If the NFL players’ anthem protests were so bad for the league’s business, what’s going to happen when the weekly results of Roger Goodell’s new policy become as common place as injury reports?
This is the box Goodell and the owners have put their network partners in. Now, Fox, NBC, CBS, ESPN and NFLN will be forced to report the names of players who remain in the locker room during the playing of our national anthem before each game. If a network decides to ignore those who stayed behind, it risks being accused of hiding information and having its overall credibility called into question.
And some detractors will say that by compiling the lists, the networks are acting as nothing more than the NFL’s in-house spy.
What a mess! Yet, it’s not a reach to suggest Goodell & Co. weren’t thinking about their TV partners’ credibility when they elected to shove the new anthem policy down the player’s collective throats. Before, especially when this controversy had died down last season, it had all been so easy. Since the anthem was rarely televised, the voices calling the game, if they elected to, could report who took a knee. And on the rare occasions the anthem was televised, viewers could see who took a knee.
Since there now is a rule in place, the networks, if they are doing their job, will be forced to report who didn’t come out for the anthem before the game. This won’t be as cut and dry as it seems. What if a player stayed in the locker room to get treatment for a nagging injury. Doesn’t that reason for remaining “inside,” which has nothing to do with an anthem protest, have to be reported, too?
So we likely will see NFL reporters like ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio on the network’s pregame show standing outside the Eagles locker room, reporting who he heard will not be coming out for the anthem. To prevent this from turning into a guessing game, will teams be required by the league to provide the media with a list of players who did not take part in the anthem ceremony?
And don’t be surprised if someone tries to gauge the on-field impact of this situation. Do players who don’t come out for the anthem perform better than players who do? Put that one in your fantasy pipe and smoke it.
Get it? The owners took a situation that had been fading and re-ignited it. The only reasonable explanation (wink, wink) for the NFL announcing the new policy now is it wanted to get back in the news. Nah, that was just an unintended consequence. Yet Goodell & Co. can look forward to “enjoying” a season’s worth of media opportunities the policy has created .
Maybe the networks can even make money off the controversy.
Anyone interested in sponsoring the NFL’s weekly “anthem absence” report?
NICE SHOOTIN’, TEX
After an uneventful year-plus as ESPN’s featured baseball studio analyst, Mark Teixeira finally created some buzz, and elevated his profile, by saying he wasn’t surprised his former teammate, Robinson Cano, got suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.
Tex accomplished a few things. He showed he has more onions than ESPN’s star baseball voice Alex Rodriguez, who pity-partied his way through the Cano situation, basically saying he felt bad for his pal. Teixeira also showed he is willing to take a hit and not back down from other Gasbags like ESPN-98.7’s Chris Canty and Rick DiPietro Jr. who ripped him for taking info he had gleaned during his playing days and using it to betray Cano, in order to advance his own career.
Tex, in a Thursday interview with ESPN-98.7’s Michael Kay, claimed that when he was interviewed for his ESPN gig he was asked if he could “talk (negatively) about a teammate.”
He said “ESPN would fire me tomorrow” if he withheld information.
Guess Canty and DiPietro were not interviewed by the same dude who interrogated Tex.
The Mets are still not sure where their radio home will be next season.
Well into the final year of their deal with the iHeart Radio-owned WOR-AM, Mets operatives continue talking to Entercom Communications, which could put the Mets on either WCBS-AM, WINS-AM or one of its three FM stations. Entercom-owned WFAN already is losing money on its Yankees deal.
If WOR did lose Mets rights, would it blow up its weeknight “Sportszone” with Pete McCarthy and Sal Licatta or continue airing the show?
The Mets situation shows the team has radio options and, as these things normally play out, will wind up selling its rights to the highest bidder.
When WFAN hired CMB (Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, Bart Scott), it played the diversity card, explaining how the team had a unique opportunity to tackle issues from multiple perspectives.
Yet Entercom put “diversity” on the back burner when it dumped CMB from afternoon drive to bring back Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa, a singulary pompous jackass. That’s when you knew Entercom/FAN’s commitment to diversity was nothing more than a publicity grab, a lie.
That said, we must give credit to the suits for giving CMB a measly two hours to yakk. For their conversations about the NFL’s new anthem policy were riveting. While no CMBer favored the policy, they came at it from different angles. Carlin, sarcastic but substanitive. Gray, full of fresh insight, and Scott, fearless and passionate.
Their conversations were fascinating. Wonder if anyone they work for was actually listening. Or were they too busy properly chilling Francesa’s Diet Coke supply?
Could have sworn the Sports Pope was reprising his “retirement” tour farce Tuesday, on the 20th anniversary of the Mets trading for Mike Piazza, when he launched into a soliloquy that was more about himself than the Hall of Fame catcher….Got to believe WABC’s Bernard McGuirk and Sididiot Rosenberg are making ratings in-roads with their morning show. Yes, they do talk sports…The Mets bashing in the Valley of the Stupid is becoming so predictable it’s making once must-listen-to shows into total tune-outs…. YES will really have no need to replace Ken Singleton when he retires following the season. John Flaherty has turned himself into a competent play-by-play voice, one with an attitude and something to say, who could handle Singleton’s play-by-play sked…. Keith Olbermann is getting added duties at ESPN. Well, whoop de damn doo.
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DUDE OF THE WEEK: KARL RAVECH
For not letting his ESPN Sunday Night Baseball pregame partners — Mark Teixeira and David Ross — off the hook. The subject was Robinson Cano’s 80-game suspension. Both analysts told Ravech they could now be specific and critical of players suspended for using banned substances than they could during their playing days. “I’m lost. Why is that? I don’t understand that,” an incredulous Ravech said. “What’s the difference? What changes here (when you are working for ESPN)? Ravech’s question was direct and unexpected. It led both Ross and Teixeira to open up even more. Nice work.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: NFL OWNERS
The infamous mob of 32 is the latest iteration of “The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” Once again their league-wide summit generated half-baked ideas, most notably the league’s inane new anthem policy. If the Lords of Pigskin want to cash in on their own buffoonery they should sell video of the meeting where they hatched this lame plan. The conversation that took place had to be a doozy. It once again would prove that being a billionaire does not guarantee having an inordinate amount of common sense.
What Jose Reyes said: “I can’t get frustrated now. I’ve been in this game a long time. Why am I going to get frustrated.”