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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Policing the Media

Watch: Stephen A. Smith thinks Kareem Hunt plays for the Saints

Stephen A Smith

Stephen A. Smith’s knowledge of NFL players still seems a bit lacking.

For whatever reason, on Friday’s edition of “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” Smith cited Kareem Hunt as one of the many offensive weapons the New Orleans Saints boast, despite the fact that Hunt is not and has never played for the organization.

Not only does Hunt not play for the Saints, but he’s very much not involved with the NFL right now and probably won’t be for some time.

It’s hard to figure out who Smith is referring to, as he may well have misspoken. Perhaps he means Alvin Kamara, but it doesn’t really matter. After all, it didn’t really matter who or what he was trying to refer to the last time this happened, either.

Chargers players get in on Stephen A. Smith trolling after big win

Stephen A Smith

The Los Angeles Chargers pulled off their biggest win of the season on Thursday night in dramatic fashion, but erasing a 14-point deficit — on two separate occasions — was not enough to make them forget about what happened with Stephen A. Smith earlier in the day.

During an ESPN appearance on Thursday morning, Smith offered some of his takes on the big AFC West showdown between the Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. To say he embarrassed himself would be an understatement, as it seemed like he knew absolutely nothing about the game.

Not long after the Chargers defeated the Chiefs by scoring a touchdown with four seconds left and adding on a two-point conversion, offensive lineman Russell Okung took to Twitter to compliment Henry on a job well done. Henry was happy to play along.

Henry, of course, has not played this season after he suffered a torn ACL in May. Smith tried to offer an explanation for why he brought Henry up during his analysis, but it was obvious he just wasn’t prepared to discuss the game. The Chargers aren’t letting him forget it.

Chargers troll Stephen A Smith in hilarious fashion after botched game preview

Stephen A Smith

Stephen A. Smith left NFL fans feeling like he knows absolutely nothing about football with the way he spoke on Thursday about the upcoming showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, and the longtime ESPN personality is being absolutely crucified for it on social media.

Things started to go south for Smith when he said he is looking forward to seeing the type of impact Spencer Ware can make in the game. As you may know, the running back has been ruled out with hamstring and shoulder injuries. It only got worse from there.

To put it lightly, Twitter was not kind to Smith. But the Chargers’ official Twitter account fired the best shot of all.

Smith was truly getting it from all angles. Perhaps making matters worse, he tried to defend himself on Twitter by saying he misspoke and said Henry when he meant fellow tight end Virgil Green.

Really? The same Virgil Green who has caught 15 passes all season and not snagged a ball in the past three games? What about his reference to Johnson? Smith is going to have to do a lot better than that.

The looks on the faces of Tedy Bruschi and Max Kellerman said it all. Smith has made a career out of unloading on other people with hot takes, but he’s just going to have to take his medicine this time. He clearly wasn’t prepared enough to discuss the Chiefs and Chargers.

Trevor Bauer calls out reporter over injury timetable

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer called out a Cleveland Indians reporter over Twitter for seemingly trying to start a controversy.

Bauer has a stress fracture after being hit in the right leg with a line drive on Saturday. Indians manager Terry Francona said on Friday that the pitcher is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which could put his playoff availability in jeopardy.

Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes tweeted about the matter and said that Bauer’s timetable differs from Francona’s.

According to The Athletic, here’s what Bauer said about his injury timetable:

“Anywhere between tomorrow and never. We’ll find out. You’re going to get a very different answer if you ask me that question and if you ask the medical staff that question, so probably should defer to doctors on that,” Bauer said.

So Bauer says defer to the doctors. Hoynes says Bauer said his timetable was different from the team. Something doesn’t add up.

Bauer decided to call Hoynes out about that.

Hoynes gave a sarcastic response to Bauer, who maintained his unhappiness with the reporter.

Hoynes is the same reporter who declared the Indians’ season over in mid-September during the 2016 season. The team went on to reach the World Series. Maybe he just likes being wrong.

