Encore: Storm, Kremer make Amazon return for 2nd NFL season
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
Thursday, January 24
Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer had so much fun in their first season calling NFL games on Amazon Prime that they are coming back for an encore.
Amazon announced Thursday the veteran announcing duo will return next season to call the Thursday night package on Amazon’s prime video service.
“It’s validation,” Kremer said. “You want to be able to show with actions not just words that what we did was meaningful and entertaining and people wanted to watch and listen to us and considered us a viable option to the other great choices that are out there. The fact that Amazon made this decision sooner than we expected was just a real joy to us and made us feel like we were the right choice.”
Storm and Kremer were hired last August to do the 11 Thursday night NFL games on Amazon on an alternate English-language feed to those who wanted something different from the Fox broadcast with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
Amazon did not release numbers on how many people chose to listen to Storm and Kremer as opposed to the Fox feed featuring Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, but head of live sports Jim DeLorenzo said the feedback was extremely positive.
It was a new role for both. Kremer spent most of her career as an Emmy Award-winning reporter who was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year with the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
Storm has had a long career as a studio host and anchor, who had only limited play-by-play experience on the WNBA.
But they both took the opportunity to do something new, becoming the first all-female booth to call any major men’s team sport in the United States.
“When you do something no one has ever done before, you open yourself up to a certain level of risk because you can be at times heavily criticized,” Storm said. “They’re people who might not like the idea of women doing football or basketball or baseball. There will always be people who push back on something that is not the norm. We wanted to make sure we were comfortable with that element of it, which we were.”
Storm and Kremer are part of a trend of more women getting the chance to do play-by-play or analysis on men’s sports.
Doris Burke has transitioned from being solely a sideline reporter to a role as a game analyst on ESPN’s NBA coverage. Jessica Mendoza has been a lead analyst on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball coverage since 2015. AJ Mleczko went from covering women’s hockey at the Olympics to analyzing NHL games for NBC Sports Network. Beth Mowins has called NFL games as a play-by-play announcer for both CBS and ESPN.
“When Hannah and I were discussing this, she said to me, ‘If not us, then who,’” Kremer said. “That’s pretty significant. If we do this, we’re opening up opportunities for other women. If we don’t do it, that’s a responsibility that we have. I hope that more women get opportunities but I hope it’s the right women for the right reasons.”
The addition of an alternate audio feed with Storm and Kremer was the biggest change in Amazon’s second season streaming Thursday night NFL games. After making its debut in 2017, the online retailer signed a two-year, $130 million contract last year to keep the streaming rights to the games.
Amazon’s 11 games on Prime Video and Twitch reached 24.4 million total viewers, a 33 percent increase from its first season. The average audience topped 500,000 per minute, a 61 percent increase, with the average viewer watching for 59 minutes.
In all, more than 1 billion minutes of live NFL game content was watched on Prime Video and Twitch.
Amazon is expanding its sports coverage with deals in place for PGA Tour Live and NBA League Pass, to go along with deals in the United Kingdom for ATP Tennis and a small package of Premier League soccer games.
How much more live sports the company bids for remains to be seen.
“Any time that we’re looking at additional opportunities, we’re always starting with the customer to see if it’s content that we think they will really love,” DeLorenzo said. “We are still pretty early on in the life cycle of Amazon offering live sporting events to our customers. It’s been a great learning experience for us and we’re continuing to look at the data to determine what we want to do going forward.”
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Top-ranked Tennessee rallies, beats Vanderbilt 88-83 in OT
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
Thursday, January 24
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Grant Williams had the game of his life and the best free throw shooting performance by a college player in six decades.
Tennessee needed every last point in its first outing this season as the nation’s top-ranked team.
Williams scored a career-high 43 and made all 23 free throws as the Volunteers avoided a repeat of their last trip to Memorial Gym when also freshly minted No. 1, holding off Vanderbilt 88-83 in overtime Wednesday night.
By going 23 of 23 at the line, Williams turned in the most free throws without a miss in the NCAA since Arlen Clark was 24 of 24 for Oklahoma State on March 7, 1959.
“It’s something I’ve worked on since the summer and something I knew I needed to improve on,” Williams said. “I knew the last game I missed two, and it frustrates me when I miss those. You don’t get many opportunities like that, and tonight I did. And you have to take advantage of those. You think about it. I miss one, two, three of those, we lose the game.”
Williams outshot Vanderbilt at the line all by himself, and his three-point play with 31.6 seconds left in overtime put Tennessee ahead to stay.
“I’d say that he did the job for us tonight,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said.
