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Will Cain Says Last 6 Months Influenced Decision To Leave ESPN

“As two hosts who have been at times criticized by their audience for not sticking to sports, Cowherd and Cain offered their beliefs on how to navigate the inclusion of political and social issues.”

Brandon Contes

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A news commentator, turned sports host, and back to news as the political conversation continues to become more prevalent, Will Cain has had an interesting media career. Cain joined FOX Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd over the weekend to discuss a variety of topics including why he recently left ESPN for FOX News. 

Cain told Cowherd sports has always been a core part of his life and when he joined ESPN in 2015, he didn’t want to be part of the political conversation anymore. 

“It didn’t feel productive, it didn’t feel important, it didn’t feel like I had a place in that conversation,” Cain explained on The Herd-Saturday Special podcast. But five years later, at a time where there is so much heightened political division in the country, Cain now believes he has something important to contribute to the conversation. 

Cain said he was very happy at ESPN, hosting his daily show on their national radio network, while also regularly contributing to First Take. As ESPN’s primary conservative voice, Cain’s opinions were of the minority on the more leftist network, but he doesn’t believe his voice is the minority across the country.

“The direction of the country over the last six months…it really impacted my decision on what I want to be talking about every day,” Cain told Cowherd. And that decision was ultimately to leave ESPN and join FOX & Friends Weekend.

‘Stick to sports’ is a frequently debated theme in sports radio, but in recent months it’s becoming more difficult to separate sports from political or social issues. As two hosts who have been at times criticized by their audience for not sticking to sports, Cowherd and Cain offered their beliefs on how to navigate the inclusion of political and social issues. 

When organizing his show, Cowherd said he considers sports the freeway, but he occasionally takes the exit ramp to discuss political issues. If he exits, his goal is to always get back on the freeway as soon as possible. Cain acknowledged an understanding that his audience was tuning in for sports first, but when he did veer, he wasn’t going to aggressively return to the “freeway” as Cowherd described it. 

“Let me be honest with you about my biases, my beliefs,” Cain said of his approach to discussing political or social issues on sports radio. “I don’t want to hide them from you and in response I want to hear yours…the biggest mistake we can make is to box people out – tell them ‘you’re wrong, you’re racist, you don’t belong in the conversation.’ That’s not what I wanted to do, I want to be honest about who I was and invite everybody else to tell me how I was wrong.” 

The two media stars also had an interesting take on social media, which they agree is not real life, but it still has an outside influence on real life. Cain noted the majority of TV and radio shows organize their programming based on what’s trending on Twitter.

“Twitter has this outside influence on institutional media, and then it clearly can influence the radical fringes,” Cain said. “Now what we see is those radical fringes are influencing real life, by taking to the street and creating chaos.”

Cowherd added that a lot of the protesting in the streets was caused by the abnormally high unemployment rates, stemming from the global pandemic. But Cowherd painted a cheerier picture for our country’s outlook after calling it the strangest year of his life.

“I’m proud of my neighbors,” Cowherd said. “I think we’ve overcome a lot this year and I think brighter days ahead.” 

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Bomani Jones: I’m Better At Talking About Political, Social Issues Than Most In Sports Media

“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry. Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James found himself in a few headlines last week when he questioned reporters for not asking him about the recent Washington Post story and photo surrounding Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and ESPN commentator Bomani Jones took the opportunity to discuss the revelation.

Jones was pictured as a 14 year old among a crowd during an early stage of integration of public schools in Arkansas during the civil rights movement.

LeBron pointed out that he would field questions when there’s a controversy surrounding a Black person and spoke about the situation with former Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving, but he found it curious that no one had asked his opinion on the Jerry Jones story. LeBron had long considered himself a Cowboys fan, but in recent years he’s stopped supporting the team over Jones’ mandate that Dallas players stand for the National Anthem.

On his ESPN podcast The Right Time, host Bomani Jones talked about LeBron and circled it around to how he and other ESPN personalities caught a ton of flack for speaking about political or societal issues that often don’t fall within the confines of sports.

Jones said that being able to talk about political and societal issues comes easier to him than it does to most members of the sports media.

“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry,” Jones said. “Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”

Jones said it comes down to the fact that there’s a bias at play. Are people going to take offense to what you’re saying because they disagree, or are they going to like what you’re going to say because they agree?

“They’re reinforcing the fact that you’re reinforcing what it is that you want to hear,” Jones said. “But the truth is that most people are not qualified to talk about these things before the world, because talking about these things before the world is very, very difficult.”

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Sports Online

John Jastremski Fires Back After Craig Carton Criticism

“I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

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Earlier this week, WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton said John Jastremski — a former WFAN host now hosting a podcast for The Ringer — “shunned” his radio career advice.

During his New York New York podcast Thursday, Jastremski strongly condemned Carton’s remarks.

“I don’t like going here with this stuff, ’cause I know this plays right into what this guy likes to do,” Jastremski said. “This is his M.O. This is what he’s done his entire career. It’s what he’s done for his entire career and he’s had success doing it. He lives for this stuff. But it really set me off. It set me off because I gotta see it on Barrett Sports Media while I’m on vacation. Like I wanna be bothered with this shit, number one. Number two, it’s just tone-deaf, insulting, and flat-out rude every which way.

“Number one: going after people who work at McDonald’s? Who the hell are you to do that? Number two: You’re insulting a multi-billion dollar company where I work. I have a great job, a great platform, a great producer. I have two great jobs, I might add. And you’re insulting both of them. By the way, you’re on that network. Five days a week. And you’re insulting that network. How stupid are you? Taking shots at people of the network you’re on, I’m on. And I could tell you, it pays well. I do ok.

“As for career advice? Guess what? I listen to legends. Bill Simmons, you ever hear of him? Worth a lot more than you. Mike Francesa? My boy Adam Schein? I listen to those guys. I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

Calling Carton a crook harkens back to the WFAN afternoon host’s stint in federal prison for participating in a ponzi scheme that scammed investors out of $5.6 million that he in turn used to pay off gambling debts. Carton was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison before serving just over a year in prison before being released in 2020.

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The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Moving To New Studio

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021.

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Dan Le Batard Show

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz is leaving its home at the Clevelander hotel on South Beach in Miami and moving into a new studio next year, according to a report from The Big Lead.

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021. It has remained the home for the show since Le Batard and John Skipper formed Meadowlark Media.

After a $50 million distribution deal with DraftKings was secured, the Meadowlark podcast network has grown in both reach and talent, allowing for an expanded studio space.

No immediate details were given on where the new studio space would be located.

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