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Fred Toucher: Deadspin Used To Be ‘A Thousand Times Better’

What Deadspin is now, which I have not looked at in years… [has] the general vibe [of] ‘You’re all evil, and you should be fired, and let someone who is poor have your job.’”

Derek Futterman

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Toucher & Rich on The Sports Hub 98.5 WBZ-FM in Boston spoke about a recent article published by Deadspin headlined “So here’s one of the worst tweets of all time.” The article, written by former Chicago sports writer Sam Fels, centers around a tweet written by co-host of NBC’s Men In Blazers Roger Bennett.

Fels opines within the article about how he does not “subscribe to the well-held belief that Twitter is the ultimate cesspool of our society,” defining the user experience as something that is unique to each person every time they log on.

“…Every so often,” says Fels in the article, “it provides something so wholly bewildering that you really do have to question if it’s art or a vision into a plane/dimension where the rules are completely different.”

Additionally, Fels calls Men In Blazers solely a celebration of hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, the latter of who authored the referenced tweet, and how they are unique for being fervent soccer aficionados in the United States.

“It’s just a half-hour of two guys saying, ‘We’re awesome because we’re soccer fans and we live in the States and you have to think we’re awesome, too!’ It’s two Brits patting all us ignorant Yanks on the head for being fans and sticking a gold star on our nose.”

Fred Toucher, co-host of Toucher & Rich, shared his thoughts on the direction Deadspin has gone in ever since former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan won $115 million in an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media Group, the owner of the popular sports blog.

“The site was a thousand times better when [A.J. Daulerio] was the editor of it,” said Toucher. “What Deadspin is now, which I have not looked at in years… [has] the general vibe [of] ‘You’re all evil, and you should be fired, and let someone who is poor have your job.’”

As the article continues, Fels divulges why he considers the tweet sent out by Bennett to be foolish, especially with the advancements the sports media world have made in giving leagues the opportunity to disseminate their events and related pieces of content.

“Just to review, Roger Bennett — who apparently loves to read his own written words as much as he loves to hear his spoken ones — is claiming a show that has been on less than a year-and-a-half has done more for the popularity of an entire sport than… anything that has happened in the entire sport,” writes Fels. “Not various World Cup runs from either the USWNT or the USMNT, not a generation or two or three of people who grew up playing it becoming adults and watching it, not NBC making every game viewable for the first time, not the FIFA video game, none of it. A fictional show that’s been on 17 months…”

Sports media has certainly expanded its reach over the last decade, giving fans from all around the world opportunities to consume live sporting events. Toucher, in an apparent critique of Fels’ style of journalism, expressed that he was just seemingly stating the obvious.

“There’s a thousand more outlets now,” emphasized Toucher. “We have to look at it from a macro point of view. Good media journalism there. It’s a little bit easier to have soccer games on TV now given that there’s a trillion more platforms.”

Toucher continued by mentioning how soccer, while it attracts many kids who are looking to try sports, is ultimately boring and retains very few people over a long period of time. Among impassioned, zealous soccer fans though, the game engenders a tribalism communicated en masse, similar to how a television show attracts a subset of the population that becomes a fanbase who constantly talk about the show. Sure, it’s great for social media engagement and the spread of information, but it ultimately limits the audience to which the topic can be effectively marketed.

“These people — the Deadspin people — not only do they want you fired because of things that you’ve said,” expressed Toucher. “They rally around soccer, which makes me hate soccer even more. You’re watching television. You are not part of a scene. You are wearing a scarf that is sold by a manufacturer that manufactures these things… and sells them by the billions for… a markup. Let’s get over the fact that we’re so precious for liking soccer.”

Moreover, the sport, according to co-host Rich Shertenlieb, does not seem to have many marketable, recognizable American stars that someone could name if they were suddenly asked to do so on the street.

“I could ask ten people on the street [to] name one character from Ted Lasso,” said Shertenlieb. “I guarantee I get more people who know that than know one player on the U.S. Men’s National Team.”

