ESPN's Kevin Neghandhi shares Special Olympics stories as Betsy DeVos proposes funding cuts.
1. When new ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro took over for John Skipper, one of his top missions was to eliminate politics from the World Wide Leader. I stated numerous times that this would be an impossible task because people who work at ESPN are human beings and they can't help but be affected by things this inept administration does or wants to do.
Pitaro did say, "There will always be intersections between sports and politics. When that news happens, we are going to cover it." However, a quick check of ESPN.com does not turn up any stories about U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposing an $18 million cut to the Special Olympics as part of Donald Trump's budget for the 2020 fiscal year.
UPDATE/CORRECTION: ESPN.com does have a story covering this, which was not posted on the site's homepage today, so we missed it. Our apologies.
SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi, who has worked with Special Olympics for the past five years, covered DeVos's inhumane proposal in a powerful and heartfelt way by sharing the stories of some of the people who have participated in the event.
I’ve been a part of @SpecialOlympics w @espn for the last 5 years.. watching the growth, confidence and true happiness from the athletes and their families has changed my life.. The Movement touches everyone involved.. there are so many stories to share from @worldgamesAD (1)— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) March 27, 2019
Malachie Nibiyikora - 16 yrs old— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) March 27, 2019
*chained to a pole in a Tanzanian refugee camp for his own protection as a kid
*"brave in the attempt" with 5th and 7th participation ribbons @WorldGamesAD
*once shunned, he’s a hero where he grew up because @SpecialOlympics (3) pic.twitter.com/z1IxwW3fz3
Joseph Bradley - 19 yr old HS senior— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) March 27, 2019
*"Miracle son" survived near-death abuse as a two year old
*Won a gold and 2 bronze in equestrian @WorldGamesAD
*first Alabama @SpecialOlympics athlete to attend an International games in a decade
*first family trip out of the US (5) pic.twitter.com/9VKJJmMfkc
The power of inclusion is not just a 2-week @SpecialOlympics event.. it has a daily impact on athletes, families, friends, coaches, unified partners, volunteers.. you realize what is most important--to live life without judgement, w an open mind and heart #ChoosetoInclude (END)— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) March 27, 2019
This was a perfect way for Negandhi to address the situation. He kept his bosses happy by never mentioning that DeVos and Trump are awful and he let the message of each story speak for itself. That's how you do it.
I know, now, that some of you will fire off an angry tweet or email about "fake news" because nothing has been cut yet and it's just a proposal. Well guess what? Just proposing cuts to the Special Olympics, not to mention a 26% reduction to state grants for special education and millions of dollars in cuts to programs for students who are blind, makes you a horrible, cold, callous person.
2. The newest Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features an interview with Darren Rovell. The senior executive producer for the Action Network talks about whether it was difficult to leave ESPN for his new company, the challenges of working for a startup, his daily responsibilities, what he’s learned about gamblers, whether he likes sportsbooks offering refunds for losing wagers, what gamblers want from media outlets that cover gambling, remaining in the sports business world, his reaction to Zion Williamson’s shoe exploding, whether Tony Romo is worth $10 million a year and much more.
3. I bet you never thought you'd see a commercial in which Mike Trout and Andrew Luck dance up a storm, but here you go.
4. The Phillies have one day to make this right for Jake Arrieta.
5. Kobe Bryant appeared on the Late Late Show with James Corden on Tuesday night and participated in a game of "Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts." The former Laker said he was better than Michael Jordan and LeBron James, but the best highlight came about five minutes in when Corden was asked how much of Bryant's new book he read since he promoted it on the show. It was great to see Corden squirm while the curtain got pulled back a little on the nonense of people going on late night shows to promote a book.
6. If you care more about Lance Stephenson stepping on Jeff Green's foot instead of the reaction of the Lakers' bench to Stephenson making Green twist like a pretzel, you're no fun.
7. I don't want to throw cold water on this story about the The Rock meeting a group of kids on their way to a baseball game, but these young people were in diapers when The Rock was entertaining the world as The Great One in the WWE.
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For the most part, my life is insane & relentless, but when I’m caught in a surprise moment like this it makes me happy and warms my cold black 🖤 heart. I posted a vid a few days ago of me pulling up along side a bus of hyped high school baseball players who recognized me in my truck. Here’s the angle from one of the player’s phones. The players went on line and thanked me for this “pre game pep talk” and then went out and beat the other team 23-1. Yes. 23 to 1 👀 👏🏾👏🏾💪🏾 And listen boys, clearly me driving my pick up truck with dried mud all over the damn thing says I don’t ever give a shit about trying to impress anyone. And neither should you. Just stay focused on your goals and keep being the hardest workers in the room. It’ll always pay off for the rest of your lives. Thanks for making my day & keep kickin ass 👊🏾 #LovettBaseball #TruckDrivingMan #HardestWorkersInTheRoom
8. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Since I mentioned The Rock...
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IN CLOSING: The new pass interference rule will be a disaster.