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October 9, 2015

Sports Night: The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 10th 2006 9:30PM

Sports Night - Isaac(S01E11) This is one of my favorite episodes of Sports Night. Not only for the plot (six football players refuse to play at a Tennessee college where the Confederate flag is displayed), but also for the fact that we get to see future West Wing cast member Janel Moloney is a small but pivotal role.

While CSC owner Luther Sachs sides with the college, Isaac says on the air that he doesn't agree. Will this cause a problem for Isaac and the show?

But back to Moloney. She plays a wardrobe person on the show that is indirectly insulted (along with the head wardrobe person) by Casey when he goes on The View (warning: Star Jones appears in this segment). The women compliment him on his wardrobe, and he takes the credit without even thinking about the people who actually pick his wardrobe or any of the other crew members that work on the show. This leads to one of my favorite moments on the show. Dan shows Casey the error of his ways, and Casey and Dan make up for it by mentioning everyone who works on the show at the end of one of their Christmas broadcast. A good moment.

Isaac and Dan talk about what's going on in Tennessee, and Isaac tells him "you have to stop thinking about me as the champion of all things black."

Another one of my favorite Sports Night moments: the gang gathers around the table to pick the Best Sports Moment of the Year. They debate women's ice hockey, baseball, soccer, Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, and other things, and there are so many clever, fast lines here that I can't even name them all (one is below).

Dan wonders what's up with Isaac, and he admits that he isn't saying anything about what's going on in Tennessee because Luther Sachs has been looking for a reason to fire him. Dan is shocked because Isaac doesn't realize that if he was shown the door, everyone who works there would line up right behind him.

In the end, Isaac decides to not only say something, but say it live on the air, giving a stirring defense of the football players and the South. He keeps his job.


"But fundamentally, we're still a news gathering organization, right?" - Isaac, to Dana, who says she doesn't know what's going on with a developing story.

"You can say his name as many times as you like, I'm still not going to know who he is." - Casey, to Dan, who keeps saying the name "Jerome" without telling Casey who he is (but Casey should know he's one of the camera guys).

"And because we have soccer highlights, the sheer pointlessness of a 0-0 tie." - Casey, teasing soccer highlights coming up.

"Well, I take the nouns and verbs and Danny takes the adjectives and prepositions. If there's an umlaut, we flip a coin." - Casey, after being asked by Star Jones how Casey and Dan split up the writing on the show.

"Since I really don't care what you have to say, I think it should be me." - Isaac, to Dan, after they both had something to talk about and Dan asked who should go first.

"Our goal isn't to be cunning, is it?" - Jeremy, after being questioned about how "obvious" his choice for Mark McGuire's home runs as a possible Sports Moment of the Year.

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Bob Sassone

Zachary: I checked the title on the DVD, and it says "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee Tech," but I also checked two episode guides online and they leave out the "Tech" part, so I'll change the title. Thanks for the info.

August 14 2006 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Want to know how many times I've seen every episode of this series? I knew instantly that the pic used in this post was from the 1st season finale "What Kind of Day Has it Been?" :)

August 14 2006 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First of all, it's Tennessee Western, not Tech, and Western doesn't appear in the title of the episode at all. It's "Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee".

My quote contribution:

Isaac: Exaudio, Comperio, Conloquor. That's a Latin phrase that translates: To Listen, To Learn, To Speak. Those words are carved into the stone arches that form the entrance to the undergraduate library at Tennessee Western University. This afternoon, an extraordinary young man named Roland Shepard made what had to have been an excruciating decision. He said he wasn't playing football under a Confederate flag. Six of his teammates then chose not to let Shepard stand alone. And I choose to join them at this moment. In the history of the South, there's much to celebrate. And that flag is a desecration of all of it. It's a banner of hatred and sepratism. It's a banner of ignorance and violence and a war that pitted brother against brother, and to ask young black men and women, young Jewish men and women, Asians, Native Americans, to ask Americans to walk beneath its shadow is a humiliation of irreducible proportions. And we all know it. Tennessee Western has produced some outstanding alumni in the last hundred years. People of wisdom and vision. Strength and compassion. One of them is Luther Sachs. Luther Sachs owns Continental Corp, which owns the Continental Sports Channel, which you're watching right now. Luther Sachs is a generous alumni contributor to Tennessee Western with a considerable influence over its Chancellor, Davis Blake, and its Board of Trustees. Luther, you've got a phone call to make. You've got to call Chancellow Blake and tell him to take down that flag or he can stop looking for your checks in the mail. You've got to put these young men back in a classroom, and I mean pronto. These boys are gonna make you proud one day, Luther. I challenge you to do the right thing. Not an unreasonable request to make of a man whose alma mater declares Exaudio, Comperio, Conloquor. To Listen, To Learn, To Speak. In the meantime, God go with you, Roland Shepard and you six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee. God's not done with any of you yet.

Issac would be the best boss ever in RL.

August 14 2006 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All these recaps of Sports Night is making me have to go rent or buy the DVDs. I'm a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin so I hope Studio 60 is as sharp and as clever as Sports Night.

August 11 2006 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aaron M

A fantastic episode. Incidentally, all the crew names that Dan and Casey read at the end of the episode (except for that of Janel Moloney's character) are actual people who worked on the show.

August 10 2006 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew P. Christensen

The best episode of the series ... One of the top ten episodes of television that I have ever seen.

August 10 2006 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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