The Hypocrisy of ESPNPosted by nvr1983 on July 23rd, 2009
Before I get started, I want to reiterate our stance against the scumbags who surreptitiously videotaped Erin Andrews in the clips that apparently came out almost 4 months ago and somehow remained unknown before exploding on the Internet one week ago. . .
As you may know by now the past week has been a particularly trying one for the sports media overlords in Bristol as they have been hit by the aforementioned peephole video scandal, which their own sister network claims might have been an inside job [Ed. Note: Can ESPN sue its parent company?], and the Ben Roethlisberger fiasco where they waited several days to announce the news that one of the most recognizable athletes in America had a sexual assault charge filed against him. Perhaps the most interesting story out of Bristol this week was that ESPN had decided to blacklist all New York Post staff members from appearing on any ESPN or any of their outlets after the Post ran screencaps of the infamous videos that left little to the imagination. On a basic visceral level, most people would agree to ESPN’s decision as they would be disgusted by the decision of the Post brain trust to run the screencaps.
The situation becomes a little more dicey when 2 other major media outlets (CBS and FOX News) decided to show the actual clips on their news broadcasts. If the front office people at ESPN actually had a policy or stance regarding the use of these illegally filmed clips, they should have taken a similar stance against CBS and FOX staff members. This raises an interesting question: Why did ESPN single out the New York Post? While some may argue that it was the way the Post utilized the images, we find that rather hard to believe. Although CBS and FOX were not as sensational in their presentation of the clips as the Post was they are in fact doing the same thing–using the illegal footage to try and further their story. For our money, there is a simple answer as to why ESPN singled out the Post staff members for their blacklist–because they can.
While the New York Post is a very large newspaper (the 6th largest in the US), it pales in comparison to the reach of CBS and FOX. Deadspin offered a glimpse into this fact when they listed some of the New York Post staff members (Kevin Kernan, Lenn Robbins, Joel Sherman, and Mark Cannizzarro) who would be affected by ESPN’s decision. Nothing against any of those writers, but I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing any of them on ESPN. Now let’s take a look at who would be blacklisted if ESPN decided to take similar action against CBS and FOX.
CBS: Greg Anthony, Jay Bilas (also works at ESPN), Bill Cowher, Seth Davis, Rich Eisen, Len Elmore (also works at ESPN), Dick Enberg, Boomer Esiason, Nick Faldo, Greg Gumbel, Gus Johnson, Clark Kellogg, Verne Lundquist, Dan Marino, John McEnroe, Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery (also works at ESPN), and Phil Simms.
FOX: Troy Aikman, Brian Billick, Terry Bradshaw, George Brett, Joe Buck (please), Mark Grace, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long, Eric Karros, Chris Myers, Tim McCarver (please), Michael Strahan, and Darrell Waltrip.
Just looking at that list of names, which is by no means a comprehensive listing of all the big names at these networks, it is clear why ESPN hasn’t followed through with equal vigor against CBS and FOX. While I’m certain that the ESPN ban on New York Post staff members won’t last more than a couple weeks, the fact that ESPN targeted the (relatively) little guy when taking this punitive action undermines their credibility in a situation where they should have little problem in staying on the moral high ground. Quite simply they can’t afford to get into a power struggle with the CBS/FOX-types of the world because they would lose their access to all the talent those networks have accumulated (at least half of the names above have been guests on PTI) not to mention the potential contract issues for Bilas, Elmore, and Raftery who all do college basketball for both ESPN and CBS. In a way, it makes ESPN’s actions seem more about attempting to save face for themselves rather than to protect Andrews, who is the only person to be wronged in this entire situation.