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Bill Simmons Apologizes, Addresses Diversity Concerns

“Simmons understands why he is being judged and the need to improve, but asks his audience for “time” to correct the issue.”

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In the last month, Bill Simmons has been criticized for the lack of diversity at his digital media company The Ringer, which he launched in 2016 and sold to Spotify earlier this year. After receiving backlash for a New York Times story detailing staff concern over the lack of diversity, Simmons addressed the issue on a podcast episode. 

“I wish it had been a bigger priority for us to really make a bigger commitment to diversity than we did,” Simmons said Friday. “I think, in the moment, we’re looking at stuff, you pursue certain people, it doesn’t work out. You feel like you’re trying. And I think the moment that the country is having, in general, these last four weeks, is if you feel like you’re trying, that’s actually not good enough. We’re going to do better.”

The backlash came in the wake of Ryen Russillo praising Simmons for hiring a diverse group of talent, a compliment The Ringer Union quickly countered.

“In 2019, 86% of speakers on The Ringer Podcast Network were white. We have zero black editors,” the union released in a statement. “We have zero black writers assigned full time to the NBA or NFL beats. Our union is currently bargaining for practices to improve our diversity and inclusion.”

The New York Times continued the conversation, detailing the union’s concern about diversity at The Ringer, where Simmons was quoted as saying “this isn’t Open Mic Night.” Simmons’ quote made headlines and garnered much indignation, but he provided the quote’s full context during his Friday podcast. 

For their story, Simmons was asked the following question by The New York Times via email:

“Current and former staffers told us that it got harder for young writers — parenthesis — including but not limited to people of color — end parenthesis — to get more responsibility and visibility after podcasts became a higher priority at The Ringer in late 2017, early 2018. For example, they said that during the first few months of The Rewatchables, there were opportunities for younger, more obscure folks to participate. But by early 2018, it was mostly senior folks like you, Chris Ryan, Sean Fennessey and Mallory Rubin, can you comment on this?”

“That’s absurd,” Simmons replied in an email. “We were a startup those first two years, trying a whole bunch of different things. Eventually, we realized that podcasts were the biggest financial part of our business, so we needed to put our best people in them. Again, it’s a business, this isn’t Open Mic Night. As for The Rewatchables, I created that podcast, and it was built around me and Chris Ryan. I’ve hosted the vast majority of them. It’s one of our most popular and lucrative podcasts, and one of the biggest pop culture podcasts, period. I’m proud of the show and how we manage it.”

Simmons since offered the predictable ‘we need to do better’ sentiment, but he also noted it’s one of the reasons why he moved the company to Spotify. “I wanted to tap into their HR and their diversity teams and really try to reshape our company,” Simmons said Friday.  

Simmons understands why he is being judged and the need to improve, but asks his audience for “time” to correct the issue.

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Draymond Green, JJ Redick Sell Out Live Podcast Show

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness.

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Old Man Draymond

The two new and most visible faces of the new media influx have teamed up for a live show that will take place in New York City. Draymond Green and JJ Redick are bringing their respective podcasts to the stage for a live experience.

On Monday (June 27), Draymond Green’s The Draymond Green Show and JJ Redick’s The Old Man and the Three will seek to entertain an already sold out audience at The City Winery in New York City.

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness. JJ Redick has earned universal praise for how he has handled his career post-retirement from the NBA, including appear often opposite Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take as well as the network’s myriad of other programming.

Draymond Green has been very public with his podcast that has very publicly recorded episodes minutes after Warriors games. He has recently invoked his mantra that he isn’t a part of the media (despite signing a contract with Turner Sports and Colin Cowherd’s The Volume). Instead he insists he is a part of the aforementioned new media.

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Scott Van Pelt Not Hurt By Draymond Green’s “New Media” Comment

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

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Scott Van Pelt

We have heard an awful lot in the fast month about “new media” with a large section of that discussion coming in regards to athletes in or formerly in the NBA. One such interaction was between a member of that new media and Scott Van Pelt.

After Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a victorious Draymond Green was interviewed on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. In the interview, Van Pelt asked Green about dealing with the outside “noise” around the Finals. After Green gave a to-be-expected type answer, Van Pelt followed-up with the initial comment that start a wave.

Van Pelt: You’re part of the media now and you get to control the conversation from your perspective and I know you’ll-

Green: New media.

He then corrected Van Pelt’s assertion that Green had stated Stephen A. Smith was new media by saying:

Green: And by the way go watch The Draymond Green Show. I said Stephen A. sometimes acts like the new media. Sometimes he doesn’t. That’s on you, but nonetheless, don’t just lump me in with media, baby. It’s the new media.

Scott Van Pelt appeared on the SI Media Podcast and was asked about this exchange.

“I didn’t get that,” Van Pelt said of Green’s resistance in being associated with the word “media.”

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

Van Pelt went on about Green’s categorizing of Smith and other media as a separate column of media.

“I guess what Draymond actually said was sometimes he’s new media. I don’t give a shit who’s what…I think now as it relates to media, there’s no new and old because people that are in the old media are doing the new media and people that are in new media are cutting through in ways that people in old media didn’t think they ever would many years ago. I guess all I’m saying is whatever Stephen A. is, he exists in both lanes and Draymond, clearly his content cuts through on his podcast or with me.

I wasn’t hurt by it. I didn’t take it like he was mad at me. I was just correcting the semantics. It didn’t trouble me. Whatever. However Draymond frames what Stephen A. Smith is or what any of us are, it doesn’t feel important. I think it’s important he has that place where he wants to do his thing. And I think people are interested in hearing from the guy that was just out there not long after saying what he has to say.”

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Big Cat Asks For Listeners’ Help Booking Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take

“On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Barstool’s Big Cat has been trying to book NBA star Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take for five years, but the former MVP just won’t say yes.

On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.

“We want Kevin Durant on this show, and he has just alpha-ed me so hard at this point,” Big Cat said. “I need people to start replying to his tweets saying just go on Pardon My Take.”

It’s not like KD has given Big Cat the cold shoulder. Big Cat said Durant has responded to his DMs on Twitter before, even wishing him Happy Thanksgiving one year. But so far all attempts to get Durant on PMT have been futile.

“Maybe if we start getting some rings, then he’ll be like, ‘Yeah they’re an elite team, and I want to join up with them. And maybe I can help them win something,'” PFT Commenter said, referencing the fact that PMT is yet to be recognized with any podcasting awards.

Durant did more or less tell the podcast on Twitter he wasn’t interested on Wednesday.

Durant’s response probably still won’t deter Big Cat from trying to get Durant on the show, but at least they know where KD stands.

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