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ESPN’s Jeff Passan Apologizes For Phrasing Regarding MLB Owners’ Labor Offer

“I took the phrasing of a source and mistakenly did not make clear they were his words, not mine.”

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ESPN Press Room

A remark made by ESPN baseball insider on the March 3 edition of the ESPN Daily podcast stirred up some controversy among Major League Baseball team owners and executives, who felt that the comment showed bias in favor of the players union and a lack of objectivity in reporting the MLB lockout.

Passan explained to ESPN Daily host Pablo Torre that he looked at the owners’ final offer after a long negotiating session at MLB’s imposed Feb. 28 deadline that ended past 2:30 a.m. and immediately asked players what they thought of it.

“I looked at the offer the next morning,” said Passan, “and I texted a few players, and I texted a few agents, and I said to all of them, ‘Are you really going to take this shit sandwich?'”

New York Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden was among those who reported that MLB executives and team owners were “outraged” over Passan — who works for one of baseball’s TV partners in ESPN — encouraging players and agents to turn down the league’s final offer.

On Monday, Passan apologized in a statement ESPN issued to several media outlets, including the New York Post and Front Office Sports, and clarified what he intended to say on the ESPN Daily podcast.

“On a podcast recently, I took the phrasing of a source and mistakenly did not make clear they were his words, not mine,” said Passan. “ESPN and fans rightfully expect me to be objective, and my record shows I’m extremely committed to representing all sides of a story. In this instance, I fell short of that standard.”

According to both the Post‘s Ryan Glasspiegel and Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy, ESPN said that it addressed the matter with Passan and was satisfied with his statement.

“We’ve addressed the situation with Jeff directly and as you can see from his statement, he understands his mistake,” said an ESPN spokesperson (via the Post). “We fully trust that going forward he will cover this important and sensitive topic in a fair manner.”

McCarthy went on to report that he’d been told ESPN did not penalize Passan with a suspension or fine for the remark.

From that, the reasonable conclusion to draw is that the network accepted Passan’s explanation that he mispoke and intended to quote a source with the “shit sandwich” remark, rather than make it sound as if that was his interpretation of the MLB owners’ final offer in the most recent negotiations with players.

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Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”

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TNT/Larry Brown Sports

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”.

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Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”

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Rich Eisen Show

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.

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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.’

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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.

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