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Jay Bilas Is Continually Compelled By College Basketball

Derek Futterman




Studying to attain a law degree is an intensive task that requires commitment and dedication, along with having an erudite understanding of different types of law and standards of litigation. Completing law school is usually laborious for most students since the occupation involves meticulous preparation and the application of knowledge into real-world situations pertaining to intricacies such as burdens of proof, depositions and arraignments. Of course, the job of an attorney is to represent a plaintiff or a defendant and advocate on their behalf, and while much of their time is spent in offices and courtrooms, some have given broadcasting a try. It is fair to consider Jay Bilas a part of that group, specializing in commercial litigation and all things college hoops.

History scholars are surely cognizant of a maxim authored by former Pennsylvania governor and American pantologist Benjamin Franklin which states, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It is evident that preparedness is paradigmatic in effectuating a greater chance at success, mitigating ostensible roadblocks before they occur. Bilas, through his law training, was taught methods of preparing for cases and today is of counsel at the law firm Moore & Van Allen.

Working as a lawyer, however, is not Bilas’ full-time job. That would be working for ESPN as one of its top college basketball commentators, providing analysis of players and teams both on studio programming and courtside for select matchups. His journey in sports media, unconventional in and of itself, kept him around the game he has fervently scrutinized in a variety of roles. It has afforded him a chance to disseminate his esoteric perspectives on the sport based on his previous experience – voluminous and stratified – along with his means of interpretation.

“I’ve learned about the game since I’ve played it and since I was an assistant coach,” Bilas said. “That’s been one of the great things about this job. If I had stayed as an assistant and had [my] own program at some point, I probably wouldn’t know as much about the game as I feel like I know now.”

Indeed, Bilas has been present around several accomplished college basketball programs through his role at ESPN, something that would not have been possible had he remained a member of the Duke University Blue Devils men’s basketball team’s coaching staff.

Led by head coach Mike Krzyzewski for 42 seasons, the team won five national championships and qualified for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament 36 times, posting an overall record of 97-30 and 13 appearances in the Final Four. Krzyzewski, an undisputed savant of the game, recruited Bilas to play for the team as one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country.

Before Bilas considered institutions in which to matriculate, he participated in an interview with a local media outlet where he expressed an interest in broadcasting after playing basketball. In his youth, his mother encouraged him to try a variety of different activities, including various debate courses and competing in ballroom dancing, shaping him into a multifaceted, avant-garde recruit with recognizance in many different subject matters.

Interested basketball programs took notice and made sure that they introduced Bilas to executives in their communication departments during his visits, giving him a more comprehensive understanding of interacting with the media. During his visit to Duke University, Krzyzewski introduced Bilas to Chuck Howard, an 11-time Emmy-winning producer with ABC Sports and pioneer in sports broadcasting.

In the end, Bilas had a decision to make between playing for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes; the Syracuse University Orange; the University of Kansas Jayhawks; or the Duke University Blue Devils. Shortly thereafter, he found himself packing his bags to travel from his hometown of Los Angeles to Durham, N.C. and immersing himself in its system and the shrewd intellect of Krzyzewski.

On top of that, his conversation with Howard led to Bilas landing a job with ABC Sports during the summers as a runner where he assisted in the production of signature events. Some of these spectacles included the 1983 PGA Championship, the 1984 Summer Olympics (held in Los Angeles) and Monday Night Baseball broadcasts featuring premier voices of “America’s Pastime.”

“It just kind of got me interested in it,” Bilas said, “and I just sort of pursued it, I guess, from there…. “I think [that for] anybody who gets into this kind of thing, you’re always thinking, ‘Well, can I do this? Is this something I should do?’ Chuck was very positive all the time.”

Bilas was a four-year starter under Krzyzewski and faced off against difficult opponents, most notably the University of North Carolina Tar Heels featuring a dynamic guard by the name of Michael Jordan. After winning the NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship in 1982, “His Airness” proceeded to win six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and is referred to by many basketball pundits as the greatest player of all time.

He also was a two-time participant in the Olympic Games including in 1984 before his NBA debut, meaning that Bilas covered him when working for ABC Sports. He and the Blue Devils had ended Jordan’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) career just a few months earlier in an epic 77-75 upset, but it was one of the few games Bilas did not start because of an injury he had sustained three days earlier.

As a member of one of the highest-scoring college basketball recruiting classes ever assembled – which featured Mark Alarie, Dave Henderson and Johnny Dawkins in addition to Bilas – the team developed and made it all the way to the 1986 NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship game. Although Duke was defeated 72-69 by the University of Louisville Cardinals, the team helped set the foundation in place for the program to thrive in forthcoming seasons.

Upon graduating Duke University with a degree in political science, Bilas was drafted to the National Basketball Association in the fifth round by the Dallas Mavericks; however, he never played an NBA game. After some time playing professionally in Italy and Spain, Bilas returned to Duke University where he served as an assistant coach on the basketball team and worked to earn a law degree. Having served as a player and a coach, Bilas has utilized these experiences to handle and implement feedback from media bosses over his time in the industry, rounding him into a bonafide professional and adept colleague.

“You welcome feedback because it lets you know what other people think and people whose opinions you really value and whose judgments you value, and you act on it, especially when it’s right and reasonable,” Bilas said.

“When you get criticism – constructive or otherwise – you have to ask yourself [first] if it’s right, and if it’s right you need to deal with it. Second, if it’s reasonable, and if it’s reasonable, you need to consider it carefully; if it’s unreasonable, you just dismiss it. I’m not saying that’s what you do with your bosses because anything you get from your bosses is going to be reasonable.”

With this year’s tournament having been the first Final Four without a qualifying No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed – and busting all brackets in the process (there is approximately a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of compiling a perfect bracket) –  it was an intriguing watch for college basketball fans. Bilas was part of ESPN’s coverage live from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on College GameDay and called the semifinal matchup between the University of Connecticut Huskies and University of Miami Hurricanes alongside Brian Custer on ESPN’s international feed, syndicated to over 180 countries worldwide.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all event, but it’s as compelling a sporting event as I’ve ever watched and certainly that I’ve ever been a part of,” Bilas said. “I think there’s something special about having played in it, and [having] a role as an assistant coach and then having a role as a broadcaster. You’ve seen it from a lot of different angles – and before all that, I consumed it as a fan. I was the same kind of kid that watched it and dreamed of doing that someday, so there’s a dream aspect to it that’s really cool, and it’s something you have a hard time putting it into words.”

