Authentic Brands Group, which purchased Sports Illustrated from Meredith Publishing hasn’t exactly been happy with the way The Maven has been running the iconic magazine. ABG licensed the publishing rights for Sports Illustrated to digital group The Maven after its purchase.
Ben Strauss wrote about what Sports Illustrated staffers are calling “chaos” in his December column for The Washington Post. Authentic Brands Group is a licensing group that purchased SI largely for the merchandising potential of the brand and its iconic “Swimsuit Issue.” Strauss noted that if Authentic Brands Group feels like the Sports Illustrated brand is being damaged, it could revoke that publishing license from The Maven.
“Without a healthy Sports Illustrated, the thinking goes, ABG might struggle to monetize the SI brand,” Strauss wrote.
Jamie Salter, the CEO of Authentic Brands, spoke with The Wrap. He defended some of The Maven’s moves. He said that the 9% reduction in staff is “no different than any other big corporation or small corporation that has done as far as pay cuts and furloughs and reduction of head count.”
He did add that Authentic Brands couldn’t defend every move The Maven has made and has asked that some of the decisions be undone.
“I can honestly say some of it we haven’t agreed with as the holder of the license, and we sort of expressed our opinion to TheMaven folks and told them that they need to sort of reverse some of their actions of what they had done because we don’t necessarily agree.”
It was the firing of former SI senior writer Grant Wahl that got the ball rolling on discussions of ABG’s expectations of The Maven as the license holder for SI’s publishing rights. Wahl was fired after he spoke out about the layoffs and cost-cutting measures taken by the company.
That led to a very public war of words between Wahl and James Heckman, CEO of The Maven. Heckman claimed that Wahl would not take a payout during the economic downturn although he knew that would mean other people would lose their jobs. The feud certainly has not been good for the moral inside the building or the public perception of Sports Illustrated.
Bomani Jones: Nothing I’ve Said Has Spread Like Deion Sanders Comments On CNN
“The only thing in my career that I can think of that has gone as viral as this Deion thing has, is the Donald Sterling thing in 2014.”
Deion Sanders has been on everyone’s mind over the course of the last week. Even people outside of the sports world are interested in Coach Prime moving from the HBCU Jackson State to the bigger and better-funded University of Colorado. CNN brought Bomani Jones on to discuss the topin on Tuesday’s edition of CNN This Morning.
During the appearance, Jones said he did not blame Deion for taking the Colorado job, in fact, he says he may have done the same thing. He did take Sanders to task though for claiming that God told him to go to Jackson State and then he left after 3 years. Bomani Jones called the Hall of Famer “the monorail salesman from The Simpsons” for selling a dream he never intended to deliver on.
Jones admits that he has been shocked by both the reaction to and popularity of the clip.
“The only thing in my career that I can think of that has gone as viral as this Deion thing has, is the Donald Sterling thing in 2014,” he told guest Howard Bryant on the latest episode of his ESPN podcast, The Right Time.
He noted that at the time of the recording, the video had over 2.7 million views on Twitter. That was just on the official CNN account. It could be considerably more as people post the video elsewhere on their own.
According to Bomani Jones, anyone that watched the segment in full would have heard him clearly state that Sanders going from Jackson to Boulder does not make him a sellout. However, he knows that not everyone watched the segment in full, most probably just watched the two-minute Twitter clip.
Bryant added that there are a lot of people that probably saw it at the gym or on TV at an airport with no sound. Jones acknowledged that was true and it doesn’t help that the phrase “Sellout?” was written on the screen. Still, Jones characterized some of the blowback on social media as wild.
“Not just the bots, but a significant number of people who watched that clip have been like ‘the white man put you on TV to tear another black man down,’” he told Bryant. “I’m sitting there, Howard, and I’m like ‘Don’t you see these white people on this stage pushing back on me? Do you see Don Lemon pushing back on me?’.”
Bomani Jones is a graduate of the Atlanta-based HBCU Clarke Atlanta University. Both of his parents are professors at HBCUs. He acknowledged that he is “of that world” and that did shape some earlier critiques and requests he had for Deion Sanders as Jackson State’s head coach.
