Things got heated for the second day in a row on First Take. Debaters Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams had a fiery back and forth about Kyrie Irving’s decision to sit out the NBA season because he won’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Smith has been a staunch critic of Irving’s stance around why he won’t receive the shot. Smith was even more confused about the star player’s motivations after Irving posted an explainer video on Instagram Wednesday night.
Irving spoke for about 20 minutes on the platform and left plenty of people scratching their heads once he logged off. At one point, Irving said that he “won’t necessarily remain unvaccinated.”
On the other side was Williams, who has defended every NBA player’s right to choose whether to get the shot or not. Williams believes the league is in a great place with a vaccination rate above 95%.
“You’re trying to tell me this is about basketball?” Williams asked Smith on ESPN’s First Take. “This is about winning a championship, not about making the right decision for my family? And I know what the right decision is for me and my family Stephen A, I would talk to Kyrie about how I felt about all this.”
“You’re asking questions and then talking. Which one’s it gonna be? You’re asking questions and then answering,” an agitated Smith fired back. “I’M TRYING TO ANSWER YOU! YES! Yes. Damn it, yes!”
“If 6.2 billion people have taken it, I’m sorry – has the vaccine killed anybody? Has that been the reason people died?” Smith asked. Moderator Molly Qerim Rose reined things back in before they went down the slippery slope of debating science on a sports talk show.
In the middle of all of this, literally, was Kendrick Perkins who tried to offer a level-headed response between the two spectrums.
“What Kyrie Irving does with his body is his personal decision,” Perkins said. “But after his Wednesday night Instagram Live session, it is still unclear what stance Kyrie Irving is making.”
ABC Scores Biggest College Football Weekend Since 2016
“The triple-header started with Michigan’s win over Penn State, which is the most-watched noon game of the season for ABC.”
Executives at ABC and ESPN are loving their networks’ performance with college football fans this season. What they saw on Saturday must have them jumping for joy. ABC didn’t just have its most-watched Saturday of the season, it had attracted more viewers than any college football weekend since 2016.
The triple-header started with Michigan’s win over Penn State, which is the most-watched noon game of the season for ABC. With an average of more than 5.9 million viewers, it was the most-watched game of the day, peaking at 8.7 million.
Ohio State’s demolition of Purdue picked up more than 4.7 million viewers. It is the network’s most-watched game in the 3:30 window since week 1.
With Notre Dame’s win at Virginia averaging over 3.3 million viewers, the entire triple-header averaged 4.7 million viewers. That is double-digit year-over-year growth compared to both 2020 and 2019 and the best viewership for an ABC triple header since rivalry week of 2016.
Michelle Beadle: I’ve Been Giving Opinions To Walls For 800 Days
“After my last gig I had one rule and that was do what I want with people that I like, no more jerks.”
Former ESPN personality Michelle Beadle is back and she wants everyone to know it on her new podcast, What Did I Miss? with Michelle Beadle. The first episode dropped this week, and Beadle talked about what she was up to while she was away.
“I have missed a lot, I have kinda been sitting back for 800 days giving my opinions to walls because my friends don’t care about sports and neither does my family. Nobody really cared what I had to say so in between knitting and buying toilet paper I was just mumbling a lot of opinions to the ether,” said Beadle on her time away from sports media.
Michelle Beadle talked about her move to The Athletic, saying “I ended up at The Athletic because when I think of serious journalism I think of The Athletic and myself. To me it was just a match made in heaven. After my last gig I had one rule and that was do what I want with people that I like, no more jerks.”
One of the many things that Beadle discussed had started since she has been away is the alternate Manningcast Monday Night Football telecast, which she had some high praise for.
She also went on to talk about her unread text messages that she has on her phone, and one of them was from her former colleague at ESPN Bob Ley.
“People from the outside think that Bob Ley is someone who is super serious because he is one of the pillars of SportsCenter. While we worked together on SportsNation I would just tell stories and crack jokes to everyone in the newsroom and all of the sudden Bob Ley who I also thought was super serious joined in on the jokes. I just loved Bob so much.”
NBC Will Air Winter Olympics After Super Bowl 56
“We want to be able to maximize the the coverage of the Olympics while it’s going on and especially when we’re in full live events.”
For the past 46 years, the Super Bowl has been followed by a series lead-out. NBC has some different plans for this year’s event, however. Super Bowl 56 will be followed by the Winter Olympics.
The Super Bowl takes place on February 13th, right in the middle of the Winter Olympics which run from the 4th to the 20th. This year will be the first time that a network has aired both at the same time, and it gives NBC a prime opportunity to cash in on the Super Bowl audience for their coverage of the Olympic games.
“We have the benefit and the luxury of being right in the middle of the Olympics and we have a commitment to air live Olympics,” said Frances Berwick, chairman, entertainment networks, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.
“I think the fortunate position that we’re in is to have the benefit of those 18 days of the Olympics plus the Super Bowl as these immense promotional platforms to promote our new shows, too,” said Berwick “So we’re in a really unique situation in that regard.” he added.
Networks usually use the Super Bowl as an opportunity to market a new show, and it has worked to varying degrees of success over the years. The last time NBC has had a Super Bowl was in 2018, where the show This Is Us averaged a whopping 27 million viewers.
The last time a network followed the Super Bowl with another sporting event was in 1976, when CBS aired the Phoenix Open golf tournament after Super Bowl X.
“We want to be able to maximize the coverage of the Olympics while it’s going on and especially when we’re in full live events,” Berwick added.
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