Well, I guess there were enough complaints to ESPN to get the attention of their Ombudsman, George Solomon. He leads off his current look at ESPN with a discussion of the Eddie/Cowherd controversy, stating the following (sports.espn.go.com):
Originally posted by George SolomonLet's start with the competitive world of radio, where ESPN has tried and succeeded in becoming a major player with some 750 outlets taking its various shows, game updates and event coverage -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "Our mandate is to serve the sports fan with opinions from the hosts, debate, discussion and speculation," ESPN Radio general manager Bruce Gilbert said recently.
It's one thing to have admirable goals; it's another to achieve them. For the most part, ESPN Radio serves its listeners well. However, there are lapses, and some of them are major, including daytime host Colin Cowherd's insensitive remarks last month in the aftermath of the death of professional wrestler Eddie Guerrero from natural causes due to heart disease.
"Colin asked if Guerrero's obit belonged in the sports pages and, regrettably, made a reference that steroids might have been a factor in his death," said Gilbert, who added he spoke with Cowherd "about the seriousness of implying things we cannot prove."
Gilbert further said Cowherd (and other ESPN commentators) cannot do "off-kilter rants and bits" and what's reported on the network should be "factual and accurate."
You wanted the best, you got... Out of Context Quote of the Week.
"Because personally if I was being choked by Ric Flair, my personal reaction would be well, "Glrrrrkkk, can't breathe" but after that... "Man, I'm being choked out by Ric Flair, this is so cool." and then some more "Gllllrrrrk, can't breathe."" (Llakor)
Aww, I was gonna post this earlier on. It was nice to see him slap around Steve Young, Michael Irvin, and ESPN's policy allowing on-air personalities to do ads, but the quoted part in the original post is basically the extent of his coverage. As it should be; he's kind of there to cover ESPN's coverage, not Eddie Guerrero.
Originally posted by spfOriginally posted by George SolomonGilbert further said Cowherd (and other ESPN commentators) cannot do "off-kilter rants and bits" and what's reported on the network should be "factual and accurate."
Well if Cowherd can't do "off-kilter rants and bits," there's going to be three hours of dead air on ESPN each weekday.
Originally posted by The ArticleThe three of them [Mike & Mike, DP] are entertaining, knowledgeable and fun -- though at times, they seem to bully their guests or pound their opinions into the ground. An example of that occurred earlier this fall, when Patrick steamrolled Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville after the coach wondered whether ESPN commentators have too much influence on college football.
I've noticed that DP tends to take any criticisms of ESPN very personally. I dont know if it's because most of the callers who bash ESPN usually direct their complaints towards Patrick, or if it's part of his job to get fired up while defending his employers. Either way, I'd hardly call any of it "bullying". We dont get Mike & Mike in L.A. (We get Cowherd 6a-10a, and DP 10a-1p), so I cant comment on them.
Irvin's problem, it seems to me, is he still believes he's an athlete/celebrity and doesn't understand that in his role as an ESPN commentator, it was questionable for him to attend the [Terrell] Owens [birthday party] function as a guest. Irvin's confusion is understandable, because one reason networks hire former athletes is because many still have relationships with current players and coaches.
I'm not sure why Irvin going to TO's party is a bad thing. Yeah, Irvin is a commentator, but TO was his friend first. So is Irvin (and any other athletes-turned-commentators) supposed to cut-off all of their personal freindships with their former teammates/competitors once they sign up to work on TV? I dont think so. I can see where there might be a conflict of interest, but why get all worked up over that possibility before it happens?
Some viewers question whether Bill Walton should be covering games in which his son, Luke, participates for the Los Angeles Lakers. ESPN should make sure that Bill Walton makes the relationship clear to viewers beforehand.
I dont think Bill Walton should be covering NBA games AT ALL(!), but I dont think the fact that his son is playing should have anything to do with it. I've caught a couple of the games where Bill had covered his son and I didnt catch any bias in either direction, but maybe I've missed other games where he's done it. Maybe Bill could clarify his relationship with Luke before/during the games to avoid confusion, but I dont see the big deal.
Suzy Kolber does an excellent job as a reporter for ESPN and as a TV pitch person for Chevrolet. I just wish she would choose one of the two jobs, as should other ESPN personnel, including Patrick, who report and comment on news and events and sell products over the air.
I'm not sure I see the problem here either. I guess I dont look at sportscasting as "hard news reporting", so I dont see why the reporters cant endorse products.