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Sports Media Colleagues Praise JJ Redick In First Take Debate With Chris Russo

“I don’t actually care about the fans that watched Bob Cousy play or watched Wilt play. I don’t care. I appreciate they’ve been NBA fans that long but I don’t appreciate the undertone.”

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JJ Redick was not going to let Chris Russo get away telling Draymond Green he needs to shut up. On Wednesday’s edition of First Take, Russo took the Warriors’ forward to task after Green gave fans the finger as he exited the court in Memphis to receive stitches.

“He’s hard to root for,” Russo began. “Just shut up and play will you please? America is tired of Draymond Green. I deal with him constantly. The fans, San Francisco fans are a different story.”

Stephen A. Smith questioned how true that was. JJ Redick took a different tact. He told Mad Dog that the SiriusXM host had no idea just how few people actually want Green to shut up.

“You do realize the guy has a very popular podcast where he hosts and he talks, himself, for the majority of the episode and people listen to that,” Redick said. “He signed a talent deal with Turner because people want to hear what Draymond has to say. The reason they want to hear what Draymond has to say is because just like in this press conference, he is real, authentic and unfiltered. You can’t take away what makes a player great so there’s no “shut up and play”.

Mad Dog countered by saying that fans like him, that had followed the league for 60 years, didn’t like Green. It wasn’t a racial or political issue. It was about being tired of Green constantly talking.

“I’m not saying it’s a race situation,” Redick said. “I’m saying the fans you’re talking about, they talk about athletes that way like you just talked about an athlete snapped back. The people on Fox News talk about athletes that way, that’s my issue. I don’t actually care about the fans that watched Bob Cousy play or watched Wilt play. I don’t care. I appreciate they’ve been NBA fans that long but I don’t appreciate the undertone.”

That exchange caught the attention of a lot of Redick’s sports media colleagues.

Robert Littal of Black Sports Online pointed out that reactions from third parties are the only way to see JJ Redick make his point. ESPN is not promoting the video on any of its channels.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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