The biggest news in the sports and current events worlds on Thursday was the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from a penal colony in Russia. Her freedom comes as the result of a prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States.
Several media pundits began debating the logic of the decision immediately after President Joe Biden announced at a press conference that Griner was coming home and in exchange, Viktor Bout, a terrorist nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” would be returning to Russia. Dan Le Batard isn’t going to participate in those conversations.
“I’m not interested in arguing the politics of this, whether it was a fair trade or if Biden did the right thing soon enough,” said on his show Thursday.
He added that while members of the media are pointing fingers and making accusations about why Brittney Griner is coming home and a former servicemember is not, the family of former Marine Paul Whelan is happy to see Griner released. The family released a statement Thursday morning saying that while they are disappointed that Whelan remains detained in Russia, they “do not begrudge” Griner or her wife.
“The Whelan family, that has more invested there than any of us, is saying ‘we are happy any time a wrongfully detained person can get to freedom,’” Le Batard said.
He added that he is also disappointed that Whelan remains a prisoner in Russia, but there was no perfect scenario that would result in everyone’s release and the United States not having to give something up.
“Hostage crises are tough. Getting people home [is] tough. I can’t swim in these waters. I don’t know what it takes to get a prisoner released. I can just be happy that Brittney Griner is coming home and is no longer being used as that political tool wrongly detained.”
NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Launching Podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Dirty Mo Media
“New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media has announced a podcast deal with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin will host Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin on a weekly basis during the NASCAR season. The Actions Detrimental branding is verbiage used by NASCAR for fines assessed to drivers for their disparaging comments about the sport. Known as one of NASCAR’s more outspoken drivers, Hamlin has been fined several times under the “actions detrimental to stock car racing” statutes.
New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.
Denny Hamlin jokingly thanked Dirty Mo Media for the “opportunity and the fat check” the company wrote for him to host the podcast in a Twitter announcement.
The 42-year-old Hamlin has won 48 races during his 18-year NASCAR Cup Series career. In addition to serving as a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, he co-owns 23XI Racing with basketball legend Michael Jordan.
The podcast is the latest in an expansion of content produced by the Mooresville, North Carolina-based digital outlet. After beginning with The Dale Jr. Download, the company has grown to include other podcasts like Door, Bumper, Clear, and Speed Street, as well as video projects like The Next Level.
Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts
“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”
Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.
“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”
The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.
Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.
“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”
Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field
“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”
Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.
The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.
The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.
Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.
According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.