Several fans watching the “Thursday Night Football” game between the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers complained about the camera angles used on the telecast. There were very good reasons for the atypical cameras.
Just before kickoff, play-by-play announcer Joe Buck said the limited cameras were due to the weather and safety.
“Weather has not been good,” Buck said. “The pregame show had to shutdown due to lightning strikes in the area. Because of the lightning strikes in the area and because of FOX safety standards, we’re going into this game like it’s 1939; we’ve got two cameras. We’ve got the cable cam.”
Then with 8:31 remaining in the first quarter, the game was delayed due to the weather. Both teams went into the locker rooms and fans were asked to leave their seats. The game was later expected to resume at 9:09 pm ET.
The only one who might be happy about the delay is one of the participants in the Democratic debate.
New Orleans sports radio host Seth Dunlap announced on Twitter Thursday that he would be taking a leave of absence from hosting his show on WWL in the wake of a controversy.
Dunlap hosts a sports show called “The Last Lap” on WWL in New Orleans and is also the host for the Saints’ pregame radio show. He published an article after the Saints’ “Monday Night Football” win over the Houston Texans about his five biggest overreactions to the game. The following day he promoted his article and asked which of the “overreactions” wasn’t actually an overreaction.
Which of these 5 “overreactions” isn’t actually an overreaction? You tell me… https://t.co/N9gMTaE7HV
— Seth Dunlap (@sethdunlap) September 10, 2019
WWL, the station where he hosts his show, responded to his question about overreactions and said “that you’re a f–.”
Way to go @WWLAMFM. SUPER classy.Whoever had access to your account needs to be held accountable for this immediately. Despicable. In other news @sethdunlap just gained a fan and follower. pic.twitter.com/HzQb9urNHb
— Kyle Melancon (@kyle_melancon) September 10, 2019
Dunlap is openly gay. He received attention for an open letter he recently wrote to Drew Brees regarding the quarterback’s support of Focus on the Family, a religious group that has many anti-gay views.
The same day that the station sent the tweet with the gay slur, WWL sent a follow-up tweet to address it.
We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account. The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station. We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.
— WWL Radio (@WWLAMFM) September 11, 2019
Two days after the station’s response, Dunlap shared on Twitter that he was taking a leave of absence. He provided his reasoning, saying he was making a “deeply personal” decision.
Thanks to the many people inside and outside the organization who have shown their support over the past couple of days. There are many people working at WWL and Entercom who are wonderful people, and have been unfairly swept up in this.
— Seth Dunlap (@sethdunlap) September 12, 2019
I look forward to speaking more about this incident soon. Don't worry, I'm not going away. I am just taking time to decide what's best for my career, but also for my life away the microphone.
— Seth Dunlap (@sethdunlap) September 12, 2019
- Seth Dunlap
ESPN deserves some plaudits for quickly responding to fan complaints about their new “Monday Night Football” graphics and changing them.
During the first half of the Houston Texans-New Orleans Saints game, ESPN had a graphics package that featured the down-and-distance graphic highlighted in neon yellow/green. The result was fans were confused, constantly thinking there was a penalty flag on each play since TV graphics often show a yellow graphic to signify penalties on plays.
It didn’t take the network long to adjust. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said before the start of the second half that the network had changed the graphic after hearing the negative fan feedback.
Breaking: ESPN is switching away from the new Down-And-Distance graphic it debuted in the first half of Monday Night Football. ESPN heard the fans’ feedback and acted, quick.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 10, 2019
Here was the statement from ESPN PR:
Our ESPN production team is aware of the feedback on the #MNF down and distance graphic. We have called an audible and adjusted for the 2nd half of #HOUvsNO and for the #DENvsOAK game to follow. New look pictured here. pic.twitter.com/SWLKKuW87w
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) September 10, 2019
Below is a comparison between the two:
A look at the before and after Monday Night Football down and distance graphic. ESPN heard viewer complaints and made a change pic.twitter.com/MM0g6GgllH
— Larry Brown Sports (@larrybrownsport) September 10, 2019
This is one of the nice things about social media — there is the instant ability to receive feedback and respond. ESPN should be commended for making such a quick change.
ESPN’s first “Monday Night Football” telecast of the season was met with negative fan reaction centered around the network’s confusing new yellow graphics package.
The graphics included neon green/yellow timeout bars beneath each team and worse, a neon yellow/green down and distance arrow. The color of the arrow made fans think a penalty flag had been thrown on every play.
Definitely just thought there was a penalty after that Hopkins no catch when the yellow came into the screen. My bet is that ESPN changes it for next week.
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) September 9, 2019
The yellow score bug thing is driving me INSANE
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) September 9, 2019
— Christian Harder (@realcharder30) September 9, 2019
RT this if you want @ESPN to change the color of the down and distance graphic on MNF.
We must stop this horrendous yellow penalty flag pump fake.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 9, 2019
Fans were instantly calling for a change. ESPN has to be hearing the feedback. The question is whether they would consider a change. Media reporter Andrew Marchand believes a change would probably take a week.
