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Dan Le Batard: I Got Jason Whitlock Hired at ESPN

Le Batard shared his belief that his relationship with Whitlock turned after a comment was made by Stugotz about TheBlaze host.

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Dan Le Batard
Courtesy: Jason Koerner, Getty Images

Is Dan Le Batard the man responsible for BlazeTV host Jason Whitlock getting his job at ESPN back in the day? He believes he might have had something to do with it.

On, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Thursday, Dan reacted to Stephen A. Smith’s lengthy dressing down of Whitlock. Smith at one point in his podcast said former ESPN president and Meadowlark Media co-founder John Skipper’s biggest regret at the network was hiring Whitlock. After thinking about it, Le Batard had an epiphany.

“It is possible that Jason Whitlock got that job from Skipper because the one time I used Skipper’s phone number was to vouch for Jason Whitlock as a journalist,” Le Batard said as executive producer Mike Ryan Ruiz and the rest of the show crew cringed. Amin Elhassan said this all might be Dan’s fault, to which Dan agreed.

“It might actually be my fault,” he said.

“I don’t think Stephen A. Smith knew it until now, and I didn’t know it until now,” Le Batard added.

Ruiz responded saying Dan providing that sort of background helps tell the full story.

“This is important context, because I kind of knew of the Skipper/Undefeated thing, and you vouching for Whitlock,” Ruiz said. “Because you always vouched for Whitlock despite, clearly, my objections.”

Le Batard said he was just trying to see the best in Whitlock when vouching for him as a journalist and befriending him. Dan said Jason was someone he and his family has known throughout the years. Even Whitlock said he considered Le Batard his best friend in the industry at one point.

So even though Dan didn’t want to continue to pile on Whitlock like so many others had done since Stephen A.’s rant, it didn’t change the fact that Dan remains offended by some of the things Whitlock has said about Le Batard on his show the past five months. Le Batard said Whitlock had been “slaughtering” him and other journalists Dan cares about as early as a month ago. That’s when he tried to reach out.

“I called him a month ago several times leaving messages just to see if he’s OK,” he said. “And I haven’t talked to him in a long-ass time, because some of this stuff hurt.”

“My family knows Jason Whitlock. My brother spent time with Jason Whitlock. And we were friends,” Le Batard continued. “I like to think whether it’s David Samson or Jason Whitlock or anyone, that I try to see the best in people. People are flawed, and people are confused. I don’t want to turn this into a defense of Jason Whitlock, because he’s made me super angry.”

Dan later mentioned that he just wanted to get to the bottom of why he felt the need to say what he’s said.

“When I called him, I was genuinely curious about what’s going on with him and if he’s OK. Because this can all just be, ‘How do I get clicks, my career is ending,'” he said. “But I don’t know. I just want to know.”

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Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit Featured As Commentary Team for ‘NCAA Football 25’

“I’m so excited to FINALLY announce that I’m part of @EASPORTSCollege
. I’m proud to be a partner and one of the voices of the game once again.”

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An image of Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler
Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

NCAA Football fans rejoice — NCAA Football 25 will feature ESPN’s Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. Fowler will be making his first appearance in the game while Herbstreit will be doing it for the 14th time. The pair confirmed the news today via their X accounts:

The pair were finally able to reveal their involvement as more news came out about the game starting today. Multiple news items about the game were reported, including the participation of all 134 Division I football programs, and that college football players could opt into the game for NIL purposes. According to The Athletic’s Chris Vannini, players will receive $600 and a free copy of the game for opting in. Those who fail to opt in will be replaced by a generic avatar.

Following the initial news, Front Office Sports revealed more names attached to NCAA Football 25 — Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, Kevin Connors, and David Pollack. All but Pollack, who was laid off from the company in June, are ESPN employees.

The last NCAA Football game was released in 2013 and started the conversation of whether players should be paid for their participation. EA Sports then stopped putting out versions of the game, despite critical and commercial success. Fan projects like College Football Revamped strived to bring the game into modern times — but now it’s no longer needed. College Football 25 will be revealed in earnest this May, with a release date slated for the summer.

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Joy Taylor and Taylor Rooks to Launch New Podcast

“This show is a space for us to be honest about our experiences, our emotions, and the way we view the world.”

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Joy Taylor and Taylor Rooks podcast logo
Courtesy: Two Personal Podcast

Fox Sports 1’s Joy Taylor and Thursday Night Football’s Taylor Rooks are teaming up for a new podcast, Two Personal, which will debut on March 6. The description of the new content says it will take on subjects beyond the world of sports such as mental health, discrmination and other social issues. The two friends plan to share things they would normally talk about only in private.

“Joy [Taylor] and I have navigated our careers together as sisters in sport, but Two Personal allows us to expand and share our private thoughts and conversations with our listeners,” said Rooks. “This show is a space for us to be honest about our experiences, our emotions, and the way we view the world. There is infinitely more to us than what we have allowed the public to see, and I’m thrilled to be in a place where I feel ready to bare my full self and give an honest look into who I am completely.”

“I am so excited to launch Two Personal with Taylor [Rooks]” Joy Taylor said. “We have spent our careers in sports and now have created an opportunity to show a different side of ourselves. The authentic, raw and exposing side of our experiences and personalities outside of sports. We can’t wait to bring our girl talk to the world!”

The podcast is scheduled to drop a new episode each Wednesday on YouTube and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Report: Amazon Prime Video Paying $120M to Stream NFL Playoff Game

NBCU wanted to keep the game, however, the report says Amazon has a clause in its agreement for ‘Thursday Night Football’ which allows it to have first choice.

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting Amazon and the NFL have reached agreement on a $120 million deal for Prime Video to have exclusive rights to stream an NFL playoff game at the end of the 2024 season.

Amazon had passed on the opportunity to air the game this past season. It subsequently aired on Peacock in a deal which was valued at $110 million. The AFC Wild Card round matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs made sports media history, garnering an average minute audience (AMA) of 23.0 million viewers, making the contest the most-streamed live event in the history of the United States.

NBCUniversal also revealed that the contest reached 27.6 million total viewers and peaked at an average of 24.6 million viewers during the second quarter. Engagement with the playoff game accounted for the largest internet event in history with 30% of internet traffic prioritizing the game at this time.

NBCU wanted to keep the game, however, the report says Amazon has a clause in its agreement for ‘Thursday Night Football’ which allows it to have first choice.

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