Stan Van Gundy accuses David Stern of preventing him from working at ESPN

For a while it appeared as though Stan Van Gundy was going to join ESPN this upcoming season and help an NBA Countdown crew that was the target of a ton of criticism last year. According to The Big Lead, that is no longer the plan as David Stern has allegedly stepped in and blocked Van Gundy from joining the World Wide Leader.

On Wednesday, TBL called ESPN and a spokesman told the website that the network is going in a different direction after not being able to agree on what Van Gundy’s role would be. In an interview with Dan LeBatard on The Ticket in Miami Wednesday afternoon, Van Gundy said that is a total lie.

“No one at ESPN will tell us what happened,” Van Gundy explained. “Certainly the NBA office isn’t going to tell us what happened. One of the quotes from ESPN in there – we had discussions, but couldn’t agree on a role … as usual, that’s a bunch of BS from ESPN. We actually did agree on a role, but then they came back and pulled that. That’s when we knew something was up.

“What I find fascinating … you have to give David Stern and the NBA a lot of credit … ESPN pays the league, and then the league tells them what to do. It’s more ESPN’s problem. You gotta have no balls whatsoever to pay someone hundreds of millions of dollars and let them run your business.”

Van Gundy said ESPN claiming they disagreed on his role is a “flat out lie” and that it was simply a case of them making an offer and then pulling it back. As we have seen when he goes on rants like this one and this one, Stan is one of the most outspoken figures in basketball. Stern has ESPN in his back pocket, and it’s probably that outspokenness that he is afraid of.

ESPN accidentally aired report saying Bobby Valentine was coming back for second season (Video)

ESPN was so prepared for the Red Sox to make an announcement on Thursday about the future of Bobby Valentine that they had Tim Kurkjian create two television reports: one in case Valentine were fired, and the other in case the Red Sox brought him back. Even though it was like 99.99999% certain Valentine would not be back, the network wanted to make sure they were prepared for either scenario.

Unfortunately, after the Red Sox announced Valentine would not be back, SportsCenter aired the report saying he would be returning. The result was a humorous conflicting message from ESPN; the scroll on the left side of the screen read “Bobby Valentine fired,” while Kurkjian was telling us in a prerecorded report that he’d be receiving a second chance.

“Valentine is getting a second chance because he never had his A-team on the field for even one minute this season,” the report said. “Major injuries to (Carl) Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew Bailey and others, had Valentine juggling new lineups everyday. He’s getting a second chance because the vaunted rotation once led by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester was terrible.”

ESPN quickly realized the error and pulled the report before it was done running. This sort of mistake is nothing new in broadcasting and print, but it sure produced a funny moment.

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Jonathan Vilma calls out ESPN for planning secret ‘character study’ of him

ESPN was apparently planning to air what they called a “character study TV feature” on Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma this weekend, only it seems they didn’t want Vilma to know about it. Whoever was in charge of the project did a lousy job of keeping it under wraps. As part of the study, an ESPN feature producer named Barry Abrams reached out to one of Vilma’s former teammates with the Jets, retired linebacker Eric Barton. As you can see from the photo below that Vilma posted on his Twitter account Wednesday night, Barton decided to share the letter with his buddy.

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Brent Musburger censored for saying ‘piss’ (Video)

ABC/ESPN play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger was censored for a few seconds during the third quarter of the Alabama-Michigan telecast on Saturday. There was plenty of speculation about what Musburger said to get muted by the production team, and now we have our answer.

Via Deadspin, we’ve learned that Musburger said to analyst Kirk Herbstreit, “Did I miss something, or did you not piss an SEC team to play for a national championship?”

Both announcers laughed when Musburger misspoke and said “piss” instead of “pick,” which he termed “a Freudian slip, by the way.”

ABC may have given more attention to the issue by muting the line when all it amounted to was a minor misspeak. That’s probably why they released the original video to ensure Musburger wasn’t being dirty.

Below is the censored version of the video:

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ESPN graphic had LeBron James still playing for the Cavs (Picture)

We make plenty of mistakes here at LBS, so I don’t mean to pick on ESPN too heavily with this. But … you have to admit the timing and severity of this mistake was pretty amusing. LeBron James had just gone off for 45 points in Game 6 for the Heat against the Celtics, and a graphic at the bottom of the ESPN screen said James still played for Cleveland. As if Cavs fans don’t already have enough, you have to tease them like that? And you really think Heat fans want their top player confused for being on a different team? No way.

Chest bump to Jimmy Traina

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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ESPN commercial showing Indiana’s win over Kentucky motivates Wildcats

ESPN has a commercial advertising its mobile platforms, and the ad features an exciting clip from the Indiana-Kentucky game in December. Most people probably don’t think twice about the ad, but apparently it’s motivated the Wildcats.

Kentucky is the No. 1 team in the country and 30-1 on the season. The commercial plays Indiana’s buzzer-beating three pointer that won the game. Every time the Kentucky players see the ad, they’re reminded of their lone blemish.

“Oh, I turn the TV off,” forward Terrence Jones said about the commercial. “Every time. I know I turn the TV off every time I see that commercial. I almost sold my iPhone, my iPad. I turn the TV off.”

Coach John Calipari called the ESPN commercial “one of the greatest services for my program,” noting that his players get angry every time they see it.

“It shows like 100 times on ESPN a day,” Anthony Davis said. “That really makes us mad. It’s just the way we lost. We never want to have that feeling again.”

Kentucky is one of the favorites to win the NCAA Tournament. If they end up taking it all, ESPN should get credit for an assist.

Below is a video of the commercial:

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