Last week, CBS was vilified for its failure to properly report on the Javon Belcher-Kasandra Perkins murder-suicide. In the wake of Josh Brent’s incident that led to the death of Dallas Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown, Jr., The NFL Today stepped up and went all in on the story.
For the other pregame shows, ESPN once again canceled Frank Caliendo’s comedic segment that was supposed air last week, but was pulled in the wake of the Belcher-Perkins tragedy. As the segment was about to air this week, ESPN pulled it again as the segment included Cowboys General Manager and owner Jerry Jones.
Fox NFL Sunday spent five minutes on the story at the top of its show. Reporter Laura Okmin was able to get an interview with Jones where he said the mood of the team was very somber. And Michael Strahan gave strong opinions about making the right choices and said NFL players don’t want to call a car to drive them as they don’t want to seen leaving a club late at night. But Strahan properly stated that Brent made the wrong choice and it cost Jerry Brown, Jr. his life.
As for The NFL Today, it not only opened without product placement as it did last week, it went above and beyond its call reporting on the Brent story. It used its “A” block to liberally report on the Brent story and also updated the Javon Belcher story showing Kansas City police video of officers talking with Belcher in his car just hours before he shot and killed his girlfriend last Saturday. It also included a segment with Bill Macatee in Cleveland before the Chiefs-Browns game discussing how the team is coping since the incident.
But back to the Brent story, CBS had Cowboys radio analyst Babe Laufenberg who also works for the network’s Dallas TV affiliate talking about the flight to Cincinnati where the team is playing today. And when the interview was over, CBS went to its panel where Shannon Sharpe and Bill Cowher gave some of their strongest opinions to date. Sharpe said that the blame for the incident lies squarely on Brent saying Brown’s death was preventable. Sharpe said Brown’s decision to drive while intoxicated, “careless and wreckless behavior.”
Cowher said, “Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not an entitlement.”
James Brown gave a commentary on domestic violence that Bob Costas would be proud of. JB went for two minutes talking into the camera stating that since Kasandra Perkins lost her life, at least another 21 women have died at the hand of domestic violence.
The “A” block went for 12 minutes and as Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch tweeted, treated viewers like adults. This is the segment that CBS should have started with last week, but the network appears to have learned a lesson and made a very good comeback with the Brent incident.
Kudos for all of the early Sunday NFL pregame shows for their handling of the Dallas Cowboys story this week.