THE QUESTION: The week before Christmas and the local teams all need more than what some last-minute shopping can bring. So let me throw just a couple of things at you and at the same time wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season and new year. Your contributions through this year have been very much appreciated. We'll see how we can ramp things up for 2008.

1, It's happened twice now in a couple of months. TV reporter Bonnie Bernstein says that Joe Paterno has told her that Austin Scott has been kicked off the team. Joe leaves her hanging, refusing to confirm that. Now Pam Oliver says that Donovan McNabb made some reference at the end of their interview Sunday to doing well wherever he goes next year. He denies he ever said what she reported. She's left hung out to dry. So my question is, for all the gains women have made in the workplace, are we still at a point where it's easier for a male athlete to put a female's credibility up for question? I'm wondering if the fallout would have been different if the reporters had been male.

2, Hey, nothing novel about handing out Christmas gifts, but we've never done it in this column. So let's keep it clean and creative and tell me what one present you'd give any or all of the following. Be well, all.

A, Donovan McNabb _________

B, Brian Westbrook _________

C, Andy Reid _________

D, Maurice Cheeks _________

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski _________

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers _________

G, Pat Burrell ________

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers ____________

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig _________

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell ___________

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1. I think that's an element to it....but i think it's a larger issue of the relationship between players and the media in general. I don't think it would have been different. The main reason I say that is because if you listen to sports talk...the vast majority believe Donovan really did say what was reported. People are taking Pam's side...at least in Philly.

2.A. The heart to tell the media and fans what he really believes and to be able to not care what people think.

B. More offensive weapons(WR,TE) to help him out.

C. A pink slip for his general manager duties..he can coach...but I question his GM skills.

D. Talented players

E. hmmmmm.....??????don't know enough about him yet....lol....

F. More quality pitchers so he can choose where he feels most comfortable

G. In light of last season...i would get Pat a free pass for the upcoming year

H. He has it already....lol....

I. A brain

J. I have no idea....

Kyle Outting
North Philly

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1. I hate to sound chauvinistic but women sideline reporters are the lowest form of sports reporters and have no credibility. If they were male they wouldn't have their jobs. Only a select few are reputable. There are some decent female writers. Dana Pennett O'Neil is excellent in college sports and Leslie Gudel does a great job with the Phillies reporting. I also give props to Rhea Hughes who can hang with the big boys.

2.
A. Donovan McNabb a one way ticket out of the city.
B. Brian Westbrook a vacation after carrying the team on his back for the last few years.
C. Andy Reid the other one way ticket with McNabb.
D. Maurice Cheeks Two new players Dr.J and Moses Malone in their prime.
E. Ed Stefanski the top spot in next years draft plus lots of cap space.
F. Brett Myers. An award with the first name of Cy.
G. Pat Burrell Hasn't he had enough with this last contract ?
H. Mike Richards. At least one engraving on a Cup named Stanley
I. Bud Selig A nice room at a retirement village.
H Gov Rendell. What do you get a guy who has Alycia Lane's phone number ?

Joe Messina
Philly

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1. This had everything to do coincidence, broadcasting and the sports people involved -- and nothing to do with gender. Both incidents took place with sideline reporters. Most sideline reporters these days happen to be female. If there IS any gender bias, maybe it's the cynical network execs who think fans are such Neanderthals that we need a pretty face to keep our attention. Here's the reality: Paterno has always had a prickly relationship with the press. Bonnie Bernstein just happened to be the media person involved. McNabb? Anytime he opens his mouth, you have a 50-50 chance for a controversy. The reporter who got caught up in it this time just happened to be Pam Oliver. Both situations could have just as easily occurred if the reporters were named Bennie Bernstein or Pete Oliver. This wasn't gender bias; just two sports figures whose problems with the media created a controversy that happened to involve females.

2. Here's a little something to give each of the guys:

Donovan McNabb: A clue

Brian Westbrook: The ball

Andy Reid: A sabbatical

Maurice Cheeks: A team

Sixers GM Ed Stefanski: Permission to call Mr. Snider, "Ed"

Brett Myers: A role

Pat Burrell: A different uniform

Mike Richards: A Brinks truck ... and permission to call his owner "Ed"

Bud Selig: A buyout package

Gov. Ed Rendell: A new cell number ... so TV anchors in distress won't call him

Jeff Brooks
Montgomeryville

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A, Donovan McNabb = Thicker skin

B, Brian Westbrook = A new multi-year contract

C, Andy Reid = Humility sprinkled with some flexibility

D, Maurice Cheeks = Another job in the organization

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski =  A GLOBE (We need foreign players!!!)

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers = 20 Wins

G, Pat Burrell = His walking papers after this year. He can't move in left field any more.

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers = Nothing, he already got his gift.

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig = His walking papers.

