The trend of prominent former athletes joining shows once a week continues. From what ESPN has been doing with First Take guest hosts since removing regular co-host Max Kellerman in 2021 to what FS1 is now doing with Undisputed in the wake of Shannon Sharpe’s exit (funnily enough, Sharpe will now be in that First Take guest host rotation), this has been seen in plenty of places. And it’s now seen with two controversial former NFL players signing up for weekly spots on ex-ESPN and FS1 personality Jason Whitlock’s Fearless show on The Blaze. Those would be Brett Favre and Warren Sapp:
News at NY Post: Brett Favre and Warren Sapp are joining Jason Whitlock's show on The Blaze on a regular basis https://t.co/BtJUefUAc0
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) August 25, 2023
As per that report from Glasspiegel, Favre is set to join the show for the full program each Wednesday, with Sapp joining each Thursday. And those are controversial additions. Beyond his 1991-2010 NFL playing career (which had its own controversies, especially over a trip to rehab in 1996 and a 2010 investigation into the alleged sending of unsolicited explicit pictures in 2008), Favre has made plenty of headlines post-career. And many of those have not been good. In particular, he remains under fire around the Mississippi welfare scandal, with allegations of him receiving funding for speaking appearances he never made and allegations he was involved in diverting welfare funds to a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Favre has pushed back on some particular claims about his involvement there, even suing Pat McAfee (an eventually-dropped suit) and Shannon Sharpe (an ongoing suit). But he hasn’t sued over damning reports from HBO’s Real Sports and Game Theory, as well as reports from many other media outlets. And he remains facing some civil litigation himself. So having him as a weekly featured guest or co-host amidst all that is certainly interesting, and it will be worth keeping an eye on how his transition into a regular media role goes.
Meanwhile, Sapp has more media experience, working for Showtime (on Inside the NFL from 2008-11) and NFL Network (from 2008-2015) and recently hosting a BetUS Unfiltered podcast with Brian Jones. But his media career also comes with a lot of controversy. In February 2010, Sapp was arrested on domestic battery charges in South Florida on the day of Super Bowl XLIV, when he was supposed to be part of NFL Network’s coverage that day. He was pulled from the air then, and the charges were eventually dropped, but it was far from the first time he’d cause issues for the network.
In 2012, Sapp created a giant mess by claiming Jeremy Shockey was a Bountygate “snitch,” first on Twitter and then on NFLN. He tried to stand by that even after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell disputed it. That led to a lot of people, including Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, reporting NFLN would likely let Sapp’s contract expire that summer, but they instead picked up his option. That wound up not working out too well; Sapp went on a bizarre book tour, got into a lot of feuds with NFL figures and used some offensive words, was arrested and then fired in 2015 around charges of assault and soliciting a prostitute (also around a Super Bowl he was supposed to work; he eventually reached a plea deal), and then was implicated in a wide-ranging lawsuit around sexual harassment at NFLN that was filed in 2017 (Sapp tried to defend himself by claiming his gifts of sex toys to coworkers weren’t about sex). So he’s certainly an interesting figure to have as a regular weekly contributor/co-host in 2023 as well.
As for Whitlock’s Fearless, it’s been running since he joined The Blaze in 2021 following his stints at ESPN and FS1. Other recurring contributors there include former ESPN writer Steve Kim, former NBA player Royce White and author Shemeka Michelle. We’ll pass on what Glasspiegel writes about Whitlock’s views:
While The Blaze, founded by former Fox News host Glenn Beck, is reputed as a conservative news outlet, Whitlock rejects this label, saying, “I don’t like being called a conservative, because I’m really not. I just have a biblical worldview. I want to be called and judged as a Christian.”
Let’s pass on some recent titles and (partial) episode descriptions from the show’s Apple Podcasts feed as well:
“ESPN’s Ryan Clark Apologizes to Tua, Promises to Please Athletes, Any Time, Anywhere | Ep 508” : “I’d appreciate if you kept my name out your mouth.” Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa didn’t hold back when asked about the fat joke ESPN’s Emmy-winning analyst Ryan Clark cracked at the Miami signal caller’s expense. Clark’s quip about Tua’s weight is the same type of banter that endeared NBA legend Charles Barkley to audiences for years, the type of humor that’s lobbed about in locker rooms, bars, and barbershops, or anywhere testosterone is allowed to freely flow. But Clark, or his ESPN corporate handlers, deemed it offensive enough to require an apology.
“Why Fox News’ Donald Trump-less Republican Presidential Debate Needs Larry Elder, MAGA POV” : Tonight, Republican hopefuls will take to the stage in Milwaukee for Fox News’ GOP primary debate, with two notable exceptions – one by choice, the other by force. Donald Trump, the 2024 frontrunner, made the decision to skip the primary debates and instead sit down with Tucker Carlson while his competition dukes it out in Wisconsin. Also absent from tonight’s pomp and circumstance in the Badger State is Larry Elder. Unlike Trump, however, the decision was not Elder’s to make. The Republican National Committee says that Elder failed to meet the polling criteria to receive an invitation. Jason says that’s a terrible mistake on the part of the RNC, especially coming off the momentum of Elder’s dismantling of Charlamagne tha God on “The Breakfast Club.”
“Ep 505 | Damn Shame: How the NFL, Bill Belichick, Isaiah Bolden, and Feminism Killed Football”: Football died Saturday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, when New England Patriots defensive back Isaiah Bolden collided with a teammate, lay motionless on the ground, and was carted off the field. Minutes later, the NFL made the call to end the game. Football’s death wasn’t acute. It was a slow, painful death that paralleled the rise of American feminism and the revolt against all things masculine. “The social media matrix has trained modern male athletes and sports journalists to think like a woman: in all things, pursue safety. That is not man’s natural inclination. The pursuit of safety is not what made America the envy of the world.”
It will be interesting to see how Favre and Sapp fit in there.