April 26, 2017: A Dark Day in Sports Journalism

ESPN has ran with this moniker of “The World Wide Leader in Sports” for what seems like, well, forever. One would think that ESPN valued all sports equally, right? Prepare to be amazed.

The “World Wide Leader” went on a damn purge Wednesday, firing writers and on screen personalities left and right. The hardest hit by this massacre was their NHL department, which was almost completely gutted. That would have been enough to make this a rather gruesome day. However, ESPN had to continue their onslaught. Here are a few names that you either won’t see as much or just won’t see at all:

  • Scott Burnside (NHL)
  • Pierre LeBrun (NHL)
  • Jayson Stark (MLB)
  • Karl Ravech (reduced role, MLB)
  • Hannah Storm (reduced role, anchor)
  • Joe McDonald (MLB, NHL, NFLA)
  • Ed Werder (NFL)

    That is just naming a deal of the many they canned on Wednesday. Oh, I want to bring to light the firing of NFL contributer Jarrett Bell. Just look at this tweet that he sent out:

    ESPN had the audacity to fire the man on his birthday. That’s just low, guys. Especially for a company owned by family-friendly Disney. However, moral reasons are not a reason this day was possibly the beginning of the death of journalism.

    Let’s look at the some of the names that were safe from this fate:

    • Stephen A Smith
    • Jemele Hill
    • Michael Smith
    • Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard

    ESPN sent a message today. This message wasn’t, “We’re trying our best to give the fans what they want during our trying time” or some variation thereof. It was more along the lines of, “We want the S and P in ESPN to stand for Social and Political and we’ll sacrifice quality sports coverage to ensure that happens.” I can’t even write “or some variation thereof” because that’s ESPN’s exact message.

    I think Clay Thomas of Outkick the Coverage said it best:

    “Middle America wants to pop a beer and listen to sports talk, they don’t want to be lectured about why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, Michael Sam is the new Jackie Robinson of sports, and Colin Kaepernick is the Rosa Parks of football. ESPN made the mistake of trying to make liberal social media losers happy and as a result lost millions of viewers.”

    Quality journalism means nothing to one of the biggest sports networks in the world. What does that tell you? It tells me that journalism is on its death bed. As an aspiring journalist, the actions of ESPN today made me question a few things. First off all, what happens if other networks start trying to follow the ESPN route? What would a degree in journalism mean to me if journalism is dead?

    I find journalism to be an art of sorts. It allows creative expression while also providing news and coverage that matters to the fans. ESPN defecated on that today. They made it clear that entertainment and social/political debate is more important to them than the coverage their fans want to see.

    To those affected by this: I hope you all find jobs soon. We’re hiring, although we don’t pay (cheap, needless plug that no one will see). But on a serious note, I hope you all find jobs soon and wish you and your families nothing but the best in your future endeavors.

    April 26th, 2017 will go down as a dark day for sports journalism. Let’s hope we never have to endure this again.


    Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

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