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ESPN Alleges V Foundation, Halle Berry, Ryan Clark Refused To Work With Sage Steele

“Steele is under contract with ESPN through 2024 and continues to work on SportsCenter.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele is suing the network claiming her right to free speech was violated, and ESPN recently filed a motion to have that lawsuit dismissed saying there wasn’t enough proof there to show her right was violated.

Now details are emerging that show of some of the consequences Steele faced for her comments on Jay Cutler’s podcast about the COVID-19 vaccine mandate at Disney and former president Barack Obama.

Among some of the assignments Steele was removed from were an interview at a conference with actress Halle Berry and a fundraising event for the V Foundation.

While Steele alleges the decisions were ESPN’s doing, the network said in their motion to dismiss the lawsuit that both Berry’s PR people and the V Foundation asked to have Steele removed from those opportunities.

The V Foundation said Steele’s comments, particularly on the COVID vaccine, were “anti-science.”

Meanwhile, ESPN colleague and NFL analyst Ryan Clark allegedly refuses to work with Steele.

Clark put out a Tweet on Friday saying in part, “I work with a ton of people who think differently than me on (politics, vaccination opinions, fashion). Bottom line I don’t rock with Hate! I’ll leave it there.”

Steele did also receive blowback from ESPN colleagues on social media, from which Steele claims in her suit that the network didn’t do enough to protect her.

Steele is under contract with ESPN through 2024 and continues to work on SportsCenter. She has remained on-air while the litigation is going through the courts.

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Report: Los Angeles Lakers Hire ESPN Basketball Analyst JJ Redick as Head Coach

Adrian Wojnarowski reports the analyst and podcaster met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka over the weekend and talks continued until the job was offered and accepted this morning.

Barrett Sports Media

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Logo for the LA Lakers and a screengrab of JJ Redick
Screengrab: JJ Redick on YouTube

At the end of July last year, ESPN made the announcement that Doc Rivers and Doris Burke would team with Mike Breen as the lead NBA broadcast team. The two would replace Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy who were both let go. While there might have been other factors involved, some said Van Gundy’s exit was partially because ESPN was concerned he had a strong desire to return to coaching. Since that time, Rivers has left to become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and his replacement, JJ Redick is now set to be named the head coach of the LA Lakers.

According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Redick and the team have reached agreement on a four-year contract. Wojnarowski reports the analyst and podcaster met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka over the weekend and talks continued until the job was offered and accepted this morning.

One of the podcasts Redick has been hosting, Mind the Game, is co-hosted by Lakers star LeBron James. James is expected to decline his player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, however one would assume it is now likely he will sign a new deal with the team.

Redick played 15 years in the NBA, mostly for the Orlando Magic, the LA Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers. Redick has never coached high level basketball before.

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NESN Announces Alternate Telecasts for Red Sox Games Hosted by Jared Carrabis

“This viewing experience will be complementary to our live game telecast on NESN and will provide a new way for fans to engage with the Red Sox and NESN through differentiated conversation and real-time analysis from new faces and special guests.”

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Graphic for Unobstructed Views on NESN with host Jared Carrabis
Graphic Courtesy: NESN

NESN has announced it will air live alternate telecasts on NESN+ of Boston Red Sox games which will be hosted by baseball personality Jared Carrabis. Unobstructed Views will air for the first time on Tuesday June 25 and is scheduled for 10 shows throughout the rest of the season.

The show will have a rotating cast of co-hosts starting with former Red Sox reliever and current NESN studio analyst Jonathan Papelbon for the first episode. Papelbon will also return on the Tuesday, July 9 broadcast. Other co-hosts will include social media content creator Ian Brownhill along with NBC Sports host and betting analyst Sara Perlman Mancini.

“We’re always experimenting with new ways to enhance the game experience for Red Sox fans,” NESN COO Matt Volk said in a release. “This viewing experience will be complementary to our live game telecast on NESN and will provide a new way for fans to engage with the Red Sox and NESN through differentiated conversation and real-time analysis from new faces and special guests.”

Unobstructed Views will be filmed live from NESN’s studio, and the hosts will be joined by guests from the baseball world and other personalities in Boston sports culture. The show will also encourage fan engagement through live interactions on social media, featuring a live digital social media wall inside the studio during the show.

NESN has had several innovations over the years include being the first RSN to launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service. NESN also recently added a feature called “NESN View” that allows fans to toggle on data overlays onto live games for live stats and updates throughout the game on NESN 360.

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Tom Brady: I Don’t Want to Disappoint FOX, NFL Fans

“You never really know how sports are going to go, which is why we all tune in.”

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Tom Brady
Courtesy: Cliff Watts, Variety

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady will be joining the lead NFL on FOX broadcasting team this upcoming season, starting his new 10-year contract with FOX Sports reportedly worth a total of $375 million. Brady, considered by many football fans to be among the best players to have ever taken the gridiron, has been practicing his broadcasting skills and building chemistry with his colleagues throughout the offseason. His debut will come on Sept. 8, broadcasting a Week 1 matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi.

Brady recently attended the UFL Championship Game in St. Louis, and appeared in the broadcast booth with Curt Menefee and Joel Klatt for part of the game. In commentating live at a stadium within a broadcast booth for the first time, along with practicing from afar, Brady has gained knowledge and experience in the profession. During an in-studio appearance on The Herd, host Colin Cowherd asked Brady if he has noticed a difference in his performance upon watching the tape.

“I would say yes, and I also think there’s still so much more room for improvement,” Brady explained. “Almost like when I was a player, I never felt I did things the right way. There were games where I’d go in afterward and I’d go, ‘God, I’m the worst quarterback in the NFL. Why would they even want me to play quarterback for this team?,’ and I’m sure I’m going to feel that way here at FOX where I finish a game and I go, ‘God, I didn’t even give them what they wanted,’ and it’s a very challenging thing in your own mind.”

As he has practiced broadcasting ahead of the NFL season, Brady has asked a few people how they know if they did a good job. He feels that much of it will come down to the preparation and if he is able to execute what he has studied to give themselves the best opportunity to elicit success to the fans. Brady understands that the game itself is the show and wants to be a complementary part of the action.

“We’re there to add our take on it and our analysis, but it’s also, ‘Did we feel like we added to the broadcast?,’” Brady said, “and from my standpoint, I’m going to work as hard as I can in the process of it, as you talked about earlier, to make sure that I do deliver because I don’t want to let anyone down. I don’t want to let the people at FOX here down, and I certainly don’t want to let the great NFL fans down either.”

Cowherd mentioned that a similarity between playing football as a quarterback and broadcasting is the skill to compartmentalize and be able to quickly recall information and implement it within a situation. Furthermore, he believes that what Brady is doing is the hardest thing in sports because it requires one to be smart 200 times for eight seconds within the course of a game. It led Cowherd to ask Brady if he feels any nerves in the situation, to which he replied that he always does when performing, especially since the outcome of the contest is not guaranteed.

“You never really know how sports are going to go, which is why we all tune in,” Brady said. “We tune in because the outcomes are very unexpected, which if they’re unexpected, there’s a chance of winning and losing, and because of that, there’s anxiety and there’s nerves going into every single one of those games, so the only way that I knew how to combat the nerves and the anxiousness of the game was to prepare.”

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