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Dan Dakich Under Fire Again, Deletes Twitter, Returns Later

“As of Sunday, Feb. 28, Emmis has not publicly commented on Dakich’s latest hot water incident.”

Brandon Contes

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What began as a Twitter debate over Jalen Johnson’s departure from Duke Basketball, took a strange turn for sports radio host and ESPN analyst Dan Dakich last week. 

As Sean Keeley of Awful Announcing details, it started when Duke lecturing fellow Nathan Kalman-Lamb called out a number of college basketball analysts who were critical of Johnson’s decision to opt-out mid-season.

“Here are some more of the fine folks so unrepentant about the fact that their careers are built entirely on the unpaid labor of young people that they will also gleefully attempt to publicly humiliate them,” Kalman-Lamb wrote in a Twitter thread, citing Dakich, Jeff Goodman, Doug Gottlieb, Seth Davis and Jon Rothstein among others. 

Dakich pushed back on the thought that college athletes are unpaid labor, writing “players get paid ..in cash ..a bunch.” 

In addition to working for ESPN and hosting his own radio show on WFNI The Fan in Indianapolis, Dakich is a former college basketball player and coach who understands its infrastructure well.

After the two engaged on Twitter, Dakich noted “much more from me coming,” and ultimately blocked Kalman-Lamb, but not before others entered the conversation, including Dr. Andrew McGregor of Dallas College and historian Dr. Johanna Mellis who co-hosts a podcast on capitalist sport, labor, and justice. 

Dakich continued to argue against the idea that student-athletes are wrongly compensated because of an unfair labor system within college sports. 

It’s inarguable that college athletes give more to their school and sport than they receive in return, but should that make them exempt from critical analysis? Noting Duke has played better since Johnson decided to opt-out is not a damning accusation, it’s an obvious evaluation of an athlete who’s in line to land a contract worth more than $10 million later this year. 

But most college athletes won’t be afforded similar salaries and the idea of education being fair compensation for their contributions is shameful. Those arguing against Dakich took it a step further, noting the education student-athletes receive is “less than optimal.” That’s where Dakich took a sharp turn, claiming it was “racist or sexist” to allege student-athletes are unable to receive a quality education even though the sport they play takes precedent. 

Dakich also went down an odd path on his radio show last week after explaining the Twitter exchange to his listening audience. In the break-down, he mentioned a tweet from Dr. Mellis, a former Division 1 swimmer who suggested “let’s go at it in the pool.” 

“I had somebody come at me. Buncha academics last night,” Dakich said on his radio show according to Awful Announcing. “Two guys and a lady, right? Two guys and a lady came at me. And they said, ‘well, you’re yelling at student-athletes while they’re being exploited’ or something, and I said, ‘look, maybe, but I…I was in the arena and you guys were sitting outside bitching. Now, remember, it was two girls…two men and one lady. Guess what that got called? Sexist. (Laughs) Be careful. I didn’t even realize, I just said bitching because it’s what people do. It’s what everybody does, everybody just bitches. But that’s sexist apparently because I said bitching and a lady was in the conversation. And I said outside the arena, and then she wanted to, quote, go at it in the pool. Well, if you go at it in a pool, that’s a public place and then I’m gonna have to get divorced, and then it’s just gonna be a problem.”

The pool comments from Dakich were a poor choice of words, especially coming from someone who claimed it’s sexist to question the quality of education received by student-athletes. According to Ina Kennedy of the Chatham-Kent Sports Network, Dakich also recited the spelling of Kalman-Lamb’s name, noted his Duke office hours and called him a “d-bag” to his radio audience. 

Dakich is no stranger to controversy, his brash approach to media is part of what makes him a popular radio host, but that doesn’t excuse crossing obvious lines. In 2019, Dakich was suspended by The Fan’s ownership Emmis Communications for “a failure…on Dan’s part to adhere to the journalistic principles valued by Emmis.” He was also under investigation by Emmis last year when he threatened to “beat the hell out of every school board member” in response to a high school basketball coach getting fired. 

As of Sunday, Feb. 28, Emmis has not publicly commented on Dakich’s latest hot water incident. 

ESPN issued a statement saying that it is taking the incident seriously.

https://twitter.com/kylekoster/status/1366150145444880387?s=12

Dakich deactivated his Twitter account on Sunday morning but by that evening was back on the social media platform.

https://twitter.com/dandakich/status/1366196513672724488?s=20
https://twitter.com/dandakich/status/1366196893953511434?s=20

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Sports Media Reacts to the Possibility of Losing ‘Inside the NBA’

“It’s must-see television, it always is.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Photos of Shaquille O'Neal, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley
Photo Courtesy: TNT Sports

Many in sports media have reacted to the news today that NBC will claim the final NBA media rights package. This means that longtime NBA partner TNT is out after next season and, most likely, Inside the NBA will come to an end next year as well.

On 670 The Score in Chicago, Dan Bernstein said, “I’m genuinely unhappy about it because it appears that the last season of the NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA is next year and then it’s over. Unless somebody just throws a ton of money and picks that whole show up and grabs it and says, ‘What’s your number’ for everybody we want to just take the whole show, everybody involved and make it part of what we do…it sounds like it’s over and that sucks. That’s the best sports studio show ever.”

