How Did Your Sports Network Become the Wrong Kind of Story?


I wonder when others are really going to start paying attention to what has been happening at ESPN over the last few years.

Over the weekend, I did a cursory bit of blogging and discovered a wellspring of embarrassing stories about the personalities who work at ESPN and appear during the various bits of programming that appears on the network. This was by no means comprehensive or scientific. This was more like, wow, there sure are lots of ESPN personalities who do stupid things.

No one at ESPN should really be in the business of wagging a finger at the personal conduct of a professional athlete. Period. End of story on that front.

Here's one story about how ESPN is beginning to enter the consciousness, but in the wrong way:
Have Keith Theodore Olbermann spend a few seasons working at your television network and see how you feel. Sort of like Kansas after a twister. If Olbermann hadn't been so brilliant and talented, few would have put up with him. But Olbermann has a talent that can't be taught. He can relate to people on the other side of the camera and, indeed, relate to the camera itself in a way that comes across as second nature. And yet he once told an interviewer that on some level, he's always making fun of television: "Like, 'Look how ridiculous this is, me sitting here and you sitting on the other end, watching me—what are you doing that for?' I think that's always been my attitude."
Is this even fair, though? The article wants to hit Olbermann because he was part of ESPN's history. He either was or wasn't responsible for a lot of the success that many of the people taking shots at him were able to coast upon long after he left the network. The last half of a dozen or so sordid years of scandal and infamy can't be laid at Olbermann's doorstep. Why hit him up front in an article about a book about ESPN? Is it because of his recent firing or is it because there is a desire to tie Olbermann to the tawdry past?

What people really need to discuss is whether or not a single sports network should have so much power, influence and as many exclusive contracts to show non-professional sports.
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