A new episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel premieres Tuesday night (Feb. 22) at 10 p.m. ET. What will likely attract headlines is Gumbel’s interview with former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores and his lawyers, weeks after he filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL alleging racial discrimination in hiring head coaches.
In an excerpt released by HBO, Flores reveals that he declined to sign a non-disparagement agreement with the Dolphins upon his dismissal. And in doing so, the coach cost himself millions of dollars. But being able to speak out against the wrongs he and fellow Black coaches have experienced was worth it to him.
“It was two years, it was a contract, and he — you know, to Coach Flores’ credit — he wasn’t gonna sign that, because it wasn’t about the money,” said Flores’s lawyer Doug Wigdor. “If it was about the money, he would have signed it. What he did instead was he filed this lawsuit so that he could help other coaches, now and in the future.”
Check out the clip from HBO:
Flores was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers last week as a senior defensive assistant. But Gumbel asked if there was ever consideration to returning to the New England Patriots, where he was an assistant before becoming the Dolphins’ head coach.
But in his lawsuit, Flores highlighted a text message exchange with Bill Belichick in which the famed coach mistook Flores for another of his former assistants, Brian Daboll, and congratulated him on being hired for the New York Giants’ head-coaching position. Flores was scheduled to interview for that job days later.
Flores said that he hasn’t talked to Belichick since the lawsuit was filed and those text messages were revealed. In previous interviews, Flores said he included the messages without consulting Belichick. Gumbel then asked if he expected to speak with the Patriots coach.
“I mean, there’s potential that we could run into each other,” said Flores. “I mean, I’d be open to a conversation. But, no, if that… we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Gumbel’s full interview with Flores also discusses being hired by Mike Tomlin, the NFL’s only Black coach before Lovie Smith was hired by the Texans and the Dolphins replaced Flores with Mike McDaniel. Flores and his lawyers are also asked about the NFL recently hiring former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend the league against the discrimination lawsuit.
The latest episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel premieres Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO. The show is also available on-demand and HBO Max, in addition to repeat airings on HBO networks.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.