As the media sphere expands with former professional athletes adding their unique perspectives daily to the news cycle, some platforms are evolving the media more than others.
Enter “The Pivot,” a show that started as one of empowerment after a false start with another popular former athlete-led show and turned into a news-breaking vehicle. The shows hosts spoke to The Shadow League in a recent interview.
“People go in with what they want. It’s called situational bias,” former Miami Dolphins linebacker-turned-show co-host Channing Crowder. “Maybe we are alternative media where we aren’t going in with a narrative. In our space, the athlete can voice his own narrative. He can change the narrative that he’s seeing.”
A True Pivot
Crowder, along with Fred Taylor, a former running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots, was once part of “I Am Athlete,” an innovation they started with Brandon Marshall, a retired six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.
However, after a business disagreement, the two decided to regroup and revamp with former Pittsburgh Steeler and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark.
“We were on another podcast platform that kind of went south,” Crowder continued. “You know the business wasn’t buttoned up, so me and Fred found out we were touching people. DMs, people just coming up to us in the mall, in the airport, and so we wanted to continue to do it.
“We created ‘The Pivot,’ and we wanted to bring on somebody else, and the first option was Ryan Clark. What he does, he’s an orator, the way he sets stuff up, the way he tells stories, we knew it just would add so much. It was an overnight success, and we’re proud of it.”
The Trust Factor
Guests are candid on the podcast, like when Cam Newton revealed his infidelity that resulted in a child led to poor performance in New England. Shaq admitted his mistakes with his famous teammates Penny Hardaway and Kobe Bryant. “The Pivot” has been a safe space for athletes and entertainers.
“It’s simple, man. Just let the guest be the guest,” said Fred Taylor. “You ask the question and let them speak. We break the ice, but they recognize off top that we’re real; we don’t have an agenda other than to highlight them and allow them the opportunity to basically do what they want. They can go however deep or surface level that they decide to.
“We aren’t here to have any negativity, we aren’t looking for clickbait, and if they request to see the show before its put out we’re 1000 percent open to it. We just want to do good media, good podcasting, and people know that now, so it marries up well.”
The Beasley Factor
“The Pivot” has broken stigmas in the realm of mental health as well. An episode featuring NBA star Michael Beasley, who opened up on his struggles to get back to the NBA and his need for help, established the unique brand of trust athletes have while on the show.
“I think anytime shows are impactful like the way Michael Beasley’s episode was — it was my favorite; I felt like we touched a ton of people,” said Ryan Clark. “I felt like we had the opportunity to help him, and we also learned a ton about ourselves. To me, ‘The Pivot’ isn’t seen the way it is without him; one, agreeing to do our show and, two, being so open and vulnerable to the world, truly.
“That allowed people to know that we weren’t there with an agenda, that we weren’t there with a plan to push a narrative, and we really wanted our guest to know that it was a safe space, and I think it was a beautiful moment for all of us.”