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ESPN Denies Sports By Brooks Report On Steele

“Brooks Melchoir reported that multiple sources told him that representatives of Augusta National Golf Club put pressure on ESPN, asking the network to keep Steele from covering the Masters in the future.”

Jack Ferris

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“It isn’t the prettiest history, for sure, and that is putting it very, very kindly; therefore I feel pressure, maybe self-inflicted.” This is a quote lifted from an Indianapolis Star story profiling Sage Steele’s coverage of the Masters for ESPN.

Following that April 10th feature, in which Steele reminded readers Augusta National did not admit a black member until 1990 and didn’t admit a woman until 2012, rumors began swirling. Brooks Melchoir, who recently started blogging again at Sports By Brooks after a five year absence, reported that multiple sources told him that representatives of Augusta National Golf Club put pressure on ESPN, asking the network to keep Steele from covering the Masters in the future.  This week, ESPN came out and denied any such conversation ever took place.

“All aspects of this report are entirely and completely false.  We have not been asked by anyone to remove Sage from future coverage,” the statement read.

Sage Steele just wrapped up her third year covering the Masters for ESPN.  

Ron Townsend was the first African American man granted membership to Augusta National Golf Club 29 years ago.  Just 7 years ago, Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore became the first female members.

No word has come from Augusta National representatives regarding the story.

Sports TV News

CBS Tried ‘Intervention’ With Tony Romo

“They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

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After his performance during the 2022 season, many have questioned why CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has seemed off his game after seeing high praise during the early stages of his broadcasting career.

A recent nugget from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claims CBS executives attempted an “intervention” with Romo before the season.

“Tony Romo needs to study more,” Marchand said during The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. “He needs to be better prepared. As you move away from the sidelines, you need to do more work. I know CBS is aware of this. They tried an intervention last offseason. They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

Marchand also argued that it appears as if Romo’s partner — Jim Nantz — is content to let the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback struggle.

“This was the narrative out of CBS when Romo was getting all of the publicity: you heard from Nantz’ side and people from CBS that Nantz was the one creating Romo,” quipped Marchand. “The issue now is, why isn’t Nantz helping Romo get to this next level?”

Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS in 2020 — addressed his critics in an interview with Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post, saying he’s simply trying new things.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

The 42-year-old Romo appeared to push back on the insinuation that he doesn’t prepare for broadcasts like he used to during the interview.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

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Sports TV News

Jason Benetti: Negotiations With Chicago White Sox ‘Kind of A Pain’

“I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done.”

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Jason Benetti

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone recently saw their contracts renewed by NBC Sports Chicago to team once more as the television voices of the Chicago White Sox. Benetti says the talks about a renewal weren’t without their hiccups.

In a profile with Chicago Sun-Times writer Jeff Agrest, Benetti said the talks about the situation weren’t exactly what he envisioned.

“The really good news is we got somewhere good,” Benetti said. “It was kind of a pain, really. There were some things that we had to get through that I thought were silly, and I’m sure they thought some of the stuff that I was talking about might’ve been silly. But we got there in the end.”

Agrest reported the Atlanta Braves were watching the situation with bated breath. Their television play-by-play announcer, Chip Caray, recently departed for the same position with the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the White Sox and Benetti was how many regular season contests he would miss due to his work with FOX Sports. Benetti is announcing MLB and college football games for the network in 2023 and did his first NFL work for FOX Sports this season. Benetti admitted that were points of frustration along the way.

“I think the work has been strong and I appreciate the heck out of the fans and I have loved the Sox for all my life. I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done. Where I have put myself, totally honestly, the place I am is we got it done, and that means something. It means both sides wanted it to happen.”

Chicago White Sox Senior Vice President of Revenue and Marketing Brooks Boyer told Agrest he didn’t see any complications in the negotiations.

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Sports TV News

Tony Romo on Criticism: ‘You’re Always Evolving’

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

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Tony Romo isn’t too worried about the criticism he received this season for his work on CBS.

The network’s top NFL analyst was once the toast of the broadcast industry. This year though, he was the subject of plenty of complaints. The former Cowboys’ QB says that is because he is still trying to define himself in his new career.

“I mean, the ability to adapt and learn, if you never try to change at all — I just think like the best players in the world aren’t afraid of failure,” he told Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

Plenty of sports talk radio hosts laid into Romo for his performance during the playoffs. Even his broadcasting mentor, Dick Ebersol, questioned his commitment to the craft, although Ebersol later walked back those comments.

Tony Romo seems to hear the criticism. He says that he isn’t going to insist on continuing to do the things the audience tells him are not working.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

For all of the complaints though, Romo says there are still plenty of people that think he is doing a good job.

“You don’t always get it right, but I do think more often than not, just the people that come up to you all the time. I mean, it’s quadruple from my first 2-3 years, of how many people come up to me on the street and want to talk about it and how they loved it and stuff. So it’s really rewarding for that.” 

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