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Ian Rapoport on Shams Charania, Draft Reporting: You Need to Say ‘I Don’t Know’

“Reporting on the Draft is so hard because nobody wants to get jumped and teams will say [stuff and] people will talk about lying season.”

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Ian Rapoport - Courtesy: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images | Shams Charania - Courtesy: Yahoo Sports

During an appearance yesterday on The Pat McAfee Show, senior lead NBA insider for The Athletic and Stadium and FanDuel partner Shams Charania implied that the Charlotte Hornets would look to select Sterling “Scoot” Henderson with the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Questions surrounded what the Hornets would select with the draft pick, as the team is nearing the finalization of its sale of majority ownership held by Michael Jordan to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. After the San Antonio Spurs stole the show by selecting French phenom Victor Wembanyama, Charlotte selected Alabama forward Brandon Miller.

Miller was a witness to a fatal shooting who police say supplied the gun used by his teammate Darius Miles. While Miles was charged with capital murder, authorities did not charge Miller with a crime, but questions still remain regarding his maturity at the NBA level.

The Portland Trail Blazers chose Henderson third overall, but Charania’s assertion from earlier in the day had shifted betting lines at several major betting outlets. The mistake Charania made in saying Henderson would be chosen second overall, according to McAfee, changed the line from +140 to -900 within a five-minute period.

“FanDuel is not privy to any news Shams breaks on his platform,” the company said in a statement.

Recollecting the incident, the soon-to-be ESPN midday television host said that Charania took a swing for the fences with what he said on the program, along with the Tweet he issued out describing Henderson as gaining “serious momentum” to be selected by Charlotte. In the end, he was incorrect, and it is an outcome NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport tries to avoid at all costs. He texted with Charania after the incident occurred and mentioned the admiration he garners towards him, but admitted that it was a deleterious scenario.

“Reporting on the Draft is so hard because nobody wants to get jumped and teams will say [stuff and] people will talk about lying season,” Rapoport explained. “Sometimes lying is worth it, or omitting or misleading is worth it to get the player you want. I’m not saying that happened here, but I know that [it] happens.”

Rapoport has reported on the NFL Draft for many years and is known as one of the industry’s preeminent newsbreakers. Whenever he is reporting on a story, Rapoport ensures he triangulates sources, but there are times in the heat of the moment when insiders deem considerable intel and confirmation thereof as sufficient to share information. When Rapoport was at this year’s NFL Draft and confirmed the Houston Texans were trading up to select Will Anderson from Alabama, he was visibly shaking in excitement to divulge the news. Before this moment, Rapoport had confirmed that the team was selecting Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud second-overall, but only did so after the speculation was confirmed by inside sources.

Rapoport stated earlier in an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show that he believed Stroud would be selected No. 2 overall, but did not present it as a definitive. The difference between the instances involving Rapoport and Charania was that Rapoport did not present the information with any semblance of it being definitive or based on information he uncovered.

“I was just confident in using my deduction and everything I had learned,” Rapoport said. “I was like, ‘I believe it’s going to be CJ, but I don’t know,’ and obviously some other very good people thought the opposite. But the most important thing to me draft-wise is to say, ‘I don’t know,’ because unless you know for sure; unless the G.M. is like, ‘Hey, this is who we’re picking,’ it is impossible.”

Charania has a stellar track record as a trusted NBA insider and expressed the importance of being 100% sure of any information he disseminates in an interview with Derek Futterman of Barrett Sports Media. Because of his personality and adherence to ethics as a reporter, McAfee believes he will bounce back and learn from his mistake.

“In the insider game, you guys have to kind of wade through bullshit all the time,” McAfee said to Rapoport. “I would not envy anybody who is in your seat at all, but you guys are committed to the game and you have to be…. It’s quite a balance you guys have to do.”

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John Skipper: Charles Barkley is Probably the ‘Most Valuable Pundit’ There Is

“If he worked for a network I was in charge of, I would be very discomfited by his going around and telling me how to do my job.”

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Charles Barkley
Courtesy: Jamie Schwaberow, NBAE via Getty Images

As the NBA reportedly formalizes deals with The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC), NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video to be its next media rights partners, questions still remain about the future of Warner Bros. Discovery and the league. Turner properties have been broadcasting the NBA since the 1984-85 season on TBS, and the NBA on TNT has significant brand equity with the league with its lineup of broadcasters and the heralded studio program, Inside the NBA. Charles Barkley, who has been a member of the studio program since 2000, has been open about his own sentiment surrounding the company and how it has handled the negotiations with the NBA.

