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Bob Stoops Steps Away From FOX To Be Interim Coach At Oklahoma

It appears obvious that this means that Stoops will no longer be on Big Noon Kickoff for the network at least until next season.

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The Oklahoma Sooners already have their interim head coach following the departure of Lincoln Riley to coach USC, and it is a familiar face for Sooners fans.

Stoops coached the Sooners from 1999 through the 2016 season. He joined FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff show this year after Urban Meyer took the head coaching gig in Jacksonville.

Bob Stoops issued a statement on him filling the vacancy for Oklahoma’s bowl game, saying “First and foremost, I’m a program guy and whatever I can do to help OU and to support the players, of course I’m glad to do it. I’ll do everything I can to help them finish the season in a strong and successful way and I look forward to that.”

It appears obvious that this means that Stoops will no longer be on Big Noon Kickoff for the network, at least not until next season. It’s also possible that this means he would want to continue coaching in the future.

He wouldn’t be the first coach-turned-analyst to turn coach again. Bob Davie left ESPN for New Mexico in 2012. Mack Brown left ESPN for Norther Carolina in 2019. Herm Edwards left the network for Arizona State the same year.

It seems like it was an obvious choice for Stoops to be named the interim coach, he has remained close to the team since his retirement in 2016. He was even in the room when the players found out that Lincoln Riley was taking the job at USC.

This move leaves the future for Bob Stoops at FOX up in the air. There could be all sorts of possibilities waiting for the new interim Oklahoma coach.

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NESN’s Kevin Youkilis Gives Emotional Tribute to Tim Wakefield

Youkilis played with the Red Sox for eight seasons alongside Wakefield, who died Sunday after a bout with brain cancer.

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A photo of Kevin Youkilis
Courtesy: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox | Getty Images

The baseball world was saddened on Sunday to learn that beloved former pitcher and humanitarian Tim Wakefield had passed away at the age of 57. NESN analyst Kevin Youkilis memorialized his former teammate on the air after the announcement of his death.

Wakefield was a two-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox known for his knuckleball. He also won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2010, given annually to the MLB player who best embodies community spirit.

Wakefield was also a studio analyst for NESN and had been in that role since 2012.

Kevin Youkilis on Sunday afternoon’s season finale broadcast in Baltimore reflected on the life of a wonderful person and teammate.

“He was a great competitor when he took that mound,” Youkilis said. “He was just a great teammate and just a great friend.”

“I had the luxury to play with him on the field, in the booth, and I’m just glad that I had the opportunity over the years to be alongside him,” he added. “And just an amazing husband, father, and a community leader. He really enjoyed people. He really enjoyed being around people, and today we lost one of the good ones.”

Broadcast partner Dave O’Brien concurred wholeheartedly.

“A very, very special guy,” he said. “He was just 57 years old. The condolences, of course, are pouring in. We thank all of you. And God bless the Wakefield family.”

MLB on FOX analyst and another former Red Sox teammate David Ortiz paid tribute to his former teammate on Instagram on Sunday, writing about how heartbroken he is.

“I can’t describe what you mean to me and my family,” Ortiz wrote. “My heart is broken right now because I will never be able to replace a brother and a friend like you.”

“Wake embodied true goodness; a devoted husband, father, and teammate, beloved broadcaster, and the ultimate community leader,” the Red Sox said in a statement. “He gave so much to the game and all of Red Sox Nation.”

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Jim Lampley Defends Max Kellerman Against Stephen A. Smith Criticism

“To me, it’s out of bounds,” Lampley said in Kellerman’s defense.

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Courtesy: Getty Images

Legendary boxing announcer Jim Lampley has largely avoided having a presence on any social media platform, but he’s heard what ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith had to say about his former First Take co-host Max Kellerman and isn’t a fan of airing things out publicly.

In an interview on Covino & Rich on FOX Sports Radio last week in Las Vegas, Lampley was asked if Stephen A. was being unfair in what he said on The Joe Budden Podcast about how their run on First Take came to an end.

