More Rumors in this Storyline
ESPN parted ways with NBA legend Paul Pierce, sources told Front Office Sports. Pierce shared live Instagram video of himself smoking and playing poker in a room full of exotic dancers on Friday night. The 43-year-old was earning around $1.5 million annually for his on-air gig, said one source.
Ultimately, Pierce works for Disney, an image-conscious company. All talent employment contracts have some kind of morals clause and as many lawyers have said when it comes to these kinds of contracts, the company has a lot of discretion on decision-making.
It’s way too early to say but ESPN has a ton of NBA analysts that they can cycle into Countdown or The Jump for the rest of the year. The Countdown spot is a very high-profile gig so the company won’t lack for agents reaching out to push their clients.
Paul Pierce: Big Things coming soon stay tuned make sure u smile #Truthshallsetufree
Michael McCarthy: BREAKING NEWS: ESPN has parted ways with Paul Pierce. @Paul Pierce posted videos of himself with exotic dancers on Instagram Live Friday. The NBA legend has played a key role on ‘NBA Countdown’ and Rachel Nichols’ ‘The Jump.’ ESPN declined to comment.
John Karalis: Today is indeed my last day at MassLive. It’s been a great experience & I thank them for the opportunity. I’ve basically now entered free agency, so I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s next. I’m not leaving Boston. Right now I’m focusing on @LOCeltics as I explore my options
Tom Haberstroh: Hey so I’m no longer at NBC Sports. I called some of my buddies @Ethan Strauss @DarthAmin to talk about getting laid off and then we made picks for the NBA season. ✂️ It’s all here, on The Habershow relaunch! Apple: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the… Spotify: open.spotify.com/episode/0loPSi… pic.twitter.com/r5wZaYI5x7
Howard Beck: So, my 7-year run at @BleacherReport officially-officially ended this week. Grateful for all the experiences, memories and friends, proud to have spent this chapter of my career with so many amazing, talented people. If you’ll indulge me, a brief(ish) appreciation #thread…
“Prior to the pandemic, we had been deeply engaged in strategizing how best to position ESPN for future success amidst tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports. The pandemic’s significant impact on our business clearly accelerated those forward-looking discussions. In the short term, we enacted various steps like executive and talent salary reductions, furloughs, and budget cuts, and we implemented innovative operations and production approaches, all in an effort to weather the COVID storm. We have, however, reached an inflection point,” Pitaro wrote in the memo. “The speed at which change is occurring requires great urgency, and we must now deliver on serving sports fans in a myriad of new ways. Placing resources in support of our direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital, and, of course, continued innovative television experiences, is more critical than ever.”
But on-air TV/radio talents are not completely safe from ESPN cost-cutting plans either. The network, for example, is simply not renewing the contracts of some mid to senior-level talents, or is asking them to come back at a reduced salary. Unfortunately, these media talents don’t have much leverage since few other networks are hiring during the pandemic. “Where are they going to go? Nobody’s hiring,” said one talent agent. “My advice to everybody is whatever they send you, just sign and send it back. Just make it through this year.”
ESPN is laying off 300 staffers and won’t fill 200 more open positions, the company announced Thursday. “The speed at which change is occurring requires great urgency, and we must now deliver on serving sports fans in a myriad of new ways,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro wrote to employees. “Placing resources in support of our direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital, and, of course, continued innovative television experiences, is more critical than ever.”
Although he never got a chance at the time to publicly speak about the incident, Napear has started a new podcast and does not live in Sacramento anymore. “And I said ‘all lives matter, every single one’, because I meant it. Do the lives of Black people matter? Hell yeah, the lives of Black people matter,” Napear told FOX40. “I’m for equality for all, that’s how I was raised. That’s how my dad brought up my brother and I.”
“I know a lot of people are making it about DeMarcus because of the friction we had. And I mean this, I don’t have anything against DeMarcus. He’s got a lot of good qualities. He’s also got some bad qualities, again, but he’s got a pretty good heart,” Napear continued.