On numerous occasions over the last month, he has appeared on various sports talk programs to give his perspective. During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Barkley excoriated the work of David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive officer and president, questioning how the company exited its 90-day exclusive negotiating window with the league without a deal. Although there is reportedly still a possibility that Warner Bros. Discovery could land a smaller package of games pooled from regional sports networks or potentially execute its matching rights provision, although the provisions under such are ambiguous, the future remains unclear.

David Samson, the former president of the Miami Marlins, expressed on The Sporting Class podcast from Meadowlark Media that he could not stop thinking about Barkley’s conduct and remarked that he has an extraordinary amount of power. He envisioned his co-host John Skipper, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Meadowlark Media, watching Barkley indignant and having smoke come out of his ears.

“If he worked for a network I was in charge of, I would be very discomfited by his going around and telling me how to do my job,” Skipper said, “so I suspect he’s not making the David Zaslav summer barbecue.”

Samson finds the situation fascinating and conveyed that he had not heard another broadcaster do it in the same way as Barkley. Earlier in the NBA Playoffs, Barkley expressed that he could consider taking Inside the NBA independent with his production company. After host Ernie Johnson signed off Inside the NBA at the end of the Western Conference Finals and stated that next season would be a blast, Barkley remarked that he heard the word “last” at the end instead.

“He’s got another year, and he knows he can’t get fired and he knows Turner’s not getting the deal and he knows he’s a free agent, but he’s going scorched earth, and he needs a better agent,” Samson said. “…I do [think that] because I believe he doesn’t realize there’s only a certain number of bidders, and someone who’s going to sign Barkley is going to say, ‘He just did it to David [Zaslav], he’s going to do it to me next.’”

Skipper did not agree with this point, stating that anyone who had the opportunity to sign Barkley would do so. There has been intrigue surrounding a potential free agency for Barkley should Warner Bros. Discovery officially lose its rights to the NBA. Barkley revealed during an appearance on ESPN Cleveland that he had an opt-out in his contract with the company if it lost broadcasting rights to the NBA.

“Barkley probably is the most valuable pundit that there is,” Skipper said. “There’s a couple of people close, but if you were starting from scratch, you would hire Charles Barkley.”

Barkley was at Amerant Bank Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers, and he appeared for a segment amid the ESPN on ABC intermission report. As host Steve Levy was introducing everyone, he preceded Barkley by questioning if he was the newest member of ESPN’s coverage of the National Basketball Association. Barkley also mentioned that he tried uploading his résumé to LinkedIn but that the platform said that he had never had a real job.

“He went on ESPN, he was on the Stanley Cup,” Samson said. “I couldn’t even believe it. He went on ESPN to complain about Turner. This is a real company – he doesn’t work for TNT; he works for Warner Bros. Discovery.”

Warner Bros. Discovery has fortified its sports portfolio in the last several weeks by acquiring broadcasting rights to the French Open after it had been on NBC Sports for several decades. The company also reached a five-year deal to sublicense College Football Playoff games from ESPN, which begins with two first-round games this upcoming season. Although TNT Sports chairman and chief executive officer Luis Silberwasser expressed that the French Open did not have anything to do with the NBA, Samson believed that the company is trying to justify its sports tier and “building some critical mass.” Skipper considers Silberwasser’s statement to be genuine and underscored how long it can take to get certain deals done.

“The negotiating window Turner had just passed, what, 60 days ago at most, and these negotiations have been going on longer, and they have another year, which you just pointed out which people forget, so the distribution fees can’t go down for a year,” Skipper said to Samson. “I do think they’ll execute that strategy David, I’m not disagreeing with that. I’m just suggesting they have credibility with me when they say, ‘We were negotiating for the French Open anyway.’”

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Adam Schefter: ‘I Think My Life is Boring’

“Billy, that may be the smartest, truest thing you’ve ever said on this show.”

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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter has been covering the National Football League since 1990 and established himself into a respected journalist in the business. As the senior NFL insider at ESPN, he appears across the network’s programming and divulges the latest news and developments around the league. Schefter recently appeared on Meadowlark Media’s God Bless Football podcast to talk about what is taking place as minicamps occur around the NFL. Aside from this though, he also spoke about how his mother was a guest on the same podcast one week prior.

