The network did not stick to sports after Chauvin was found guilty on all charges.
1. When the news broke late Tuesday afternoon that former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, ESPN made a surprising decision.
The network shelved its regular sports programming and went with full SportsCenter coverage of the verdict from about 5 p.m. ET until 7:30 p.m. ET, when it had to air a Mets-Cubs game.
Sports Illustrated reached out to ESPN to ask about the network’s decision to cover the event in such a big way.
An ESPN spokesperson pointed to this tweet from the official SportsCenter account, which stated Floyd’s murder became “the catalyst for the sports world’s racial justice movement.”
The spokesperson added, “Our flagship news program SportsCenter documented the unfolding news live and we will continue to capture the powerful intersection of sports and society through reaction, commentary and breaking news.”
Naturally, there are people out there who weren’t happy with ESPN’s decision. Of course, those are people who already have a bias against ESPN; there’s really no logical reason why someone should be upset that ESPN decided to cover one of the most important events in recent years for a couple of hours on a random Tuesday in April.
I give ESPN credit for dedicating time to covering the verdict for one simple reason: The network knew it would generate some blowback on social media and did it anyway. More networks, companies, etc., need to realize they shouldn’t always worry about feedback from Twitter, which is not real life, and should instead just do their thing.
As for the coverage, SportsCenter anchors Kevin Negandhi and Elle Duncan impressively navigated a very emotional story. They stepped out of their comfort zones by covering a hard news event instead of a sports event, and also managed to direct traffic during the development of a story with a lot of moving parts. They handled the extra challenges and stress as professionally as possible.
2. The Good Morning Football crew of Kay Adams, Nate Burleson, Peter Schrager and Kyle Brandt also did an excellent job Wednesday morning stepping out of their comfort zone and discussing the importance of the Chauvin verdict.
3. Remember last week when Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards revealed he didn’t know who Alex Rodriguez was?
GQ has an outstanding Q&A with Edwards about the scandal. Here is one of the more amusing snippets.
GQ: You didn’t watch any games or highlights to verify that with your own eyes?
Edwards: Nah, I ain’t watch none, nah. I know he date J-Lo [Jennifer Lopez], though.
GQ: He does not.
GQ: He used to date J-Lo, but they just broke up.
GQ: You look like you’re disappointed.
Edwards: Yeah, I am.
GQ: Any reason?
Edwards: He gonna be my owner, I want him to be happy.
4. The Season 2 trailer for Ted Lasso has dropped. The Apple TV show will return July 23.
5. Shaq doesn’t think the Knicks are back. Candace Parker thinks the Knicks are back. The result was this amusing back-and-forth Tuesday night.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with gambling guru Todd Fuhrman. The former Caesars Palace oddsmaker talked about the viral videos involving a fan telling Mets first baseman Pete Alonso the over/under before he homered and another fan talking gambling with Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Fuhrman also gave an overview on where we stand with legalized gambling, like which states are doing it right and which are doing it wrong. He also explained the importance of being able to shop for the best odds, which sport has benefited the most from legalized gambling, how the NCAA tournament and the Masters fared from a betting standpoint, his best and worst losses this season, how much baseball betting has changed over the years, rule changes wreaking havoc on bettors and much more.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: If you have somehow missed these brilliant and hilarious videos from comedian Scott Seiss that have gone viral over the past few days, you need to check them out now and then follow him on Twitter and TikTok. I don’t want to describe them. Just go in fresh and watch from start to finish. I guarantee you will laugh.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.