As the media sphere grows with former professional athletes adding their unique insights daily to the news cycle, some platforms are changing the media more than others.
Enter “The Pivot,” a show that started as an empowerment show after a false start with another popular show led by a former athlete and morphed into a news vehicle. The show’s hosts spoke to The Shadow League in a recent interview.
“People come in with what they want. It’s called situational bias,” said Channing Crowder, a former Miami Dolphins linebacker turned co-host of the show. “Maybe we are alternative media where we don’t fit into a narrative. In our space, the athlete can express their own narrative. They can change the narrative that they see.
A real 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 pioneered with six-time wide receiver Brandon Marshall from the Retired Pro Bowl.
However, after a trade disagreement, the two decided to regroup and reorganize 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 case wasn’t closed, so Fred and I found out we were touching people. DMs, people just come up to us in the mall, at the airport, and so we wanted to keep doing that.
“We created ‘The Pivot’ and we wanted to bring in somebody else, and the first option was Ryan Clark. What he does is a speaker, the way he sets things up, the way it tells stories, we knew it would add so much. It was an overnight success and we are proud of it.
The trust factor
Guests are candid on the podcast, such as when Cam Newton revealed his infidelity that led to a child performing poorly 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 artists.
“It’s simple, man. Just let the guest be the guest,” Fred Taylor said. “You ask the question and let them talk. We break the ice, but they immediately recognize that we are real; we have no other objective than to enhance them and give them the opportunity to do essentially what they want. They can go to the depth or surface of their choice.
“We’re not here to get negativity, we’re not looking for clickbait, and if they ask to see the show before it airs, we’re 1000% open to it. We just want to do good media, good podcasting, and people know that now, so it just fits together.
The Beasley Factor
“The Pivot” has also broken stigma in the field of mental health. An episode featuring NBA star Michael Beasley, who opened up about his struggles to return to the NBA and his need for help, established the unique mark of confidence athletes have during the show.
“I think anytime the shows have an impact, like the Michael Beasley episode was – that was my favorite; I felt like I touched a ton of people,” Ryan Clark said. “I felt like we had the opportunity to help him, and we also learned a lot about ourselves. For me, ‘The Pivot’ isn’t seen as it is without him; one, accept to do our show and, two, to be so open and vulnerable to the world, really.
“It let people 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 this was a safe space, and I think it was a beautiful moment for all of us.