President Trump has never been fond of professional athletes’ public attempts to address social issues. He scolded the NFL and Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee, and he’s similarly reprimanded NBA players for protesting.
In response to the NBA striking on Wednesday and cancelling a night of playoff games, President Trump was not on board with the players initiative. Rather than turn it into a productive conversation, the President used the NBA players’ call for social justice as an opportunity to take a shot at the league’s TV ratings since they restarted the season last month.
“I know their ratings are very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly,” Trump said during his Thursday briefing. “But I don’t know too much about the protests, but I know their ratings have been very bad and that’s unfortunate. They have become like a political organization. And that’s not a good thing. I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”
Ratings have been down since the NBA restarted from a bubble, but playoff games in August are an unprecedented situation and difficult to compare to past seasons. Normally every playoff game is played in prime time, but telecasts from the bubble have occupied odd dayparts because of limited court space in Orlando. Regardless of the ratings performance, the fanatical response to Wednesday night’s cancelled games signals a clear interest in the league.
Similarly, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner believes NBA players’ one-night strike was an empty form of protest. “There’s a lot of activism, and I think that they’ve put a lot of slogans out,” Kushner said of the NBA during an interview with Politico. “But I think what we need to do is turn that from slogans and signals to actual action that’s going to solve the problem.”
Questioning NBA players’ action and assuming they’re not working to actually improve societal issues is simply an uninformed judgment by Kushner. As an example of action, LeBron James partnered with other athletes and entertainers to create the ‘More Than A Vote’ organization after he called the voting system “structurally racist” in June. The organization aims to encourage Black voters to participate in elections.
Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football
“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years.
Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.
“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.
“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck.
Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys
The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.
Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.
Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:
Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.