When it comes to sharing his opinions of college basketball, Bilas has worked at the craft of broadcasting to divulge compendious insights and viewpoints to viewers. Having that ability came in part because of his experience following, playing and coaching basketball, along with his abilities as a lawyer. Yet part of what makes Bilas a versatile broadcaster and the recipient of numerous industry honors, including the Curt Gowdy Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, is by starting his sports media career in radio.

Less than a year after Bilas graduated law school and relinquished his duties as an assistant coach, he was offered a chance to work with Bob Harris on the Duke Radio Network as a color commentator for basketball games. He was hesitant about making the jump because he knew it would make it difficult to regularly practice law, but was urged to do so by legendary play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg, whom he met while in college.

“He felt like it was really good training,” said Bilas regarding Enberg’s view of radio. “If I remember right, he said, ‘Television is color by numbers, but the real artists are in radio.’ I think starting there really helped me because the play-by-play person is the one that paints the picture.”

Enberg was helpful for Bilas throughout his formative years in the industry, and they ended up working with one another beginning in 2003 covering the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament for CBS Sports.

Over the years working with ESPN and CBS Sports, Bilas has had the good fortune to be paired with play-by-play announcers such as Dan Schulman, Sean McDonough and Brent Musburger, and thoroughly enjoyed his time working with each of them. With Enberg though, the two formed chemistry on the air and a friendly relationship off the air, including one memorable outing to Belmont Abbey College, the place where Al McGuire first coached.

“We spent the whole day there and saw his old office [and] walked around the campus,” Bilas remembered. “He told Al McGuire stories all day. It was just a wonderful day; he was just a very thoughtful human being and very kind. I think that came through with him as a broadcaster.”

Even though he worked with CBS Sports for parts of its March Madness coverage, Bilas has primarily been with ESPN since 1995, causing him to diminish the amount of work he can do as a lawyer. As he assimilated into the network and its coverage of college basketball, Bilas’ abilities to make sense of the action stood out wherefore he earned desirable assignments. In attempting to describe his commentary style, Bilas underscored the importance of being genuine with your audience, ensuring his analysis is precise and any criticism is justified.

“I just kind of say what I see and interpret the game [in] the way I understand it and the way I was trained,” Bilas said. “….Getting inside all these different programs and being in their scouting reports and their practices and their coaches’ meetings over the last 27 years has taught me more about basketball than I think I ever could have learned if I had just stayed on that particular path I was on.”

Amid a typical college basketball broadcast, there are ebbs and flows engendering the accentuation of information and entertainment, along with balancing objectivity and subjectivity. Through this multifarious discourse, consumers in part remain engrossed in the on-air product, although some pundits would argue that the games themselves are the primary drivers of ratings and revenue rather than the commentary.

Even so, listening to a lackluster broadcast booth can foment indignation and displeasure from consumers, sometimes acting as a catalyst for viewers to change the channel.

“I think all of our jobs in this are saying the right thing at the right time in the right tone,” Bilas said. “….There are certain times when somebody may take something the wrong way or not how you intended it. I don’t place that responsibility on the listener. If I didn’t get the point across for them to understand it in the way I intended, that’s on me.”

Occasionally, Bilas will be criticized by viewers for showing bias towards one team, an accusation he considers an example of fans being unreasonable. Game commentary, in essence, is meant to communicate what is happening during a contest.

The broadcast equips statistics, graphics, detailed preparation and quotes from interviews to enhance its storytelling and provide context to moments. National commentators will usually place more attention on the team winning the game and/or discuss what everyone is talking about, maintaining their ethos and objectivity while doing justice to the product on the floor.

“Of course I may have said some nicer things about the team that won than the team that lost; that can happen,” Bilas expressed. “You kind of ask the question sometimes: ‘Which was more biased? My mouth or your ears?’”

Since the launch of College GameDay in 2005, Bilas has been a part of its panel as an analyst, causing him to adjust his approach in presenting information. He affirms that the setting cultivates discussion in less of a granular manner than game commentary, instead expounding on the landscape as a whole.

Additionally, Bilas interviews college basketball players in a segment called “94 Feet” for the show, conversing so viewers can learn more about them away from the court. He also appears on other ESPN studio programming, including Get Up!, SportsCenter and select ESPN Radio programs.

“I’ve always tried to just be conversational with my colleagues in the studio,” Bilas said. “I’m answering the question that a colleague asked and having a discussion with my cohort.”

When he is not calling games or voicing his opinions in the studio, Bilas may be writing a story for In working to disclose his ideas and thoughts to readers, he believes they last longer because of the means through which they are being delivered. In today’s information-driven era with a dwindling attention span and emphasis on timeliness, possessing an alacrity to serve his audience is critical for him to adequately perform his versatile role.

There are opportunities, however, for Bilas to go into detail about topics, just as he did on the definition of “toughness” in his New York Times bestselling book titled, “Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court.”

“In my life as a lawyer, I had to do a lot of writing,” Bilas said. “You try to convey your thoughts in as concise a way as possible. That’s similar to what you try to do on the air when you’re speaking, but I’ve done a lot of writing over the years and I’ve always really enjoyed it.”

When crafting its booth for Thursday Night Football, the management team at Amazon Prime Video made what was perceived by many people to be a questionable decision in pairing Kirk Herbstreit with Al Michaels. Herbstreit, a former player and insightful college football studio analyst and color commentator, worked a total of 49 assignments in the fall – 33 of those being live game commentary and 16 being appearances on College GameDay. By assimilating himself into broadcasts of National Football League games, he brought unique perspectives realized from his time covering players in college that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Moreover, he was able to implement what he observed during NFL games into his college football coverage, better informing viewers on how the game is changing and what the next generation of players needs to do to prepare.

Bilas has called some NBA games throughout his career, but his primary focus is on college basketball. Where a comparison between Herbstreit and Bilas can perhaps be drawn though is in Bilas’ coverage of the NBA Draft on ESPN through which he discusses the intersection between college and professional basketball. Additionally, he talks about the transition period and characteristics of draftees to supply context to the broadcast.

“Most of these players I see in high school – so you cover them when they’re younger and as they develop to the pro level and how they translate to the pro level,” Bilas said. “I’m not necessarily covering the NBA; you’re covering talent being drafted by the NBA.”

