Yes, ESPN is the best thing to ever happen to sports, just ask anyone in Bristol. They would love to tell you how they have made sports better and more accessible to fans all over the globe. But being a behemoth comes with a price. ESPN also gets to be the worst thing to ever happen to sports.
With football season ramping up we will get to witness both faces of the four letter network. The goodness of ESPN will shine through with awesome coverage of great college football games in high def, complete with the passion that fits the college game. Then there is the NFL side of things where ESPN will have all you can eat stats, as well as plenty of pregame coverage to get you set for the action.
All of us can get behind the benefits of 24 hour a day football coverage. But the start of football will also put ESPN’s blemishes on full display. With more eyes paying attention to the most popular sport in America, the network goes into hyper drive with the negative side of their business.
ESPN doesn’t need me to tell them how to run things, even though I am available to do so. I can be had for a price, just like Jason Whitlock. They know how to make money and things are going just fine for them, so why change?
Just because ESPN benefits financially from some of their tactics doesn’t make it OK. But why change when the money’s rolling in and all the employees are fat and happy? That’s no shot at ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who is both. If you need to Google the spelling of this guy’s name, just use “fat reporter Lebron’s boy,” like I did. His image is the first to pop up…not a joke.
This article isn’t for the average sports fan who thinks ESPN’s word is gospel. The normal sports fan just likes sports and wants to see home runs, touchdowns, and game winning three’s. They are not concerned with the way their favorite sports are covered, as long as the picture looks good and the contests are compelling.
This article is for sports fans that care about what’s being said before, during, and after the contests end. The ones that can tell the difference between a historically great game and one that is just really good for this decade. This is intended for fans that know when two talking heads are arguing just for the hell of it, not because they believe what’s coming out of their mouths.
To break it down simply, here are ten reasons I hate ESPN. I won’t bother going into a top ten reasons I love the 24 hour sports network. That’s easy. I love sports and they provide the most coverage. They also have some show hosts, in game analysts, and experts that I enjoy. I still watch PTI on occasion, though mostly for Wilbon. I love Highly Questionable, a truly original show that doesn’t take sports so damn seriously. And Bomani Jones is one of the sharpest sports personalities on the planet.
- You can find MMA coverage on ESPN, but it takes some digging. They could do more to highlight this growing sport. If they have time to show kids’ baseball and the WNBA, surely there is some wiggle room for more MMA.
- Sports Center may be the staple of the company still, but there are too many reruns. This isn’t 1995 when it was OK to loop the same show ten times. Mix in an Outside The Lines rerun to break up the monotony.
- Mark May isn’t at Skip Bayless loathing level, but he is inching closer with each college football season. May is one of the smuggest analysts on the network and is so condescending to Lou Holtz that I can barely stand to watch.
- I get it. ESPN has to have a huge build up to the games. Keep moving forward is the name of the game. But the postgame coverage pales in comparison to what all the experts predicted for the three hours leading up to the games. How about more content that shows why the game ended like it did instead of useless score predictions beforehand.
- With ESPN being so influential, they could use guys like Bill Simmons to say what’s already on the minds of fans. Getting rid of Simmons just shows how unwilling the network is to rock the boat, especially when it comes to the NFL.
- PTI was great because Wilbon and Kornheiser are best buddies. They can’t just stick personalities together for a debate of the day and expect the same success. Fake debate themes leave us with disgusting bits of Stephen A. Smith “fighting” with Skip Bayless.
- There is way too much focus on the loser superstars. If LeBron‘s team loses in the Finals, his face should not be on my screen most of the time. I don’t care if he is the “best player in the world.” I want to see the best team at that moment highlighted, not the team / player the media is in lust with.
- Perhaps ESPN could hand out some prosthetic balls to commentators so they could take a stand like Jay Bilas on college athletes not getting paid. After all, so many ESPN employees make their living off the backs of college players who play for free. ESPN could move college athletes closer to proper compensation if they would simply decide to have some courage. To paraphrase a quote from my boy Yoda, “If so powerful you are, why run (from the issue).”
- Cowering to the NFL. This is where money comes into play. I’m not blind to that, but it’s just a bad look. We see where taking a stand against Roger Goodell eventually landed Bill Simmons. I don’t expect commentators to threaten Roger Goodell with physical violence (though that’d be great), but it would be nice if the talking heads could say what’s really on their minds when it comes to The League.
- Knee jerk reaction is obviously not the best way to report the news. This isn’t only a problem with ESPN, but with TV news in general. ESPN tries to make each great game into “the best ever.” “Best catch ever, best Super Bowl ever, best World Series finish ever, best horse ever.” It’s lazy coverage and it’s just dishonest. Fans don’t need a commentator to tell them that a certain game was the best to happen since humans have been on Earth. A great game that got fans pumped up and gave them something to talk about with their friends is good enough. Stop lying about historical significance on a weekly basis.