Tuned In: Patrick Beverley Banned (Then Unbanned) From ESPN Shows After Producer Incident

Update: On Saturday, ESPN walked back its stance, issuing a statement to Front Office Sports stating that Beverley is not banned and that no action was taken against him in regards to his incident with producer Malinda Adams. This contradicts a policy set on Friday of which FOS had direct knowledge.

Following his disrespectful treatment of an ESPN producer, Bucks guard Patrick Beverley is now persona non grata at the country’s biggest sports network, Front Office Sports has learned.

ESPN management has banned Beverley from making further guest appearances on studio shows such as First Take and Get Up, according to sources familiar with the network’s thinking.

Many ESPN executives and staffers were outraged when Beverley tried to eject Malinda Adams from a postgame press scrum Thursday night. First, Beverley asked the respected ESPN producer if she subscribed to his podcast. When she said she did not, he told her she could not interview him. When Adams stood her ground, Beverley repeatedly pushed her microphone away, telling her to leave the circle of reporters around his locker.

An ESPN spokesperson declined comment on Beverley’s future guest appearances, but the network did give a strong statement of support for Adams: “Malinda is a well-respected colleague and a true professional. She has our full support.”

Adams herself said that both Beverley and the the team reached out to apologize. “I appreciate it and accept it,” she wrote. “The Bucks also reached out to apologize. I’ve been in the news for over 40 years and kindness and grace always win.”

Beverley’s YouTube show, The Pat Bev Podcast with Rone, has more than 260,000 subscribers. His incident with Adams followed a bizarre scene during the Bucks’ 120–98 playoff loss to the Pacers on Thursday night, when he angrily threw basketballs at heckling fans. One of Beverley’s errant throws hit a woman on the side of her head.

Stephen A. Smith, ESPN’s biggest star, is a friend of Beverley. But during Friday’s episode of First Take, Smith said he was disgusted by his friend’s behavior toward the fans and his ESPN colleague. “I just can’t believe he did that. I’ve known Patrick Beverley for years. I love the brother. It’s inexcusable. It’s indefensible.”

Smith also pointedly asked why Beverley only asked a female reporter if she subscribed to his podcast. (Beverley has been imposing the same requirement on reporters in Milwaukee this year.) “I love Pat Bev. I cannot defend it one bit. Not one bit. It is an incredibly bad look. A suspension, you can book it, is forthcoming,” Smith warned.

Smith was one of many ESPN colleagues who backed Adams on Friday, and the Professional Basketball Writers Association called Beverley’s behavior “unacceptable” in a statement.

Active players at the end of their careers like the 35-year-old Beverley often appear as TV analysts as a way to audition for future media careers. The outspoken Beverley seemed to be a natural for a post-playing TV career.

In a memorable ESPN appearance, Beverley told Smith and Mike Greenberg on Get Up that Chris Paul’s defensive skills were overrated, comparing him to a stationary traffic cone. “CP can’t guard nobody. Everybody in the NBA knows that,” Beverley said.

But even with Smith in his corner, Beverley may have nuked any possible future he had at ESPN. And he didn’t do himself any favors with other future employers. That’s unfortunate given that Amazon and NBC could be looking for new talent if they land NBA media rights.

Still, Beverley and the Bucks were wise to apologize right away. He can always chalk up his behavior to his disappointment over a tough playoff loss. Beverley expressed contrition about the fan incident Friday, tweeting: “But I have to be better. And I will.”

Michael McCarthy’s “Tuned In” column is at your fingertips every week with the latest insights and ongoings around sports media. If he hears it, you will, too.

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