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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Media

Packers, Seahawks game on CBS had fans all thrown off

Packers Seahawks game on CBS

Sports fans are creatures of habit. They’re used to turning on TNT or ESPN for NBA games. They’re used to putting on CBS to watch a big SEC game. And they’re used to putting on FOX for an NFC football game.

That’s why Sunday’s matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks was so disorienting.

FOX has traditionally televised big NFC games, while CBS gets big AFC games. That tradition has existed for over 25 years but has changed recently, where FOX and CBS were allowed to cross-flex games.

Fans better get used to seeing these sorts of things, like Tony Romo and Jim Nantz calling a Packers-Seahawks game for CBS rather than Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling it for FOX. Because when the new NFL TV deal takes effect in 2023, the network/conference TV affiliation is expected to disappear.

Is nothing sacred anymore?

Dave Portnoy shares proof that woman behind allegations had axe to grind

Dave Portnoy

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has been vehemently defending himself since a Business Insider takedown attempt was published last week. On Thursday, Portnoy addressed the allegations against him via a lengthy live video stream posted on social media.

In the Business Insider piece (which is paywalled and was used as a tool to try and sign up subscribers), Portnoy is accused of humiliating and having rough sex with two young women in separate incidents.

One of the women, a 20-year-old who is referred to as “Madison” in the story, says she connected with Portnoy over social media. Portnoy eventually bought her a plane ticket and invited her to his home in Nantucket, Mass.

The woman told BI she had a “traumatic experience” that ended with her sleeping on Portnoy’s couch for two nights before she flew home.

The woman told BI she “kept trying to get away” from Portnoy while the two were having sex and that he said “stop running away from me” and refused to stop. Portnoy has adamantly denied those allegations. However, Portnoy stated that the woman in question indeed slept on his couch. But Portnoy says the woman slept on his couch due to an argument the two had over their differing views on life, not because of sex issues.

Portnoy expounded on the matter Thursday during his Twitter Live session. The Barstool Sports founder also shared what he believes is proof that the woman had an axe to grind against him due to her political stance.

Portnoy received attention in July 2020 for a highly-publicized interview he conducted with Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Portnoy says the interview occurred three days after his interaction with Madison.

In his Thursday live session, Portnoy stated his belief that Madison became furious to learn that Portnoy was not radically anti-Trump the way she was.

“People think I’m like some crazy Trump guy. I am not,” Portnoy stated on Thursday. “I don’t like either extreme. This girl was extreme, extreme, extreme, extreme (politically). … I wasn’t gonna get into the politics of it. I didn’t want to bring that into it, but that is why we did not agree.”

Portnoy described his conversation that led to the woman sleeping on his couch as “vicious.”

“It was a vicious conversation, and we did not like each other after [our political conversation],” Portnoy contended Thursday.

These aren’t just Portnoy’s personal views on the matter, either. He shared past tweets from the woman that support his claim.

Portnoy says his interview with Trump was three days after he had sex with Madison. In one Instagram post, the woman shared a photo of Portnoy and Trump together and wrote, “Ok. Not my proudest f—.”

In a second Instagram post, the woman criticized Portnoy and threatened to expose him “if he ever truly pisses me off.”

“Portnoy was a d— and lame and grumpy. He gets a 2/10 from me. If he ever truly pis-es me off I have lots of content to expose him with. I am going to stick to the athletes,” the woman wrote.

During his live session, Portnoy shared screenshots of the woman’s Instagram posts, though he blurred out her username.

Madison also responded to a tweet where Portnoy bragged about his net worth being $118 million. She replied “Venmo” and listed what was presumably her Venmo account name. She seemed to be implying that Portnoy should send her money.

Business Insider omitted all of this context from its hit piece on the Barstool Sports founder.

A good portion of BI’s story was regurgitated criticisms of Barstool Sports published in other media outlets over the years. Then the majority of the remaining portions of BI’s article stemmed from Madison’s issues with Portnoy.

