ESPN: Killing the Dream and Out of Touch

I think every sports crazed human at one point or another has wanted to work at ESPN. Just the thought of wall-to-wall sports coverage makes a grand portion of the population start to drool. If a Disney executive showed up at my door and said that I’d be paid mucho dollars to go and talk sports, I’d probably give it a listen, but I don’t know if I’d accept it. Not anymore.

ESPN seemingly can’t tell the difference between actual controversies and controversies they dream up in their own head. Two things have happened on the airwaves of ESPN in the past couple of weeks that have grabbed outside headlines and each has been handled quite poorly by the network.

First, Stephen A. Smith, commenting on the Ray Rice case, said that women provoke abuse. Smith implied that women are to blame for domestic assault. How can a guy that claims to have so many sources be that out of touch? Maybe it’s the corporation he works for.

ESPN made him tape, TAPE, an apology. Let’s record it to make sure he doesn’t say something else that is so blatantly horrible. Then they later suspended him for only a week. A week. Five working days off from his TV show, First Take (probably more of a vacation not to speak to Skip Bayless for a string of days) and his ESPN Radio show.

The suspension was too short in my opinion. A lot of people were calling for Smith to lose his job and I’d have to say that his punishment should have been much closer to that side of the scale, but ESPN only cares about ratings and apparently people are still watching the TV filth that is First Take.

That brings us to the even more recent events of the suspension of Dan Le Batard.

Le Batard is well-known in the Miami area and has now moved on to national prominence on the stages of ESPN TV and radio. Le Batard bought billboards in Cleveland to mock LeBron James in his return to his home state. The billboards say ‘You’re welcome, LeBron… Love, Miami’ with a picture of the two NBA championship rings that James won with the Miami Heat.

ESPN thought this stunt was so horrid that it suspended Le Batard for two days from ESPN TV and radio. Two days for a joke on a billboard. A joke that is actually kind of funny.

Let’s translate what we are really learning from ESPN: saying that women provoke domestic violence is only three days worse than a billboard joke that literally harms no one.

How out of touch are you, ESPN?

Yes, we can have our own views in this country, but there are also views that you can’t let the public know about. Your views have to be ‘politically correct’ in order to not be beaten down with every move that you make. Stephen A. Smith’s comments were far from being ‘politically correct’ and so farfetched that it almost seems like a story from the satirical newspaper/website The Onion.

Dan Le Batard on the other hand made a joke. A joke he’s been talking about openly on ESPN platforms ever since LeBron James officially returned to Cleveland. If you can’t stop your own employee from doing something you don’t want them to do when you have fair warning, that’s a management failure and shouldn’t be taken out on the talent.

Get your head out of your ass, ESPN. Realize what’s a joke, what simply can’t be said and that First Take might be the shittiest thing that’s ever been on TV, which is saying something since we’re living in the era of Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Stop giving the shaft to great shows like Outside the Lines and Olbermann. Stop killing the dreams of intelligent sports nuts. There’s a reason I watch my Canadians.


You Can’t Fix Stupid: Man Attempts $10 Million Lawsuit For Falling Asleep At Yankees Game

Ron White said it best when he said that you can’t fix stupid. Stupidity runs rampant when you look at all the different warning labels that now need to be placed on every single item that is ever produced. If you look hard enough I’m sure there’s a TV somewhere that says you can’t eat it and it had to be put there because someone somewhere had to try to take a bite out of their Vizio. That’s the society we live in.

Our society is also lawsuit happy. If you look at someone the wrong way today, you might get served papers. Or if you talk about a fan that was sleeping at a Yankees game, you might get sued for $10 million.

Yep. This fan, Andrew Robert Rector, was sleeping at the April 13th Boston Red Sox – New York Yankees game, ESPN cameras caught him, the announcers did a little verbal jousting, MLB put it up on YouTube and now Rector is suing every damn party involved for $10 million dollars due to an ‘unending verbal crusade’.

I don’t know where to begin. This whole endeavor baffles me to no end. Let’s start here:

Some bozo went to law school and accepted this case. Someone with a degree came to the conclusion that they could beat the powers of ESPN and MLB in court on a case where a guy fell asleep at a baseball game. Good luck, buddy.

Let’s go to the guy that fell asleep. You paid good money, they tell me it’s a lot of money to get into Yankees Stadium, and you fell asleep. That’s on you. You don’t think anyone is going to see that you are asleep? It’s a Yankees game, in the biggest city in the nation, on one of the most watched TV networks, on the biggest night for TV viewing. I’d be more impressed if no one caught you.

Here’s the big problem I have: $10 million.

I get it. People are stupid and will slap you with a lawsuit for stupid things like this, but nobody’s, NOBODY’S, reputation is worth $10 million dollars. I could say the most horrible things about anyone from Miley Cyrus to the President of the United States and neither of them would win a $10 million settlement. No judge would ever allow that.

Andrew Robert Rector, ESPN pointing out your falling asleep did nothing to you. Sure, your friends and your cousins called you and called you a dummy for falling asleep at the Yankees game. Maybe the cute girl in your building saw it and kind of giggled the next time she saw you, maybe, but that’s it.

This chapter in your life did not keep you from getting a job. It did not hinder you from walking down the streets of New York. It did not hinder you from living your life. Frankly, this lawsuit is making your life worse. If you ever apply for a new job, your new potential employer will google your name and it will pop up that you tried to get $10 million from falling asleep at a baseball game.

I’m sorry if this just adds to the ‘unending verbal crusade’, but I think if Ron White was here he’d say something to the effect of… ‘Sue me.’

Kid Claiming To Be Fired For Wearing Denver Broncos Jersey, Actually Wasn’t Fired For That

I can’t feel bad for you, kid.

Nathaniel Wertz, 17, was fired by Odyssey 1 family entertainment in Tacoma, Washington for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey to work or, at least, that’s what he wants you to believe.

Odyssey 1 allows their employees to wear Seattle Seahawks jerseys on Sundays, Wertz showed up to work donning Broncos threads and was told to go home and change into a standard uniform.

Now this might seem kind of petty and Odyssey 1 probably should have just accepted it and let the kid get tortured by rabid Seahawks fans, but they didn’t really fire him for his selection of clothing. In the article on ESPN’s website, referencing KUSA-TV in Colorado, Wertz didn’t return to work. His father allegedly tried to call his son’s manager, but the phone was not answered and the son decided to stay home.

Hey, kid, that’s why you were fired. If you are sent home to change, you have one strike on you, and not showing back up is worth two strikes. Three strikes, you’re out.

Congratulations, you have your fifteen minutes of fame. You have your name on an article on ESPN that is titled ‘Teen Fired for Wearing Broncos Jersey’, even though you really weren’t. You were fired because you cried to Dad and Daddy apparently didn’t teach you work ethic.

ESPN, change your headline. Nathaniel Wertz, grow up.