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Sports media symposium discusses issues in sports industry

Several promiment figures in sports media and business visited Seton Hall on April 2 to discuss the social matters occurring in the world of sports.

The symposium was headlined by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and Entertainment and Sports Programming Network ESPN commentators Bob Ley and Stephen A. Smith. In between were discussion panels that covered subjects like gambling and amateurism in sports.

Ley and Smith thrilled the audience in the final session. Renee Nunez/Staff Photographer

The panel featured special guests, including Terri Jackson, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) director of operations and Russell Okung, current NFL offensive lineman.

Professional-in-residence B.J. Schecter helped organize the event and discussed why it was important to bring such notable figures to Seton Hall.

“We wanted to bring the best thought leaders,” Schecter said. “We get a great deal of people who want to engage in these dialogues.”

Connor Paradis, a sophomore finance major, said he immediately signed up after seeing a flyer for the event.

“I saw Adam Silver’s face on a flyer outside the living room,” Paradis said.

“It’s definitely not every day that you get to be in the same room as the NBA commissioner.”

The final session of the symposium was when Smith, ESPN “First Take” host, was joined on stage by Ley, an SHU alum and “Outside the Lines” host.

Ley said he commonly comes back to his alma mater to share his knowledge and experience on to the next wave of future news and sports reporters. He said he enjoys the energy he feels in the room, which always makes it worth coming back.

Ley also discussed the importance of sharing his knowledge with the youth.

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“We need to pay it forward. If this is the way to do it, then I’m having fun doing it,” Ley said.

Smith, who is widely known for his explosive personality and hot takes as a host of “First Take,” discussed the challenging aspects of sports media with Ley.

Smith also addressed how he uses his platform and how his personality has helped shaped his career. Ultimately, he said, knowing that he is a prominent figure in the business, he expected to face some backlash for it.

Smith said knowing what he had signed up for has helped him in the long run. He added that to him, he doesn’t have a job, but instead he has a career.

Smith also spoke about the importance of teaching future sportscasters through similar symposiums. As an important figure in the business, Smith described the importance of not following in any footsteps, but instead creating one’s own.

He said he describes it as a marathon. “You sacrifice a little bit now to get more later,” he said. “The fools are the ones who take everything now and then a little bit later they have nothing to show for it because there’s nowhere to go.”

Schecter also shared his excitement for the additions to the sports media curriculum as he continues to build off the annual symposiums.

He said, “I think we’re onto something special here, and building a transformative sports media program that touches all different parts of the university.”

Ronald Castaneda

Editor’s Note: B.J. Schecter is the faculty adviser of The Setonian.


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