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Everything’s Coming Up Domonique Foxworth

“He won’t tell you that he has the experience and knowledge to make a segment stand out. He doesn’t need to. He will just show up and stand out.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Last year, I wrote a piece calling Domonique Foxworth “ESPN’s most interesting talent.” He’s as sharp as they come and I mean that both in the sense that he is smart and that he is incredibly funny. For as long as he has been on the ESPN canvas, I have thought the company should find ways to do more with him.

Almost immediately after the column hit the site, I started getting texts from friends around the sports media. There was almost universal agreement. One person even said that the network doesn’t know what to do with Domonique because to try and define him in any way would eliminate a myriad of other, equally intriguing possibilities. This guy just has the special quality that demands he be in front of a camera or a microphone.

Sixteen month later, Domonique Foxworth and I finally connected. We had exchanged some Twitter messages, but this was our first real conversation. The timing couldn’t be better. He just launched his own podcast for ESPN and he announced that he would write an episode of the American Crime Story spin-off focused on Aaron Hernandez.

The guy truly has the world by the balls right now in a way that proves the person that told me ESPN doesn’t know what to do with Foxworth correct. How do you ask a guy to focus on one thing when he is capable of doing everything?

Domonique Foxworth was a stand out, three-time all conference selection at Maryland. The cornerback then played for three teams over the course of seven years in the NFL. A career in the media seems like a natural next step when a guy’s playing days are done. For Foxworth though, the route to where he is now was anything but natural.

His experience in CBA negotiations as president of the NFLPA opened his eyes to a reality he had never considered. Billionaire team owners were not superhuman.

“They’re very normal,” he told me. “They work hard, got lucky and have connections and so they have success. I saw that and I was like, ‘Oh, I can do this.'”

That revelation took him to Harvard Business School, a path most of his colleagues did not take to get into the sports media. But, the goal of business school – “turning millions into hundreds of millions” as he says – didn’t appeal to Foxworth, so he started writing. ESPN saw his work, brought him into be a part of The Undefeated staff and his profile grew from there.

He has seen things, heard things, and been behind the doors that are usually closed to his colleagues. Hell, those are doors that are usually closed even to his bosses. That probably gives Domonique Foxworth insight that others do not have regarding the way the NFL team owners and commissioner Roger Goodell think about and treat the media.

“They wield more power than just about anybody in media,” Foxworth said. “So, I don’t think that they have any more respect for media partners than they do for players or they do for sponsors, do for other leagues.”

So does that mean that there is some contempt? Some belief that despite these companies cutting checks for billions of dollars to the league, the league does not owe them anything?

Foxworth says the owners don’t seem to see media partners much different than they see the men that play for them.

“Obviously they have to respect all of us, even though they don’t respect any one of us. And I think the same thing is true for media partners. I think you can probably talk to some executives at these media companies, and they would say the same thing. It’s like they try to push us around and they successfully push most of the media partners around.”

Being able to provide that kind of insight is part of what makes Foxworth unique. That doesn’t mean he is always looking for the right place in a show’s rundown to show off. He told me he doesn’t often speak up to let producers or co-hosts know when he has the ability to provide a perspective no one else on set can.

He still has the confidence you need if you are going to make it in the NFL as a cornerback. He won’t tell you that he has the experience and knowledge to make a segment stand out. He doesn’t need to. He will just show up and stand out.

That is what happens every Friday on The Right Time. Foxworth and Bomani Jones have natural chemistry. They get each other’s jokes. Each one is genuinely interested in what the other has to say.

Domonique Foxworth doesn’t mind admitting that as he launches his own podcast it is something that weighs on his mind. Bomani isn’t so much his safety net. He is the kind of friend that forces Foxworth to let his guard down. That makes their conversations more accessible to the people listening.

The only person in his life that could bring that energy to The Foxworth Show is his wife. That is why she has made regular appearances.

