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Michael Smith Struggled With Hypocrisy of ESPN Embracing BLM

“At first, it was a lot of anger about that, because it was like ‘Wait a second. I’m old enough to remember 2018. If Black Lives Matter now, they didn’t matter then?’”

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SC6 remains one of the most divisive experiments in ESPN history. Viewers had strong opinions on both sides of Michael Smith and Jemele Hill’s take on the iconic SportsCenter brand, with most detractors saying that discussions of race and culture made the show too political.

Smith will be a guest on fubo Sports Network’s Drinks With Binks on this week. Host Julie Stewart-Binks said that she never saw SC6’s conversations as political. “It was morals and how you treat people,” she said and asked Smith how he felt watching ESPN personalities have the same conversations that the network pointed to as a major problem for his show.

“At first, it was a lot of anger about that, because it was like ‘Wait a second. I’m old enough to remember 2018. If Black Lives Matter now, they didn’t matter then?’” Smith said. “I’m watching, and it’s nothing against the people doing it now, they’re friends of mine. I’m watching people I respect, I’m watching them have unfiltered, unlimited, unedited conversations on the same platforms, whether it’s you know SportsCenter or The Jump or NFL Live, like everybody’s having that conversation. I’m like ‘Oh, word? Wow! Having those conversations literally compromised my career, but it’s cool now?’”.

Many of the Black Lives Matter conversations we have heard in pop culture in 2020 began after the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers. Smith says that the conversation is no different from the ones he and Hill had. That was disappointing for him.

“Unarmed black people have been getting killed on camera. That’s what we were talking about. We were talking about police brutality. It’s not like anything is different now. It’s not like it’s a different subject matter. It’s not like there is a different take on the matter. There’s been no discovery that makes us feel like ‘Well, now this is different.’ This is literally the same subject. He was just killed in a different manner. I was like ‘So now it’s cool? Less than 2 years ago it wasn’t and I’m a living example of that?’”

Smith says he has since made peace with how SC6 ended and has accepted that the rules are just different now. It took time, but he says he is at a place now where he sees that as a good thing.

“There was a lot of resentment at first just given what I’ve been through,” he told Stewart-Binks. “But over time I realized yeah, I’m entitled to my feelings and I’m trying not to make it about me. And the most important thing is look, better late than never. And here we are having these conversations. More important, others who came behind me are getting a chance to speak their truth and speak that truth to power. So be it.”

The interview was pre-recorded. It will air in full on Friday night at 8 pm on fubo Sports Network’s Drinks with Binks.

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After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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