Tom Goldman

For NPR Sports Correspondent Tom Goldman, covering sports means more than just talking scores. It's about illuminating the people who make sports happen. As NPR's only sports correspondent, Goldman's beat covers the entire world of professional sports - in the U.S. and abroad. It's a broad assignment for one person, but Goldman admits enjoying the challenge. "It plays into one of my greatest strengths as a journalist: I'm extremely open-minded. I enjoy doing a story about something I know nothing about. It brings a freshness that I hope is conveyed in the final story," he explains. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs.

During his 15 years with NPR, Goldman has covered seven Super Bowls, several World Series, and with Athens, six Olympic Games — and brought perspective and context to each. His pieces are diverse, and often explore people's motivations for doing what they do — whether it's sailing around the world solo or pursuing a gold medal. And his coverage resonates with listeners. He recalls, "I did a short piece on the death of a black high school basketball coach in Ohio who lived among the world's largest population of Amish/Mennonites. It was a story of contrast and love, and what amazed me was the listener response. There was no production in the piece, just a wonderful story. And it said so much about what listeners often want — the kinds of nice stories we in the media often sneer at."

Goldman often searches for the stories about the amateur and everyday athletes whom we all can relate to - and be inspired by. One of his favorites grew out of a conversation he had with NPR sports editor Uri Berliner. Why, they wondered, don't we hear about Native American basketball players succeeding at the college and pro levels, when we hear so much about how important basketball is on reservations throughout the country? The result was a 12-minute report that won two prestigious awards: the 2004 Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University; and a 2004 Unity Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association

Goldman came to NPR in January 1990. He started as an associate producer for sports with Morning Edition, and over the years moved on to report, edit pieces, edit shows, and produce. In June 1997, he began his current assignment.

Before coming to NPR, Goldman worked as a news reporter and then news director in local public radio from 1985 to 1990. In 1984 he spent a year living on an Israeli kibbutz. He held his first professional job in radio in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Alaska Public Radio Network from 1982 - 83.

For Goldman, there's no place like NPR for sports coverage. "For my particular beat, I am reminded why I work for NPR every time I'm forced to go into a locker room or attend a press conference and hear the inane back and forth between most sports reporters and athletes. I think to myself at times like that... thank God I don't have to say things like, 'You HAD to feel good about your performance tonight' or ask 'Those 17 points in the third quarter... were you just feeling it?'"

He admits that his open mindedness combined with an inherited sense of skepticism ("which allows me to zero in on the tremendous amount of BS in the sports world... the hype, the promotion, the image-making") and a real love of sport, motivates him to find the meaningful stories that reveal something about who we are - no matter what our interest or ability in athletics. With significant national media focus on professional sports, Goldman is always looking for new angles on stories "particularly at the mega-events, the absurdly bloated spectacles like the Super Bowl."

While the sports world is his business, Goldman admits he's no stranger to the crack of the bat, the thwack of the racket, or the swish of the net in his personal life

 

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3:19am

Fri December 27, 2013
Sports

NBA Trailblazers Continue Their Surprising Season

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:06 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

A third of the NBA season is complete and the Portland Trailblazers are on a surprising run. Last night they beat the L. A. Clippers 116 - 112 in overtime. Portland has the league's best record - 24 wins, five losses. Now the tepid pre-season forecasts are turning into talk of how far the Blazers can go in the post-season. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

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3:16am

Fri December 6, 2013
Sports

FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston Won't Be Charged With Rape

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Tomorrow night, star quarterback Jameis Winston will lead the Florida State Seminoles against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game. It's a big deal, mainly because Winston's participation was in doubt. Until yesterday. That's when a Florida prosecutor announced he would not charge Jameis Winston with a felony. A young woman had accused the player of rape after a sexual encounter a year ago. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Never has so much been said about something that didn't happen.

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2:49pm

Tue October 29, 2013
Sports

NBA Preview: On Valuable Knees And Building Legacies

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The NBA begins a new regular season today with three games. Among the match-ups, the two-time defending champion Miami Heat play the Chicago Bulls. That game features the regular season return of Bulls' all-star point guard Derrick Rose. He hurt his knee badly a year and a half ago. As NPR's Tom Goldman reports, knee injuries are just one of the storylines of the new season.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Chicago's preseason began 24 days ago with a game in Indianapolis, and with Bulls fans holding their collective breath.

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2:46am

Fri August 30, 2013
Sports

Concussion Suits: NFL, Retirees Reach $765 Million Deal

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

A dark cloud hanging over the National Football League is a bit lighter today. There is a proposed settlement in a huge concussion lawsuit, brought by over 4,000 former players. The agreement was reached and announced yesterday, a week before the start of the new NFL season. If approved, the league will pay out $765 million to as many as 18,000 former players. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

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4:38pm

Tue August 27, 2013
Sports

USA Swimming Faces Lingering Doubts Over Sexual Abuse

Attorney Robert Allard, seen here with former swimmer Jancy Thompson in 2010, says USA Swimming still needs to improve its handling of sexual abuse claims. The organization is also facing congressional scrutiny.
Ben Margot AP

There's concern the sport of swimming still may be dealing with a sexual abuse problem in the United States.

It's been three years since revelations emerged in the media. A number of in-depth reports in 2010 likened the situation in swimming to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal: Coaches molesting under-age female swimmers; some of the abuse continuing for years without punishment.

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