The Celtics reportedly weren't interested in acquiring DeMarcus Cousins. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sport)s

The Celtics reportedly weren’t interested in acquiring DeMarcus Cousins. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sport)s

ESPN’s Bomani Jones appears to be slandering Boston again.

During a recent edition of his radio show, “The Right Time,” Jones was talking about teams that were linked to center DeMarcus Cousins, who was traded to the Pelicans Sunday. He says Cousins is fortunate he didn’t wind up in Boston, because it wouldn’t have worked for him here.

“I think all of us can say: DeMarcus Cousins in Boston probably wouldn’t have been the best idea.” Jones said. “For a number of reasons, it probably wouldn’t have been the best idea. Right?””

The possible reasoning behind Jones’ proclamation is ambiguous on the surface, but not difficult to surmise once you consider his history. Last month, Jones strongly hinted Celtics fans cheered for Jazz forward Gordon Hayward because he’s white, saying no other fan base would’ve reacted to him that way.

“Is there another arena in the whole country that would get this charged about Gordon Hayward maybe coming as a free agent? Clapping for Kevin Durant is one thing. But if you put Gordon Hayward on the same level as Kevin Durant, you might be the city that had the Kevin Love welcoming tour when he wasn’t even a free agent yet,” he said.

From a basketball standpoint, there’s little reason to think Cousins wouldn’t have fit with the Celtics. Head coach Brad Stevens has never publicly disparaged the three-time All-Star, and point guard Isaiah Thomas, who was teammates with Cousins in Sacramento, said last year it would be “really good” to play with him again.

Given the lack of convincing on-court evidence, it seems like Jones is once again needlessly introducing race to the conversation. Cousins has 17 technical fouls this season and is one of the most demonstrative players in the NBA. Jones, with his comment about Cousins not working in Boston for a “number of reasons,” appears to suggest Celtics fans would reject a passionate black player.

Jones isn’t the first ESPN host to allude to this point. In a podcast earlier this year, NBA analyst Amin Elhassan curiously said Celtics fans wouldn’t take to Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, presumably because he’s an outspoken black athlete.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Michael Smith and Jemele Hill previously hosted "His & Hers" on ESPN2. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Jemele Hill and Michael Smith previously hosted “His & Hers” on ESPN2. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

When ESPN first launched “The Six” with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, it was billed as a hipper version of “SportsCenter,” set to reclaim weeknight viewers who have fled the network’s outdated signature program. But in reality, the show is unimaginative and boring. There’s nothing edgy about it, unless you consider Smith’s proclivity to wear sneakers with his suit jacket to be wacky instead of forced.

Despite weeks of incessant on-air promotion, including a corny video that features Hill and Smith boogying to the 1988 hit, “It Takes Two,” ratings for the refurbished “SportsCenter” leave much to be desired. On Monday, three weeks after its debut, the show drew 568,000 viewers. That’s less than the 574,000 people who tuned into the 6:00 p.m. airing of “SportsCenter” on the same date one year ago.

Ratings for other ESPN programs are suffering as well. The audience for “Pardon the Interruption” was down 16 percent over the first two weeks of February compared to last year, giving “The Six” a depressed lead-in. But still, with all of the effort spent publicizing the show, the numbers are underwhelming –– just like the product.

At the start of Wednesday’s episode, Hill and Smith spent some time discussing DeMarcus Cousins’ debut press conference with the Pelicans. The most notable tidbit from the conversation was their insistence on calling him “Boogie,” as if they’re close pals. Smith went on to say he’s president of the “Free Boogie Fan Club,” while Hill giggled awkwardly.

Following a staid segment about Paul George’s future with the Pacers –– Smith kept calling him “PG” in a contrived attempt at informality –– the two moved on to Magic Johnson, who didn’t interview a black candidate for the Lakers’ general manager position before hiring agent Rob Pelinka. On The Undefeated, ESPN’s black-interest website, columnist Marc Spears quoted a couple of league executives who criticized Johnson for bypassing potential African-American applicants. Instead of responding with their own takes, Hill and Smith equivocated. They both said they “understand the frustration,” but also believe Johnson must do what he thinks is best for the organization.

“Jeanie [Buss] fired her blood brother. So if you don’t win enough games, she will fire her brother from another mother in a second,” Smith said.

