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Bernard Goldberg’s Frustrations with Narratives Led to HBO Exit

Bernie Goldberg said a recent conversation with Bryan Gumbel about race convinced him it was time to leave HBO’s Real Sports.

MIchael Quirk

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HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel has exhibited a few constants over the years: a warm welcome from Gumbel, a familiar jingle, interesting looks at obscure stories in sports, and the reporting from Bernard Goldberg. The latter part came to an end earlier this year when Goldberg announced he was leaving the show. In a Monday column on his eponymous website, Goldberg delved further into why he left.

“I told the show’s host, Bryant Gumbel, that I recently tuned in to watch a National Hockey League playoff game and heard a player, at a pre-game ceremony, say that, “racism is everywhere.”

I told Gumbel that since I didn’t tune in to get a lecture on what a racist country America is, I changed the channel. To which Bryant replied:  ‘Racism is everywhere.'”

Goldberg also spoke of recent comments made by comedian Kevin Hart regarding white power and privilege. He said he took umbrage with Gumbel’s phrasing that he believed made a lot of individuals culpable than Goldberg hoped he intended.

“In fact, as bad as things were, racism was never everywhere, not in this country anyway. It was never in the hearts of the abolitionists. Never in the hearts of those brave Americans who challenged Jim Crow and fought, often at great peril, for civil rights. I know it’s not everywhere because it’s not in my house. It’s not in the homes of my closest friends. Does racism still exist in America, a country of more than 300 million people? Unfortunately, yes, in some dark places. But, despite Bryant Gumbel’s contention … it’s not everywhere.”

The 14-time Emmy winner whose political affiliations have always been a point of viewer contention, believes the politics of some of his coworkers at HBO led to seemingly uncomfortable silence. The confrontation and dispute eventually was enough to make Goldberg believe a parting of ways was the best course of action.

“That year-end “Real Sports” show was my last. A few weeks later I walked away after 22 years as a correspondent. I didn’t want to be part of a team whose most prominent voice thinks that, “racism is everywhere,” and where the other 5 correspondents  — whose politics range from liberal to hard-left progressive – just sat there and said nothing.

Maybe Bryant didn’t mean it the way it came out. Maybe he meant that there are remnants of racism that still infect American culture – not that out-and-out racism is everywhere. But if that’s what he meant, he should have said it.”

Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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