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Geoff Mason, Sports Video Group Set Up Mental Health Support For Members

“Mason noticed an uptick in reports of mental health and substance abuse problems among TV production staffs as sports leagues picked back up and COVID protocols became increasingly strict.”

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Longtime sports TV producer Geoff Mason caught wind of a television production staffer who attempted suicide in one of the professional league Florida bubbles after being filled with feelings of isolation and depression. 

In a recent story, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, outlined the story of Mason, who is 37 years sober, and his effort to bring relief to those within his field struggling with mental health issues. 

Mason noticed an uptick in reports of mental health and substance abuse problems among TV production staffs as sports leagues picked back up and COVID protocols became increasingly strict. 

“I deal in rehab,” Mason told SBJ. “I deal in AA. I deal in treatment. I understand that we’re all not very far away from going over the edge. When I hear signals, I know how to recognize them. And this was a signal to me. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to pick up the phone, we’ve got to do something about it, this is bullshit.’”  

Teaming up with Ken Kerschbaumer, who runs Sports Video Group, the two set up a partnership with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, providing a helpline for SVG members struggling and looking for professional help. 

“We’re working on a top-down basis,” Mason said of the partnership which has been in operation for about a month, according to SBJ. “Our job is to make the heads of sports departments aware that when they get a call from one of their people, they will have in front of them two things: an 800 number and an email address. We’re encouraging them to pick up the phone and call us. Once we get the information as to how to proceed first-step-wise, then we can begin to be responsive.”

Ourand notes that Mason expects these resources will have a trickle-down effect to the actual production staff who can take advantage of them. 

“We’re already working on the Final Four and Indy, looking at integrating ourselves within the framework of all those people that are going to come to Indy for the Final Four,” Mason said. “Our job is to make ourselves known and available. If you’re in a hotel room suffering, or whether you own a company that supplies labor to 130 broadcast pickups per month, you need to know that help is just a phone call or an email away. It does not have to be intimidating.”

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Devin McCourty Joining Football Night in America on NBC

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity from NBC Sports to learn from great individuals, chase new goals and provide viewers with my thoughts on the biggest games every week.”

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NBC Sports has enhanced its roster of football analysts with the signing of Devin McCourty. He will join the cast of Football Night in America leading up to each week’s broadcast of Sunday Night Football.

McCourty is a three-time Super Bowl champion and played his entire 13-year career as a defensive back with the New England Patriots, and has the record for most career playoff games started by a defensive player.

“It’s rare when you have the opportunity to add a three-time Super Bowl-winner to your team, and we’re excited to welcome Devin McCourty to Football Night following an incredible NFL career,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president of production at NBC Sports. “Devin is a leader in every sense of the word, both on and off the field, and his dynamic personality and passion for the game will be a great addition to the show.”

McCourty’s twin brother, Jason, currently works on the cast of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, and the two co-hosted a podcast together while playing called Double Coverage. Devin was a guest host on Good Morning Football earlier in the season and also contributed to pregame coverage on The NFL Today and NFL Draft content for CBS Sports.

“I’m excited to be a rookie on the best team in America again,” McCourty said in a statement. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity from NBC Sports to learn from great individuals, chase new goals and provide viewers with my thoughts on the biggest games every week.”

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Glen Kuiper: ‘Traits Like Integrity and Character are No Longer Considered’

“I love the game of baseball and I love being a broadcaster, and I love the Bay Area community. I hope I will be remembered for that.”

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Glen Kuiper is out as the television voice of the Oakland A’s. The team and NBC Sports California made the announcement yesterday following an internal review of an incident on air earlier this month in which the broadcaster appeared the say the n-word on accident.

“Following an internal review, the decision has been made for NBC Sports California to end its relationship with Glen Kuiper, effective immediately,” a spokesperson from the regional sports network said in a statement. “We thank Glen for his dedication to Bay Area baseball over the years.”

Kuiper issued a statement of his own, affirming that what people are calling a racial slur was actually “a very unfortunate mispronunciation.” He said that he was talking to fast in describing a day at the Negro League Museum in Kansas City.

“Please know that racism is in no way a part of me; it never has been and it never will be,” he wrote in a statement shared with reporters. “I appreciate the Negro League Museum president Bob Kendrick and Oakland A’s great Dave Stewart’s public support of me in light of this. I am an honest, caring, kind, honorable, respectful husband and father who would never utter a disparaging word about anybody. Those who know me best know this about me.”

He has been the A’s primary play-by-play voice since 2006. He added that he is astonished NBC did nto consider that before making their final decision.

“I wish that the Oakland A’s and NBC Sports would have taken into consideration my 20-year career, my solid reputation, integrity and character, but in this current environment, traits like integrity and character are no longer considered. I will always have trouble understanding how one mistake in a 20-year broadcasting career is cause for termination, but I know something better is in my future.”

Glen Kuiper closed his remarks by thanking fans and his supporters.

“I love the game of baseball and I love being a broadcaster, and I love the Bay Area community. I hope I will be remembered for that.”

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Sports Emmys Honor ESPN, FOX, World Cup and Olympics

“ESPN led the way amongst the networks, taking home thirteen trophies.”

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The sports media was celebrated Monday night in New York City. The 44th annual Sports Emmys ceremony took place at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp acknowledged that the ceremony looked a little different. Out of respect for the WGA and their writers’ strike, many of the show’s scripted elements had been eliminated.

“The business challenges of the changing media landscape are like none we’ve seen before,” he told those in attendance. “And yet, the individual economics of making a career in our industry — starting out in our industry — can be impossible to square. Between these two realities, the generation coming up needs our industry to sow a field of common ground, not scorched earth.”

Awards were handed out in 47 categories. Among them was a lifetime achievement award, which was accepted by HBO’s Bryant Gumbel

ESPN led the way amongst the networks, taking home thirteen trophies. Some of its biggest wins included Best Live Sports Series for Monday Night Football, Best Studio Analyst for Ryan Clark, Best Sports Event Analyst for Peyton Manning and Best Play-by-Play for Mike Breen.

FOX came in second amongst the networks with nine Sports Emmys. FOX NFL Sunday won Best Weekly Studio Show, but most of the network’s big wins were connected to coverage of the FIFA World Cup last fall.

The World Cup and the 2022 Winter Olympics were the big event winners. Coverage of the events netted three awards for FOX and NBC respectively. 

A full list of winners can be seen here.

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