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Mikaela Shiffrin No Longer Speaking With Media After Olympic Defeats

“We’re watching real people with real emotions in real time and we did everything we were supposed to do,” said an NBC executive producer.

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Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin announced on Thursday that she will no longer be speaking to the media through the remainder of the Beijing Winter Games.

Shiffrin issued a statement through a U.S. Olympic spokesperson (via Reuters), saying “Mikaela (nor her mother/coach Eileen) will not be doing any media for the foreseeable future. Thank you for respecting her/their space right now.”

The decision comes after Shiffrin skidded out and fell in the giant slalom and women’s slalom competitions this week. Her second fall drew particular attention and scrutiny for NBC’s coverage of the skier’s disappointment, both with cameras staying on her as she sat in the snow and an interview immediately afterward in which she was holding back tears and still trying to process her emotions.

According to the New York Post, Shiffrin also took questions from reporters for 45 minutes following the event.

NBC Olympics executive producer Molly Solomon defended the network’s coverage of Shiffrin to the Associated Press, saying the moment was “big news.”

“We have an obligation in that moment, as the broadcaster of the Olympic games, to cover the moment,” Solomon told the AP’s David Bauder. “There’s no script when there’s a wipeout on the slopes or a fall in figure skating. We’re watching real people with real emotions in real time and we did everything we were supposed to do.”

But the mental health of athletes, especially young people participating in individual Olympic sports that attract national and international attention, is increasingly becoming a concern to neutral observers. Gymnast Simone Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka have drawn further awareness to the issue.

Seemingly ignoring that in the name of compelling television is exactly why NBC is being portrayed as a villain here. Fortunately for her well-being, Shiffrin is doing what she feels is best for her right now.

She did compete in Friday’s Super-G race and finished the race, but did not earn a medal. The U.S. ski team said Shiffrin will also participate in the combined and team events.

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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Rece Davis: College GameDay Needed Someone Like Pete Thamel for Years

“It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

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ESPN’s College GameDay has a formula to it that has made the show work for so long. It’s not scripted at all, but it’s organized in a way that gives the show structure.

And sometimes time constraints force producers and the hosts to have to make adjustments on the fly, like eliminating segments or elements within segments.

GameDay host Rece Davis talked about it on Monday’s edition of the College GameDay podcast with ESPN senior college football writer Pete Thamel. Davis praised Thamel for his contributions to the show but acknowledged that often Thamel whose hits on the show end up struck because of time.

“All of us sacrifice some, but you’re one of the ones who take heavy hits in terms of things getting cut,” Davis said. Thamel’s tweets are often featured throughout the show, and Davis makes it a point to recognize Thamel on the air. “That’s why I try to give you a shoutout when I see the tweets pop up on the screen, which are amazing by the way.”

Davis said Thamel’s ability to provide up to the second information on relevant and timely stories in college football has been a welcomed change to the show.

“You’ve brought something to GameDay that GameDay’s desperately needed for years,” he said. “It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

GameDay will be on location this weekend for the showdown between Michigan and Ohio State. This past weekend the show was live from Montana State.

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Miami Marlins Continue Broadcast Changes, Drop J.P. Arencibia

The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida.

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After announcing last week that Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner wouldn’t return to the booth next year, the club continues to make changes. J.P. Arencibia won’t return as an analyst for the club in 2023.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Arencibia was informed he will no longer work on either the team’s television or radio broadcasts next season. The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida. It was his first season as a television analyst. According to Jackson, the reason for Arencibia’s departure is “unclear”, adding a reason “was not offered”.

The club will continue to use a rotation of analysts in 2023, with Jeff Nelson, Gaby Sanchez, Rod Allen, and Tommy Hutton working in the booth.

Arencibia was brought on for the 2022 season after the Marlins dropped former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth from the clubs televisions broadcasts after the previous season concluded.

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