Less than a week ahead of the Monday, June 13 launch of the Colin Cowherd/Jason Whitlock/Jason McIntyre (now officially on the show, as well as hosting a Kristine Leahyesque post-show podcast!) debate show “Speak For Yourself,” we have a glimpse of what this show might look like, and it’s very much an unofficial one. Deadspin somehow obtained several hours of rehearsal footage of “Speak For Yourself” (which they insist on calling “All Takes Matter”) from “a Fox Sports source,” condensed it to ten minutes of bloopers, long rambling discussions and more interspersed with commentary from Deadspin’s Tim Burke, and initially broadcast it on their Facebook page before putting it on their site. Here it is:
Some highlights (or should that be lowlights?):
Whitlock’s “Wisconsin’s the one place you don’t want to cut cheese.” (1:53)
Whitlock making fun of Clay Travis’ attic studio/tablecloth backdrop (2:15)
McIntyre: “Whitlock says the Warriors fit the American sports blueprint. I agree. Wait…should I say more than just I agree?” “Yeah.” “Okay, my bad.” (2:29).
Travis: “Well, I’m not black and I’m not from ‘the hood,’ Jason.” (4:55)
McIntyre: “Where’s the blame for Ty Lue? He’s out here playing Hungry Hungry Hippo, Steve Kerr playing chess, just clowning, doing everything he can.” (5:25)
Cowherd: “You sound like a U.S. soccer fan.” McIntyre: “I am a soccer fan.” (5:30)
McIntyre: “We just did some nuance here. Not a lot of that on TV.” (5:35). You’re ruining the whole point of the hot take show, Jason!
McIntyre: “Jason, I will bet you a brick of Brie that the blowback from this will force Rodgers back on cheese by Week 1. Gouda bet or bad bet?” (8:00)
Whitlock’s Stephen A. Smith impression (9:15)
It’s certainly interesting to see this behind-the-scenes footage, but maybe the more interesting question is how and why someone at Fox would send this to Deadspin. They’ve been unambiguously mocking Speak For Yourself ever since it was announced, and their history of making fun of Cowherd, Whitlock and McIntyre also speaks for itself. It seems unlikely this came from a desire to promote the show (unless someone really, really believes the “all press is good press” mantra, or figures it’s worth taking a beating from Deadspin’s commentary just to get the word out that this show is beginning Monday), so is there someone at Fox trying to sabotage Cowherd and Whitlock? That’s not the first allegation of people using Deadspin to further internal agendas and rivalries, either, as Bill Simmons has repeatedly accused ESPN colleagues of leaking a false story to Deadspin about him pushing Magic Johnson off NBA Countdown.
Of course, it makes great sense for Deadspin to accept this footage and publish it. It’s an excellent scoop for them, and something viewers and readers are interested in. It’s also a benefit for sports media consumers to have this out there; while it’s merely rehearsal footage, and edited rehearsal footage at that, it does provide an advanced glimpse into what this show might be like, which can enhance decisions to watch or not watch it. It’s just curious that anyone at Fox would send this to Deadspin, a site known for being particularly hard on Cowherd and Whitlock, unless it came from a desire to bury Speak For Yourself before it even gets off the ground.
We’ll see what the show’s like when it actually launches, and how it compares to what’s here. Will they regularly feature Travis, or did he not make it out of auditions? Will McIntyre have more to say than just “I agree”? Will this show actually get a fanbase? We’ll find out this coming week.