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Kenny Smith, Chris Webber Steal Show In Inside The NBA Special

“Wiping sweat from his brow and tears from his eyes, Webber said that he wanted to speak about the night, “because I feel like we always have the same couple voices talking during these times.”

Jacob Conley

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TNT aired a special edition of Inside the NBA on Wednesday evening in response to players boycotting Wednesday’s playoff games to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

“Today players and coaches made a resounding and unified statement by refusing to take the court,” host Ernie Johnson Jr. said. “There are moments that have happened during my 30 years in this chair: Magic’s announcement in ‘91, Adam Silver addressing the Donald Sterling situation in 2014, banning him for life, and then today. There is no podium involved, just simply we are not going to take the floor.”

Charles Barkley says he is not surprised by the decision not to play.

“You heard guys talking about it (not playing) yesterday. That started the fire,” Barkley said. “Then the Milwaukee Bucks, who were scheduled to lead off today, cancelled. If the Bucks hadn’t cancelled, I don’t think anybody else would have cancelled. They should have given the Magic a heads up, but I do think it was appropriate that the Bucks did it because it happened in their home state. I think after that, you had to cancel the rest of the games. I think you need to cancel the games tomorrow also just so the different set of teams can let them know that they are standing with them. My question is what the game plan is after that?”

An emotional Kenny “the Jet” Smith said he had a difficult time processing his thoughts over the incident before abruptly leaving the set.

“I feel like my head is ready to explode,” Smith said. “I don’t think I can say anything that is appropriate for what players are thinking and feeling.  As a Black man and a former player I feel it is important to support the players and not be here tonight.”

Shaquille O’Neal adds that a unified stance among the players was key.

“If everybody wasn’t unified, we would be talking about something not nearly as important (who played and who did not play) instead of the real issue,” he said.  “I respect the decision. I respect the guys and how everybody deals with certain things differently. African-Americans are fed up and something has to change.”

Shaq then broaches the subject of boycotting the rest of the season.

“I’ll support whatever the players decide to do. Right now the games are just postponed,” he said. “Something like this is going to happen next week, next month and next year. Canceling one game is not going to make a racist person say, ‘oh, they canceled one game. I’m not going to be racist anymore.’ We have to identify certain areas and certain problems and we have to systematically take these things down.”

O’Neal adds that a good way to begin that process is to vote in the upcoming election.

“Make sure you get a new D.A. (District Attorney). Make sure you get a new Chief of Police. Make sure you get a new mayor and make sure you get a new president. It’s in our hands. We need to put people in place that understand our language and frustrations. That would be a good place to start.”

Former NBA player and TNT analyst Chris Webber joined the show from the arena in Orlando. His emotional reaction to the moment and the police shooting of another unarmed black man garnered a lot of attention and reaction across the media.

Wiping sweat from his brow and tears from his eyes, Webber said that he wanted to speak about the night, “because I feel like we always have the same couple voices talking during these times.”

“I keep hearing the question ‘What’s next?, What’s next?’. Well, you gotta plan what’s next. You have to figure out what’s next,” Webber continued. “Very proud of the players. I don’t know the next steps. Don’t really care what the next steps are, because the first steps are to garner attention, and they have everybody’s attention around the world right now. Then leadership and others will get together and decide the next steps.”

Webber said that he wanted to speak for the people in the neighborhoods “that we tell to vote and then just walk away.” He then spoke about conversations he has had to have with younger family members and asked “if not now when?” in reference to the need for police reform.

The powerful message, which ended with Webber praising young people for boycotting games and crying out for change, earned praise for the five-time all-star from the media, former teammates, and current players.

Sports TV News

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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Sports TV News

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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