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Stephen A. Smith Admits Suffering From Depression

Smith applauded Osaka for how she handled her withdrawal from the French Open.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has been critical of athletes like Kyrie Irving in their dealings with the media, but he has no qualms with Naomi Osaka. The tennis star announced she is skipping this year’s French Open due to mental health issues. Osaka has dealt with anxiety since 2018 and has chosen not to speak to the press to subdue the feelings.

“It’s incredibly important that we support her and we support the millions upon millions of people who go through what she’s going through right now,” Smith said of Osaka’s decision to withdraw. “Anxiety wasn’t my issue, but of course, I’ve been devastatingly depressed, and I was in therapy for three years.”

Smith highlighted how he empathizes with Osaka, especially on June 1, the fourth anniversary since his mother passed. “I do not want to be here,” Smith said. “But I have a job, I signed up, and the NBA Playoffs are going on, and people expect to hear from me.”

Smith framed all of the support around the foundation that athletes still need to speak to the media in general. 

“You have media obligations; they are a part of your contractual obligations,” Smith said. “Because the media is what enables the sport to be promoted, and the promotion of the sport is what generates the revenue … And as a result, that’s what ultimately assists in the athletes getting paid the money that they get paid. But that doesn’t mean we shred our humanity and ignore the profound impact that mental health issues have and exist with all of us.”

The thing for Smith is transparency with the public, which Osaka provided in her Twitter announcement.

“She didn’t just snub her nose at the media,” Smith said. “She explained why. It makes perfect sense; it showed incredible courage and thoughtfulness on her part.”

Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III: ESPN Provided Chances to Showcase Versatility

“ESPN has put me in spots that have allowed me to showcase that and put me with the right teams to really fully maximize my own ability and add to the broadcast.”

Ricky Keeler

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Robert Griffin III

Former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III never really thought he would be in broadcasting at this stage in his career. However, fans would not get to hear him on Saturdays analyzing college football games or on Mondays doing Monday Night Countdown on ESPN if it weren’t for one person.

Griffin III was a guest on The Dave Pasch Podcast this week and he said that broadcasting was never really on the radar and after a few years, he finally gave in to his current agent to give it a try.

“To be honest with you, this was never on my radar whether I played 20 years or 5 years. It wasn’t something I ever thought this was going to be an avenue for me. I say this with all good intentions. I was bothered for 3 years by my current agent, Mark Lepsetler out of New York. He just saw something in me, felt like I could do this and do it at a really high level for a long time.

“After 3 years, I finally gave in. I did an audition with FOX. ESPN heard about the audition. I did an audition with ESPN and the rest is history.

“I just think you have to be yourself. Whenever you step foot on screen or in a TV booth, you got to be yourself because that is the easiest thing to replicate. Over the last year and a half, I’ve been able to do that, have fun, do it in a unique way that is unique to myself. I am beyond blessed to work with Mark Jones, Kim Belton, and Quint Kessenich on that crew because we make it fun and you kind of see that on the broadcast.”

Belton is the producer on the Saturday games that Griffin III calls with Jones and Kessenich and Griffin III mentioned that he has impressed with how he and Belton see the game the same and he credits Belton for helping him transition to being in tbe booth.

“Kim has been in the business 41 years. He’s been doing it, doing it for a long time. My agent told me when I was partnered with Kim that this was the  best possible scenario. He does an amazing job of helping guys transition from going on the field into the broadcast booth. I looked at him as a teacher.

“As I’ve gone on to work with other producers in other studio shows or other aspects, there’s a defining quality about Kim. He is like the boss, but he just commands a certain level of respect that I enjoy the conversation with Kim throughout the game. When we are talking and I see something and he sees it, we see the game eerily similar. For a basketball guy to really see football the way that he does, it is extremely impressive and I enjoy that part of it.”

Griffin III told Pasch that he enjoys both calling games as an analyst and doing studio work as well as he knows the more versatile a broadcaster can be, it can only help them.

“For me, I enjoy both studio and the games. It’s extremely fun doing NFL and also being able to do college has been really fun. As you know in this business Dave, the more you can do, the more versatility you can have, the more opportunities that come your way. I’ve just been blessed enough that ESPN has put me in spots that have allowed me to showcase that and put me with the right teams to really fully maximize my own ability and add to the broadcast, whatever broadcast it might be, whether it’s studio or on the games…I’m here to entertain, add to the games, and be a storyteller.”  

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Sports TV News

Tom Crean Returns to ESPN As College Basketball Analyst

“You look around, you realize everybody is working at an extremely rapid pace. I might get emails for the next morning’s ‘SportsCenter’ at 2:30 in the morning.”

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Tom Crean is returning to ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

A report from Front Office Sports details Crean returning to the worldwide leader after previously working for the network during the 2017-2018.

“The game has changed completely,” Crean said. “There’s a 1,000-foot level of what people want you to think this is all about. But here’s the 10,000-30,000-foot level of what it really is. I don’t think I will have any fear of talking like that. There’s so many things changing around the game with how you recruit. And I had to live it.”

Crean was fired as the head coach of Georgia after four seasons on the job. He added that the work ethic shown by ESPN employees is a motivator for working for the network.

“You look around, you realize everybody is working at an extremely rapid pace. I might get emails for the next morning’s ‘SportsCenter’ at 2:30 in the morning.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN Plans 20 Hours of College Football Playoff Selection Coverage

The College Football Playoff teams will be unveiled at 12:15 PM ET, with the rest of the New Year’s Six matchup being revealed at 2:30 PM.

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ESPN has more than 20 hours of studio coverage planned for the selection of the College Football Playoff.

The College Football Playoff teams will be unveiled at 12:15 PM ET, with the rest of the New Year’s Six matchup being revealed at 2:30 PM. Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway, Jesse Palmer, and David Pollack will be on the main set as the selections are revealed.

Several other personalities will join the show including analysts Greg McElroy, Robert Griffin III, and Dan Mullen, in addition to Paul Finebaum, Matt Barrie, and Chris Fowler.

ACC Network and SEC Network will also separately produce shows discussing the bowl selections.

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