The Volunteers (17-1, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) won their 13th straight game and first since moving to No. 1 in the AP Top 25 on Monday for the second time in program history. They also have won five of the last six against their in-state rival.
“We’ve got to understand you’re going to get the best shot from a lot of people every single night,” Barnes said. “But we found a way. We weren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. At the end of the game, we found a way to make some plays.”
The Commodores (9-9, 0-6) came in hoping to pull off their seventh upset of a No. 1 team in Memorial Gym, a list of wins that includes knocking off Tennessee on Feb. 26, 2008, a day after the Vols took over the top-ranked spot. That squad was ranked in the Top 25, but these Commodores are off to the school’s worst start in SEC play and have only one senior.
“We made some huge strides since our last couple games,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. “Just crushed for them, crushed for them that it didn’t turn out with a win for all their effort.”
Williams scored Tennessee’s first 10 points in overtime, and his three-point play came after Saben Lee’s free throw gave Vandy its last lead at 82-81 with 41.5 seconds to go.
Jordan Bone added 14 for the Vols.
Tennessee trailed 76-70 before Williams rallied Tennessee in the final 1:22 of regulation. He hit two free throws off a flagrant foul on Clevon Brown with 1:22 left. Williams then scored off an inbounds play to pull the Vols to 76-74, and Admiral Schofield hit a jumper with 38.1 seconds left to tie it at 76.
Williams blocked Lee’s layup, then Aaron Nesmith blocked Jordan Bowden’s layup try for the Vols. After a scramble for the ball, Williams came up with the steal and called timeout with 3.3 seconds to go. Brown blocked Williams’ 3-point try, and the Vols couldn’t get another shot off.
The Commodores not only outrebounded Tennessee (33-30), Drew got an impressive shooting performance from his team as it made 50 percent (30 of 60) from the floor and 10 of 21 beyond the arc.
Nesmith hit back-to-back 3s to tie it at 55 with 11:16 left, and the Commodores took their first lead since late in the second half at 56-55 on a free throw by Lee midway through the half. Nesmith hit another 3 with 6:06 left to put Vandy up 64-61, and a 3 by Lee gave the Commodores their biggest lead at 70-65 with 3:47 remaining to set up the thrilling finish.
Nesmith had a career-high 24 points, Lee added 21, Matt Ryan 12.
The Vols missed a couple of chances in the final seconds before taking a 38-37 lead into halftime. They never led by more than six in the second half.
Tennessee: The Vols have their longest winning streak in nearly a century — they opened the 1922-23 season by winning their first 14 games. The defending co-SEC regular-season champs have won 10 straight league games in regular-season play.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores’ worst start to SEC play now is six straight losses, but this has to be a strong confidence booster for a group that has led in all but one of those games.
THE RECORD BOOK
Williams posted the best scoring performance for Tennessee since Allan Houston also had 43 points against LSU on Feb. 10, 1990, and it was tied for fifth in school history. It was the most points allowed by Vanderbilt to one player since Jan. 3, 2007, when Morris Almond scored 44 for Rice.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Alec Baldwin taking anger class in parking dispute plea deal
By MICHAEL R. SISAK
Thursday, January 24
NEW YORK (AP) — Days after appearing as President Donald Trump in a “Deal or No Deal” parody on “Saturday Night Live,” Alec Baldwin took a deal of his own Wednesday, agreeing to attend an anger management class to resolve a criminal case stemming from a skirmish over a parking spot.
Baldwin, who was accused of striking another driver in the face during the dispute last fall outside his New York City home, pleaded guilty to harassment and will have his case record sealed once he completes the one-day class. The charge is a violation, the lowest level of offense.
A misdemeanor attempted assault charge was dropped.
Prosecutors offered the compromise after reviewing video of the incident, looking at medical records and talking with the victim and witnesses, Assistant District Attorney Ryan Lipes said. The 60-year-old Baldwin, who’s had various scrapes with the law over the years, has a clean criminal record, Lipes said.
Baldwin — in a sport coat, black top and black framed glasses — only spoke a few words during the brief court hearing, mostly answering short questions from the judge.
The Manhattan prosecutor’s office declined comment.
Baldwin and his lawyer didn’t comment outside court, but the actor wasn’t shy on Twitter, where he criticized the media for staking out his courtroom when there were more serious cases elsewhere in the building and for misreporting the allegations against him.
“The press reported that I punched someone. That is untrue, and that is a serious charge. A man was punched in NY recently and died,” Baldwin tweeted, along with a link to a news article about a fatal bar fight in Queens last November.
