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Mia O’Brien is Raising The Bar at 1010 XL

“I firmly believe if anyone wants to get into the media business, you have to know how to tell stories and you have to know how to work the gear,” said O’Brien. “You learn how to do that in local news. They throw you into the deep end nine times out of 10, and I was definitely prepared for my next step in my career and beyond.”

Derek Futterman

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Mia O'Brien

It all started during one summer at broadcasting camp. Indeed, that is where Mia O’Brien’s foray into sports media began, drawing inspiration from lead instructors and decorated New York sports broadcasters Ian Eagle and Bruce Beck early into her high school days.

While many aspiring media professionals attend seminars and participate in other modes of instruction before college, few get to learn in the number one media market in the country, let alone from two of its most prominent air talents. As a native of Freehold, New Jersey, O’Brien took advantage of every opportunity to familiarize herself with professional teams, most notably the New York Yankees, and find her own unique style to differentiate herself from her competition.

“I attended that camp every summer for the next three summers, building my way through the advanced and elite versions of the [program], and then I was a counselor for two summers at the camp,” said O’Brien. “….The camp has evolved over the years, but it was the most critical step for me into getting into the field and also having a blueprint of sorts of how I would attack this career.”

Energized by her innate will and determination, along with the experiences she had had in her first summer at the broadcasting camp, O’Brien began doing freelance media work as a high school student. Whether it was serving as a summer camp videographer, a broadcast and digital media intern with the New Jersey Jackals, or as a social media and communications intern for her local assemblywoman, O’Brien always remained open to any opportunities that would help her advance her career. From participating in the broadcasting camp, she also worked as a student reporter for MSG Networks on its MSG Varsity channel during her junior and senior years of high school, an anomaly in and of itself – no less in “The Big Apple.”

O’Brien began studying at Ithaca College in 2011 as a Park Scholar, and immediately began partaking in various extracurricular activities, including Ithaca College Television, WICB Radio and the Student Government Association. By her junior year, she was named the sideline reporter for the Ithaca College Bombers football team and hosted The Gridiron Report, a football magazine television show – doing it all as the only woman on-air at the entire school. One year later, she was voted as senior class president. During her free time, she volunteered as a coach at the Ithaca Youth Bureau and helped at a local school, all while maintaining a high grade-point average and freelancing as both a sports reporter for WENY-TV and college football columnist for AOL Sports.

While many of her college experiences were linked to media as a whole, some of them may not have had an obvious correlation to what was her career trajectory; however, all of her activities ultimately served as means to an end. An example of such – aside from her role in the media industry, O’Brien recently completed her first semester adjunct teaching at the University of North Florida within its leadership department.

“When you’re in college, when you’re early in your career, do everything,” said O’Brien. “You never know what random skill or random club you’re a part of then leads to a job down the line.”

Ithaca College is one of a handful of schools known for its communications program and success in placing graduates in favorable positions to land jobs thanks to its vast alumni network and state-of-the-art facilities. Yet one does not need to go to schools known for communications, according to O’Brien, so long as wherever they go not only has the necessary equipment and facilities – but also opportunities. At some larger and prominent communications schools, those can be especially tough to come by.

“You need to make sure at your school there are games you can call – whether that is live-streamed on the internet, radio broadcasts, TV, it doesn’t matter,” O’Brien emphasized. “[You need] the opportunity to get reps calling games or get reps reporting on games and turning packages.”

Upon her graduation from Ithaca College, O’Brien relocated to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to take her first full-time television job as a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at KGAN/KFXA, the locale’s CBS and FOX affiliates, respectively. While it may seem like a smaller market from the outside, Cedar Rapids is within driving distance of several sports hubs, including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee, and has several NCAA Division I programs including the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.

“To get to cover three major D-1 programs at 22 years old in the heart of Big 10 country is a rare, rare opportunity,” said O’Brien. “It’s obviously changed a little bit now with the evolving nature of local news. At the time, it was not easy to jump right there.”

O’Brien made a sacrifice going from Ithaca to Cedar Rapids in an effort to galvanize her career, and was the only woman reporting on sports in the state for quite some time. Even though it is not a major market in terms of size, the daily grind was enough to allow her to garner and refine the skills necessary to continue to move upwards in sports media. She would not have had it any other way though, and remains grateful for what it taught her to this day working in a different region of the country.

