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Dan Le Batard: ‘I Couldn’t Do The Job ESPN Hired Me For Anymore’

“We left amicably and I don’t have hard feelings toward ESPN. They helped make us bigger.”

Ricky Keeler

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Leaving ESPN has to come with an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty. Even if a star analyst or host is walking straight into a new job, there is still no way to know what is going to be next. That has to hold true for both Dan Le Batard and Cari Champion. 

On the latest episode of the Naked with Cari Champion podcast, Champion asks Le Batard about how he has felt since he and ESPN parted ways earlier this year. He noted that it wasn’t easy to walk away from the validation working from ESPN made him feel.

“That place is hard to leave because it is a destination and I’ve been single all my life so I had 30 years of savings as a single man and I had plenty of journalism bona fides and I had opportunities and it was still scary to leave.

“For where it is, all of us wanted to arrive with our vanities, with our insecurities because they would make you madder, they would give you the bona fides, they would give you the reach of television and those four letters behind your name. It sort of masked whatever it is you felt fraudulent. They knighted people.”

Le Batard didn’t have bad things to say about ESPN. He just felt like he could no longer do the job he was hired to.

“I was hired to be a fire-starter. I was hired to talk about some of the difficult stuff and the company changed and the country changed. What didn’t change is the reason I was hired and what didn’t change is that I was going to be my most authentic voice and self. We left amicably and I don’t have hard feelings toward ESPN. They helped make us bigger. It was a mutually beneficial relationship for as long as it was a mutually beneficial relationship.” 

One of the things that Le Batard enjoyed doing at ESPN was getting the chance to work with his father, but he revealed that Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard didn’t want his television career to last as long as it did. 

“The daily grind of it was hard for him to come in. He is well and my father is enjoying his retirement. My father was threatening to quit if they did not pay him better. He did not think they would actually pay him better. It wasn’t a principle, he just wanted to stop doing the show because he was tired.”

As for how the Le Batard and Friends podcast is doing now, he noted that there are many responsibilities now that he never had to worry about at ESPN and there are times he just wants to be silly.

“I loved just showing up talking to a microphone and seeing that direct deposit. I was always fooling around. I was somebody doing a show with my father. I was doing stuff that was silly and didn’t have any of these real responsibilities making sure our employees have healthcare and talking to accountants and attorneys…I don’t want to do the stuff that’s conquering and ambitious, I just want to giggle snorts with my friends and I did that for a long time at ESPN.”

Sports Online

LaVar Arrington, ‘Up On Game Presents’ Forges Multiplatform Deal With John Brenkus, Brinx.TV

The two entities have created a show called The NIL House, which will feature Brenkus and Rob Vaka discussing the latest news, biggest stories, athletes, collectives, and celebrities in the Name, Image, and Likeness space.

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Fox Sports Radio morning co-host LaVar Arrington has announced a multi-platform deal with creator and host of Sport Science John Brenkus and Brinx.TV.

The two entities have created a show called The NIL House, which will feature Brenkus and Rob Vaka discussing the latest news, biggest stories, athletes, collectives, and celebrities in the Name, Image, and Likeness space.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with a pioneer like John Brenkus and Brinx.TV,” said Arrington. “This relationship will dramatically expedite our slate of programming and positively impact the sports entertainment industry.”

“LaVar Arrington has dominated the world of sports on and off the field,” adds Brenkus. “By combining Up On Game and Brinx.TV’s distribution platforms, there really is no limit to our success.”

Up On Game Presents is the podcast platform Arrington curates, in conjunction with Fox Sports Radio. The Up On Game podcast features Arrington and former NFL Pro Bowl wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress.

Brinx.TV was created in February of 2021 and allows subscribers the ability to watch live programming while also make purchases, bid in auctions, buy NFTs, and answer trivia questions.

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Amazon Under Fire For TNF Halftime Show’s Handling of Tua Injury

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

Jordan Bondurant

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a head injury in the 2nd quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The images of Tua’s injury and the reaction of his body to the injury shocked not only the other players and fans in the stadium, but also those watching the Thursday night game on Amazon Prime Video.

At halftime, Tony Gonzalez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Richard Sherman all offered their reactions, with host Charissa Thompson providing an update from the team.

But noticeably absent in that discussion and reaction was the fact that Tua was playing in the game and suffered a head injury less than a week after he was believed to have suffered a concussion in Miami’s Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills. Add in the fact that the NFL Players Association is also investigating whether league concussion protocols were followed, as Tua returned to that game and helped lead the Dolphins to a victory.

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

The network did provide a deeper discussion during its postgame show and Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit addressed the issue in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately it didn’t become a bigger discussion on the broadcast until social media became littered with negative reactions to the halftime show’s approach to discussing the various issues involving the Dolphins quarterback prior to his injury during Thursday night’s game.

With Amazon now in partnership with the NFL, it’ll be interesting to watch how the network handles future sensitive issues given what they experienced covering the Tua Tagovailoa story.

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Big Ten Would Expand If Amazon or Apple Wanted to Buy a Package of Games

According to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the Pac-12 is keeping close watch on what the Big Ten does in terms of nailing down a digital rights partner like Amazon.

Jordan Bondurant

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The dust has settled on recent conference expansion, but there’s room for additional growth in the Big Ten if the price is right.

According to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the Pac-12 is keeping close watch on what the Big Ten does in terms of nailing down a digital rights partner like Amazon.

Should the Big Ten agree to a deal with either an Apple or Amazon, it’s believed the conference would look to poach even more Pac-12 schools like California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington.

No figures have been formally made public, but a deal somewhere close to $100 million per season would be enough to convince Big Ten presidents to add four more members. No official vote by the Big Ten has been taken in terms of further conference expansion.

That domino falling would open the door for the Big 12 to swoop in and pick up Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah, essentially the final nail in the Pac-12 coffin.

Meanwhile the Pac-12 is already looking at negotiating a new media rights deal. Amazon has also been linked to the conference. One report suggested the tech giant could hammer out a deal that would allow for exclusive Friday night football coverage. Meanwhile Apple continues to seek adding more live sports to its Apple TV+ platform. The company is believed to be a frontrunner to get NFL’s Sunday Ticket package.

In addition to its Friday MLB game presentations that began this season, Apple also struck a deal with Major League Soccer for media rights, making Apple TV+ the exclusive home for MLS matches starting in 2023.

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