According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league will likely remove all social justice messages from players’ jerseys and the basketball hardwood next season.
The NBA and NBAPA agreed to restart the season from a bubble in Orlando shortly after George Floyd was unjustly killed, leading to heightened racial tension nationwide. The players felt it was important to use their platform to push for social justice, and the league displayed a unified front by placing “Black Lives Matter” on the court for every game played in the bubble. Joining NBA Countdownearlier this week, commissioner Silver noted that he doesn’t expect those messages to be displayed next season.
“I would say, in terms of the messages you see on the court and our jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer,” Silver said. “My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor.”
What isn’t clear is whether the league originally intended to keep those messages on the court next season, and if public opinion is influencing the decision to remove them. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported that not all NBA owners were in favor of adding Black Lives Matter to the court, but Silver recognized the timing and importance of supporting a league comprised mostly of Black players.
TV ratings have been down since the league restart in late July and it’s culminated into record low audiences during the NBA Finals. There are a multitude of reasons and explanations for the ratings decline, but some have blamed the NBA’s stance on social issues for the down viewership.
Outkick’s Clay Travis has led the mob in criticizing the NBA for its messages of social justice, and recently Texas Senator Ted Cruz joined him which drew ire from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “Personally speaking, this is the first time in years that I haven’t watched a single game in the NBA Finals. #GoWokeGoBroke” Cruz tweeted.
It’s certainly possible that BLM messaging has impacted the NBA’s TV ratings with some fans preferring a “stick to sports” policy, but they’re also not the only league experiencing down viewership during the pandemic. Empty arenas, shifted seasons and competing schedules all played a role in the ratings dip for nearly every sport. But there’s no hiding the fact that NBA viewership has been largely abysmal in the last two months.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Notre Dame AD: NBC Deal With Big Ten is “Perfect” For Irish
“But it’s also perfect for Notre Dame,” Swarbrick said.
While not official, there has been strong reporting that the Big Ten conference has decided which broadcast entities would be awarded media rights for their football and basketball games. One of those partners appears to be NBC who also has a partnership with Notre Dame thru 2025.
On Wedneday, Notre Dame’s Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick held a live chat for the school’s alumni association. On that chat, the subject of the recent Big Ten media rights deal came up. He praised Commissioner Kevin Warren and called the Big Ten’s strategy brilliant and added that it’s great for college football because it gives networks inventory and now an incentive to produce around it. He also said when the value of the deals was announced, it’d be “pretty amazing” for the conference.
He then discussed how it fit with Notre Dame’s outlook on television media rights.
“But it’s also perfect for Notre Dame,” Swarbrick said. “We need NBC to have more college football to more effectively promote our games and to talk about our games and to have NBC be seen in that light. So that was great for us that they got a big piece of this.”
Louis Riddick Signs Contract Extension With ESPN
He will be on the network’s Thursday night college football package.
Football analyst Louis Riddick has signed a new extension to continue his career with ESPN.
The network made the announcement on Wednesday when announcing their broadcast teams for the 2022 college football season. In that release, it was revealed that Riddick would be returning to the college football booth for the first time since 2019.
He will be on the network’s Thursday night college football package and be partnered with play-by-play commentator Matt Barrie and Harry Lyles Jr.
It was announced earlier this summer that Riddick would also be in the booth for ESPN’s preseason NFL action. He’ll also be in the booth for three weeks that ESPN has multiple games in that week.
Riddick’s first college football game assignment will be the Backyard Brawl game between West Virginia and Pittsburgh and the latter has already noted their excitement.
ESPN Adds Aaron Murray, Re-Signs Beth Mowins For College Football Coverage
Mowins provides play-by-play on college basketball and softball, and has been the Voice of the Women’s College World Series for more than two decades.
ESPN announced the hiring of Aaron Murray to its analyst roster.
Murray, a former quarterback at Georgia and most recently an analyst with CBS Sports Network, will call a handful of games on the SEC Network. He’ll also appear on some of the network’s studio programming.
ESPN also announced the re-signing of play-by-play commentator Beth Mowins to a multi-year deal. In addition to football, Mowins provides play-by-play on college basketball and softball, and has been the Voice of the Women’s College World Series for more than two decades.
ESPN announced the broadcast crews for its college football coverage as well.
|ABC Saturday Night Football||Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Holly Rowe|
|ESPN Saturday Night Primetime||Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Molly McGrath|
|ESPN and ABC Saturday||Joe Tessitore, Greg McElroy, Katie George|
|ESPN and ABC Saturday||Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III, Quint Kessenich|
|ESPN and ABC Saturday||Dave Pasch, Dusty Dvoracek, Tom Luginbill|
|ESPN and ABC Saturday||Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky, Kris Budden|
|ESPN and ABC Saturday||Dave Flemming, Rod Gilmore, Tiffany Blackmon|
|ESPN and ESPN2 Saturday||Anish Shroff, Brock Osweiler, Taylor McGregor|
|ESPN and ESPN2 Saturday||Beth Mowins, Kirk Morrison, Stormy Buonantony|
|ESPN Thursday||Matt Barrie, Louis Riddick, Harry Lyles Jr.|
|ESPN and ESPN2 Friday||Roy Philpott, Andre Ware, Paul Carcaterra|
|ESPN and ESPN2 Saturday||Brian Custer, Dustin Fox, Lauren Sisler|
|SEC Saturday Night||Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic|
|ACC Network Primetime||Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Kelsey Riggs|
|SEC Network||Dave Neal, Deuce McAllister, Andraya Carter|
|SEC Network||Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Alyssa Lang|
|ACC Network||Wes Durham, Roddy Jones, Taylor Davis|
|ACC Network||Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich, Lericia Harris|
|ESPN2 and ESPNU Saturday||Clay Matvick, Rocky Boiman, Dawn Davenport|
|ESPN2 and ESPNU Saturday||Kevin Brown, Hutson Mason|
|ESPN2 and ESPNU Saturday||John Schriffen, Rene Ingoglia|
|ESPN2 and ESPNU Saturday||Drew Carter, TBD|
|ESPN2 and ESPNU Saturday||Connor Onion, Craig Haubert|
|Longhorn Network||Lowell Galindo, Sam Acho, Alex Chappell|
|ESPNU Thursday – HBCU||Tiffany Greene, Jay Walker|
|ESPN Radio||Marc Kestecher, Kelly Stouffer, Ian FitzsimmonsMike Couzens, Max Starks|