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Booger McFarland Says College Football Debate Has Become ‘Selfish’

“How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old son on the field, but you can’t have fans in the stands? How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old kid to college, but you can’t have kids that to class and sit in those seats?”

Ricky Keeler

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As the days go by, it becomes clearer and clearer that college football is in trouble for this fall. In a story first reported by Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger from Sports Illustrated on Sunday, Power 5 conferences would be meeting with their boards in the next couple of days and this telling quote was put in the article: 

“I think by the end of the week the fall sports will be postponed in all conferences.”

As of right now, one power conference has reportedly decided to cancel the season this fall. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Big Ten has made the decision to cancel the upcoming season due to concerns from COVID-19, but no official announcement has been made. Dan Patrick revealed on his show that the vote was 12-2 in favor of canceling: 

All morning long on Monday, there was debate around the issue. One of the topics talked about was if you had a son, would you let him play college football during these unprecedented times. Former LSU defensive tackle and Super Bowl champion Booger McFarland answered that question on ESPN’s Get Up and mentioned the selfishness he sees in college sports.

“I have a son. If he was old enough to play college football and he was on a team, I would not let him play…How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old son on the field, but you can’t have fans in the stands? How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old kid to college, but you can’t have kids that to class and sit in those seats? See, at some point, this has become selfish for everyone else and we want to make decisions when we are the ones not taking the risk.” 

On Sunday night, many high profile players, such as Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, tweeted using the #WeWantToPlay hashtag. Lawrence articulated his thoughts on social media.

“Unfortunately, for the NCAA, we still call these kids amateur athletics and we have hid behind that for years,” McFarland said on ESPN this morning. “I understand what Trevor Lawrence and all of these players around the country are doing, but guess what! It’s not up to you because you are an amateur. That means someone has to make the decision for you. I understand the hashtag, but it does not really mean anything.” 

Later in the show, McFarland used Tennessee guard Trey Smith, one of the best offensive linemen in the country, as an example of the reason liability will play a larger role in any conference’s decision than what players want. Smith had blood clots in his lungs back in 2018 and had a special practice plan last season.

“I understand he can say ‘we want to play,’ but at some point, when everything hits the fan, the University of Tennessee will be liable. Just like what happened in the NFL with the concussion lawsuit, when liability is put on one side, there are billions of dollars that had to change hands and these college institutions, they are afraid.”

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The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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