Nothing But Nets with a twist

Not everybody at Nothing But Nets is smart.

Yes, we still hang life-saving malaria nets over kids all across the world. And yes, we just passed $32 million in donations, much of it from sports fans. And, yes, it's still the all-time no-brainer in giving.

But sometimes we do dumb things. For instance, for last week's Global Leadership Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, we picked a very bad MC -- me.

To wit:

  • Martha Stewart didn't seem all that pleased with my introduction of her, which included my reminder to the crowd to bring its centerpieces to her afterward: "Martha is going to knit a 747 out of them."

  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon didn't seem to get my little joke following a video of his appearance on "American Idol." We were honoring "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller, whose Idol Gives Back program has donated more than $175 million to UN Foundation causes and others like them. Fuller had Ban on the show once just to thank people. Coming out of the video, I said to the secretary-general, "It was a little pitchy at first, but then you worked it out, dog!"

He just stared at me and blinked.

Not a big Randy Jackson fan, I guess.

  • Fuller, by the way, is more than just an 800-pound gorilla in television. (He created not only "American Idol" but also Britain's "Pop Idol" and more than a dozen "Idol" spin-offs). He's also the manager for "Idol" winners Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, tennis star Andy Murray, models Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford, the estate of Elvis Presley and the image rights to Muhammad Ali. So what's his greatest creation? Maybe this: He set soccer star David Beckham up on his first date with Victoria (Posh Spice). Thirteen years and three sons later, Becks and Posh are still together. Here's David Beckham's side of the story.

(Memo to Roger Goodell: Fuller is not just a huge Manchester United fan, he's also an NFL fan, especially of the Philadelphia Eagles. Who better to head up a group to bring a football team and new stadium to L.A.? If anybody would know how to fill the thing the 357 other days of the year, it would be Fuller.)

  • Ted Turner, who gave $1 billion to the UN Foundation to ensure that no charity under its umbrella -- such as Nothing But Nets -- would ever have to pay a dime in overhead, introduced U.S. Senator John Kerry. I introduced Turner by noting that even though Turner is famous for showing up everywhere a half hour early, he showed up just in time to help save the lives of kids in Africa.

Turner stepped to the mike, shook my hand and said, "Thanks, Bill!"

Never mix sports writers with real people.