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#pounditFriday, April 23, 2021


Julian Edelman to join ‘Inside the NFL’ as analyst

Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman announced his retirement from football last week, but the former New England Patriots star will be very visible to NFL fans this upcoming season.

Edelman revealed on Wednesday that his film production company, Coast Productions, has partnered with Viacom CBS to create content for some of the network’s channels. He also says he will be joining the cast of Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” this fall.

Edelman will join James Brown, Phil Simms and Brandon Marshall every week, according to Deadline. Hall of Famers Michael Irvin and Ray Lewis will still make appearances on the show as well.

Edelman announced his retirement in an emotional video (see it here), but that didn’t stop speculation that he might wind up joining the Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His announcement on Wednesday should officially put all of that talk to rest.

ESPN again lies about important detail in Jacob Blake case

An ESPN employee lied about an important detail in the Jacob Blake case when speaking about it earlier this month, and that has now become a theme for the network.

Like Mark Jones a few weeks ago, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski made an inaccurate statement about the Blake case in an article he published on Sunday morning. The story was about the NBA sending a memo to teams to prepare them for the potential of games being postponed after a verdict is handed down in the Derek Chauvin trial. Woj mentioned how an NBA game was postponed last week after Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, was shot and killed during a traffic stop outside Minneapolis. He then pointed to playoff games being postponed last year after Blake was shot several times by police in Kenosha, Wisc., and Wojnarowski initially referred to Blake as “another unarmed Black man.”

Blake was not unarmed, as he was holding a knife prior to being shot. Wojnarowski or an ESPN editor eventually removed the word “unarmed,” but the false information was left in the story for several hours. You can see a screenshot of the original below:

Police stated at the time of the Kenosha incident last year that Blake had a knife. Blake also admitted in a January interview that he was armed with a knife prior to being shot.

“I realized I had dropped my knife, had a little pocket knife. So I picked it up after I got off of him because they tased me and I fell on top of him,” Blake said in an interview that aired in January.

The police officers involved in the shooting were not charged by the Kenosha County district attorney. The district attorney determined the officers were acting in self-defense against an armed man who was resisting arrest. Prior to being shot seven times, Blake was Tased by police multiple times and fought with them on the ground. He picked up a knife off the ground and was going towards his car when he was shot. The incident, which was captured on video and shared over social media, inflamed racial tensions and led to riots in Kenosha.

ESPN is a major outlet with a massive audience and has an obligation to provide factual information. The network remained silent when Jones perpetuated the same false narrative as Wojnarowski. Jones made his remarks on live TV, which you can see here.

ESPN has made it a point to integrate sensitive racial issues into their content over the past year, but it does not seem like the company, its editors, or reporters are placing an emphasis on accuracy.

Barstool Sports founder renting Floyd Mayweather’s old house for insane price

Dave Portnoy

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy sure has come a long way since he was hustling around the Boston area handing out free newspapers. The home he is currently renting in South Florida is a reminder of that.

If you have watched any of Portnoy’s famous pizza reviews recently, you know he has been spending a lot of time in the Sunshine State. Mary K. Jacob of Page Six learned this week that Portnoy is renting a Miami Beach home formerly owned by Floyd Mayweather Jr. at a modest rate of $200,000 per month.

Mayweather bought the waterfront estate for $7.7 million in 2016 and sold it at a loss for $6.25 million last fall. A Barstool representative hinted to Page Six recently that Portnoy may buy property in Florida, saying the 44-year-old “loves warm breezes, pretty señoritas and low taxes so anything is possible.”

Portnoy has grown Barstool Sports into a media and sports gambling empire. We got an idea of just how rich he is when he paid an insane amount of money just to troll Roger Goodell last year. Life certainly seems good for the Boston native.

Joe Buck will reportedly serve as ‘Jeopardy!’ guest host

Joe Buck

Another member of the sports world will get a crack at guest hosting “Jeopardy!” later this year.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, FOX Sports announcer Joe Buck will take a turn as the show’s guest host. Buck’s episodes are slated to air sometime in mid-summer, and Marchand reports that it will be a tryout for the permanent job.

Buck’s tryout will not impact his schedule calling NFL and MLB games for FOX. It’s not clear if that would change if Buck were to land the permanent gig, but the “Jeopardy!” taping schedule would likely allow him to keep both jobs.

