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Stephen A. Smith Admits Suffering From Depression

Smith applauded Osaka for how she handled her withdrawal from the French Open.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has been critical of athletes like Kyrie Irving in their dealings with the media, but he has no qualms with Naomi Osaka. The tennis star announced she is skipping this year’s French Open due to mental health issues. Osaka has dealt with anxiety since 2018 and has chosen not to speak to the press to subdue the feelings.

“It’s incredibly important that we support her and we support the millions upon millions of people who go through what she’s going through right now,” Smith said of Osaka’s decision to withdraw. “Anxiety wasn’t my issue, but of course, I’ve been devastatingly depressed, and I was in therapy for three years.”

Smith highlighted how he empathizes with Osaka, especially on June 1, the fourth anniversary since his mother passed. “I do not want to be here,” Smith said. “But I have a job, I signed up, and the NBA Playoffs are going on, and people expect to hear from me.”

Smith framed all of the support around the foundation that athletes still need to speak to the media in general. 

“You have media obligations; they are a part of your contractual obligations,” Smith said. “Because the media is what enables the sport to be promoted, and the promotion of the sport is what generates the revenue … And as a result, that’s what ultimately assists in the athletes getting paid the money that they get paid. But that doesn’t mean we shred our humanity and ignore the profound impact that mental health issues have and exist with all of us.”

The thing for Smith is transparency with the public, which Osaka provided in her Twitter announcement.

“She didn’t just snub her nose at the media,” Smith said. “She explained why. It makes perfect sense; it showed incredible courage and thoughtfulness on her part.”

Sports TV News

Peyton Manning Doesn’t Believe Manningcast Will Ever Be Season-Long

“We thought 10 was a good number. We kind of run out of things to talk about after 10. Plus, I think it keeps our guests kind of fresh.”

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The Manningcast has grown to become the most popular alternate broadcast in an ever-expanding space, but Peyton Manning said he doesn’t believe the show will ever be seen during the entire season.

During a Q&A with USA Today, Manning said he doesn’t see the alternate broadcast ever growing to be the entire season.

“We thought 10 was a good number. We kind of run out of things to talk about after 10. Plus, I think it keeps our guests kind of fresh. Thirty guests that really love football, come from different professions and different backgrounds just kind of makes it more fresh. But ESPN, certainly, says there are certain games that are important to them, but then Eli and I had the ability where, if a date didn’t work because of a family commitment or whatnot, maybe we go to the next week.” 

Manning was also asked how he stays focused with all of the production elements going on while he’s also on the air.

“It’s a little chaotic,” Manning said. “I think at first, Eli and I were kind of like maybe worried about the delay, we kept talking over each other. We had some hot mic moments. Eli shot the double-bird last year. I think we kind of came to find out that’s what makes the show a little different. That you’re going to have that, and it’s not going to be so buttoned-up. The football game is still the priority. But maybe those slow times in the game, a 2nd-and-1 running play from your own 20-yard line, maybe not that interesting to break that down. So let’s talk to Snoop Dog about his youth football experience and his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers. So we feel like we kind of know when to bring the guest in.”

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Sports TV News

Jenny Taft Details Security Measures For Female Journalists In Qatar For World Cup

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only. Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

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Much has been made about the abysmal human rights record of World Cup host Qatar as the Middle East nation sees worldwide attention for one of the first times. FOX Sports reporter Jenny Taft detailed the experience of a female journalist covering the event, and was less than impressed.

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only,” Taft said. “Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

Taft had received pushback from viewers and media personalities for her coverage during the World Cup opener, and her interview with the organizers of Qatar’s bid to host the event. Many called FOX’s coverage “tone-deaf” and “proppoganda”.

Taft has continued chronically her experience at the World Cup on her TikTok account, with one video mentioning how difficult it was to leave behind her baby for the nearly month-long assignment.

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Sports TV News

Peter Burns Apologizes To Ben Watson After On-Air Joke About Wife

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

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SEC Network host Peter Burns has publicly apologized to analyst Ben Watson and his wife Kirsten for an off-color joke he made during halftime of Saturday’s Florida/Vanderbilt game on the network.

While joking about Watson’s suit being lighter in color than everyone else’s on set, Watson said he didn’t care what the other hosts thought about his suit, just as long as his wife thought he looked nice, and asked her to “send the text” letting him know he looked good. Burns quipped “that’s not the text she sent me” before going to commercials. When the show returned, Burns and Watson were not on set, and the former NFL tight end insinuated the pair had a strong disagreement during the break.

Later that evening, Burns tweeted a picture of the pair with the caption #Friendship, which Watson retweeted saying Burns needed to publicly apologize. He did that Monday evening.

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

An ESPN representative had previously told OutKick the entire situation was a joke, calling it a “performance bit”, adding Watson “100% deserves an Emmy nomination”.

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