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Jeff Van Gundy: NBA blocked Stan from ESPN
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On October 21, 2012 @ 9:59 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY Sports
Networks pay millions, even billions, to show games from marquee leagues. But are they essentially just ad agencies at the beck and call of those leagues? Sometimes it seems like it.
Jeff VanGundy, ESPN/ABC’s lead NBA game analyst, suggests his brother Stan‘s failure to land a studio analyst role at ESPN raises big questions about whether ESPN’s NBA coverage can be reasonably independent.
Jeff, who hadn’t previously spoken publicly on the issue until an interview with USA TODAY Sports, says his brother “had a basic agreement” to become an ESPN/ABC analyst in the marquee studio shows that wrap around game coverage: “And then something changed. There’s certainly circumstantial evidence that something from the outside — presumably the NBA — changed (ESPN’s) thinking. … I was happy when they came to an agreement and shocked when they pulled their offer.”
Obviously it’s personal for Jeff. And after ESPN asked Jeff to help recruit Stan, “Obviously this stings. Frankly, it’s a shame what happened.”
Going forward? “As a broadcaster of the NBA, it give you pause,” Jeff says. “How forthcoming can you be? You don’t want your honesty to cost you a chance at employment.This is a shot across the bow.”
Jeff’s big picture: “This is an organization that’s treated me great. But this raises interesting questions about what a (league-network) partnership means. You have to realize, as a fan, you’re not getting the whole truth. … It seems like there are certain people in each sport that (TV) can’t criticize, or you can’t criticize the league itself. That’s what impressed me when (ESPN’s) Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden criticized the NFL over replacement refs. That (Commissioner) Roger Goodell didn’t throw a hissy fit at ESPN was impressive.”
Stan, fired by the Magic in May, has been quite vocal that the NBA kept him from getting an ESPN job, telling SheridanHoops.com that Commissioner David Stern “likes to control everybody and I said things he didn’t like.” (For example: Stan two years ago compared Stern to Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, saying Stern doesn’t “tolerate other people’s opinion or free speech or anything.”)
Sunday, ESPN’s Mike Soltys said, “We … [For more on Jeff Van Gundy: NBA blocked brother Stan from ESPN job, click here.]
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