The most anticipated NFL news of the offseason came down Monday morning as Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson had violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and suspended him for the first six games of the season. ESPN Cleveland and 92.3 The Fan, the co-flagship stations of the Browns Radio Network, covered the news extensively.
“Let’s go, baby,” ESPN Cleveland’s Chris Oldach said. “All offseason it (Watson’s possible suspension length) has been ‘four games, a year, indefinite’ and I got so exhausted by it. Finally, we have the answer. Six games.”
“The ball is in the court of the NFL,” Tony Rizzo of The Really Big Show added. “Whether or not the league is going to appeal, whether or not they think six games is fair. Whether or not they think six games is fair to their PR reputation because now this becomes ‘is it enough?’. They pushed for a year. Will that be enough for them? To say that they pushed for a year? I’ve gotta believe both sides went with Judge Sue L. Robinson. Both sides agreed that she would make the decision.
“What a bad look it would be, now, if the NFL comes out and appeals this ruling. Because why did you agree to have this judge rule in the first place? As a Browns fan, I’m a little worried about that, but I think they (the NFL) might have to live with this. The PA (NFL Players Association) had come out last night and said no matter what the ruling they would not appeal. I think they had a little inkling it was going to be the four to six games we reported a few weeks ago.”
“I think it’s a win,” Browns reporter Tony Grossi told Rizzo. “I think it’s a win for Watson, I think it’s a win for the Browns, and Riz, I don’t think the NFL is going to mess with appealing it. I agree with you. I think it’s a bad look. I think it was an ingenious proactive strike by the NFLPA with their statement. They obviously had an inkling that they were going to ‘win’ this whole thing, and even though he is suspended six games I think they (the Browns, Watson, and the NFLPA) have to be happy with it.”
Meanwhile, at 92.3 The Fan, The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima tried to straddle the line between recognizing the repercussions both off the field and on the field.
“I think that’s a win for Deshaun Watson,” 92.3 The Fan’s Browns Reporter Daryl Ruiter told the duo. “And to a football perspective, the Cleveland Browns.”
“I’m trying to be sensitive to all parties involved, I am,” Carman replied. “But I’m a fan of the team, I can’t deny that. I’m looking at this with a great sense of relief. There were people saying this (signing Watson) wasn’t worth the investment. There were people who went after the Browns for that. I never felt that way. Six games? I can look you dead in the eye and tell you this team is making the playoffs if he’s suspended for six games.”
“It was very scary to hear ‘indefinite, having to apply for reinstatement, a full season’ the NFL was hungry for,” Lima said.
“From the NFL’s perspective they, at least publicly, wanted to come across as ‘we take these allegations that were made in civil court against Deshaun Watson very, very seriously. We felt that they were egregious enough in that his actions violated, whatever those actions were, violated the NFL’s Conduct Policy in such a manner that it requires him to not be allowed to play this coming season’. That becomes a very positive PR ploy from the NFL’s standpoint. Because they’re putting it out there that they’re being really, really tough on him,” Ruiter added.
“Six games, to me, with everything we’ve read — and gosh I’ve read more this summer than I’ve done since I was in high school, even college — seems reasonable,” Carman said. “I’m sure there’s going to be national pundits who are very, very upset with it. I’m sure, because that’s the way it operates, but you’ve gone through this system. You’re basing this on fairness, and that’s what it is.”
DNVR Sports Files Injunction Against Bonneville Over Denver Sports Brand
“We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community.”
After Bonneville International unveiled new branding for its Denver Sports properties, digital outlet DNVR Sports has filed an injunction to stop the radio company from utilizing the brand and logos.
In a Twitter thread, ALLCITY Network CEO Brandon Spano claimed DNVR Sports has already seen listeners, viewers, and readers confuse the two brands. “We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community,” Spano tweeted.
“Our branding was created purposefully, to be different from the way sports networks traditionally looked,” he said in another tweet. “To represent the city of Denver in a simple way while removing us from the gloss and pretentiousness of sports media. To create something that brings people together.”
Spano added that ALLCITY sent Bonneville a cease-and-desist letter last week, but claims the company failed to respond, so an injunction has been filed.
The Denver Sports branding utilized by Bonneville — which encompasses 104.3 The Fan and ESPN Denver — features a black and white city skyline as well as the Rocky Mountains inside a hexagon with block lettering. The DNVR Sports logo is a rectangle, similar to the city of Denver flag, with the sun centered between the mountain peaks and a block “DNVR” below the rectangle.
The complaint filed by StudioIP LLC — the law firm representing ALLCITY — claims the branding used by Bonneville constitutes “trademark infringement, unfair competition, trade dress infringement, dilution by tarnishment, and tortious interference arising out of Bonneville’s trademark infringement of Plaintiff’s trademarks,” according to Westword.
Ray Didinger Returning to 94WIP
“Didinger will be a member of the new morning show with Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on 94WIP once Angelo Cataldi officially retires.”
Longtime Philadelphia sports personality Ray Didinger stepped away from his media roles at NBC Sports Philadelphia and 94WIP in 2022, but he couldn’t stay away forever.
Didinger will be a member of the new morning show with Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on 94WIP once Angelo Cataldi officially retires.
The 75-year-old returned to NBC Sports Philadelphia late in 2022 as a member of the Eagles Postgame show and decided to return to the venerable Philadelphia sports radio station as well.
Didinger will work on an as-needed basis for DeCamara and Ritchie, contributing to news surrounding the Eagles. Known for his yellow notepad, Didinger has covered the franchise for more than 50 years.
After his retirement, Didinger was the subject of an episode of NFL Films Presents… in December, at the time telling Cataldi he had stayed busy in retirement.
“It’s been busier than I thought,” Didinger said. “Just because of the way things have gone in the city. The Phillies going to the World Series, the Eagles are 10-1, I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be this kind of run.
“Consequently, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I had no idea everyone in the world has a podcast so I’ve been getting all those calls. My name and my phone number are on way too many rolodexes all around the country. When somebody says ‘Hey, let’s do a piece about Philly’, my phone rings. It’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s been great to see what this has meant to the city.”
Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo: I Don’t Do As Much Prep As You Think
“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you.”
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo would much rather go with the flow for his radio show than try and put everything together ahead of time and hope it comes out well.
Russo was the featured guest on the Golf Digest podcast The Loop, and hosts Christopher Powers, Alex Myers and Steve Hennessey first congratulated Mad Dog on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last year. Russo mentioned how he had written a short speech but decided against that after seeing the other inductees run long with their speeches.
Mad Dog was asked about preparing for his SiriusXM sports talk show every day, and he said he really doesn’t put a ton of work into putting a show together.
“On certain days a little more, because on Mondays I do that NFL recap so that takes a little while to put that together at 5 o’clock – probably a couple of hours,” Russo said. “Outside of that not as much as you’d think. I mean obviously I’m gonna follow what’s going on.”
“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you,” he added. “This segment do this, this segment do that. Sometimes when you sort of ad lib it, and you figure it out as you’re moving the program into the second hour and the third hour, it’s a better show.”
Mad Dog talked about how he likes that his radio show is the reverse of when he does First Take on ESPN or High Heat on MLB Network. He likes not having a rundown packed to the gills for his radio show.
“The radio is more of a host’s medium,” he said. “So it’s up to me what we’re going to do.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.