For many years, the first thing I did when I was in front of a TV was flipping to ESPN, “The worldwide leader in sports.” It took me almost 18 years to realize how awful of a decision that was.
ESPN has consistently filled the common sports viewer with only the information they want you to know. They have monopolized sports fans’ brains and turned them into piles of garbage. Where someone’s sports brain used to be is now filled with Tim Tebow stats, fun facts, Skip Bayless threatening to debate people and biased Penn State coverage.
The fact that the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports” talks more about Tim Tebow (the BACKUP quarterback of the New York jets) than the New York Giants is a great example of the priority they put on misinforming viewers. Sportscenter, the place where fans thought they could go to see the score of their favorite teams’ game, is now a place that gives you highlights of LeBron James’ twitter account during an Ohio State game. With the expansion of social media in the world, athletes have never been more popular. ESPN has seen this as an opportunity to turn into TMZ, and it’s only a matter of time until we see where Tom Brady ate lunch on Thursday.
Many children (including myself) dream of being a Sportscenter anchor or an ESPN employee. ESPN might sound like an appealing company to work for if you like sports, but ESPN treats its employees terribly. Just ask Dan Patrick, former Sportscenter anchor, radio host and “Mothership” of ESPN. Patrick was given a “take it or leave it” offer from ESPN in 2007 that would have forced him away from his family much more than he wanted. Instead, Patrick decided to leave and is now hosts multiple shows.
Recently, ESPN had a special where they brought to light concerns with concussions and head injuries in football titled Football at a Crossroads. This was a weeklong series that ended right before the start of the NFL season. It seems a bit hypocritical to show a series with people that suffered debilitating, even life threatening injuries. Yet a large majority of the Mothership’s content is glorifying the NFL.
When the horrifying news broke from Penn State about the terrible acts Jerry Sandusky committed, ESPN was there to save the day. Instead of leading with an unbiased supporter of justice, they first interviewed former Penn State player Matt Millen. Millen did nothing but support Penn State, especially Joe Paterno. ESPN also sent a reporter to watch Joe Paterno’s front door just in case anyone said anything bad about the legendary figure.
When the Free report (Louis Free – former FBI investigator) came out, it had facts putting Joe Paterno in a negative light. The Mothership wouldn’t stand for this; they continued to have a guest whose only focus was to say how great of a man Paterno was. It’s sad that ESPN cannot swallow their pride even once and say the honest truth about a man who allowed horrible acts to occur, just so his recruiting class wouldn’t be hurt.
Right after the Penn State scandal first broke, a former student at Syracuse said something similar happened to him. When the news broke about the Syracuse incident, ESPN released tapes they had been holding since 2002 that contained concern about the student and his assistant coach. The problem was that the higher-ups at the Mothership decided March madness in 2002, where Syracuse won the championship, was too valuable to lose for ratings. This shows which direction the moral compass at the Mother ship points.
Is it fair that ESPN has such a monopoly on the sports business when the quality of the reporting is sub-par? The Mothership is incredibly excited anytime the Red Sox and Yankees get together. On last Tuesday’s Sportscenter, they lead with highlights from the Red Sox/Yankees game. The last time I checked, the Red Sox were in last place and falling flat on their face. I know the Tigers and White sox played the same night and they were playing a meaningful division game, which didn’t even make the top hour of highlights.
With the emergence of the new NBC sports station, it will be interesting to see where ESPN is 20 years from now. One can only hope they are completely changed from top to bottom, or even nowhere to be found.