Tag Archives: ESPN

The NBA’s Unethical, Unavoidable, “Bait And Switch”

For a second consecutive Saturday, ABC’s  Saturday prime time NBA game was a pre-rigged dud. The LA Clippers blew out the supposedly star-studded Cavaliers, 108-78, as chants of “We want LeBron” echoed through the arena. The three super-stars that make Cleveland an NBA powerhouse,  LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, were all kept out of the game, not because they were injured,  but because Cleveland coach Ty Lue had decided to rest his “Big 3” in the first of back-to-back games. Sure enough, all three played against the Lakers the next day.

It has become standard practice in the NBA for play-off bound teams to rest stars for “strategic purposes,” meaning that in a league where more than half the teams make the play-offs and the regular season is little more than an exhibition for most of them, it makes no sense to blow out the stars until a championship is on the line.  The NBA, in short, has no integrity. (Neither does the National Hockey League, for the same reason.) The previous Saturday, the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Warriors, 107-85,  as Golden State fielded a  JV team, with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all on the bench. Yet NBA’s new nine-year, $24 billion media rights deal with ABC, Disney and Turner Broadcasting included Saturday Primetime along with  the TNT Thursday Night NBA game and ESPN’s Wednesday and Friday night broadcasts, to showcase the best of the NBA. (Most of the NBA teams never make it to the Saturday ABC game.)

Shouldn’t that kind of money guarantee that the teams put their best players out on the court? NBA fans also typically shell out three figures for tickets. Doesn’t the league pull what is in essence a bait and switch by allowing a game to be treated as a virtual forfeit? Continue reading

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The Destruction Of Doug Adler : Guerillas, Gorillas, ESPN And The First Niggardly Principle

The Niggardly Principles apply to situations where a hyper-sensitive and ignorant individual takes an innocent statement as a slur because the individual doesn’t understand its meaning or context.  These are all unforgivable scenarios that reward the foolish and punish the innocent (and articulate). They include the infamous episode in the District of Columbia government when a white executive was disciplined for using the word “niggardly,” ; the time the Los Angeles NAACP attacked Hallmark for an outer space themed “talking greeting card”  that mentioned “black holes,” which the hair-trigger offended (and science education-deprived) heard as “black ‘ho’s.”

Then there were the students at  at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania,  who demanded that the college rename “Lynch Memorial Hall,” named for Dr. Clyde A. Lynch, the LVC’s president during the Depression, because his name evoked lynchings to their tender ears. And who can forget, as much as one would like to, when ESPN suspended sportscaster Max Bretos after an Asian-American activist group complained that he had used the term “a chink in his armor” while talking about an NBA player of Chinese heritage ?

This story is worse than any of them.

ESPN sports announcer Doug Adler was calling an Australian Open tennis match last month between Venus Williams  and Stefanie Voegele when he said,”You see Venus move in and put the guerilla effect on. Charging.” “Guerilla tennis” is a recognized phrase that refers to aggressive tennis. It has nothing to do with Great Apes.

New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg, however, cued by some Twitter social justice warriors, attacked Adler, tweeting himself,

“This is some appalling stuff. Horrifying that the Williams sisters remain subjected to it still in 2017.”

Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: ESPN

protest-mizzou

ESPN has announced it will give the University of Missouri (MU), a.k.a Mizzou, football team a special humanitarian award in July to honor the team for its strike  in 2015. You know the one, right?  If you did, then you are probably retching.

This was the Black Lives Matter-esque fuse that caused over a hundred universities to explode in racial unrest and cave in to pressure from black student groups to yield to demands supposedly addressing various imagined, concocted or politically exploited race-related problems on campuses, ranging from microagressions, to inadequate race-consciousness, to unidentified people saying mean things.

That last, in fact, was what caused the Mizzou foolishness. There, three unrelated episodes caused the “crisis”:

  • Payton Head, MU senior and president of MSA,  published a Facebook saying that he was walking around campus when the passenger of a pickup repeatedly shouted the “nigger at him.

No one confirmed his claim.

  • The Legion of Black Collegians posted on social media that the group was rehearsing for a performance at the University’s Traditions Plaza when a “young man” talking on his cellphone walked up to the group, was politely asked to leave, and hurled “racial slurs” at LBC members.

Was he a student? Nobody knows.

  • Someone draw a swastika using human feces inside Mizzou’s Gateway Hall.

Funny, I think of the swastika as an anti-Semitic symbol, not anti-black one, but hey, whatever it takes, right?

None of these involved perpetrators who were identified, or who were shown to be students. None of them  were remotely within the control of the University; nor were they coordinated in any way.  Black groups on campus, however, harassed the school’s president, Tim Wolfe,  and demanded that he resign. A black graduate student began a hunger strike, promising to forgo all food and nutrition until Wolfe was ousted. Finally, black University of Missouri football players announced that they would not participate in team activities or games until the university yielded to various demands, including Wolfe’s dismissal. The coach and the rest of the team backed the black players, and the university caved.

In addition to sparking many other conflicts on other campuses, disrupting students’ education, making U.S. ccolleges look like the inmates were running the asylums (because they were) and increasing racial tensions, the episode had the effect of  causing a huge drop in enrollment that has cost Mizzou about $32 million.

Isn’t that great?

Good job, everybody!

