If you thought ESPN might have gotten the message that viewers want the network to focus on sports, not politics, think again.
In January, ESPN announced its new morning show, “Get Up!” with co-hosts Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose.
The show will air weekdays from 7 to 10 a.m. starting April 2.
Viewers tuning in solely for sports talk will be sorely disappointed.
Bill Wolff, executive producer of “Get Up!” has made it clear that the show’s hosts will discuss politics and social issues as they see fit.
It’s worth noting that Wolff is the creator of the ultra-liberal “Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC.
He also oversaw ABC’s “The View,” where co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar routinely bash conservatives and Christians, and was executive producer for liberal comedian Chelsea Handler’s talk show on Netflix.
Last year, Wolff returned to ESPN, which he had left in 2004, and it appears he wants “Get Up!” to have a similar political bent.
“When players take a knee, then it deserves coverage and conversation,” Wolff told The Hollywood Reporter in reference to NFL players’ national anthem protests.
“If something political makes itself part of our world, we are dishonest and inauthentic if we don’t discuss it,” Wolff said.
That discussion will be very one-sided; none of the hosts is on the right side of the political spectrum.
Beadle, who previously hosted “SportsNation,” is an outspoken feminist who often criticizes President Donald Trump and espouses liberal views on Twitter.
If you booed last night, while the Cowboys took a knee, before any anthem or flag was even shown, congrats. Your nametag now reads: exposed
— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) September 26, 2017
Rose, a longtime NBA analyst at ESPN, says he’s “never been muzzled in any way” by the network, and he expects to be able to inject politics into the new show whenever he wants.
“I appreciate the fact that I’m able to talk about more than what happened in last night’s NBA game,” he said. “And I think fans appreciate that. When our president tweets about sports, now he’s fair game.”
In January, Rose told reporters that people in his audience “expect me to be politically, socially conscious, not only as it relates to sports. I’m really passionate about giving back to my community, being a leader of my community and being outspoken about injustices that I see in our country and throughout the world.”
In November 2016, Beadle and Rose turned ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” into a political soapbox as they ranted about Trump’s election.
Unlike his two co-hosts, Greenberg, who appeared with Mike Golic on ESPN’s long-running “Mike & Mike” show, generally keeps his politics to himself. But from time to time he has let his views peek through.
For example, after LeBron James trashed the president in the wake of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2016, saying Trump made hate “fashionable again,” Greenberg said the NBA star should be commended.
“What he is doing is not about building a brand or making money,” Greenberg said. “It is genuinely wanting to help and make a difference in areas that are important to him. For those who agree with him and those who do not I believe you should commend him for wanting to do so because that is an unselfish act.”
ESPN’s recent adventures in politics, from giving Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to providing a platform to Jemele Hill on “SC6,” have turned off many viewers and resulted in declining ratings.
In light of that, the network’s decision to devote three hours every morning to a show where political rants will be encouraged is questionable at best.
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