If I had to guess which ESPN host would help an injured peregrine falcon, Tony Reali would be on the short list.
Through social media, Reali has been transparent about many real-life topics, making him relatable to the audience in a variety of ways. He’s been outspoken in his support for the Special Olympics, helping to overturn proposed cuts to federal funding for the organization. Maybe a bit of a renaissance man, the former PTI statistician is also a pretty talented and well-rounded musician.
So while Reali’s compassion for an injured peregrine falcon may not be a total shocker, it also wasn’t required of him to seek help for the bird.
Reali described the scene in detail to Patrick Redford of the recently launched site Defector:
I told you I’m not one for animals but I love the idea of the peregrine falcon! I go to parties all the time and ask people “What’s the fastest animal in the world?” They always say the cheetah and I always say, “AHA! NO!! THE PEREGRINE FALCON!!!! 220 miles per hour!” I guess I should say these parties are birthday parties for 6-year-olds and 6-year-olds love cheetahs, but they need to respect the peregrine falcon. And now I hear they’re the King of the Raptors?! Awesome. So now I’m geeked but also scared for her because it doesn’t look good.
She’s moved from the sidewalk to the street and now she’s NEARLY UNDER A CAR that was momentarily stopped at a light, so I go into traffic and stop the car. I tried to persuade her to move—honestly, no idea what I’m doing at this point—and that’s when she attempted to fly away but was clearly having a problem with that left wing and flew into the concrete wall of the Post Office across the street. Hit the ground hard. We didn’t think she was still alive but then she got up again and flew further down Barclay street. It was all getting sadder.
It’s a group of about five of us now. One woman called 311 and I went Defcon 1: Twitter thread. The photos got the attention of the Wild Bird Fund and then we were able to get the falcon in a box through some ingenuity from Post Office Police Officer Ho. He brought the box out and we kind of approached from multiple angles, (like the RAPTORS IN JURASSIC PARK now that I think of it! ). The box went over her head and then Officer Ho flipped it gently but quickly, like a trick a magician would do at 6-year-olds’ birthday parties to cheer up kids who just found out their precious cheetahs aren’t the fastest after all. I could feel her barely moving in the box as I carried it. I stayed with her for 15 minutes checking to make sure she was still breathing and then handed her over to NYPD Precinct 1 for the ride up to Wild Bird Fund and hoped for the best.
Speaking to panelists prior to Around The Horn, Reali noted he might not have helped the bird if it turned out to be a pigeon, but we won’t dock him any points for honesty. A recent update from the Wild Bird Fund noted the falcon has a serious head injury and they were working to stabilize her. Although this bird may have gotten lost or confused in the city, it’s not uncommon for the peregrine falcon to inhabit Manhattan.
Freddy Rolón Elevated to SVP of Programming, Scheduling At ESPN
“The position leaves Rolón in charge of the schedule and content strategy for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPNEWS”
ESPN announced a promotion within their programming department this week. The network is elevating Freddy Rolón to senior vice president of programming and scheduling. Rolón previously held the vice president of programming and scheduling role.
The position leaves Rolón in charge of the schedule and content strategy for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, along with his role overseeing ESPN Deportes’ linear and digital business.
“The pause in sports caused by the COVID-19 break brought an unprecedented level of unpredictability due to the ever-changing landscape, thousands of cancelled events, altered or postponed seasons, and more,” said Burke Magnus, President, Programming and Original Content, ESPN. “Throughout that time, one factor remained constant – Freddy’s steady hand. While new to his role in programming and scheduling when the pandemic started, he led with excellence, and his strategic thinking guided us during a very tumultuous period.”
Rolón plays an integral part in ESPN’s appeal to Hispanic fans, working closely with production, audio, and digital areas to maximize the draw of English-language broadcasts.
The executive joined ESPN in 2004 and has spent the better part of this last decade building ESPN Deportes into the entity it is today. Rolón held the position of vice president & general manager at ESPN Deportes from 2016 to 2020. From 2011-2016, he served as vice president of ESPN Deportes programming and business initiatives. That title made Rolón responsible for overseeing all ESPN Deportes programming, from acquisitions and development, all the way to scheduling.
Like plenty of high-ranking ESPN voices before him, Rolón started at ESPN as an intern at the company. Shining in the ESPN International program. Rolón then joined the network as senior manager of marketing for ESPN Deportes upon earning his MBA.
That role led to a stint on the radio side of the network as senior director of marketing and integration of ESPN Radio from 2005 to 2007.
Michelle Beadle ‘In Talks With Several Suitors’ For Comeback
“Beadle has been out of the limelight for over a year now ever since ESPN bought out her $5 million per year contract in 2019.”
Michelle Beadle has been out of the spotlight for some time now, but Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy believes that’s about to change. McCarthy is reporting that Beadle could be back in the sports media saddle very soon.
“The former host of ESPN’s NBA Countdown is in talks with several suitors about possibly returning to sports media in time for the NBA’s 2021-22 season,” McCarthy wrote in his piece on the development.
Michelle Beadle has been away from the cameras ever since ESPN bought out her $5 million per year contract in 2019. During that time, plenty of ESPN ex-pats from Kenny Mayne to Dan Le Batard have found green pastures on the other side of ESPN life.
She rose in popularity alongside another former-ESPN stalwart in Colin Cowherd. The two hosted SportsNation together on ESPN2 starting in 2009, and the show saw instant success. Beadle eventually left for a short-lived show on NBCSN before returning to ESPN in 2014 to host SportsNation again and eventually take the reins of NBA Countdown three years later.
The host guided the NBA Countdown desk for one season before ESPN launched Get Up, with her, Mike Greenberg, and Jalen Rose as the headliners in 2018. The show never seemed to fit her style. Things came to a head with her and the network when she said she refused to watch the NFL or college football. Now Beadle can have her pick of the litter for a new role.
McCarthy expects Michelle Beadle to avoid a third stint with ESPN and instead explore a more independent follow-up act to ESPN a la Bill Simmons with The Ringer and Jemele Hill with her podcast network. Beadle’s representatives did not respond to McCarthy’s comment request.
Turner does not look like a great option in McCarthy’s eyes either, given that Ernie Johnson is their lead NBA host for the foreseeable future. Time will tell where Beadle eventually lands as the NBA season fast approaches.
Candace Parker, Stan Van Gundy Get New Deals With Turner
”We’re thrilled for them to continue to be a part of our dynamic commentator roster”
Turner Sports has announced that they are bringing two analysts back for the 2021-22 NBA season. Both Stan Van Gundy and Candace Parker have signed ”multi-year agreements” with the company.
Tara August, the Senior VP of Talent Services & Special Projects for Turner had plenty of high praise for the two. “Candace and Stan are two of the most highly-regarded analysts in the game of basketball, and we’re thrilled for them to continue to be a part of our dynamic commentator roster.”
Parker will be a studio analyst for the network’s coverage of Tuesday night games. She served in the same role last season alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Dwayne Wade, and host Adam Lefkoe. She won praise from fans and the industry alike for the way she held her ground in debates with Shaq regarding the way the game is played.
Van Gundy will be a game analyst for TNT. He last worked for Turner during the 2019-20 NBA season before deciding to return to the sidelines as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.
“Candace brings a passionate player perspective to every telecast and marries it with a grace and style that keeps viewers entertained and engaged at every turn.” said August. “We missed Stan’s irreverent coaching voice and are honored to have him back to educate fans on Xs and Os and bring them a bit closer to the game.”
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