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell = A muzzle. He's as qualified to be on the postgame as I am. Doesn't he have some sort of "governor business" to do on Sundays.

Mike DiFebbo
Southampton, Pa.

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1, I don't think it would be much different if she were male. I think all reporters try too hard to put their own spin on things instead of doing their job-reporting. I've even noticed that a lot with the local Comcast guys lately and I can't stand it. As soon as she said, "I got the impression..." I said to my friends that her job isn't to report on her impression.

2,

A, Donovan McNabb - A Break. I've never seen an athlete who gets more crap, yet he seems like a great guy who has been one of the greatest Eagles ever. Oh, and another year as our starter.

B, Brian Westbrook -

C, Andy Reid - A surveillance system to keep an eye on his 2 kids. I feel bad for him that those 2 idiots keep making him look bad.

D, Maurice Cheeks - A 1 year extension. I'd like to see him back next year to see what he can do when they are a year older and hopefully, more talented.

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski - Some lottery luck.

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers - Health!

G, Pat Burrell - A year where we just let him be. If you give him 500 at bats, he'll put up decent numbers. No, he may not be what some expected him to be, but he's much better than what people think he is. Other than Rollins, he was our best player in the 2nd half.

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers - He can buy his own gift now.

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig -

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell - A pink slip from the postgame show so he can do his job as Governor.

Brian Ward
Blue Bell, Pa.

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1.  If the sideline reporter was Tony Siragusa, he would have reported that McNabb told him that he had to try the new team (of Campbell's Chunky Chili)

2.

A, Donovan McNabb - a trade to the Bears in exchange for Devin Hester and a draft pick

B, Brian Westbrook - Well-Deserved Star Status

C, Andy Reid - a makeover from someone who doesn't think Craig Stadler was the sexiest golfer ever

D, Maurice Cheeks - patience of a saint with the mouth of a sinner

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski - extra draft picks

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers - more effective 3rd and 4th pitches

G, Pat Burrell - another year like last year

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers - bubble wrap to protect him

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig - a set of stones big enough to do what needs to be done.  He is going to have to channel the ghost Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell - a soccer stadium in Chester  (come on, you knew I'd sneak it in there)

Bryan James
Wilmington

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A, Donovan McNabb _a Pam Oliver doll___

B, Brian Westbrook _continued success and a case of glucosamine______

C, Andy Reid _better babysitters______

D, Maurice Cheeks _Dr J reincarnated_____

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski __a gallon of "tuff skin" concentrated____

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers _Dr Phil as a special personal trainer_____

G, Pat Burrell _a glove___

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers _anti staggering pills_________

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig __a "How to Resign" pamphlet_______

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell ___Alycia Lane in his stocking______

Michael Watts
Bethlehem, Pa.

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2,

A, Donovan McNabb __a backbone_______

B, Brian Westbrook __a couple young, stud offensive linemen_______

C, Andy Reid ___people-to-people skills_book_____

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski ___"Pat Croce" marketing skills______

G, Pat Burrell _____"Swing, Batter, Batter",  country song by Trace Adkins___

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig ___a gift certificate to a GOOD hair stylist______

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell ___one-way ticket to (stay in) Harrisburg!________

Bob Gaynor
Washington Township, NJ

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A, Donovan McNabb _________Real PR representation and a muzzle

B, Brian Westbrook _________hyperbaric chamber

C, Andy Reid _________a 12 month trip around the world to go with a sabbatical

D, Maurice Cheeks _________a pep talk

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers _________gift card to the local shrink

G, Pat Burrell ________a lecture about the grass sometimes REALLY being greener on the other side of the fence

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers ____________with all that cash, nothing.

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig _________a job in another field

Paul Buehler
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

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2.

A, Donovan McNabb, I would give him a copy of Eric Lindros autobigraphy and a can of super low fat broth so he can trim down a little and get some speed back.

B, Brian Westbrook, would get a pat on the back for doing what he is supposed to do and a vintage Superman T-Shirt._______

C, Andy Reid, clone of Big Jon_________

D, Maurice Cheeks _____I'd make him the Bob Kelly of the Sixers____

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski ____Goodluck_____

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers ___I'd give him some advice,don't hit your wife.______

G, Pat Burrell _____He already has it all,he gets nothing.___

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers _____A book on being humble_______

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig ______Ayta Boy Bud. Dope.___

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell _Slim Fast Bars and hope he comes back to the City to get the place moving forward again.__________

Greg Bartels
Long Beach Island, N.J.

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1, I doubt it. I don't know the circumstances around the conversation Joe and Bonnie had. It sound like Donovan thought he and Pam were just chatting. Her interview with Jody MacDonald suggested that as well, but she couched like despite her demeanor, she's always on the job. I wonder. Chatting someone up and then reporting on what was said is one thing and probably more about Donovan and Pam than Joe and Bonnie. Ultimately, I think it's situational and not gender.

