For years, ESPN was THE network to watch when you wanted to get the latest scoop on what’s going on in the sports world. From scores, to highlights and even off-the-field happenings with athletes, ESPN was all over it. But as of lately, the “Worldwide Leader Of Sports” has become extremely biased in stories that they report.
Case in point: Yesterday, Brett Favre was dealing with allegations of leaving voice messages and sending out “Baby Brett” peen pics to model and former Gameday host Jenn Sterger. This was BIG news in the sports world, that even a reporter even questioning Favre about the allegations during the Randy Moss press conference (Favre responded by, NOT responding)
So imagine my surprise when ESPN had not ONE mention of Favre, the former Jets employee or the allegations on their website or newscast. A future Hall-Of-Famer (who’s married and a grandfather, by-the-way), gets not one mention of his alleged inappropriate behavior. And as of 10:35am the day after, still no mention.
Second case: When Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual misconduct with an underage lady in a GA club, ESPN didn’t report it until much later than any other sports outlet. Even NFL Network had a mention about the allegations, but none from ESPN until later on.
Most can make a case that neither player was charged with a crime, so it’s not front page news. Maybe so, however ESPN was quick to report Vince Young’s citation, stemming from a fight in a Dallas strip club earlier this past summer. In addition to Young’s altercation, former Colts WR Marvin Harrison was front page news when he had allegations of his gun being in involved in a shooting surface (which took place over 2 years ago, in Philadelphia). Harrison has yet to be formally charged of a crime.
So what gives? Roethlisberger was accused of his 2nd sexual assault within one year and received a 4-game suspension and the network drags their feet, yet Young’s citation and non suspension becomes a big deal? While I would love to shy away from the race card on this situation, it’s pretty hard not at least acknowledge it. Is it because players like Favre and Roethlisberger are considered to be iconic, while Harrison (a HOF in his own right) and VY are expendable, for whatever reason? While I know this will not happen, I would love for an explanation of what’s considered newsworthy and what can be put on the shelf until further notice.
ESPN has the right to pick and choose what they feel is news worthy. But more and more, their actions look to be biased amongst certain athletes. There was a time when I dreamed of working in Bristol, due to my love for sports as well as working in the media. But later I realized that ESPN goes against what I stand for. Newsworthy sports stories shouldn’t have a color, price tag or gender requirement. Maybe one day, ESPN will get back to unbiased journalism. Until then, I’ll stick with PTI and the 30 for 30 series while finding my sports news elsewhere.