Sports TV News
Simmons Regrets Not Editing Out Goodell Comments
For the first time since Grantland was shuttered last Friday, the site’s founder and former editor-in-chief, Bill Simmons, talked extensively about its folding in an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast posted Wednesday night.
Notably, Simmons admitted that he regrets not cutting inflammatory comments about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell from an episode of his “B.S. Report” podcast last September. The decision to call Goodell “a liar” during that podcast led ESPN to suspend Simmons for three weeks and caused a well-documented fallout between him and the company.
While mourning the passing of his sports and pop culture website, Simmons stated that he himself wasn’t entirely “blameless” in the matter, either. Specifically, he said that he should have thought more carefully about how his Goodell comments would negatively impact the 50 or so people working under him.
“The mistake I made, and the thing I feel really badly about is that I had all these people counting on me,” Simmons said. “If I’m going to push the envelope like I did [with those comments] … you gotta know where the line is, because the last thing I want to do is put all of those people in a bad spot … We should’ve [asked ourselves], ‘Hey, is [publishing these comments] worth it?’
Simmons went on to say that he didn’t play back that interview before it went live, as he was off taping another segment, and told his editors to just “go with it.” But, in hindsight, if he had listened to it, “I would’ve said, ‘You know what, I don’t think that’s worth it.’ I would have taken it out.”
Needless to say, he still stands by what he said about Goodell. He just regrets expressing it in such a public forum.
“I thought he was lying; I was borne out correct, the guy did lie,” he added. “[But] that really set the tone for a really bad next eight months.”
Later in Wednesday’s podcast, Simmons went on to condemn ESPN for the virtual radio silence Grantland’s staff received from its mother company about the site’s future after Simmons was kicked out last May — a silence that left the Grantland team always worried, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“The staff was really scared for the future of the site. They were scared for where it was going; they didn’t know who the leader was in place of me,” Simmons said.
And that shoe did drop just last Friday. In ESPN’s short statement on Grantland’s closure, it explained that the company sought to “direct [its] time and energy going forward to projects [it] believe[s] will have a broader and more significant impact” — a phrasing that led many to assume that Grantland’s reportedly less-than-absurd profits were a central reason for its suspension.
To read the rest of the article visit the Huffington Post where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Skip Bayless: I’m The Cal Ripken of Debate Shows
“I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
If you ask Skip Bayless if he has ever lost a debate on UNDISPUTED or when he was at First Take, he will tell you he has been undefeated against whomever he goes up against on the 9-10 topics that he debates daily.
On his podcast, The Skip Bayless Show, Bayless made an estimate as to how many shows he has done over the duration of over two decades and how he compared himself to being the Cal Ripken of sports debate shows.
“Here’s my best estimation. Over 23 years and 4 months on national television, I have done 5,715 shows. If we have averaged 9 topics per show, that means I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
“Nobody is more experienced in the debate format than I am. You can say I am the Cal Ripken of the genre. My friends, Michael Wilson and Tony Kornheiser, have been on TV for more years doing their show, which is all-time great, but their show is only 30 minutes a day. Mine was 2 hours a day at ESPN and 2.5 hours a day for the 6.5 years I’ve been at FS1.”
In the mailbag portion of his show, Bayless gave away the keys to winning a debate and how he always is ready whenever a show goes live.
“It’s preparation and concentration. Most debates are won the night before by researching and thinking them through. If he goes there, I will go here. If he goes here, I will go there. Then, of course, when that red light goes on, you must lock in and you must hyper focus for each of those 9-10 topics. If you let your mind wander for even a split second, you lose. We are live and I live for live.”
While some might disagree with what Bayless has to say, he knows that he doesn’t say things for shock value and he is not afraid to say how he feels about any subject.
“Shock jocks get exposed as frauds, as one-trick ponies. I am not that. God gave me a pretty good brain, a pretty good feel for sports and the people in and around sports. I watch those people very closely. I watch the games very closely and I am constantly asking myself what is really going on here?
“I am not afraid to say what I see and I see a lot. At heart, I am a truth teller, not a shock jock. I am often proven right. In fact, if you want to know the truth…I am invariably proven to be right again and again over time. People just try to explain me away and I just keep showing up every day after day after day. I stand strong. I don’t back off. I endure.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Michael Wilbon to Resume Traveling After Foot Surgery
“Am I going to games right now? No, but I probably wouldn’t be going to many games in March anyways before the playoffs.”
If you watch a lot of ESPN, you are used to seeing Michael Wilbon on screen in front of a desert backdrop. That is pretty standard when the PTI and NBA Countdown star is broadcasting from his home in Arizona.
That backdrop has been seen a lot this year as Wilbon has been off the road. He is recovering from surgery to repair an ulcer on his right foot. They are part of his struggle with Type II diabetes. He had the surgery in April.
Since then, he has been getting around on a scooter, which he joked with the New York Post’s Ryan Glasspiegel is exactly what LeBron James is doing right now.
“When you’re 64 years old, you’re not gonna come back from that overnight — I don’t know if you would at 44 either.”
Michael Wilbon says that he expects to return to the road this week. From what he told Glasspiegel, it sounds like we are more likely to see him in the studio than at an arena.
“I can still work,” he said. “Am I going to games right now? No, but I probably wouldn’t be going to many games in March anyways before the playoffs.”
Sports TV News
Paul Byrd, Brian Jordan Won’t Return to Braves Broadcast Booth
“Brian Jordan was part of the team of analysts covering the Braves on TV last year. Byrd was a studio host.”
Atlanta Braves fans will be greeted with a very different television broadcast when Major League Baseball’s regular season begins later this month. Bally Sports South has undergone a full talent overhaul.
When the network announced its talent for the 2023 season, two names were missing. Neither Paul Byrd nor Brian Jordan will return. Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that Byrd’s decision was a personal matter, while the team made efforts to bring Jordan back.
Brian Jordan was part of the team of analysts covering the Braves on TV last year. Byrd was a studio host. He was at the front of a season preview show, which premiered last week.
The Braves have been hit with plenty of other changes this offseason. Chip Caray will be replaced by Brandon Gaudin on play-by-play after Caray decided to leave Atlanta for St. Louis. Also, Tom Glavine returns as a game analyst after taking time away from the team in 2022.