Starting an anecdote by saying you’re about to channel Archie Bunker, a TV character who was considered a bigot in the 1970s, probably isn’t going to end well in 2020. For former Chicago Cubs All-Star and current broadcaster Mark Grace, it ended in an apology and a reported five-game suspension.
During the Cubs Saturday telecast on their new Marquee Sports Network, Grace offered a long-winded story where he repeatedly referred to his ex-wife as “dingbat” because she once used the parking space of former MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
“My ex-wife, I’m going to go Archie Bunker on you guys a little bit,” Grace began the story. “I called her the dingbat.”
In a statement released by the Chicago Tribune, Grace later apologized for the story and insulting his ex-wife.
“During today’s game I referred to my ex-wife in a way that I absolutely should not have,” said Grace. “I want everyone to know how very sorry I am about that. My remarks were offensive and inappropriate, and I deeply apologize.”
But according to Paul Sullivan of The Tribune, the apology wasn’t enough for Grace to avoid a suspension, as he’ll reportedly miss five Cubs telecasts because of the comments.
Grace is in his first season working as an analyst for the Cubs and their newly launched Marquee Sports Network. He’s also the second broadcaster to make news while discussing their ex-spouse while on-air this month.
During a Pelicans-Grizzlies game, ESPN’s Doris Burke said “I do like being right. Ask my ex-husband,” after correctly predicting a referee’s call. Burke’s comments were better received than Grace’s, but she still took time to apologize to her ex.
Joining Pablo Torre on ESPN Daily, Burke offered an update on how that conversation went. “I will tell you what my ex-husband said: ‘I have the utmost respect for Doris. She’s a great broadcaster and a better mom.’ And I said, ‘you’re a sweetheart. You could have had a little bit of fun and certainly had some fun at my expense,’ but he chose not to go in that direction and kudos to him.”
The two instances show you can discuss your ex on a sports broadcast, just use some semblance of respect in doing so.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Tom Brady: I’ll Join FOX in 2024
“Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving.”
Many have questioned whether Tom Brady will actually join FOX Sports’ top NFL booth after he retires. Today, we have that answer.
During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Brady confirmed he will indeed join Kevin Burkhardt in the network’s top NFL booth, but not until the 2024 season.
“Decompression is important,” Brady said, noting he’ll join the network’s NFL coverage after a year off from the game. “You’re on this kind of really crazy treadmill/hamster wheel, loving the moment, loving the journey, (but) at the same time there’s a daily fight. I have an appreciation to those who are so committed to showing up every day and putting in their max effort to their life and their career.
“I think — for me — I want to be great at what I do. So last week, talking with the people at FOX Sports and the leadership there allowing me to start my FOX opportunity in the fall of 2024 is something that’s great for me.”
Brady added he needs time to absorb a new career before jumping in head first.
“Take some time to really learn, become great at what I want to do, become great at thinking about the opportunity, and make sure I don’t rush into anything. Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving, and I have so many people to rely on that can support me in that growth, too.”
The seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback concluded by saying there are other aspects of his life outside of football that “need some catching up and energy”. He went through a high-profile divorce from supermodel Gisele Bündchen, reportedly stemming from his refusal to retire after the 2021 NFL season.
Brady signed a reported 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX Sports to join the network’s top NFL announcing crew, and serve as a brand ambassador in May of last year.
The addition of Brady to the FOX Sports booth creates a potential log jam in the analyst role. Current FOX Sports top NFL analyst Greg Olsen has received high praise from many both inside and outside the industry for his work with Burkhardt. Olsen hasn’t been shy about his wish to remain in the network’s top booth, saying that while the situation “sucks”, he is a “big boy” and “knows what he signed up for”.
Troy Aikman Believes Tom Brady Has Bright Broadcasting Future
“He has some real opinions. He hasn’t always voiced all of those, of course. Now he will have a platform to where it will be expected.”
Troy Aikman has been in the NFL broadcast booth since 2001 and he knows first-hand what Tom Brady will have to go through as he goes from the playing field to the booth. The game has changed over the last 20 years, particularly the speed at which the game is played.