Leading up to the 2014-15 college basketball season, Bilas agreed to a contract extension with ESPN that resulted in him being added to ESPN Saturday Primetime telecasts of college basketball games. While he has appeared on the network’s platforms as a color commentator, studio analyst and writer, he is able to promulgate his thoughts regularly through his use of social media platforms.

Over his career, Bilas has been able to amass large followings across several different mediums despite not having a legitimate strategy in terms of creating and sharing content.

Since being purchased by Elon Musk, Twitter has endured a variety of changes, including removing its signature blue verification check marks from accounts that do not subscribe to its new “Twitter Blue” service. The forthcoming change has received plenty of criticism, being loathed by many users who state it will make it difficult to know the legitimacy of Twitter accounts.

Some people are referring to the shift in strategy as an apocalyptic occurrence that will destroy the platform and companies such as ESPN and The New York Times are declining to expense their employees’ subscriptions should they choose to purchase one. In addition, star athletes including Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes have stated that they will decline to pay for verification.

Whether it is sharing opinions on college basketball, posting game highlights and other content or simply tweeting out Young Jeezy lyrics, Bilas uses Twitter in a variety of ways. He declines to engage with many users in the comment sections though, calling it an unhealthy practice, and limits his time on social media to safeguard against the ostensible dangers it presents.

“I don’t think it’s one of my main functions,” Bilas said of social media. “I enjoy it; I’m still trying to figure out some of it.”

When looking at today’s media ecosystem, virtually any user has the ability to select what, when, where and how to consume content, along with being capable of producing their own independent media and amplifying their own voice. Digital platforms have revolutionized the ways information is shared and connections are fostered and maintained among people, precipitating a culture featuring influencers: prominent users online who have built a significant following.

Even before the onset of college athletes being able to monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL), they could be considered part of this group; however, their impact has surely been aggrandized since then with marketing and promotional deals to supplement their play.

In the first year of the NCAA allowing NIL deals, college athletes earned an estimated $917 million, with many of the highest earners being women in college basketball. Bilas has been outspoken against the entity’s principle of amateurism, which stated that college athletes participated in sports because of their love of the game, while coaches, executives and administrators profited from annual multibillion dollar earnings. He has expressed how the NCAA spread what has turned out to be a false narrative stating that compensating athletes would hurt women’s sports in order to protect its own interests, in addition to advocating for the educational value associated with building and managing a brand.

Bilas asserts that college athletes have always had a voice, but digital media and NIL have made it where they need not express themselves through traditional media outlets. Instead, athletes are able to instantaneously share how they feel on digital media platforms, whether that be through social media posts, live streams or podcasts. Athletes feel empowered and are arguably more direct towards their legions of fans than ever before, a trend that continues to augment in prominence across various professional sports.

“There’s no downside to this,” Bilas said. “It’s all just one, moderate step toward where athletes are going to be in the future, and that’s being compensated to their fair market value and being allowed the same economic rights as literally everyone else. They’ve never had that, and they still don’t have that.”

As March Madness comes to a close with tonight’s national championship game between the San Diego State University Aztecs and the University of Miami Hurricanes, Bilas legitimately does not have an interest in one team to win a game over another. In fact, he has not had a rooting interest in virtually any college basketball games over the last 30 years – aside from the contests his son, Anthony, played as a member of the Wake Forest University Demon Deacons – depicting objectivity and an inherent absence of bias in his work.

“When I started in broadcasting, that was the first time I had ever gone to a game where I didn’t care who won,” Bilas said. “It’s been 30 years now where I’ve gone to countless games without caring who wins, and that was a different feeling at first.”

Following the conclusion of the college basketball season, Bilas’ contract will expire with ESPN amid an organizational restructuring of The Walt Disney Company under new CEO Bob Iger, which will reportedly result in company-wide layoffs eliminating $5.5 billion in operating costs. The strategy was uncovered ahead of an annual shareholder meeting today where Iger is expected to field questions over his strategy and the company’s involvement in sports media through ESPN.

As part of the restructuring, ESPN is now considered to be its own entity and is being overseen by Jimmy Pitaro, who earned the title of chairman in the process. Since then, Pitaro has established a new executive leadership team which included naming Burke Magnus as president of programming and original content. ESPN veterans such as Norby Williamson, Stephanie Druley and David Roberts report to him in order to foster continued success and innovation pertaining to the network’s programming and future strategy.

Consumers may have a louder voice, but finding an open door into traditional media outlets can, perhaps, be considered more difficult than ever before. When he was young, Bilas received sagacious advice from his father, who operated a television sales and repair business, which stated: “The best way to get a job is [to] do the one you have.” These words encapsulate part of the reason why Bilas remains invested in the moment. He implores young people to do the same, focusing on the journey more than the destination, but being intentional in their actions and how they present themselves to an industry fueled by innovation, hard work and passion.

“I’m not looking beyond what’s in front of me today, and it doesn’t mean I don’t have plans [or that] I [have] never planned anything,” Bilas said. “I don’t think about sort of those kinds of goals and, ‘Accomplish this; accomplish that.’ I just want to accomplish enjoying what I’m doing, and if I do that, whatever opportunity comes my way, I’ll be able to evaluate it in time.”

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BSM Writers

Meet The Market Managers – Amy Crossman, Good Karma Brands Cleveland

“We don’t even consider ourselves to be an AM radio station. We are content creators, and we serve it up on many platforms.”

Demetri Ravanos




Good Karma Brands dabbles in other formats, but sports radio is its bread and butter. In Cleveland, it is Amy Crossman that is charged with making sure the staples are always in stock and of the highest quality.

This is her first foray into the world of radio, and man, what a time for it! Frankly, what a group for it.

ESPN Cleveland can be heard on 850 AM. That is the way listeners consume the station as a terrestrial broadcast product, but in 2023, no one is consuming any station in only one way. ESPN Cleveland takes the idea of going where the listeners are to an extreme and Crossman says that is why she feels confident for the station’s future regardless of what car companies decide to do about the AM band.

That is one of many subjects she covers in our conversation as part of the Meet the Market Managers series presented by Point to Point Marketing. Amy Crossman also shares her thoughts on live events after Covid, how the premium content model works in radio and what she learned at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Demetri Ravanos: Rather than start with the broadcast product, I actually want to start with The Land On Demand. I am surprised in 2023 that the premium content model for a radio station is still a relatively uncrowded space. Not a lot of groups have followed your lead on the local level. 

Amy Crossman: So true. It is really unique and it just goes back to our hosts and our talent creating content that people want to get on demand. Maybe they’re at work or doing something else when The Really Big Show is on, and they want to hear what happened with Rizz and Aaron. They’ll listen at the gym or on their way home.             

We found the on demand desire was really high and immediately our fans took to that model. So for us, it’s it’s been this really fun, interesting thing to see. It doesn’t hurt that it’s six figures to our bottom line, right? And it gives us an environment to test things out, podcasts and other kinds of audio and video products, with a group of really diehard loyal fans.

DR: What has been the enthusiasm for that very product from advertising partners? These shows run ad-free but you guys do have a landing page for The Land On Demand. That’s plenty of space to be sold.            

I do wonder though, when they look at, say, the Audacy stations, for instance, that’s not behind a paywall. So what sort of conversations do you have with advertisers about that? 

AC: Yeah, it’s a great question. It is a commercial free environment. That’s part of the play certainly for the subscriber. Our live reads still happen during programing content. We really just strip the commercials out.                   

We hadn’t explored sponsorship as a whole until last year and then had one of our partners as a title sponsor of The Land On Demand. We were really thoughtful about how to make that a great experience for the partner but not really intrusive for the fan. We kind of rearranged the title so that the logo was locked up with the title. We had a bug on the video screen and some other kind of careful placements for that partner. It was really about reaching the most loyal fans that we have.                       

They also did, as part of their partnership, an open house. Leading into training camp, wih the Browns really being our biggest season all year round, we opened up The Land On Demand and lifted the paywall brought to you by this partner so that there was a lot more fan sampling. 

DR: That sort of leads into my next question as we talk about fan sampling and these conversations with advertising partners. On average in the industry, we talk a lot about the common man sort of being a little bit more media savvy than ever. I wonder if that if you see that showing up in real life conversations, whether it’s with listeners or advertising partners. Do they have a better grasp or at least do they think they have a better grasp of our industry a little bit? 

AC: From a partner standpoint, I would say yes. I think our partners are more media savvy. Their kids are more media savvy. They really see kind of where media is evolving to and we certainly do and have invested in that here in Cleveland.                  

We added a digital content team at the beginning of this year who are really focused on the content that we create and taking it to every platform for every fan to consume in the way that they want to. It’s a little bit of a catalyst from The Land On Demand, more focused on social video YouTube, but this content team really has created this very different energy, not only in the studio but with our partners. We are allowed to have different types of conversations with the success that we’re seeing with digital content. It’s literally like a TV studio around here because digital content team is running around with cameras, capturing behind the scenes in the studio, capturing what’s going on quickly, editing and posting. So it creates a very different pace around the studio. 

DR: It’s interesting, isn’t it? I just had this conversation with a doctor earlier today. I don’t know how old you are. I’m 41 and she is a little bit older than me.                 

We were talking about popular podcasts and how some of them have blown up into TV series and movies and stuff like that. I said, “You know, as much as we talk about this being true with our kids, I genuinely start to wonder if my generation is the last one that traditional, terrestrial media really means something to.” Has that idea of “I go where the great content is, regardless of platform” trickled all the way up to the oldest ends of millennials and the bottom end of Gen-X? 

AC: It’s a really interesting question because to your point, whether it’s children or whatever the generation is, even some of the teammates that we have working here, how they consume media we talk about things like the magazine I used to work for, and it doesn’t mean anything to them.            

We don’t even consider ourselves to be an AM radio station. We are content creators, and we serve it up on many platforms. I think that really resonates with that generation instead of kind of building all this great content on this station and asking people to come to us, we’re now going to where they are. It’s just a different model, but it makes it a lot more fun because we’re able to approach them in different ways. We launched a YouTube show three weeks ago and we’re launching a second one before Browns season. All of that is behind-the-scenes content, right?                 

We know how much our fans love our on-air teammates. And they’re always curious about what happens when they go to break right or the end of the show or what happens at the beginning of the show. So we’ve seen a lot of success, really fantastic success, on YouTube with showing the fans a different side of our on-air teammates. 

DR: Given the success of The Land On Demand, the investment in the digital side that you’re talking about, also the station streams through the ESPN app, which has very reliable proliferation every single year. I wonder if you feel pretty prepared if we are indeed headed for the day that access to the AM band in new cars just isn’t there anymore. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is or isn’t any more important to you. It’s just there is a different level of preparedness, it sounds like, in Cleveland. 

AC: We’re trying different things and we’re not going to get them all right, but that’s okay. I think the fact that we are eager to test things out and most importantly, our on-air teammates are just as eager matters. If we didn’t have the entire team behind the idea of “let’s get our content to where our fans want it,” it would be a little bit more of a struggle.                     

We just have an amazing group of people that come from varied backgrounds on our team. And so everybody is involved in the idea is like, “How about if we try this” or “What if we travel this way”. That has certainly been a different level of energy and pace on the team, which just kind of trickles through all of the teammates, sales, marketing, production, and otherwise. I like to think we’re kind of prepared. 

DR: I want to talk about the part of your job that is recruiting talent, particularly on the sales side. If you had experience with radio sales at this point in 2022, you expect you’re going to be selling, a portfolio of stations, right? That can be good. That can be more opportunity, but it could also mean you’re stretched thin. How do they react to the idea of coming over to a place where, sure, there are many different products within ESPN 850, but it is a single umbrella that you are selling under? 

AC: To be totally honest, I’m looking out at the team right now, I don’t think we’ve hired anybody in radio sales in the past three years yet. We really have kind of a great intersection. We have some tenured salespeople here, marketing consultants who are amazing and know our assets inside and out. The newer teammates we’ve hired over the last three years don’t come from other stations. In fact, we just hired someone who’s starting at the end of May, and he’s coming from Rocket Mortgage, the top seller at Rocket Mortgage. So, there is a there’s a learning curve to teach and coach them in media.                 

I think that recruits are energized by the fact that it’s not just AM radio, which is a critical part of our business in Cleveland, but there’s the opportunity to test and sell and have different conversations about different products. I think it’s probably an advantage for us from a selling perspective because we really are kind of trying so many new things. 

DR: So you guys have a sales opportunity that is not unique to you guys. It is unique to ESPN Radio stations though – ESPN play-by-play. It’s not like you don’t have the Guardians. It’s not like you don’t have the Cavaliers. I mean, hell, they just went to the playoffs for the first time in forever and it was on your airwaves. It’s just not there all the time. It’s not the hometown broadcasts.          

Tell me about the conversations locally you have with whether it is advertising partners or listeners when you’re out at events about the fact that your teams are here, it’s just we’re doing it a different way and there is opportunity there for you still. 

AC: Yeah, I’m glad you brought it up because, you know, we are obviously the official home of the Browns. We talk about the Browns 13 months out of the year, of course, as important in Cleveland. 

DR: Can I tell you that I use your market as an example all the time. I live in Raleigh. I tell people this is a great place to live. It is a terrible sports radio market. And I always follow that up by saying, “We’re not Cleveland. We don’t have a team that unites us in misery like the Browns. That’s what you need to be a great sports radio market.” 

AC: It’s so true. Our content mission is Browns, drama, fun. If the content that the teammates are creating does not fall in one of those buckets, we’re probably not going to be talking about it.           

Matt Fishman, the director of content, has done an amazing job with adding teammates that are insiders in those other teams. Right? So Brian Windhorst is a teammate and he is our NBA insider for all things Cavs Andre Knott is a teammate, and he obviously travels with the Guardians and is an insider there. So that really is our approach.                    

Again, we like that it’s less traditional. We don’t obviously have the rights to the Guardians and the Cavs, but having an insider. Our fans really like that, right? They’re getting information from the source and maybe a little bit different than it would be served up in in a traditional environment where we had play-by-play. So we feel like we’ve covered the bases.                  

Cleveland’s a unique town. The Cavs went to the playoffs and people were okay with it, but they were really still talking about, “is Stefanski going to get fired in the bye week in week five?”. That’s really where all of the buzz is.                       

We liken the approach that we have to dating. We have great relationships with the Cavs’ and the Guardians’ front offices. They’re great partners with us to try new things and different approaches and unique ways to partner together. 

DR: Tell me a little bit about live events post-COVID. Do you see any lingering effects that have changed? 

AC: I think Ohio just kind of forgot about the pandemic and really moved on. I’ll tell you, to be honest, we really saw it in 2021 when the NFL Draft was here. It was touch and go on were they going to come or were they not going to come. They were kind of just plowing through.          

Pre-pandemic, we would do up to 250 events a year and that may be anything from a small street team at a bar for Corona up to our big thousand-person draft party. So we were certainly itching to get out and create live events. Our fans were itching for it and our advertising partners were as well. So we hosted a VIP event, pre-NFL Draft, which was we we kind of laugh that maybe it was the super spreader event. I think we had 250 guests and everybody was hugging and kissing babies and just being so excited to be back together again. So that was probably the only one where we were incredibly cautious about how we were rolling that event out. 

By football season, we were doing our Browns tailgate that we do every week and everything just seemed to kind of come back in Ohio. This year we’re doing as many events as ever. 

DR: I don’t doubt the appetite is there for advertisers, but we have entered a whole new economy since the pandemic and I wonder what that does to the to the live event business or those advertisers’ dedication to live events. 

AC: Yeah, it really depends on the advertising partner. For so many of the businesses that partner with us on our live events, their objectives are really to have the face-to-face interaction with fans and we can provide that for them. There really aren’t many that have strayed away from that because it affects their business in such a positive way. So we may have streamlined our events a little bit more just so that we could develop a best-in-class event versus just cranking out 250 events a year, but for the most part, the fans still come out.                       

We have a big event on June 25th, our block party. It started last year. There’s just so much excitement around it in Cleveland. All of the teams are participating. It’s really just a great celebration of football and of sports in Cleveland. 

DR: You came to this job from a very untraditional place. You came from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What lessons can you bring from there into running a media operation? 

AC: Prior to that, I was in New York for 20-plus years in the media business. So for me, the great opportunity to work at the Hall of Fame and get into the sports marketing world was really a highlight for me, but what I really missed the most was the media component to it. Media is my currency and it’s how I know to create solutions for advertising partners and great content for fans. So that was really my foray from kind of big corporate media to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and then landing here at ESPN Cleveland.

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Fred Roggin Deals in LA Sports on AM Radio

“I simply want to grow and learn every single day. I want to experience new things every day. I have a philosophy, when you stop learning, you die.”

Brian Noe




Johnny Carson had a very successful run in late night TV. He was incredibly popular and received many awards as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson aired from 1962 to 1992. What I always found interesting about the show was the amount of planning that went into each episode.

Carson prepared, crafted, and rehearsed scenes over and over again. During the show, it sounded like he was just having a bunch of fun and cutting loose. What’s often overlooked is just how much thought and attention to detail went into each broadcast. There always was a game plan.

Fred Roggin operates very similarly. He teams up with former USC and NFL quarterback Rodney Peete each weekday. Roggin & Rodney airs on AM 570 in Los Angeles. Roggin sounds like he’s having a ton of fun — and he is — but just like Johnny Carson, Roggin plans and pays close attention to detail. It’s one of the reasons he’s been so successful in his distinguished radio and television career.

Considering the fact that Roggin hosts a daily show on AM 570, he has some interesting opinions on the fight to preserve AM radio in cars. Roggin also talks about how the LA sports radio market differs from other places but doesn’t lack passion, and what’s in store for him next after an incredible 43-year run on daily TV. Enjoy!

Brian Noe: You did TV at NBC4 for over four decades. How do you feel now after signing off just a few months ago?

Fred Roggin: It’s interesting, the media business has changed dramatically. And let’s be really honest, television doesn’t have the impact that it one time had. It really doesn’t. 

More things are digital than ever before. The only way to succeed, I felt, was to try to be unique and different. Always did feel that way. But it just wasn’t as much fun anymore. I haven’t really retired completely from television because I still may be doing some things, but I stopped doing the daily local news. That’s the thing, I just stopped. It was exhausting me.

It’s funny in LA, in the 43 years I’ve been here, I’ve probably done radio for 20 of them at different places. I started in radio, I’m a radio guy. I always kept my fingers in it because I really enjoyed it. We have more people listening to us on KLAC than were watching our newscast on television. Think about that. And that does not speak to the quality of work we were doing at NBC, because our work has always been impeccable; but it was like, I wanted to have fun. I just didn’t want to do daily local news anymore.

BN: When you’re doing a radio show, I think that you have a great feel for when to switch gears. It’s time to be a little serious about this topic, and now it’s time to have some fun. How would you describe your feel between times of content and times of comedy?

FR: Well, first of all, thank you for saying that. I would hope that’s one of the reasons people listen to us. I think in our business what you find is, some people are all comedy, some people are all opinion. It’s hard, I think, to blend them. Every show is unique. Every personality that does this is unique. Every host is unique. I’ve always looked at it like this, and it was the same philosophy I used in television, when I was on TV, we would change stuff an awful lot. Even if a show was successful, every year or so, I would tweak it. I would change it. The producers would say why? I would always have the same answer; because if I’m bored, I gotta tell you, the viewers will be bored. They don’t even realize it yet, but they will be. So why would we allow them to feel that way? 

I think the same holds true in what we do here in radio. You know when it’s enough. If you went to an ice cream store, would you always order the same flavor every single time? No, you have a favorite, but you try different things, otherwise you would become bored. What we try to do, obviously we’re LA based, so we’re going to go hard on the LA teams as much as we can. But then you drop in things that change the pace a bit, give people a breather and a reason to smile or be mad at you. Either way we know they’re going to react. Then keep moving. It’s kind of a tapestry rather than a giant wall painted all one color.

BN: Do you feel like having a TV background helps with pacing and moving a radio show forward?

FR: It’s funny, I think having a radio background helps you in TV. I think radio really helps you in television because if radio is the purest form of communication, you’re forced to learn to talk with people. In TV, you have advantages. I can lean in. I can change my facial expression. I have video that I can narrate directly off a script. Radio you have none of that. Radio forces you to be a solid communicator and that’s why people that do radio can transition to TV. But people that start in TV oftentimes have a very difficult time transitioning to radio.

When I would build TV shows, my background was really in production. I was the guy in front of the camera, but my background is in production. Pacing meant everything. Everything. Visuals meant everything. Changing the tone meant everything. The radio show is very much the same. Our producer, Kevin Figgers, is terrific. I think you know Kevin.

BN: Oh, yeah. Yep. He does a great job.

FR: I’ll tell you, he’s a superstar. He gets it. He’s good. We always talk about the pace and where we should change things and drop things in. We invite everybody to stay for three hours. You know this as well as I do, they don’t. They have lives. 

We always have to be mindful of the fact that at any moment, someone could be joining us. At any moment. Our objective is when that person should find us, that we are giving them a reason to stay. Even with our bumper beds that Kevin created, they’re a little different than traditional sports talk radio. They sound more like an FM music station. We stop, boom, cold, hit the music, hit the sounder, and then we tease. We try every day to be mindful of pacing.

In our medium, like Colin Cowherd who’s brilliant, I think the best in the business, there are few guys like him. He distinguishes himself. How can we distinguish ourselves to stand out or attempt to stand out and give people a reason to come to us? It could be the slightest little thing. It could be the pacing of our show. Everything that Kevin does is strategized. Even the music we use for our games, it all has a feel, it all has a pace.

BN: What are your thoughts on the fight to preserve AM radio in cars?

FR: I think it’s a battle worth fighting. Until you do this for a living, you don’t realize how many people listen to us on the AM band, period. We have listeners that still listen on transistor radios. These are valuable human beings, they make a difference. The AM band provides information in times of distress and disaster. As technology evolves and things blend, I think it’s important to realize that a lot of people still count on the AM band for their news, for their information, for their entertainment, for their companionship. And in the event of an emergency or disaster, it is necessary. I will fight that fight personally because I know how valuable it is.

Here’s the thing, Brian, as we continue to evolve, you can listen to us on the iHeartRadio app. I’m sure that’s what carmakers are thinking, Well, eventually, all cars will just have apps and you’ll be able to listen to whatever you want to. But you’re discounting a huge portion of the audience and the population. People that desperately count on their radio station on the AM band to be there for them.

I’m of the belief, and I don’t manufacture cars, and I don’t know what anything costs, but I do know it doesn’t seem that hard to include the AM band for the millions of people that still count on it.

BN: Have you ever heard from a listener that said, man, I got a new car and it doesn’t have AM. I don’t listen as much as I used to. Has that ever happened?

FR: No, I haven’t heard that. What we find is more and more of our listeners are transitioning to the app. But see, here’s the disconnect, and here is what’s so hard to understand. Just because a number of people are transitioning, doesn’t also mean there aren’t a number of people that still depend on it. 

What you’re doing is you’re telling people that listen to AM, you’re not very important. You don’t really count. We know they desperately count, and they count on us. I honestly don’t understand, as I said, the costs associated with any of this, but it just doesn’t seem that difficult to me. Take care of everybody. Don’t eliminate people.

BN: You reacted to a column last year claiming that no one listens to sports talk radio in LA. It’s like you channeled your inner East Coast, I love how you attacked the story with some edge. What was the reaction in LA to your comments about that column?

FR: Minimal. You have to understand your market. And my point there was, yeah, if we were on the East Coast, we would have a larger listening audience, simply because of the market. In Los Angeles, if you just look at it from a business perspective, there are so many ways to spend your disposable income. There are so many teams. To say the people in Boston are more passionate, or there are more people listening in Boston, I think there’s no nuance to that. Understand your market.

Are you telling me that people in this market are not passionate? Well, when you come to town, let’s go see the Dodgers or the Lakers play. You tell me if they’re passionate. You tell me if they are as passionate as Celtics or Red Sox fans. I’ll take you to see the LA Kings, you tell me if those people are as passionate as Boston Bruins fans. I think you’re going to agree they are, if not more so.

It’s understanding the nuances of your market. And to make a blanket statement, and try to compare apples to oranges, that was low-hanging fruit. That was too easy. It’s much more involved than that. It bothered me because I really thought in that situation, someone didn’t do their homework. It could have been presented very much like the audience is bigger here, or seemingly more passionate here, but let’s analyze why. If you take the time to analyze all of it, you realize that the fan bases are as passionate. We just have more things to do here.

BN: Your station, AM 570, is the home of the Dodgers. How does that relationship impact the way you present topics about the team, or any of the opinions that you share?

FR: That’s a fair question. I can tell you in the years that I’ve worked here, if the Dodgers have performed well, or something great happens, we’re on it. If they’re struggling, if things aren’t going well, if something had been bungled, we’re on that too. Never, not one moment, not one time has anyone called myself or Rodney into the office and said back off. Never, no one has ever said don’t talk about that.

