Exactly what Sports Programming should Not be (ESPN)

Just read a great article by ESPN Ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer about “The Decision.” If I were to guess, it’s about 20,000 words long, and will take you you about 7.5 hours to read, but it is well worth it. Ohlmeyer touches on just about everything that was wrong with the spectacle, and what it means for ESPN. While this article is extremely interesting, informative, and pertinent not only to sports fans and even journalists, but to the whack-jobs at ESPN who green-light garbage sports news coverage, it is not surprising that this article was not featured on ESPN.com’s front page, or anywhere else for that matter. Unless you regularly search for “Don Ohlmeyer”, or visit the Commentary tab, you will have hard time finding it. Hell, even on their site’s own commentary page it isn’t even one of their featured articles. I stumbled upon the article via aol.com [Link] (because that’s where you go for quality news stories).

Anyway, I got to thinking about how shitty ESPN has become over the years, with “The Decision” being the epitome of everything shitty about them. Sportscenter sucks these days. First Take was a lot better when it was Cold Pizza. Mike and Mike are good, but if I want to listen to them, that’s what I have a radio for. Around The Horn and Pardon The Interruption are entertaining sometimes. The only good piece of original programming that ESPN has conjured up is SportsNation. . And after a stunt like “The Decision”, I really question the integrity of their sports broadcasts and live game coverage. In a related story, I am in love with Michelle Beadle.

The thing that sucks about all these shitty shows is that they are all the same shit. If you watch ATH and then PTI, you will learn nothing new about sports in the second half hour of your time. You can watch Sportscenter and then First Take, but eventually they cover the same stories, or non-stories. Mike and Mike is cool if you enjoy staring at a picture of whatever guest-that-noone-cares-about is on the phone for 10 minutes (it’s a radio show, why is it on tv? Oh, because you’re too dumb to think of anything original, ESPN). All of these programs simply give you the same sports information, only they have different people delivering it. The same tired stories about Brett Favre throwing a football at a high school and what color shirt he was wearing will be drilled into your head by the Sportscenter anchors. Turn to First Take to see Skip Bayless screaming about how his shirt was actually a different color than people are saying. Oh, and Mike Golick played in the NFL so who better to ask about whether or not Brett Favre should retire and what he may be thinking?

When im watching Sportscenter, all I want to see are game highlights and results, any trades that actually happenned, maybe some press conference footage, the top 10 plays (and on Fridays the not top 10), and maybe a LITTLE EXPERT analysis. Chris Broussard is not an expert, he’s just a terrible journalist who speaks matter-of-factly. Every sport needs their own Barry Melrose. And that’s it. I want the facts, and a few interesting tidbits from credible people.

What I don’t want to see on Sportscenter are stories about what Ben Rothlesberger said to his alleged victim when he was a little too drunk. That has nothing to do with sports. It’s distasteful. That’s what the internet is for. When I’m getting ready for work, wondering how that game ended last night, I don’t want to sit through an interview with some 17 year old girl about her being touched in a bathroom and Big Ben whipping out his dick. I don’t care how many women Tiger Woods boned. It is not sports related. If you want to cover that shit, that’s what you have 85 other channels for. Can you please leave one that is purely just for sports? Here’s an idea, have opinions on ESPN2, and the Rape and Dogfighting stories on ESPN News. There, was that so hard? It took me 8.7 seconds to think of that, yet you’ve been screwing it up for the past 10 years, ESPN.

The problem is that ESPN has gotten so big that they think sports are more important than they actually are, and they take it way too seriously. A blown call, or even a big game, should not be covered with the same intensity as the BP oil disaster. That’s why I love SportsNation. The rest of ESPN needs the same mentality. It’s sports. It’s entertainment. I don’t need serious discussion 24/7. Make fun of athletes. Please. They play games for a living and most of them contribute almost nothing to society besides keeping things like Lamborghini’s, Bentley’s, and rims that cost more than my parents’ house on the market. The old Sportscenter anchors seemed to show some funny potential, namely Scott Van Pelt, who made numerous Tenacious D references during his highlights. But I feel like he was probably held back from joking around too much by the big wigs at ESPN, since sports are such a serious matter. These days the anchors show their funny side once in a while, but we need more of it. The bottomline is that with the internet and smartphones, serious live discussion of sports on TV is obsolete. If I want to hear people argue about sports I have a radio. Or I can read some articles, wherever I am, on my phone.

In a related “What the FUCK, ESPN” question, their Bottomline has gotten completey out of control. Remember when it gave scores for games? It used to just tell me the score of every game from the night before. And it worked great. Then they added Stats. If I wanted to know more I either kept watching or logged on to my dial up internet and looked for more. Great. Now the bottomline tells you every fucking news story, every dsigusting athlete-rape quote, that you’re hearing them talk about at the same damn time!! It’s fucking dumb. We need some common sense. Who thinks this is a good idea? How do these idiots get these jobs?

I guess I just miss the good old days when you could wake up between 6am and noon and catch the same Sportscenter and find out what happened in the world of sports LAST NIGHT. Then they would play some classic sports games, in half an hour re-caps. Those were awesome. I learned about a lot of NBA greats that way.

Sports are about entertainment and ESPN is about informing us about it. Why, then, with about 5 different channels to divide their coverage, do they suck so greatly at it?

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