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Francesa and Simmons Discussed Teaming Up

Jason Barrett

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Bill Simmons made his much hyped appearance on Mike Francesa’s radio program today on WFAN in New York.

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

  • Simmons learned his ESPN fate on Twitter, not straight from the horse’s mouth
  • Bill believes Roger Goodell was lying, and not being held accountable at ESPN, and the NFL had a hand in his suspension
  • The two men confirmed that they had discussed the possibility of Bill replacing Chris Russo when Mad Dog left for SiriusXM
  • Grantland remains one of Bill’s favorite creations at ESPN and he revealed that he’s hired a few people away to join him at HBO
  • After urging Mike to consider reuniting permanently with Mad Dog, Francesa announced that the history of the “Mike and the Mad Dog” program will be featured on a future “30 For 30” episode; Mike also said he’s not against the idea of reuniting with Chris, but economically it would be very difficult to do

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Jim Costa to Replace Mike Stone in February on 97.1 The Ticket

“I grew up listening to this station and rooting for these teams. To start the conversation in Detroit every morning is special.”

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Jim Costa
Courtesy: Jim Costa

Mike Stone will leave 97.1 The Ticket after the Super Bowl. The station already knows what is going to happen with its morning show. Jim Costa will take over, joining Jon Jansen and Heather Park.

“This is a dream come true for me. My whole career, I’ve chased the chance to build a show on 97.1 The Ticket,” Costa said in a press release. “I grew up listening to this station and rooting for these teams. To start the conversation in Detroit every morning is special. Jon Jansen and I are a good contrast; we play off each other well, and I’m excited for the show we will create along with Heather and the entire morning show crew.”

The new show will be called Costa & Jansen. It will make its debut in February.

Costa has primarily hosted on the weekends and been very busy as a fill-in host since joining The Ticket in early 2021. Prior to that, he served as program director and afternoon host on ESPN 96.1 in Grand Rapids.

“I’m thrilled that Jim Costa will be the next co-host of the 97.1 The Ticket morning show,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Detroit. “Jim has spent the last few years building a great relationship with his listeners. We look forward to the talents of Jim Costa and Jon Jansen entertaining and informing the Detroit sports audience and can’t wait to see how the show evolves in 2024.”

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Boomer Esiason: Dave Portnoy, Washington Post Article ‘Classic Example of Cancel Culture’

“The last one he gave a negative review, and the next thing you know, the place is packed.”

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Boomer Esiason
Courtesy: Mary Kouw, CBS

Dave Portnoy caught wind of a piece that was being written about him by The Washington Post pertaining to a pizza festival Barstool Sports is holding in Brooklyn, N.Y. this Saturday. Instead of watching the piece be published, he decided to contact the reporter, food writer Emily Heil, who was seeking comment from advertisers involved in the festival. In an email, she wrote that Portnoy “has a history of misogynistic comments and other problematic behavior,” a statement the Barstool founder and owner felt was “tortious interference.”

When Portnoy called Heil, she initially denied that she had written an email about Portnoy to sponsors about the story. After Portnoy read it back to her, she confirmed that it had indeed been done in order to get people to respond, asserting that negative commentary elicits more responses than its counterpart. WFAN host Gregg Giannotti described the occurrence on the Boomer & Gio morning show on Thursday, prompting co-host Boomer Esiason to give his genuine reaction to what had happened.

“Classic, classic example of cancel culture,” Esiason said. “She’s using her platform as a Washington Post reporter – that’s her backstop – and she’s sending out an email from that email address and she’s basically associating him with something she thinks he is. It’s the absolute obvious cancel, I guess, cancel culture syndrome if you will.”

Giannotti made mention of the fact that Portnoy has raised $50 million for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic through his “Barstool Fund.” Moreover, he articulated how the entrepreneur has helped pizza places through reviewing them, even if he does not grant every restaurant a high score. Portnoy’s “One Bite” videos garner millions of views on social media and have become a trusted source of information pertaining to local outlets.

“The last one he gave a negative review,” Esiason said, referring to Dragon Pizza in Somerville, Mass., “and the next thing you know, the place is packed.”

Watching the incident unfold in real time through Portnoy’s recording of the phone call and videos on social media was fascinating for Esiason and Giannotti. The call ended with him agreeing to be interviewed by The Washington Post at 10 a.m. on Thursday; however, the reporter canceled the call and asked to reschedule after details of the interaction became public knowledge.

“This is a really bad look on her part and the whole industry’s part,” Esiason said. “She’s trying to impart her feelings into a question to get people to respond. What she’s really doing is probably trying to get them to pull out of sponsoring the pizza fest.”

Both hosts believe that Heil is taking advantage of her platform as a reporter for The Washington Post in an attempt to thwart their business because of her own aversion to its practices. The disclosure of this ordeal is somewhat disturbing for them, acknowledging how it is extraordinary that something of this magnitude is taking place out in the open

“This is not someone writing, ‘This is what I think of this guy,’” Giannotti explained. “She said she’s doing reporting, so when you do reporting and throw out there, ‘This guy’s got a history of misogynistic and problematic behavior….’”

“And she doesn’t take into account the Barstool employees,” Esiason added, “[who are] the people that are benefiting from the pizza fest and all the stuff that he’s done for small business because she doesn’t like the way that Barstool does its business.”

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Sports Media Reacts to Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo Taking THC Gummies & Watching College Football

Jordan Bondurant

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Mad Dog Chris Russo
Courtesy: SiriusXM

Over on First Take on Wednesday, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo turned some heads when he was given the floor by Molly Qerim to talk about his plans for this weekend.

Mad Dog, host Stephen A. Smith and Marcus Spears were talking about Saturday’s matchup between Colorado and Oregon, when Qerim told Russo to share with Stephen A., Marcus and America what he told Molly about the weekend.

Russo proceeded to lay out his tentative schedule for Saturday, which involves taking a THC gummy, drinking cocktails and betting $10,000 on the Buffaloes to beat the Ducks in Eugene.

Naturally, Russo’s moment captured the attention of plenty in sports media.

But almost seemingly more so than what Russo actually said, social media had some fun with the facial expressions of Spears.

Even Spears had to chime in himself.

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