More Messages: Career Kickoff

CNN's Larry King loves Colorado -- or at least Colorado newsmakers. Over the years, he's done more shows related to the JonBenet Ramsey murder than anyone this side of Greta Van Susteren, and he's regularly visited by Focus on the Family's James Dobson, probably because King is less likely to ask about something uncomfortable than any other major interviewer. As noted in this recent blog item, Dobson chatted with King on November 22, and less than a week later, he encountered another Colorado celebrity: Katie Hnida, onetime placekicker for the CU Buffs, who claims to have been raped by one teammate and harassed by quite a few others.

Hnida has just written a book entitled Still Kicking: My Dramatic Journey As the First Woman to Play Division One College Football; she's pictured here at a recent signing event. As the tome's title implies, she's keen to focus on her success at breaking the gender barrier for the Buffs and the New Mexico Lobos, a team she joined after fleeing Boulder and then-Coach Gary Barnett, who'd dismissed her footwork as "terrible." But during her November 28 appearance (she was second on the bill, after Denise Brown, sister of Nicole Brown Simpson), King tossed out a bare handful of preliminary questions before zeroing in on the rape accusation with inquiries like "Why did you not identify the perpetrator?"

Rather than showing frustration, Hnida replied with practiced aplomb. She comes from a media-savvy family -- her father is Dr. Dave Hnida, a regular on Channel 4 -- and she's gotten plenty of practice dealing with folks like King in recent years. (She hit the Today show on her book tour, too.) Hence, she understands how important appearances are, and on this night, she looked as if a team of professional stylists had made her camera-ready. The contrast between her current image and earlier footage of her in Lobos gear was striking, and you can bet broadcast execs noticed.

When King asked her what she planned to do in the future, she noted that she lives in New York now, adding, "My future plans are wide open." That likely means she'd eagerly entertain TV job offers, and there's a good chance some will come her way -- thanks in part to Colorado-loving Larry. -- Michael Roberts

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts