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Charles Barkley Doesn’t Want Players Vilified For Not Kneeling

“In addition to linking arms and kneeling during the anthem, players wore Black Lives Matter shirts for warmups and debuted jerseys featuring messages such as “Peace,” instead of their last name.”

Brandon Contes

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Never afraid to offer an opposing viewpoint, Charles Barkley reminded TNT’s audience that standing for the national anthem doesn’t make you a bad person. 

The NBA restart tipped off Thursday night, following a national anthem which saw players, coaches and referees take a knee, a unified statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The first game featured the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans kneeling, followed by the Lakers and Clippers doing the same, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis linking arms near midcourt as the national anthem was performed by the Compton Kidz Club. 

Teams have been given the go-ahead by the league to kneel during the anthem as a way of peacefully protesting social injustice. Previously, the NBA imposed a rule stating players must stand and line up in a “dignified posture” during the national anthem, but commissioner Adam Silver has made it clear he’s in support of peaceful protests. 

“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,” Silver said Thursday.

While the NBA’s restart bubble in Orlando has become a platform for social justice and the league has so far been unified in their approach to the national anthem, Charles Barkley stated it should also be OK if someone wants to stand. 

“The thing is, the national anthem means different things to different people,” Barkley said Thursday on TNT’s Inside The NBA. “I’m glad these guys are all unified, but if people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear.”

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“I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy that doesn’t want to kneel or the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified,” Barkley added.

The NBA has supported its players in using their platform and voice to demand social justice and equality. In addition to linking arms and kneeling during the anthem, players wore Black Lives Matter shirts for warmups and debuted jerseys featuring messages such as “Peace,” instead of their last name. 

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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