“Do I make mistakes? Yeah, I make mistakes and if I make a mistake, I try to say that I’m sorry. But I’m not sorry for saying ‘all lives matter, every single one,’” he said. “I’m not sorry because I believe that every life is important. I’m not sorry because I believe in equality for all. I’m not sorry because I try to treat everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, the same.”
Now, at age 61, Napear and his wife have moved to Miami temporarily. He’s started a new podcast, appropriately titled “If You Don’t Like That With Grant Napear.” “I’m going to do this podcast. I’m going to have fun with it, and then we’ll see where we are at six months or 12 months down the road. I could see myself back in Sacramento, you just never know,” Napear said.
Napear added that since he resigned from both KHTK and the Kings, that door is also open. He said he has received a ton of support since the incident at the start of the summer, but he’s also lost some friends too.
The months-long economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic is sparking painful fallout for media companies. ESPN could lay off hundreds of employees in the coming weeks, sources told Front Office Sports. One source pegged the potential number of job losses between 300 and 700 employees. Another estimated 400 possible lost jobs. The cuts are expected to hit hardest among ESPN employees who work behind the camera. But some on-camera TV and radio talents could be impacted — particularly if their contracts are expiring this year.
The Orlando Magic have parted ways with three longtime radio announcers, The Athletic has learned. Team officials have notified radio play-by-play announcer Dennis Neumann, radio color analyst Richie Adubato and Spanish-language radio play-by-play announcer Joey Colón that their contracts will not be renewed.
Neumann, Adubato and Colón worked a total of 66 seasons as Magic broadcasters. “Our business, as well as many others like us, continue to be impacted by the pandemic,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a statement to The Athletic. “We have had to make some very hard business decisions in these unprecedented times, and we made the difficult decision to reorganize our efforts in regard to radio. Moving forward we will simulcast our radio and television game broadcasts. To those impacted, we’ve provided fair severance, outplacement services and health and wellness options.
The Charlotte Hornets have fired radio broadcaster John Focke, the team announced in a press release on Thursday. Focke tweeted the N-word during a Utah Jazz-Denver Nuggets game and was suspended, but now the Hornets are completely relieving him of his duties.
NBA Central: The Charlotte Hornets announced today that John Focke will not return as the team’s radio broadcaster pic.twitter.com/Dh3WLQ6f2x
Bleacher Report is shuttering B/R Mag, its long-form storytelling unit, said sources. Leaving B/R are Editor-in-Chief Ben Osborne and NBA reporter Howard Beck, sources said. About 10 staffers are being laid off. Some will be reassigned to other roles. The unit’s long-form magazine stories were not resonating as much with B/R readers, said sources.
B/R Mag Deputy Managing Editor Elliott Pohnl tweeted news of his departure on Aug. 24. “So today @BleacherReport decided to sunset BR Mag, taking with it the incredibly talented writers and editors who worked tirelessly to tell great stories.” he tweeted. “I’m proud of my involvement with the Mag for the last 5 years and want to thank all the people who worked as a TEAM.” B/R launched B/R Mag as an ambitious attempt at Sports Illustrated-style magazine journalism in 2016. Beck joined B/R three years earlier as its lead NBA writer from the New York Times, giving the upstart brand more journalistic cred.
Call it a photo finished. The NBA terminated a photographer covering games as an independent contractor after he published an offensive meme of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris to his Facebook account, according to various reports. The post drew widespread attention when it was shared and condemned by Basketball Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes.
Baptist apologized in a statement released to KPRC-TV in Houston: “I deeply regret posting on my Facebook page a phrase that I saw and copied from others as a sample of some people’s reactions to Biden’s selection of Senator Harris as his choice for VP,” he wrote. “The phrase I posted does not reflect my personal views at all. I should not have been so insensitive to post the statements by others. I sincerely apologize to all of those who have rightfully been offended and I have taken the post down from my FB page. It was a horrible mistake on my part.”
Abby Chin: But, this isn’t goodbye just yet. When I received the news, I was offered the choice to finish out the season and I’m taking it! I’m not ready for this incredible ride to be over. I’ll see you tonight. Go #Celtics
NBC Sports Boston has been hit hard by a decision from parent company NBC Sports to slash its digital and regional cable staffs the past two days. Nearly 20 on-air and behind-the-scenes staffers at NBC Sports Boston were laid off Monday and Tuesday, including longtime anchor Gary Tanguay, Celtics sideline reporter Abby Chin, host Danielle Trotta, and Celtics reporter A. Sherrod Blakely.
