BERNIE AWARDS — The Boxing Writers Association of America has announced the winners of the 16th annual Bernie awards. The awards acknowledge outstanding writing in six categories.
The Sweet Science garnered two second place awards and a third place award, all thanks to Bernard Fernandez. A New Orleans native, Fernandez has covered the boxing beat for more than four decades. He retired from the Philadelphia Daily News in April of 2012 after a 28-year run with that newspaper.
The stories for which Fernandez was honored were published here on March 6, March 29, and Aug. 25. In chronological order they were:
“Squatty and Inelegant, Khurtsidze Steals the Show” (second place in the category of Boxing Event Coverage).
“Referee Mills Lane: Still Fighting at Age 78” (second place in the category of Boxing Feature under 1,500 words).
“Rio Olympics Redux: When Will the Corruption End?” (third place in the category of Investigative Reporting).
In addition, TSS editor-in-chief Arne K. Lang received an honorable mention for his story “Herb ‘Herbie Hoops’ Lambeck (1932-2015): Boxing’s Peerless Pricemaker.” The story ran on May 25.
Lang was in tough in the category “Boxing Feature over 1,500 Words.” Multi-decorated Thomas Hauser, a frequent TSS contributor, copped first place for “The Long, Sad Goodbye,” a previously unpublished essay that appeared in Hauser’s 2016 book “Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to the Greatest.” An excerpted version of the essay was published by the New York Times a week after Ali’s death.
The Bernie awards were named for Bernard Fernandez. A former five-time president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Fernandez’s list of honors includes the 1998 Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism.
Lest anyone think that it isn’t kosher for Fernandez to win an award named for himself, it should be noted that the judging is done on the blind, meaning that all bylines and other identifying marks, including the publication or web site for which the story was written, are omitted from the copies that the judges receive. The panel for the 2016 Bernie awards consisted of the following individuals:
TOMMY DEAS, Executive Sports Editor, Tuscaloosa News; President, Associated Press Sports Editors
TOM CUSHMAN, San Diego Union-Tribune (retired)
JIM JENKINS, Sacramento Bee (retired)
BRYCE MILLER, Sports Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune
ED SCHUYLER, Jr., The Associated Press (retired)
RICK TELANDER, Sports Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
The honorees will be acknowledged at the 91st renewal of the annual dinner of the Boxing Writers Association of America on March 16 at Capitale in New York City. The Sweet Science extends congratulations to all the winners. For a complete list, visit the organization’s web site at www.bwaa.org.
Pictured: Our very own Bernard Fernandez (far right) with Bernard Hopkins.