Recently, The Shadow League had the chance to discuss the brand-new stream show “Brother From Another” starring and produced by Michael Holley and Michael Smith.
In this lively and sincere exchange, Smith and Holley discuss the player protest movement from both an NFL and NBA perspective, the wide societal swings regarding how the NBA has full embraced BLM verbiage and missions to the point of influencing history, and so much more!
“What you’re going to get on this show is all of us. That means, fathers, mothers, husbands, sports fans, music fans, politics fans,” said Holley when asked of the show’s format. “Everything that we are is what we’re going to bring to the screen and this space.”
“Simply put, we’re in a moment and the manifestation of this show is a product of that moment. This is surreal. Not because of Michael and I’s relationship and history and shared dream of doing this show together, but it’s surreal because almost akin to the player protests. “Smith added. He further hammered home by stating; “Do player protests have the same power? And the answer is no, but do protests have the same power if they have approval and are sanctioned? If you have the establishment’s blessing to do those protests then it kinda defeats the purpose.”
“What’s surreal is that Michael and I have been having these conversations when they weren’t popular, when they really were uncomfortable, when society wasn’t trying to hear it. I’m old enough to remember stick to sports. I’m a victim of stick to sports, quite frankly.”
Three years ago, Michael Smith and Jemele Hill seemed to have it all; a very hip show (His and Hers) that morphed into a very hip, slick segment on Sportscenter called “The Six”. Two years ago Michael Smith was lambasted for not “sticking to sports” and it’s been a year since he reached a settlement with ESPN. Smith told The Shadow League about the impetus for his return as well as why this is the perfect vehicle upon which to do so.
“I left (ESPN) two years ago and it’s also surreal that we’re In a moment where there’s, at best, a hunger and appetite, at minimum a curiosity, when it comes to these conversations. So, to have a greenlight to bring our entire selves to the conversation and not just that cliché and trite “intersection of sports and politics”, because the two things have always been intertwined, but to talk about politics and entertainment, and pop culture, and Black Twitter, and manhood, and brotherhood and gender, all of those different things.”
“We have the freedom to have this conversation but are also the executive producers of the show. So, to design the conversation is really remarkable when you consider that six, seven and eight months ago, there were people debating whether Black lives really mattered. And there are some people still debating that. It’s still a debate, but my point is that it’s been co-oped, gentrified and otherwise branded at this point to where it is now culturally acceptable for corporations to now say ‘Black Lives Matter’.”
Michael Holley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning sports writer, radio talk show host and frequent guest on a myriad of ESPN shows. He’s no slouch. Not even remotely so. But the mutual respect that both he and Smith share was the gravity that brought it all together.
“Ricardo, you’re right, Michael Smith is such a talent and such a superstar, and I know I’m biased. But he’s such a superstar that he could have done this anywhere. Thankfully, we have a relationship and I was already at NBC Sports Boston. When Peacock came to me and asked if I’d like to do this within this space, Michael Smith came to mind. And the only reason he’s doing it here is because of me, and I’m so grateful for that. Because this is a guy who could do it anywhere in the world, and I’m not exaggerating.”
“Michael is the only person that I would’ve jumped back in this for because, truthfully, I was looking to jump back in front of the camera,” Smith added. “I’m enjoying having my own company. I’m enjoying developing and producing content. I’m enjoying creating in a different way. And it’s a full-time job in and of itself. So, I wasn’t thinking about it and the more I was away from the television grind, the less I missed it. But when Michael came calling it was a no-brainer. “
The Shadow League: Please expound upon the startling shift in public opinion since questions of Kaepernick patriotism were first raised up to now.
“As I was alluding to a few minutes ago, it’s not just how the situation changed, but how it REALLY changed. I still question the sincerity on the part of the majority. Like, why now? We’ve been screaming ‘Black Lives Matter” for hundreds of years. Why one thing in particular seemed to galvanize the country?”
“Then, we had more brothers and sisters get gunned down. So, with all due respect, whether that respect is a little, medium or a lot, the NBA putting Black Lives Matter on the court or on the back of jerseys, or the NFL putting “End Racism” on the large screen when the closest Colin Kaepernick can get to the field is on Madden. It’s like ‘Are you really serious about this or are you just doing it because it’s convenient?’ And the price of NOT saying it now is actually higher than it is to just say it.”
“The NFL has a long way to go, and that’s stating the obvious. But I said recently, when everybody talks about ‘So, what’re you doing?’ Awareness was never the issue, people were just comfortable being culpable with the status quo, but the rebuttable is always ‘What’re you doing, what’s next?’ They’re not interested in an actual answer. And also, so many of the solutions that people have in mind perpetuate a white savior mentality in a white supremacist system of “better your own communities!’’ “Go into your own communities and stop Black on Black crime! We still won’t respect you, but maybe, possibly we can stop fearing you so much, and we won’t have to police you so aggressively.’ Are they truly committed to ending racism?”
“Brother From Another” will stream live 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET Exclusively on Peacock’s Sports Channel.