SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele showed a preview on a recent show of her interview with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dab Prescott. What was noteworthy about the introduction to the clip was Steele reviewing the interview is for her upcoming series Up Close set to debut in June on ESPN+.
Many will remember Up Close, a long-form interview program that began on USA Network in 1981 before switching over to ESPN in 1982, lasting until cancellation in 2001. The show was hosted by Roy Firestone for 13 years before giving way to Chris Myers in 1998. The final host was Gary Miller who took the baton and held it until the show’s conclusion.
Steele has been with ESPN since 2007, and has served as a SportsCenter anchor and host of NBA Countdown during her tenure. The show joins SportsNation as another once-popular show chosen to be rebooted at ESPN.
Up Close will make Steele just the latest well-known face to have a regular presence on the digital platform. ESPN+ is already home to shows featuring Peyton Manning, Stephen A. Smith, and Katie Nolan. It is also where ESPN puts the bulk of its UFC programming.
Michael Quirk is a news writer for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he is a co-host of the Spgahetti Junction Boys and a contributor to 5 Reasons Sports in Miami. His prior experiences include writing for 247Sports, Bleacher Report, FanSided, and The Key West Citizen. To connect, find him on Twitter @SJBMichael.
Dave Portnoy Accuses Washington Post of Tortious Interference
Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy went viral on Twitter Wednesday after posting video of him confronting a Washington Post reporter over the phone and accusing her and the newspaper of tortious interference.
Portnoy called Post food writer Emily Heil after he learned that she had been contacting advertisers of his pizza festival in Brooklyn this Saturday. Heil sought comment from those advertisers about doing business with Portnoy, who she wrote in one particular email that Dave “has a history of misogynistic comments and other problematic behavior.”
Heil said she was working with fellow food writer Tim Carman on a piece about the festival, which will feature over 35 pizzerias – all of which Portnoy has featured in his “One Bite” reviews at one point or another. But Portnoy felt like there was more to what she and Carman were up to.
“To me, it’s kind of like tortious interference,” Portnoy said. “Like we’re doing an event. Everyone’s happy about the event. I’ve raised $50 million for small business, I’ve helped pizzerias, none of that. It’s ‘Dave’s misogynic and problematic.’ And I’m happy to talk about it! Because to me nobody would like if someone’s going around sending that email to their sponsors. And again, you’re not questioning it. It’s almost like a statement of fact. This is what I am.”
“You said it in a way that is putting sponsors on the defensive!” he added.
Portnoy felt like Heil and Carman were going to publish something similar to what was posted on nj.com Tuesday calling out sponsors for working with Portnoy. He didn’t believe Heil and Carman would give him a fair shake, that they already had their minds made up about him and that they were only going to contact him after they’ve compiled a mass of negative topics to discuss.
“It seemed like you were going to try to shame sponsors for being associated with me and put them in a box when I know they all love me,” he said. “But nobody wants the Washington Post writing an article, ‘Sponsor associated with misogynic, racist piece of shit.’ Nobody wants that and that’s what you’re trying to do. And even on this call it’s pretty clear that’s what you were trying to do.”
“I’m afraid with what I’m seeing already here all it does is it validates a hit piece,” Portnoy added.
Dave challenged Heil further, who said the one particular email Portnoy was referring to was the most pointed of the emails sent to festival sponsors. She said it was worded that way to try and get a response.
“Sometimes you have to say something like this,” Heil said. “It’s like it’s sort of a reporting tactic. When you want someone to respond, you kind of have to indicate that there might be something negative and then you get them to engage. That’s all I was trying to do.”
“That is a sad state of journalism if that’s a tactic you have to, what I would say is make up something about somebody,” Portnoy responded.
Eventually they settled on a time of 10 a.m. today to conduct an interview. Portnoy said he would be recording the conversation like he was the one on Wednesday, and Heil didn’t have issues with that.
But later Wednesday, Portnoy tweeted that the interview had been cancelled. He said Heil attempted to reschedule for 5 p.m., but since Portnoy had previously agreed to 10 a.m., he stuck with that or nothing at all.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional 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, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Dan Le Batard: ‘ESPN Got Mad at Me’ For Giving HOF Vote to Deadspin
“I didn’t like the sanctimony and so I just made a cartoonish exit.”
A recent ESPN investigative report by Mike Fish looked back at the Biogenesis scandal that rocked the sports world a decade ago and involved the likes of major stars in baseball such as Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. 10 years later, it is still talked about, but is the outrage about PEDs and steroids still the same?
Pablo Torre, Dan Le Batard, and Katie Nolan talked about that story on an episode of Torre’s podcast, Pablo Torre Finds Out. Torre remembered his days at Sports Illustrated where two highly acclaimed investigative reporters dedicated that time in their career to the scandal’s most high profile target.
“I remember being at Sports Illustrated and there was a beat. Selena Roberts and David Epstein, two great investigative reporters, were on the A-Rod beat. This was a thing we would crusade about morally. It felt important. All I can think about now is how we just had a conversation about all of the weird shit we are doing to improve ourselves. I don’t know if our tolerance for this stuff has changed consciously, but it just feels like we care less in general about the weird things we all try to do to get an edge to improve our performance on the field, as human beings.”
This story allowed Le Batard to relive the time in 2014 when he gave his Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin.
“I just wanted to make the moral stand of you can’t keep these guys out of the Hall of Fame because you sportswriters are suggesting to me that if I gave you the ability to write better and make more money by smearing some cream on your muscles that you wouldn’t do it. I didn’t like the sanctimony and so I just made a cartoonish exit.
“ESPN got mad at me and were like why didn’t you do it on ESPN. Because then it wouldn’t have worked. I had to do it with an entity that was trying to make fun of the whole cathedral of sports.”
During the segment, Le Batard called the Biogenesis story “one of the most Miami sports scandals you will ever see” and reflected on how things have changed for A-Rod.
“All of us were pissed off because he lied to us and the betrayal and all he had to do to erase all the outrage and get every sports broadcasting team to want to employ him is date J-Lo and he fixed all of 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 [email protected].
The Volume Partners With VLTED For Content & Social Media Challenge
“We’ve built our content at The Volume around people who are willing to make bold predictions and strong statements.”
Colin Cowherd has never made it a secret that he is wrong a lot and he doesn’t care. He has even turned it into content for his show. Now his podcast network, The Volume, is taking predictions and turning them into a chance for the audience to win money.
The Volume is partnering with VLTED, a social networking sports platform that keep receipts on predictions. Each month, Cowherd and Richard Sherman will host The VLTED Challenge on their respective shows. They will challenge a guest to a series of predictions.
Listeners playing a long as part of The Volume’s Cash Promotional Pool can win up to $10,000 each week.
“We’ve built our content at The Volume around people who are willing to make bold predictions and strong statements,” Colin Cowherd said in a press release. “This is why I felt partnering with VLTED fit perfectly with our strategy.”
The VLTED segments began on Cowherd’s show in Week 1 of the NFL season. They will begin later this month on Sherman’s show.
“We view the Volume Network, Colin Cowherd, and Richard Sherman as the perfect fit to communicate the benefits of VLTED to the community of sports enthusiasts,” Paul Staubi, CEO of VLTED said.