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Monday, May 25, 2020

Media

Reggie Bush rips ESPN for ‘bogus’ headline about paying college athletes

Reggie Bush is rather bizarrely ripping ESPN for how its website presented a story about him.

Bush spoke to Playboy and shared his concerns that paying college athletes could have negative ramifications if those athletes do not have proper financial guidance. It was picked up by numerous sites, including ESPN.

Bush, however, was not happy with ESPN’s presentation of the story, and demanded that they take it down.

The former running back doesn’t quite seem to understand how this works. ESPN does not need Bush’s approval to write the story. Bush gave an interview to another outlet, and ESPN published his comments while crediting that outlet. Bush may have a point about the context, but his quote is presented in full within the story.

Bush’s full comments are well worth a read. They’re interesting and nuanced, which is why they became a story on ESPN and elsewhere. It seems that the former USC star simply doesn’t get how aggregating works.

Video: Justin Thomas calls Charles Barkley a ‘fat a–‘ on live TV

There was plenty of friendly trash talk exchanged during “The Match” on Sunday, but the best of it did not come from the golfers. Believe it or not, Justin Thomas may have taken that honor.

Thomas joined the TNT broadcast as a special guest analyst for the charity match that pitted Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Charles Barkley was also part of the production, and Thomas and Barkley had a hilarious exchange at one point when Chuck said he wasn’t impressed by a beautiful bunker shot from Woods.

“I don’t know what y’all are so excited about,” Barkley said of the shot. “He’s a golf pro. You don’t see me get excited when a guy dunks a ball.”

Thomas, who of course is also a pro golfer, couldn’t let it slide. He fired back at Barkley by telling Sir Charles he would “love to see your fat a– try to dunk a ball right now.”

We originally thought Manning might win the award for best smack talker with the way he heckled Brady on the driving range, but Thomas came out of nowhere when he roasted Barkley. We didn’t know J.T. had that in him.

Al Michaels would not be OK with calling games from remote location

Al Michaels

Sports teams and leagues are trying to figure out how they can return to action under new guidelines for social distancing. Similarly, TV networks are looking to make adjustments so they can broadcast games in the new environment.

FOX’s Joe Buck has already talked about the possibility of using fake crowd noise and virtual fans to give viewers more of a usual feeling when watching sports without fans in attendance. There is some consideration given to having announcers work from remote locations. Al Michaels says that won’t work for him.

Michaels spoke with the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand for an article published on Tuesday. He said that even if fans are not allowed, he still would want to be in the stadium for any game he announces.

“I would hate to think we would not be able to be in the stadium and announce the games from some other location,” Michaels told Marchand. “That would not fly as far as I am concerned. You have to be able to feel it, even without fans.”

For a charity golf event over the weekend, the announcers were at a remote location, while host Mike Tirico was at his home office. That is an example of the kinds of adjustments that have been made.

We still have several months before the NFL season begins, so a lot can change between now and then. But NBC’s top NFL announcer has made his position clear on the matter. The fans will probably also demand a “Collinsworth Slide” for any of their games, too.

Female broadcasters pay tribute to late Phyllis George

Phyllis George

Phyllis George died on Thursday at the age of 70, and the word spread online Saturday. Many paid tribute to George, the former beauty queen who became the first woman on an NFL broadcast.

George began working on “The NFL Today” in 1975 and helped pave the way for women to be a part of national sports telecasts. Numerous female broadcasters paid tribute to George via Twitter, thanking her for what she did.

Brent Musburger, who was the host of “The NFL Today” when George was on the show, also shared a statement on George’s death.

George died from a blood disorder she had been battling since her thirties.

Brent Musburger releases statement on death of Phyllis George

Brent Musburger

Brent Musburger shared a statement praising Phyllis George, who died on Thursday at the age of 70.

George won Miss America in 1971 and was Miss Texas in 1970. In 1975, she joined “The NFL Today”, becoming one of the first females to have a national role in a sports broadcasting program.

Musburger and Irv Cross co-hosted “The NFL Today”, with George as a reporter. Here is what Musburger said about his former colleague:

“Phyllis George was special. Her smile lit up millions of homes for the NFL Today.

“Phyllis didn’t receive nearly enough credit for opening the sports broadcasting door for the dozens of talented women who took her lead and soared.

“Folks – men and women – were comfortable with Phyllis talking about their favorite sport. And in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, they loved Phyllis despite her Dallas Cowboys bias!

“RIP Phyllis. Irv Cross and I will miss you dearly.”

According to the Louisville Courier Journal, George died from complications due to a blood disorder she had managed since her mid-30s.

SI writer admits infamous Michael Jordan article was too harsh

Michael Jordan new meme

Michael Jordan could not have been surprised by the amount of skepticism that surrounded his decision to retire from the NBA in 1993 and pursue a career in professional baseball, but one story that was written about him really seemed to anger the six-time champion. Now 26 years later, the author of that story still regrets the way it was presented.

Steve Wulf wrote a story that became the cover of the March 14, 1994 issue of Sports Illustrated, and the headline was “Bag It, Michael.” The sub-heading was even harsher, as it read “Jordan and the White Sox Are Embarrassing Baseball.” Jordan said during Episode 7 of ESPN’s documentary series “The Last Dance” that he was never approached for an interview before the story ran. He held a grudge against Sports Illustrated after that.

Wulf appeared on the “ESPN Daily” podcast with Mina Kimes this week, and he said he still cringes every time he sees that 1994 headline. He says he wishes SI’s editors had run it by him first, but Wulf admitted Jordan was right to feel insulted by the story.

“I think he was rightly insulted,” Wulf said. “He wasn’t out to embarrass baseball. He was out to pursue a dream that we thought at the time was delusional, but we should not have come down on him that hard.”

Not only does Wulf think the story was unfair in hindsight, but he also admitted that he went to see Jordan in batting practice a short time after it was published and was “astounded at how much he had progressed.”

Jordan was fueled by criticism throughout his Hall of Fame career, so on some level he was probably thrilled about the SI story. His main issue was that Wulf didn’t even give him a chance to comment, which Wulf seems to realize was unfair.

While Jordan’s baseball career was obviously short-lived, one MLB manager believes MJ was improving so rapidly that he could have eventually played in the majors.

H/T Awful Announcing

Booger McFarland was not bothered by speculation about his job

Booger McFarland

Booger McFarland is no longer on “Monday Night Football” after two years of criticism, and that is fine by him.

McFarland, 42, spoke with the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand for a piece about his plans now that he is not going to be part of MNF’s broadcasting team.

McFarland seems like he is not too bothered by losing the gig because he never expected to get it in the first place. He was just an analyst on SEC Network when he got the job, so no longer having something he arguably was unqualified for and did not expect to get was not terribly disappointing.

There were months of rumors that ESPN was looking to replace him and Joe Tessitore, but he says that did not bother him.

“For me, the constant speculation was not that big of a deal,” McFarland told Marchand. “Would you like not to have it? Sure, come on, man. That’s human nature. Did it affect me or bother me one iota? Not really.”

McFarland is still under contract with ESPN and figures to have a prominent role with them as an NFL analyst, even if he does not work as a broadcaster.

It’s unclear who will replace McFarland and Tessitore on Monday Night Football, but we have some ideas. Here is The Post’s full story on McFarland if you want to read more.