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Missanelli Discusses Sports Radio

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“What’s It Like To…” is a series that looks inside the worlds of extreme sports, professional athletics, and sports careers.

Most women don’t listen to sports talk radio, and I was one of them. As I became more obsessed with the athletics of football, however, I wanted to understand the game better. Why would the defense still make a defenseless receiver hit, when the penalties are now so high? Why would Brady deflate footballs when his team really doesn’t need the advantage gained by cheating? When Marcus Mariota still hadn’t signed with the Titans, was that a glimmer of hope that he might come to Philly?

None of my friends and colleague wanted to talk about these finer points of football, so I started looking elsewhere. When I found the afternoon show on 97.5 The Fanatic, I was hooked. The host Mike Missanelli obviously knows sports. What’s more unusual is that his show isn’t one guy yelling at some other guy. He’s respectful to those who call in, quickly zeroes in on the point of their call, and insists that callers support their view or he will point out the errors in their thinking.

In addition to sports talk, what I love about the show is Mike’s discussions about other subjects – for example, race, and relationships between men and women. Callers seek advice, (“Can I give my girlfriend just one gift if her birthday is near Valentine’s Day?”) and ask for rulings on potential “violations”, (“Is it still ok to wear a Shady McCoy jersey?”). And my most favorite part is the banter between Mike and his producer – it can be like the best Seinfeld episode, (“What’s the best scent for your bathroom’s hand soap?”).

Mike Missanelli began his sports talk radio career in 1992, and has hosted both locally and at ESPN in New York City. He’s been the host of the Mike Missanelli Show, 97.5 FM The Fanatic, since 2008. He’s analyzed sports in many TV positions, and prior to radio and TV, worked in newspapers for 15 years, including 10 years with the Philadelphia Inquirer. He got his Journalism degree from Penn State, and is a graduate of Widener Law School, admitted to the PA Bar in 1986.

Q: Best thing about being a sports talk host?

The freshness of daily conversation. Philadelphia is the best sports talk town in the nation. And being able to engage fans live and interactive each day is a wonderful experience. There is always a fresh take and a fresh angle evident in a sports crazed town like Philadelphia.

Q: Most difficult thing about being a sports talk host?

There’s nothing really difficult about being a sports talk host except when there is a dearth of conversation about sports. We just went through perhaps the most barren period in my sports talk career following the Eagles season. The Sixers and Flyers had non exciting seasons, and we were left without ANY baseball talk for an entire summer because of the poor state of the Phillies. That really tests the limits of the host’s creativity to talk about other subjects.

Q: Besides understanding sports, what top 3 qualities make a successful sports talk host?

The ability to handle both sides of an argument is the most important aspect. Bringing both sides into an argument makes it a much better and more interesting conversation. My law school training was essential for that. Also, I believe that some athletic experience gives you an edge when talking about the game. You can relate to certain aspects of sports better than someone who has never played. I was a three sport high school athlete and a varsity baseball player at Penn State, which means I was tutored in the finer arts of the game by some really good coaches. You also have to have a bit of ham in you. After all, you are trying to entertain people for four hours as well as educate them.

Q: How do you prepare for shows?

My preparation begins in the morning. I still read the newspaper, but I have a series of websites that I will consult in order to formulate talking points for the show. Watching ESPN sports center and CSN are essential. I will try to develop a hub, a main topic of the day, then spin off into various other topics, which may include aspects of modern culture or current events that have nothing to do with sports. By the time I go to the office, I have done all my preparation. I read a show sheet prepared by my producer Jason Myrtetus, and consult with him on various other ideas we can implement on the show.

Q: If you were to have a show about any other topic, what would it be?

I’m a huge proponent of social discussion, especially racial issues. I treat my show sometimes as a town hall show where all opinions are welcome. I am flabbergasted by small-minded ideas on racial progress and I feel it is my duty to try to broaden some listeners’ horizons in those matters.

Credit to Philly.com who originally published this article

 

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Doug Gottlieb, Nick Wright Feud Over College Sports NIL Issues

“Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known.”

