ESPN’s Marty Smith appeared on SportsCenter on Sunday night live from Talledega. The track was the site of a racist incident in the garage area on Sunday, when Bubba Wallace, the driver of the number 43 car, found a noose in his stall.
Wallace, the mixed race son of NASCAR veteran Darryl Wallace, is the only Black full-time driver on the sport’s top circuit. He has been outspoken in recent weeks about wanting NASCAR to stand behind social justice reform initiatives and was imperative in the effort to get the sport to ban Confederate flags from tracks and grandstands.
“I feel like a fool,” Smith said as he was introduced by SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt. “I just told you, what bud? Like an hour ago? 90 minutes ago? That the sport had come so far and then we see this.”
Smith reported that a senior NASCAR official told him that an official investigation has been opened. Once the culprit is found he will be banned for life from the sport.
“The sport is in a moment where this crap, this despicable crap, there’s just no place for it,” Smith said.
“I love Talladega, Alabama. It’s my favorite place on the NASCAR tour. It’s my favorite race. I love the staff here,” Smith said angrily. “And then some…I’m about to say words i’m not allowed to say. Something like this happens IN THE GARAGE AREA? IN THE GARAGE AREA OF RICHARD PETTY’S RACE CAR?”
Talladega was a particularly contentious scene leading up to the race. A caravan of pickup trucks flying the Confederate flag clogged a lane of traffic on the interstate leading to Talladega Super Speedway. A plane towing a Confederate flag and a banner with the words “Defund NASCAR” flew over the track.”
“You’re not just hurting one or two people, whoever you are,” Smith said of the person that left the noose in Wallace’s garage stall. “You’re hurting a whole lot of people who have made the decision that it is damn sure time to go be better.”
Cris Collinsworth Wonders If Tom Brady Knows Broadcasting Is a Hard Job
“It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised.”
Many in the sports media industry were surprised by the news that Tom Brady will join FOX Sports as the lead NFL analyst when he eventually decides to end his playing career. That includes the current lead analyst of NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts, Cris Collinsworth.
“I’m a little surprised,” he said on the latest episode of The Cris Collinsworth Podcast. “There’s no amount of money they could throw at him that would have influenced him. He’s going to still be working weekends for half the year no matter what it is.”
Collinsworth mentioned that he hears from most people and they ask him what the TV life is like when they are thinking about getting into the industry. Tom Brady was not one of those people. He hopes the GOAT knows what he is in for.
“It’s hard. I’m working on the airplane when I’m flying home from the other game. I’m working on the next game. It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised. I guess the money now has gotten to the point where it’s of interest to everybody.”
While some might be unsure about how Brady will do in the FOX NFL booth with Kevin Burkhardt, count Collinsworth in as one of those people who think Brady will do a great job.
“I think he’ll be fantastic. Every conversation I have ever had with him about the game of football, you always go oh, I didn’t know. He’s always been pretty open and honest with us. He has a real personal side to the game…He’s got it all, but I’ve got to say I am surprised.”
Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN
“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”
The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.
The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.
Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.
Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.
Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game
“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”
The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.
Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.
Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.
Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.