“Nothing that resembles justice ever enters or leaves any courtroom in this country,” he added.
Baldwin was accused of trying to punch another driver during a Nov. 2 argument over a parking spot in front of his Manhattan apartment building.
Police said Baldwin claimed he had a family member holding the spot for him as he attempted to park his black Cadillac Escalade when a man driving a black Saab station wagon pulled up and took it.
Police said the men were arguing and pushed each other before Baldwin, got more aggressive. The driver of the station wagon told police that Baldwin hit him with his hand — but wasn’t sure if it was a punch or a slap.
Baldwin told a police officer that the other driver “stole my spot,” used a vulgarity to describe him, and acknowledged pushing him, prosecutors said in court papers.
Baldwin’s lawyer, Alan Abramson, maintained that the former “30 Rock” actor would be vindicated by “incontrovertible video evidence.”
Baldwin said on Twitter after Wednesday’s hearing that there were three security cameras outside his building and that the punch “didn’t happen.”
No video was shown in court.
Baldwin, who got booted off a flight in 2011 for refusing to put his cellphone away, was playing with his phone while waiting for Wednesday’s hearing to start — but he didn’t argue when court officers announced that phones had to be turned off and out of sight.
As it was, the second-floor courtroom was already noisy — with the beeping sound of inmate-transport buses backing up outside, providing a constant, if not annoying, soundtrack for his appearance.
Follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak
Data privacy rules in the EU may leave the US behind
January 23, 2019
Should privacy mean different things depending which side of the Atlantic you live on?
Author: Thomas Holt, Professor of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
Disclosure statement: Thomas Holt receives funding from the US Department of Justice.
Partners: Michigan State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
France made headlines on Jan. 21 for fining Google US $57 million – the first fine to be issued for violations of the European Union’s newly implemented General Data Protection Regulations. GDPR, as it’s called, is meant to ensure consumers’ personal information is appropriately used and protected by companies. It also creates procedures to sanction companies who misuse information.
According to French data privacy agency the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL), which levied the fine, Google didn’t clearly and concisely provide users with the information they needed to understand how it was collecting their personal data or what it was doing with it. Additionally, CNIL said Google did not obtain user consent to show them personalized advertisements. For its part, Google may appeal.
In other parts of the EU, similar investigations are currently underway against Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
This case demonstrates the increasingly prominent role that the EU intends to play in policing the use of personal information by major companies and organizations online. The U.S. lags behind Europe on this front. As a researcher who studies computer hacking and data breaches, I’d argue the U.S. may have ceded regulatory powers to the EU – despite being the headquarters for most major internet service providers. Why has the U.S. not taken a similarly strong approach to privacy management and regulation?
Do individual Americans even care?
There’s no single answer to why the U.S. hasn’t taken similar measures to protect and regulate consumers’ data.
Americans use online services in the same way as our European counterparts, and at generally similar rates. And U.S. consumers’ privacy has been harmed by the ever-growing number of data breaches affecting financial institutions, retailers and government targets. The federal government’s own Office of Personnel Management lost millions of records, including Social Security numbers, names, addresses and other sensitive details, in hacks. My research demonstrates that hackers and data thieves make massive profits through the sale and misuse of personally identifiable information.
It is possible that years of constant breaches have created a sense of “breach fatigue.” Maybe Americans no longer react to the loss of information because it seems there’s nothing we can do to stop the problem.
There may also be generational differences in the perceived value of personal privacy in online spaces. Millennials, who have only known a world with the internet and social media, seem more willing to disclose personal details through online platforms compared to older groups. However, several studies suggest that younger generations may be willing to do so simply because they are not as aware of the threats they face from online data collection and mismanagement as older generations are.
At the same time, studies demonstrate consumers may be willing to provide personally identifiable information in certain circumstances, especially if they may gain some benefit. They likely do not fully comprehend how and why information collection poses a threat to their overall privacy.
Companies don’t want these regulations
Social media sites’ and internet service providers’ resistance to external regulation is also a likely reason why the U.S. has not acted.
Facebook’s practices over the last few years are a perfect example of why and how legal regulation is vital, but heavily resisted by corporations. After hearings and investigations into the role of Facebook in distributing Russian political disinformation, as well as in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook implemented a new set of political transparency rules to help individuals understand who paid for content and why it’s being shown.
Meanwhile, Facebook executive management took extraordinary steps to target public critics calling for increased oversight, sowing confusion as to why Facebook should be regulated at all. And past attempts to regulate the platform appear to have been ignored by Facebook for years.
