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Steven Godfrey: NFL Draft Reporting Is Just Coach Gossip, Sucks

“I don’t want to pick apart what a dude said on live TV because live TV is really f***ing hard. But, do we need to possibly institute a stylebook of alcohol-related issues, what does that mean?”

Ricky Keeler

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When Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral dropped to the Carolina Panthers in the 3rd Round of the 2022 NFL Draft, people were wondering as to why a potential 1st Round pick fell. Ian Rapoport went on the NFL Network to explain why the fall happened and received criticism for the way he delivered the report.

Rapoport went on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday to explain that he only tried to report what Corral had discussed out in the open and that he wanted his reporting to be balanced even though he had a short period of time to tell the story.

“When I’m on NFL Now, I get a lot of time. I can say whatever I want. The draft is a little bit different because it’s fast,” said Rapoport.  “For me, it was like I had to get a lot of information in a short period of time. I wanted to give the whole picture. I wondered if I said it too fast, if I wasn’t empathetic enough because if Matt Corral succeeds, he will be a fantastic symbol of overcoming a lot…It’s my job to explain all of that.”  

On this week’s episode of the Split Zone Duo podcast, Steven Godfrey and Alex Kirshner dove deeper into the Corral story and discussed what makes them frustrated about draft reporting. Godfrey said he felt weird about policing Rapoport’s reporting, but he wondered if the industry needs to have a guide on how to report about alcohol-related issues.

“He is parroting what he was told. He’s doing his job at a fundamental level because he is conveying the information. A lot of people on Twitter and the media were saying why did Matt Corral drop? So, Ian talks to someone who, by the way, obviously has to be connected or somewhat connected to the Carolina Panthers.”

“It is his job to convey that. However, the phrasing, and I don’t want to pick apart what a dude said on live TV because live TV is really f***ing hard. But, do we need to possibly institute a stylebook of alcohol-related issues, what does that mean?”

Kirshner agreed that live TV can be difficult, but he thinks there is a larger concern with reporting in the NFL about these types of issues.

“The most public examples of this were Adam Schefter getting himself into trouble after DeShaun Watson was not indicted by a grand jury. This is just a thing that NFL media does and there’s some of this in college football media too where, in order to be the guy who gets every significant bit of league news 3 minutes before everyone else gets it and to get a massive following and win the scoop wars, you’ve got to make some significant ethical compromises and I think it has to get the point where you aren’t really compromising because it’s just the way it works.” 

Godfrey said has a general frustration with the way draft season gets reported because so much of what is reported about individual prospects is the opinions of one person or team.

“The alcohol thing combined with treating depression like it’s a bad 40-time. Then, also treating the admission of depression as a negative, that one, I think, cuts to the bone. I do think there is something to be said for a journalist making a decision real-time of ‘I don’t have to say everything.’

“Draft season is coach gossip, but instead of saying hey Alex, Wake Forest is really going to suck this year because their linebackers aren’t good, it’s about a single individual who is 22-years-old and that f**kin sucks, man.”

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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