Diversity drive hits speed bump


Someone at NASCAR forgot to brief ESPN about the racing association's Drive for Diversity program created to bring more blacks, Hispanics and women into the sport.

During a college football telecast in October, ESPN/ABC announcer Bob Griese commented in a promo for an upcoming Sprint Cup race that Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was missing from NASCAR's leaderboard because he was "out having a taco."

A lesson should have been learned.

But during Sunday's Cup race on ESPN, during a rain delay, ESPN's Marty Reid interviewed Kenyatta Houston, who is black and a front-tire changer on Regan Smith's Cup team.

"We call this in the television business the tap-dance, and people know we can't dance," Reid said of filling time during the delay. "Can you ... gotta little tap for us down there?"

Fortunately for Reid, ESPN race commentator and former NBA star Brad Daugherty, who is black, wasn't working in the booth or he might have tap-danced on Reid's head.

■ GOOD-LUCK CHARM? -- Kim Kardashian is preparing for the NFL season and visits to Cowboys Stadium to watch her new boyfriend, wide receiver Miles Austin. Kardashian became a free agent after splitting with the New Orleans Saints' Reggie Bush and has shipped her trunk full of junk to Dallas.

While many fans dubbed Jessica Simpson "Yoko Romo" when she was dating Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, they realize Kardashian was along for the Bush's Super Bowl ride.

And don't forget Kim's well-rounded sister Khloe Kardashian is married to Lamar Odom of the NBA champion Lakers.

■ HEAT ICE TICKET SELLERS -- At least 30 people in South Florida aren't thrilled with the additions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat.

Rumors that the duo would join Dwyane Wade on the Heat led to a flurry of season-ticket sales that were cut off on July 8 only hours before James' announcement.

The Heat fired about 30 ticket sellers.

■ LEBRON BUYS OHIO LOVE -- James, the former King of Ohio, ran a full-page ad in Tuesday's Akron Beacon-Journal stating "Akron is my home, and the central focus of my life. It's where I started, and it's where I will always come back to."

James, who did not mention Cleveland, said he will attend his annual charity bike-a-thon on Saturday in Akron, where he hands out hundreds of bicycles and joins a mile-long ride through downtown Akron.

The ad appeared two days after former Cavs player Zydrunas Ilgauskas took out a similar ad in The Plain Dealer in Cleveland to thank fans for their support.

■ LITTLE LEAGUE REPLAYS -- Little League baseball has surged ahead of its major league counterpart by expanding its 2-year-old instant replay system for the Little League World Series to include forceouts, tags on the base paths, missed bases and hit batters.

In another bold move, Little Leaguers will have blood tested for excessive levels of Ritalin and sugar.

COMPILED BY JEFF WOLF LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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