ESPN’s Lack Of Professionalism
I’ve never taken upper-level journalism courses. I switched out of that area of study before I really got to the meat of the curriculum, but I know bad journalism when I see it, and the past week has been brutal for one particular station. No it’s not CNN and no it isn’t FOX News.
It started several days ago when the news broke that David Ortiz had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs back in 2003. ESPN’s response towards this breaking news was nearly nonexistent. Whether ESPN liked the fact or not, having one of Boston’s best sluggers during their championship years outed as a PED-user is big news. It’s important and newsworthy.
Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with the limited coverage had they set this precedent with previous players. ESPN managed to have round-the-clock coverage about Alex Rodriguez when he got nailed for the same positive test. They called Bob Ley off his vacation to anchor the coverage of the Barry Bonds indictment. Two minutes of Eduardo Perez (who?) telling viewers that he believes Ortiz’s story about “carelessness” doesn’t quite count in my book as coverage.
Additionally, where was the analysis following the David Ortiz news conference? Almost immediately after the conference had ended, ESPN rebroadcasted the 2009 Home Run Derby. I want to hear what you think of an integral part of Boston’s championship teams being caught cheating. But I suppose your demonstrated ignorance of the subject speaks louder than John Kruk ever could.
It’s not as if this is a new thing. I’ve put up with Peter Gammons preaching each Boston prospect as the second coming of whichever Hall of Famer shared the position. And Buster Olney’s articles including ludicrous trade proposals such as Brad Penny for anything.
But when a network intentionally skates over a major news story (and that’s definitely what David Ortiz testing positive for PEDs is) that’s completely unacceptable. At some point, ESPN needs to get back to covering sports news from an unbiased perspective and become a professional operation again. Maybe their lack of professional reporting stems from the fact that they lack any serious competition. I don’t know, but ESPN’s become an unchecked tyrant in recent times.
You also might have heard that Alex Rodriguez hit a walk-off homer in the fifteenth inning to give the Yankees a 2-0 win over the Red Sox the other night. However much it pained ESPN to run those highlights, they did although anchor John Anderson decided it would be funny to pair A-Rod’s dramatic homer with a chant of “boli, boli, boli”. (Boli, by the way is a banned substance that A-Rod admitted to using during his time with the Texas Rangers).
This is something that a drunk 23-year old fan might yell as A-Rod rounds the bases, not an anchor for the “worldwide leader in sports”. Anderson’s behavior that night was unprofessional and despicable. Even ESPN agreed as they edited out Anderson’s supposed funny for the morning editions of Sportscenter. That type of behavior goes beyond comedy or even the usual Sportscenter wise-guy routine. It reeks of unprofessionalism, even for a network whose work seems to be falling apart bit by bit each day.
ESPN is located in Bristol, so it’s not too terribly surprising that they employ a workforce that’s overwhelmingly Boston fans. It’s not something that becomes a problem until it starts infiltrating it’s way into your final product. ESPN does a pretty decent job staying neutral everywhere else, but the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics get their little hearts all a-flutter.