Sometimes, broadcasters are just as effective with what they don’t say, rather than what they actually do say. Many announcers have been praised for being quiet and letting the scene speak for itself. For example, crowd noise after a big moment or an important victory.
Tuesday night, NBC’s Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir let their silence convey their disapproval, their dismay over Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva being allowed to compete in the women’s short program at the Beijing Olympics despite testing positive for a banned substance.
When Lipinski, Weir, and Terry Gannon were introducing the figure skating slate for the evening, both analysts said they felt strongly that Valieva should be barred from participating.
“We have to remind ourselves that she is just 15 years old, a minor, and I know more than anyone what it’s like to compete at an Olympic Games at 15 years old,” said Lipinski (via The Washington Post). “But a positive test is a positive test. She cannot skate.”
Weir agreed. “If you can’t play fair, then you can’t play, and it is a shame because she is a tremendous athlete,” he added, echoing the sentiments of the figure skating community.
Amid the controversy surrounding her, Valieva had an excellent performance on Tuesday, compiling an 82.16 score that gave her the lead over fellow Russian Anna Shcherbakova and Japan’s Sakamoto Kaori going into Thursday’s women’s free skate program.
Yet throughout most of Valieva’s skate and after she completed her performance, Lipinski and Weir had little to say. They wouldn’t praise someone who shouldn’t have been allowed to compete, but also wouldn’t pile criticism on a 15-year-old girl whose use of a banned substance may have been decided by others.
For an audience accustomed to effusive praise and strong criticism from NBC’s star figure skating analysts, their silence was notable. And it was certainly effective in telling viewers how they felt about the entire situation.
When the two eventually did speak, their disapproval was clear.
“All I feel I can say is that was the short program of Kamila Valieva at the Olympics,” Weir said.
“For all the other Olympic athletes competing here, I feel I need to say again that she had a positive test,” added Lipinski. “We should not have seen this skate.”
“We are so sorry it’s overshadowing your Olympics,” said Weir.
As Valieva left the ice and waited for her scores, Lipinski said that she viewed Valieva as the best figure skater she’s ever seen. But that only made her feel confused and angry, knowing that the Russian skater utilized an unfair advantage.
Weir added that the entire circumstance make him feel uncomfortable both as a skater and commentator.
For two star personalities known for their bold commentary, flashy fashion, and social media presence, their terse restraint said everything that needed to be said in one of the most scrutinized events in recent Olympic history. It was a remarkable broadcasting moment.
Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set
“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”
Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.
The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.
Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.
“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”
Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.
Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.
Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.
Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock
“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”
Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.
According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.
Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.
The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.
The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.
Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast
“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’
First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.
No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.
Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.
McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.
“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.”
In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.
There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.