By Jimmy Traina
April 27, 2017

The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina

1. So, there was A LOT of reaction to what I wrote in Wednesday's "TRAINA THOUGHTS" about the ESPN layoffs. Even though I know I won't change one opinion out there, I will now attempt to clear up a few things based on Tweets I've received about the piece. I know this is the Trump Era and facts don't matter, but I'll still make the effort to provide them. I'm not posting the Twitter handles of people who sent in replies, but each and every one is legit.

* "No one is truly happy folks are losing their livelihoods. But @espn as a company? SUPER happy they're failing. 

ESPN may not have the reach and profits they once had but they are hardly failing. From Ad Age:

"While the rise of cord-cutters and cord-nevers has taken a bite out of ESPN's overall reach, the flagship network's staggering subscription fees pump billions of dollars into its coffers every year. With an estimated affiliate fee of $7.86 per sub per month, ESPN is on track to take in $8.25 billion in subscriber revenue this year alone, a figure that does not include contributions from the spinoff networks ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network."

* "You are correct that ESPN has too many big contracts for sporting events. But I stopped watching bc of the liberal agenda."

There is NO liberal agenda during the broadcast of games. If you're watching debate shows (where maybe there is a liberal agenda, I honestly don't know because I don't watch) over actual sporting events, that's your problem. Stop watching anything that isn't a game and you'll love ESPN again.

* You don't know that NFL is on Fox? NBC? CFB on ABC?"

ABC is ESPN. 

* "Can't help but feel like ESPN bailed on bread×butter (highlights and anchors) for the high growth potential of a personality driven platform."

In 2017, highlights are far from bread and butter. Everyone gets highlights on their phones or on niche networks like MLB Network, NBA TV, etc. The days of a highlights carrying a studio show are long over.

* "This is lazy & out of context. I am one of those -- I no longer watch ESPN AT ALL w/ exception of @notthefakeSVP & live games. But that is IT."

He doesn't watch ESPN AT ALL except all the stuff he watches on ESPN.

* "You can watch all of those sports without watching ESPN numbnuts. Only CFB has their postseason on the network."

 Wrong. ESPN airs an NFL playoff game. ESPN airs an MLB playoff game. ESPN also air the NBA playoffs (along with TNT) and the NBA Finals.

* "IMO, the perception of the network changed when Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner got the courage award over the dying girl.  Showed lefty politics rule."

If you care about ANYTHING that happens at the ESPY's, a fake, made-up awards show, get help from a professional ASAP.

* "And truth is I know a lot of people who don't watch the NFL or NBA anymore. Me included. Same problem. Identity politics."

More people watched the NFL this past season than the year before. From Sports Business Daily:

"From the first week of the season, the most essential fact in understanding NFL viewing was that more people watched NFL games this season than in 2015. This was true early in the season, became even more true later in the year, and stayed true through the Super Bowl. Nearly 203 million people watched the 2016 NFL regular season across all networks, a gain of roughly 5 million over the 2015 season."

And here's how the NBA is doing, via The Futon Critic:

"The 2017 NBA Playoffs on ESPN and ABC delivered double-digit metered market ratings increases in the second weekend of action. The seven weekend games from April 21-23 delivered a 2.7 average metered market rating, up 13 percent from last season's second playoff weekend, a 2.4, according to Nielsen​."

Oh, those damn facts!

2. Who would've guessed that the sports television personality who had the classiest words about the ESPN layoffs would be TNT's Charles Barkley?

3. If you'd like to make your NFL Draft experience a little more interesting tonight, there are a slew of prop bets being offered by 5Dimes.com. Here are some notable ones:

QBs selected in Round 1
Over 3 1/2: +160
Under 3 1/2: -195

Place kicker selected in Round 1-3
Yes: +450
No: -675

SEC players selected in Round 1
Over 11: -140
Under 11: +110

Alabama players selected in Round 1
Over 4.5: -160
Under: -130

Christian McCaffrey draft position
Over 8 1/2: -140
Under 8 1/2: +100

Dehaun Watson draft position
Over 12 1/2: -135
Under 12 1/2: -105

Dalvin Cook draft position
Over 26 1/2: +145
Under 26 1/2: -185

Joe Mixon draft position
Over 46 1/2: +190
Under 46 1/2: -270

4. Based on this story, Golfer Grayson Murray should probably give up social media permanently.

5. Tim Tebow update.

6. LeBron James and his ridiculous abs clearly enjoy working out. (Warning: Instagram contains music with naughty words.)

7. Dwyane Wade had no time for defense against the Bulls last night.

8. You'll never watch Goodfellas the same way again after seeing Robert DeNiro on Snapchat.

9. THE DAILY ROCK: The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin show off their incredible chemistry after a match in 1998.

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