“I hate the world of social media, and I’m not afraid to say it,” Lampley said prefacing his point about Smith. “I hate the degree to which personal conflicts have now risen to important public discussion and are a part of the business landscape and the editorial landscape of our lives.”

Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman worked together on boxing broadcasts at HBO for 11 years. Jim added that he has met Stephen A. Smith previously and hasn’t had a bad experience with him.

“I don’t have any particular ax to grind against him except to promote and publicize his professional antipathy for Max,” he said. “To me, it’s out of bounds, and I’m very disturbed at what happened to Max.”

Kellerman has remained out of the public eye since being announced as part of the mass layoffs over the summer at ESPN. In an interview with The Messenger, Jim Lampley said the whole thing, including Max’s departure from ESPN, hasn’t sat well with him.

“I have lost sleep about it,” Lampley said. “I have genuinely lost sleep about what has happened to Max and I can honestly say I don’t understand any of it. I never lost sleep over what happened to me but I have lost sleep about what has happened to Max. It’s not right.”

“I stayed away from ESPN and everything that has happened there leads me to believe that at least for my constitution and for my personal happiness, I made the right choice,” he added.

But with Steve Covino and Rich Davis, Lampley wished Smith had just kept his thoughts and feelings private.

“The world of the Stephen A. Smith’s and the people who are using social media and various other ancillary forms of dialogue to create and benefit from personal rivalries, I don’t like it,” he said.

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Diamond Sports Group Reportedly Trying to Reach Rights Fee Discount with NBA, NHL

Other sources concurred that Diamond will ultimately shutter, but not before making money from some of its more profitable contracts.

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Courtesy: Diamond Sports Group

As Diamond Sports Group seeks to emerge from Ch. 11 bankruptcy and nears a Saturday deadline to agree to a reorganization plan with its creditors, the regional sports network operator has reportedly made a final offer to the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League. With the start of the regular season approaching for both leagues, the company is looking to slash its local broadcast fees for NBA and NHL games by up to 20%, respectively, to avoid liquidation in today’s dynamic sports media ecosystem.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group subsidiary has $9 billion in debt and owns the broadcast rights to 27 teams across the two professional sports leagues, not to mention an additional 12 Major League Baseball teams. Earlier in the year, the company ceded rights for San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks games, which have been produced by MLB’s local media department over the last several months.

Diamond Sports Group pays the NBA approximately $600 million annually in broadcast rights, according to the report from the New York Post, while specific financial metrics pertaining to the NHL are unknown. Both leagues are reportedly inclined to take the deal, which would give the company the ability to avoid liquidity for another year, according to a source. Based on the intel, it seems the leagues are not prepared for the magnitude of this kind of shakeup, which could have resounding effects on competitive balance. After all, Major League Baseball paid both the Padres and Diamondbacks at least 80% of what was owed to them from the Diamond deals in order to maintain this ability.

Another source, however, emphasized that it believes the reorganization will ultimately result in the liquidation of Diamond Sports Group. Other sources concurred that Diamond will ultimately shutter, but not before making money from some of its more profitable contracts. The Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans received rights payments prior to the Sept. 1 deadline, and the company also recently inked a multi-year extension with the Los Angeles Kings.

Diamond Sports Group originally sought to institute a Nov. 9 deadline; however, that request was denied by a bankruptcy court. The NHL also asserted in August that it may look for emergency relief to forgo contracts if no plan is reached. While specific contingency plans for the NHL are largely unknown, the NBA is prepared to produce games for affected teams itself, along with assuming responsibility for negotiating linear distribution means and selling advertising.

The company had been in negotiations with Comcast that recently came to a close, ending in a one-year agreement between the two sides. Moreover, Diamond and DIRECTV have reportedly come to terms on a new deal before its cessation next month, which ensures that its users will still be able to access local broadcasts of their favorite teams. Significant carriage negotiations with Charter Communications are still forthcoming since the existing contract expires in February.

Diamond Sports Group is also suing its parent company, Sinclair, Inc., affirming that it received $1.5 billion because of misconduct. Sinclair, which reported its own 8% year-over-year (YoY) decline in revenue, insinuated that its subsidiary will not emerge from bankruptcy.

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