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FOX Sports hosts Doug Gottlieb and Nick Wright definitely do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to money going to college athletes.

Despite both being employed by the same company, Gottlieb, who is never afraid to voice his opinion, fired back at Wright Friday regarding his take on college football’s NIL rule in the wake of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s claiming Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher “brought” his recruits.

On Wright’s morning show, First Things First, the colorful broadcaster had a two minute rant about how he’s happy that schools are finding workarounds under the new NIL rules implemented by the NCAA to pay the players for their name, image and likeness. He said the universities have been taking advantage of college athletes, particularly black student athletes from rough backgrounds, for years and now that the tide has shifted, people are freaking out.

“The general sports public wants extra regulations and extra rules, is keeping their thumbs on college football and basketball players because their is an undeniable and always has been an incredibly uncomfortable racial context of the guys,” Wright said. “It’s mostly young black men from mostly really tough circumstances, generating billions of dollars. Who’s sharing in that?” Wright asked.

“An overwhelmingly white administration, an overwhelmingly white coaching staff, and an overwhelmingly white non-revenue sports. How do we pay for the tennis team and golf team, ah men’s football and basketball. What do they get? A scholarship. Be happy, we pulled you out the hood. Maybe you’ll have a better life if somehow you make the league or do something with your education.”

Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known. That resulted in a back and forth between the two sports personalities on Twitter.

Gottlieb continued, claiming the NIL rule puts exceedingly high expectations on the student-athletes before ever stepping on campus and are given something without having to “earn it.”

“The sad part is this push to pay SAs before they have even played a game, taken a class or assimilated to a school sets them up for failure in their post sports career. If you have been given before you earn, where is the motivation when you get to the real world?”

Wright then took a shot at Gottlieb, saying it always feels good that his take is the complete opposite of Gottlieb’s.

The dialogue continued with Gottlieb throwing shots at Wright, calling his take “embarrassing” and mentioning how he failed to point out the educational imbalance in society during his take. Wright asked Gottlieb what are some of the other “fake racism” takes that he claims are out in the media.

Gottlieb is no stranger to conflict with his FOX Sports colleagues. Troy Aikman called his opinion on Andrew Luck’s retirement “total bullshit” in a tweet from 2019. More recently, Gottlieb got into it with Speak for Yourself co-host Emmanuel Acho after Gottlieb ripped his brother Sam’s “Top 5 QB list” on First Take. He also called out Skip Bayless for name-calling.

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Bob Cousy: ‘JJ Redick Is Untalented Using Me To Get Attention On ESPN’

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

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Celtics legend Bob Cousy was not too happy with J.J. Redick dissing his game and credibility as an all-time great player.

During an appearance on First Take, Redick got into a fiery debate with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about whether Chris Paul deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards in NBA history despite another disappointing exit from the playoffs. Russo claimed that Paul is “no Bob Cousy” which prompted Redick to retort, saying Cousy couldn’t even dribble with his left hand and called the players he played against, “plumbers” and “firemen.”

“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Reddick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”

The 93-old Cousy made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio where he went scorched earth on Redick, basically calling the ESPN analyst “untalented” while listing some of the players that he went up against in his era.

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

“So when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of the names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned, not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain.

“Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created [in his name], guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game.”

Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star compared to Cousy’s 13 appearances.

One thing Paul and Bob Cousy do have in common is their aptitude for leadership. Cousy developed and started the NBA players union in 1954, being named its first president. Paul served in that same role from 2013-2021.

The two men also share similarities off the court. Cousy was a stanch anti-racist advocate during the civil rights era 50s and 60s, when it wasn’t all that popular to so. Paul has also spoke out on issues regarding race, working with commissioner Adam Silver to address some of the issues facing the black community.

Maybe the two have more in common than either Redick or Russo would like to admit.

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Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’

“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

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The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.

In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.

Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”

“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”

An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.

“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”

“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”

A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.

“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.

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