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#pounditSaturday, August 15, 2020

Media

Stephen A. Smith thinks this bubble rule is ‘cruel and unusual punishment’

Stephen A Smith

The Seattle Seahawks cut cornerback Kemah Siverand this week after he was caught trying to sneak a woman into the team hotel, and Stephen A. Smith is among those who feel extremely sorry for the undrafted rookie.

In an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Friday morning, Smith said he believes it constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” that pro athletes are being asked to not have visitors — and thus remain celibate — for several weeks.

“These athletes, particularly in the NBA with the bubble and now the NFL, have been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment,” Smith said. “The fact of the matter is this is a very difficult time that they’re living in right now. To sit up there and say they have to refrain from activities, per-se, is a huge struggle and we cannot minimize that.”

Smith conceded that the Seahawks were right in wanting to send a message to Siverand about preventing the spread of COVID-19, but he thinks the punishment was too harsh.

“I think if there’s anything that qualifies as a forgivable offense to some degree, assuming no body’s been harmed … if there’s anything that requires a level of compassion and understanding and forgiveness, this would qualify,” Smith added. “I think it’s important to say that.”

Smith still believes there is “no way” athletes are going to adhere to rules about having unauthorized guests and engage in celibacy over the long haul. He conveyed his skepticism even more enthusiastically when discussing the NBA bubble rules back in June.

It sounds like Siverand went to great lengths to disguise the woman he was trying to sneak into the Seahawks’ hotel, but his plan did not work. Unfortunately, the decision resulted in him blowing a huge opportunity.

Jimmy Johnson will not travel for ‘FOX NFL Sunday’ this season

Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson announced on Thursday that he will not be traveling to Los Angeles to be a part of the studio team for “FOX NFL Sunday” this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At 77 years old, Johnson is considered to be in a higher risk category for the virus, which influenced his decision.

“After much consideration, and with the full support of FOX Sports, I’ve decided not to travel to L.A. studio for FOX NFL SUNDAY for the time being due to the pandemic. I will still contribute to the broadcast and I can’t wait to talk football with my guys remotely!” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

FOX Sports issued the following statement on the situation.

“Jimmy Johnson is a key member of the FOX NFL Sunday team, but more importantly, he’s family. We fully support and respect his decision to not travel to our Los Angeles-based studio for the time being due to the ongoing pandemic.”

As Johnson said, he will still be a contributor to the show, just not in person.

Johnson travels from Florida to be in Los Angeles for the popular NFL studio show, but things will be different this year. Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan and more recently, Tony Gonzalez, are among the members of the show. Earlier this year, Johnson was surprised on the show with the announcement that he made the Hall of Fame, which resulted in a great video.

Barstool Sports looking to make Charles Barkley next big hire?

Barstool Sports made its biggest hiring splash in company history this week when it was announced that Deion Sanders is joining the media powerhouse, and founder Dave Portnoy is aiming even higher going forward.

TMZ caught up with Portnoy to discuss the Sanders hire, and Portnoy was asked if he had any other big media personalities in mind that he wants to work with at Barstool. He mentioned Charles Barkley without giving it much thought.

“Charles Barkley is, like, the best ever to do it,” Portnoy said. “He’s a guy who — one of the few — he just slings it on TNT and does a great job. That’s the guy that comes to the top of my list.”

Portnoy also said Barstool found out through their connections that Sanders was a bit unhappy at NFL Network, which is how the opportunity arose.

“He couldn’t shoot from the hip. Deion couldn’t be Deion,” Portnoy said. “As he said, he had 20 seconds to get his point across and had to be (politically correct), so he was looking for a place where he could sling it. We got introduced to him, kind of hit it off, and the rest is history.”

Sanders should be a great fit with Barstool, though it should be noted that not all of their splashy hires have worked out. Former NFL punter Pat McAfee joined Barstool Sports when he retired from playing, but he left the company after the partnership went south. Barstool’s decision to hire actor Michael Rapoport turned out to be a disaster.

Barkley is a staple of one of the most popular shows in sports with TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” so we doubt he has plans to leave. The way he gets into it constantly with people would probably make him perfect for Barstool, though.

