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Mikaela Shiffrin No Longer Speaking With Media After Olympic Defeats

“We’re watching real people with real emotions in real time and we did everything we were supposed to do,” said an NBC executive producer.

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Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin announced on Thursday that she will no longer be speaking to the media through the remainder of the Beijing Winter Games.

Shiffrin issued a statement through a U.S. Olympic spokesperson (via Reuters), saying “Mikaela (nor her mother/coach Eileen) will not be doing any media for the foreseeable future. Thank you for respecting her/their space right now.”

The decision comes after Shiffrin skidded out and fell in the giant slalom and women’s slalom competitions this week. Her second fall drew particular attention and scrutiny for NBC’s coverage of the skier’s disappointment, both with cameras staying on her as she sat in the snow and an interview immediately afterward in which she was holding back tears and still trying to process her emotions.

According to the New York Post, Shiffrin also took questions from reporters for 45 minutes following the event.

NBC Olympics executive producer Molly Solomon defended the network’s coverage of Shiffrin to the Associated Press, saying the moment was “big news.”

“We have an obligation in that moment, as the broadcaster of the Olympic games, to cover the moment,” Solomon told the AP’s David Bauder. “There’s no script when there’s a wipeout on the slopes or a fall in figure skating. We’re watching real people with real emotions in real time and we did everything we were supposed to do.”

But the mental health of athletes, especially young people participating in individual Olympic sports that attract national and international attention, is increasingly becoming a concern to neutral observers. Gymnast Simone Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka have drawn further awareness to the issue.

Seemingly ignoring that in the name of compelling television is exactly why NBC is being portrayed as a villain here. Fortunately for her well-being, Shiffrin is doing what she feels is best for her right now.

She did compete in Friday’s Super-G race and finished the race, but did not earn a medal. The U.S. ski team said Shiffrin will also participate in the combined and team events.

Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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FOX Scores Most-Watched PAC-12 Championship Game Ever

Jordan Bondurant

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Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game between Utah and USC drew the largest audience in the game’s history, according to FOX.

Over 6.2 million tuned in to watch the Utes dominate the Trojans 47-24 and dash USC’s hopes at making the College Football Playoff.

The network said viewership was up 45% compared to the 2021 title game, which aired on ABC and also featured Utah. The Utes won the conference crown in convincing fashion that year too, posting a 38-10 victory over Oregon.

The Pac-12 will be without USC and UCLA as member schools following the 2023 season. The Trojans and the Bruins will join the Big Ten in 2024.

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