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Michael Wilbon Apologizes To Isiah Thomas

“We might not know which players didn’t want Isiah to join them in Barcelona, but we also haven’t heard many guys step up and say they did want him on the team.”

Brandon Contes

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As much as The Last Dance might teach us things we never knew about the NBA and the ‘90s Chicago Bulls, there will be some questions that remain unanswered. One being, why wasn’t Isiah Thomas on the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball Dream Team? After attempting to answer the question, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon issued an apology to Isiah Monday night.

For decades, Isiah’s absence from the Dream Team was attributed to his poor relationship with Michael Jordan. But during The Last Dance, Jordan denied it was his decision, without denying that he didn’t want Isiah on the team.

“You want to attribute it to me, go ahead and be my guest,” Jordan said. “But it wasn’t me.”

Jordan did say that adding Isiah would have changed the feel of the team.

“The Dream Team, based on the environment and the camaraderie that happened on that team, it was the best harmony,” Jordan added. “Would Isiah have made a different feeling on that team? Yes.”

During the documentary, Wilbon didn’t solely blame Jordan for the decision, instead crediting a group of players for keeping Isiah off the Dream Team. Wilbon said it was half the team that didn’t want to play with the Pistons point guard, specifically calling out Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird.  

Magic didn’t want all of the blame, but did add “there was four or five guys who just had problems with him,” meaning Isiah.

During an appearance with Rachel Nichols on The Jump Monday afternoon, Wilbon furthered the point by saying it was more like nine of the 12 players that didn’t want to spend their summer in Barcelona with Isiah.

“I’m gonna say nine of those guys just were not in favor of hanging out with Isiah Thomas at that time, and that’s what that summer was [Rachel], it was a big hangout. It was like summer camp,” Wilbon explained. “They knew who they wanted to spend the summer with, and they knew who they didn’t want to spend the summer with. 

“Hanging that on Michael Jordan is just inaccurate … That group of people, I’m going to say nine out of 12, they made it known to whomever that this wasn’t somebody they wanted in their summer camp.”

Hours later, Wilbon said he was “dead wrong” and went on Twitter to apologize to Isiah for stating nine players didn’t want him on the Dream Team.

Shortly after Wilbon’s tweet, Isiah accepted Wilbon’s apology, with a simple “thank you.”

Some have argued the reason the Hall-of-Fame point guard wasn’t selected to the team was due to being past his prime. But when the Dream Team roster was selected, the 30-year old Isiah was still averaging 37 effective minutes per game, and players like Johnson and Bird were selected for the team despite CLEARLY being past their respective primes. We might not know which players didn’t want Isiah to join them in Barcelona, but we also haven’t heard many guys step up and say they did want him on the team.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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