According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league will likely remove all social justice messages from players’ jerseys and the basketball hardwood next season.
The NBA and NBAPA agreed to restart the season from a bubble in Orlando shortly after George Floyd was unjustly killed, leading to heightened racial tension nationwide. The players felt it was important to use their platform to push for social justice, and the league displayed a unified front by placing “Black Lives Matter” on the court for every game played in the bubble. Joining NBA Countdownearlier this week, commissioner Silver noted that he doesn’t expect those messages to be displayed next season.
“I would say, in terms of the messages you see on the court and our jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer,” Silver said. “My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor.”
What isn’t clear is whether the league originally intended to keep those messages on the court next season, and if public opinion is influencing the decision to remove them. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported that not all NBA owners were in favor of adding Black Lives Matter to the court, but Silver recognized the timing and importance of supporting a league comprised mostly of Black players.
TV ratings have been down since the league restart in late July and it’s culminated into record low audiences during the NBA Finals. There are a multitude of reasons and explanations for the ratings decline, but some have blamed the NBA’s stance on social issues for the down viewership.
Outkick’s Clay Travis has led the mob in criticizing the NBA for its messages of social justice, and recently Texas Senator Ted Cruz joined him which drew ire from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “Personally speaking, this is the first time in years that I haven’t watched a single game in the NBA Finals. #GoWokeGoBroke” Cruz tweeted.
It’s certainly possible that BLM messaging has impacted the NBA’s TV ratings with some fans preferring a “stick to sports” policy, but they’re also not the only league experiencing down viewership during the pandemic. Empty arenas, shifted seasons and competing schedules all played a role in the ratings dip for nearly every sport. But there’s no hiding the fact that NBA viewership has been largely abysmal in the last two months.
Dan Orlovsky Offers Film Breakdown Of Stephen A. Smith
“Orlovsky pulled zero punches in the segment, poking fun at his colleague.”
Stephen A. Smith is front and center as the star of First Take’s new era, and he received highlight treatment on Thursday. ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky surprised the media icon with a detailed critique of his debate style.
Orlovsky is known for his enthusiastic film breakdowns of NFL teams and players, but he decided to tweak his signature skill to throw Smith off his game when they debated on Thursday.
“Alright Stephen A.,” Orlovsky began. “I’m always coming on your show, and you’re saying, ‘I’m watching you, I’m paying attention to everything you say,’ because you’re trying to jump on me and my takes. So I wanted to let you know that I’m also watching you.”
The first thing in Orlovsky’s sights was Smith’s happy feet during his debate with Michael Irvin.
“There’s some things I wanna share with you when it comes to the way you go about your business,” Orlovsky declared. “First of all, as we watch this tape, watch your feet and all the movement that it has. Stephen A. put your feet in the ground and be where you are. This is not dance class lessons with Stephen A. and Michael Irvin.”
Dan Orlovsky pulled zero punches in the segment, poking fun at his colleague. He even called out Smith’s style choices at one point.
“Number two Stephen A.,” Orlovsky said. “Keep your hands out of your pockets; also, can I get a bone-in filet? What is this outfit? Get some better color coordination. Get your hands out of your pockets Stephen A., this is television!”
Stephen A. rolled with the jabs as he, Molly Qerim-Rose, and Orlovsky discussed the film breakdown.
“Oh all of y’all done started something now!” Smith said behind a smile. “They talked about my outfit?! That was low, him [Orlovsky] with some of his damn suits he be wearing talking about my outfit?”
Qerim-Rose pointed out that she knows her co-hosts security blanket now: Left hand in the pocket. Time will tell how Smith claps back at Dan Orlovsky as First Take continues their rotating cast of debaters going to head-to-head with Smith.
Thom Brennaman: Fans Want Me Back On TV
“Brennaman is hosting a podcast nowadays and calling high school football for a local Cincinnati outlet.”
Former Fox Sports play-by-play voice Thom Brennaman is paying the price for saying an anti-gay slur during a Cincinnati Reds broadcast last season. Brennaman lost his job over the comment but not the love of the people, according to him.
The broadcaster spoke with David Halberstam of the Sports Broadcasting Journal and said “90%” of fans still want him in the booth when they talk to him in public.
“If I’m in the grocery or getting a cup of coffee at the local convenient shop, 99% of those I bump into, I’ll hear, ‘We wish you were back, we miss you!’ Let’s say it’s even 90%,” Brennaman said when asked how fans in Cincinnati treat him in public. “Are execs going to make a decision to appease the 10%? Wouldn’t you listen to the massive 90%?”
The fateful night went down on Aug. 19, 2020, when Brennaman didn’t realize he spoke on a hot mic.
“On the TV pre-game show,” Brennaman began. “When I wasn’t aware that we were on the air, but when my mic was hot, I made a homophobic remark. Although it wasn’t on-air, the clip made its way to the internet and went viral from there. There’s no defending the word I used in any form or fashion. I’ve owned up to it every second since.
“The moment it left my lips, I knew it was over. It was just a matter of time. I anticipated a suspension and lots of backlash.”
To his credit, Thom Brennaman has made a real effort to understand the community his slur targeted. Evan Millward, a television news man in Cincinnati, met with Brennaman in September and introduced him to other members of the city’s LGBTQ community. That included local activist Ryan Messer.
Messer said that while he didn’t believe Brennaman’s claim that a microphone just happened to catch the one time the broadcaster ever used that word, he did want to help Brennaman grow and educate himself.
Brennaman is hosting a podcast nowadays and calling high school football for a local Cincinnati outlet. A sport he told Halberstam he misses the most.
“Football,” Brennaman confessed. “I liked the broadcast team with which I worked. I loved Chris Spielman like my own brother.”
Read the full interview with the former Fox Sports and Cincinnati Reds broadcaster here.
Drinks With Binks Renewed At FuboTV
The new series will premiere with two new episodes on September 18th.
Drinks with Binks is returning for a fourth season. The show hosted by Julie Stewart-Binks was renewed by Fubo Sports Network on Tuesday.
The new season starts with two new episodes on September 18th. Dan Patrick will be a guest on the season debut.
Stewart-Binks has had numerous notable guests in the past ranging from athletes to media personalities to celebrities including Kenny Mayne, Michael Rapaport, Cari Champion, Jemele Hill, and many others.
Stewart-Binks has built up numerous relationships with some of her former coworkers turned guests over the years during her time at FS1, ESPN, and Barstool Sports.
Topics on previous episodes of Drinks With Binks range very widely from in depth sports analysis from former professionals of said sport, to personal and professional stories from some of the top personalities within the sports industry.
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