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Stephen A. Smith, Jay Williams Get Heated Over Kyrie Irving Video

“Smith has been a staunch critic of Irving’s stance around why he won’t receive the shot.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

Things got heated for the second day in a row on First Take. Debaters Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams had a fiery back and forth about Kyrie Irving’s decision to sit out the NBA season because he won’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Smith has been a staunch critic of Irving’s stance around why he won’t receive the shot. Smith was even more confused about the star player’s motivations after Irving posted an explainer video on Instagram Wednesday night.

Irving spoke for about 20 minutes on the platform and left plenty of people scratching their heads once he logged off. At one point, Irving said that he “won’t necessarily remain unvaccinated.”

On the other side was Williams, who has defended every NBA player’s right to choose whether to get the shot or not. Williams believes the league is in a great place with a vaccination rate above 95%.

“You’re trying to tell me this is about basketball?” Williams asked Smith on ESPN’s First Take. “This is about winning a championship, not about making the right decision for my family? And I know what the right decision is for me and my family Stephen A, I would talk to Kyrie about how I felt about all this.”

“You’re asking questions and then talking. Which one’s it gonna be? You’re asking questions and then answering,” an agitated Smith fired back. “I’M TRYING TO ANSWER YOU! YES! Yes. Damn it, yes!”

“If 6.2 billion people have taken it, I’m sorry – has the vaccine killed anybody? Has that been the reason people died?” Smith asked. Moderator Molly Qerim Rose reined things back in before they went down the slippery slope of debating science on a sports talk show.

In the middle of all of this, literally, was Kendrick Perkins who tried to offer a level-headed response between the two spectrums.

“What Kyrie Irving does with his body is his personal decision,” Perkins said. “But after his Wednesday night Instagram Live session, it is still unclear what stance Kyrie Irving is making.”

Sports TV News

ESPN Accused Of Data Sharing Without Consent In Class Action Lawsuit

The proposed suit alleges these are violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act.

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According to a potential class action lawsuit, user data from ESPN.com and ESPN+ has been allegedly shared with Meta Platforms without users consent.

Corrado Rizzi of ClassAction.org has proposed the suit, alleging that ESPN “uses a pixel installed on the back end of its website to track when website and app users take certain actions, such as clicking on an ad or viewing video content”. That “pixel” is used by Facebook to capture “a subscriber’s Facebook ID, with which anyone can ‘quickly and easily’ locate, access, and identify a particular Facebook account and a file containing details of a watched video and its corresponding URL.”

Rizzi adds that ESPN.com and ESPN+ subscribers aren’t told their data could be shared. He also shares that while ESPN could create its website to information isn’t immediately shared with Facebook, it benefits financially from utilizing the “pixel” on its website.

The proposed suit alleges these are violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act. The VPAA, according to ClassAction.org, “prohibits ‘video tape service providers’ from knowingly disclosing without consent consumers’ personally identifiable information, including that which identifies someone as having requested or obtained specific video materials”.

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Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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