If the providers won’t protect data privacy on their own, I believe that the government needs to implement increased regulatory guidelines.
Should the U.S. continue on its current path, it faces a substantial risk not only to personal information safety, but to the legitimacy of governmental agencies tasked with investigating wrongdoing. Many tech researchers, including myself, already see this happening in law enforcement investigations of cybercrime. The transnational nature of these offenses, coupled with a lack of reporting to police, has reduced the ability of local, state and federal agencies to respond.
Corporate entities are filling the regulatory gaps in cyberspace, whether it is in the response to computer hackers or the removal of child pornography. If the U.S. continues to allow internet service providers to regulate themselves with minimal external controls over data privacy, it is not clear how to ever regain this lost ground.
TJ Martin: Having spent time , done extensive business and having family etc in the EU … Suffice it to say the EU left the US in the dust decades ago when it comes to data privacy and privacy in general.
Why one may ask ? Honestly there could be a whole host of answers .. but if push came to shove I’d place odds its because unlike the US the EU doesn’t sanction the likes of hyper verging on anarcho capitalism , turning humans ( and everything else ) into commodities , Ayn Rand addled greed & avarice etc- et al – ad nauseam.
Oh the horrors of democratic socialism.
Triple Crown winner Justify gets Horse of the Year
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer
Thursday, January 24
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Justify finished unbeaten, on and off the track.
The Triple Crown winner for 2018 added Horse of the Year to his resume, getting the nod over Accelerate for the biggest prize handed out at the Eclipse Awards on Thursday night. Justify didn’t race as a 2-year-old, won all six of his starts last year and then was retired about a month after winning the Belmont Stakes because of an ankle injury.
So in a flash, he was gone.
But every Triple Crown winner since 1935 has also been declared Horse of the Year, and 2018 — even with Justify’s lone year of racing not even lasting four months, technically — would be no different. He won by a wide margin, getting 191 votes out of a possible 249, while Accelerate got 54.
“I’m so proud of Justify and I’m happy to see he is being rewarded for his unbelievable accomplishments in his run up to the Triple Crown,” said Bob Baffert, Justify’s trainer. “I’ve had the great fortune to be around some of the most talented horses and what Justify was able to do in such a short amount of time still takes my breath away.”
Justify — the third Horse of the Year trained by Baffert — also won the 3-year-old male Eclipse, unanimously, which was no surprise. Accelerate settled for the Eclipse as the top older dirt male, and the third Horse of the Year finalist Monomoy Girl was picked as the winner of the 3-year-old filly Eclipse.
Accelerate still has a chance for a huge win this weekend: He’s the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup dirt race, which will be his last before beginning a stud career. Accelerate won six of his seven starts in 2018, including wins in his last four starts — all of them Grade 1 events, capped by the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“This horse had an unbelievable season,” said Juan Leyva, the assistant trainer under John Sadler for Accelerate. “You can’t take anything away from Justify. He’s a Triple Crown winner. But the year this horse put up, I mean, any other year there’s no question he’s Horse of the Year. … Obviously, my vote would be for Accelerate. You don’t see years like this that often.”
Accelerate’s connections didn’t leave with just one trophy. Hronis Racing LLC, Accelerate’s owner, also won the Eclipse in that category — its first as the top owner in the sport.
“This is a little boy’s dream come true,” said Kosta Hronis, who shares the ownership of Hronis Racing with his brother, Peter.
Chad Brown won his third consecutive Eclipse Award as the top trainer, making him only the sixth person to win that many in a row and putting him alongside Baffert, Todd Pletcher, D. Wayne Lukas, Robert Frankel, Laz Barrera. Baffert was a finalist this year, after guiding Justify to the Triple Crown — Baffert’s second.
Still, Brown got the nod again.
“It’s a great honor and we take it very seriously,” Brown said.
Irad Ortiz Jr. won his first Eclipse as the top jockey, keeping the award in the family — his younger brother, Jose Ortiz, won last year.
“I want to dedicate this trophy to a very special person,” Irad Ortiz said. “My brother dedicated to me last year, and I want to dedicate it to him. Love you bro.”
Other Eclipse winners included Weston Hamilton (apprentice jockey), Jaywalk (2-year-old filly), Game Winner (2-year-old male), Unique Bella (older dirt female), Roy H (male sprinter), Shamrock Rose (female sprinter), Stormy Liberal (male turf horse), Sistercharlie (female turf horse), Zenjabeel (steeplechase horse) and John D. Gunther (top breeder).
https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
(Amazon via AP)