Richard Deitsch of The Athletic called the presentation of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to the survivors of sexual assault at the hands of Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar “the most powerful moment in the 25-year history of the ESPY Awards”. Actress Jennifer Garner introduced and narrated a short film in which multiple survivors detailed their abuse and subsequent testimony before 141 of them came on stage to accept the award in person.
Deitsch doesn’t overestimate one bit how powerful the moment was. If you haven’t already seen it, you can watch it here.
In a new “Media Circus” column at The Athletic, Deitsch and ESPYs producer Maura Mandt talked about how the moment came together. It was not only an emotional one, but one that Deitsch speculates was quite expensive.
She would not say how much the segment cost, but industry sources told The Athletic that ESPN likely spent about $1 million all told. All of the Nassar survivors, including ones not on the stage, were given a custom bracelet from ESPN with the word “Courage” inscribed on the top and the date of the ESPYs.
Mandt said that ESPN’s willingness to work with her staff is what made the event possible, because there was so much to consider in the way of what these women’s needs would be once they got to Los Angeles for the ceremony.
When we had the number we tried to provide as much thought as we could to how to make this experience one that would be positive. We had everything from hair and makeup to crisis counselors to therapy dogs standing by to offer support. We had an entire operation for just this segment, with about 50-60 people just working on this. One thing I want to add is the support that ESPN gave to us in doing this. No matter what the ask was from us — and there were many —(executive vice president of content) Connor Schell, Allison Overholt (an ESPN vice president and editor of ESPN The Magazine and (ESPN President) Jimmy Pitaro never hesitated to put doing the right thing over cost.
How do you pull of a segment where 142 different people would be on stage? Mandt told Deitsch that there was a lot of practice.
We rehearsed with 141 stand-ins for three hours on Tuesday night, then we had all the survivors come and ran through it three times with them and (presenter) Jennifer Garner. We then showed them the piece. It was one of the most special moments in my career. I was so honored and humbled to speak to these survivors. They were incredibly gracious and kind. They are remarkable – each and every one. And to realize that they represent so many more.
The full interview can be found here.
CBS: Calling Meeting With Tony Romo ‘Intervention’ is ‘Complete Mischaracterization’
“We meet regularly with our on-air talent.”
An opening question in broadcasting circles is ‘What happened to Tony Romo?’, with even CBS reportedly pondering the issue.
During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast earlier this week, The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand claimed CBS attempted “an intervention” with its lead NFL analyst.
The intended mission of several alleged meetings with CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and CBS NFL producer Jim Rikhoff was to return Romo to his previous heights, which were widely regarded as the best NFL analyst in the business.
CBS Sports has responded to the insinuation that the meetings would be classified as an “intervention” with a strong denial.
“To call this an intervention is a complete mischaracterization, we meet regularly with our on-air talent,” CBS Sports spokeswoman Jen Sabatelle told Marchand.
Marchand added that CBS Sports officials plan to attempt to rectify the issues it sees with Romo again this offseason. Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS Sports in 2020 — is slated to call Super Bowl LVIII in 2024 with Jim Nantz.
Cameron Maybin Joining Detroit Tigers TV Booth
“All of us at Bally Sports Detroit are energized about this upcoming season and watching all the excitement unfold.”
After being dropped from the New York Yankees booth on YES Network, Cameron Maybin has a new television home with the Detroit Tigers.
The 35-year-old Maybin had three separate one-year stints with the Tigers during his 15-season big league career. Maybin was drafted by the franchise with the 10th overall selection of the 2005 MLB Draft.
A report from the Detroit Free Press adds that the Tigers will rely on Craig Monroe as its primary color commentator alongside play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard. Monroe played six of his nine MLB seasons in Detroit and was a member of the team’s 2006 World Series club.
Additionally, former Tigers relief pitcher Todd Jones will also join the broadcast crew on Bally Sports Detroit as an analyst for the 2023 season. Jones pitched for Detroit from 1997 through 2001 and also from 2006 through 2008.
“Tigers baseball is always a winner,” Bally Sports Detroit Senior Vice President and General Manager Greg Hammaren said Thursday in a statement. “All of us at Bally Sports Detroit are energized about this upcoming season and watching all the excitement unfold.
“Our crew behind the scenes and our engaging talent on camera are the best in the business. Starting with spring training, we are committed to bringing Tigers fans the absolute best coverage all season long.”
The news of Maybin and Jones joining the Bally Sports Detroit booth comes on the heels of the network failing to reach an agreement with Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris to return to the network. The Free Press report claims Morris was offered a reduced role with the television broadcaster, but declined.
Ian Rapoport: I Have Never Thought It is Me vs Adam Schefter
“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows.”
In terms of NFL insiders, Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are the two biggest names out there. And sometimes it can be a race between the two to get the biggest scoops first. Especially now with the NFL coaching carousel in full swing.
This week two teams hired new head coaches – the Broncos traded two first round picks to the Saints to acquire the rights to Sean Payton and the Texans signed DeMeco Ryans.
Rapoport tweeted that Denver had pursued Ryans up until the day they announced the trade for Payton.
Not even 15 minutes later, Schefter appeared to clarify the information out there with the two teams.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Pat McAfee referred to the conflicting information as a “source off.”
Ian said he stood behind what he put out there.
“I know it’s fun to call it a source off or whatever, but for me I reported what I had based on the best information I can get – based on talking to many, many people throughout the course of the last month,” Rapoport said from the Senior Bowl. “And then whatever happens as a result of this I don’t really mind.”
In terms of any sort of rivalry between him and Schefter, Rapoport doesn’t view it as a head-to-head matchup.
“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows,” he said. “And everyone can sort of judge for themselves whichever way to go.”
McAfee gave kudos to Rapoport for his reporting on the Ryans situation. He also said it’s a good thing Rapoport doesn’t worry himself too much about what other insiders are doing.
“I think you should feel good about it, but I do like a good source off,” McAfee said. “And I appreciate the fact that you don’t view it as you versus Schefter. But you two are at the top of the game. So that’s a compliment more so than anything.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.