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Bernard Goldberg’s Frustrations with Narratives Led to HBO Exit

Bernie Goldberg said a recent conversation with Bryan Gumbel about race convinced him it was time to leave HBO’s Real Sports.

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HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel has exhibited a few constants over the years: a warm welcome from Gumbel, a familiar jingle, interesting looks at obscure stories in sports, and the reporting from Bernard Goldberg. The latter part came to an end earlier this year when Goldberg announced he was leaving the show. In a Monday column on his eponymous website, Goldberg delved further into why he left.

“I told the show’s host, Bryant Gumbel, that I recently tuned in to watch a National Hockey League playoff game and heard a player, at a pre-game ceremony, say that, “racism is everywhere.”

I told Gumbel that since I didn’t tune in to get a lecture on what a racist country America is, I changed the channel. To which Bryant replied:  ‘Racism is everywhere.'”

Goldberg also spoke of recent comments made by comedian Kevin Hart regarding white power and privilege. He said he took umbrage with Gumbel’s phrasing that he believed made a lot of individuals culpable than Goldberg hoped he intended.

“In fact, as bad as things were, racism was never everywhere, not in this country anyway. It was never in the hearts of the abolitionists. Never in the hearts of those brave Americans who challenged Jim Crow and fought, often at great peril, for civil rights. I know it’s not everywhere because it’s not in my house. It’s not in the homes of my closest friends. Does racism still exist in America, a country of more than 300 million people? Unfortunately, yes, in some dark places. But, despite Bryant Gumbel’s contention … it’s not everywhere.”

The 14-time Emmy winner whose political affiliations have always been a point of viewer contention, believes the politics of some of his coworkers at HBO led to seemingly uncomfortable silence. The confrontation and dispute eventually was enough to make Goldberg believe a parting of ways was the best course of action.

“That year-end “Real Sports” show was my last. A few weeks later I walked away after 22 years as a correspondent. I didn’t want to be part of a team whose most prominent voice thinks that, “racism is everywhere,” and where the other 5 correspondents  — whose politics range from liberal to hard-left progressive – just sat there and said nothing.

Maybe Bryant didn’t mean it the way it came out. Maybe he meant that there are remnants of racism that still infect American culture – not that out-and-out racism is everywhere. But if that’s what he meant, he should have said it.”

Sports TV News

Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football

“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

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While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years. 

Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.

“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.

“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck. 

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Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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