“I firmly believe if anyone wants to get into the media business, you have to know how to tell stories and you have to know how to work the gear,” said O’Brien. “You learn how to do that in local news. They throw you into the deep end nine times out of 10, and I was definitely prepared for my next step in my career and beyond.”

O’Brien’s reputation as an on-air talent from her early days in the industry was as someone who possessed great creativity, candor and congeniality; however, the first of those three “C’s” was suppressed during her time in Cedar Rapids. Upper management’s philosophy of local news and its purpose did not align with O’Brien’s long-term goals; therefore, she left Iowa after three years and moved to Jacksonville to take a job with First Coast News. Then, everything changed.

“It was [because of] the ownership group at First Coast News that I was truly able to embrace the creative person that I was at Ithaca [and] that I wanted to be in the field,” O’Brien stated. “….I can’t thank them enough for that opportunity to really tap back into that side of my brain and also giving me the opportunity to really attack any and every project I wanted to…. Whatever it was, they said ‘Here’s the trampoline – go jump on it.’”

For over two-and-a-half years on local news television in Jacksonville, O’Brien reported on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida Gators, along with other local high school and college sports teams.

She decided to make the move to work in radio on a full-time basis this past March. While the move may have seemed confusing to those on the outside, following a similar path to other women in the industry, including Vanessa Richardson of ESPN 97.5 Houston, made it less daunting for O’Brien.

After working as a co-host for the all-women sports show Helmets & Heels on 1010 XL/92.5 FM Jax Sports Radio for just over six months, O’Brien accepted her first Monday-to-Friday job at the station. In her new role, O’Brien has teamed up with Joe Cowart, Leon Searcy and Matt Hayes on XL Primetime, a midday trio that had fostered a working chemistry to create an entertaining and informative radio program. The co-hosts, along with show producer J.J. LaSelva, were welcoming and offered their assistance to O’Brien to help her assimilate into the show, and it was assistance that she certainly valued. Yet she knew through her previous experiences in media that chemistry is not fostered instantaneously and cannot usually be expedited. Thus, she studied the rhythm of the show and eventually found points where she could contribute.

“Getting used to the workflow; getting used to ‘Okay, this is where I step in [and] this is where I step out and I let everybody else talk.’ I knew it wasn’t going to be an overnight fix,” said O’Brien. “It’s still not completely 100% perfect and it never will be, but it definitely took a little bit of time.”

In terms of professional sports, Jacksonville, Fla. revolves around its NFL team, and the city also has franchises in the East Coast Hockey League and Indoor Arena League. Additionally, it is home to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, and the PGA Tour’s PLAYERS Championship often takes place just outside of the city. Being able to talk about the local teams, along with national sports news, has been a welcome change for O’Brien, who had grown accustomed to stringent time limits on her reporting in local news.

“We can talk NBA; we can talk other sports on radio because we have three hours a day to fill,” O’Brien said. “That’s been really fun because in local television, we don’t necessarily have that because… you’re only getting a minute-thirty for a story [and] three minutes for your sportscast so you’re really hyper local-focused. In radio, we can talk about whatever we’re feeling; whatever the news of the day is, and that has been really exciting because I do have a lot of interests.”

Even so, much of the listening audience in Jacksonville craves content related to the Jaguars, whether it be during the season or the offseason. O’Brien does more than just co-host the station’s midday sports radio show, but also manages its multimedia content, meaning she must have even more of an awareness of what resonates with the audience and the alacrity to deliver it to them.

“You have to pick and choose how you are strategic in what you put out there in terms of the content,” said O’Brien. “It’s been a learning process; it has been a learning curve… but it’s exciting and the hope is obviously down the line we’ll have an even better idea of what our audience wants.”

One of the ways in which 1010 XL/92.5 FM Jax Sports Radio has penetrated into the digital age of radio is by making sure all of its shows are supported with video, to ensure fans have multiple means of consumption and engagement. The 1980 hit single Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles has been proven wrong, according to O’Brien, for video is now enhancing the brand of the radio star and the content and ratings of their radio station.

