Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports TV News

Monica McNutt to Stephen A. Smith: You Could Have Been Talking About WNBA More ‘Three Years Ago if You Wanted To’

“Welcome to the world of being a woman, Stephen A., and how you have to dance about your word choice and you have to please anybody and everybody as you navigate your being.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Monica McNutt
Courtesy: Travis Bell, ESPN Images

Coverage of the WNBA has continued to amplify over the last several months as the league has welcomed in a new rookie class and continuing overall momentum for women’s basketball. Early-season viewership of the WNBA has established new ratings records across six different broadcast networks and the end of a 16-year streak in which no game had averaged more than 1 million viewers. This season alone, three contests have reached such a figure, all of which have included former Iowa guard and No. 1 WNBA Draft selection Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever.

During a recent Fever game, Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter committed an off-ball foul on Clark that sent the rookie to the ground. One day after the game, the league upgraded the call to a Flagrant 1, which is deemed as “unnecessary and/or excessive content committed by a player against an opponent.” The situation was a subject of conversation on Monday’s edition of First Take on ESPN.

Commentators Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe and Monica McNutt gave their perspectives on the WNBA during the show on Monday morning. Show host Molly Qerim guided the discussion that spanned several different aspects of the situation. The conversation, however, evoked contentious sentiments towards the end when Smith lamented the means in which he feels they are discussing the game.

“We’re talking about them, maximizing their great potential, and because we bring that up and talk about what potentially might get in their way, which we do to men all the time, now we got to sit up here and watch every syllable,” Smith said. “I resent that, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Upon delivering his opinion, Qerim could be seen shaking her head in disapproval as McNutt acknowledged that she knew the show had to go to break. Even so, she took the time to contend the assertion Smith had raised head on. McNutt’s response has received praise across social media throughout Monday.

“Welcome to the world of being a woman, Stephen A., and how you have to dance about your word choice and you have to please anybody and everybody as you navigate your being,” McNutt said. “We are talking about the world’s greatest athletes.”

Smith interjected by asking McNutt about being a Black man, to which she replied that the show did not go there but perhaps should. Recognizing that there are many layers to the conversation, she anticipated that Sharpe would say that they know, and Smith would mention how he has talked about the WNBA on his program as well.

“You guys may not have said everybody, but the prevailing sentiment for folks that are just joining the WNBA and following women’s sports is unfair to the women of this league, to your point, who have laid the groundwork for Caitlin Clark to come in and now take it to the next level,” McNutt said. “That’s all I’m saying in these conversations.”

McNutt continued by explaining that Carter’s behavior is not an accurate portrayal of how the rest of the league feels about Clark. Earlier in the segment, Smith claimed that there was jealousy around the sport towards Clark. Yet the element of competition and physicality within the sport, McNutt argued, are points wherein Clark cannot be treated any differently just because she is a rookie. After completing her discourse, Smith asked McNutt who has talked about the WNBA and women’s sports more than First Take, ostensibly emitting frustration surrounding the discussion.

“Stephen A., respectfully, with your platform, you could have been doing this three years ago if you wanted to,” McNutt replied. The entire cast of the show was silent for several seconds before Smith replied with a purported sense of shock, seemingly taking umbrage to what had been expressed. He then questioned McNutt again about who does more than First Take, to which she answered that she was addressing Smith specifically pertaining to the power that he possesses in the business.

“You my girl, but you’ve missed a lot of episodes of First Take,” Smith said. “You’ve missed a lot. I’ll leave it at that.”

“Stephen A., three years ago you were not talking about the W at this level,” McNutt said. “Don’t do that, come on now.”

Sharpe joined the discussion by stating that nobody was discussing the league to the extent that it is now and that she was making Smith’s point. As the discussion was continuing on, Qerim recognized the need to get to a commercial break and started imploring the commentators to allow her to do her job.

