Discover more from MutStack
Friday Four-Pack 11.17.23
Local and national sports media in focus. A Patriots theory. ESPN Bet PSA. NFL Picks!
It’s wild how the sports media/social media news cycle works.
Fox/Prime’s Charissa Thompson was a guest on the wildly popular Barstool Sports podcast Pardon My Take this week. In the episode, she admitted that at times early in her career as a sideline reporter at Fox, she would make things up.
“I’ve said this before, so I haven’t been fired for saying it, but I’ll say it again. I would make up the report sometimes,” Thompson said in a recent interview on “Pardon My Take,” “because, A, the coach wouldn’t come out at halftime, or it was too late and … I didn’t want to screw up the report, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to make this up.’”
Thompson, 41, added that she assumed that “no coach is going to get mad” if she misled viewers into thinking they had simply voiced some well-worn clichés, such as, “Hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves, we need to be better on third down, we need to stop turning the ball over and do a better job of getting off the field.”
This has become a HUGE story. From ‘Journalism Watchdogs’ debating if she should be fired or not, to dozens of female sideline reporters absolutely sewering her on social media. A small sampling -
Later on in the interview Dan, PFT, and Charissa got into whether or not they read the comments from ‘fans’ on social media. From Charissa on PMT:
“Someone is not going to like the way you look… or like your hair…or not like what you’re wearing. Who cares. As long as I stay employed and the people I work with and the people I work for are good with me, then I don’t really care what ‘Joe in the basement’ thinks of me.”
And that’s the question now - will Fox and Prime be okay with a few days (weeks?) of their lead NFL host being mocked all over social media for making things up? Or potentially being a punchline for their viewers going forward? Cause posts like this are going to become pretty common.
The sideline reporter job is already frequently mocked and this isn’t going to help. I think that’s why you’re seeing so much pushback from other sideline reporters on this. This unfairly puts the whole profession under fire.
Getting back to the sports media/social media news cycle - it’s wild that Thompson was open about this two years ago on a podcast with Erin Andrews, but now it’s a story. The Barstool Bump, for sure.
I do not think she should be fired. I think how flippantly she talked about it on PMT was a bad look for her - like it wasn’t a big deal. It is, but it was also 15 years ago and she’s in a different role now. Facilitator/host, not reporter.
I wonder if the NFL has a say in her future with the league’s broadcasts.
If I had to bet, Thompson issues an apology to start the Fox Pregame show Sunday morning. And by next week, the sports media/social media news cycle will be on to the next headline. Comments are open below for your take.
And for the record, when I was the sideline reporter for the Parx Derby in September, I did not make anything up. Those quotes from the horses were real. And all those losing, chalky picks were my own.
Even more sports media coverage - along with a Patriots theory and a very important sports betting note at the end - are part of today’s Four-Pack.
Thanks for reading MutStack ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work!
TODAY’S FOUR-PACK IS PRESENTED BY MAD PROPS
FREE NFL PICK’EM AND A POKER BONUS!!!
By now you know our friends at Mad Props have launched their official NFL Pick'em game! It's FREE to play and this week's top prize is a $250 Amazon Gift Card!
Make your picks against the spread right here. Hit “Pick’ Em” in the lower-right corner to start. Easy!
And this week, if you make your Pick’ Em picks on Mad Props, you’re eligible to double your winnings in their free Poker and Pigskin Poker Freeroll on Monday Night November 20.
Hit the offers tab on Mad Props to opt-in to this FREE tournament on Monday Night. Just use the link below! Good luck!
On a Patriots theory…
The walls are closing in on Mac Jones. Andrew Callahan says the Pats locker room is “80-20” out on the QB. Mark Daniels reports guys won’t even look at him. He threw an embarrassing INT to close out an ugly loss in Germany. An INT so bad it somehow overshadowed his coach’s incompetence in trying to block a punt with no return man. Or giving the Colts a free FG try before half because he didn’t use a time-out.