Report: ESPN tried to recruit Sean McVay for ‘Monday Night Football’

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has already led his team to a Super Bowl and essentially has his entire coaching career in front of him, but that did not stop ESPN from exploring whether or not the 34-year-old has interest in wearing a different type of headset.

ESPN spoke with McVay this offseason about joining the “Monday Night Football” crew as an analyst, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports. While McVay entertained the conversation, he is under contract with the Rams and has no interest in leaving his job.

Should McVay decide he wants to take some time off from coaching, ESPN made it clear there would be interest in hiring him in a broadcast role.

While you can’t blame ESPN for trying, the fact that they reached out to a 34-year-old head coach whose job is completely secure gives you an idea of how desperate the network is. They’ve decided to hire strictly from within to replace Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland, but that was not their first, second, or even third choice.

A slew of former and current NFL quarterbacks turned down massive offers from ESPN. The network also considered moving its top college broadcast duo to NFL games. McVay was simply another option ESPN decided to explore out of desperation, albeit a very unrealistic one.

Deion Sanders joins Barstool Sports after departing NFL Network

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders parting ways with NFL Network made headlines on Tuesday, but that report was just been a precursor to much bigger news.

Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported that Sanders was leaving NFL Network. A subsequent report from the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand said Sanders was asked to take a pay cut and declined.

Now we know why: Sanders is headed to Barstool Sports.

“Pardon My Take”, which is a Barstool Sports property and the No. 1 sports podcast on Apple Podcasts, announced that Deion Sanders has joined the company. Sanders was a guest on “Pardon My Take” on July 26, two weeks prior to the announcement, and then joined the show again for Wednesday’s episode, where the announcement was made.

Willie Colon, another former NFL player who joined Barstool Sports, hyped the announcement and was excited about it.

“I had no idea when I went on with you guys last time that this would transpire so quickly,” Sanders said on “Pardon My Take”.

According to the announcement on the episode, Sanders will launch his own podcast called “21st and Prime”, do some video work for Barstool Sports, and he will join “Pardon My Take” as an NFL guest on Sunday nights during the football season.

This is an absolutely massive hire for Barstool Sports, and likely the biggest name they have ever had on staff. Sanders immediately raises the profile and credibility of Barstool Sports. Prime can now become even more connected to a young audience.

One thing to keep in mind is that when Barstool has made splashy, big-name hires in the past, it hasn’t always worked out for the long-term. Pat McAfee retired from the NFL to join Barstool Sports, but that partnership fell apart and McAfee left the company. The company’s hire of Michael Rapoport ended up a disaster. Both sides are hoping this works out much better.

Report: Deion Sanders, NFL Network were unable to agree on pay

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders is parting ways with the NFL Network, and a report says the two sides were unable to agree on pay.

The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported on Tuesday that the two sides had a contract dispute. NFL Network reportedly wanted Sanders to take a pay cut after his contract recently expired. The amount of the proposed pay cut was not disclosed.

Sanders, 53, had been with NFL Network for over a decade. He previously left a job with CBS over a pay dispute.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer has two football-playing sons — one at South Carolina and the other committed to Florida Atlantic. He has expressed interest in being a college football coach and has made a big promise in that regard.

Perhaps this is the first step towards Sanders embracing a new career direction.

Deion Sanders officially leaving NFL Network

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders has been working as an analyst for NFL Network since he retired from playing in 2006, but the Hall of Famer will be looking for work elsewhere in the near future.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported on Tuesday that Sanders and NFL Network are parting ways. NFL Network’s Head of Communications Alex Riethmiller confirmed the split in an email to SBJ.

“Deion has been one of the key figures responsible for the growth of NFL Network,” Riethmiller said. “We thank him for his work and wish him the best in the future.”

A source told Ourand that Sanders had agreed to a new deal with NFL Network but decided to leave.

Sanders was criticized recently for his stance on NFL players opting out due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there is no indication that had anything to do with him leaving NFL Network. It’s possible that Sanders is going to focus more on his desire to coach, which he has been open about recently.

Sanders said back in January that he will be the head coach of a college football program by 2021. He was linked to the Florida State head coaching job last year, though that talk may have been nothing more than rumors.