I asked Foxworth if ESPN Radio had taken notice of what he and Bomani were doing. For forty minutes to an hour every week, these two have a fun, natural conversation that is a joy to listen to. Has the idea of turning that podcast content into a daily radio show ever come up?

“Not with me. I mean, Foxworth Friday wasn’t their idea,” he said. “Bomani was having so much success with his podcast that they wanted him to add more days. And I think he was trying to figure out a way to add more days and keep the quality high without putting too much strain on himself. I’d been on a bunch of times and he knew that we were good together. So that’s how it came to be. I don’t know what they’re talking about in back rooms now, but yeah, I don’t think so. And I think like Bomani is such a stand alone star, you know?”

As good as Domonique Foxworth and Bomani Jones are together, it is probably to all of our benefit that there is no daily radio show. That leaves more time for Foxworth to pursue other opportunities like writing for television.

He admits that he has always wanted to write scripts. Being based in DC though, it took something extraordinary like the pandemic for the conditions to be right. With writers rooms becoming virtual affairs, it gave him the chance to work on a show without having to relocate to Los Angeles.

After we graduated, a friend of mine from college went to work as a PA on a pilot that was essentially a dramatization of Bob Knight’s life and career. The show didn’t get picked up, but the concept planted a seed in my head. Projects like that or like American Sports Story, the spin-off of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story that will focus on Aaron Hernandez, should turn to former athletes and sportswriters to fill their writers room.

Foxworth is getting that chance, but he said it wasn’t like he was greeted as a savior and authority when he showed up.

“To be honest with you, they didn’t have much faith in me because obviously I didn’t have the track record of being in writers rooms. So they hired me as a consultant. Then within the first couple of weeks, I think I proved myself and they promoted me to a staff writer.”

Writing a TV script is a collaborative process. So, while Foxworth will be listed as the writer of one episode, he contributed ideas to the entire series. He hopes that now that he does have the writers room experience, he can get his own ideas in front of the people that can help turn them into finished products.

“Maybe they’ll respect my show ideas after this one. It’s funny, cause the Dan Snyder story that came out yesterday and it talked about how all the owners are at each other’s neck, I have a pitch ready for a show I had written a while ago about the ‘co-opetition’ – the competition slash cutthroat nature of all this stuff. It’s a very House of Cards meets Game of Thrones meets Friday Night Lights type of thing that I think is great.”

That idea of showing up and standing out comes with a downside too, but it is one Domonique Foxworth has always been prepared for. We talk about comments he made in 2020 about Josh Allen and the Bills QB’s fans.

On an episode of The Right Time, Foxworth joked that he had a bias against Allen because of who always pops up in his mentions on Twitter to defend Allen when Foxworth points out his struggles. Keep in mind that in 2020, Josh Allen was nowhere near the quarterback he is in 2022.

Foxworth described Allen’s supporters as “people with American flags and dogs and skull and crossbones. And if you go just take a dip into their tweet history, it’s some really concerning retweets and likes.”

That caused some backlash, but he says he immediately knew to contextualize it.

“Anyone who listened to that episode recognized that it was a funny way to put it,” he said. “I mean if people were listening they’re like, ‘Yeah, I know exactly who you’re talking about’ and they laugh and get the point. And most Bills fans laughed and got the point. Other people were like ‘YOU HATE DOGS AND YOU HATE AMERICA!’ Like, come on! I can’t engage with you. You know what I mean? It feels like a waste of time engaging with people who aren’t going to engage in good faith.”

Not many people can do what Domonique Foxworth does, because he does so much. It is easy to see how having that kind of talent at your disposal could paralyze a network decision maker. It’s also easy to see how having such a diverse skillset could make not being pinned down to a single show appealing for someone like Foxworth.

I said it last year and I stand by it. The guy is the most interesting talent at ESPN. If everything goes the way he hopes it will with American Sports Story, he become one of the sports world’s most fascinating stories.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Podcast

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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