The timing in letting go of Chin and Blakely in particular is curious considering NBC Sports Boston is the regional home of the Celtics and the NBA relaunched its season last week after being shut down for the pandemic. According to multiple sources, the network may keep some laid-off staffers around for 60 days. Blakely, whose contract is up in October, is expected to be one.
John Denton: As many have likely heard, the @OrlandoMagic laid off a chunk of their staff on Fri because of cutbacks related to the coronavirus. I, unfortunately, was one of those cuts. While I’m saddened, I will value my time with the Magic, a stellar organization with many great people. …
Raymond Ridder: An incredible writer and terrific person @SteveBHoop . Once we get back to normalcy, I see this free agent being scooped up quickly.
Jon Krawczynski: One of the Timberwolves/Lynx employees let go today was PR/Communications mgr Dan Bell. Dan is not one to draw attention to himself so allow me to do it for him. He spent more than 27 years with the organization.
Kyle Ratke:We had a good run. Today was my last day with the Timberwolves & Lynx. I’ll forever have such great memories, and in a sense, I grew up with the organization. I wish nothing but the best for my friends who became family. To the next opportunity.
Katie Davidson: I will no longer be a Wolves & Lynx employee come July 1. I have many people to thank for this experience, but none more than @Kyle_Ratke — the most selfless, spirited, kind-hearted, talented person I’ve ever worked for. Losing Kyle is thee greatest Wolves loss of all time.
Peter Zayas: I got laid off by The Athletic today. Looking forward to getting the YouTube channel back up and running, I really miss making videos anyway and things should work out. Here’s my Patreon if you wanna support the work I’ve done and will be doing. Go Lakers.
Andre Fernandez: “And so my watch has ended.” Unfortunately, I am one of the 46 let go today at The Athletic. It was an amazing opportunity to learn from and work w/many of the most amazing people in the business. I wish you all the best in these difficult times. Hope we cross paths again soon.
Rob Lopez: I was one of the 46 laid off today at The Athletic. I feel for everyone losing a job at this time. It sucks but we all will bounce back, as always. stay strong! If anyone is in the market for a sports writer, video editor, podcaster, social media manager, hit my line. DM’s open
Gina Mizell: I’m one of today’s layoffs at The Athletic. I’m really sad, because this is the best job I’ve ever had. I have endless respect and love for my colleagues and will continue to support their terrific work. Thanks to all who read. You helped make a Phoenix kid’s dream come true.
Rod Boone: Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for reading my Hornets coverage over the last two seasons. I am among the 46 staffers The Athletic laid off today. Thankful to be able to work at such a great place and collaborate with so many fantastic writers. The talent is second to none.
Mike O’Connor: Was informed that I am among The Athletic’s layoffs today. Naturally I’m sad that my run is ending but I couldn’t be more proud of the ride. Getting to cover the Sixers / the NBA for almost 3 years here was a dream come true. I’ll miss the company and my colleagues tremendously.
Matthew Tynan: Hate to add to all the fun on here, but today is my last day with The Athletic. It was a quick trip through a very strange season, but I had a chance to work with some wonderful people and for a company that did its best to look out for us in so many ways.
Tony Jones: Heartbroken at losing colleagues and friends today at work. The people we lost today are some of the best in the business. Friends and mentors. I’ll miss every one of them.
Mike Prada: My time at SB Nation has ended. Dec. 11, 2006 – June 5, 2020
Paul Flannery: Like many of my colleagues, I have elected to take a buyout and am no longer with SB Nation. There’s a lot of people to thank, but I’ll do that privately. Thanks for reading. Appreciate you all.
It took three words — “All Lives Matter” — for longtime shock jock and Sacramento Kings TV play-by-play announcer Grant Napear’s career to go up in flames, but the 60-year-old’s remorse only goes so far. “I don’t want to call it a mistake,” the Syosset, Long Island, native told The Post on Wednesday in a wide-ranging phone interview. Of the tweet and its aftermath, Napear said, “I don’t even know what adjective to describe it.”