And did he really think Trevor Bauer of all people wouldn’t respond? He should know better.

Outlet presented quote to make Dez Bryant look worse

Dez Bryant

Comments from Dallas Cowboys executive Stephen Jones were presented by a media outlet to make Dez Bryant look bad, leading to major headlines and some fallout on Friday.

Jones joined SiriusXM NFL Radio from Cowboys camp and talked about Dak Prescott’s development. Jones said that he thought not having Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in his ear would help Prescott. Unfortunately, when SiriusXM NFL Radio tweeted the quote, they left out that Jones mentioned Witten as well. Leaving Witten out made it seem like Jones was singling out Bryant as being detrimental to Prescott.

The original tweet said “Dak is working on his game and accuracy. He has to trust the system. I think that was tough last year with Dez Bryant in his ear. I think he’ll have the year he had last year if not better.”

They even tagged Bryant in the tweet so he would know about it. And guess what? Bryant responded and went on a huge rant where he trashed Sean Lee among others.

They eventually deleted the tweet and replaced it with the actual quote from Stephen Jones. The quote was, “He’s gotta trust the system, which at times last year, there was some pressure … with Dez in his ear and to some degree Jason in his ear. Those great players want the ball.”

The second tweet, which contains the full quote, is much less inflammatory and points out that great players like Bryant and Witten want the ball. It doesn’t single out Dez.

Should Bryant have gone off in response the way he did? No, which is part of the reason why Lee calls him out for a lack of accountability. But he certainly had a legitimate gripe with the media outlet for trying to make him look worse than deserved.

Stanford’s Bryce Love criticized for missing media day due to school

Bryce Love

Stanford star running back Bryce Love was unable to be in attendance for Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles this week, and one writer is criticizing him and his school over the absence.

Conferences across America are hosting media days as their annual way to promote the upcoming college football season. The media days are good opportunities for reporters to get to know the conference’s coaches and players. They lead to stories from media outlets (like this one) and help fans get excited about the year. Typically a program’s head coach and at least one veteran player will show up to represent the school and answer questions from reporters.

As a Heisman Trophy candidate, Love was the obvious choice to attend from Stanford, but he was unable to make the trip due to a rigorous summer school schedule, so he took questions via videochat from Skype instead.

“Me, personally, I really wanted to be there to represent the university,” Love said. “But I decided I just wasn’t able to make it happen this year. Based on other commitments, trying to graduate in December required me to take more classes over the summer.”

On Thursday, respected CBS Sports college football reporter Dennis Dodd wrote about the matter and said Love’s absence “set a dangerous precedent.”

“But his absence does set a dangerous precedent. This is going to give every star player an excuse to Skype in,” Dodd wrote.

He also said how the absence could impact the Heisman.

“Let’s just say Stanford forfeited a bit of a leverage to protest if Love doesn’t win the Heisman,” said Dodd.

C’mon, Dennis. This is one player, one time, who missed a media day — and for good reasons. This is not the end of the world, nor is it a dangerous precedent. This is a player reminding everyone that he is a student just as much as an athlete, and that should be respected.

FOX News apologizes for misrepresenting photos of Eagles players praying

Donald Trump

Several Philadelphia Eagles players were angry over the way a FOX News report presented images of them kneeling in prayer as if they were national anthem protests, and the network has since apologized for the misleading coverage.

As defensive lineman Chris Long noted, no Eagles players chose to kneel during the national anthem in 2017. An executive producer at FOX acknowledge that in a statement on Tuesday.

“During our report about President Trump cancelling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer,” the statement read. “To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout the regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error.”

Long and Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, one of the players who was shown kneeling in FOX’s report, took to Twitter on Tuesday to unload on the network for using propaganda to back Trump.

Trump’s decision to cancel the Eagles’ White House visit likely had to do with how few players were expected to show up. Many players had already decided to pass on the event long before the NFL implemented its new national anthem policy, which is another reason some of them were so frustrated with FOX’s framing of the story.