us go "hmm" this week.

3:15 - Johnny Manziel/"Talk To Me"
  • We discuss Johnny Manziel's day in front of the microphone at the NFL Combine
  • The most fun we have all day, "Talk to Me" - you call, we answer and that's about it.

3:30 - Mavs at the deadline/"Hoffman’s Guide to college hoops"
  • The Mavs stand pat at the trade deadline. How close were they? Will they add players as contracts around the league are bought out?
  • Your weekly look at college hoops, "Hoffman's Guide to College Hoops" has its eyes on Syracuse/Duke, Kansas/Texas and Marcus Smart's return

3:45 - The NFL Combine - Platt Style/"One Last Thing"
  • If you can bet on something, Jeff knows about it. You can bet on the NFL combine. We'll look at some of the fun you can have.
  • My final take on a topic we saw this week. This week? How to properly use the NFL combine.
We hope you'll join us!

2-1 Hoffman and Platt

Jeff and I are live today at 2 pm CST on 103.3 FM in Dallas and online here. Follow along on twitter @craighoffman and @jeffplatt. We'll also be taking at 855-787-1033. Here's what we're doing:

2:00 - Preview Super Bowl XLVIII

2:15 - Looking back at an odd week for the Mavericks

2:30 - Eric Edholm, Yahoo! live from the Super Bowl

2:45 - Best of the 6 Pack

3:00 - ESPN Denver's Les Shapiro and 710 ESPN Seattle's Jessamyn Mcintyre

3:15 - Mavs: Is Monta Ellis bringing the team down? Plus, NBA Power Rankings and David Stern's legacy

3:30 - Best of Super Bowl Week: the sounds from players, coaches and our ESPN analysts. Plus, what responsibilities do players have to the media?

3:45 - Rangers: Michael Young retires. Plus, "Would You Rather?" - Super Bowl Edition

4:00 - ESPN Dallas: Are the Cowboys closer to a top 5 pick or the Super Bowl? 

4:15 - Talk to Me - you call, we answer and that's about it at 855-787-1033

4:30 - How to watch and how to bet the Super Bowl

4:45 - Super Bowl predictions and One Last Thing, this week on Kevin Durant.

We hope you'll join us and #BeatDuke!

One Last Thing - Richard Sherman

Every Saturday at 4:50 pm, I share "One Last Thing" on Hoffman and Platt. It's an essay on a topic that caught my eye during the week. This week I chose to close a week of conversation on Richard Sherman. Listen to Hoffman and Platt Saturdays at 2 pm on 103.3 FM ESPN.

This week an older man named Jack called into Friedo and Fitzsimmons on the topic of Richard Sherman. "I didn't like what he did with his crazy hair and his crazy eyes" was the gist of his call. I cringed. The underlying racism eats at me. The crazy hair is Richard Sherman's dreads, a hairstyle worn predominantly by black folks and it has nothing to do with who he is.

However when discussing the call with someone later, I brought up the first thing I thought of when Jack described the crazy eyes. It was Marshall Henderson. The volatile shooting guard from Ole Miss whose eyes are crazy by the description of his own coaches. The response - "Yeah, but Henderson's one of the blackest white guys out there."

Which leads me to a simple question - what the hell does that even mean?

Race means the color of your skin. If we talk about Marshall Henderson or even if we go further down the "black white guy scale" to say, Eminem, we're still not talking about someone who would have had to pee in the "colored" restrooms in the 1940's. Not jarring enough? If this was the 1830's, there's no way Eminem could've been enslaved.

We'll never take the next step of having intelligent discussion on race in this country until we disassociate characteristics from skin color. Someone who speaks well is articulate, not white. Someone who listens to hip hop and maybe even can dance with some soul and rhythm isn't black, they just have some rhythm and soul.

When the Texas job was open, there were people who didn't want Charlie Strong to get it because he is black. Not because of any other reason. No personality trait. Not his skill as a football coach. Because he was black. That kind of racism I don't know what you do with because there's no advanced thinking there to be had. Quit being an ignorant tool. That's about all I got. 

But for the other kind. Characteristic racism if you will, it's time to grow up. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. 

If you say you didn't like what Richard Sherman did because barking in a camera about your own greatness isn't how you think someone should act - you prefer a winner with grace - then fine. Say that. Don't call him a thug. He's not a thug. He's loud. He's brash. And while some people will still see that through racial glasses, you've made your point without using race and hopefully meant it. 

Which leads to the final problem. There's got to be a way for the majority, in this case white people, to say something about a minority, black or otherwise, that is critical without the minority playing the race card. I agree with Sherman that some people were being racist cause I saw the tweets that used the N-word and, like Sherman said, some people used thug in replacement of it. You'd have to be beyond naive to think race was an element for some here.

But there were also people who just didn't like what he did and it had nothing to do with race, which is typical in these kinds of things. The racists are always going to come out, but it's not everyone.  If I think a black athlete does something wrong, I shouldn't have to fear being called a racist if I criticize him on nothing to do with race.

It's a group effort. People need to be smarter about what they say. A lot smarter. Quit insinuating racist things and instead say what what you really mean. Then it's up to the "attacked minority" to quit trying to tie them back together. It's a group effort and I'd love it if we could finally start.

