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Mike Tirico: NBC ‘Didn’t Ignore’ Political Issues In China

“At the end of the day, I feel like it was something that was present in our coverage at the most appropriate times during the 17-18 days.”

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NBC New York

No one seems very happy with the way NBC handled the 2022 Winter Olympics. Even NBC admits it has work to do in order to get the audience it wants for Paris 2024.

The ratings were way down, but Mike Tirico says that doesn’t mean the network didn’t do good work in terms of bringing the games to fans. He was a guest this week on the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast.

Amongst the hardships he and his colleagues had to overcome was the fact that there were no spectators. If there was any excitement in China for the games, Tirico said he had no way to experience it.

“To put it in one sentence: I would say that I feel like I went to the Olympics; I don’t feel like I went to China,” he told Deitsch. “And it’s because of the closed-loop system that they put in place. They were very stringent for zero COVID and the procedures and protocols that we all had to live with mirrored that desire for the country.”

Many viewers and media pundits in the United States were critical of the way NBC handled (or failed to handle) issues of human rights abuse by the Chinese government. Whether it was suspicion regarding the origin of the Covid-19 virus, the treatment of Uyghur Muslims, or critics of the government being silenced, some had an expectation that NBC should devote more time to it than the network did.

Mike Tirico says that when it comes to primetime coverage of the games, the events and athletes take top priority and decisions have to be made in terms of time.

“We are there to cover the Olympics. You have to make choices at some point. So do you show the live Olympics, or do you spend another 10 minutes on political affairs? Somebody might say, ‘Well, I think you should spend 10 more minutes on political affairs.’ Well, that person is not a snowboarding fan who’s watching the biggest moment in that sport for four years at that point.”

He also pushed back on the idea that NBC did not do enough. Mike Tirico pointed out that when it was appropriate, NBC did address some of the controversies surrounding the country and its government.

“I feel like we didn’t just do it in the opening ceremony and check a box. We spent a lengthy time the night before covering it, and as it happened during the opening ceremony, covered the moment of a member of the Uyghur population being one of the two to light the torch.

“I don’t think we ignored it after just checking the box, quote-unquote, at the start. At the end of the day, I feel like it was something that was present in our coverage at the most appropriate times during the 17-18 days.”

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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