Napear, who insists he did not know that “All Lives Matter” is a phrase often used to belittle the Black Lives Matter movement, became choked up at times when talking with The Post while defending himself against the notion he was denouncing the black community and has racist views. “It makes me feel sick to my stomach because it is absolutely the opposite of who I am,” he said. “I am 60 years old. I will let the track record of my life and what I’ve done for my community and what I’ve done. … People who know me, of all races, I’ll let them tell the story.”
“Demarcus we know and have known who grant is,” said former Kings All-Star Chris Webber, who is now an NBA on TNT analyst. “The team knows as well. I’ve told them many times. They’ve seen it. They know who he is,” said Webber, adding two clown emojis. Webber did not respond to multiple interview requests. “I have not once in my 32 years in doing the Sacramento Kings had any individual from either the radio station or the Kings mention anything in any way, shape or form about me and my relations with minorities, with any other group of people,” Napear said. “That is an absolute disgrace that that would ever be said. That is an absolute disgrace.”
Napear said multiple former black Kings players and colleagues have reached out to show their support, but he declined to reveal their names. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who grew up with Napear, said Tuesday on his show that “to say that Grant Napear is a racist is absurd. In my knowledge of him … Grant Napear, trust me when I say this, this is me, is anything but a racist.”
Jason Jones: From the Sacramento Kings: “Grant Napear has resigned from the Sacramento Kings. We thank him for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best.”
Jason Jones: Statement from Grant Napear: “I want to thank the fans for their overwhelming love and support. I will always remain a part of Kings nation in my heart.”
Dane Moore: Some news: The layoff monster got me Two things: – I’m a free agent – I’m not going anywhere The podcast continues. On today’s show: @brittrobson and I discuss losing our jobs covering the Wolves (furlough for Britt)
Mike Tokito: Not a big surprise, but my time as a contributor for Forbes, writing about the @Portland Trail Blazers, has come to an end. I really enjoyed getting what was probably my final taste of sportswriting, which once upon a time was a great way to make a living. Moving on!
Kerry Eggers: Just got word I’ve been laid off at the Portland Tribune after 19-plus years & 45 years in the sportswriting biz. I was planning a July 31 retirement, but as Ralph Miller used to say, that’s the way the pickle squirts. Thanks to all you readers who have made my career a pleasure.
Andy Larsen: Looks like this is impacting nearly every level of LHM, including some familiar names. Tony Parks (@tonyparkszone), whose numerous roles included 1280 AM radio show host, Jazz and Bees emcee, sideline reporter, and Stars PA announcer was among those let go this morning.
Chris Ballard: After almost 20 years, today is my last at Sports Illustrated. Hell of a ride. I got to work alongside childhood idols, collaborate with some of the best editors in the business, and live out a dream. Best job in the world, I always said, and it was. A few thoughts:
Vincent Ellis: Definitely not exceptional, but yes, I’m leaving the Free Press. #PistonsTwitter will never be the same. 🙂
And Michelle Beadle is officially out of ABC/ESPN’s NBA coverage. She had been leading “Countdown” when it had the top perch. Beadle, who makes $5 million per year, is expected to shortly finalize a buyout, according to sources.
Andrew Sharp: I was among the layoffs at SI earlier today. Tough way to end, but it was a great 4 years. I have too many people to thank in a tweet, but thanks especially to @SI_ChrisStone @matt_dollinger and @SI_MarkBechtel .
Jake Fischer: Four years ago I first stepped foot in SI’s newsroom. Today is unfortunately my last day as an SI employee, as part of today’s layoffs. It’s been a devastating day in the office, but I’m looking forward to whatever’s next. And I’ll forever cherish the people at 225 Liberty.
David Folkenflik: NEWS: Management at Sports Illustrated just informed its newsroom in meetings that half the staff has been laid off, according to a person present.
