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Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Something Is Corrupted in ESPN’s NBA Coverage

. It’s corrupted what ESPN is trying to do in terms of entertaining people because they can’t tell stories as well because there is always this neurotic paranoid fear that it will piss off an agent.

Ricky Keeler

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ESPN on NBA

Ethan Sherwood Strauss covered the NBA for ESPN and for The Athletic over the course of his career. Now, he is writing about topics that interest him the most on his substack, House of Strauss.

Strauss was a guest on the most recent episode of South Beach Sessionshosted by Dan Le Batard. He said the reason why he decided to leave The Athletic in August 2021 was because he wanted to write about what interested him and that he thought his sportswriting was getting worse instead of better:

“There’s a not so flattering aspect to it which is I thought I was getting worse at sportswriting. I think a lot of people went through this over the pandemic period where they didn’t feel themselves caring so much about their job as they did in the past. For me at The Athletic, I was covering the Warriors. The Warriors are exceptionally well-covered by The Athletic. It’s not just me over there…I felt like I could keep pace if I was tremendously motivated like we just kicked off the 2018 playoffs together.”

“I felt myself kind of getting worse and I thought that eventually the fans, the readers, they feel it, they know it. They know that you are fraudulent at some level. I had a couple of years left on my contract but was I really going to command some sort of salary after that if I didn’t have a following, if my work wasn’t good anymore? It was inspired by fear and I wanted it to be inspired by a different, better fear. A fear of failure.”

That fear made Strauss excited to start up the substack because he felt he needed to take that risk to see if other people were interested in what he was writing about:

“It excited me to start the substack and just know I can fail. To know that maybe I am going to try to talk about the stuff that interests me and it won’t work and it will be humiliating. It won’t just be an ego failure, but it will be a financial failure on top of that. That’s scary as hell. I sometimes think you need something like that in your life in order to force you to be better and to force you to grow. I wanted that sense of risk.”

One of the topics the two of them got into was ESPN’s coverage of the NBA and Adrian Wojnarowski in particular. Not only does Strauss think Woj is not very good on TV, he thinks that the coverage is being corrupted based on what is going on behind-the-scenes:

“He [Woj]  has built this empire on the basis of being first and having the news first. He’s in many ways a savvy businessman. He has tried to set it up where it’s almost mechanized where they are coming to him and he’s sending a social media resume around to different sources, to agents, to GM’s.”

“It corrupts the coverage because if the main focus is breaking a news story on Twitter and being first, that will detract from other focuses such as telling the most interesting story, revealing something that might not be flattering to a team or a player, but is of interest to the fans. It’s corrupted what ESPN is trying to do in terms of entertaining people because they can’t tell stories as well because there is always this neurotic paranoid fear that it will piss off an agent. I think people have this sense that something’s not on the up-and-up when they watch ESPN’s NBA coverage. Those stories have done well.” 

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Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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