Since BI published its hit piece on Portnoy, which they have used to run ads on Twitter in hopes of gaining subscribers, Portnoy has pointed out other significant issues with the outlet’s takedown attempt.

Portnoy posted screenshots of messages he received from women who warned him about the author of the story contacting them. The women shared with Portnoy that the writer of the BI piece, Julia Black, seemed to have an agenda and was hunting for people who would bad-mouth Portnoy.

Portnoy shared that he believes Black was biased against him, already arrived at the conclusion that he was terrible, and that she worked backwards from there, looking for any sort of evidence that would support her takedown attempt. He noted that Nantucket police said Black did not contact them to verify a claim she included in her story.

Since the story’s publication, Portnoy has questioned other ethical/journalistic issues involving Business Insider’s dealings.

Portnoy pointed out that there was unusual trading activity involving his company’s publicly-traded stock (symbol: PENN) the day the story came out (which also coincided with the day Penn National Gaming reported its quarterly earnings). Portnoy shared speculation that either those at Business Insider who knew the outlet was about to publish a takedown piece against him either profited themselves, or shared information with other people, who then placed stock bets against PENN that paid off when the stock dropped around 20 percent the day the piece was published. (Note: the stock may have dropped due to a combination of the company’s earnings report and the publication of the takedown story.)

Portnoy pointed out that Business Insider’s CEO has been found guilty of securities violations and banned from the securities industry.

Portnoy also alleged that Business Insider was proactively alerting Barstool Sports advertisers that they were working on a follow-up piece on Barstool. Portnoy believes that was Business Insider’s attempt to get advertisers to “cancel” Barstool.

The full video of Portnoy defending himself is below.

Disclosure: Steve DelVecchio and Larry Brown own shares of PENN stock.

Adam Schefter addresses his reporting of Dalvin Cook allegations

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter addressed his reporting on allegations involving Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook on Wednesday.

Schefter appeared on Wednesday evening’s “SportsCenter” to give the latest update about where Cook stands with the NFL amid allegations of domestic abuse. At the end of his report, he addressed criticism of how he went about initially reporting the story.

“In a case like this, it’s important to reach out to all sides for information and comment,” Schefter said. “When I got the information the other night, I didn’t do that, and I could have done a better job reaching out to the other people, especially on a story as sensitive and as significant as this. Didn’t do that properly, and it’s a reminder to slow down in this world.”

Schefter received some criticism for how he broke the Cook story on Tuesday. While he was the first to break the story, Schefter initially presented one sentence from Cook’s attorney regarding the matter. He did not include any details or context about the matter, and he did not note that the story was an allegation. He also did not include any comment from the alleged perpetrator’s side.

When details and evidence surfaced as part of Gracelyn Trimble’s allegations against Cook, it made it look like Schefter had set the narrative by only reporting Cook’s side of the story without any further context.

Cook has been accused of assaulting Trimble, his ex-girlfriend, last November. Cook alleges that Trimble entered his home without permission, maced him and his friends, and held them at gunpoint. More evidence on both sides continues to emerge publicly.

Jay Williams blasts Stephen A. Smith over Aaron Rodgers comments

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith was critical of Aaron Rodgers on Thursday for the way the star quarterback misled people about his vaccination status, but Jay Williams was not satisfied with his colleague’s delivery.

During Thursday’s edition of “First Take,” Smith called Rodgers a liar and criticized him for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players. He also said Rodgers’ deception hurts his credibility in other areas. You can hear the comments below:

A lot of people were surprised that Smith, who is a big Rodgers fan, came down on the reigning NFL MVP so hard. Williams felt differently. He unloaded on Smith for the way Smith ripped Kyrie Irving for not getting vaccinated compared to how Smith spoke about Rodgers.

Williams seemed to be reaching a bit. Smith is right that it was natural for him to be less animated about Rodgers since those he was discussing the subject with agreed with him. That wasn’t the case when he ripped Irving a few weeks back. Williams defended Irving’s decision to not get vaccinated, which led to a heated debate between him and Smith. You can see that video here.

