One day after NBC announced that none of its 2022 Winter Olympics broadcast teams will work on-site from Beijing and instead work remotely, ESPN has made a similar decision.
On Thursday, the network announced that it won’t send any news personnel to China to cover the Winter Games. According to its official release on the matter, ESPN originally planned to send four reporters to Beijing to provide coverage. But those four will now work remotely with the numerous television and digital personnel assigned to the Olympics.
ESPN.com already has a section dedicated to its Olympics coverage and plans will continue to provide the site with feature content along with scoreboards, medal counts, and additional information and statistics that will be updated in real-time. That Olympics content will also be available on the ESPN app.
Though video restrictions for Olympics highlights will be in place, SportsCenter will also report on results from Beijing and run reports and features on the Beijing games. (NBC holds exclusive rights in the U.S. for Olympics video footage.)
“The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive VP, event and studio production, in the network’s announcement. “With the pandemic continuing to be a global threat, and with the COVID-related on-site restrictions in place for the Olympics that would make coverage very challenging, we felt that keeping our people home was the best decision for us.”
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics begin with the opening ceremony Friday, Feb. 4.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at [email protected].
ESPN Decision Not to Show Nick Chubb Replay ‘Out of Respect to the Viewers’
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb.”
The decision made not to show a replay of Nick Chubb’s injury on ABC’s Monday Night Football broadcast has been met with scrutiny. The network did not offer a detailed explanation for the decision.
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb,” an ESPN spokesperson said when asked by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch how the decision was made.
The spokesperson added that the decision did not come down from network brass. It was made onsite by the Monday Night Football production crew.
On the broadcast, Troy Aikman revealed that the injury was “as bad as you can imagine” after Joe Buck told the audience that he had been informed that the network had decided not to replay the interview.
While some members of the public praised the decision, some sports media professionals have had the opposite reaction, including Dan Patrick, who said ABC had a duty to the viewers to show a replay to put the sport and the event in context.
Marcellus Wiley has ‘No Love & No Respect’ for Stephen A. Smith’s Ethics
“I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
Marcellus Wiley doesn’t want to hear Stephen A. Smith caping for Shannon Sharpe. He said its hard to overlook the hypocrisy of the ESPN star saying it is unfair to see Sharpe “pushed out” of Undisputed when he did the same thing to Max Kellerman on First Take.
Smith said that he has no ill-will towards Kellerman but did not like hosting First Take with him. He claimed that his ultimatum to ESPN management that one of them had to go was about the show not resonating with audiences the way it used to.
“He got Max fired. Put off the show,” Wiley said. “It’s hard to say. Stephen A felt threatened point blank. Ain’t no way around it.”
Wiley says that part of Stephen A. Smith’s problem with Terrell Owens is that Owens touched a nerve with his joke that Kellerman sounded Blacker than Smith. Wiley said that for whatever reason, it is something Smith remains sensitive about.
He also took Smith to task for claiming that he knows the story behind Sharpe’s ouster from FS1 but cannot tell it. Wiley says Smith has a more compelling story to tell and that people just want to hear him own up to why Kellerman had to go.
“I still got love for Stephen A,” Wiley said. “At the same time, you know me, I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
He added that for all of the talk about Kellerman never being the right fit for First Take, he can remember working with Kellerman on ESPN Los Angeles and hearing Smith call to try and convince Kellerman to move to New York to join First Take.
“Grandma always said ‘can’t makes sense out of nonsense.’ Let me say this. Stephen A gets a salute from all, especially me, because I respect his work ethic. But right now, and a lot of people are seeing it right before our very eyes, no love and no respect for your ethics.”
Marcus Spears Loses It As ‘Mad Dog’ Lists Weekend Plans with Bookie and Gummies
Many devoted college football fans make a habit of watching multiple games across networks throughout the season, along with the pregame shows and other festivities. As the sport approaches its fourth week of regular-season play, people are starting to make their plans for where they will watch Deion Sanders’ undefeated Colorado Buffaloes taking on Oregon at 3:30 p.m. EST/12:30 p.m. PST on ABC. Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo revealed on Wednesday’s edition of First Take that he will be alone at his home this weekend, as his wife is away. He already has his routine planned out in full.
Starting the day on Saturday, he sees that the forecast in the New York metropolitan area is calling for rain, which will prohibit him from playing golf or tennis. He will sit down, make an early cocktail and take half of a gummy ahead of the Florida State matchup against the Clemson Tigers. When the clock strikes 3:25, Russo says he will be “sauced” and put a call into his friend, Fat Rob, who he described at the start of the segment.
“He’s my buddy [and] a former priest in the Vatican. He lived there for five years,” Russo said. “For five years, he was up there when they would do the smoke when they would see who the next priest was – that was him – the next pope.”
Russo nearly gave out Fat Rob’s phone number live on the air and described how his call would sound on Sunday. By this point, ESPN analyst Marcus Spears and featured commentator Stephen A. Smith were consumed with both laughter and disbelief.
“Where am I?,” Spears said with an incredulous, yet countenance evoking a sense of captivation.
“‘Rob, you know what, what the hell. I can’t root for Oregon; I’ll pretend on TV,” Russo said. “Put 10 dimes on Colorado and Deion; let’s win the game.’ By 3:25, I’ll be sitting down with my shorts; little T-shirt; cocktail [and] I’ll have the other half of the gummy.”
“You save it for later!?,” First Take host Molly Qerim exclaimed. “I thought you were just rationing it.”
Russo then conveyed that he hopes Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN’s lead college football broadcast booth, would be announcing the Colorado-Oregon game. No one on the air voiced, however, that it will be Joe Tessitore and Jesse Palmer on that matchup.
Nonetheless, Russo is excited for a day of college football to himself while his wife is on a road trip, something he previously spoke about when First Take was live from the US Open earlier this month.
“I want to be clear – you’re doing this all by yourself?,” Qerim asked. “You’re just going to hang out by yourself and do all of this?”
“I’m an only child – I’m my favorite company,” Russo replied.