It’s insulting to expect black sports commentators to feel strongly about race relations. But both hosts, especially Hill, have spoken passionately about the subject in the past. Last year, she hosted a televised town hall on ABC with President Barack Obama about race in America.

One of the apparent reasons why Hill enjoys a prominent role on ESPN is her willingness to engage on social issues. But yet, on “The Six,” she plays it down the middle.

And therein lies the biggest problem with the program: there’s nothing memorable about it. The discussions are stale, with Hill and Smith regurgitating talking points that are heard on ESPN throughout the day. Neither take a particularly strong stand on anything, and when they do, they usually side with the athlete in question. Somewhere along the line, ESPN decided to become a promotional vehicle for the players it covers. Hill and Smith, with their insistence on referring to NBA stars by their carefully branded nicknames, feed into that.

Hill and Smith don’t need to turn into screeching hyenas to have a successful talk show. But there must be some elements of provocation. The demonization of “hot take culture” has caused people to forget that nearly every popular sports pundit in history, from Howard Cosell to Michael Wilbon, has routinely shared strong opinions. Hill, who once said cheering for the Celtics is akin to calling Adolf Hitler a victim, is no stranger to controversy. While nobody is clamoring for Nazi analogies, it’s bizarre to see her play an even-tempered role. The show desperately needs a shot of adrenaline.

In order to generate interest, programs must give their audience something to reach to. Tedious segments, like Wednesday’s interminable discussion with analysts Jeff Goodman and Ryen Russillo about NBA trade rumors, don’t accomplish that. Those kinds of dry interviews are staples on indiscernible sports talk shows across the country. They shouldn’t be featured on a supposedly groundbreaking show that ESPN is counting on to help resurrect its “SportsCenter” franchise.

“The Six” is billed as innovative. But the truth is, you’ve seen it a million times before.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Hour 4. Milo is done after advocating for pedophilia. The guys dive into the Red Sox roster.
Hour 3. Kirk and Gerry's dream of doing play-by-play is over.
President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski joins Kirk and Gerry in Fort Myers.
Hour 2. John Steigerwald says Brady doesn't pass the eye test. Headlines with Kirk.
Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi joins Kirk and Gerry at spring training.

[0:03:13] ... Portland help transition. So. To sort of work. Everybody we all know Dustin Pedroia is that little man's disease it's got to appears at chippewa shall want that was too small and won MVP won rookie ...
[0:08:58] ... or something like that commercial which yours which are signature move months Michael Jackson. Oh that's right Michael Jackson. And one would. Hope it's much else of a certain analysts of the team effort tonight that was there. In a complete ...
[0:10:55] ... said it is the to me that you great sports are obstacles school sports are a whole thing. And greatest quarterback of all time. It was a double what grade and argue all the greatest quarterback the greatest player of the greatest coach greatest team those arguments. In my career all of them alive and well they're all dead. Tom Brady Bill Belichick kill the right sort of best players that's a and 617779. 793. Simple probably replacement and lingers over here. ...





Hour 1. Bomani brings up race again. Jemele was upset about Magic's GM hire. Keefe fight back.

Boston Globe Some residents in the Pioneer Valley have taken umbrage with a new rebranding effort that strips the three-county region of its longtime moniker in favor of an ostensibly hipper alternative — “West Mass.”

A petition on Change.org titled, “Stop ‘West Mass’ and Keep The Pioneer Valley!” contends that there’s no benefit to renaming the area, which includes Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.

“West Mass is awkward on the tongue,”one person wrote on the petition, which has been signed by 165 supporters. “Pioneer Valley is a name that reminds tourists and citizens just how historic the area is. Don’t waste your money or time.”

The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts teamed up last year to hire a creative agency from Oklahoma to come up with a new name, part of a broader marketing campaign to attract new visitors, residents, and businesses to the area.

This is the worst tourism campaign video I’ve ever seen in my life.

It stars Michael Jordan, auto-tune, touts the area’s “fertility” and tells people to “develop and visit!” and “find your first” there.

Find your first what??????

Holy moly is this a mess. Calling the area “West Mass” is the least of the Pioneer Valley people’s problems.

It’s like a mix of public access television and the Yankee Doodle song in the Always Sunny in Philadelphia beauty pageant.

With this as your inspiration, how can you go wrong?

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

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