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Shaq, Charles Barkley Debate Players’ Obligations To Press

The 76ers have blown two straight big leads to the Hawks.

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courtesy: TNT

Joel Embiid and the 76ers have been on the wrong end of an historic two-game stretch. According to ESPN, they became the first NBA team in the past 25 years to blow an 18-point lead in back-to-back playoff games. Their biggest cushion over the Hawks on Wednesday was 26 points, the third-largest blown playoff lead over the past 25 years.

It’s been a brutal time to be a Sixers player, and that prompted Joel Embiid to skip his media availability after Game Five. It was something TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal debated on Wednesday’s Inside the NBA.

“I wanna say this one thing, and I’m not mad,” Barkley explained on the show. “I wanna say this about Joel Embiid. I think he’s a great player and a good kid, but I don’t like it when players don’t talk to the press. Cuz if you have a great game, you run to the microphone. I don’t like it when any player in any sport does this; you should always talk to the press. Because they’re not paying you $35 million to just play basketball.”

Shaquille O’Neal has been in Embiid’s spot before and had empathy for the All-NBA level player. He bandied back at Barkley by saying it’s not part of a player’s contract, but his TNT teammate was undeterred.

“The reason those guys are making that money is because TNT and ESPN, we’re paying them a lot of money,” Barkley said back to Shaq. “I think these guys do have a responsibility. You know, these guys get all bent out of shape. Listen, you should say, ‘Hey, you know what, we let one get away,’ like Doc Rivers said after Game Four. I would love to see Joel Embiid say, ‘You know what, I’ll take responsibility, I’m the best player on this team.’ Like I said, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. You don’t get to talk to the press just when you win. I don’t like that.”

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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