ESPN made official one of the worst-kept secrets in sport media last week: the Sunday Countdown show is getting a major makeover, with Sam Ponder being named as the host of the studio show to replace Chris Berman.
Ponder previously had numerous college football responsibilities with ESPN; the new gig, however, creates an interesting question: Can she objectively facilitate discussions about a league in which her husband — ex-Vikings QB Christian Ponder — plays?
It's an interesting conflict-of-interest question — one posed in a recent interview with Sam Ponder by SI's Richard Deitsch. Ponder gave a thoughtful answer, that reads, in part:
"I am not an analyst, so my role isn't to critique my husband, his teammates or anyone for that matter. However, I do think that when fully disclosed and appropriate, relationships with athletes and coaches can greatly benefit sports fans."
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.