Like It or Not, ESPN Remains Consistent When Talking Politics: Traina Thoughts

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1. This might seem like an odd day to defend ESPN, but I'm going to do it anyway.

I absolutely detest the idea of ESPN higher-ups muzzling their talent on any subject. I didn't like it when they did it with Dan LeBatard, who spoke out about Donald Trump's "send them back" nonsense and I don't like them sending out memos telling staff that any discussion of the Daryl Morey/Adam Silver/NBA/China/Hong Kong story must avoid political opinions. 

ESPN is terrified of scaring off even a single viewer by not sticking to sports, so they are going to ban non-sports talk of any kind. I've always hated that policy (and Sports Illustrated doesn't have that policy as you can see here), but many people have supported that policy because they don't want politics mixing with sports and they claim ESPN is running a business so it's stupid to anger customers, etc.

Of course, that's all code for, "stick to sports unless your non-sports opinion is the same as mine." And right on cue, many people who defended ESPN's no-politics policy when it came to the awful person in the White House are now mad that ESPN won't let its talent weigh in on the NBA/China controversy.

You can't be mad that Le Batard ripped racist speech and then turn around and be mad that ESPN isn't bashing the NBA for its stance on the China/Hong Kong issue.

That would be hypocritical and inconsistent. Thanks to its very clear "no politics" policy (which, again, in my opinion, stinks), ESPN can't be accused of those two things.

There is some levity to this situation. During Tuesday's First Take, Stephen A. Smith tried to get political while discussing this topic and even brought up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The panic that overcame hot take moderator Molly Qerim as she frantically tried to throw things to commercial was hysterical.

2. Some interesting media news came down Tuesday. If you plan on watching the XFL, New York Post media reporter Andrew Marchand reports that Steve Levy, Pat McAfee and Dan Orlovsky will be ESPN's lead broadcast team while Curt Menefee and Joel Klatt will call the games on FOX.

Also, the very popular NBA podcasters, The Starters, have landed at The Athletic. 

3. So Richard Sherman flat out lied about Baker Mayfield not shaking his hand and then got all pissy about getting caught in the lie on Twitter? It doesn't get more bush league than that.

At least Sherman's nonsense was good for something. Good Morning Football's Kyle Brandt went all Zapruder on Wednesday's show to break down handshakegate.

4. Dear fellow bettors, bet the NFL dogs. They have been barkin'.

5. Ben Simmons hit a three-pointer Tuesday night, the first of his career, and even though it came in a preseason game, this was really the only meme that could sum up the accomplishment.

6. Every now and then, Twitter is good.

7. This week's SI Media Podcast will be delayed by a day. Instead of our usual Wednesday release, the podcast will come out at 6 a.m. ET Thursday. It will be heavy on ratings talk for the NFL, college football, MLB and WWE. Plus, there will be a wrestling segment to break down all the latest news. Subscribe here.

8. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: The best part of the Jim-Pam wedding entrance dance was the way Steve Carrell delivered the line, "Did you see this? It was on YouTube."

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.