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No one ever really knows what goes on behind the metaphorical closed doors of Hollywood, which throws into question the validity of just about anything that's said. Mark Wahlberg, executive producer of the HBO hit Ballers, recently made the claim that NFL higher-ups "like Roger Goodell" came calling when the show was starting up to say they couldn't show certain things. And here's a response from an NFL exec that gets its backwards hat-wearing point across nicely.
Despite becoming a legitimate big screen success, Mark Wahlberg will never be able to get away from his rise to fame as rapper Marky Mark, despite the canyon-sized longing for that to happen. So even though the NFL's Senior Vice President of Communications Natalie Ravitz wasn't the first one to call him Marky Mark, she does repeat it in her Twitter response, referencing his Funky Bunch's one hit wonder "Good Vibrations" in the process.
And then, of course, she refutes the claim in a polite fashion, as is the smart way to go when the NFL is denying something. (It also speaks to the validity of the many other claims against the League that are non-rebutted, but that's a story for another time.) I kind of want to side with Ravitz on this one, too. Ballers really doesn't do anything to make the NFL look terrible, and it's more about shining a light on the players themselves having to keep up with the League's (mostly) stringent policies.
Here's Mark Wahlberg's actual claim, said on an episode of ESPN's Mike & Mike while discussing the difference between the first and second seasons of Ballers in terms of getting attention from people wanting to make cameos.
So the first season of the show, the only calls I was getting were from guys like Roger Goodell saying, 'You can do this. And various owners in the league. And what we were saying is it's a good thing for the league, and for the players.
Recently, show star John David Washington claimed that some players were angry over details about athletes' private lives coming out, though I don't think anyone expects players to totally avoid parties and financial troubles. Perhaps this is all a ruse on behalf of Ballers' cast and crew to have everyone thinking that this show is far more invasive than it is - it's not getting Concussion-sized objections, that's for sure.
This isn't the first bit of negativity that Ballers has gotten, though the show itself is still drawing positive criticism as Season 2 gets underway. It airs Sunday nights on HBO at 10:30 p.m. ET.