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Jessica Mendoza Called Out For Conflict Of Interest

Brandon Contes

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When ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza was hired by the New York Mets as an operations adviser last season, many people around the game raised an eyebrow at the feasibility of holding both positions. Receiving league-wide access as a baseball analyst for ESPN, while also having the ability to report to the Mets, seemed like an obvious conflict of interest.

In the last few months, one of Major League Baseball’s worst cheating scandals was uncovered, in large part due to a willingness by pitcher Mike Fiers to reveal the Houston Astros sign-stealing scheme. An active player stepping forward to expose the scandal, was an unprecedented move that has been lauded by many for leveling the playing field. 

Thursday morning, Mendoza made it clear she disagreed with what Fiers did. “To go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow,” Mendoza said while appearing as an ESPN analyst on their morning radio show Golic and Wingo.

Later appearing on ESPN’s First Take, Mendoza doubled down on her Fiers take, stating he “ratted everyone out,”” again expressing concern for his decision to make the scandal public. 

At the same time, the Mets were mulling how to handle their recently hired manager Carlos Beltran, who was found to have played a “key role” in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. Mendoza is entitled to her opinion, but attempting to shame Fiers while the MLB organization she works for is in flux, caused questions about her perspective. 

Mendoza then took to Twitter to clarify her criticism of Fiers. But the clarification can also be viewed as a backtrack,as she credited Fiers for stepping forward. The ESPN and Mets employee also stated she believes Fiers should have alerted Major League Baseball, not a reporter about the Astros’ cheating scheme.

“In regards to the Mets, I want to make it extra clear that my advisor role with the team does not shape my opinion in any way, shape or form on this matter,” Mendoza added. “I feel this way regardless of what, teams, players or managers are involved.”

During a conference call to discuss the decision to part ways with Carlos Beltran, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was asked about Mendoza’s comments on ESPN.

“Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets,” Van Wagenen said. “I have not had the opportunity to speak with her yet.”

Mendoza’s opinions on Fiers’ decision to make the scandal public are valid. But talking about it as an ESPN employee, while her other employer the New York Mets became inadvertently involved in the scandal, exemplified the concerns about Mendoza working for both entities. 

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here

Sports TV News

ESPN Reportedly To Lose Big Ten Media Rights For the First Time in 40 Years

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Jordan Bondurant

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BIG TEN, CBS, NBC, FOX SPORTS

After several months, it appears the Big Ten is nearing the finish line on a new media rights deal. And despite still reportedly being in negotiations with the conference, ESPN is looking set to lose out on media rights.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, CBS and NBC are the frontrunners to join with FOX.

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Ourand reported his sources told him ESPN’s deal to keep the Big Ten was not as strong as the one offered by the other two networks.

It would mark the first time in four decades that ESPN didn’t have some involvement in Big Ten sports. But Ourand indicates the worldwide leader could pivot into bundling Big 12 and Pac-12 rights as an alternative. Additionally the network would then pursue keeping its deals with NCAA for championship coverage as well as being the home for the College Football Playoff.

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Sports TV News

Pat McAfee: Deals With Amazon/ESPN Fell Short Because The Show Comes First

“Energy, time, anything away from this show… we got a lot going on. This is my number one focus and it should remain as such…”

Jordan Bondurant

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Last week, it was announced that Pat McAfee would be hosting his own version of the popular Manning Cast only for college football games.

McAfee, co-host AJ Hawk, and the rest of his cast and crew from The Pat McAfee Show will host an alternate feed for six college football games this season.

McAfee was rumored to be in talks with Amazon about potentially hosting an alternate broadcast for its Thursday NFL games, and the former Colts punter had also reportedly talking with ESPN about potentially being featured on College GameDay.

McAfee said to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post that ultimately the Amazon and GameDay deals didn’t come to fruition because it just didn’t make sense.

“I’ve had great conversations with both companies, we just weren’t able to get to a point where ‘the ask’ and ‘the business’ were where it needed to be to get a deal done on both fronts,” McAfee said.

McAfee on his show on Monday elaborated a bit further, trying to put to bed that he was being courted for Thursday Night Football.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if that’s what we were talking about, by the way,” he said. “I was never really approached for anything for Thursday Night Football. That was never really anything.”

Pat read from the full response to Marchand’s questions, posted under the Post story which appeared on the paper’s site Monday. He reiterated that his daily show and the small business he built around his show, take precedent over anything else.

“Energy, time, anything away from this show, this operation, this crew; we got families being built, we got houses being bought, we got 12 employees, we got a lot going on,” he said. “So this is my number one focus and it should remain as such because I have a brain, and also I care a lot about this operation. I love it, actually.”

Still, McAfee made it clear that just because no deal was signed with ESPN and Amazon for 2022 means the ship has sailed permanently. He’s keeping his doors open.

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Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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