The ESPN-Robert Lee controversy seems a tad overblown.
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1. I know we live in a time where if you don't have a strong, definitive take, you're not breathing. The worst thing you can do, especially if you're in sports media, is not have a hard stance, one way or the other on any and all issues. But in the case of this ridiculous ESPN/Robert Lee story, all I can offer is a shoulder shrug. I'd have no problem ripping ESPN over this, as everyone -- EVERYONE -- else is doing, but why can't this just be a stupid mistake and nothing more?
Quick summary: In light of what happened in Charlottesville two weekends ago, ESPN pulled play-by-play man Robert Lee from an upcoming Virgina-William&Mary football game because it didn't want him to be subjected to online ridicule and jokes over his name.
Yes, ESPN grossly overreacted in pulling Lee off the game. Yes, it was an over-the-top and completely unnecessary decision. But it wasn't coming from an evil or nefarious place. It came from a place of over-sensitivity. It also wasn't a political message. The network was thinking of their employee, not conservatives or liberals.
So why is this being treated like it's the end of the world? Personally, I'm more offended by fake arguments on First Take or Jon Gruden thinking every NFL player is a Hall of Famer. But hastily switching an announcer's assignment for a bizarre reason? We'll all live and it won't have any long-term ramifications. At the end of the day, it's really not a big deal and ESPN doesn't deserve the major crushing it's taking. A very tiny crushing would suffice in this situation.
In summing up, at least Bob Ley has a good sense of humor about this.
2. Best part of the Kyrie Irving trade to Boston? ESPN had a Cleveland radio host come on SportsCenter to discus the deal and they decided to take calls from fans. Cue the mention of a sex toy.
3. Dwyane Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union, are vacationing in Mykonos, Greece. Since a vacation doesn't count as a vacation unless you take selfies for social media, the couple tried to pull this off with Union getting on top of Wade's shoulders. However, security at the bar wasn't having it.
4. Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell used Twitter last night to let everyone know that he'll be in Steelers camp on Sept. 1. The holdout then let a retweet do all his talking.
5. Roman Reigns (you may have have heard he was on a podcast last week) was the subject of an SI video taken at a WWE event this past weekend in Brooklyn, N.Y. The question was simply, "Why do you hate Roman Reigns?"
It seems the Big Dog caught wind of the tweet even though he doesn't follow anyone on Twitter and actually retweeted the video while blasting those folks who answered the question. Major props to Reigns for that.
6. WFAN's Mike Francesa has some thoughts on the nude photos of Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn that ended up on an Internet.
7. I'd like to use this space to clear something up from Twitter. Yesterday, I saw a tweet from Variety stating that The Rock makes $650,000 per episode for Ballers. Out of curiosity, I wanted and HBO-to-HBO comparison, so I looked up Julia Louis-Dreyfus' salary. After seeing it, I sent this tweet.
Nobody loves The Rock more than me, but him getting $650K per ep for Ballers & Julia Louis Dreyfus getting $150K per for Veep is criminal.— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) August 22, 2017
Because Twitter is what it is, many people misinterpreted this as a knock on The Rock, while others thought I was trying to make a statement on sexism. I actually wasn't doing either one of those things.
This was not meant as a knock on The Rock in any way, shape or form. My intention was to point out that JLD is severely underpaid in comparison. I have no issue with The Rock getting $650,000 per. God bless him. If that's what he can get, that's what he should get. But from a performance standpoint, Veep is filet mignon and Ballers is cafeteria meatloaf.
And while one of the things that makes Veep outstanding is its amazing ensemble cast. JLD is a tour de force on that show. She has won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress SIX times. She's won the award the last five years in a row for Veep. The woman is a natural treasure, a legend and an icon. I will end this the same way I ended the whole saga on Twitter last night.
8. RANDOM WRESTLING VIDEO OF THE DAY: To prove I love the Rock, here are four minutes of his funniest moments.