Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Media, Do Your Part for Once!

When I got wind of the latest fragment (an incredibly sharp one) in the Tim Donaghy scandal, I expected ESPN to run with it like there was no tomorrow. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, TO, Spygate? That should be NOTHING compared to this story.

In case you haven't heard, Donaghy claims that the league ordered the refs to fix Game 6 of the 2002 Lakers-Kings series to push it to a Game 7. ANYONE who watched that game knew it was horribly officiated, with the Lakers getting 27 free throws in the 4th quarter. In fact, that was when many of the modern conspiracy theorists joined the long-chugging bandwagon.

I understand that Donaghy has no credibility these days, but this story is enormous. Why isn't it taking a full page on the front of ESPN? These are the kinds of scandals that made ESPN the corporate giant that it is!

I have a two-pronged theory:

1. ESPN isn't interested in any real scandals. As long as it doesn't involve polarizing figures like Barry Bonds, TO, or Bill Belichick, who cares?

2. ESPN, like the NBA, is evaluating this from a "holy sh*t!" perspective. Perhaps they realize that if the NBA goes down, so will the network. ABC, which owns ESPN, has the Finals contract, so they don't want to deteriorate ratings. You can also be certain that David Stern and the league informed them of the need to steer the ship quiet.

Ultimately, I think ESPN will suffer from its own leaks. Let's watch today and see how much burn this story gets.


The Dude said...

Well said. This is a HUGE story. But because it doesn't involve a player or coach, it's getting "back page" treatment from the World Wide Leader.

Or maybe Stern is pulling the strings to keep things quiet until the Finals end (a Finals that is seeing the Celtics go to the line a hell of a lot more than the Lakers).

Either way, ESPN sucks. I blame Mickey Mouse. What a douche!

E.J. said...

Let me also add that because it benefited the Los Angeles Lakers (a big market, tradition-rich team), there is an increased impulse to sweep the story under the rug. Major media players like ESPN, and the NBA itself, like it when teams from major media markets the Lakers, Celtics, and Knicks are successful because it attracts more people to their businesses.

That said, I'm still baffled - scandals, like Spygate, invariably send more viewers ESPN's way. How much sexier would the Finals be this year with this added subtext? Remember how much more intriguing the Giants-Pats Super Bowl this year was as the Spygate revelations were being fleshed out?

Anonymous said...

How about ESPN isn't running it because they just fronted a ton of money for the NBA's new league in China? Follow the money....