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Bernard Goldberg’s Frustrations with Narratives Led to HBO Exit

Bernie Goldberg said a recent conversation with Bryan Gumbel about race convinced him it was time to leave HBO’s Real Sports.

MIchael Quirk

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HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel has exhibited a few constants over the years: a warm welcome from Gumbel, a familiar jingle, interesting looks at obscure stories in sports, and the reporting from Bernard Goldberg. The latter part came to an end earlier this year when Goldberg announced he was leaving the show. In a Monday column on his eponymous website, Goldberg delved further into why he left.

“I told the show’s host, Bryant Gumbel, that I recently tuned in to watch a National Hockey League playoff game and heard a player, at a pre-game ceremony, say that, “racism is everywhere.”

I told Gumbel that since I didn’t tune in to get a lecture on what a racist country America is, I changed the channel. To which Bryant replied:  ‘Racism is everywhere.'”

Goldberg also spoke of recent comments made by comedian Kevin Hart regarding white power and privilege. He said he took umbrage with Gumbel’s phrasing that he believed made a lot of individuals culpable than Goldberg hoped he intended.

“In fact, as bad as things were, racism was never everywhere, not in this country anyway. It was never in the hearts of the abolitionists. Never in the hearts of those brave Americans who challenged Jim Crow and fought, often at great peril, for civil rights. I know it’s not everywhere because it’s not in my house. It’s not in the homes of my closest friends. Does racism still exist in America, a country of more than 300 million people? Unfortunately, yes, in some dark places. But, despite Bryant Gumbel’s contention … it’s not everywhere.”

The 14-time Emmy winner whose political affiliations have always been a point of viewer contention, believes the politics of some of his coworkers at HBO led to seemingly uncomfortable silence. The confrontation and dispute eventually was enough to make Goldberg believe a parting of ways was the best course of action.

“That year-end “Real Sports” show was my last. A few weeks later I walked away after 22 years as a correspondent. I didn’t want to be part of a team whose most prominent voice thinks that, “racism is everywhere,” and where the other 5 correspondents  — whose politics range from liberal to hard-left progressive – just sat there and said nothing.

Maybe Bryant didn’t mean it the way it came out. Maybe he meant that there are remnants of racism that still infect American culture – not that out-and-out racism is everywhere. But if that’s what he meant, he should have said it.”

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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