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Mark Schwarz’s Final ESPN Report Looks At Unvaccinated Pro Athletes

“The results of the ESPN study confirm one unmistakable truth about our country right now.”

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ESPN

As announced on Friday, longtime ESPN reporter Mark Schwarz is retiring after 32 years with the network. His final day is Monday, Jan. 31.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Andy Hall shared Schwarz’s final report for SportsCenter, in which he detailed results from a network survey of 1,002 fans regarding how they felt about star athletes Kyrie Irving, Aaron Rodgers, and Novak Djokovic refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

As Schwarz explains in the report, fans participating in the study disapproved most strongly of how Rodgers handled being unvaccinated, in particular claiming that he was “immunized” when asked about it by media and misleading the public. Djovokic was also viewed unfavorably among those surveyed, though by less of a percentage than Rodgers. Contrast that with Irving, whom a majority of fans felt was up front about his vaccination status.

The report can be viewed below:

“The results of the ESPN study confirm one unmistakable truth about our country right now,” said Schwarz in the report. “When it comes to this virus and when it comes to the vaccine, America is a nation divided.”

As anyone who’s paid attention to the news, current events, and social media over the past couple of years, Schwarz’s final sentence applies beyond sports. (And it applies beyond COVID-19 and the vaccine for it.)

But the study and subsequent SportsCenter report do demonstrate why Irving, Rodgers, and Djovokic have dominated sports and mainstream news headlines in recent months and weeks. These are polarizing figures representing a divisive time in the country. Schwarz certainly took on a hot-button topic for his final ESPN report, not settling for a puff piece.

Kudos to Schwarz on an impressive, storied career for ESPN, with outstanding work for SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, and other network platforms. As he said in the official announcement of his retirement, Schwarz gave everything he had to his work and is ready to devote that time and energy to other aspects of his life. Here’s hoping he gets to enjoy that.

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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Sports TV News

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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Sports TV News

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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