Starting an anecdote by saying you’re about to channel Archie Bunker, a TV character who was considered a bigot in the 1970s, probably isn’t going to end well in 2020. For former Chicago Cubs All-Star and current broadcaster Mark Grace, it ended in an apology and a reported five-game suspension.
During the Cubs Saturday telecast on their new Marquee Sports Network, Grace offered a long-winded story where he repeatedly referred to his ex-wife as “dingbat” because she once used the parking space of former MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
“My ex-wife, I’m going to go Archie Bunker on you guys a little bit,” Grace began the story. “I called her the dingbat.”
In a statement released by the Chicago Tribune, Grace later apologized for the story and insulting his ex-wife.
“During today’s game I referred to my ex-wife in a way that I absolutely should not have,” said Grace. “I want everyone to know how very sorry I am about that. My remarks were offensive and inappropriate, and I deeply apologize.”
But according to Paul Sullivan of The Tribune, the apology wasn’t enough for Grace to avoid a suspension, as he’ll reportedly miss five Cubs telecasts because of the comments.
Grace is in his first season working as an analyst for the Cubs and their newly launched Marquee Sports Network. He’s also the second broadcaster to make news while discussing their ex-spouse while on-air this month.
During a Pelicans-Grizzlies game, ESPN’s Doris Burke said “I do like being right. Ask my ex-husband,” after correctly predicting a referee’s call. Burke’s comments were better received than Grace’s, but she still took time to apologize to her ex.
Joining Pablo Torre on ESPN Daily, Burke offered an update on how that conversation went. “I will tell you what my ex-husband said: ‘I have the utmost respect for Doris. She’s a great broadcaster and a better mom.’ And I said, ‘you’re a sweetheart. You could have had a little bit of fun and certainly had some fun at my expense,’ but he chose not to go in that direction and kudos to him.”
The two instances show you can discuss your ex on a sports broadcast, just use some semblance of respect in doing so.
Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”
Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.
Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.
King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.
“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”
Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.
King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”
Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7
“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.
“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”
Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.
Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.
Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.
Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”
Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”
McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.
“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”
WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.