Of course, the idea of “First Take” is for Smith to argue with his co-hosts. Williams was just doing his part.

Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and will miss Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was asked over the summer if he is vaccinated, and he said he has been “immunized.” We’ve since learned that he was referring to a homeopathic treatment he received.

Mike Greenberg denies having drama with Mike Golic at end of beloved radio show

Mike Greenberg on the air

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic enjoyed a successful radio partnership for more than 15 years, but the relationship between the two seemed to sour toward the end of their run. Now, more than four years after it ended, Greenberg insists a lot of that talk was overblown.

Greenberg was asked on “The Pat McAfee Show” this week about the sense that there was “massive drama” between him and Golic as the “Mike & Mike Show” came to an end. Greenberg said that was not the case, though he did admit he has not spoken with his former partner.

“I haven’t talked to him in a while. I would be happy to,” Greenberg said. “If I saw him, it would be fine.”

There may not have been “massive drama,” but there was almost certainly some sort of drama. Golic admitted as much when he said years ago that he and Greenberg didn’t have much of a relationship after the show ended.

All indications are that Greenberg wanted to go off on his own, which is the main reason “Mike & Mike” went away. There were even some questions about the way Golic found out that Greenberg wanted to end the show. If the two still haven’t spoken in over four years, it is safe to assume they did not part on good terms.

Where was Terry Bradshaw? FOX host recovering from knee surgery

Terry Bradshaw on FOX pregame

NFL fans were wondering over the past week where Terry Bradshaw was.

The co-host of FOX’s popular “FOX NFL Sunday” pregame show was absent from last week’s program during Week 7 of the NFL season. The crew mentioned during the show that Bradshaw was out due to knee surgery. Terry even sent host Curt Menefee a text message during the program.

Bradshaw also did not appear on FOX’s pregame show for Thursday night’s game between the Packers and Cardinals. The panel of analysts for FOX’s coverage of Thursday night games rotates, and a FOX spokesperson told Larry Brown Sports that Bradshaw was not scheduled to work for that particular game. LBS was told that Bradshaw was scheduled to return for the pregame show in Week 8. He did, and he was using a cane during the broadcast.

Some had wondered whether Bradshaw’s recent absences were related to possible discipline for his Erin Andrews comments. But that is not the case.

Bradshaw, 73, has been a part of FOX’s popular show since 1994. The four-time Super Bowl winner is a member of both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame. In 2016, Bradshaw filmed a video about his experience undergoing a knee replacement surgery.

Photo: Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, CA USA; Terry Bradshaw before the NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers at Levin’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sports world sends condolences to Ernie Johnson on death of his son Michael

Ernie Johnson and his son Michael

The sports world sent their condolences to Ernie Johnson on Saturday after learning about the death of his son, Michael.

Ernie, a longtime broadcaster for Turner Sports, shared on social media Friday that Michael had died at the age of 33.

“This guy we adopted from Romania in 1991 and diagnosed with duchenne muscular dystrophy lived a miraculous life of 33 years. We lost michael johnson today and we’re crushed. But we also know we’ll see him again…and that sustains us,” Johnson wrote on Instagram.

Ernie and his wife Cheryl had two biological children and then adopted four more children. One of those children was Michael, who was living with muscular dystrophy. Michael required the use of a ventilator due to the respiratory issues caused by his condition.

According to Ernie, he and Cheryl adopted Michael after his wife watched a special on the news about an orphanage in Romania where children with special needs had been left behind. The Johnsons went to Romania to adopt a child and give the child a second chance.

Ernie says a nurse told them not to take Michael due to his condition.

“He’s no good,” she told them, according to Ernie.

That was all Ernie needed to hear to know he was the child for them.

Ernie credited Michael with being inspirational and helping them see that everyone has value.

