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Bill Simmons Under Fire For ‘This Isn’t Open Mic Night’ Comment

“When asked why there were so few black voices on Ringer podcasts, Simmons answered that he was trying to put the spotlight on the company’s most talented podcasters.”

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The lack of diversity in The Ringer’s podcast presence has come under fire in recent weeks. After Ryan Russillo praised Bill Simmons for prioritizing diversity in his hiring practices, the site’s union was quick to note that The Ringer still has a long way to go.

Noam Scheiber of The New York Times put out a column on Monday taking a look at the diversity situation at The Ringer. When asked why there were so few black voices on Ringer podcasts, Simmons answered that he was trying to put the spotlight on the company’s most talented podcasters.

“‘It’s a business,’ he said. ‘This isn’t Open Mic Night,'” Scheiber wrote of Simmons response.

It should come as no surprise, but Simmons’s comments have been met with much scrutiny. Jay Rigdon of Awful Announcing writes that he can’t imagine “a less self-aware line of thinking than that one, in which Simmons is essentially saying that The Ringer’s podcasts skew heavily white because of talent. Even out of context it’s bad, but within the context of how Simmons has built out staff and handed out assignments, it’s brutal.”

Several others took to Twitter to point out the number of friends and family members that Simmons has put on The Ringer’s podcast platform.

Former Grantland editor Dave Schilling also weighed in on Twitter. He shared his experience of working with Bill Simmons, going so far as to say at one point, that it was a hostile work environment.

https://twitter.com/dave_schilling/status/1275193023647768576

So where does Simmons go from here? While an apology and a “promise to do better” is likely on the way, concrete steps are a little harder to predict.

Sports Online

Erika Nardini Gives Podcast Listeners Advice On Professional Reviews

“Have a good plan going in, and I think your boss will appreciate the level of thought that you have put into your role.”

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Earlier this month, Barstool CEO Erika Nardini offered up some career advice on Instagram, speaking from the experience of pursuing multiple different ventures throughout her lifetime.

Nardini has taken to social media again through her podcast, Token CEO. She has some advice for people looking to secure positive end-of-year reviews from their employer.

“We’ve kicked off our end-of-year reviews at Barstool. I think end-of-year reviews can be kind of anxiety-ridden, they can make you feel anxious. You are wondering what your bonus is going to look like,” said Nardini.

Erika Nardini had some valuable advice for those unsure of what to put in their end-of-year review.

“Don’t wait for November or December when the review starts to start thinking about what you are going to say in your review. Think about the year behind you. What’d you accomplish? What did you learn? What went well? Be self-critical, what didn’t go well?

“The biggest thing that I think you can do when you are going into your review is to really have your head around what is it that you want to convey to your manager and what do you want to hear in return? What is it that you want to accomplish out of the review?”

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy named Erika Nardini the company’s first CEO in 2016 while appointing himself chief of content. Since then, she has hired and reviewed several employees. Her advice is certainly valuable.

“Have a good plan going in, and I think your boss will appreciate the level of thought that you have put into your role, and you should expect and want the same thing in return.”

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Darren Rovell Signs Extension With Action Network

“The trajectory of growth in this industry over the last three years has been incredible and I’m thrilled to be a part of this ride.”

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Darren Rovell has been at The Action Network since he left ESPN in 2018, and it appears that he isn’t going anywhere else anytime soon.

Rovell wrote an article on the company’s website discussing all of the reasons that he felt staying with the network was the right move for him.

“Over the past couple months, as my original deal with The Action Network was coming to a close, I was confronted with the choice of whether to return or to take my brand to one of those cushy sportsbook deals,” said Rovell. “At The Action Network, I am surrounded by a team that is uniquely talented at executing best-in-class data-driven sports betting content with such aplomb. Combine that with the resources given to us thanks to our acquisition by Better Collective this past year and I felt it would be virtually impossible to build the structure we have here anywhere else.”

The details of how long Rovell will agree to continue to be at the network are unclear at this point. It seems that Rovell is content doing exactly what he has been at The Action Network.

“You can count on me to continue to tell you what’s happening at the sportsbooks, to report the big bets and the bettors making them and to keep you updated on anything topical that could count as gambling these days from sports memorabilia to NFTs,” he added.

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ESPN To Celebrate Dick Vitale During 2021 V Week

“Raising funds for cancer research is a long-standing tradition at ESPN.”

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ESPN’s 15th annual V Week for cancer research and awareness begins today, and ESPN has a whole bunch of promotions in store for the special event.

ESPN is launching the Campaign for a Cause: ESPN and the V Foundation x StockX, which allows fans to have a chance to win celebrity sneakers and memorabilia during V Week through StockX’s Campaign for a Cause benefiting the V Foundation.

Celebrities involved in the campaign include Drake, Kevin Durant, Mike Krzyzewski, Nyjah Huston, Naomi Osaka, and more.

A new addition to V Week is is the development of #VStrongBaby to show support for ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who returned to call his first game of the men’s college basketball season last Tuesday after being diagnosed with lymphoma in October. The hashtag is accompanied by a customized heart emoji in honor of the legendary commentator, which ESPN will feature throughout V Week.

ESPN also continues on in funding the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, which continues to address health inequities that exist in cancer.

“The ongoing pandemic has continued to disrupt the critical need to fundraise for cancer research and address the health disparities impacting people of color in their fight against cancer,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “Raising funds for cancer research is a long-standing tradition at ESPN, and we are committed to continuing our work to close the gap in cancer disparities experienced by patients of minority populations and improve their outcomes.”

Along with these traditions, the Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s classics take place next week. The Men’s Classics begin Tuesday, December 7, followed by the Women’s Classics on Sunday, December 12, all airing live on ESPN.

Since the V Foundation’s inception in 1993, ESPN has helped raise more than $142 million in the fight to end cancer. Direct donations can be made at www.v.org/donate.

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