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Dan Le Batard: Rob Manfred Could Have Had Me Fired From ESPN

“ESPN defended us a hell of a lot better than MLB Network defended Ken Rosenthal.”

Ricky Keeler

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Earlier this week, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported that MLB Network decided to cut ties with Ken Rosenthal over comments that Rosenthal made in an article for The Athletic that criticized Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. While Rosenthal is still with The Athletic and FOX Sports, it was news that surprised many in the industry. 

On Tuesday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with StuGotzthe show dove into the surprising news story while also looking back at the interview Le Batard and StuGotz did with Manfred back in 2017. 

When looking back at the interview, Le Batard thinks it’s arguably the worst interview that a sports commissioner has ever given. Despite that interview, he thought ESPN was by his side more in that situation than MLB Network was for Rosenthal: 

“You can say that we’re terrible because we are terrible, but it was a terrible interview that he did,” Le Batard insisted. “He was defensive. We caught him saying some things that we could prove factually through documentation were not true. In doing that interview, what happened after that, ESPN defended us a hell of a lot better than MLB Network defended Ken Rosenthal.

“MLB Network is a propaganda arm. NFL Network is a propaganda arm. There are things that will not be discussed on those propaganda arms because they are not independent entities. If Rob Manfred could have gotten me fired at ESPN, he would have…It is a propaganda machine once you are eliminating the ability to criticize without punishment from your employers.”

While Le Batard thinks Manfred could have had him fired at ESPN, StuGotz disagreed.

“I knew it was dangerous. I remember thinking going into it, it doesn’t matter what happens here. We weren’t going to get fired for it…It would have taken a lot for them to fire us,” said Stugotz.

Stugotz noted that the big difference between them and Ken Rosenthal is that Rosenthal did have a paycheck tied directly to Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball. He argued that the reporter had to at least wonder what the fall out would be before he wrote about people questioning the league commissioner.

“At some level, Ken Rosenthal took a job at the MLB Network and should probably know better than to rip the commissioner on any platform.”

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Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network

“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”

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Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.

“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”

Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.

“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”

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Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’

“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.

In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.

The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”

He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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Kareem Daniel Leaving Disney After Bob Iger Reassumes Role as Company CEO

“This is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Iger is back as the CEO of Disney, and one of the first moves he made was to announce a company restructure. Part of that restructure includes the departure of Kareem Daniel, the chair of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED).

DMED was formed under now-previous CEO Bob Chapek. The division manages Disney’s streaming services which includes ESPN+.

Daniel was considered one of those closest to Chapek. Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees at DMED.

“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger said in the memo. “As you know, this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will join other company leaders in coming up with a new company structure that Iger hopes “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

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