Over the weekend, Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant was suspended from all team activities after he held a gun on his friend Davonte Pack’s Instagram Live stream. Just months earlier, Morant was suspended eight games by the league for holding a gun in another Instagram Live video filmed at a nightclub just outside of Denver.
NBA insiders and commentators are predicting a lengthy suspension coming down from the league, which is currently investigating the matter. The topic has been a point of discussion across sports media since news broke Sunday, including on the ESPN Radio morning program Keshawyn, JWill & Max which welcomed 92.9 ESPN host Geoff Calkins to talk about the reaction in the Memphis area.
“You wake up on a Sunday morning and you see what happened and you wonder if it’s Mother’s Day or Groundhog Day because here we are again,” Calkins said. “Like, really, he did what!? He was with an Instagram Live and a gun, again. The level of recklessness, stupidity; it’s almost impossible to get your mind around.”
Calkins proceeded to mention how carrying a gun without a permit is legal in the state of Tennessee, making the situation more complicated in determining the cause of any discipline being issued to Morant from the league.
As Morant’s first suspension was issued, the suspension was for conduct detrimental to the league, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called his behavior “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous” in a statement. Morant met with Silver, along with National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio and EVP, Head of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars where he “expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior.”
“There are state legislators who send out freaking Christmas cards with their family holding guns,” Calkins said. “When you have that climate here – and honestly that legal backdrop here – he would be disciplined for representing the league in a way that it doesn’t want to be represented, understandably. It is sort of jarring to think of Tennessee legislators sending out Christmas cards of a whole family armed with guns and one fleeting moment with a gun getting you a 30-game suspension. I’ll be interested to see if the union supports Ja in this or pushes back.”
Keyshawn Johnson, one of the co-hosts of ESPN Radio’s morning program, spoke about how Morant’s ostensible depiction of himself is doing him more harm than good.
“A notable gang member of a certain very powerful gang here in LA didn’t like the fact that Ja was doing those things in some of his games, along with portraying himself, to a degree, as some sort of hip-hop street gangster growing up in the hood when he hasn’t,” Johnson said. “Those are the sort of things that I worry about because you’re aligning yourself in a position that you know nothing about at all whatsoever – zero about. That’s where I look at the team and the league and to be able to say, ‘You’ve got to get him the necessary help that he needs; serious help.’”
Johnson stated that he grew up around gangs and gun violence on the streets of Los Angeles and how he and his sisters have been shot before. He knows that people currently in that situation are perturbed with Morant because they would do anything to be in his position with a five-year, $194.3 million contract along with his own signature Nike shoe and other endorsement deals.
“The people around him, they should be ashamed of themselves for even agitating it instead of saying, ‘No, it’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to go chill; we’re going to be in a safe place,’” Johnson said. “But for whatever reason, he keeps putting himself in this position.”
Greg Hill: Courtney Cox Controlled ‘Narrative of the Entire World Yesterday’
“You can’t get as wholesome and as basic and as, you know, cookie cutter as they come than Taylor Swift, and if she’s a fan of the NFL, then it is okay for anybody to be a fan of the NFL.”
One woman has proven that she knows how to get Bill Belichick talking and willing to have fun with the media. Media outlets of all types ran with the Patriots’ coach’s reaction to seeing Taylor Swift in concert last month with WEEI’s Courtney Cox asked him about it. Those same media outlets pounced again this week when Cox asked Belichick about his thoughts on Swift being romantically linked to Travis Kelce after she showed up in a luxury suite with Kelce’s mother in Kansas City on Sunday.
“Well, I would say that Travis Kelce has had a lot of big catches in his career. This would be the biggest,” Belichick quipped during his regular appearance on The Greg Hill Show Monday morning.
Hill opened his Tuesday show by acknowledging Cox once again using Swift to get attention for the show.
“Congratulations on directing the narrative of the entire world yesterday with your question for Bill,” he said.
The show debated if Kelce and Swift were really an item or if this was a publicity stunt. Cox said it doesn’t matter if it is real or not. The NFL is embracing it for a reason.
“Travis Kelce ended up being one of the top five selling NFL players’ jerseys on Sunday after the game. His jersey sales spiked 400%. That is the Taylor Swift effect,” she said. “Whether you like her or you don’t. That’s why the NFL is running with this. That’s why everybody’s talking about it.”