“By streaming, not only do you tap into more potential consumers, but for us on the digital/multimedia side, it’s so much easier for me to press inpoint, outpoint [and] crop that clip if there’s a great moment from a show and then stick it on Instagram… TikTok… or Twitter,” said O’Brien. “It promotes our posts [and] gives the consumers an idea of who [the hosts] are and what they look like.”

One of O’Brien’s ongoing projects is working on the documentary series The Book of Bo, a look into the career of former Jacksonville Jaguars’ tackle Tony Boselli. The series will be released in various chapters, and will be made available in video form on Facebook and YouTube for fans to watch. Additionally, O’Brien has been appearing across station programming to play clips from each upcoming episode to create buzz and promote the series as a whole.

“I think it’s really cool that the station has supported initiatives like that, and moreover my general manager Steve Griffin has been amazing in terms of whatever I need, they go get for me,” said O’Brien. “They are ready to tap into the future and step into what multimedia sports coverage is going to be 10-20 years down the line, and I don’t think a lot of terrestrial radio stations could say that.”

Terrestrial radio as a means of transmission and paradigm on which to base content is not being eliminated; rather, it is simply being modified to be part of a multi-platform approach to creation and subsequent dissemination. Through this modern approach, stations like 1010 XL/92.5 Jax Sports Radio are able to remain at the forefront of innovation and find new ways to expand their body of consumers.

“I think what’s really cool is that the terrestrial radio station is obviously the backbone to everything we do; that’s what gives us the ability to take risks like what we’re doing with this project and so many others,” O’Brien explained. “But at the same time, you can still utilize it; it’s not like it’s going away. We are keeping terrestrial radio – that’s not going anywhere – it’s how we generate so much of our content. We can use the multimedia channels to also generate content that we can then put on terrestrial radio as well.”

Throughout this story, a theme you may have noticed is how O’Brien was consistently one of, if not the only woman working in sports media from the time she attended broadcasting camp. Although she has occasionally worked with other women in the industry, including ESPN’s Emily Kaplan who just served as the network’s lead hockey reporter during the Stanley Cup Finals, she never saw her situation as unique. Rather, she accepted it as an aspect of the intrinsic meritocracy of sports media and was thankful for her other colleagues for viewing her as another member of the team.

As the conversation around diversity has been amplified though, it has shifted her perspective and opened her eyes to the disparities that regrettably exist in sports media. O’Brien hopes to serve as an inspiration to girls looking to work in sports media, and is always willing to extend a helping hand to those who need it.

“That’s something I think I would have done anyway, but I think a lot of the conversations around women in sports and encouraging women to reach out to each other and to have this bond and commiserate about some of the nuances that go on in the industry – I think that has encouraged me not to just dismiss it as: ‘Well, I’m just one of the guys.’”

O’Brien is currently the only woman on the Jaguars’ beat on a day-to-day basis, continuing to prove women can work in all facets of the industry. There are obvious implications of the imbalance ingrained within parts of the industry, yet by taking action, people – whether they are directly affected or not – can right these wrongs to foster an environment of inclusivity and equity. Nonetheless, O’Brien and other women working in sports say they are selective in terms of what complaints they choose to publicly voice.

“The more flexible and adaptable you can be and the more you can laugh and just move past and kind of pick and choose your battles, the better off you’re going to be,” O’Brien said, “and also knowing there’s other women out there going through similar situations.”

It is evident that O’Brien enjoys the spontaneous nature of her career, being able to work on multiple projects varying in size and scope to bring content to sports fans inside and outside of Jacksonville. Much like Samantha Ponder, the former host of College GameDay on ESPN, O’Brien values versatility in media, and likes being able to do multiple things such as sideline reporting, hosting and audiovisual post-production work. As long as she continues to find new ways to differentiate herself in today’s media landscape by utilizing and enhancing the repertoire of skills she has been cultivating since broadcasting camp, O’Brien will “Catch ya later,” on whatever platform you choose.

“I knew very early on that sitting at a desk wasn’t going to be my M.O., and it still isn’t,” said O’Brien. “I also enjoy changing it up – whether that’s working on a video project one day; working on a podcast project the next day; meeting with clients a third day. I feel very lucky that this is a very big step forward towards that ultimate career goal of being a Swiss-army knife. Not that I wasn’t before, but I especially am now.”

BSM Writers

NBC Must Develop a Real No. 2 NFL Crew for Playoffs

Is the network’s only other option Jac Collinsworth and Jason Garrett?