When Mac threw that pick, he looked like he was about to cry. His lackluster play and postgame reporting all point to a QB about to be benched.
YET…he was taking first-team reps at practice this week.
So my working theory is this - if Mac gets the start next Sunday vs. the Giants, it’s a sure sign Bill Belichick is not coming back next year. If he was, he’d have control and bench Mac, right? What if he doesn’t? What if the owners want to see Mac continue to start - they are Mac fans. And what if they already have a deal with Bill? Dan Orlovsky thinks he’s gone. So does Gary Myers.
If Bill does bench Mac, I hope Malik Cunningham gets the call. Bailey Zappe stinks. Will Grier’s last real NFL pass was in 2019. Woof. Give us Cunningham.
Interesting week coming up for a very uninteresting (on the field) football team.
On the follow-up to the Toucher and Rich breakup…
I heard the remaining half of Toucher and Rich, Fred Toucher, mention this past Monday he was going to try and do a segment each day about the departure of his former co-host Rich Shertenlieb “because people care about it.”
Sports radio as a whole seems to be getting away from the “naval gazing,” as Dale Arnold used to call it. But listeners, like me, love that stuff.
As far as the show this week, Fred worked with Hub regulars Ryan Johnston and Dan Roche. It remains to be seen if he brings in different voices before his new show launches on January 2. He mentioned last Friday how many people would love to get a shot at the now-vacant Shertenlieb Seat.
It makes sense to create some buzz with open auditions, even if the next host is already in the building.
The clear favorite to replace Rich is Rob “Hardy” Poole. Hardy is currently the third voice on the station’s midday show, Zolak and Bertrand. He has a strong production background, can talk about a lot more than sports, and has good chemistry with Toucher. If you’re looking for both station and show continuity, he’s probably the right call.
He is another who at one point was rumored to have been courted by WEEI.
Felger and Mazz third voice Jim Murray said on Facebook this week he’s “100% not interested.” So cross him off the list. Beasley Media just posted the job on the website Tuesday.
Wild card choices? Working on it. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below. But Hardy is the clear favorite. 2-1, 9/5, somewhere in those odds on my line.
Some other quick notes on this huge story.
RE: Rich to WEEI. Radio silence on that front, but an industry veteran asked via text after reading the Four-Pack, “Where is Audacy going to get the money to pay him (Rich)?” Good question.
I do not know if Rich has an official non-compete clause in his deal. In Massachusetts, those have become harder to enforce. Beasley Media could still hold his contract through the end of the year, so the loud denials around him being in the WEEI offices last week are not a huge surprise.
His former competition in morning drive, Greg Hill, signed a new multi-year deal with Audacy on Thursday. Complete with this super funny video!
I mentioned Fred talked about Rich on his show Monday. Even gave him some “advice.” Full segment here.
“I heard the rumors… that he was at EEI…if I was Rich, I would not want to work at a sports station. I would want to get away from it. Like wouldn’t you? Like wouldn’t you, if you had this opportunity, wouldn’t you want to get away from sports,” Toucher asked his co-hosts Monday.
“As someone who still does care about him and I truly like him, I would hope that he just does something where he can just flex that comedic bone man and have fun,” “He doesn’t like negativity. He doesn’t like being drawn into it with the likes of me. Just go somewhere fun, like go somewhere where it’s more fun, where you don’t have to talk about this crap.”
“My advice to Rich would be like, ‘Dude, you’re great at production. You just want to have fun…go get a radio job that’s super fun, like where people aren’t dicks. I don’t know why you’d want to do sports radio.”
“Do something where you can just have fun and be goofy. No one’s going to call you out. You don’t have to talk about sports. You don’t have to be negative,’ ” he said. “He hates all that negative stuff. Just go do that. I swear to God I think that would be the best thing for him.”
It came across as Fred talking down to Rich. Don’t know if Rich would agree. Or if he listened. Appears Dave Cullinane agrees.
