ESPN has parted ways with NBA analyst Paul Pierce after an inappropriate Instagram livestream on Friday night.
On Friday, Pierce streamed what appeared to be he and some friends gathering for a poker game. The group was surrounded by exotic dancers, and Pierce was seen smoking an unidentified substance. The video can be seen here, though be warned that it is graphic and contains foul language.
On Monday, multiple reports indicated that ESPN parted ways with Pierce, effective immediately.
Source: ESPN parted ways with Paul Pierce effective immediately
Kirk Herbstreit ripped Dan Orlovsky this week after Orlovsky passed along a negative report about Justin Fields’ work ethic, and it sounds like executives at ESPN are not pleased about the situation.
Orlovsky was a guest on Pat McAfee’s show Wednesday and was asked by the host about rumors that Fields’ stock is dropping. Orlovsky told McAfee that he has heard some talk from NFL teams questioning Fields’ work ethic and desire to be great. Orlovsky made it clear that what he was sharing was not his opinion about Fields and said he has no concerns about the former Ohio State star’s ability to perform at the next level.
After receiving some backlash, Orlovsky posted a video on Twitter to elaborate on his comments. He said he had since spoken with more people — including one Ohio State offensive assistant — who praised Fields for his work ethic. Herbstreit, a fellow ESPN employee and Buckeyes alum, was not satisfied with Orlovsky’s explanation. He called Orlovsky’s initial report on Fields “reckless and absurd.”
Absolutely RIDICULOUS. Even if YOU aren’t saying it… to pass that along from “people in the know” is reckless and absurd!! Embarrassing!! https://t.co/r0RFSr1B6y
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, ESPN has spoken with both Herbstreit and Orlovsky. Neither TV personality will be suspended, but the issue has been addressed. It’s unclear if the higher-ups at ESPN took issue with Orlovsky’s initial report about Fields, Herbstreit’s tweet, or both.
Orlovsky repeatedly said that the negative reports he heard about Fields’ work ethic came from NFL teams and indicated he was not buying into them. The information probably came from one or more teams that are interested in Fields and want him to fall down the draft board.
With some of the throws Fields made and the blazing 40-yard dash he ran (video here) at his Pro Day, it’s hard to imagine him slipping too far.
Former NFL punter and popular media personality Pat McAfee shared some surprising news on his show Friday when he told viewers and listeners that ESPN employees are no longer allowed to appear as guests. However, ESPN claims McAfee has been misinformed.
McAfee, who regularly has ESPN guests on his show, said Friday that he had been informed through a third party that ESPN reporters, analysts and other employees will no longer be allowed on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Richard Deitsch reached out to ESPN about the supposed ban, and a network representative said there is no such mandate.
“We didn’t intend to ban ESPN guests from the show and there is certainly no ban going forward,” the network said. “We are in the midst of figuring out the best process for future guests to appear on outside platforms and Pat will continue to make regular appearances on ESPN shows.”
McAfee has been a popular contributor on ESPN shows, and he openly wondered on Friday if he should retaliate by no longer making those appearances. That may have led to a change in ESPN’s stance, or it’s possible that McAfee was simply given bad information.
ESPN may start covering hockey once again now that they reportedly have a TV rights deal with the NHL.
SportsNet’s Chris Johnston reported on Tuesday that ESPN has reached a 7-year deal with the NHL to become a media partner with the league. The deal would begin next season, which is after the current deal with NBC ends.
ESPN would split the package of NHL games with another partner, according to the report.
ESPN reportedly would receive the rights to broadcast four Stanley Cup Finals between 2022-2028 plus receive streaming rights.
NBC has held the TV rights to the NHL in the U.S. since the league’s lockout in 2004-2005. They pay $200 million annually for the package. However, NBC announced they would be shutting down NBC Sports Network at the end of the year, which signified they were unlikely to keep the full NHL deal. Sports properties that were airing on NBC Sports Network will shift to USA Network, which is another NBC property.
This move is a positive one for the NHL, which has received decreased exposure in the U.S. since losing the ESPN deal. From 1992-2004, ESPN held “National Hockey Night” games that helped the league increase in popularity. Their focus on the sport dwindled once they no longer held TV rights.
There has not been a Super Bowl broadcast on ABC in 15 years, but that drought is set to come to an end following a new agreement between the NFL and ABC/ESPN parent company Walt Disney Co.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported on Friday that Disney and the NFL have reached agreement on a new media rights deal. The deal includes the renewal of “Monday Night Football” and the return of ABC to the Super Bowl rotation.
The new agreement is reportedly worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.6 billion, which is a roughly 30 percent increase over the previous rights deal between the two sides.
The NFL has already reached new deals with CBS, NBC and FOX. The league could make a formal announcement on all the new contracts at some point next week.
