My Friday Five: Say Whaaattt?!?

Photo: Chris White
I decided to go with that title because this week’s list has a lot of those “Say whaaattt?” moments. Enjoy!
1. Panthers in NFC Title Game
The Carolina Panthers are now just one win away from reaching Super Bowl 50 after defeating Seattle 31-24 on Sunday. Carolina got off to a hot start in the first half, capitalizing on Seahawks’ mishaps  to rack up 31 points in the first half. Despite all efforts by the game announcers to blame Seattle’s suckage in the first half on field conditions in Charlotte, there’s no doubt in my mind that that was the best half of football I’ve seen the Panthers play this season. Heck, ever. That great performance was followed by a meh performance in the second half, where the Seahawks held the Panthers to no points and came all the way back to make it 31-24 before Panthers’ OLB Thomas Davis recovered a last ditch onside kick to seal the deal. Up next for the Panthers is a date with Arizona at the BOA on Sunday evening.
P.S. I’d be remiss if I didn’t post the Spanish radio call of Panthers’ LB Luke Kuechly’s pick-six of Seattle QB Russell Wilson on Sunday. This never gets old!

2. ESPN’s Technical Difficulties
Moving from one Carolina team to another, the Tar Heels faced in-state rival, Wake Forest, on Wednesday night in Chapel Hill. On another note, it’s hard to believe that the Dean E. Smith Center celebrated its 30th anniversary on Monday! But I digress. I turned to ESPN2 and settled in to watch the game. But what to my wondering eyes should appear? Two dudes in the ESPN studio saying the network was experiencing “technical difficulties” and would get us the game as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the Texas/West Virginia game was shown and, man, was it boring. I actually muted the TV and tuned my radio to the Tar Heel Sports Network broadcast. This mishap lasted for pretty much the entire first half of the game, throwing fans – including yours truly – into a tizzy.

So, what caused all this hullabaloo? Apparently, a fiber wasn’t transmitting properly, according to an article by R.L. Bynum of Raleigh & Co. ESPN was the network damsel in distress but local peeps came to the rescue. Bynum, along with UNC student Josh Mayo, started up broadcasts on Periscope from their perspectives at the game, both of which garnered large audiences. According to Bynum, Jason Rogers, president of 15Up Media, LLC, got a call from a “frantic” ESPN person asking for a satellite truck. Luckily, Rogers had one and hightailed it over to Chapel Hill from Raleigh. Local station ABC11 sports anchor, Mark Armstrong, said on the news that he also received a call from a person with ESPN about the mishap and the station dispatched one of its own trucks to help the cause. So big shoutout to those folks for letting us get to see the second half of the game, at least.

This mishap does bring to light a more glaring issue. I’ve been a proponent for years that UNC should provide more in the way of alternatives for fans to view and/or listen to game broadcasts. Currently, there is a premium video and audio service provided by that is $9.95/month, $29.95/4 months or $79.95/year. Fans can listen and watch most games live through this option. There’s not much one can do beyond that, however, especially when it comes to viewing the game. As far as listening, the Tar Heel Sports Network broadcast is available on several radio stations, primarily in North Carolina. I have the TuneIn Radio app which allows me to listen to virtually any radio station in the world, but many stations are prohibited from streaming game broadcasts. I know local station, WCHL is. As a Twitter user who goes by the handle @anchorbill said so eloquently: “[The] goal of UNC Athletics Department should be to expose not restrict the product.”

3) WRAL Affiliation Shake-Up

This one threw me for a loop. Local station, WRAL, announced that it would switch its network affiliation from CBS to NBC after 30 years. Another local station, WNCN, will switch from NBC to CBS. I’m only 23 years old, so WRAL and WNCN being affiliated with CBS and NBC, respectively, is all I’ve known. I’m not old enough to remember when WRAL was affiliated with NBC before. It’ll be weird to see Fallon and America’s Got Talent on WRAL and Colbert and Survivor on WNCN but I’ll get used to it, unlike some people apparently. I couldn’t believe how some on social media – thankfully, no one I knew – were getting too worked up over this. I mean, I am one to get upset at things as well, but this ain’t one of them. I don’t know what I enjoyed more, people losing their minds over this or people asking no-brainer questions like if we would have two NBC affiliates now. Yes, that was a real question posed on Facebook.

4) Seriously?

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Taco Bell exec, Benjamin Golden, who was caught on camera while assaulting an Uber driver. Well, Golden – now former Taco Bell exec I might add – apologized for his actions but is suing the Uber driver for $5 million. According to Ted Berg of USA Today Golden is suing because he says that he did not consent to be videotaped. Hold up. Is this dude serious? He beat up an Uber driver while in a drunken stupor, gets caught doing it on camera and now claims that he didn’t consent to be videotaped. What an idiot! At least Golden was smart enough to call an Uber in the first place instead of driving himself.

5) Oregon State

I’m a college basketball junkie. I don’t care what teams are playing, I’ll most likely watch. I decided to watch the Oregon State/Utah game on Sunday night. It was, actually, a pretty good game. But then something happened that I’ve rarely seen happen on the court. Oregon State’s Jarmal Reid was ejected and, later, suspended four games by the school for tripping a referee. In the waning minutes of the game, Utah’s Jakob Poeltl bumped Reid, who fell to the ground. No foul was called and Reid stuck his leg out, tripping referee Tommy Nunez in the process. Reid has since apologized and I hope that he has learned a valuable lesson. It’s inexcusable for this kind of behavior to take place on the basketball court. You didn’t get the foul call? Too bad, so sad. Get your butt down the court and keep playing. It’s fine to show emotion during games but intentionally tripping referees is dangerous and uncalled for.

Thanks for Reading

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