The television play-by-play man for the Portland Trail Blazers from 2003-2016, spoke candidly about the day he found out he would no longer be working for the Trail Blazers. Barrett and his partner, Mike Rice, were both let go from their positions by the Blazers after the 2015-2016 season. Barrett admitted he did not know that phone call was coming. “I had no clue,” Barrett said. “I’m somebody who expects that stuff and I shouldn’t be, but I often operate that way, it kind of motivates me. So that was a definite shocker and I know it was a shocker to the guys that had to ultimately tell me too, even though they had to kind of own that.”
National television broadcasters and NBA teams around the league called Barrett the day the news came out. Teams were trying to find out if Barrett was interested in re-locating and taking a position with them. At the time, Barrett could only think, “My heart is broken because that’s been my team since I was 5 years old.” “That was my team, I can’t do another team.”
TNT/NBA TV decided not to renew the contracts of Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Mike Fratello, according to sources.
Brian Wheeler, the long-time voice of the Portland Trail Blazers, will not return as the team’s radio play-by-play broadcaster next season, it was announced today by Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan. “Brian Wheeler has been an integral part of the broadcast team and Trail Blazers family since 1998 and his voice is synonymous with all the many great play-by-play calls over that 21-year span,” said McGowan. “We thank Brian for his contributions to the franchise and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. “
“The Starters,” an irreverent daily show on NBA TV, will not be renewed for next basketball season, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The show, which is hosted by Tas Melas, Leigh Ellis, Trey Kerby and Phil Elder (professionally known as J.E. Skeets), debuted on NBA TV in 2013 and celebrated its 1,000th episode last year.
The contracts of the four hosts, as well as producers Doyle and Matt Osten, run through this summer, though it is unclear if the hosts will continue to appear on NBA TV after the NBA Finals conclude. Where the hosts and their program will go and exactly what they will do next is not known, though the quartet has had initial discussions with other media companies. “The guys thank Turner for their six years,” said a statement from Creative Artist Agency, which represents the hosts. “They’re looking forward to their next steps and we’ve had conversations with a number of interested parties.”
Sean Deveney: Breaking news: Friday was my last at Sporting News Was my first job out of college in 1998 and it’s sad on that account. But I got to do this job for 20 years and that’s a gift in this business Not sure yet what’s next but I owe a lot of people thanks. You’ll be hearing from me
Steve Buckhantz: I’ve read every comment. I want to thank you ALL for your kindness and support. My passion has always been for the Wizards and our broadcasts. It will all work out, one way or another. #DCFamily
Two years after NBC Sports Washington broke up the popular Wizards television team of Steve Buckhantz and former player Phil Chenier, who was moved off game broadcasts, there could be more changes in store. The network recently informed Buckhantz, the longtime Wizards play-by-play man, that it would not pick up the option on the third year of his contract “at this time,” leaving his future with the network unclear, said his attorney, Phil Hochberg.
The network plans to review and assess all aspects of its Wizards telecasts and explore its options before settling on a broadcast booth for next season, according to a person with knowledge of the process. Buckhantz’s return remains possible, that person said.
Hochberg said he was informed “simply that they were not prepared to pick up his option at this time” but that a return remains possible. But he said the news left Buckhantz in a “precarious position” and that he is already reaching out to other outlets, just as NBC Sports Washington is expected to be in contact with the agents of other play-by-play announcers.
Michael Pina: I was laid off by VICE on Friday. Thanks to everyone who read/shared my NBA work over the past two years, and to @jorgearangure, @caitlin__kelly, @dontforgetmac and @ericnus for all their advice and support. I’m so excited for whatever comes next. Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Ratto, who’d been a writer and TV guy for NBC Sports Bay Area since 2010, was told late last year his services were no longer needed. “I don’t know what the answer is for them,” Ratto said. “They concluded that I’m not the answer. So …” It’s the first time he has been out of work since The National combusted in 1991—and then he got a column at The San Francisco Examiner within hours.
Eddie Sefko: OK, folks. This will be the last Twitter post for awhile. I’m joining the ranks of the unemployed today. Been a privilege to cover so many great people and great athletes for 18 years on the Mavericks’ beat. Wish them all the best. I’ll resurface in a week or two with an update.