The NFL is hoping to wrap up negotiations for its television rights renewals in the coming weeks, but one of its partners is holding out and refusing to pay what the league wants.
The NFL has asked TV partners for double the price of what they are paying for current deals in this round of negotiations, according to Alex Sherman of CNBC. NBC, CBS, and FOX are willing to approach that asking price, but Disney has pushed back on it.
Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC, currently has the rights to Monday Night Football, as well as highlights packages, branded shows, and streaming rights. Disney also wants to join the Super Bowl rotation and get Monday night doubleheaders, which prompted the NFL to make the same request of them as they did of their other broadcast partners. Disney balked because it is already paying more than the other three networks despite airing fewer live games.
ESPN has been trying to make big moves and expand its live broadcast presence in the NFL. That is going to lead the NFL to ask for more money, and unless the league blinks, Disney probably can’t have it both ways.
ESPN has not been able to find anything close to an elite play-by-play announcer since Mike Tirico left for NBC back in 2016. Is there any scenario in which Jim Nantz could fill that void? Apparently it cannot be ruled out.
Nantz is currently negotiating a new contract with CBS, and Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that ESPN is preparing to swoop in. ESPN and parent company Walt Disney Co. are looking to grow their NFL footprint, and Nantz becoming the face of the network would mesh with that plan.
There has been talk about “Monday Night Football” returning to ABC as well as ESPN/ABC once again carrying Super Bowl broadcasts. There has not been a Super Bowl broadcast on ABC since Al Michaels and John Madden were in the booth back in 2006.
While Nantz and CBS may be at an impasse in contract talks, a network spokesperson told McCarthy that “we expect Jim to be at CBS Sports for many years to come.”
ESPN shares Masters coverage with CBS, and McCarthy notes that ESPN could try to use Nantz’s connections to land weekend coverage of the event. CBS has held the Masters weekend coverage since the 1950s, and Nantz has spoken openly about wanting to become the first broadcaster to call 50 Masters. That’s one of the main reasons there is a strong chance he will remain with CBS.
Nantz currently makes $6.5 million per year from CBS, while his partner Tony Romo signed a 10-year, $180 million deal with the network last year. Nantz is said to be seeking a salary similar to Romo’s, though that is probably unrealistic for a play-by-play announcer. He is certainly due for a raise, however, as Joe Buck makes more than $10 million from FOX and Mike Tirico gets roughly the same amount from NBC.
Patrick Mahomes reminded everyone on Sunday night of why he is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, and the Kansas City Chiefs star took note of a certain network not giving him the credit he deserves.
After he threw for 325 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills, Mahomes trolled ESPN on Twitter. Someone called his attention to a graphic shown on “Postseason NFL Countdown” that said the Bills had an advantage over the Chiefs at the quarterback position.
Josh Allen certainly had a fantastic 2020 season. The Bills star deserves to be in the MVP conversation, but who would take him over Mahomes in a playoff game? That’s just silly.
Even though they are the defending Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs may feel they are not getting the respect they deserve. Between Mahomes’ tweet and what Tyreek Hill said after Sunday’s game, it sounds like Kansas City should be plenty motivated heading into a showdown with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Philip Rivers appeared to have his post-NFL career sorted out, but it sounds like another very notable option is available to him.
The veteran NFL quarterback has attracted the interest of ESPN, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. While the network initially wants to gauge Rivers’ interest in an NFL analyst role, they would be open to putting him in the broadcast booth for games if he had an interest in that.
For now, ESPN is prepared to stick with the team of Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, and Brian Griese for “Monday Night Football,” feeling that the trio will continue to build chemistry the more they work together.
It’s not really clear if Rivers would be interested in any of this. He already has a job lined up post-retirement that he seems very passionate about. Still, ESPN will do its due diligence, even if they get turned down.
Adam Schefter is one of the most well known sports reporters in the world, which is why countless people have been duped by social media accounts from people who are posing as the ESPN insider. Now, even Schefter’s own employer has fallen for a fake Schefter tweet.
On Monday, a fake Schefter Twitter account “reported” that the Miami Dolphins have fired offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. The tweet came from one of those accounts that uses the same avatar as Schefter, which makes it confusing. The account was not verified, however, and had a handle that read @TuaNeedsHelp.
Unfortunately for ESPN, someone at the company missed those important details. That led to ESPN publishing a story about Gailey being fired and attributing it to Schefter. The false report was also shared on the air during “SportsCenter.”
We've seen it all. ESPN got duped by a fake Adam Schefter account.
“The story has been removed from ESPN.com, and replaced with this correction. The story was also mentioned on the 1 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter,” the correction read. “No ESPN reporters reported on Gailey or the Dolphins, or were involved in the error, which was made internally. ESPN regrets the error.”