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Draymond Green’s Sucker Punch Segment Was An Inauthentic Dud

If you’re going to do a docuseries, a docu-segment or whatever this thing is categorized as – you have to really give viewers THE REAL TEA.

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Draymond Green has become a force to be reckoned with off the court for all the wrong reasons. At this point, if you’re a major sports fan, you’re probably already aware of Green’s antics at a preseason practice where he punched Warriors teammate Jordan Poole in the face. The incident went viral after a video of the fight was leaked to TMZ.

During Tuesday night’s opening tip-off pregame show on TNT, a new segment titled “The Countdown” featuring Green debuted. The segment is a co-production between Warner Bros. Discovery Sports (Turner Sports’ new convoluted name that reflects the network’s new ownership), Draymond Green’s production company Green 23 and Omaha Productions. The goal of the segment, which will hypothetically air throughout the season, is to take viewers behind the scenes of key moments during Green’s season. It is presumably part of an overall television deal Green signed with TNT last season which includes appearances on “Inside the NBA” and creating content for Bleacher Report and Turner.

The segment took us into Green’s life after his viral fight happened and showed us what his thought process was while he was reportedly “in exile” from the rest of the team. Viewers saw him working out at his home gym during his self-imposed “suspension” and they discovered (no pun intended) that he didn’t find out his sucker punch went viral until the next day because he spends most of his free time playing with his kids. 

It is clear Green is interested in becoming a major groundbreaker in media. He’s already begun to blaze that trail as one of the first active NBA players to serve as a television analyst. Green’s deal with TNT has even created a sudden trend at the Worldwide Leader. Active players Danny Green and C.J. McCollum will contribute to ESPN’s NBA programming throughout the season. It’s also clear that he took launching this new endeavor of his that he produced through his own production company very seriously. WBD Sports had input on it and they even brought on Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, the hottest producers in the sports world and in Hollywood right now. Manning is slowly building a television empire and they haven’t really produced a major dud until now.

“The Countdown” was cheesy at best, forced at worst. Turner (CBS as well) is known for super close up shots with what I call emotional lighting during extremely touching pieces. It’s a strategy that works in evoking emotion during a serious story. The viewer is truly in the face of a story’s subject and sees every crease on their face, every tear that wells up in their eyes and can truly feel every pause that comes within a sentence. It’s a powerful cinematography strategy that works really well. Just not here. Green is not the hero of this story. Green is not the person anyone should be feeling sorry for. He’s not an overcomer or someone who is fighting against obstacles within this specific story. If anything, he’s the villain.

It’s an unfair society but if you’re not as talented as Michael Jordan, no one gives you grace for sucker punching your teammate out of anger and frustration during practice after winning a championship especially when it is videotaped. To be honest, if we had video of Michael Jordan punching Steve Kerr or any of his other teammates during practice, I’m not sure society would be as forgiving of him either. We live in a world today that’s visually impacted. If we hear about it, there might be room to breathe for the guilty party involved after a few days. But if we see it? You’re in a ton of trouble. Especially if you look out of pocket on TMZ of all places. TMZ is society’s walk of shame. Nine times out of ten, you’re not on that website for a good reason.

The dialogue of the narration was also super corny. I don’t want to underestimate how big of a story this was. I don’t want to take away for how much of a bad look this was for Green. But by year’s end, I don’t think it’ll even be on a list of the top five biggest sports stories to happen in 2022. I’m not sure if this is a story we even remember ten years from now if Green’s media trajectory continues the way it’s going and especially if the Warriors win another ring.

When describing the incident, the narrator took major pauses during each sentence saying “sparked by the leak of the video, the incident did blow up. It went viral. It was everywhere. It was front page news. It was discussed. Dissected. And debated around the clock in the sports universe.”

WOAH! RELAX BIG HOMIE! It was a big deal but there are so many other stories that have happened this year in the sports world that deserve that kind of dramatic presentation. I don’t think this incident was one of those. While all of the statements said were true, the tone that came with it makes it sound like it was the biggest story since the United States went to war. The docu-segment didn’t need a narrator at all. 

Although we got a little bit inside of Green’s mind, I don’t think we got enough out of him to fully understand why the incident happened, what happened, how it affects the season and where him and Poole truly stand. If he truly wanted to be remorseful on camera beyond what he’s already said during press conferences and whatever he’s told Poole and his team behind the scenes, he should’ve sat down for an interview. He could’ve sat down one-on-one with a Turner journalist like Taylor Rooks, Ernie Johnson, or Chris Haynes. He could’ve sat down one-on-one with an analyst for a “players only” type of discussion.

The best strategy though would’ve been to sit down live from outside the arena with the Inside the NBA crew before the season opener. The interview would’ve happened in front of the fans who will automatically empathize with Green because he’s a Warrior and its ring ceremony night. Ernie would’ve asked the necessary journalistic questions, while the rest of the guys would’ve asked the barber shop questions and related Green’s experience to experiences of their own. They would’ve probably shown a meme or two and Green could’ve finally put the story to rest once and for all. Instead, it’ll live on in corny infamy and probably continue to be a stain on the Warriors’ season if they end up in some sort of slump. Never underestimate the power of the media and conveying a message.

If you’re going to do a docuseries, a docu-segment or whatever this thing is categorized as – you have to really give viewers THE REAL TEA. Reality TV is somewhat scripted but there is a method to the madness. We want to see Green’s mom cussing him out for acting stupid, his wife supporting him, his interactions with other teammates, an interaction with Poole after it happened, his boys roasting him about it, a meeting with a team psychologist or a therapist, Green playing with his kids, Green getting ready to come back to the team in the locker room. The docu-segment has to tell a story from beginning, middle and end.

This segment relied too much on press conference footage, reference footage from other sports shows talking about what happened and not much actual “access.” It is imperative players have a voice and have the ability to express it but this segment is a clear example of what happens when players try to control the narrative too much. Your voice ends up looking extremely inauthentic and your purpose fails. As a player going into media, if you’re not ready to let it all out or let a good portion of the reality out then just don’t let anything out at all because it’ll backfire on you.

The mainstream sports media had its doubts about player-produced media when it first emerged but it has truly had its moments of breakthrough. Mainstream outlets are even helping in the amplification of player-produced media hence the segment we’re discussing here. The Players Tribune’s Netflix documentary on Manti Te’o is critically acclaimed, John Wall’s piece on mental health for the same publication has been shared numerous times on social media and shown as an example of someone dealing with their mental health in a healthy way. Green’s best friend LeBron James hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind on Springhill’s The Shop, and who can forget the impact of Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance which sports networks and websites covered like it was a sport of its own (partly due to the pandemic). 

When you hide stuff, you’re not fully transparent, there’s not much you’re overcoming or apologetic about and you’re the hero of every story you tell like Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Green’s project with Omaha – you’re not going to gain any new fans and you just might turn people away from you even more.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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