2

A, Donovan McNabb A Quik Release

B, Brian Westbrook Tiki Barber's Trainer

C, Andy Reid A Speech Writer

D, Maurice Cheeks A Power Foward with skills

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski A Power Forward with skills

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers A Fourth Starter

G, Pat Burrell Laser Surgery

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers My Niece's phone number

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig A Spine

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell A Napkin

Dana Wickes
Langhorne, Pa.

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2, handing out Christmas gifts by Gregg

A, Donovan McNabb - more hugs from his Mommy

B, Brian Westbrook - More money from his owner

C, Andy Reid - Nutri-system & Our Lads NFL draft guide

D, Maurice Cheeks - clones of DR. J and Bobby Jones

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski - more hair and victories

F, Brett Myers - a healthy arm & Moyers mind on how to pitch

G, Pat Burrell - more fan appreciation

H, Mike Richards - a different sport

I, Bud Selig - a different job

J, Ed Rendell - a fantasy football team

Gregg Atzert

Riverside N.J.

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1, I don't think it has a lot to do with the reporters being female, maybe it is more that side line reporters are really a point less job. They never get anything good out of a coach or player right before half or any other time. Most of their answers could be recycled and put into a rotation and they would make just as much sense. But none the less it would be nice to have a clear report on what is being stated, if they stretch the interview or words said to make it more interesting than they have to be ready to back up their reports.

Now lets give these gifts out:

McNabb             A Box of tissues  (all he has been doing is crying)

Westbrook         A back massage chair   (his back has to hurt the way he has been carrying the team all year)

Reid                   A joke book       (get a little personality)

Cheeks            some lip balm   (it's going to be a cold winter)

Sixers GM         a tall powerful center    (how old is Shaq's kid?)

Brett Myers       a comfortable seat or cushion, he will be sitting four days in a row this season

Pat Burrell         A calender and rip out all the months except July / Aug / Sept (That seems to be when he hits)

Mike Richards     a globe    (it seems like he is on top of the world right now) He has it all

Bud Selig          a new look, glasses and hair piece, or maybe just a mirror so he can see what a fool looks like

Ed Rendell        A Steelers Jersey   (its ok Ed, we all love your passion for the Eagles but you have                                              a real  excuse to root for the other PA team this year, at least have a little fun)

Mike Hart
Ridley Park, Pa.

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1, It has nothing to do with them being women. Players renege on comments all the time, no matter who the reporter, no matter what the reporter's credibility. Pam's legs to stand on would be stronger if she'd quoted Donovan rather than saying "he gave the impression" though, you know?

2,

A, Donovan McNabb _Thick Skin

B, Brian Westbrook _The money he gave back

C, Andy Reid _a pink slip

D, Maurice Cheeks _real NBA quality players

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski _the Midas touch

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers _if he only had a brain!

G, Pat Burrell _consistency (on the high end)

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers _his health (and one of his jerseys in my stocking!!!)

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig _a letter of resignation to sign

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell _a new phone number (can't have the rabble calling the gov!)

Deborah Sullivan
Philly

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1, As a baseball writer in today's very female-friendly climate, I know there are still gains to be made. But what women in this profession know is that there are minds we are never going to change. I've heard plenty of Pam Oliver jokes that pertain to her not knowing how to do her job because she's a woman. But I also don't believe it's JUST because a woman that she's being called into question. Sports writers, both male and female, have their share of critics.

2,

A, Donovan McNabb His own tape recorder. So HE knows exactly what he says. And didn't.

C, Andy Reid A session with Dr. Phil.

G, Pat Burrell A special award for dedication to abuse. There's no tougher guy.

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers The phone numbers of all my single girlfriends.

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig  A new job. But that present would be for the majority of baseball fans.

Jessica Quiroli

Philly

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1. I'm not sure this is necessarily a female vs. male reporter issue. I think male reporters get thrown under the bus all the time. Sometimes I think what the life of a celebrity would be like. I wonder how I would feel if EVERYTHING I said could possibly be repeated on the evening news, or on the sidelines of a football game. I have no doubt that Donovan said what he said to Pam Oliver, but after he blurted it out he wanted to retract it. If he went back to her and said, "He Pam....I don't want that out there," I'm sure she would have reported that too: "Donovan then came back to me and said he wanted to retract what he said."

It's tough because if you take the approach of saying, "I'm not taking to any more reports," you get ridiculed for that too.

2. O.K. Christmas presents, eh? Well some of these folks need a trip to the Wizard of Oz, not Santa Claus, but I'll give it a try:

A, Donovan McNabb a copy of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

B, Brian Westbrook just let him keep the rest of that money he owes the Eagles.

C, Andy Reid some cough drops and a one year sabatical.

