Marcus Jordan and Larsa Pippen on "Pablo Torre Finds Out." Marcus Jordan and Larsa Pippen on “Pablo Torre Finds Out.” (Pablo Torre Finds Out on YouTube.)

When a subject agrees to an interview, it’s presumed they’re familiar with the interviewer and their platform. But some of the most remarkable interviews in sports media have later seen claims that the subject wasn’t aware of the interviewer or their show’s approach. And the latest case there comes from Larsa Pippen (Scottie Pippen’s ex-wife) and Marcus Jordan (Michael Jordan’s son).

Jordan and Pippen went on Pablo Torre’s Pablo Torre Finds Out Meadowlark Media show in late October to talk about their widely-discussed relationship. That interview gave them both a lot of time to make their case for why they feel some of the outside commentary on their relationship isn’t fair, and included their comments such as Jordan’s “It’s awkward. It’s weird. I get it. But to us, it’s not weird.”

But after the interview, the two subjects were not happy with how it went. And they were particularly unhappy with the show’s pre-interview roundtable discussion between Torre, guest host Charlotte Wilder, and producer Ryan Cortes. They brought that up in great detail on their own Separation Anxiety podcast this week. Here’s some of that, via Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post:

“We do podcasts and when people talk about us, I feel like they still don’t know who we are.” [Larsa said.] “They talked a lot of s– before [our segment aired].”

“They talked a lot of s–t,” [Marcus] said. “I wasn’t too familiar with the format of his show. Maybe that’s on us not doing our research or whatever, I feel like the first half segment of the show was talking crazy.”

Marcus was referring to the first 30 minutes of Torre’s show, which included the host, his producer, Ryan Cortes and “Oddball” host Charlotte Wilder gossiping about the couple’s “real life soap opera romance” and questioning if it is even real.

…“It’s just funny because then when we did our interview they didn’t keep that same energy,” Marcus said.

“Obviously they had listened to the podcast and were familiar with it, but our interview was very fluffy… and I feel like their commentary that aired before our interview was pretty biased.”

That’s when Larsa said, “It was very one-sided… It was a hit piece by the way,” to which Marcus agreed.

…[Larsa said] “I feel like, why are all these people hating on us? Because they’re miserable. That has to be what it is.”

…“It’s funny because I feel like the people that have so much to say, are so miserable in their real lives,” [Larsa] said. “If we took five seconds to research them, which I would never even do because they’re not worth our time, you’ll realize that these people are losers.”

For reference, here’s the episode of Torre’s show in question:

There are a couple of things of note here. Yes, it is true that Torre and Wilder weren’t as skeptical of Pippen and Jordan’s relationship to their faces as they were in the pre-show discussion. But that is a wider thing with interviewing; while confrontational interviews can have their place, there’s also often merit to a softer approach that lets subjects get out their side of the story (especially when the subject at hand is an interpersonal relationship, not an international war or anything).

And an interview with a subject does not force the interviewer to relay their full thoughts on the interviewee, and it does not preclude the interviewer from commenting on that subject elsewhere. But sure, absolutely, Jordan and Pippen can take exception to the particular juxtaposition of that roundtable discussion (which, it should be noted, included a lot of discussion of their podcast and presentation of that as background for listeners/viewers; it was not just the hosts and Cortes putting out their own thoughts) with the interview with them. But the telling part here is perhaps the “Maybe that’s not on us doing our research.”

If Torre had taken a unique approach here, with this being the only time he and others had discussed the show’s subject in a segment before the main interview or feature, Pippen and Jordan might have a point. If this was the only interview on Pablo Torre Finds Out paired with commentary, and if the rest of the show was just a straight lineup of questions and answers, they might have reason to be mad. But that’s not the case.

Yes, there have been some PFTO interviews without a preamble, including ones with Desus Nice and Ariel Helwani. But many of these shows have featured a lengthy pre-main show discussion with Cortes, with plenty of opinion. And Torre himself has a significant body of work beyond PTFO to consider, with much of that as a commentator on shows such as Highly QuestionableAround The HornHigh Noon, and more. He’s regularly expressed his own opinions. And he’s not known for soft-focus interviews. So if that’s what Jordan and Pippen were expecting, they shouldn’t have agreed to be on this show.

Another interesting element here is that one of the most notable previous cases of complaining about an interviewer’s approach also involves Meadowlark Media, and co-founder/frequent Torre collaborator Dan Le Batard. That came last year, when Le Batard used his signature The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz platform to interview former NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, and Tafoya claimed on Fox News afterwards that that conversation largely covering their different views on political topics amounted to her being “absolutely ambushed.” (For his part, Le Batard didn’t love how it turned out either.)

And there’s a larger point to be taken away from that. For an interviewee, having at least some familiarity with the outlet seeking to interview you can be important. An interview on Fox News is likely to be very different from one on MSNBC, and an interview on Outkick is likely to be quite different from one on Meadowlark Media. Even at large cable networks, the individual show can matter: appearing on ESPN’s First Take can be significantly different from appearing on E:60 or Outside The Lines segments on SportsCenter.

And sure, if a subject doesn’t want to look into who’s talking to them and what their approach is, they have that right. But complaining about a show using its relatively-standard format is a choice. So maybe that is on you not “doing your research or whatever.” And the “five seconds” to research them might be worth your time.

Torre and his team certainly gave Pippen and Jordan plenty of time to tell their side of the story. And, in fact, many viewersresponses to Torre’s tweet on this indicated that the episode made them think more favorably of the relationship. So their “hit piece” comments certainly feel a little over-the-top. But the “doing our research or whatever” really stands out. If they’re going to be mad about how media outlets handle interviews with them, they should perhaps take those “five seconds” to research those outlets and people first.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.