Apparently ESPN think so, anyway. Continue reading

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KABOOM! ESPN Achieves A New Low In Unethical Journalism: Misinforming The Public Out Of Spite

If you told me ESPN COULD make my head explode, I wouldn't have believed you...

If you told me ESPN COULD make my head explode, I wouldn’t have believed you…

ESPN has been foundering in a sea of ethical ignorance for some time now, but this was shocking even for them.

In a petty exercise to express its disdain and and anger at dismissed baseball commentator Curt Schilling, the sports network excised an entire section of its documentary on the legendary 2004 American League Championship play-offs when it was shown last night prior to the scheduled Red Sox-Yankee game. I cannot think of a single example of unethical journalism by a major outlet so blatant and so offensive.

Let’s go back a bit. Schilling is an outspoken religious conservative, active on social media. He was suspended from his baseball game broadcasting duties last season after comparing Islamic radicals to Nazis in a Twitter post—not all that unreasonable, actually, but if ESPN has a policy against its employees making controversial political statements on social media, and apparently it does, Schilling was asking for trouble.

Indeed, Curt has nothing if not integrity when it comes to expressing himself, and he could not resist commenting on the transgender bathroom controversy, re-tweeting a particularly ugly meme on the issue:

transgender bathroom tweet

ESPN fired Curt. He had earlier in the year opined in a radio interview that “If I’m gonna believe, and I don’t have any reason not to believe, that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server after what happened to General Petraeus, she should buried under a jail somewhere.” Allowing for hyperbole, that’s a perfectly legitimate position to take, but again, if ESPN doesn’t want Curt, who it was paying a million bucks or so, to take shots at someone it believed its audience members were fond of,  it can instruct its employees accordingly. It expressed its objections to Schilling, and he tweeted the meme anyway. Continue reading

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Hey, Spike? Mizzou? ESPN? Explain This Diversity Thing Again; I’m Confused…

Head of The Undefeated, Kevin Merida, whose race had nothing to do with his hiring, and how dare you even ask such a question?

Head of The Undefeated, Kevin Merida, whose race had nothing to do with his hiring, and how dare you even ask such a question?

“The Undefeated” website finally debuted this in January, ESPN’s foray into issues of sports and race.

John Skipper, the president of ESPN, gave an interview with The Wall Street Journal that contained this fascinating quote:

At the Undefeated, the play is about content. If you do a time-lapse of the last two or three years in sports, you’d see more stories pop to the top about race and sports than anything. It is an important area to explore. There is a business reason: among our most important consumers are African-Americans. There is not right now a go-to site for black fans, other than just ESPN sites. [The Undefeated] will be a black-run and black-staffed site.”

Continue reading

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Ethics Mystery: What Was So Wrong With Curt Schilling’s Muslim Tweet?

schilling-tweet

ESPN pulled former baseball pitching star Curt Schilling from its Little League broadcast team yesterday after becoming aware of his tweet above, saying in a statement:

“Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration.”

Schilling then tweeted this apology: “I understand and accept my suspension. 100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.” This appears to be a #1 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale...“An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.” 

If I had delivered it, however, it might have been a #7: “A forced or compelled version of 1-4, in which the individual (or organization) apologizing may not sincerely believe that an apology is appropriate, but chooses to show the victim or victims of the act inspiring it that the individual responsible is humbling himself and being forced to admit wrongdoing by the society, the culture, legal authority, or an organization or group that the individual’s actions reflect upon or represent.”

What was it exactly that Schilling’s tweet showed, implied, suggested or stated that was” completely unacceptable,  in no way represent ESPN’s  perspective, and that justified his employer’s action? Curt Schilling is an inquisitive, politically active and opinionated man, and has always annoyed sportswriters because 1) he’s openly conservative 2) he’s a devout Christian, and isn’t shy about talking about it, 3) he can write and speak coherently and was capable, while playing, of challenging their criticism, and 4) he’s a lot smarter than most of them. I am assuming in this inquiry that nothing in Schilling’s contract or agreement with ESPN restricted his right to express non-sports opinions on his own time.

Here are some possibilities: Continue reading

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Unethical Quote of the Month: NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter

You tell it like it is, Chris!

You tell it like it is, Chris!

“Y’all not all going to do the right stuff, I got to teach y’all how to get around all this stuff, too. If you going to have a crew, one of those fools got to know he’s going to jail. We’ll get him out. If you going to have a crew, make sure they understand can’t nothing happen to you. Your name can’t be in lights, under no circumstances…In case y’all not going to decide to do the right thing, if y’all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew.” 

—NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter, speaking to first year NFL players in a 2014 league-sponsored rookie symposium to help them “adapt to professional football.” His advice was then echoed by fellow Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

That the NFL’s retired role models and immortals were–Have been? Still are?—giving out such toxic and unethical “wisdom” under the league’s auspices went unnoticed until a recently retired player,the 49ers’ Chris Borland who quit after just one season because he feared brain damage, referenced Carter’s speech on ESPN. Not only did the NFL’s speakers instruct its rookies to make sure they have a designated “fall guy” if they decide to break the law, it had Carter’s speech on its website all this time.

Now it’s all about damage control, of course. ESPN, which currently employs this ethics-challenged “sportsman” as an analyst, said in a statement… Continue reading

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