Buck will be the second person from the world of sports to get a look as guest host. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been involved in some pretty funny moments during his own hosting stint.

The 51-year-old veteran announcer hasn’t always been the most popular with fans, but he’s shown himself to be quick on his feet with a good sense of humor. It will be interesting to see how he does.

Johnny Manziel sent sports reporter troll autograph saying ‘f— you’

Johnny Manziel

Darren Rovell is known most for being a sports memorabilia junkie and annoying people on social media, which is why the gift Johnny Manziel recently sent him seems absolutely perfect.

Manziel, like many others, does not get along with Rovell. Their issues date back to Rovell’s reporting on Manziel’s autograph scandal in college.

The former Texas A&M star has tweeted his disdain for the reporter in the past, and he has found a new way to show Rovell how he feels about him. On Thursday, Rovell revealed that Manziel sent him an autographed Cleveland Browns helmet that says ‘F— you!’ on it.

Now that’s personalization.

We don’t know if Manziel was joking or if he’s still angry with Rovell. However, Rovell tried to buy a playing card last year that Manziel wrote “F— Rovell” on, so this has been going on for a while. Manziel has also called Rovell a “b—h” on Twitter.

Manziel has done a lot of self-reflection lately and even recently revealed his biggest career regret. It’s possible he was trying to bury the hatchet with Rovell rather than adding more fuel to the fire, but Rovell haters are undoubtedly hoping it was the latter.


Shannon Sharpe blocks Kevin Durant on Twitter over fake quote drama

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant called out Shannon Sharpe on Monday for lying about him on TV, and the former NFL star does not want to hear anymore about it — at least on social media.

During Monday’s edition of “The Undisputed” on FS1, Sharpe mistakenly attributed a quote to Durant. The quote supposedly had Durant saying if he beat LeBron James in the NBA Finals, and James is considered the “GOAT,” what does that make KD?

The problem is Sharpe was alluding to a fake quote. Durant ripped Sharpe for it by calling him a “drunk uncle” in a tweet on Monday, and he kept chirping at Sharpe on Tuesday morning in an attempt to get him to respond.

Sharpe eventually responded and said he’s happy to talk to Durant but refuses to go back and forth with him on social media. K.D. didn’t accept that and said he has no problem hashing things out publicly since Sharpe used his TV platform to attribute a fake quote to Durant.

“We can talk in front of everybody, it ain’t that serious Shannon, u go on tv in front of everybody pushing fake s— but now u wanna talk in private??? Why u lying on tv Shannon???” Durant responded (edited by LBS for profanity).

Eventually, Sharpe blocked Durant.

Durant has a reputation for being thin-skinned, and deservedly so. He has been known to defend himself against trolls using fake Twitter accounts, but you can’t blame him for being annoyed this time. It’s convenient for Sharpe to use a fake quote to publicly bash K.D. and then run and hide. Even if Sharpe stands by his narrative, he should acknowledge that he was duped.

Charles Barkley was offered ‘Monday Night Football’ job?

Charles Barkley

ESPN has been desperate for years to find a strong personality that could elevate its “Monday Night Football” broadcast, but the network has been turned down by a number of former NFL stars since Jon Gruden returned to coaching. According to Charles Barkley, at least one NBA legend was also part of the discussion at one point.

Barkley made a shocking revelation during his recent appearance on “The Jim Brockmire Podcast” with Hank Azaria. While discussing why he stays off Twitter and ignores social media, Barkley said he prides himself on only joining a discussion when he knows what he is talking about. He then mentioned in passing that he was offered a job with “Monday Night Football.”

“I only comment on basketball,” Barkley said. “Like, they offered me the Monday Night Football (job) and I was like, ‘I like football, but I ain’t going to be one of these jacka–es and get on TV and act like he know about football.”

Barkley didn’t say what specific role ESPN offered him, but he did not sound like he was joking.

We wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN gauged Barkley’s interest in joining the “Monday Night Football” team. The product has suffered a great deal since Gruden left, and ESPN has been unable to land its top target despite multiple efforts.

If nothing else, Barkley would certainly attract viewers. You can hear his full comments from “The Jim Brockmire Podcast” below, but beware that the clip contains inappropriate language:

H/T Pro Football Talk

Stephen A. Smith suggests Kyrie Irving should give Nets some money back

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith has been critical of Kyrie Irving this season for the time Irving has spent away from the Brooklyn Nets, and the ESPN personality hinted on Monday that he believes the team deserves at least a partial refund for it.