D, Maurice Cheeks a modern day Dr. J, Moses Malone, and Andrew Toney. He's already got a good point guard.

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski the key to Billy King's wine locker at Capital Grill.

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers a pitching coach who will help him be the first switch pitching pitcher. He can be a right handed starter and a left handed relief pitcher. That way he can play both roles and pitch pretty much every day.

G, Pat Burrell a half year contract. He only plays the months when he's hitting and the other months he lounges on a beach.

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers: Hey he should be buying us presents!

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig: I'd give him one dose of steroids...just to try it. See if agrees with his players who all seem to have "Not enhailed"

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell: Oh that's easy. A copy of Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. Ed forget the politics, just take a permanent job as a sports color comentator on Comcast.

Mike Grossman
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

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1.  Although I have seen male and female reporters get treated this way after reporting a true story, I think females still get less respect.  Personally, while many female reporters are there for their looks and are not good reporters, I feel there are at least 5 top notch female reporters: Oliver (fox), Kolber (espn), Bernstein, Tafoya and Simpson (VS hockey broadcasts).  I am 100 o/o sure Pam Oliver reported accurately.

A. 1 way ticket out of town

B. The 3M he was overpaid and has to pay back

C. A treadmill or more respect for the media

D. Better players

E. Lots of prayers

F. Better control of his temper

G. More speed

H. Another 60M so he can afford to buy season tickets when he retires or a Lexus so he can get a better parking spot near the arena (don't get me started on that one)

I. A backbone

J. The realization that there are 2 major league cities in PA, not just 1.

Joe Peca
Lansdale, Pa.

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A, Donovan McNabb  - therapy. He's entirely too insecure.

B, Brian Westbrook   -  a new offensive coordinator

C, Andy Reid   -  "Bill Cosby on Fatherhood" by Bill Cosby

D, Maurice Cheeks  - some players

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski  - see Maurice Cheeks

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers  - anger management counseling

G, Pat Burrell   - contact lenses

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers  -  a recliner

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig   - HGH

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell   -    a cheesesteak from Genos. My bad. You have to speak English to order there.

Craig Belcher

Philly

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1.  The McNabb/Oliver issue never seemed to be a gender issue to me, so I didn't see at as any question as to female credibility covering male sports.  I see it as a McNabb issue.  He said something that later he regretted, and he was covering his tracks.  This is the first time I remember him backtracking rather than facing an issue directly.  This incident doesn't reflect positively on him.


2.

A, Donovan McNabb: a new communications degree

B, Brian Westbrook: a winning team

C, Andy Reid: a subsription to Runners World.  It may help his physical condition while sublimanally planting some thoughts of running in his playbook.

D, Maurice Cheeks: all I am saying is give Cheeks a chance.

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski: all I am saying is give Cheeks a chance...and some players.

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers: a metronome.

G, Pat Burrell: a yoga class to help with flexibility.

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the Flyers: a good investment advisor.

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig: a permanent vacation.

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell: He's governor and an Eagles commentator.  He's set.

Joe Boyce
Levittown, Pa.

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Pulling out the gender card is beneath you (at least I thought it was). I give Pam the benefit of the doubt if it's possible to give any story chasing reporter one. She real good at what she does.

Gifts,

McNabb scissors to cut Mommy and daddy's strings from him and a muzzle to stop whining.

Reid, a ticket out of town. Westbrook a 5 million raise and the 3 they claim they overpaid him

Banner is such a weasel. Burrell Plane ticket to ANY! American league team.

Moe: respect and better players.

Bill Shanahan
Philly

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1, no....it's a symptom of the merger of tabloid/celebrity gossip media with sports media....I'm old fashioned, I could give a hoot about the gossip angles...just enjoy the GAMES THEMSELVES.  I watch games with the sound off....listen either to music or Merrill Reese's broadcast...After 55 or so years watching Iggle games I don't need all that chatter.

2,

A, Donovan McNabb A DVD of Sonny Jurgensen's quick release techniques and some ear muffs

B, Brian Westbrook a 3 million dollar bonus

C, Andy Reid:  Free parenting classes for troublesome grown men acting as adolescents

D, Maurice Cheeks: An athletic power forward

E, New Sixers GM Ed Stefanski:  A gift from Fitz Dixon's estate - Money to buy the next Dr J

F, Starter, no closer, no starter Brett Myers: A book by Steve Carlton:

The Zen of Pitching/ note: chapter one, keeping cool when things are going bad

G, Pat Burrell: a rope to keep his head and shoulders square during batting contact

H, Mike Richards, who just signed a staggering 12-year deal with the

Flyers:  keys to the city

I, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig : A year's supply of testosterone and a set of gonads, then a farewell party (Conlin's good idea)

J, Gov. (and Eagles postgame analyst) Ed Rendell :  a new mirror with a picture of a clown in it

Albert Singer
Raleigh, N.C.

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