I’m told from by a producer at a rival network that he doesn’t think ESPN will be able to change the yellow color in down and distance until next week.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) September 9, 2019
You may recall that NBC had the same issue last year for their Notre Dame-Michigan game.
UPDATE: ESPN listened to the complaints and made a change before the start of the second half.
ESPN has had some trouble carving out a role for Katie Nolan since signing her to a multiyear contract back in 2017, and the network is planning to try something new in the near future.
Nolan’s weekly show, “Always Late with Katie Nolan,” is being moved from the ESPN+ streaming service to a late night spot on ESPN2. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that the show has not generated much viewership in its first year, despite making a couple of viral videos and receiving a Sports Emmy nomination. ESPN+ has a strong subscription base with more than 2.4 million users, but Marchand notes that many of those subscribers use it as a platform for games rather than shows like Nolan’s.
ESPN still believes Nolan’s personality can work with the network, and her program will now air at 12:30 a.m. on Thursdays beginning Sept. 26. Nolan is expected to increase her presence on Facebook as part of the move in addition to continuing with her “Sports? With Katie Nolan” podcast.
Nolan’s contract reportedly pays her around $1.3 million per year, which is significant when you consider that she was hired right around the time ESPN made some shocking layoffs. You can understand why the network wants to find a spot for her that works.
- Katie Nolan
Michelle Beadle has had her on-air role reduced at ESPN significantly over the past year, and her time with the company appears to be coming to an end.
Beadle and ESPN have been negotiating a potential buyout that would see her leave the company, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. The 43-year-old still has multiple years remaining on her contract with ESPN and currently makes $5 million annually.
Marchand notes that Beadle’s buyout is expected to be based on a sliding scale, meaning taking more money will give her less of a chance of working for another network immediately, and vice-versa. There will also be a non-disparagement agreement that prevents her from speaking negatively about ESPN or her time with the network.
There has already been speculation that Beadle could wind up doing podcast work or working for a paid subscription service like DAZN, which happens to be run by former ESPN president John Skipper.
SportsbyBrooks.com reported back in July that Beadle could be out as the host of “NBA Countdown” and moved to an on-air role with ABC. Beadle left ESPN’s “Get Up” roughly a year ago after she spoke out against the sport of football and expressed anger over former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer not being fired amid the Zach Smith scandal. She became the host of “NBA Countdown” after leaving “Get Up.” There has also been talk that ESPN is upset with Beadle for not fulfilling her responsibilities off the air.
Andrew Luck’s original plan regarding his retirement was to hold a press conference on Sunday afternoon to announce the shocking story. The matter became complicated when ESPN reporter Adam Schefter broke the news on Saturday evening during an Indianapolis Colts home preseason game. Due to the news leaking, many of Luck’s teammates did not hear about the news directly from the quarterback, and Luck ended up holding an impromptu press conference after the game.
Even though he upset the plans for the way Luck was going to handle his retirement announcement, Schefter defends his handling of the news in a recent appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,”. Schefter said that he had no awareness of the status of the Colts’ game, and moreover, his job is to report big news stories like this one.
“Number one, I’m at a surprise 75th birthday dinner for my mother-in-law,” Schefter said. “I apologize for not tracking where and when the Colts players’ preseason game was when the information’s coming into me. That’s number one. Number two, as you mentioned, that is my job when I get news. Number three, there have been any number of stories that I’ve sat on over the years. Somebody’s asked me to wait, can you just wait until I notify the player of this trade, or the coach knows he’s being fired or hired, or whatever it may be, before you report it.
“I got the information. I never stopped to think, boy, I wonder what part of the game they’re in. I wonder if this will be disruptive. I wondered how am I going to get this confirmed? Am I going to give people a heads up? Which I did. I called a couple of different people in the Colts organization to let them know that I’m going to be reporting a story. Nobody picked up. Nobody got back to me. Somebody could’ve called me back and said, hey, we’re in whatever part of the game we’re in, would you mind waiting? Nobody did that. I reported it when I felt comfortable with the information, which I would do 100 times out of 100 over again.”
Schefter added that, given the number of people within the organization who were aware of Luck’s decision long before Schefter reported it, it was remarkable that the news did not leak sooner than it did.
“The owner, GM, and head coach of the Colts organization knew last week,” Schefter said. “Andrew knew last week. Andrew told teammates on Thursday. Andrew told teammates on Friday. They discussed as an organization having a press conference on Friday or Sunday at 3. I don’t know why they waited to push it off to Sunday but they did. That was their decision. … When there are that many people who know, frankly, I am shocked that it didn’t get out sooner.”
The timing of Schefter’s report meant that fans learned of Luck’s retirement during the second half of the Colts’ preseason game. Some of those fans booed Luck as he walked off the field.
People may not like it, but that is not the reporter’s fault. As Schefter points out, the Colts could have announced it at any point before that game and chose not to.