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Stephen Jackson’s Emotional Today Show Interview Gets National Attention

“Jackson said that he was asleep on the couch with his daughter when he started receiving messages about the video of Floyd’s death.”

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14-year NBA veteran Stephen Jackson was a lifelong friend of George Floyd, the black man killed in a video that shows a Minneapolis police officer putting a knee on his neck for eight minutes. Jackson has been outspoken on social media about his relationship with the man he called “Twin.” The two grew up together playing basketball in Texas.

On Thursday, Jackson was a guest on NBC’s Today Show to talk about Floyd and the comments he has made about his friend’s death. The interview was emotional, with Jackson fighting back tears through much of what he said.

“We always hung together. Every time I went to Houston, it was my first stop, to stop and pick him up and see where he was,” Jackson told NBC’s Craig Melvin. “What’s killing me the most is, being a professional athlete, so many people abuse your friendship and abuse your kindness. He was one of those guys that genuinely supported me. He didn’t call unless he genuinely needed it.”

Jackson said that he was asleep on the couch with his daughter when he started receiving messages about the video of Floyd’s death. He says that he “hasn’t been the same since” seeing the video.

Melvin asked Jackson what his first thought was when he saw Floyd cry out for his mother after saying multiple times that he could not breathe.

“It hurt, man. Jackson said through tears. “It hurt because I knew it was a cry for help.”

The interview ended with Melvin asking Jackson what he thought his friend would say about the protests outside of Minneapolis Police Headquarters that have turned violent.

“Honestly, [George Floyd] would be happy people are fighting for them, but that’s not the way he would want them to do it,” Jackson responded. “He’d want the people responsible for his death penalized. He wasn’t the type to want to hurt innocent people.”

After retiring from the NBA in 2014, Jackson joined ESPN as an NBA analyst. He now co-hosts Showtime’s basketball podcast All the Smoke with former teammate and fellow NBA veteran Matt Barnes.

Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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Sports TV News

Michael Irvin Removed From NFL Network Super Bowl Coverage

“I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds.”

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A complaint from a female to NFL Network has caused the network to remove Michael Irvin from its Super Bowl coverage.

NFL Network did not comment on the nature of the complaint or the allegation of any impropriety by Irvin, simply stating Irvin would not be a participant in coverage of the event from Arizona.

“Michael Irvin will not be a part of NFL Network’s Super Bowl LVII week coverage,” said NFL Media Vice President of Communications Alex Riethmiller in a statement.

Irvin claimed the interaction happened during a brief moment Sunday after having dinner and drinks with former Cowboy defensive back Michael Brooks.

“This all happened in a 45-second conversation in the lobby,” Irvin told The Dallas Morning News. “When I got back after going out … I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds. We shook hands. Then, I left…That’s all I know.”

Irvin, 56, admitted he didn’t recall the conversation between him and the female but called the interaction “just a friendly conversation”. He defended himself by saying “There was definitely nothing physical”.

The report from The Dallas Morning News added that Glendale police officials do not know about any incident regarding Irvin.

A report from Front Office Sports claims ESPN executives are “poised to pull the plug” on Irvin’s scheduled appearance on First Take from Radio Row Friday.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer has been with NFL Network since 2009, and in August of last year signed an extension to remain with the cable channel.

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Sports TV News

Pro Bowl Lowest Rated Since 2006

While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues.

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The NFL completely revamped its Pro Bowl format for the 2022 season, and the changes did not garner more viewers.

An average of 6.28 million viewers tuned into the event across ABC, ESPN, and DisneyXD Sunday for the first 7-on-7 event. That number is a decrease of 6% compared to last year and is the lowest-rated Pro Bowl since the 2006 event saw just 5.96 million viewers. That figure excludes the 2021 Pro Bowl, which was a “virtual” event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest-rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues, with the MLB All-Star Game seeing an average viewership of 7.51 million. The 6.28 million who watched the Pro Bowl is a virtual tie with last season’s NBA All-Star Game.

The Pro Bowl Skills Challenge — now produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions — did see a large increase in viewership compared to last year. More than 1 million viewers tuned into the Thursday night primetime event, which is the second-best figure on record. That audience is a 23% increase compared to last year’s event.

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