A story written for ESPN: The Magazine in 2016 was killed because it made former Warriors coach and current ABC analyst Mark Jackson look bad. That is an accusation Ethan Sherwood Strauss, who covered the NBA for ESPN at the time, is making in his latest Substack newsletter.
Strauss notes he was not the writer of the piece. He declined to name who was.
The purpose of the story was to examine how the Golden State Warriors had turned into a championship team under Steve Kerr. Part of the background of the story involved laying out what the team had become under Mark Jackson, who was fired in 2014. Strauss describes that information as “incendiary” and the reason the story did not see the light of day.
In his latest newsletter, Strauss writes that some of the information in that piece is what has caused Jackson to be passed over for coaching opportunities in the past. Most recently, he lost out on the Sacramento Kings’ coaching job to Mike Brown.
“The reasons for Mark Jackson’s drought are hidden, in part, because he’s an announcer,” Strauss writes. “If he ever gets what he wants and leaves that position, we’ll see more on why the object of his pursuit was kept from him. Teams know. They’ve done the work to find out what Jackson’s current employer has tried to keep quiet.”
Among the allegations in the 2016 article were that he called asisstant coach Jason Collins and team president Rick Welts, both openly gay, “penis touchers” and would remark that they were “going to hell.” Jackson also reportedly accused team employees of “being influenced by the devil” and regularly tried to pit the locker room against the front office.
While these specific allegations have never been made public, they are in line with past allegations against Jackson, particularly the homophobia. Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob said after Jackson was fired from the team that the coach “couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization”.
It is reasonable to assume as an employee covering the NBA for ESPN at the time that Ethan Sherwood Strauss would have been aware of the story and it never seeing the light of day. Still, he does not have any first-hand accounts of ESPN’s decision or what was in the story on the record.
Bomani Jones: ‘Tim Anderson Asked Me To Interview Him’
“I got to comport myself in such a way that dudes I cover respect me, if I want them to talk to me. I have to go the extra mile in terms of earning respect if I want to have these cats listen to me.”
Josh Donaldson and Tim Anderson were all over the news last week after the two exchanged words during the Yankees-White Sox series. Over the course of two days, an altercation between the two started a bench-clearing brawl, and then a second altercation occurred when Donaldson called Tim Anderson “Jackie,” a reference to Jackie Robinson.
Bomani Jones was one of the few people in the media to land an on-camera interview with Anderson for his podcast, The Right Time, where they got a chance to discuss what really took place during that moment.
Donaldson’s “Jackie” comment was a reference to a Sports Illustrated article from 2019 in which Anderson referred to himself as being similar to the Dodgers Hall of Famer. Anderson said publicly that it may have been a joke to Donaldson, but it did not feel that way to him.
On Friday’s edition of his show, former NFL player and current ESPN NFL analyst Domonique Foxworth asked Jones how he landed an interview with Anderson. Jones said Anderson was the one pursuing him.
“He sent me a DM and was like yo, I want to talk,” Jones said to Foxworth. “I not gonna lie to y’all, he was hoping to not have to do media availability so we were sitting on it because we wanted it to be the big surprise, we wanted to drop the big joker when all the spades have been played.”
The trust level between an athlete and a reporter is arguably the most important thing for any journalist. Jones said he has had to build that trust in a different way from many in his position.
“I didn’t come up reporting, I wasn’t on the ground. And so I am in a lot of ways the dude sitting in his house popping off at people. I get every criticism that comes with that, so as a result, I got to comport myself in such a way that dudes I cover respect me, if I want them to talk to me. I have to go the extra mile in terms of earning respect if I want to have these cats listen to me. So for me it feels good when something like that happens because it means my goal, at least with that one person has been achieved.”
John Skipper: ‘Tom Brady is a Very Expensive Trophy for FOX’
“I think for Tom Brady’s pride, he had to be paid the most money because he is the greatest of all-time.”
The NFL broadcasting world went through a series of massive changes this offseason. Outside of the No. 1 crew at CBS (Jim Nantz and Tony Romo), every other network will have new faces appear on our television screens during game days.
Out of the large amounts of money being thrown around at various networks in the industry, it was Tom Brady’s massive 10-year, $375-million broadcasting deal with FOX that turned a lot of heads. Not only does the deal indicate that the seven-time Super Bowl champ will be retiring in the very near future, but some, including Dan Le Batard, wondered why such a fortune was being given to someone who has “never said anything interesting'” during his career in the NFL.
During the “local hour” of his popular show on Thursday, Le Batard welcomed former ESPN president and his Meadowlark Media partner, John Skipper. He expressed a similar.
“There’s very little economic value. He’s a very, very expensive trophy,” Skipper said on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “I think he’ll probably be okay on the game. It doesn’t really matter that much other than for pride and I guess he’ll shake advertisers’ hands.”
To put into context how massive Brady’s deal is, the future Hall of Famer will not only be making more in 10-years than he has throughout his entire 20+ year NFL career ($302.96 million in total earnings) but he will also be leapfrogging broadcast vet Troy Aikman–getting paid twice the amount of the former Cowboys QBs’ new deal with ESPN.
“I think for Tom Brady’s pride, he had to be paid the most money because he is the greatest of all-time,” Skipper said.
Skipper continues to add that the money FOX gave Brady could’ve been put to better use, making a more significant impact in other areas of the business, including securing live event rights.
He then brought up Mike Tirico, who called Monday Night Football at ESPN during Skipper’s tenure at the network. No matter how much faith he had in the play-by-play man, Skipper said he didn’t feel the need to overspend on a partner to help him shine.
“I put Mike Tirico in the booth and thought he did an outstanding job, but I would not have paid any ex-player $15, $20, or $25 million to sit next to him.”
North Carolina Lawmakers Expect Mobile Sports Betting By Football Season
“North Carolina’s neighbors, including Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, have already legalized mobile sports betting.”
It is already legal to place bets in North Carolina on sporting events. It is just incredibly difficult. Bets can only be made inside of 2 Cherokee casinos in the western part of the state. That could change before football season.
The State Senate, which is politically divided, passed SB 688 last year. If it makes it through the State House, it would become law and North Carolinians could then theoretically place bets online legally.
SB 88 was sponsored by Paul Lowe, a Democrat from Forsyth County. He told WRAL-TV in Raleigh that he is optimistic about what will happen in the House.
“We just want to make sure we have drummed up the votes, and I think we have,” he said. “I feel confident about it.”
North Carolina’s neighbors, including Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, have already legalized mobile sports betting.
Politically, North Carolina is considered a purple state. That is showing up in the effort to legalize mobile wagering. One of the bill’s biggest advocates in the House is Jason Saine, a Republican from Lincoln County.
“We’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve not heard any new opposition,” he told WRAL. “I think we have a pretty smooth glide path once we do kind of start rolling into session.”
The state’s Lottery Commission would oversee sports gambling. If the SB 688 is passed, operators would pay $500,000 for a five-year license, which can be renewed for $100,000. They would also pay an 8% tax on adjusted gross revenue. Both of those numbers are low compared to other states.
“Once we pass this bill, there’s some tweaks we’re going to do,” Lowe said. “But right now we’re just trying to get it out of the chute.”