“I was fairly poignant and strident in the criticism,” he said. “I have no problem acknowledging this, but it was always in the name of Black folks and this Black institution that I think has done so much not just for Black people, but honestly for America. The response was ‘why can’t he go get his money?’ but somehow I’m the one doing the work for the white man?”
Former NFL Network Reporter Kim Jones Joining Newsday
“I’m so happy to have another opportunity to cover the Giants, this time for Newsday.”
Jones worked at NFL Network for a decade after spending seven years working as the Yankees clubhouse reporter for YES Network. She also has previously written for the Newark Star-Ledge and Centre Daily Times.
“I’m grateful and excited to join the great staff at Newsday,” Jones said. “I’ve always been a writer at heart. While the names have changed — Michael Strahan and Dan Campbell won’t be in the locker room this time around — I’m so happy to have another opportunity to cover the Giants, this time for Newsday.”
She replaces Tom Rock, who became an NFL columnist for Newsday after working as the paper’s beat reporter since 2008.
“Kim brings a lot of expertise as a reporter and her institutional knowledge regarding the Giants is exceptionally deep,” Rock said. “She’ll fit seamlessly into Newsday’s coverage while bringing a fresh perspective to the way we cover the Giants. I’m glad she is on our team. This is going to be fun.”
Chris Berman: NFL Primetime ‘High On My Professional Tombstone’
“I talked to Jimmy Pitaro 3-4 years ago. I said if you could convince the league to bring it back, I’ll come back.”
From 1987-2005, football fans had to run to their television sets every Sunday night during the season to catch Chris Berman host NFL Primetime on ESPN to find out what the results were of the other games that Sunday and in its early stages, it was an important show to the football community.
Berman was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and he said that he learned very quickly how important NFL Primetime was to people in the game including the late legendary head coach Don Shula.
“We realized that we had a connection to the football community…I very quickly learned that the highest ups in the community, meaning an owners meeting in 1988, Don Shula came over and he said Chris, I use your show sometimes to get a look at some other teams…I’m learning this as we are going on and I realize not I’m important, it’s important.”
Even though NFL Primetime can’t exist on cable TV anymore due to NBC having the rights to Sunday Night Football and having the Football Night In America pregame show, Berman did say he told ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro that if NFL Primetime could come back in some way, he would come back.
“I am thrilled we are still doing it today. We can’t do it on regular TV. NBC owns the rights back when they got the rights to Sunday Night Football. The fact that on ESPN+ is the only place it could live.
“I talked to Jimmy Pitaro 3-4 years ago. I said if you could convince the league to bring it back, I’ll come back. We got Tommy [Tom Jackson] to come back the first year and Booger [Booger McFarland] is Tommy 2.0. Booger’s great. We have fun.
“Back then, if we needed 7 minutes for Seattle-Arizona, we could. The rules — I don’t know why — we can’t go over 3 minutes. I love doing it every Sunday, I’m glad people like watching it.”
At the same time, Berman did say he was “pissed” when he found out at the time that NFL Primetime was over.
“Pissed. It’s the favorite thing that I do. I’ve had some other moments, but if you asked me what’s the most fun I’ve had on a consistent basis…As far as going to work on a regular basis, NFL Primetime, that would be high on my professional tombstone I would think.”
In addition to NFL Primetime, Berman is also well-known for making predictions on Friday nights on SportsCenter as the Swami before the days where sports gambling was legal like it is now in some states. He told Schein that nobody told him he couldn’t do something with that segment, but he would never tell somebody to take the points.
“I never said even ’til I got done in 2016 doing it, take the points. We never put the point spread up. Every score was always at least a field goal off of the spread. I left no doubt. I would use words like much closer than expected or an upset or this could be ugly. I would never put 50-10, but 30-13, just so the teams wouldn’t get completely pissed at me if I picked them to lose in a blowout. It was subtle, it was quietly accepted because I never crossed those lines.
“Nobody said ‘Can’t do this’. It was fun. If it was two defensive teams, I’d put up 3-2 sometimes. We aren’t over-undering this. We are just having a good time.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.