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Day: June 20, 2012

In (quite) staunch defence of Adrian Chiles…

Anyone that knows me well enough to know that a career in the media industry will know a few truths about me; firstly that I once had a screen test for a TV company where upon I was told that it was the ‘best screen test they had ever had but that I didn’t have the face for it,’ they’ll also know that I prefer radio to TV and that writing is actually my least preferred medium. I like the pace of buzz of live action. They’ll also know that I have a few broadcast heroes and one of them is a very dull and grumpy Brummie. That man is now firmly in the marmite of TV presenters and in his case the prevalent winds are blowing towards the hate him category.

People of my age will remember what is was like being ill and off school. It was insanely boring. In 1994 though the BBC decided that they needed a lunchtime show on business and Working Lunch was born. The presenter was a relatively unknown man called Adrian Chiles and the rest as they say is history. Working Lunch was actually a very good programme and between Chiles and Adam Shaw it had a very good presenting duo.

For many years he happily fronted the show but then he started to get other gigs around the Beeb. He fronted the spin-off show to The Apprentice and then The One Show passed its trial run and became a staple part of the BBC’s Mon-Fri evening output as well as MOTD2. Chiles was a man on the move and everything was hunky-dory until the BBC decided that they wanted to tinker with The One Show and kick out Adrian on Friday’s because they wanted to appeal to a different audience. He left in a huff to ITV where he fronted the new breakfast show. It was never going to work as Chiles is not the type of guy you want to wake up to (no offence Adrian) but still there was The Adrian Chiles Show and the football.

I think he excels at both. He asks better questions of his pundits compared to his compatriots and whilst he may waffle a bit he shows genuine emotion whether it be happy or sad. In live sport I want a real person fronting everything and not someone with too much glaze on them which means real emotion doesn’t shine through. I see on twitter and social media so many people say hw awful he is but people like to complain. I have seen so many tweets about how awful Dermot O’Leary is presenting The X Factor so let me just say that in this era of social media it is so easy to slag off a famous person for anything.

Personally speaking I think Adrian genuinely does a bang up job or both presenting the show and portraying the mood of the public. Yes the adverts get in the way of his flow but such is life. Presenting on live television is not an easy gig and everyone thinks that they can do better. It really isn’t and I think people should lay off the Adrian hate. If they don’t want to join in the Adrian love-in then that is fair enough but just hating on him is not fair.

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Not Guilty. Not Guilty. Not Guilty. Not Guilty. Not Guilty. Not Guilty.

They are the words a foreman spoke on Monday that ended the very public trial of Roger Clemens. The man who was seen by many as the greatest starting pitcher of his generation had been accused of lying under oath to congress with regards to having taken performance enhancing drugs.

It was just another high-profile case that the American government came up short on. They thought Clemens would be the jewel in their crown but instead deciding to have the key witness who has taken apart from not only the defence lawyers but also by his estranged wife was not a great case. Also the other key witness admitting that he could only be ’50/50′ that the admission of taking performance enhancing drugs by Clemens was an accurate recollection of what happened wasn’t a good sign. Basically the prosecution screwed up and was never in a position to win the case.

The legacy of the man known as ‘The Rocket‘ though wasn’t what was on trial. What was on trial was whether he would be one of the most high-profile inmates in American jails. His legacy that he is fighting so hard to restore will come down to members of the Baseball Writers Association of America as they are the people who get to vote on inductees to the baseball Hall of Fame and this is what is really important to Clemens.

But as commentator after commentator said during the past 48 hours – the law of the land and a jury of his peers isn’t important, they are the important ones and they and they only will decide whether he took drugs or not. It is a strange dynamic that the law of the land is immaterial when it comes to this but such is life.

Already some voters have said that they will not vote for Clemens ever because they know that he did drugs. I love the fact that these writers can know this. Not have suspicions of but they know. Those who don’t vote for him because they have suspicions you can at least see the reasoning but no-one can honestly say that they know he has done such a thing. They can say they believe he did or that they have seen enough evidence for them to strongly believe that he did but to know well that is just crazy. If they know then why weren’t they called by the prosecution to be a witness in the criminal trial? Oh wait it’s because they actually know nothing. Yes I’m looking in your direction Bill Plaschke of the LA Times.

Do I believe that he took performance enhancing drugs during his career? I honestly don’t know. He could easily have done and his career arc was shall we say ‘interesting’ and in an era when drugs were rife within sport in North America but there are other similar career arcs with no suspicions of drugs – for example Kurt Warner.

I do though believe in the age-old adage of you are innocent until you have been proven guilty. He has never been found guilty of having used performance enhancing drugs. Not only that he has been to court where a jury found him not guilty of lying to congress on the subject. For me that is good enough. If I was a voter I’d vote him in because there is little doubt that his numbers belong in the Hall of Fame and until you have that smoking gun then you have nothing.

I think he gets in but not for many years as the whole steroid era of baseball gets shunned by voters who have suspicions of every player in that era. Even guys like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will not get votes when they are eligible for the Hall of Fame because some voters quite simply refuse to vote for anyone in case they ever get linked to drugs. Suspicion isn’t even needed. It is another reason why the BBWAA are not the right people to be custodians for the Hall of Fame but that is a story for another day.

For today Roger Clemens walks as a free man without a legal stain on his character. However as soon as an accusation is made many people make up their minds and for many of those this court case will not change a thing and that to me is a sad indictment of society these days.

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Nick Clegg speaks and yet again reiterates that he backs the Out4Marriage campaign

Nick Clegg is out and about but he’s not forgotten about us all here in the blazing UK (well blazing for a few more hours anyway) and he has recorded a message to once again show that he is fully behind equal marriage. You can read the transcript below and/or watch the video which has been embedded:

“I’ve always been very clear on this: love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same too.

“All couples should be able to make that commitment to one another, regardless of who they love.

“I fought for equal marriage before I was in Government, and I’m even more committed to making it happen now – as a Liberal Democrat and as Deputy Prime Minister.

“We brought forward our proposals; they have provoked a heated debate.

“But these are proposals about when and how to open up civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ anymore.

“And to those who are worried about some of the opposition to this move or the tone of the debate, let me just say, whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or straight: your freedom to love who you choose is a fundamental right in a liberal society – and you will always have our support. That’s why I’m Out4Marriage.”

It isn’t really news but it is always good to hear. I know it isn’t student fees, or trident, or about jobs but for some people it is about equality and improving their quality of life and that can never be a bad thing.

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