Penn Sports Plus: Jesse Spector

A few weeks ago, I interviewed former DP sports editor Jesse Spector about his time at Penn along with his thoughts on the ongoing NHL lockout. Spector also talked about his attempt to buy MLB’s Montreal Expos in 2002 and the national attention he received because of it. Below are more excerpts from our wide-ranging conversation.

via Twitter

On the timing of the NHL’s offer of a 50/50 split in Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) from mid-October:

Spector: I think it is really what the NHL was after all along, a 50/50 split. I think it was a proposal designed both to get negotiations going and to change the conversation after the news came out that the NHL was doing focus groups, not that it’s such a bad thing that a multi-million dollar corporation to be doing focus groups. But the way it was slanted PR-wise was that the NHL, instead of negotiating, was diddling around, trying to massage their message while getting [Political consultant and Penn graduate] Frank Luntz involved.

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Penn Sports Plus: Alan Schwarz

Last week I talked to New York Times sportswriter and Penn alum Alan Schwarz (C’ 90) about how he helped save the toast toss at Penn. In 1988, Schwarz and three of his friends smuggled 3,000 slices of toast into Franklin Field for a September football game. A column written by Schwarz ran in The Daily Pennsylvanian on the Thursday before the game encouraging students to join them in their smuggling spree. According to Schwarz, Penn Athletics not only didn’t provide toast for students but security guards confiscated any toast that students brought on their own.

Fortunately there’s plenty of fascinating excerpts left over from our conversation for this week’s edition of Penn Sports Plus.

On Penn Athletics’ policy on the toast toss in 1988:

 They told us it was a health hazard and it was not safe.  It would be disingenuous to say that throwing toast is not at its very core littering.  Of course it is.  I think the burden of proof is on the student to justify said littering.  I believe that that can be very easily done, but it’s not unreasonable for the athletic department to begin from the default setting that throwing things in the stands, up to and including food items, is not preferable.  In this case, it is.  But it was clearly not only benign but important to the community.  So the benefits outweighed the costs.

On the state of Penn Athletics at the time: Continue reading