Some lingering tension, for sure. The more time passes, the more likely it is we get more of that. We’ll see if Rich ever has a platform to give his side of the story, publicly. Or if he even wants to.
On a busy sports/horse betting notebook…
ESPN BET, formerly Barstool Sportsbook, officially launched in Massachusetts this week. And if you were a Barstool user in the past, you got a pretty sweet offer. All you had to do was make any bet on ESPN BET and you received 4x $50 bonus bets. If you did this, like I did, PLEASE NOTE THESE BETS EXPIRE SEVEN DAYS AFTER YOU PLACED YOUR FIRST BET. That’s most important. As far as using these bets, I’d only be playing underdogs or future bets. This video is three years old and involves some math, but it explains the logic behind trying to get the most from these bonuses.
A state-record $571 million was bet on sports in Massachusetts in October. DraftKings led the way with a handle of $304 million. And they’re looking for a few more dollars from bettors. That’s because an error on opening night in the NBA allowed customers to cash in big.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission allowed then-Barstool to void winning bets back in September after players were able to place player props AFTER games started. The MGC warned them next time they might not be so forgiving. So if they’re being consistent, they’ll give DraftKings the same deal. This is worth millions to DraftKings across the country. Shitty deal for players in Massachusetts, but I think the precedent has been set.
Meanwhile, over in the world of pari-mutuel wagering, a user on FanDuel may have been able to hack the system and create “free” bets of his own
For example, the bettor made $554,400 in wagers into the super high five pool at Churchill Downs in the fourth race on Wednesday, using the “all” button in all five spots, at $220 for each of 2,520 combinations, insuring 220 winning tickets. On paper, that generated $85,434 in winning tickets, but a net loss of $468,966.
If the bettor was able to make bets at a fraction of the true cost, then the net calculation could have a vastly different result. If, for example, the system was not deducting any money from the player’s account, the net result for the Churchill race was an $85,434 profit. At 10 cents on the dollar, the net result would still be a profit of nearly $30,000.
On our Week 11 NFL Picks…
Week 8: 0-3
Week 9: 3-0
Week 10: 0-3
We lost the side and the under in a game that featured just four field goals in the second half and a horrendous non-call that did not go our way.
And then we lost our player prop by one completion. One. On to Week 11.
RAMS +1 V. SEAHAWKS. (-110, EVERYWHERE). With Matthew Stafford set to return and the schedule softening, I think the Rams are about to go on a little run. Nine wins is not impossible. They don’t seem to care about draft picks - if they did they’d sit Stafford even longer. Instead, he’s back this weekend against the 23rd-ranked pass defense by DVOA. The same passing defense that just gave up 312 3/0 103.9 to Sam Howell. Rams coach Sean McVay 10-4 ATS vs the Seahawks. Over the last six games 6-0. Seattle was life and death to beat Washington while the Rams rested on the bye. LA receivers appear healthy. Rams. Big.
DOLPHINS V. RAIDERS UNDER 46.5. (-110, ESPN Bet). The Dolphins are going to roll here. Home after the bye. The Raiders will not be able to slow down the Dolphins on defense or keep up on offense. Vegas is a bottom-four neutral-situation pace team since they fired Josh McDaniels. They’re firing off the second-fewest plays per game on the season. Miami scores a lot, but DVOA Pace Numbers have them chewing the 11th most seconds off the clock per play. Explosive, yes. Fast, not really. Big lead early, sit on it, under.
DJ CHARK UNDER 25.5 REC YARDS (DK, -115). I could lose this with just one long pass in the first quarter. Yep. But Chark has been a non-factor in Carolina. He has just 12 catches on 22 targets over his last five games. And coming off the bye, it will not be surprising to see rookie Johnathan Mingo and expensive free agent Miles Sanders much more involved in the Panthers’ passing game.
Working on a plan for Thanksgiving week. Might get your Four-Pack early. What a tease!
As always, thanks for reading.