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Several years ago, the NFL objected to NBC wanting to employ Mike Tirico as the lead play-by-play voice for its Thursday Night Football broadcasts. The league preferred Al Michaels because he was NBC’s No. 1 NFL play-by-play announcer and wanted the TNF telecasts to carry the same prestige as Sunday Night Football.

Following the network’s heavily-criticized broadcast of Saturday’s Wild Card playoff game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL may want to impose its authority again and insist that a top-tier broadcast team call the action of an important postseason game.

The consensus among fans and media watching Saturday’s broadcast was that Michaels and analyst Tony Dungy were surprisingly low-energy for an NFL playoff game, let alone one that became so exciting with Jacksonville rallying from a 27-0 deficit for a 31-30 victory on a last-second field goal.

Such a lackluster broadcast led to questions of whether or not Michaels was now past his prime after a season of calling subpar TNF games for Amazon and what initially appeared to be another snoozer when the Jaguars fell behind by 27 points. Pairing him with Dungy, who was a studio analyst all season, certainly didn’t help.

Dungy was as basic as a game analyst could be, typically narrating replays viewers could see for themselves while adding little insight. Worst of all, he demonstrated no enthusiasm for the action, leaving Michaels to fill most of the airtime. The veteran broadcaster showed that he can no longer carry a broadcast by himself. He needs the energy and back-and-forth that Cris Collinsworth or Kirk Herbstreit provide.

So how did NBC get here?

Most football fans know that the network’s top broadcast team is Tirico on play-by-play alongside analyst Cris Collinsworth. But they had their own assignment during Super Wild Card Weekend, calling Sunday night’s Ravens-Bengals match-up. With the postseason field expanding from 12 to 14 teams, resulting in six games being played on Wild Card weekend, NBC was awarded one of the additional playoff broadcasts.

Thus, another broadcast team was needed for that second Wild Card game. Fortunately, NBC had a renowned play-by-play man already in place. Michaels finished out his final season as SNF‘s lead voice by calling Super Bowl LVI, part of a powerful one-two combination for NBC Sports coming toward the end of its 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics coverage.

Ending his legendary career with a Super Bowl broadcast would’ve been a wonderful final note for Michaels. That appeared to be a natural path when Tirico moved from ESPN to NBC in 2016. Network executives admitted that a succession plan was in mind for Tirico to take over SNF eventually. At the time, Michaels also likely thought he would retire by then.

But when confronted with the possibility of retirement, Michaels realized he wasn’t interested. He was still enjoying broadcasting the NFL. His skills were still sharp. And perhaps most importantly, he was in demand. Amazon wanted Michaels as the lead voice for its Thursday Night Football broadcasts, bringing instant credibility to a streaming venture that drew some skepticism. ESPN considered him as its Monday Night Football play-by-play man.

As it turned out, ESPN made a bold move for MNF, swiping Fox’s No. 1 NFL crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. That left Amazon for Michaels, and the streaming giant paid him a commensurate salary with the top broadcasters in the industry as part of his three-year contract.

Yet Michaels wasn’t done with NBC either. After his agreement with Amazon became official, NBC announced that its relationship with Michaels would continue in an “emeritus” role allowing him to broadcast the network’s Olympics coverage and that additional Wild Card playoff telecast.

NBC can’t have been happy that most of the social media chatter afterward focused on the broadcast, rather than the game result. Especially when the discussion centered on how poorly Michaels and Dungy performed in what turned out to be a thrilling playoff game. That’s a pairing that the NFL probably doesn’t want to see again.

Michaels will likely call at least one more Wild Card playoff game for NBC since he intends to work on the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. He’s also under contract with Amazon for another two seasons unless he decides to retire before that deal expires. So perhaps the simple solution is keeping Dungy out of the broadcast booth and giving Michaels a better partner.

But can NBC drop in another analyst who hasn’t worked with Michaels all season? Anyone would arguably be an improvement over Dungy. Is it at all possible for Herbstreit to be hired on for a one-off playoff broadcast, thus ensuring that the broadcast team will have some on-air familiarity and chemistry?

Otherwise, NBC’s only other option may be its Notre Dame broadcast team of Jac Collinsworth and Jason Garrett. (The network tried that last season with Tirico and Drew Brees, only for Brees to wilt under the harsher NFL playoff spotlight.)

