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Deitsch: Hill Couldn’t Feel She Had ESPN’s Support

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Jemele Hill

The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch weighed in on the news that Jemele Hill and ESPN plan to part ways in September in his latest “Media Circus” column. Deitsch writes that since Hill’s suspension from the network and the cancellation of her version of the 6pm SportsCenter with Michael Smith, it seemed inevitable that both sides were planning to move on without the other.

Given the suspension, Hill could not feel that she had management’s unwavering support—and ESPN management clearly had limits to the speech it will allow from front-facing talent on social media, and particularly those representing the SportsCenter brand. That was followed by Hill asking off the 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter and the dissolution of the show she had formed with Michael Smith. With new ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro charged with healing his company’s relationship with the NFL and wanting to escape as many connections to political talk with his brand, this was inevitable.

Hill reportedly proposed the amicable split to Pitaro, who accepted. The official final day of her ESPN employment will be some time in September, but Deitsch says it really ended close to a year ago.

Hill’s ESPN tenure effectively ended last October after she served a two-week suspension for a series of tweets following Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones saying his players will stand for the national anthem and not disrespect the flag, and if they don’t, the player or players will not play.

She had also come under fire from the White House for tweets in which she called President Trump a white supremacist and said he was unfit to lead the country. The White House repeatedly called for Hill’s job at that time. ESPN simply issued a statement saying that Hill’s views did not represent the network’s views. According to Deitsch, that may have been the first moment Jemele Hill felt like she didn’t have ESPN’s support.

Trump responded to those tweets, as did White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said Hill should be fired. ESPN management did not respond publicly to the White House calling for one of its employees to be fired.

While Richard Deitsch says he expects Hill to return to sports writing at some point, it likely will not be her primary focus in the future. She and Kelly Carter, who is her best friend and colleague at The Undefeated, have formed a production company called  Lodge Freeway Media. Hill had mentioned earlier this year that documentaries are in her future but did not give details on any potential Lodge Freeway projects.

 

Sports Online

Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network

“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”

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Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.

“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”

Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.

“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”

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Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’

“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.

In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.

The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”

He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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Sports Online

Kareem Daniel Leaving Disney After Bob Iger Reassumes Role as Company CEO

“This is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Iger is back as the CEO of Disney, and one of the first moves he made was to announce a company restructure. Part of that restructure includes the departure of Kareem Daniel, the chair of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED).

DMED was formed under now-previous CEO Bob Chapek. The division manages Disney’s streaming services which includes ESPN+.

Daniel was considered one of those closest to Chapek. Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees at DMED.

“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger said in the memo. “As you know, this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will join other company leaders in coming up with a new company structure that Iger hopes “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

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