One of the stranger media trends in recent times is athletes using media platforms to claim they’re somehow different from the rest of the media. The leader in the field here may be the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who’s taken all sorts of shots at the media over the years while doing (often questionable) analysis work for Turner plus his own podcast on Colin Cowherd’s The Volume Network (which has prompted quite the change in how Cowherd discusses him). However, Patrick Beverley is catching up.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ guard has been appearing on ESPN off and on over the last month, including airing his decade-old grievances against Chris Paul on Get Up (seen above) and First Take and mocking Stephen A. Smith with Smith’s own “Stay off the weeeedd!” catchphrase. And now, Beverley has sat for a profile from Ben Strauss of The Washington Post. There, Strauss calls Beverley an “anti-media star,” and Beverley talks about how he doesn’t really care about a media role, but how he’ll take one if the pay and fit is right.
“Hell no,” Beverley said when asked whether he had reached out to ESPN about contributing to its playoff coverage. “I’ve got s— to do in the summertime. If they ask me, I might do it, but I’m not in line waiting like a lot of these guys.”
Beverley, sitting in a hotel bar in downtown D.C. a few hours before Game 1, was proclaiming himself the anti-media star at a time when active athletes, especially NBA players, are increasingly joining the media ranks while still playing, either by establishing their own brands or auditioning for someone else’s.
…“I’m not a big podcast guy,” Beverley said. “If I did it, I’d kill it. And I mean if it’s for the right price, I’m gonna do it and I’m gonna do it well. But I’m not going to Best Buy trying to set up a podcast.”
…Beverley said his basketball plan for the future is focused on coaching. But that hasn’t stopped the incoming calls. His broadcast agent, Gina Paradiso, said Barstool Sports, Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions and Colin Cowherd’s podcast network have reached out to gauge his interest in working together. Beverley likes the idea of something unfiltered, without any bosses telling him what he can and can’t say. “My s— has to be all organic,” he said.
Like anyone, Beverley can absolutely wait for an offer that’s the right fit for him, and he can say whatever he want about what his future interests are. And perhaps they really are in coaching rather than in the media, and perhaps he’ll get opportunities there. Or perhaps this will pay off as a negotiating ploy to get better media offers, or the specific kind of offers he wants: “Well, I don’t really want to do media work, but if you make me the right offer, I might consider it.” (The Best Buy comment there is perhaps particularly notable; Beverley’s essentially saying he’s not getting into podcasting unless someone makes him a big offer.)
However, it seems a little off to portray yourself as an “anti-media star” (while sitting for a profile with the Washington Post‘s sports media reporter!) when you’re choosing to spend many of your days on ESPN, at a range of pay Strauss estimates (citing industry sources) as usually between $3,000 and $10,000 a day. That’s a nice chunk of change for average humans, but even zero-time All-Star Beverley is currently on a one-year, $13 million NBA contract and has made an estimated $65 million during his NBA career, to say nothing of his time in Europe. So he’s certainly not taking this media work because he needs to. And, as Spencer Hall noted around Beverley’s attack on Paul, it’s quite something to wake up while it’s still dark out to go to a studio and yell about a player you dislike.
Patrick Beverley woke up at 4:45 am this morning itching to do this https://t.co/xTTIqaZUSf
— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) May 16, 2022
what athlete would you wake up at 4:45 am to slander on national television
— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) May 16, 2022
Maybe Beverley really thinks he doesn’t want to work in a media role more consistently, and maybe this (and past ESPN appearances) are just an exploratory effort on his part. But he’s certainly not the only athlete past or present willing to drop incendiary takes, with Green, Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe, and several ESPN pundits also in that category. The portrayal of him as an “anti-media star” is interesting; it’s quite unclear what Strauss sees as so unique with Beverley, and how he’s somehow “anti-media” while using established media platforms to drop similarly-vehement takes to what we often see from debate shows on those platforms. (Whatever it is, though, it seems to be working for Beverley; his ESPN stints over the last month have drawn much more media attention than what we usually see for the typical procession of players past and present through studio shows.)
Even Beverley’s claim that he’s not focusing on a post-career media role (unless he gets the right role) is something we’ve heard a lot before. One example of that is with Beverley suitor Peyton Manning, who skillfully parlayed that coy approach into not just a media job that meets his exact criteria, but even a production company that’s getting him paid to bring his specific kind of alternate broadcast and “Places” approaches to other sports (and even the History Channel). So, we’ll see if Beverley decides to explore media more, either while or after his playing career ends (he’ll be 34 in July). Maybe no one will make him the right offer, or maybe he will go into coaching as he says he plans, and this month of media appearances will prove to be a one-off. But the history of athletes transitioning into media roles suggests that “I’m not in line waiting” is far from a definite refusal.