The pair also called USFL broadcasts for the network, so at least there would be familiarity rather than trying to figure each other out during a telecast. Yet Collinsworth and Garrett aren’t terribly popular with viewers. And as with Brees, that crew will face intense scrutiny with a larger playoff audience.

Unfortunately, NBC appears to be stuck here. Unless the new Big Ten broadcast team of Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge gets a shot. That might be the best option! Other than Notre Dame or USFL games, where are the other opportunities for NBC to develop a No. 2 NFL broadcast team? No one wants to put Al Michaels through Chris Simms in the broadcast booth, right?

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BSM Writers

Al Michaels Has Options But He Has To Make a Choice

“It does all of us in the sports industry well to remember 99% of our audience would gladly trade places with us.”

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I don’t ask much out of game announcers; get excited when appropriate, get the simple information correct, don’t get so caught up in your shtick you put yourself above the game. Al Michaels has been doing all those things well for the better part of half a century and few would argue that he’s not one of the best to ever do it. That doesn’t mean he can’t lose his fastball.

Before you read any longer, I am not here to say Al Michaels has lost his fastball. What I am here to say is Michaels has all too often this season seemed upset with and disinterested in the game he is calling. That isn’t entirely surprising when you consider some of the Thursday night action he called on Amazon Prime where the average margin of victory was almost nine points per game.

On top of that, the Amazon schedule had a dreadful two week stretch with Colts 12-9 win over the Broncos in Week Five and the Commanders 12-7 win over the Bears the next Thursday. It was in that Broncos-Colts game Michaels asked Herbstreit if a game “can be so bad it is good?” Herbstreit’s answer was “No”, by the way. It was the full 15 game schedule that Michaels told The Athletic’s media critic Richard Deitsch was like trying to sell a used car.

All of that is fine, the inaugural Amazon Prime season was not a smashing success. The streaming giant missed audience projections and will lose advertising revenue because of it. The lackluster schedule did not help that. But Michaels was given a second life; he was the NBC play-by-play announcer for the Saturday Night Wildcard Playoff game between the Chargers and Jaguars. It initially looked like Michaels might be the problem as five first half Jags turnovers had them in a 27-0 hole. But the home team staged a nearly unprecedented comeback for the win.

It was the performance by Michaels and, to a lesser degree, his analyst Tony Dungy that has led to criticism. Criticism might be too soft of a word, Michaels was roundly dragged for his lack of enthusiasm during the comeback and specifically on his call of the Jacksonville game winning field goal. The enthusiasm of the call of the game winner had a mid-3rd quarter of week four feel to it.

Me telling Al Michaels how to do play-by-play of an NFL game would be the equivalent of me telling a physicist how to split an atom. So, this isn’t just a Michaels criticism, few things bother me more than hearing a game announcer complain about the length or quality of a game as if he’d rather be anywhere else. It does all of us in the sports industry well to remember 99% of our audience would gladly trade places with us.

How many NFL viewers would sit in the seat Michaels, or any NFL announcer occupies, for free? They’d feel like they won the lottery if they also were getting the money those announcers are getting paid to be there. The guy that works a 12-hour Thursday construction shift just to get home and crack a beer for the NFL game probably doesn’t want to hear how tough that game is to announce.

On top of all of that, Michaels was given the gift of one of the wildest NFL Playoff comebacks you’ll ever see and, at times, sounded as if he was completely disinterested in being there. Pro tip: the best NFL announcer in those moments is Kevin Harlan (see: Miami at Baltimore from earlier this season. That has nothing to do with my lifelong Dolphins fandom). Michaels’ lack of enthusiasm was compounded by the exact opposite from Mike Tirico on the very same network for the Bengals-Ravens Wildcard game Sunday night. 

Tirico, like Michaels, has a sterling resume of play-by-play accomplishments. The difference is Tirico sounded like he was having the time of his life on Sunday night. 

To be fair, their two styles are different. Michaels has a very old school, Pat Summerall approach. Summerall, Vin Scully and Dick Enberg came along at a time when announcers were far more likely to let the pictures tell the story. More new school guys like Harlan and Tirico approach it differently.