Aikman was a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and he was asked about the biggest adjustment he had to make when he entered the FOX booth at the time. The Hall-of-Fame QB mentioned how a lot goes on in the booth and it takes a little bit to adjust.
“There is a lot going on in a broadcast booth that it just takes a little bit of time to understand and have things slow down a little bit. There’s this idea that whether you are a player or a former coach when you go into a broadcast booth, I can’t wait to be able to educate the viewer on X and explain this.
“There’s less time now than there was when I got into the broadcast booth because all these offenses are playing up-tempo. You have to be done talking before the snap of the next play so you just don’t have the kind of time to get into a lot of that.
“What I learned early on is you start down this road of explaining something and then you have to somehow wrap it up to be done talking before Joe jumps back in. You leave something hanging and then a big play happens and you never get back to it…Adjusting to all the action and all the activity going on in the broadcast booth and the timing of everything is probably the biggest challenge.”
When he is in the booth, Aikman mentioned that he never wants the audience to feel like he has all the answers when he analyzes a game and there are only a few times when he will get very critical.
“I don’t go into a broadcast feeling like I have all the answers to what’s happening on the field and I don’t want to come off as though I do have all the answers because these guys spend an enormous amount of time giving it everything they have and it’s more important for them to win than anyone watching the game. I tend to give the coaches the benefit of the doubt.
“Where I’m critical is just not very smart plays, lack of effort, lack of discipline. Those things are when I tend to then react pretty strongly.”
As for his thoughts on Brady becoming an analyst, Aikman believes Brady will do whatever he can to be successful and he is looking forward to hearing some of the opinions Brady has on the game that now he will be able to say as an analyst.
“I think that for him, he has some real opinions. He hasn’t always voiced all of those, of course. Now he will have a platform to where it will be expected and I think he will deliver. I fully expect him to have a really great broadcasting career.
“My only advice is just be you, be authentic, be honest, speak your mind. He will find his niche. He will do that respectfully and I think he will add a lot to the broadcast.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Jay Williams Tells Stephen A. Smith His Criticism Of Kyrie Irving ‘Seems Personal’
“You say I’m being sensitive and I don’t know why, but you’re the one that’s very emotional right now.”
Kyrie Irving is a lot of things. Boring is rarely one of them. Discussions of Kyrie Irving can get heated, particularly when those discussions involve Jay Williams and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN.
Williams was a guest on First Take Monday morning. He was part of a panel discussing Irving’s trade request, which ultimately ended with him as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He and Smith butted heads
“First off, I’m not the one yelling,” he said to Smith. “You say I’m being sensitive and I don’t know why, but you’re the one that’s very emotional right now.”
That comment was met with an “Oh my God!” from Smith, who laid back while Williams told him that it seemed like Smith is considerably harder on Irving and more triggered by stories about him than about any other athlete.
Smith answered that he is always triggered. Williams, as a regular viewer of First Take, said that did not feel true. He said that it seemed like Stephen A. Smith has a personal problem with Kyrie Irving.
“You — of all people, with all the interest you have — have the nerve to sit here on national television and tell me I’m getting personal with a player?” Smith responded. “I don’t lose no sleep. I don’t lose any sleep over Kyrie Irving.”
Smith then claimed he’d to have too much to say. Jay Williams said he did too, to which Smith started saying “Just say it, Jay.”
Williams met those demands with “I’m not here for that” and “I am on your show,” as host Molly Qerim tried to bring the temperature down.
When it comes to daytime sports television, there will always be questions about how authentic the arguments really are. Last year, Jay Williams was a guest on The Jason Barrett Podcast. He admitted on that show that Smith’s discussions of Kyrie Irving are something he has seized on to create conflict when they are together.
“The way he went at Kyrie all of last year ‘Well, you know some people don’t like to come to work. Some people don’t like to be here’ and then all the sudden for him to flip and be like ‘I’m choosing Kyrie Irving for my MVP’ I’m like ‘No! No, you can’t do that!’
Whether this was co-workers genuinely butting heads, a disagreement played up for the cameras, or some combination of the two, will likely only be known by Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams. Plenty of their sports media colleagues took notice though.