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Jemele Hill: ESPN’s Issues Are The Result of a Culture Created by Management

Former ESPN employee Jemele Hill talked at length with Dan Le Batard and crew about where ESPN has found itself with discussions about race.

MIchael Quirk

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Meadowlark Media’s Jemele Hill joined The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing saga at ESPN surrounding Rachel Nichols’ leaked comments about Maria Taylor and their shared employer. Clips from the discussion circulated social media throughout the day, spurring a stream of conversation that anecdotally did not appear to be as nuanced.

Hill and Le Batard of course know the situation well, given that both are ex-ESPN employees with neither’s relationship at the network terminating in amicable regards. Hill drew the ire of some executives at the network for speaking about race and how former president Donald Trump related to race.

Le Batard has also never been shy to share his thoughts, feelings, and theories on race in America, including how it relates to the world of sports. He found himself in hot water with the network numerous times for dipping into the same waters as Hill regarding rice and certain politicians.

ESPN was famously against the intersection of politics and sports, seemingly until the summer of 2020 which were met with a variety of racially-fueled protests against police brutality. That appeared to spell a 180 — albeit a temporary one — at the Worldwide Leader similar to the NFL’s stance on Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the anthem, where what was once frowned upon turned to acceptance due to the changing conversation nationally.

Sports Online

Pat McAfee Show Listener Crashed Packers Thanksgiving Day Meal

“Somebody who watched the show, went over to Molly’s house with some sort of pie saying it was from me and then wouldn’t leave.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Green Bay Packers had a lovely team meal together on Thanksgiving Day in the lead-up to their game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, but apparently the party got crashed by a Pat McAfee Show listener who was tipped off to where the gathering was taking place.

In his weekly appearance with McAfee Tuesday, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers claimed someone who caught Rodgers talking about spending turkey day at the home of kicker Mason Crosby managed to show up uninvited and unannounced.

Rodgers towards the end of his hit wanted to get a message out there to those tuning in to The Pat McAfee Show on YouTube.

“I just want to get this PSA out there. Listen, don’t be a freaking weirdo, OK?” Rodgers said. “Somebody who watched the show, went over to Molly’s house with some sort of pie saying it was from me and then wouldn’t leave. I’m just saying this, that’s creepy and don’t be that person.”

Rodgers wouldn’t elaborate on how the intruder was handled, but it was clear that the person managed to figure out where the Crosbys live and thought it would be funny to crash the party.

McAfee went slightly on the defensive, trying to distance himself and his show from the actions of an overzealous fan.

“I don’t think they’re from our show,” Pat said. “They’re from something else. They probably follow you on Instagram or something.”

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Sports Online

Omaha Productions Eyes Investment From Peter Chernin’s Content Studio

An investment from Chernin’s group to Omaha Productions would allow the company to “expand further into digital content, podcasts and sports-adjacent entertainment”.

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A report from Axios’ Sara Fischer claims Omaha Productions is in discussions with The North Road Company, a content studio founded by Peter Chernin. Peyton Manning’s production company is said to be seeking a substantial investment.

Chernin launched The North Road Company in July with $800 million in funding to create scripted and unscripted projects for TV and film distributors.

According to Fischer, an investment from Chernin’s group to Omaha Productions would allow the company to “expand further into digital content, podcasts and sports-adjacent entertainment”. Chernin previously invested in Barstool Sports, helping the company become a big success before Penn National acquired the company in 2020.

Omaha Productions recently expanded into more digitally focused, sports-adjacent programming. The company announced an expansion of its ‘Places’ franchise with non-sports subjects including Luke Bryan, LL Cool J, and Admiral William McRaven.

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Washington Post Reporter Sally Jenkins Details Jerry Jones Reporting to Dan Le Batard

“We just started to research to ask him questions about it and we came across that photo.”

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A report from The Washington Post that featured a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones witnessing the controversial integration of North Little Rock High School in 1957 caused a stir late last week, and one of the reporters on the project, Sally Jenkins, detailed how it came to be to Dan Le Batard Monday.

“It was part of a larger project,” Jenkins said of the discovery of the photo. “We came across this photo of Jones. It’s at the start of the school year at North Little Rock High School. He’s on the cusp of his 15th birthday and he’s very clearly identifiable in the photo, which ran on the front page of The New York Times in 1957 because Little Rock was undergoing a real crisis of desegregating it’s schools to the the point that (President Dwight D.) Eisenhower had to send the 101st Airborne into Little Rock to quell violence over black kids trying to go to white schools.

“We knew that Jerry Jones had witness — or at least lived through — a tough civil rights era in Little Rock, and we wanted to talk to him about that. We just started to research it to ask him questions about it and we came across that photo.”

The Washington Post debuted a nine-part series entitled “Blackout” that dove into why there are not more minority head coaches in the NFL. They asked every NFL owner for an interview for the project, but Jones was the only one to agree.

Stugotz asked Jenkins if it was fair to judge someone from a photo taken of them while they were a child, referring to some of the media backlish pushed towards Jones because of the photo.

“Of course not,” Jenkins said. “What is fair is to ask him about what he witnessed, ask him what he experienced, ask him how his views may have changed, or if they did change at all, ask him how he has evolved on issues of social justice or racial justice. And the fact is he has evolved, particularly recently. He started out as a real hard-liner on the Colin Kaepernick situation. At one point, Jerry Jones said ‘The Dallas Cowboys will stand for the anthem and tow the line’, and he’s really softened on that.”

She later conceded the answers Jones provided won’t satisfy everyone, and said there are legitimate questions about his positioning in the photograph, noting the Little Rock Six were spit on, and had the n-word shouted at them from those standing on the steps where Jones was located.

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