It started Monday as a simple suggestion by former NFL quarterback Michael Vick that free agent Colin Kaepernick might rehabilitate his image with the league by cutting his afro. Now it's erupted into a war of words between ESPN and Fox Sports 1's Jason Whitlock, who called his former employer the "PC, Safe Space Network."
The 25th ESPY awards were cruising along. Peyton Manning was hilarious as host. His comedy was sparkling. Peyton, the newest and overly competitive resident at an assisted living center, cheating to beat seniors at shuffle board. Peyton, the happy host of a Super Bowl party, assuring his friends the game was "over" and the Falcons were assured of victory, only to grow more agitated as the Patriots rallied to win and finally chucking a football through the TV screen.
It's been two years since ESPN intentionally jettisoned a major portion of its conservative audience by reducing the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage to a celebration of Caitlyn Jenner and the controversial transgender movement at its 2015 ESPY awards program. That transgression from sports to progressive social engineering infuriated conservatives.
ESPN's latest controversy has nothing to do with politics or sports performance. The sports network is now resorting to nudity for magazine sales and internet clicks to lead the world in entertainment. ESPN magazine's "The Body Issue" presents 23 male and female athletes not only out of uniform but completely out of clothing. If your business is flagging, as ESPN's is, just resort to the lowest common denominator.
A Kaepernick v. NFL lawsuit would be music to the ears of one media apologist for the renegade former quarterback -- and to entitlement champions everywhere. Jason Reid of ESPN's satellite blog, The Undefeated, suggests the unwanted Colin Kaepernick could potentially sue the National Football League because no team has signed him.
Conservatives not welcome here. That's what one former ESPN employee is saying after she was a victim of the sports network's layoff of 100 people two months ago today. New York Post reporter Hannah Withiam writes of conservative Britt McHenry's complaint about her ex-employer in a time when ESPN is stubbornly defending its liberal brand.
Maybe it’s time ESPN just goes ahead and makes it official by registering as a political action committee. It should register under the title of LEFTSPIN and drop all pretention of honest reporting. The sports network is flagging in viewership while surging under the banner of left-ism. The latest evidence is the promotion of Connor Schell, a hardcore, Trump-hating Democrat, to the role of executive vice-president.
With Colin Kaepernick confined to the NFL's desert of unsigned free agents, Michael Bennett has clearly assumed the mantle as the league's most controversial player. Alleging this week that the NFL is too white, he is now writing his way to controversy, too. ESPN writer Sheil Kapadia revealed that Bennett is releasing a book, "Things that Make White People Uncomfortable," late this year.
A month ago ESPN commissioned a viewer survey by Langer Research Associates, and ESPN Front Row’s Barry Blyn concluded the sky is not falling: Approximately two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents believe ESPN is getting it right in terms of mixing sports news and political issues. Another 10 percent had no opinion … and 8 percent said ESPN does not do enough politics in its programming.
Deadspin, the perpetual cactus in ESPN’s side, had a field day with the sports network’s phony-baloney performance before advertisers in New York this week. Kevin Draper and Laura Wagner pointed out a huge gap between what’s going on at ESPN and the façade its brass displayed to advertisers.
Long-time ESPN veterans and untouchable survivors of multiple layoffs, Jeremy Schaap and Bob Ley say sticking to sports will not work in the modern world of sports. Ley also says, according to Travis Waldron of The Huffington Post, that those who say ESPN is too political are hypocrites.
Ever since ESPN sacked 100 on-air employees and sent them packing April 26, conservatives and leftists have debated the reason for the network's latest round of layoffs. "Chord-cutting," say those on the Left, as well as ESPN management. "Radical turn-off politics," say the conservatives.