I think what all the teams want, and Brian, maybe I’m wrong, and I know this with the Rams because I talk to them all the time, they always say the same thing. I’ve always tried to be this way, just be fair. If we deserve criticism, then we should be criticized. But don’t take cheap shots. If we’ve done something well, that should be acknowledged. Don’t go over the top. Just be fair, be honest.

BN: As you transition from daily TV, when you look at your future, what do you want the next five years to look like?

FR: I want to continue doing this and growing this. We have been working, and we actually need to accelerate the pace, but we have been working on preparing this for multiple platforms. 

I simply want to grow and learn every single day. I want to experience new things every day. I have a philosophy, when you stop learning, you die. It might even be the smallest little thing. Even driving down the street and noticing a sign you hadn’t noticed before, you learned something today. Interacting with someone and finding something out about them you didn’t know, you learned something today. I’m very curious. My mind never stops working.

I would like to continue doing this. As I said, we’re working on some things to share this on multiple platforms. We’re probably 50% of the way through it at this point. But grow this, keep growing and keep learning. Then I’ll be very happy. This is such a wonderful, wonderful business. You really do meet the nicest people doing this for a living. People that care, that work hard, that really take a lot of pride in what they do. That means a lot to me. I love working with people like that. I’m honored to work with them. And just keep growing this.

Look at it like this. People said, well, you stopped doing TV. I did TV going on 43 years here. As I mentioned, for 20 of those 43, I actually did radio too. I had two jobs and people would say, well, you’re retiring. I’d say no, I’m stopping doing part of one job, I have another one. Another one that I truly love. It’s funny, on TV, I said I’m not retiring. I’m just not doing the news anymore. That doesn’t mean I won’t be on LA TV. It means I’m not doing the news. I just want to keep growing and having fun to be honest with you. Maybe that’s too easy of an answer, but you get to a point in life, you just really want to love what you do and have a good time. And I do, every single day.

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Robert Griffin III Wants to Tell Your Story the Right Way

“Even if I do know you personally, I’m not going to bring that to the broadcast because that’s not my job.”

Derek Futterman




During last season’s VRBO Fiesta Bowl, Robert Griffin III was part of ESPN’s alternate telecast at field level alongside Pat McAfee. Suddenly, the Heisman Trophy winner took a phone call. Once he hung up the phone, Griffin divulged that his wife had gone into labor and proceeded to sprint off of the field to catch a flight. An ESPN cameraperson documented his run and jubilation as he returned home to welcome his daughter, Gia, into the world. It encapsulated just what motivates Griffin to appear on television and discuss football, and why he is one of ESPN’s budding talents with the chance to make an impact on sports media and his community for years to come.

“This was an opportunity for me to go out and be different in the way that the media covers the players and truly get to the bottom of telling the players’ stories the right way,” Griffin said. “I look at this as an opportunity to do that.”

Griffin was a three-sport athlete as a student at Copperas Cove High School, and ultimately broke Texas state records in track and field. In addition to that, he played basketball and was the starting quarterback for the school’s football team as a junior and senior, drawing attention from various schools around the country. He ended up graduating high school one semester early and quickly became a star at Baylor University in both football and track and field.

Robert Griffin III’s nascent talent was hardly inconspicuous, evidenced by being named the 2008 Big 12 Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year and then, three years later, the winner of the Heisman Trophy. In the end, he graduated having set or tied 54 school records and helped the program to its first bowl game win in 19 years.

Ultimately, he transitioned to the NFL in a career with many trials and tribulations, but through it all, he never lost his sense of persistence. Nearly a decade later, he returned to college, but this time as a member of the media covering the game from afar. Unlike a majority of former players though, Griffin did not formally retire from playing football when inking a broadcasting contract with ESPN.

“I haven’t retired yet at all,” he said. “I tell everyone that asks me the question that I train every day [and] I’m prepared to play if that call does come. I’ve had some talks with teams over the past two years; just nothing has come to fruition.”

While Griffin’s focus as a broadcaster is undeniable, he never thought about seriously pursuing sports media until his broadcast agent pushed him to do so. He was urged to take an audition at FOX Sports. Griffin broke down highlights and called a mock NFL game alongside lead play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt. He was not prepared for that second part, but impressed executives and precipitously realized a career in the space may not be so outlandish after all. 

Griffin then moved to ESPN where he experienced a similar audition process, this time calling a game with play-by-play announcer Rece Davis. Once the audition concluded, it was determined that Griffin would not only begin working in the industry, but that he would be accelerated because of his ability to communicate in an informative and entertaining style.

As a player, he saw the way media members covered teams – sometimes bereft of objectivity – and therefore saw assimilating into the industry as a chance to change that. Now, he is focused on telling the stories of the players en masse while being prepared to pivot at a moment’s notice.

Courtesy ESPN Images

ESPN’s intention was to implement Griffin on its studio coverage, but once executives heard him in the broadcast booth, the company had a palpable shift in its thinking. He was told he was ready to go out into the field and start calling games immediately, something of a surprise to him. FOX Sports felt similarly. This led to a bidding war between the two entities, which ultimately concluded with Griffin inking a contract with ESPN. He appeared over its airwaves plenty of times as a player, and even participated on a variety of studio shows in 2018 where he was almost permanently placed on NFL Live. This time around though, Griffin was suddenly preparing to work with Mark Jones and Quint Kessenich on college football games. He did not have time to consider the implications of the decision, instead diving headfirst into the craft and remaining focused on what was to come with producer Kim Belton and director Anthony DeMarco at his side.

“These guys took me under their wing, and I’m beyond indebted to them for that,” Griffin said of his colleagues. “They taught me everything that I know about the industry. They taught me everything I know about how to present things to the masses to where it can be easily digestible. They’ve allowed me to allow my personality to shine through.”

Demonstrating his personality was a facet of his makeup Griffin felt was inhibited by playing professional football, but he knows it would have been considerably more difficult to attain a chance to cover the game had he not laced up his cleats. Calling college football games with Jones accentuated his comfort in the booth because of Jones’ adept skill to appeal to the viewers and penetrate beyond the sport.

“He has the way to connect different generations of listeners to hear what he’s saying and perceive it in the same way,” Griffin said. “To me, that’s what we all strive to do in this industry is to be able to find the connective tissue between the fan who is 60 or 70 years old, and the fan who’s in their late teens or early 20s.”

From the beginning, everyone told Griffin to be himself and not adopt an alternate persona in front of the camera. That advice has guided him as he approaches his third year working in the industry.

