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Cari Champion Says She Never Felt Free to Be Herself at ESPN

“Obviously working at ESPN I didn’t feel free working in the world of being a Black woman, one of a few Black women in sports,” she said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Cari Champion

Cari Champion feels like she’s where she’s meant to be at this point in her career.

The former SportsCenter anchor and moderator of First Take told Jay Williams on his NPR podcast The Limits that she doesn’t feel pressure to be ever present on social media or in the know as a sports journalist.

“I don’t need to prove anything anymore because it doesn’t give me the same reward that it used to, which was I thought back in the day I needed that attention to be who I was,” Champion said. “And I don’t even need it and it feels great and it feels free.”

Williams asked if she felt trapped while working at ESPN, and Champion said she was put in a conflicting position as a woman of color.

“Obviously working at ESPN I didn’t feel free working in the world of being a Black woman, one of a few Black women in sports,” she said. “I never felt free. I never felt like I could bring my full self. And what that means is I didn’t know if I could raise my hand and say, ‘I think it’s unfair the way we’re covering Serena (Williams). We’re not giving her the benefit of the doubt considering A, B, C and D.’ Essentially using my knowledge as a Black woman growing up in a certain set of circumstances that could be more similar to hers where I could offer some perspective that could change the way in which we decided to cover this GOAT of a woman. And now I feel more free to do that.”

Champion hosts two podcasts and runs a foundation meant to give young girls of color access to mentors who will help set them up for success later in life. It’s just part of this new chapter of her life that she’s embracing a level of freedom she didn’t know previously.

“I’m free in every aspect just moving in the space I’m supposed to be in,” she said.

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LaVar Arrington, ‘Up On Game Presents’ Forges Multiplatform Deal With John Brenkus, Brinx.TV

The two entities have created a show called The NIL House, which will feature Brenkus and Rob Vaka discussing the latest news, biggest stories, athletes, collectives, and celebrities in the Name, Image, and Likeness space.

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Fox Sports Radio morning co-host LaVar Arrington has announced a multi-platform deal with creator and host of Sport Science John Brenkus and Brinx.TV.

The two entities have created a show called The NIL House, which will feature Brenkus and Rob Vaka discussing the latest news, biggest stories, athletes, collectives, and celebrities in the Name, Image, and Likeness space.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with a pioneer like John Brenkus and Brinx.TV,” said Arrington. “This relationship will dramatically expedite our slate of programming and positively impact the sports entertainment industry.”

“LaVar Arrington has dominated the world of sports on and off the field,” adds Brenkus. “By combining Up On Game and Brinx.TV’s distribution platforms, there really is no limit to our success.”

Up On Game Presents is the podcast platform Arrington curates, in conjunction with Fox Sports Radio. The Up On Game podcast features Arrington and former NFL Pro Bowl wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress.

Brinx.TV was created in February of 2021 and allows subscribers the ability to watch live programming while also make purchases, bid in auctions, buy NFTs, and answer trivia questions.

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Amazon Under Fire For TNF Halftime Show’s Handling of Tua Injury

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

Jordan Bondurant

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Tua

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a head injury in the 2nd quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The images of Tua’s injury and the reaction of his body to the injury shocked not only the other players and fans in the stadium, but also those watching the Thursday night game on Amazon Prime Video.

At halftime, Tony Gonzalez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Richard Sherman all offered their reactions, with host Charissa Thompson providing an update from the team.

But noticeably absent in that discussion and reaction was the fact that Tua was playing in the game and suffered a head injury less than a week after he was believed to have suffered a concussion in Miami’s Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills. Add in the fact that the NFL Players Association is also investigating whether league concussion protocols were followed, as Tua returned to that game and helped lead the Dolphins to a victory.

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

The network did provide a deeper discussion during its postgame show and Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit addressed the issue in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately it didn’t become a bigger discussion on the broadcast until social media became littered with negative reactions to the halftime show’s approach to discussing the various issues involving the Dolphins quarterback prior to his injury during Thursday night’s game.

With Amazon now in partnership with the NFL, it’ll be interesting to watch how the network handles future sensitive issues given what they experienced covering the Tua Tagovailoa story.

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Big Ten Would Expand If Amazon or Apple Wanted to Buy a Package of Games

According to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the Pac-12 is keeping close watch on what the Big Ten does in terms of nailing down a digital rights partner like Amazon.

Jordan Bondurant

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The dust has settled on recent conference expansion, but there’s room for additional growth in the Big Ten if the price is right.

According to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the Pac-12 is keeping close watch on what the Big Ten does in terms of nailing down a digital rights partner like Amazon.

Should the Big Ten agree to a deal with either an Apple or Amazon, it’s believed the conference would look to poach even more Pac-12 schools like California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington.

No figures have been formally made public, but a deal somewhere close to $100 million per season would be enough to convince Big Ten presidents to add four more members. No official vote by the Big Ten has been taken in terms of further conference expansion.

That domino falling would open the door for the Big 12 to swoop in and pick up Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah, essentially the final nail in the Pac-12 coffin.

Meanwhile the Pac-12 is already looking at negotiating a new media rights deal. Amazon has also been linked to the conference. One report suggested the tech giant could hammer out a deal that would allow for exclusive Friday night football coverage. Meanwhile Apple continues to seek adding more live sports to its Apple TV+ platform. The company is believed to be a frontrunner to get NFL’s Sunday Ticket package.

In addition to its Friday MLB game presentations that began this season, Apple also struck a deal with Major League Soccer for media rights, making Apple TV+ the exclusive home for MLS matches starting in 2023.

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