The End of Funemployment

All good things must come to an end, especially when it's your unemployment status. As stupid as that may sound, the last 3 months were a tremendous learning experience and allowed me to do some things that I'll likely never be able to do again in my life. I'll touch on more of those in a second, but in the interest of not burying the lead, the good news:

I've accepted a part-time with ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas. I will be doing everything from hosting on nights and weekends to local Sportscenter updates during our local and network programming to original podcasts for ESPNDallas.com to some off-air work. It's an absolutely amazing opportunity with my dream company. Everybody knows the affinity I have for ESPN as a company thanks to the number of people who have helped me over the years and my experience there as an intern. This is one of the four owned and operated affiliates meaning I'm actually working for ESPN. Seriously, Mickey Mouse is on my paycheck.

When I went back to Newhouse in February, I talked to a number of classes about networking. This job is a direct result of the networking excursion I took in January. While in Bristol I met with a man named Rob Savinelli from the talent office who suggested I meet with Tim McCarthy in New York. Tim suggested I reach out to Tom Lee, the program director in Dallas. Tom and I talked and while he had nothing at the time, he certainly helped me look elsewhere and gave me feedback. He then had something open up. We talked. He's now my boss.

What you're probably wondering is "wait...you did all that without a Syracuse connection?! I didn't think that was possible because a) it's you and b) you went through 3+ people in the media industry and that's not mathematically possible." The person who introduced me to Rob? His boss. Laurie Orlando, SU alumnus. Go Orange.

To my younger friends who may be reading this: network and do it when they don't need you and when you don't need them. It didn't matter if I was happily employed, Tom is someone I would've wanted to talk to. I did need him and even though he didn't have anything, he was willing to talk. A few weeks later, circumstances changed and here we are. I couldn't be more excited to work for Tom because I know he wants to see me get better. He and his team are going to coach me which is something I've wanted at this level on a day-to-day basis since I graduated. This excites me far more than being on the air in a top 5 market.

This 3 month period taught me a lot and allowed me to do a lot. I learned a lot about financial responsibility and planning. When "do I have enough for rent?" is a real question, you don't have much of a choice. Luckily the answer was always yes. I got to travel and spend time with people in a fashion that I never would be able to if I was in school or employed. I got 3 weeks in New York. I got 2 weeks in Syracuse. Those trips were amazing and I'm so glad I got to take them.

I got to work on stories and write in a way that I wanted to. There are no editors (except that time Professor Nicholson called me and reminded me I can't spell) and there are no rules. It's how I want to express my opinions and my take. It's seeing a story like who the hell is this Marshall Henderson dude and going with it because I can. It's a journalistic innocence that can't be found anywhere else. I wasn't being graded. I wasn't being dictated to or constrained. It was just fun.

What I'll remember most about this period in my life though is not something I learned or somewhere I got to go. It's something I was reminded of and that's just how good people are. It's not hard to find the worst of society. Go to any website and scroll through the comments section. Go on Twitter. Go to a Rutgers basketball practice.

Throughout the past three months though, I've seen the best in people. It started immediately with so many members of my actual family, my JPZ/AER/SU family and other people I've met along the way reaching out with support. It was Matt Llewelyn reaching out and saying if I needed anything from a meal to a job, he was here for me. I told him I'd meet him for lunch and I've spent the past 3 months working for him which is how the answer to "do I have enough for rent?" was always yes. I also have a totally new appreciation for the the restaurant industry, something every human being who's ever eaten in one should have.

It was my friends in Syracuse who put me up during my stay or perhaps more accurately in some cases (hi Corey, who's office was my suitcase storage facility) put up with me. Oh and yes Fitz, you can have special recognition because you stepped up big time and lord knows you love the attention.

Saving the best for last I cannot thank my family enough. My parents who were there for me on the worst days, never lost faith and always gave me what I needed, whether that be support or a reality check (i.e. I'm going apartment hunting this weekend and not to the Final Four...thanks Mom...kinda). My grandparents who put me up in New York for nearly a month and would have let me stay longer if my parents didn't make me come home. My aunts, uncle and cousins who would check in and see how things were doing and if I needed anything. You guys are awesome. I don't know how you go about classifying "the best family in the world" but I know I wouldn't trade you for anyone else.

Last but not least, I want to thank you. I have no idea who "you" are but you've found your way here. I launched this site to initially announce my unemployment which was on December 7th. It's now April 4th and nearly 7500 people have read and listened to what I've had to say. I remember the first post I did and seeing the hit count start to climb and going "woah, I have an audience." In my industry, having that audience is everything. It was that tiny bit of affirmation that despite my employment status, I was doing something right.

This site will obviously be scaled back now that I'll have real work to do. There will be at least one more podcast that I'm hoping to do tonight. There will be blogs this weekend on the Final Four and thanks to Heather Prusak they'll be supplemented with the great work by CitrusTV, who is in Atlanta. Past that, this will be an outlet for me to talk about things outside of Dallas and maybe a few in. So until next time, thanks for reading, thanks for supporting me and I can't wait to get started on what's next.

Craig