Billy Gil, a producer and on-air personality for Meadowlark Media, ran into Schefter’s mother on an elevator during a cruise. Gil explained after the fact that he had met someone who changed the world for bringing Schefter into it to break football news. Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, the co-host of the program, conveyed that the NFL news breaking would not have happened without him being in the business. Schefter revealed that he did listen to the podcast and replied to the assertion that the show had made.

“Again, my mom is such a force – she’s so dynamic that I believe that she’s changed the world in her own way,” he said. “I never even associated it with me when he asked that question – I never even thought of it that way.”

Schefter revealed that he gets stopped at the Super Bowl or at football events where people ask him about his mother, evincing the impact that she has made on the world. Weiner replied by stating that they viewed in their own way, which, in reality, differed from the perspective that he took. After having his mother on the show though, Gil wanted to know why Schefter was boring, which led to laughter among the panel.

“You know what?,” Schefter said. “Billy, that may be the smartest, truest thing you’ve ever said on this show.”

Weiner acknowledged that it was a good question from Gil, and Schefter continued by stating that his mother mocks him for being boring all the time. Additionally, he claimed to have “less than zero life” and later doubled down on the fact that his mother thinks he is boring. Weiner believes that his mother set a high bar to match her energy level and not being mundane that it is impossible to duly live up to overall.

“No, I am, in my own way, I have a boring life,” Schefter said. “I don’t think I am boring, but I think my life is boring.”

Gil contested Schefter’s answer by delineating his presumption that every time Schefter enters a room, people want to talk to him. This led Schefter to tell a story about being on Capitol Hill this past week to meet with members of Congress about promoting awareness for people to be screened for Type 1 Diabetes. He was joined by Robin Arzón of Peloton and Grammy award-winning recording artist Usher on his visit. Reflecting back on the experience, he found it exhilarating to be meeting with people about this and discussing a variety of topics, including football.

When Schefter met with Rep. John Joyce, he was surprised to hear that Joyce had read his book, let alone knowing that he had written one in the first place. Joyce also stated that his son, who is autistic, watches Schefter on television, leading him to ask Joyce if he could call his son on the phone. Once his son was on the line, he recognized Schefter’s voice after he simply said his name without any warning that he would be calling.

“You’re a good man Adam Schefter, you really are,” Weiner said.

“Dan and I spoke for 10 minutes,” Schefter said. “I gave him fantasy tips – I set his fantasy lineup. I gave him my sleeper pick that I will not share anywhere. Dan knows it. I’m like, ‘Dan, here’s your last pick in your last round.’ I always have one of these guys…. Again, to get back to the initial thing, I have a very boring life, but yes Billy, I will confirm there are people that do enjoy talking to you sometimes, and that’s nice.”

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Mike Tirico, Greg Olsen, Kate Scott and Brock Huard Added as Voices to Madden NFL 25

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Graphic for the Madden 25 video game from EA Sports with Christian McCaffry on the cover
Graphic Courtesy: EA Sports

Video game and football fans are counting down the days until the August 16 release of the new Madden 25 video game from EA. The date, along with the news that San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey would don the cover was released last week. Today, the EA Sports team posted a blog with several pieces of new information about the game. Included in that was news that Mike Tirico, Greg Olsen, Kate Scott and Brock Huard will be new voices heard on the game.

Those names will join incumbents Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis and form two additional broadcast teams. Tirico and Olsen, the former NFL TE who now works for FOX Sports and recently took home the Sports Emmy Award for top Event Analyst, will be one team. Scott and Huard will make up the other team. Scott is the current television play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia 76ers who has called preseason NFL games and was also part of Learfield’s College Football Saturday Night . In 2016, she made history, becoming the first woman to call an NFL game on radio and the first woman to call a football game on the Pac-12 Network.

The EA team said, “These new teams are here to refresh your Madden NFL experience and bring it to life with over 42,000 fresh recordings at launch, with multiple in-season updates to keep it fresh.”

The makers of Madden 25 say they have upgraded the look, feel and sound of the game. They explain it by saying, “Dive deeper than ever into the NFL game day experience with an immersive feature set that brings players closer to NFL action than ever before across game modes; from realistic Franchise changes to two brand new commentary crews, you’ll feel so close to the gridiron you can almost smell the all-new 3D turf.” 

EA also said it has added crowd audio from the 2023 NFL season’s Monday Night Football games and NFL Films, “so it doesn’t just feel like realistic crowd noise–it is real crowd noise.” They said the on-field sound effects have been increased and refreshed and now include over 500 samples.

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