Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yankees president Randy Levine slams Barbara Kopple's ESPN documentary on George Steinbrenner - by Bob Raissman

Yankees president
Randy Levine slams
Barbara Kopple's ESPN
documentary on
George Steinbrenner

Thursday, September 9th 2010, 4:00 AM

Sounding very much like his old boss, Yankees
president Randy Levine Wednesday fired verbal
shots at an upcoming ESPN documentary on George
Steinbrenner, calling it "disjointed" and "the usual
news at 6."

The film, "The House of Steinbrenner," is produced
by Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbara
Kopple. It will air on Sept. 21 as part of ESPN's "30
for 30" series.

"It was very disappointing to watch the film. She had
unbelievable access to the Yankees. She had great
access to Hal (Steinbrenner). The interview with him w
as exceptional," Levine said. "The rest of the film
was the usual news at 6. It was a disjointed effort.
I'm not sure where she was trying to go with the

"As somebody who is an admirer of hers, I just think
she swung and missed at this one."

Kopple said Levine did discuss "The House of
Steinbrenner" with her after watching it at her office.

"I'm sad Randy Levine feels this way," Kopple said
Wednesday. "I feel when people see this film they
won't quite understand what he's talking about."

Kopple said her film projects love - love of the

"You see a lot of it through the fans and their
excitement and their passion for the team," Kopple
said. "You see it in the pilgrimages the people make
to (the old)
Yankee Stadium on the final day."
Levine insisted he was just putting on his critic hat
and not speaking for the organization. Does he also
see himself as caretaker of The Boss' image and the
Yankees brand? Did this make him more sensitive to
Kopple's effort?

"No, absolutely not," he said. "I don't mind people's
opinions whether they are critical or not critical. I
just thought from a great filmmaker it would say 
Kopple said after Levine watched it ("We showed it to
him out of the good graces of our heart") he "didn't
stay and talk very long," but did ask why he wasn't
in it. Neither Levine nor
GM Brian Cashman appears
in "The House of Steinbrenner." Kopple said she
wanted to include both in the documentary.

"We sent emails asking for Mr. Cashman and Mr.
Levine," Kopple said. "They just said no."

Levine differed, saying: "She's a filmmaker and she's
entitled to decide who she wants in the film. She
never communicated that she wanted to interview me
or many other relevant people at the Yankees."

Now, even with controversy and criticism injected
into the mix, Kopple still has a singular feeling.

"I'm proud," she said, "very proud of this film."

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