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Tuesday, February 25, 2020


Jessica Mendoza resigns from job with Mets, will move to new ESPN role

Jessica Mendoza

Jessica Mendoza is making some significant changes in her professional career.

The New York Mets announced on Friday that they are parting ways with Mendoza, who previously worked for the team as a special advisor. Mendoza resigned from that position and signed a contract extension with ESPN, though she will no longer be part of the network’s “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast. ESPN says Mendoza will still be heavily involved with its MLB coverage, however, including becoming the first woman to serve as a solo analyst for an MLB game and the first woman to serve as a World Series game analyst on national radio.

“I’ve always prioritized my growth and these new opportunities will allow me to expand my broadcasting career while challenging me at the same time,” Mendoza said in a statement. “From calling MLB games on television and radio, to extensive studio work and features, I’m excited about everything that lies ahead. Some of the best memories of my career have been with Sunday Night Baseball and I will miss my time with our amazing crew, who have been like family. I’m grateful to ESPN for continuing to commit to me and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”

Mendoza’s decision to resign from her job with the Mets came a day after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he is not thrilled with the idea of Mendoza and Pedro Martinez — who is a special assistant to the Boston Red Sox but also works for MLB Network — working for teams and major media networks.

Mendoza was heavily criticized for some of the comments she made about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Carlos Beltran lost his job as Mets manager before actually managing a game due to his involvement in Houston’s scheme, and many felt Mendoza’s remarks were biased since she worked for the Mets. At the very least, she will no longer have to deal with the bad optics of working for a team while trying to provide fair and unbiased analysis.

Gayle King responds after backlash for Lisa Leslie interview about Kobe Bryant

Gayle King

CBS anchor Gayle King responded with a video on Twitter Thursday after she received backlash for a clip of her interview with Lisa Leslie that dealt with Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault charge.

On Tuesday morning, the Twitter account for “CBS This Morning” tweeted out a clip from King’s sit-down interview with Leslie, a 3-time WNBA MVP and Basketball Hall of Famer.

The specific clip they tweeted showed King pressing Leslie on whether Bryant’s sexual assault charge complicates the late basketball star’s legacy. Leslie was adamant that the charge does not diminish Bryant’s legacy and said the media should stop pushing the matter so soon after Bryant’s death.

King started taking heat on social media over the clip. If that two-minute clip was all you saw of the interview, you would have come away with the sense that King was pushing an agenda, and that she was discrediting anything Leslie said because of Leslie’s friendship with Bryant.

Even LeBron James called out King.

After getting so much negative attention, King addressed the matter on social media. She was upset that an isolated clip was shared that did not give the full context of the interview. Her point is that she did not have an agenda to push but that the way the clip was shared and consumed made it seem that way.

Much of the negativity from the black community seems to stem from people upset about one black person going after another rather than standing united. There is also some thinking that King is linked to Oprah, and that they are collectively tougher on famous black people with past issues (Michael Jackson, Kobe) than white ones (Harvey Weinstein).

I disagree with this manner of thinking. When it comes to journalism, it’s not about who’s team/side you’re on, but about fairness. The question to ask is whether King was being fair. In the full context of the interview, which covered more areas — such as Bryant’s personality and connection with the fans — it’s clear King’s agenda was not to go straight after the sexual assault part, meaning she was being fair. Some could say that her telling Leslie she wouldn’t be able to see it because she’s a friend came off strong and may have made some think her comment was agenda-driven. Rather, that crossed me as her being fair to her audience to remind them of Leslie’s bias, but she probably should have said that to Leslie in less certain terms (about her not being able to see it).

I will say the same thing that I said when Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez took criticism for bringing up Bryant’s sexual assault charge the day he died. When talking about Kobe’s legacy, the sexual assault case should be included, but if you are being fair, it should not be the sole focus. Sonmez made it her sole focus and displayed an agenda, which is why she was deservedly criticized.

Bryant touched, mentored, taught, entertained, and provided a tremendous amount of joy to the world. He stood for values like family and hard work. So much of what he did is commendable and should be praised. If you are only focusing on the sexual assault charge (which Bryant always disputed and said was consensual), then you are ignoring all his other positive contributions to the world.

There is a reason why a statute of limitations exists for reporting different types of crimes. One of the reasons for this is that after a certain amount of time elapses, it may be in society’s best interest to let everyone move forward rather than bring up painful past issues. Bryant did so much good since the court case, and had become an especially good role model in retirement, that one can reasonably say the sexual assault case was become less and less a part of his legacy.

As for people wondering about the timing — why are people just now rehashing the matter? — the reason is because Bryant died. When a public figure like him dies, writing obituaries and telling the history/legacy of a person includes evaluating these matters. And for the media to evaluate Bryant’s legacy, bringing up the case is part of the story, so long as it’s done in a fair and respectful manner.

The way Sonmez brought it up was not fair; it was agenda-driven. The way King did it was fair. Unfortunately for King, CBS hung her out to dry by isolating that clip and throwing it out there on Twitter like chum for the sharks. They took the bait, and she ended up being the one to pay.

