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ESPN Personalities Comment On Protests, Death of George Floyd

“Kudos to ESPN for recognizing that this is an issue that should speak to all of us. And kudos to the talent that listened, and asked questions and especially to those that opened up and spoke so emotionally about the issue and the moment.”

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The death of George Floyd at the hands of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chavin last Monday and the many protests that have happened across the United States over the weekend had many athletes and ESPN personalities voicing their opinion on the tragic event and what needs to change in this country. 

As I was watching SportsCenter on Saturday night, I came across anchor Michael Eaves talking about the impact this situation had on him. It was leading into a piece done by Jeremy Schaap about the impact athletes are having during these tough times.

Eaves has not been the only personality who has spoken out over the weekend. On Friday’s Get Up, Jalen Rose talked about how we as a society need to come together, not just when it is convenient.

https://twitter.com/JalenRose/status/1266381588994146312

Marcus Spears, who contributes to Get Up and College Football Live among other shows on ESPN and the SEC Network, tweeted on Sunday a statement saying this is the best he could explain the situation and then spoke on Monday’s Get Up about the impact it had on his 11-year-old son: 

https://twitter.com/GetUpESPN/status/1267456484306309121

On ESPN Radio’s Sunday Morning show hosted by Matt Schick and Myron Medcalf, Schick mentioned how he had a discussion with his kids about everything going on in the world and he told them about what happened to Emmett Till. I will leave that clip here along with the interview Schick and Medcalf did with North Carolina Central men’s basketball coach, LeVelle Moton: 

https://twitter.com/ESPNRadio/status/1267170778547716097

Another segment I was able to catch Sunday was when Chris Carlin and Alyssa Lang had Bart Scott, the former Jets linebacker and co-host of Bart and Hahn on ESPN Radio New York, on their show and Lang asked what white people can do to help the situation.

“Just make abundantly clear that silence is compliance,” Scott answered. “If you fail to say nothing, you are saying it is ok and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Eventually, if you don’t attack injustice, eventually it is going to be on your doorsteps.” 

On Monday’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Le Batard spoke on the subject and you can hear the emotion he was using (credit to @gifdsports for the audio).

“It’s heartbreaking. I’m just an observer. Latin or not, minority or not, I come from privilege. I hope we can just laugh today that there can be some medicine somewhere in this,” Le Batard said. “I’ve been alive for 51 years. I have not had as heartbreaking a weekend for something that didn’t really directly impact me as I did this weekend where my fear kept me in a place. This bone-weariness, this feeling that you have in your heart, in your stomach, it feels like a disease.”

Kudos to ESPN for recognizing that this is an issue that should speak to all of us. And kudos to the talent that listened, and asked questions and especially to those that opened up and spoke so emotionally about the issue and the moment. We as a country need to do better. So, the one thing I would want everyone to take from this article and these people is please, take a minute, and listen. 

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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