The Nets’ game against the Timberwolves has been postponed in the wake of an officer-involved shooting that led to rioting in Minnesota. Irving was not going to play in the game anyway, as Brooklyn announced on Sunday that he would miss it for personal reasons. Before the game was postponed, Smith criticized Irving on “First Take” for missing so many games.

“You didn’t want people to play in the bubble because you wanted folks to focus on other issues, and it turns out you’ve got your own issues, whatever they may be. … We all hope that everything and everybody is OK, but I don’t recall Kyrie at any point saying, ‘Here’s your money back. You don’t have to pay me,'” Smith said.

“You’re missing games at your discretion. How many personal days do you need? You don’t play every day. You’ve got 72 games this year instead of 82. You only played 20 of the 72 games last year. What the h-ll is going on where you’re just missing games?”

The Nets had said Irving would miss Monday’s game for personal reasons/family matter. Smith acknowledged that the reason is slightly different from his previous absences, but he said his point remains.

Smith openly wondered earlier this year why Irving doesn’t retire. He obviously disagrees with Kyrie taking so much personal time off, and he isn’t the only one.

Irving was ejected from Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was the first ejection of his career. You can see the video here.

Reporter Aaron Wilson issues statement after being fired over Deshaun Watson interview

Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson issued a statement on Twitter Saturday after news emerged that he had been fired over statements he made during a radio interview.

Wilson, who covered the Texans for the Houston Chronicle, lost his job on Friday. He said in his statement that he “made a mistake” and did not choose his words carefully enough when talking about the Deshaun Watson allegations. He also regretted not being clearer about whether he was sharing his personal opinion in the interview, or representing the feelings of Watson’s camp.

Wilson joined WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” for an interview last month. In the interview, Wilson was asked about the sexual assault accusations Watson faced.

Wilson defended Watson’s character during the interview and expressed skepticism over the allegations. Wilson’s stance was so clear that the hosts even asked whether Wilson was “pro-Watson.”

In addition to showing a bias towards Watson, Wilson was not 100 percent clear about whether his remarks represented his own opinion, or whether his remarks represented the mentality of Watson’s camp. He said at one point that the attorney representing the women was “ambulance chasing.” He also said that “you don’t negotiate with terrorists” was the mindset of why Watson’s camp wasn’t negotiating with attorney Tony Buzbee.

Houston Chronicle reporters are supposed to receive clearance before doing interviews such as this one, and it sounds like Wilson did not. Had he sought clearance first, he might have been reminded to be careful with what he said. Wilson was not at all careful with his words or opinions.

Journalists are supposed to be impartial in their coverage of news stories. Maintaining impartiality is especially important for a sensitive subject such as this one. Wilson failed to be impartial during his interview.

Houston Chronicle reporter loses job over remarks about Watson accusers

Deshaun Watson

Houston Chronicle football writer Aaron Wilson is no longer employed by the newspaper due to recent remarks he made in an interview about the women accusing Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault.

The dismissal appears to stem from a March 19 appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” In that appearance, Wilson said that Watson’s camp did not want to negotiate because “you don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Wilson also said the attorney for the women was “ambulance chasing.”

“In his case, you know, it’s kind of you don’t negotiate with terrorists,” Wilson said. “People are demanding money, they’re asking for money. It kept escalating, it kept going up and up and up. You’re talking about more and more funds, I’m not going to say how much it got to, but my understanding is, you know, that there was an admission that, it was, you know, something, you know just that this was, you know, just a money grab.”

According to Diana Moskovitz and Kalyn Kahler of Defector, members of the Chronicle’s sports department attended a staff meeting in which sports editor Reid Laymance informed the staffers of Wilson’s departure. While Laymance did not give a reason for Wilson’s dismissal, he did remind the staffers to be mindful of what they might say on other platforms.

Earlier Friday, Chronicle editor Steve Riley emailed the entire newsroom with a reminder to report on the Watson allegations with “fairness and care toward all involved.” While Wilson was not mentioned, Riley reminded staffers that “opinion, speculation or baseless assertions” would not be tolerated. It also contained another reminder that any media appearances required supervisor permission, and anyone appearing on other platforms was representing the Chronicle while doing so.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault by 22 women. The allegations are also being investigated by Houston police.