Steak Shapiro from 92.9 The Game in Atlanta said upon reading the news, “That stinks… What great entertainment does is allow you to be entertained and take a deep breath and say, ‘I just enjoy this, this is my hour and a half or two hours watching Shaq, Kenny, Charles and Ernie Johnson Jr. hanging out.'”

Rich Eisen spent time on his show talking about it and said, ” I’m telling you guys I would be stunned if they were all a package deal going somewhere else.” He later added, about the show, “It’s must-see television, it always is.”

Several others took to social media to post about the show:

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Andy Gresh: ‘Greg Olsen Got Pushed Out for the Greatest Player in the History of the Game’

“Even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Photos of Andy Gresh and Greg Olsen and a logo for WEEI
Gresh Photo Courtesy: Audacy Olsen Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

The Sports Emmy Awards were handed out last night and one particular award caught the attention of WEEI’s Gresh & Fauria show in Boston. Hosts Andy Gresh and Christian Fauria talked about the category of Outstanding Personality/Event Analyst where the nominees were Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Greg Olsen, Bill Raftery, John Smoltz and Tom Verducci.

Olsen won the award, and the show played the audio from his acceptance speech. “I think there’s a lot of people wondering what I’m going to say right now,” Olsen said. “Coming into tonight, people asked me, they say, ‘What’s your biggest threat to your future in the business?’ And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, Brady and this,’ and I think it’s Andy from ‘Toy Story.’ If he gets in, (Cris) Collinsworth, (Troy) Aikman, we’re dead. But I really appreciate it.”

Olsen later added, “I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is I love talking football, I love talking ball, I love studying it, I love seeing where the game is going. Wherever that takes me, whatever level it is, I’m more committed to the game of football now.”

It was the “I don’t know what the future holds” part of what Olsen said that caught the host’s attention. They took that as Olsen pouting and not being happy to be on the No. 2 FOX Sports NFL team. Fauria used the term “pushed out” and Gresh wanted to make a point about that.

“Again, Greg Olsen got pushed out for the greatest player in the history of the game,” Gresh said. “And they’re not firing him, they’re moving him to the No. 2 spot… and guess what, if you don’t keep that gig, the only thing that’ll be on the epitaph of the career resume is that you got bumped by Tom Brady. You’re good, settle in for No. 2, wait your turn somewhere else…but even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

Fauria painted the picture a little differently as he is not of the belief Tom Brady is going to be a great NFL analyst. “It’s funny because here comes a guy who was just recognized by all his peers…deciding between all these guys, he was the best one,” he said. “And he got pushed out for a guy who has never done it before…and there is not some sort of given that he is even going to be good at it. He could suck at it.”

Gresh replied back, “If you are at the FOX upfronts and you got a chance to go in a room, are you going to pick the one with Greg Olsen or the one with Tom Brady? …Brady is not going to let himself fail at this. He is not going to look like a big idiot.”

“Just the assumption that Brady is going to be great at this I think is a stretch” replied Fauria.

As for Olsen, Fauria believes if he continues the way he has started, he will come out on top in the end. “I guarantee you at some point in time, when his contract runs out, and he tells all the streaming services that all exist now, he ends up being the guy. He’s fine. And he lost his job to the greatest football player ever.”

Gresh is not nearly as big of an Olsen fan and said, “If Greg Olsen was so great, are the other networks going to fall all over themselves to try and hire this guy? Will ESPN say, ‘maybe we will get rid of Aikman and put Olsen in there?'”

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Charles Barkley: ‘I Would Listen’ Before Making Decisions About NBA Broadcast Future

“For the people I work with, man, it just sucks right now.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Charles Barkley
Courtesy: Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

The NBA is reportedly formalizing deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon for its next television media rights contract that would take effect beginning in the 2025-26 season. If Warner Bros. Discovery is unable to match or decides not to engage in such discussions, the company would lose broadcasting rights to the NBA and terminate a 40-year relationship that dates back to the 1984-85 campaign. At the same time, this has caused many sports fans to ponder over the future of Inside the NBA, a multiple-time Emmy Award-winning studio show featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

Barkley, who signed a 10-year contract extension along with his colleagues on the show, confirmed in a recent interview on ESPN Cleveland that he has an opt-out in his deal should TNT Sports lose broadcasting rights to the NBA. Smith and O’Neal reportedly hold a similar clause with the future of Inside the NBA and the NBA on TNT remaining unknown. Barkley appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio following the report from Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal on Wednesday morning and described the sentiment surrounding these negotiations.

“It sucks right now,” Barkley said. “For the people I work with, man, it just sucks right now. There’s nothing I can say because I worry about all the people I work with.”

Barkley explained that he enjoys golfing and/or fishing on a daily basis and does not look at losing the NBA as being fired. In fact, he hopes the Western Conference Finals quickly conclude so he can go back to playing golf every day over the next four months. The part that concerns him is the fact that he estimates 200 people could lose their jobs at the company should the relationship with the NBA come to a close. Although it remains unknown if anyone would sign with another network, the widespread perception is that all four members of the show would be coveted free agents.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Amazon, ESPN or if we lose it to NBC, so I’m not sure how to answer that question,” Barley said. “I just don’t know. Ernie [Johnson] would not go to another network – I’m damn sure about that. But I would listen; I would listen before I made any decisions.”

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