“He was wonderfully and perfectly made,” Ernie said of Michael in a video for ESPN’s E:60.

On Friday night, Ernie announced that Michael had died.

The NBA shared its condolences:

MLB on FOX dedicated a portion of their pregame show before Game 4 of the World Series to pay their respects:

Reporter Jim Gray added his thoughts:

For more on the story of Ernie and Michael, these videos are touching.

Joe Buck has nasty confession about his broadcasting career

Joe Buck

Joe Buck once called Randy Moss’ fake moon of the Lambeau Field crowd “a disgusting act.” It turns out that Buck actually knows a thing or two about disgusting acts himself.

The veteran sportscaster appeared recently on the “Smartless” podcast with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes. In the episode, Buck was asked if he had advice for young people trying to make it in broadcasting.

“If there’s stage fright in your life, don’t even apply,” Buck replied. “Because you have a minute and a half to go to the bathroom and there’s running involved.”

Buck then made a disgusting confession about his time in the booth.

“I have peed in a bottle while calling an NFL touchdown,” he admitted. “I was peeing in a trash can and they handed me a little water bottle … “[It] was like a ‘Mission Impossible,’ Tom Cruise thing to get to the bathroom in the stadium, and the half wouldn’t end. And I couldn’t get there. I was just pounding water and crying. Water was trying to get out of [my system].

“We came back from the break, and I was peeing,” Buck added. “The action started and I called the touchdown while urine was coming out of me.”

That’s absolutely foul. But as the old saying goes, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Buck added that the game in question was a Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons contest that he was calling in frigid Wisconsin. So perhaps that makes his physical situation a little more understandable.

After over three decades in broadcasting however, Buck is probably a lot better prepared now for when nature calls. He even recently revealed his strategy for staying relaxed in the booth through anything.

H/T Sporting News

Photo: Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo targeted over Tom Brady, Gisele joke

Tony Romo

Tony Romo made an innocent joke after Mike Evans accidentally gave away Tom Brady’s 600th career touchdown ball on Sunday, but there were plenty of people who did not find it funny. Some were downright appalled.

Romo and CBS partner Jim Nantz called Sunday’s game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During that game, Evans unknowingly gave Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass to a fan sitting in the front row. Romo and Nantz cracked a few jokes when a Bucs staffer came over to the fan to negotiate a deal to get Brady’s milestone ball back. Romo sarcastically speculated that the fan probably asked for a date with Brady’s wife Gisele.

Brady is married to arguably the most famous supermodel in the world. Gisele Bundchen a beautiful woman and full-blown celebrity. Who wouldn’t want a date with her?

Not surprisingly, that logic was lost on the Twitter mob. Romo faced a great deal of criticism on social media, a lot of which came from reporters and other verified accounts. One national outlet even wrote a column about it and called Romo’s remark “crude” and “problematic.”

The situation was a lot like the one we saw with Terry Bradshaw and Erin Andrews earlier this month. Romo obviously meant no disrespect to Tom or Gisele. If anything, he was complimenting Gisele. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to matter in 2021.

Alex Rodriguez unlikely to return to ‘Sunday Night Baseball’?

Alex Rodriguez with sunglasses on

ESPN appears to be closing in on a new “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast team, and it may not include Alex Rodriguez.

The Action Network’s Darren Rovell reported Friday that Karl Ravech is set to replace Matt Vasgersian on play-by-play. Vasgersian prefers to focus on his duties with MLB Network and the Los Angeles Angels. Eduardo Perez will join as an analyst.

Rovell adds that ESPN is holding a seat open for Rodriguez if he wants it. However, Rovell says A-Rod is “not likely” to join.

In the end, the decision to leave the broadcasts seems to be Rodriguez’s. It had been previously reported that he had enough support at ESPN to return for next season. He may simply not want to adjust to a new pair of partners at this point.

Rodriguez has plenty on his plate as it is. He’s the incoming co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Plus, he still has his FOX Sports duties, where he’s regularly taunted on air.