“We’ve gone for 40 minutes straight,” Qerim said. “It was a riveting discussion. I have to get in a commercial break.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports TV News

Charles Barkley Announces He Will Retire From TV After Next Season

“Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Screenbrad from NBA TV with Charles Barkley
Screengrab: NBA TV

Charles Barkley is not waiting. After voicing his frustration several times with the way the media rights negotiations have been handled by his current employer, Warner Bros. Discovery/TNT, Barkley is no longer waiting for them to make a decision, he has announced his own decision.

After Game 4 of the NBA Finals concluded between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, Barkley took time on the postgame show on NBA TV to announce no matter what happens, he will retire as an NBA commentator after next season, which will be his 25th with TNT.

“I’ve been thinking guys,” Barkley said “I want to say this, because you guys are my family. I really love TNT, all the people who work here, NBA Television. You guys have been great to me for 24 years and I just want to say thank you to my entire NBA family. I love you guys.

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.

“But I am going to pass the baton at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me, because I am not doing any more interviews, don’t y’all be calling me, nobody calling me, I am not talking about this again. But I wanted to tell my NBA TV and TNT family that I am not going to another network, but I am going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter or you Steve [Smith]. Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

The NBA’s current media rights agreements with Disney/ESPN and WBD/TNT expire after next season. Many reports have said the NBA will soon sign agreements with Disney, NBCUniversal and Amazon to be the league’s new broadcasting partners beginning with the 2025-26 season. The Wall Street Journal has reported the total value of the new media rights packages is expected to be $76 billion over 11 years.

Rumors of a possible fourth media package being made in order for the NBA to keep its 40-year relationship with Turner Sports going have surfaced, but it looks like either way there will be changes coming to Inside the NBA, the award-winning show Barkley is a part of along with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Moving UFL Games to Friday Nights in 2025

“The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

The United Football League logo

FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed a report from Deadline last month that said United Football League games would move to Friday nights in 2025. The Deadline report had said FOX planned to replace WWE Smackdown with sports coverage from college football and basketball as well as games from the UFL.

Shanks’ comments were made during a Zoom with reporters about the news of their new agreement with the NTT IndyCar Series. SI’s Mike Mitchell reported that the UFL worked with FOX to move the games so they could complete their auto racing deal.

Shanks said many of FOX’s UFL games would be moved to Friday night when asked about the change but did not provide more detail.

The UFL was split between FOX and ABC/ESPN this season. The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year and the recent conference championship games were up 57% over the averages from the USFL and XFL last season. According to Mitchell, the league saw a large increase in the 18-49 demographic on FOX compared to USFL programming in 2023.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Report: WNBA Could Quadruple Media Rights Fees

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion.

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

WNBA Logo
(Illustration) | Courtesy: Women's National Basketball Association

The NBA is reportedly in the process of formalizing new media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video expected to be worth a collective $76 billion over the course of the deal. At the same time, the NBA is also negotiating media rights for the WNBA in which it has an ownership stake of approximately 60%. The WNBA could quadruple its annual media rights fee within these negotiations, according to a new report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion. Throughout the season thus far, the WNBA has seen its ratings increase, drawing more than 1 million viewers across several matchups throughout the regular season. Moreover, discussion surrounding the league is further assimilating into the sports vernacular surrounding stars such as Caitlin Clark, A’ja Wilson, Sabrina Ionescu and Breanna Stewart.

Ben Strauss of The Washington Post outlined how the NBA is in the process of considering one total bid from media companies that combines the value of media rights for the NBA and WNBA. With the league itself determining the value of media rights for the WNBA, he argues that it could either be “rocket fuel” for the league or that its augmented popularity “is more of an afterthought.” The possibility exists that it could be a combination of both extremes as well, but by having the league negotiate its media rights deal, quantifying the true value could be a more difficult task.

In a report from earlier in the year, McCarthy stated that the WNBA is likely to negotiate its own separate media rights deal if it is not receiving the remuneration that it wants. The WNBA attained its most-watched opening month in league history, averaging 1.32 million viewers for games across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, Ion and NBA TV. Moreover, the league had its most-attended opening month in its 26-year history with 400,000 fans at games through the end of May and a rise in sales of WNBA-branded merchandise by 236% year-over-year.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.