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Michelle Beadle downplays feud with Erin Andrews, says industry wants a catfight

Friday was Michelle Beadle‘s last day at ESPN before she moves over to a new job with NBC Sports and Access Hollywood. The day marked not only the end of her time on “SportsNation,” but potentially the end of a longstanding feud with co-worker Erin Andrews.

The rivalry between the ESPN personalities apparently was brought public by the ESPN Book (I never read it) in which Beadle, answering questions in an interview, admitted she watched the Erin Andrews peephole video.

She was pressed about that and more during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday after Dan slyly introduced the subject by asking if Andrews attended Beadle’s going away party (she did).

“All I did was answer questions that I was asked,” Beadle said of her comments to the ESPN Book. “If being honest was the problem, then I’m sorry for that. All I did was say I saw the video. Apparently you’re not supposed to say that.”

Beadle says she was called in to talk to her ESPN bosses about the interview, but she’s never discussed it with Andrews.

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Hines Ward joins NBC Sports, will appear on Football Night in America

Hines Ward will be making the transition from athlete to broadcaster now that he’s retired.

The former Steelers receiver has been hired by NBC Sports according to SI media reporter Richard Deitsch.

Deitsch says Ward will serve as an analyst for “Football Night in America,” college football and on the NBC Sports Network.

NBC’s Football Night in America frequently rates as one of the most highly-watched shows on TV, so this will be a huge stage for Ward. He exhibited some charm as a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” and his lengthy career with a successful NFL team made him fairly well known. Another plus for NBC is that Hines is a hated player; networks loving having controversial personalities, and Ward fits that role.

I just hope he doesn’t screw up an already outstanding show. Between Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, I love watching Football Night in America, so it will be up to Ward to ease his way in.

H/T Sports Grid via Black Sports Online
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Warren Sapp dropped by Showtime, returning to NFL Network

There was speculation that Warren Sapp might be out of his broadcasting gigs after his false snitch accusation about Jeremy Shockey, especially after he was reprimanded by NFL Network. But Sapp so far has gone 1-for-2 and is producing a batting average good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.

Showtime announced last week that Sapp was being dropped from his role on the weekly show “Inside the NFL.” But NFL Network made it publicly known that Sapp will be back with them.

NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger told USA Today Sports that “this is probably going to be news to some blogs and articles out there who’ve said his time is up here, but we picked up an option year on his contract.”

That’s big news for Sapp who has bankruptcy debts to deal with. So for those of you who enjoy Sapp’s analysis, you’ll get to see him on NFL Network for the next year. And for those of you who aren’t fans, you can only hope a celebrity death match between Sapp and Trent Dilfer is arranged.

H/T Black Sports Online
Photo credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Reeves Nelson reportedly suing Sports Illustrated for $10 million

Nearly three months after an ugly expose on the UCLA basketball program was published in Sports Illustrated, former Bruins standout Reeves Nelson has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the magazine, according to TMZ.

The minefield of a story, first released online in late February, paints the UCLA program as a mess, alleging a slew of misdeeds by players on and off the court, not limited to dropping ecstasy, smoking weed and deliberately ignoring coaches’ orders. Nelson, in particular, is portrayed as a total tool who intentionally tried to injure teammates in practice and even peed on teammate Tyler Honeycutt‘s clothes for allegedly snitching about a New Year’s Eve rave. Meanwhile, coach Ben Howland is depicted as somebody who more or less turned the other cheek to the bad behavior.

Nelson, who was kicked off the team in December for a recent string of misconduct, mounted up by hiring entertainment lawyer Keith Fink, who sent a letter to SI shortly after the story’s publication demanding a retraction, saying the expose’s author, George Dohrmann, fabricated portions of the story. Obviously SI didn’t budge.

Now Nelson has filed suit against the publication, and, according to TMZ, Fink said they have proof that Dohrmann “recklessly and negligently failed to investigate the claims in the article.” The lawsuit cites 18 current and former players who deny the allegations leveled against Nelson in the story. Honeycutt also reportedly said that Nelson “did not urinate on my clothes.”

Even if the suit is successful, it probably still won’t do much to undo the negative perception people have of Nelson. Or any possibility that he actually pooped on Honeycutt’s clothes instead.

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

ESPN addresses Sarah Phillips hiring, firing

ESPN executive vice president and executive editor John Walsh hosted an online chat Thursday and addressed the company’s decision to hire and later fire Sarah Phillips. Phillips was exposed this week by Deadspin as someone who was hired by ESPN to write for their “Page 2″ section despite having very little writing background. She leveraged her position with ESPN, and combined with a friend/partner, to allegedly scam several people. Her aim was to gain money/and or promotion via social media from her victims.

Walsh was supposedly “asked” a question about Phillips during his chat. Based on the way it was phrased, the question seemed planted by ESPN (or specifically chosen by them) so that they could formulate a response that wouldn’t make them look too bad. Let’s look at Walsh’s response:

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Dan Patrick calls out Colin Cowherd for not crediting him for Kurt Warner quotes

Dan Patrick frequently talks about his former employer, ESPN, (aka the “Mothership”), on his nationally syndicated and televised radio show, but he doesn’t often go after them as much as he did on Friday.

Patrick was upset that ESPN Radio morning talk show host Colin Cowherd seemed to rip him off without giving credit, and he called him out for it.

What happened is Patrick interviewed Kurt Warner on Thursday morning and asked the former quarterback-turned-analyst if he would want his children to play football given the dangers of the sport. Warner said he preferred if they didn’t, and was called out by another player for his opinion.

According to Awful Announcing, Cowherd had Warner on his show later in the morning (audio here). He started off the interview asking about the same subject.

“You know, Kurt, yesterday on the tragic death of Junior Seau one of the first things I thought about was the effect it’s going to have on the game long term and mothers and fathers saying, ‘you know what, I’m out.’ There’s no way I want my kids playing this game. You’ve got kids, where do you fall on that Kurt?” Cowherd asked.

Patrick viewed that as Cowherd trying to piggyback on a subject Patrick raised, but without giving Dan the proper credit. After Patrick called out Cowherd on his show Friday (audio in the video above), the ESPN personality responded to people questioning him over Twitter. Cowherd played dumb.

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Jon Gruden, Mel Kiper Jr. have heated discussion over Russell Wilson (Video)

The ESPN NFL Draft set was never more animated than when the analysts began discussing quarterback prospect Russell Wilson.

Early in the third round, the only quarterback taken on the second day was Brock Osweiler. ESPN showed draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s quarterback board, and he said Wilson was more of a fourth-round prospect. Kiper’s big knock against Wilson is his size — he’s only 5’11″. That reasoning caused Jon Gruden to have a fit.

Gruden tore into Kiper for downgrading Wilson over a matter of an inch or two in height.

“You discriminate against guys who aren’t six feet!” Gruden told Kiper.

He then cited Ray Lewis, Wes Welker, Darren Sproles, and Maurice Jones-Drew as examples of undersized star players who Kiper would have downgraded.

The whole exchange was highly entertaining, and Gruden turned out to be correct in his prediction that Wilson would be taken that round; Seattle took him with the 12th pick in the third round, No. 75 overall.

Below is a look at Wilson turning down the volume on his TV after hearing all the ESPN bickering:

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