The 2020-21 NFL season will go down as one of the craziest seasons in recent memory, but in some eyes, it will go down as a meaningful season in terms of what the league stood for over the last year in the fight for social justice and trying to play the game amidst a pandemic.
On Tuesday night’s episode of Inside The NFL that looked ahead to Super Bowl LV this Sunday, ESPN’s Bomani Jones was a guest with James Brown, Phil Simms, and Ray Lewis to talk about how the NFL has addressed social injustice, the Rooney Rule, and the impact COVID-19 has had on the NFL.
After a montage of clips looking back at the season that was from NFL Films, Brown first asked Jones, who he called one of the “most knowledgeable and distinguishable voices in sports broadcasting” about how significant it was the NFL has expressed their concern about social injustice. Jones said it is a message still going in the NFL compared to other sports.
“When you think about it, the NBA got out of the bubble and you don’t have Black Lives Matter on the floor anymore, you don’t have the things on the back of the jerseys. Right now, in sports, the NFL is carrying that messaging in a way that nobody really has been in professional sports. It hasn’t been out front as some people would like, but I think the number one goal in this is the product. Whatever you do can’t interfere with the football that is being watched.”
Jones also brought up the example of DeAndre Hopkins wearing Denmark Vesey’s name on the back of his helmet to help educate people on a slave revolt that happened in the United States. He mentions that having that name being introduced to people by Lisa Salters on ESPN can make people think about history during a game.
“After a while, you can tune out the things that you see week after week, but I find the little things that pop up that make me say I think they are really doing something here to put things in places where people wouldn’t ordinarily probably wouldn’t think of discussing some of them.”
While the messaging by the players has continued to grow, Jones said it is up to the NFL to “make people believe that they believe it.”
“When they do the stuff for the military, we know that they believe it. Can you make people feel like you believe it in that same way when they are doing those things? That’s where the owners are going to be important in this. The NFL owners command a different level of respect. The ones who have put themselves forward, those are the ones when you look up and see they are invested in it and it doesn’t take much to convey that, I don’t think.”
The topic shifted to the Rooney Rule and whether or not it is working with just 2 black head coaches in the NFL. Brown told Jones, Simms, and Lewis that it is “pitiful code words” when he hears a coach does not interview well. Jones used an example of 2 coaches to say if the interviews were really poor, we would know about it.
“When you talk about the interviews, the Eagles interviewed a candidate who was on vacation, so he did not have his suit, so everyone put on their Tommy Bahama shirts or whatever it was to make him feel more comfortable. They made the interview well for this guy. I believe this on Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator). If Bieniemy really interviewed that poorly, we wouldn’t have heard whispers, we would know about it. If someone believes typically that a black person can’t do something, they are going to tell you loud and proud why they believe they can’t do it.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling
“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”
An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.
Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.
The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.
The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage
“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”
The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.
Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.
“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.
Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.
How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”