The morning drive radio show concluded the discussion by hearing the perspective of a caller. He compared the tribalism associated with soccer to an underground rock band suddenly going national on a major platform such as MTV, helping it quickly garner worldwide acclaim.

“It’s so punk rock to like soccer,” said Toucher. “My daughter still plays soccer, and there’s nothing that is harder to sit through than one of the games.”

Sports Online

Dan Le Batard: It Enrages Me That There’s a Craig Carton Show on TV

“The man defrauded the people and got right back into sports entertainment television!”

Jordan Bondurant

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The news of Tom Brady announcing his retirement on Wednesday came as Dan Le Batard and company were on the air, and in the midst of the initial reaction to Brady’s announcement, Le Batard offered a quick shot at WFAN and FS1 host Craig Carton.

Carton has been hosting a morning show on FS1 since last September. Craig added the TV show to co-hosting his successful afternoon drive program on WFAN alongside Evan Roberts.

But as Le Batard and the rest of the show were looking at the TV trying to figure out what was going on with the Brady story, Dan said he thought it was crazy Carton was on television.

“It enrages me that there’s a Carton show,” Le Batard said. “The man went to jail. The man defrauded the people and got right back into sports entertainment television!”

Carton went to prison for a year after facing a charge of securities and wire fraud. In the fall of 2020, after being released from jail earlier in the year, Carton made his return to WFAN.

It’s possible that Le Batard, who is busy running his own independent media operation, wasn’t aware Carton had a TV show. So it’s likely seeing Craig’s face probably was a bit of a shock. But it was clear Dan wasn’t expecting to learn the news from Carton’s show.

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Sports Online

ESPN Hands Out 6 New Contracts To Investigative Journalists

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN is solidifying its lineup of investigative journalists. The network announced on Wednesday the hiring of two newcomers as well as contract extensions for four others.

Xuan Thai and Sara Coello are the two newcomers to The Worldwide Leader, starting their jobs in January.

Thai previously worked at NBC News and MSNBC. Most recently, she was the deputy bureau chief of the south region at NBC.

Coello has made her way to ESPN after stops at The Charlotte Observer, The Dallas Morning News and The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.

Alyssa Roenigk, Tisha Thompson, Sam Borden and Tom Junod are the four others who received contract extensions.

Roenigk is the most senior of the group, with 2023 being her 21st year at ESPN. She’s been an editor, sideline reporter, studio host and writer in that stretch of two decades.

Thompson and Borden both started at ESPN in 2017. Thompson has covered stories including the ongoing government investigation of Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and investigated sexual assault allegations within the U.S. Snowboard team.

Borden has appeared regularly on various ESPN platforms like the ESPN Daily podcast and Outside the Lines. He’s a 2021 Edward R. Murrow Award winner for an NFL Countdown piece called “This Big Mo Show.”

Junod has been at ESPN since 2019. His previous stops include GQ, Esquire, Life and Sports Illustrated.

Additionally, a contract extension for veteran feature producer Scott Harves was announced by the network.

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Sports Online

Sports Media Reacts To Tom Brady Retiring

“Plenty of the biggest names in the business rushed to Twitter to pay tribute to Brady’s career on the football field.”

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Things seem a little more final this time. Tom Brady says he will not return to the field. The GOAT announced his retirement Wednesday morning in a video posted to social media.

While it is still unclear what happens next, plenty of people in the sports media had opinions to share. Plenty of the biggest names in the business rushed to Twitter to pay tribute to Brady’s career on the football field.

There were other reactions as well. It is well-known that Tom Brady has a ten-year contract worth $375 million waiting for him at FOX. That means plenty of people in the sports media have questions about what today’s announcement means for Greg Olsen.

Olsen has won plenty of acclaim as the analyst in the network’s top NFL booth. Brady’s deal includes him taking over that spot, so several personalities and writers used the day to publicly question the logic in that decision.

There was a third reaction too. Twitter was made for two things: reacting to breaking news and making jokes. Tom Brady announcing his retirement gave some members of the sports media the chance to do both.

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