She added that the NFL has changed it handles on multiple social media platforms as well to take advantage of the moment. The league’s bio on its TikTok account reads “Taylor was here” while its name on X (formerly Twitter) is now The NFL – Taylor’s Version,” a reference to Swift’s album re-releases on Spotify.
Greg Hill believes the relationship is not real, or at least that it is not really romantic. Co-host Jermaine Wiggins said that there is too much upside for the NFL to completely dismiss the idea that this is not a set up.
“You can’t get as wholesome and as basic and as, you know, cookie-cutter as they come than Taylor Swift, and if she’s a fan of the NFL, then it is okay for anybody to be a fan of the NFL.”
SiriusXM Presenting Broadcast Coverage of 2023 Ryder Cup
“Our listeners will get comprehensive access to the tournament…”
SiriusXM will be the radio home of the Ryder Cup, delivering consumers more than 28 hours of live coverage from the bi-annual international golf competition from Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Guidonia just outside of Rome, Italy. The tournament will showcase various teams of skilled golfers from the United States and Europe that will face off with one another in match play, including head-to-head singles matches and four-ball matches over the three days.
Coverage begins on Friday, Sept. 29 at 1 a.m. EST/10 p.m. PST (Thursday, Sept. 28) and will continue through the final hole of play. The same structure will take place the next day and feature commentators Mark Carnevale, Brian Katrek, Colt Knost, John Maginnes, Drew Stoltz and Taylor Zarzour. The official Ryder Cup Radio channel, which is produced in partnership with IMG and Ryder Cup Europe, will include a score of additional voices such as Alberto Binaghi, Raymond Burns and Sophie Walker. All of the broadcasts will be available to consume on SiriusXM channel No. 92 and on the SiriusXM app.
“The Ryder Cup is one of the most exciting events in all of sports,” Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer of SiriusXM, said in a statement. “Our listeners will get comprehensive access to the tournament, with live coverage of every match and a level of insight and analysis leading up to and throughout the event that you’ll only get from SiriusXM.”
As the competition approaches, listeners can tune into SiriusXM for golf programming previewing the festivities. Moreover, listeners can tune in for a special, Backstory: Ryder Cup, hosted by David Marr III that examines Europe’s success in the competitions played on their own continent. Marr III will decipher the phenomenon through the lens of the 1993 Ryder Cup in England, the last time the competition was won by the United States overseas, led by Jim Gallagher’s win over Seve Ballesteros.
Two special collaborative podcast episodes hosted by former American tour pro Smylie Kaufman and European Tour pro Andrew “Beef” Johnston will debut on Tuesday, Sept. 26 and Wednesday, Sept. 27. Both golfers currently host their own podcasts – The Smylie Show and Beef’s Golf Club, respectively – and will blend the American and European perspectives on the tournament. Kaufman will record episodes of her show each night in Italy reacting to the day’s events and looking ahead for what is to come.
Darren McKee: ‘I Have No Plans to Go Anywhere’
“We’re off to the next adventure.”
Bonneville Denver and Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan recently released a new on-air lineup featuring a revamped afternoon drive program and the addition of Josh Dover in middays alongside Brandon Stokley. These changes were precipitated by the changing marketplace in addition to Derek Wolfe’s exit from the station “to focus on other interests.” Wolfe had been working with Darren McKee, who was subsequently let go in a decision that perturbed many longtime listeners of the station.
The Syracuse University graduate had been working with the station since 2008 and was one of four radio personalities to be let go as part of the move. Joining McKee as victims of the changes were former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson and former NFL linebacker Chad Brown.
McKee recently appeared on the DeHuff Uncensored podcast, hosted by former Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan producer Scott DeHuff, who departed the station in 2021 to pursue other opportunities. DeHuff was an integral part of shaping the morning show, Schlereth & Evans, and affirmed that his exit was not planned but something he felt had to happen. Conversely, McKee was released by the station and reflected on how it felt for him to be fired for the 10th time of his career.
“You had quite a bit more independent decision-making than I had on that one,” McKee told DeHuff. “Okay, it is what it is; I’ve been through it before and just got to [take it] one day at a time and figure it out.”
McKee enjoyed his time on the air and thanked all of the fans who left messages on social media demonstrating their support and appreciation for his work. While he is not sure where his career will take him next, he ostensibly wants to continue to use his gift of gab to inform and entertain the public, presumably in the sports media industry.
“I have no plans to go anywhere,” he said. “We’re off to the next adventure, and [I am] kind of traveling down and trying to catch up with this world, man – the podcast world; the digital world.”