Marc Stein: Eddie is the quintessential Texas gentleman and covered the Mavs longer than any of us wannabes ever had the beat for the DMN. Tremendously sad to hear about today’s layoffs and I hope the venerable Mr. Sefko is back with our motley crew as quickly as possible. Love you, Edwin
This may be Marv Albert’s final season as one of the marquee voices on the NBA, The Post has learned. Turner officials have discussed replacing the legendary Albert as their No. 1 play-by-player after this season, according to sources. His contract gives Turner the right to decide yearly whether to keep Albert on its top NBA events, the conference finals and the All-Star Game. He is scheduled to be on both calls this season, but next year is now in question.
“My contract is for another three years,” Albert texted The Post. “I feel great. The people at Turner are terrific to work with. I love doing the NBA and will continue to do so. I do appreciate your reaching out.”
Mark Deeks: Would just like to break up the long list of tweets about hirings filling up your NBA Twitter today to say that my time at GiveMeSport has sadly come to an end. Thank you for the support and here’s to the future, whatever it is.
Andrew Greif: Today’s my last day at The Oregonian and before I go, a quick note. In 2013, a lot of people here took a chance by hiring a copy editor/freelancer for the UO beat. I’ll always be grateful they did. Wish nothing but the best for this newsroom full of wonderful, talented people.
Scott Bordow: Some career news: Today is my final day at azcentral.com and the Arizona Republic. Excited about what’s ahead. Stay tuned
Will Guillory: Some sad news: Tomorrow will be my final day at http://NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. I remember writing not too long ago that this was my dream job and it’s surreal to think it has come to an end. These past two years have meant everything to me. I’ll be back soon…
Telly Hughes always carried himself with class and dignity as one of Wisconsin’s more recognizable sports broadcasters. And that’s precisely how Hughes has conducted himself since learning he had been relieved of his duties by the Milwaukee Bucks, whom he covered for almost a decade. While acknowledging the Bucks’ decision was difficult to accept, he had nothing but good things to say about the organization. “They just told me they want to go in a different direction’’ Hughes said in a phone interview. “I respect their decision. They feel as though this is something that had to be done. They feel it’s going to improve the product. “I completely understand and respect that. I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had over the last eight seasons.’’
While Hughes is now job hunting, he is doing it in an upbeat and optimistic manner. He’s ready to move on with his life although, on those occasions when he does look back on his lengthy career in Milwaukee, it is with fondness. “I have no ill will at all,’’ said Hughes, who won an Emmy in 2008 for “Our Heroes: A Black History Month Special’’. “I am so thankful and appreciative of the opportunities I had in Milwaukee. I’m a kid from East St. Louis and I never thought I’d get an opportunity to be a part of the NBA. “Milwaukee, from day one, has been so receptive and welcoming to me and my family. I’m really grateful how the people in Milwaukee and Wisconsin really embraced me. It was a good run, a really good run. But I’m equally excited about the next chapter in my life.’’
Frank Isola: Thanks to everyone for reaching out. It’s overwhelming. All those impacted appreciate the kind words from local TV & radio including Boomer, Howie Rose, Evan Roberts, Alan Hahn & Michael Kay, who was a clerk at the NY Post when I was a college intern exactly 50 years ago.
Frank Isola: Just a quick update….
Bill Hofheimer: On a tough day for him personally and other #NYDailyNews staffers, here’s @FisolaNYDN’s FaceTime message to end today’s @AroundtheHorn. He will not be a free agent for long, I’m sure.
Jessica Camerato: After two-and-a-half years, my time at NBC Sports Philadelphia covering the Sixers has come to an end. Thank you to all those who have followed along and welcomed me to Philly. Stay tuned.
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
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April 11, 2021 | 9:03 pm EDT Update
Mirjam Swanson: Pistons coach Dwane Casey on facing a “collection” of former players: “It’s Detroit West” — Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard all former Pistons. “On that one night, you want to kick their butts.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons Dwane Casey on #Clippers coach Ty Lue: “Ty did a magnificent job in Cleveland — he’s the reason I’m in Detroit.” When Lue was with the #Cavs, they eliminated Casey’s Raptors several times.
Eddie Sefko: Great pregame quote by Gregg Popovich about the play-in games. “I give it no thought whatsoever at my age, because I have to pick and choose how I want to spend my thinking moments. And it wouldn’t matter what I think.”