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Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir Stay Silent During Kamila Valieva’s Skate

“For all the other Olympic athletes competing here, I feel I need to say again that she had a positive test. We should not have seen this skate.”

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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.

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Warner Bros. Discovery Sports President Departs

“His enthusiasm and light-hearted demeanor are among his most endearing qualities, and they will be missed.”

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Lenny Daniels is leaving Warner Bros. Discovery after 27 years with the company.

Daniels is the President of the company’s sports division in the United States, overseeing the contracts and strategic vision for the organization.

In a memo sent to staff obtained by Sports Business Journal, CEO Luis Silberwasser said “While this change will take place right away, Lenny has agreed to work with me to ensure a smooth transition.” He also added “I have enjoyed working with Lenny during these past few months and I respect his decision. Lenny has never been one to place a spotlight on himself; he’s always been quick to shine it on those around him. His enthusiasm and light-hearted demeanor are among his most endearing qualities, and they will be missed.”

The departure by Daniels coincides with a round of layoffs by the company and also the beginning of long-term agreements with the NHL and MLB. The network is also about to embark on negotiations with the NBA for its next media rights deal, with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO and President David Zaslav recently saying “we don’t have to have the NBA“.

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Rece Davis Believes Final Regular Season College GameDay Show Typically Most Hectic Due to Coaching Changes

“There were so many coaching changes and decisions, and we’re getting people on the phone. That was before everybody got comfortable with FaceTime.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Rece Davis

College GameDay was in Columbus this past weekend ahead of Ohio State’s annual rivalry game against Michigan, and host Rece Davis said a number of head coaching announcements throughout the show made for some pretty chaotic moments.

Luke Fickell being named the new head coach at Wisconsin and former Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule being hired at Nebraska were among the marquee hirings announced over the weekend.

On the College GameDay Podcast, Davis said trying to get information confirmed and incorporated into the show in real time was exhilarating.

“It was a bizarre, fun show that we’ve had over the years when we’ve gone to Ohio State/Michigan,” he said. “I remember the ’16 year that we extended the show to five hours. It was really fun, and then a really great game followed it. And there were so many coaching changes and decisions, and we’re getting people on the phone. That was before everybody got comfortable with FaceTime. But there were a lot of bizarre things going on.”

Podcast co-host and senior college football reporter Pete Thamel echoed Davis’ sentiments, saying he would do a hit on the show, then take out his earpiece and immediately get back on the phone to work on getting the most up to date information.

“It was whoa,” he said. “We did the first segment…and normally I would’ve stayed and watched to see what the guys had to say, but I just walked off the stage and went back and started making calls.”

In addition to the Wisconsin and Nebraska hirings, Thamel was also working on trying to figure out the situation at Auburn. He helped get Rhule on the show as well, and he said it was cool the show’s team was able to book guests so quickly from different locations in the country.

“We literally went coast to coast on GameDay with good interviews on Saturday,” he said.

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Disney CEO Bob Iger: Company Will Chase Profitability Over Growing Subscriber Base

“We have to start chasing profitability. It will be demanded of us.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Change is abound at Disney, but it’s welcomed change. CEO Bob Iger, who was announced as the replacement for Bob Chapek last week, said his goal is to help get the company’s financial ship righted.

“We have to start chasing profitability,” Iger told employees and executives at a town hall. “It will be demanded of us.”

Iger announced one of his first moves in returning to the CEO role was to shake up its digital media and entertainment distribution division. That branch of the company oversees its streaming services like Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Disney+ boasts tens of millions of subscribers, and Chapek focused heavily on reaching as many people as possible.

But Disney stock price has shrunk sharply over the course of the last year, and there have been other areas of the company in which there has been discourse. There was some belief that Disney could be up for sale.

Iger hopes things at the company can be turned around in due course, but he made one thing for certain: Disney and its properties are not for sale.

“Nothing is forever, but I’m very comfortable with the set of assets that we have,” he said. “I think they can serve our company, don’t expect any headlines soon about deals.”

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