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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

ACC Network Expands Women’s Basketball, Baseball Tournament Coverage

A report from Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal says ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips was the driving force in the move to ACC Network.

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ESPN and Raycom have struck a deal to make ACC Network the television home of the women’s basketball and baseball tournaments, beginning with the 2023 season.

A report from Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal says ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips was the driving force in the move to ACC Network. Previously, the championship events had been distributed on Bally Sports South, which confused viewers.

“We are thrilled. This is a significant moment that will enhance these premier events and provide much-needed access to our fans,” Phillips said. “We appreciate ESPN, Raycom Sports, and Bally for mutually agreeing to make this happen.”

ESPN or ESPN2 will continue to carry the championship games for both the women’s basketball and baseball tournaments.

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Sports TV News

Michael McCarthy: Craig Carton Will Debut On FS1 Within Month, Nick Wright Not Leaving

“That doesn’t mean viewers should expect Wright to be Craig Carton’s partner on television.”

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Michael McCarthy is the guest this week on The Jason Barrett Podcast. The Front Office Sports scribe is plugged into what is happening at FOX, and Barrett asked him to shed some light on the morning situation at FS1.

Jenna Wolfe recently announced her departure from First Things First. It is widely assumed that it is the first of many changes on the show to make way for WFAN’s Craig Carton, who will be starting his own morning show for the company.

“I think that Carton’s gonna get on the air literally within the next month,” McCarthy said. “I think the Jenna Wolfe move was the first in re-casting. It wouldn’t really surprise me to see some of the people from First Things First pop up on other shows.”

There is bound to be speculation about who is and isn’t safe amongst the First Things First cast. Michael McCarthy said one name no one needs to be worried about is Nick Wright.

McCarthy says he has been told by multiple people that FOX is high on Wright and has big plans for him.

“They think of him as the next Skip, the next Cowherd. So I think if anyone is sitting in a position to either of those talents at FOX, it’s Nick Wright. That’s how highly they think about him.”

That doesn’t mean viewers should expect Wright to be Craig Carton’s partner on television. McCarthy, who is a New Yorker, knows that not everyone is capable of being a good partner to the WFAN afternoon host. Not only is Nick Wright likely not a good fit for the role, but McCarthy couldn’t say who currently on the FOX payroll is.

“You really have to be secondary to [Carton’s] personality. He’s the show. So if you’re an Acho or a Marcellus or something like that, used to being the show, and you get together with a Carton, Carton’s gonna try and dominate the show. There could be a real clash of egos there.”

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Sports TV News

The Stephen A. Smith Memoir Release Date Set for January

“Due to my fixation on privacy pertaining to my personal life, it took a lot of time, and a lot of prodding by loved ones, to finally get me to do this,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Stephen A. Smith

It’s taken some time, but ESPN First Take host Stephen A. Smith is releasing a memoir at the start of next year.

Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes will focus on Stephen A.’s upbringing, journalism career and the challenges he’s endured on his path to stardom.

Smith said that in order for the book to come to light, he had to do some convincing of his family members.

“Due to my fixation on privacy pertaining to my personal life, it took a lot of time, and a lot of prodding by loved ones, to finally get me to do this,” he said.

Even after some coaxing, Smith said there will be no sugarcoating in his book.

“But as I once told my mom, ‘If I’m going to write a book, I’ll be damned if I’m holding back. I’m going to speak my truth, say what I have to say, just so everyone knows where I stand and why,’” he said. “I know I’ve done that in this book. I had to do so eventually. It was time. No matter the consequences.”

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