ESPN’s coverage of Daryl Morey and NBA’s China problem is laughable


In this mixed up, shook up, angry world it’s therapeutic finding humor in the story of Rockets GM Daryl Morey  He would not be recognizable walking down the streets of Manhattan, but with a few choice words on Twitter, “Fight For Freedom Stand with Hong Kong,” Morey, without water balloons or bombs, triggered an international incident Advertisement  That’s hilarious. If it doesn’t have you laughing, maybe this will:  Morey sent plenty of powerful suits, including NBA boss Adam Silver and new Nets owner Joe (Joey Billions) Tsai, scurrying to cover their tuchis’ — and wallets An NBA junket turned into a nightmare, made even funnier when Tsai decided it was a swell idea to lecture the unwashed masses on his version of what really is going down in China  And Silver, who the media anointed as the “commissioner-with-a conscience,” suddenly saw his title evaporating into “money-first-phony,” leading him to flip-flop on Morey Yet it depended on whether you read the NBA’s statement in English or Mandarin to figure out whether the league and Silver actually have Morey’s back  Yes, all this was hysterical.  Just like video of workers tearing down giant posters of NBA players from a hotel, as if that symbolic act alone would kill the Chinese citizens interest in the NBA Just like ESPN’s vanilla coverage of the whole controversy. Like the NBA, ESPN makes money in China too Let’s just say we didn’t hear ESPN voices bashing either the Chinese government or Silver, whose sole mission was to do whatever it took to preserve lucrative relationships worth major moolah to the NBA  No surprise ESPN played it safe, like how the loss of Chinese dough will affect the NBA salary cap Even Stephen A. Smith back-pedaled, confining his ranting to the (boring) corporate angle SAS (he’s made this point many times before) said if you work for a corporation issue your political opinions at your own risk  ESPN’s major journalistic accomplishment was not offending Yao Ming.  Congratulations  Even funnier was the media’s outraged/pious reaction over a PR person not allowing a couple of players to answer a particular question from a CNN reporter You didn’t have to travel to China to see a player told not to answer a reporter’s question Or to see a reporter banned from an NBA team’s press conference. For several years it happened here, in the good old USA when the Knicks, under James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan’s regime, used those tactics on Daily News Knicks beat writers  Spied on them too.  Hopefully it will get funnier when the NBA entourage leaves China and returns home Presumably, the players will comment on the situation unless: 1) Silver has told them not to or 2) Players making significant moolah from Chinese companies will look to protect their income by avoiding the topic This could leave them open to questions about whether they are only interested in commenting on social justice issues in the USA  Hypocrites?  This is going to put some players on the spot. More fun. Thanks Mr Morey. CARLIN CONFUSION  Entercom suit Susan Larkin threatening not to pay the remainder of Chris Carlin’s WFAN contract, if he appeared for more than 30 minutes Wednesday on ESPN-98 7’s “The Michael Kay Show,” had us confused. Advertisement  It doesn’t matter that Carlin has a standard non-compete clause in his contract It was Larkin who made the call to fire the Big Fella and keep Maggie Gray and Bart Scott on the team formerly known as CMB  Well embedded FAN moles say Carlin was behind the 8-ball from the get-go because Larkin was never a fan of his work  If Larkin never had any use for Carlin, if he was so terrible in her mind, why would she even care if he appeared as a guest on another show? She knew even if Carlin stayed on Kay’s show for three hours, he wasn’t going to significantly move the ratings needle That’s why this was more about sticking it to Carlin than anything else.  Still, when we analyze Entercom’s reaction to Carlin’s appearance on the Kay show, and the way he was abruptly bounced from FAN, we wonder if there is a more significant underlying reason why Carlin was exiled and Gray and Scott survived? HOT FOR SMOLTZ  There will be a Public Enemy No 1 for Yankees fans during the ALCS.  And it won’t be Jose Altuve.  Fox’s No. 1 MLB analyst John Smoltz, who is working with Joe Buck, will be the target Yankee fans run hot and cold with Buck, but judging from the reaction Smoltz received, especially inside the Valley of the Stupid, during Twins-Yankees ALDS, he will be on the hot seat  Typical was 98.7’s Alan Hahn, who took Smoltz to task for appearing blasé about the Bombers dominance Other Gasbags found the Braves Hall of Fame pitcher “too technical” and “wordy.”  Buck can take Smoltz off the hot seat by telling a few bad jokes GANG GASE  Joe Benigno continues going scorched-earth on the Jets and anyone else who is cutting Adam Gase slack, including his WFAN colleague Norman Julius Esiason  Benigno, whose Jets rants, often irrational but always scintillating, flat-out accused NJE of cozying up to, and protecting, Christopher Johnson by going soft on Gase “I’ve got to hear Boomer make excuses for Gase,” Benigno said on the air. “I know Boomer is buddy-buddy with the owner but come on ”  He lumped the Jets media into one group saying they all “give Gase a break” then, once again, took aim at Greg Buttle and Dan Graca, co-hosts of 98 7’s Jets pre and postgame show. “I’m sure those idiots on that stupid postgame show are giving Gase a break,” Benigno said  If Benigno had any scallions he would invite Buttle and Graca on his show. Oh, we forgot ESPN mouths can’t appear on FAN Too bad. AROUND THE DIAL  It appears Fox’s Kevin Burkhardt has finally taken control of Fox’s postseason MLB studio Alex Rodriguez is still highly scripted and stiff, but (Is his ego in check?) not looking to glom time This gives Frank Thomas more time to yak. David (Papi) Ortiz has traded in his clown suit for a more, at least for him, serious approach Still, the most informative voice (relegated to cameos) is former Marlins ace Dontrelle Willis, a must watch who should be given more air time . ESPN-98.7’s Don La Greca issued an extremely funny but true line. DLG said half the people who get credentials for team press conferences: “Don’t work for anybody and are filing audio to their mother’s basement ” Hooray! . Surprised the great Ray Lucas, on SNY’s Jets postgame, thought it was a big deal that Luke Falk did not get the majority of first team reps the week of the Philly game, as if that had anything to do with the Jets loss A month worth of reps would not have helped a QB thrown into the fire before he was ready to start in the NFL  * * *  DUDE OF THE WEEK: CLEON JONES Advertisement For continuing to care Wednesday (Oct. 16) marks the 50th anniversary of Jones and his Mets mates beating Baltimore in the 1969 World Series On that day, Jones, the man who caught the final out, will hold a charity golf tournament in Mobile, Ala All proceeds from the event will go to renovate homes in Africatown, Jones’ hometown, three miles north of Mobile Six days a week Jones, and his wife Angela, are in Africatown lending a helping hand, reaching out to those in need They are amazing.  DWEEB OF THE WEEK: TYLER DUFFEY  For making excuses. That’s what his critique of Yankees fans sounded like The Twins reliever didn’t have much to say after he struck out the side in Game 1 So, maybe it was that grand slam he gave up to Didi Gregorius in Game 2 that brought the fans into clear focus “Yankee fans, they just hate people,” Duffey told the Athletic. Yankee fans, hate? Where did Duffey get that idea? DOUBLE TALK  What Pat Shurmur said: “We didn’t win We didn’t make enough plays. That’s what this is about.”  What Pat Shurmur meant to say: “(Bleep) Mike Francesa I am tough. And I don’t have thin skin.”

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