Look, Al Michaels helped us believe in miracles. His place in the Sports Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame has long since been cemented. Being a hall of fame inductee doesn’t mean your style will forever be accepted by the masses. That leaves you with a few options; you can continue your style and accept or ignore the criticism or you can ride off into the sunset and enjoy the fruits of your decades of labor.

Al Michaels has what we all want; great options. He can choose any of them and be a winner in the game of life. It doesn’t matter if he enthusiastically embraces them, or not. 

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BSM Writers

Bernie Kosar Was the Victim of a Policy That Doesn’t Work Anymore

“The NFL has bigger fish to fry than Bernie Kosar. Hell, it has more pressing issues in Cleveland alone.”

Demetri Ravanos

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One week ago, Bernie Kosar lost his job on the Browns Radio Network for placing the first legal sports bet in the state of Ohio. Kosar, just like Jets coach Miles Austin weeks earlier and Calvin Ridley last year, violated a league policy that forbids team employees from placing a bet on any NFL game.

The integrity of the games still matters. The belief that what we are all seeing is being fairly contested is what gives those of us that like to have a little vested interest in the outcome the desire to lay our money down in the first place. I get the league’s discomfort with a coach on the staff of a team in the middle of the playoff hunt making bets. I get its fear of the message it sends to have players making bets.

Roger Goodell and the 32 team owners are well within their rights to object to men that can potentially control the outcome of a game or postseason seeding doing anything that even appears to jeopardize its fairness. Even perceived impropriety can compromise the league’s tremendous value.

But Bernie Kosar doesn’t have that kind of influence on the outcome of a game. He is just a broadcaster and not even a game analyst. He is part of studio coverage.

I am far from the first to point this out, but in 2023, the NFL has three official sports betting partners. Just last week, it approved the first ever in-stadium sportsbook, which Fanatics is set to open inside of FedEx Field. If the NFL is comfortable enough with the reality that its fans like to bet to make those things a reality, then Kosar losing his gig is absurd. It is the result of nothing other than “well, that’s the way we’ve always done it” thinking.

Maybe Kosar was terrible on the radio and the team was looking for a reason to move on. I don’t live in Cleveland and I am not a Browns fan, so I have no idea.

How many times have we heard that NFL owners hired Goodell to “protect the shield”? I’m not even really sure what it means or when it applies anymore. If I had a vested interest in the public perception of the league, I know that I would want someone to do the PR math on this situation.

Bernie Kosar isn’t an addict that can’t watch a game without the high of winning or the emotional distress of losing everything at stake, at least not as far as we know. This was a bet made through an advertising partner, to benefit charity. He even said on his podcast this week that the purpose of making the bet was to generate some money for former players in need of help.

This is like Disney threatening daycare centers with lawsuits for painting Mickey Mouse on a classroom wall. The NFL has bigger fish to fry than Bernie Kosar. Hell, it has more pressing issues in Cleveland alone.

Surely you have seen Garrett Bush’s impassioned rant on the Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show about the obstacles facing Damar Hamlin because of how many hoops the NFL makes former players jump through in order to get some kind of pension.

On January 2, we were all united in our concern for a guy that hadn’t even completed his second full NFL season. We didn’t know if he was going to live, but if he did, we all knew that the NFL had done everything it needed to in order to protect itself from ever having to pay a dime for his medical care. Less than a week later, Bernie Kosar was fired for what amounted to a charity stunt that was meant to raise money and attention to very similar issues.

At both the league level and the team level, there was incompetence that lead to a man unnecessarily losing a gig and to the Browns and the NFL looking horribly out of touch with reality.

Are we acknowledging that people gamble or not? Are we acknowledging there are responsible ways to bet on football and are interested in generating revenue off of it or not? Because it doesn’t seem to me that the same league that just gave the thumbs up to open a sportsbook inside of a stadium is really that concerned with people that cannot affect the outcome of games betting on those games.

Has the NFL come out and said that it is going to cover every medical bill for everyone that has ever played the game? We know that this is a brutal game that leaves a physical and physiological impact on the men that played it. Why would we make it harder for someone that knows that pain to help others do something about it?

I feel awful for Bernie Kosar. Whether he needs the money or not, it is embarassing to be at the center of a controversy like this, particularly because in the NFL in 2023, there is no reason for a controversy like this to exist.

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