“It is so hard to maintain a character or try to be someone that you’re not, but if you are who you are every single day, then every time you show up on camera you will be that person,” Griffin said. “I’ve made sure that when I stepped foot in front of that camera, I was going to be myself.”

Griffin identifies his style as pedagogical to a degree, critiquing players as if he was coaching them on the sidelines. He will never look to penetrate beyond football with his criticism, as drawing conclusions and using unrelated parlance could be viewed as indecorous. In short, Griffin III knows what it means to represent ESPN.

“We’re not a gossip website. We’re supposed to be critically acclaimed, prestigious journalists, and at the end of the day, that’s how I try to approach the job that I do. That’s why I got into the business – because I felt like there was a little of that going on, especially during my career, so I would never do to somebody else what was done to me.”

Over the course of his NFL career, Griffin was subject to immense criticism that went significantly beyond the gridiron. For example, sports commentator Rob Parker suggested that Griffin was not fully representative of the Black community and proceeded to question if he was a “cornball brother.” The incident resulted in Parker receiving a 30-day suspension from ESPN, and after he defended his comments and blamed First Take producers in a subsequent interview, the network decided not to renew his contract.

“My goal as a member of the media is to tell players’ stories the right way, and if I don’t know you personally, I’m never going to make it personal,” Griffin said. “Even if I do know you personally, I’m not going to bring that to the broadcast because that’s not my job.”

In addition to broadcasting college football games with Jones on ESPN and ABC, he also appears on-site for Monday Night Countdown, the network’s pregame show leading up to Monday Night Football. Making the decision to add NFL coverage to his slate of responsibilities meant that Griffin would be able to tell more stories and utilize his knowledge of players during their collegiate careers to enhance the broadcast.

The energy that he felt attending tailgates and interacting with fans at the college level gave him a unique skill set to translate to the NFL side, leading him to present the production team with an unparalleled idea for Week 1. He wanted to race Taima the Hawk, the live game mascot for the Seattle Seahawks who flies around Lumen Field prior to the start of each home game. It was an outlandish idea, but one that made sense for television because of the visual appeal it can present.

“If you know anything about hawks, they can fly up to 120-140 miles per hour, so they’re like, ‘There’s no way he’s going to beat this hawk in a race, but we’ll do it,’” Griffin said. “To that crew’s credit, they never once balked at any of the creative ideas that I brought to the table because they want to try different things and be exciting and have fun on the show.”

Griffin ended up winning the race, commencing the new season of Monday Night Countdown with immediate excitement before the Seahawks’ matchup against the Denver Broncos. He thoroughly enjoyed his first year on the show and having the chance to work alongside Suzy Colber, Adam Schefter, Booger McFarland, Steve Young, Larry Fitzgerald and Alex Smith. 

“They always tell me, ‘Hey, anything you’re not comfortable with, you just let us know and we won’t do that thing,’” Griffin said of the show’s producers. “My answer always back to them is, ‘Well, I won’t know if I’m uncomfortable with it if I don’t try.’”

While Griffin had what looked like a seamless assimilation into the broadcasting world, he had a difficult moment when using a racial slur on live television in discussing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. The clip quickly gained traction across the internet, and Griffin issued an apology on his Twitter account for using the pejorative language and claimed that he misspoke.

“I was shocked that it came out in the way that it did, and I immediately jumped on it and apologized because there’s no need to deny,” he said. “You messed up. You move forward, and I think that’s the easiest way to get over those types of things and to get back on your feet.”

The football season at both the college and professional level is undoubtedly a grind, and it requires a combination of dedication, passion and persistence few people possess. Robert Griffin III has garnered the reputation of being an “overpreparer,” often partaking in considerably more information than necessary to execute a broadcast. The information he consumes and conclusions he draws combined with his experience at both levels has cultivated him into a knowledgeable analyst who makes cogent, intelligible points on the air.

“I over-prepare for everything, and 70% of the information that I soak in going into a game or going into a broadcast for Monday Night Countdown, I don’t use because there’s just not enough air time,” Griffin III said. “There’s not enough opportunities to talk on it all.” 

At the same time, he makes a concerted effort to make the most of his time with his family and separate himself from the field, engaging in activities including playing ping pong, going to the movies and supporting his children. He also embarks in charity work through his RG3 Foundation and strives to teach his daughters the importance of giving back. The mission of the nonprofit foundation is to discover and design programs for underprivileged youth, struggling military families and victims of domestic violence, and it has made a significant impact since it was launched in 2015.

“Trying to end food insecurity; making sure that our under-resourced youth have access to the things that they need just to survive – talking about food, clothes, books, the ability to learn [and] putting on these after-school programs,” Griffin elucidated in describing the organization’s mission. “We want to have an impact on our community. We mean that with everything in us and have shown that to be the true case of why we do this.”

Griffin’s wife, Grete, serves as the executive director of the foundation and also runs her own fitness business. Staying physically and mentally in shape is something they actively try to accomplish in their everyday lives, and lessons they are passing down to their daughters.

“I’m 33 years old right now, so if I want to continue to train every single day, I can do that for the next 10 years if I need to,” Griffin said. “Not taking hits and being physically fit is also a good thing for your own health, which is something me and my wife are extremely passionate about.”

Although his experience is in playing football and working in sports media, Robert Griffin III does not believe in limiting himself and would consider exploring opportunities outside of sports and entertainment. He wants to become the best broadcaster possible no matter where he is working in the industry and continue finding new ways to be distinctive en masse.

“We’re storytellers,” he said. “We’re here to break down things [and] to tell people a story the right way; things that people are interested in, and that expands across all media levels. We’re not closing the door on anything from that standpoint.”

Courtesy ESPN Images

While he was playing in the NFL, Griffin dealt with a variety of injuries that ultimately kept him off the football field and made it difficult to display his talents. Ranging from an ACL tear, shoulder scapula fracture and hairline fracture in his right thumb, staying healthy was a challenge for him over the time he played in the NFL. 

Through surgeries and rehabilitation, he learned how to face and overcome these challenges. It has shaped him into the broadcaster and person he is today as he looks to set a positive example to aspiring football players and broadcasters everywhere.

“The eight-year career that I was able to have thus far didn’t come without roadblocks in the way [and] didn’t come without adversity. Learn from the adversity that you go through and learn from all the things and the lessons that you have that sports teaches you, and then go be able to present that to the masses.”

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