This blog isn’t short of ESPN hate. I used to never turn it off as a kid, but it is actually an insufferable channel to watch these days. For being a 24/7 sports network, they have less and less actual sports every day.
For a few years now, the problem was them covering the same tired stories (i.e. Tebow, LeBron, LaVar Ball, etc.) instead of relevant events like the NHL playoffs, or MLB coverage beyond Aaron Judge. But the last year or so, it’s been even worse.
At least all the storylines I just named are still sports. But these days, it’s literally non-stop social activism. And it is insufferable to watch.
Don’t get me wrong, our country has a long way to go in a lot of ways when it comes to equality; Charlottesville showed us how far in the past some people in this country’s minds are stuck. But ESPN is not the place I want to turn to to hear about this. It’s a sports network. Back in the good old days, you would turn to ESPN to see highlights, the top 10 plays, and maybe the occasional interview with an actually relevant athlete. Nowadays? It’s 75% national anthem protest coverage, 20% TMZ-like coverage of why LeBron and Kyrie don’t like each other anymore, and, if they have time, Adam Schefter comes on to talk about whether or not they’re gonna re-instate Josh Gordon any time soon (they aren’t.)
I shit you not, when I was watching SportsCenter when I was in Boston last Friday, they covered national anthem protests, KD skipping the White House visit that they haven’t even been invited to yet, and the potential renaming of Fenway Park’s Yawkey Way because turns out he was actually racist. But the last straw was this morning when they ran a piece suggesting anyone who watches Mayweather-McGregor on Saturday is playing into the homophobic/racist remarks they spat at each other while promoting the fight. Even though they stated that Muhammad Ali did the EXACT same thing when he promoted his fights against Joe Frazier! That’s how fight promotion works – the fighters shit talk each other to build hype for the fight. It’s by no means a model of how humans should actually interact with each other.
Are some of the things they cover worthy of occasional coverage? Absolutely. I have no problem with athletes people actually care about like LeBron James using their status as a platform to try and promote equality. But I do have a problem with non-stop coverage of mediocre athletes, like C**** K********* trying to do the same thing, not being self-aware enough to realize they aren’t talented enough to be this kind of social activist, and being confused why they’re jobless a year later.
It’s already too late for ESPN to win me back. I now turn to placed like Fox Sports, MLB Network, Barstool, and other blogs (like this one you’re reading) for my sports news. So here’s to all the good times I had watching ESPN growing up. RIP in peace, ESPN sticking to sports, 1979-sometime in early 2016.