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ESPN’S Downfall?

ESPN Logo Previously, I had pondered what could bring down ESPN’s, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, virtual programming hegemony. My creativity wasn’t too far off, as Comcast is retooling the Comcast Sports Network plus Versus, into the NBC Sports Network. But it remains to be seen if this can really be a viable alternative.

My thoughts didn’t stray to that most American of disruptors: scandal. For the longest, I’ve wondered how the sports media industry in general, and ESPN in particular, could never “break” the Major League Baseball steroids story. Given the amount of coverage of baseball, and the porous revolving door between “journalistic” organizations and the baseball franchises, some intrepid reporter should have been able to find at least one smoking gun. It’s odd that it took Jose Canseco going rogue in a bitter snit to bring that house of cards crashing down.

Enter the Bernie Fine fiasco at Syracuse and ESPN dubiously spiking its own foray into the story as ably chronicled by Sports By Brooks. Makes me start to ponder what else the news side of ESPN has decided wasn’t newsworthy or verifiable over the years. Considering all the insider connections that a lot of the on-air talent brings to the table, how is it that ESPN can’t confirm anything that goes on in the sports world?

Right now, since the Bernie Fine/ESPN affair is mostly percolating in the blogosphere, it’s really only a “smoldering” gun. But chain a few of these incidents together, continue the theme of particular odious crimes, sprinkle in a few higher profile reporters, and cracks could start to show in the Worldwide Leader’s foundation.

Who knows, maybe this theme will catch the eye of another (jealous?) major news organization that runs with it. However, we know there’s at least one such crew that’s right out.

Hat tip to the The LaVar Arrington and Chad Dukes show (warning overdone Flash site).

Proper curly quotes courtesy of admonishment from Brent Simmons and Tim Bray.

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