Report: Jay Cutler has met with two networks about broadcasting job

Jay Cutler

While much of the speculation about NFL broadcasters potentially getting new jobs has centered on Tony Romo in recent weeks, another ex-quarterback could be looking to get into the media game.

According to Bobby Burack of The Big Lead, former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler has met with ESPN and CBS about potential broadcasting jobs. There was no indication whether he would join either network or what his role would be if he did.

It’s largely forgotten now that FOX had actually hired Cutler to be part of its No. 2 NFL broadcasting team before he changed his mind and decided to play one final season. He hasn’t actively pursued that career again since then, but that may be changing.

Cutler’s skills as a broadcaster are highly rated within the industry. It’s possible he could be a backup option for ESPN on a revamped “Monday Night Football” if the network is unable to woo Romo away from CBS.

Josina Anderson, ESPN could reportedly part ways

Josina Anderson has quickly climbed up the ladder to become one of the most respected reporters in football since ESPN hired her nearly a decade ago, but she could be headed for a breakup with the network.

Anderson’s contract with ESPN is set to expire this summer, and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that the two sides may decide to part ways. No decision has been made yet, but ESPN typically extends its top talent well before contracts expire if they plan on keeping them around. The fact that Anderson only has a few months remaining on her deal and has not signed a new contract with ESPN could be telling.

Anderson has close connections with some of the NFL’s biggest stars, and she frequently provides scoops about them. While ESPN will always remain at the top of the NFL reporting world as long as they have Adam Schefter, losing Anderson would be a big blow.

Antonio Brown granted Anderson an interview recently that aired on Saturday, and she asked the free agent receiver some very difficult questions about the sexual misconduct allegations against him. You can see that portion of the interview at the 4:09 mark below:

New FOX scorebug for Super Bowl attracts attention

Hardcore football fans were thrown for a bit of a loop at the start of Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, as FOX ditched its usual graphics in favor of a new score box for the big game.

FOX typically has its scorebug at the top corner of the screen, but the network used a box centered at the bottom of the screen for the Super Bowl broadcast.

The box drew mixed reactions, with some fans liking the placement and others opposed to the change. Making such a change for a big game was a bold move and came with risk.

Earlier in the season, ESPN had to change its graphics after viewer complaints. FOX took a risk by mixing things up, but the scorebug looked smooth enough where there weren’t huge complaints.

Joe Buck following in father Jack’s footsteps by calling Chiefs Super Bowl

Joe Buck

Joe Buck has followed in his father Jack’s path by becoming a successful sports broadcaster, and the two will have one more thing in common when the Super Bowl kicks off on Sunday.

It has been exactly 50 years since Jack Buck called his first and only Super Bowl alongside Pat Summerall. That also happened to be the last time the Kansas City Chiefs appeared in the big game. Joe Buck will be calling his sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, but he told Brian Kilmeade of “Fox & Friends” this week that his dad would not want him focusing on the nostalgia.

“I don’t think I knew about it because my dad was not the guy to go back and go, ‘Oh well, let me sit down and tell you all the stuff I did,'” Buck said. “He went forward. He was a Purple Heart recipient for being shot in World War II in Germany. He didn’t talk about that either.”

The younger Buck did acknowledge that the Super Bowl has become a much bigger event since his dad called it 50 years ago.

“I just feel like this game has gotten bigger,” Joe Buck said. “The hype has gotten more overwhelming.”

Jack Buck died in 2002 following a battle with diabetes, lung cancer and Parkinson’s Disease. He was 77.

Matt Gutman suspended by ABC for false report about Kobe Bryant’s family

Kobe Bryant family

Reporter Matt Gutman has been suspended by ABC for his false report about Kobe Bryant’s family on Sunday.

Gutman was speaking live on ABC within hours after TMZ first reported the news that Kobe had died in the helicopter crash. At the time, there were few confirmed details but numerous rumors and speculation about the situation.

Gutman added to the confusion in a big way when he reported live on air that he was hearing all four of Bryant’s daughters were on the helicopter and died. Reports later indicated Bryant’s second-oldest daughter, Gianna, was the only one of Bryant’s four daughters on the helicopter.

Gutman remained on air for ABC for several more hours, though he apologized for his inaccurate report.

“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” an ABC News representative told The Los Angeles Times in a statement. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”

Gutman also issued a statement on the matter.

“We are in the business of holding people accountable,” Gutman said, via the LA Times. “And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret. I want to personally apologize to the Bryant family for this wrenching loss and any additional anguish my report caused.”

Gutman, 42, has been with ABC since 2008.

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
Vanessa Bryant posts first Instagram message since death of Kobe, Gianna
NBA players changing jersey numbers in honor of Kobe Bryant
Bill Belichick shares touching anecdote in tribute to Kobe Bryant
UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
Video: Shaq gets emotional talking about Kobe Bryant on TNT
LeBron James had inspirational message for Lakers during meeting about Kobe
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Gilbert Arenas vows to begin coaching career like Kobe Bryant urged him to
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Investigators release chilling drone footage from Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Shaq says he had not spoken to Kobe Bryant in nearly four years
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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