What if I told you there used to be a TV network that was devoted to sports? What if I went further and said it was on 24 hours a day and covered almost every sport and globally? Most guys would probably have a huge grin on their face and the wives/girlfriends would have a frown developing right?
Go back to September 7, 1979 and such a network was born aptly named Entertainment and Sports Programming Network or ESPN. Small trivia tidbit, it was founded by Bill Rasmussen who’s son was a young out of work sports announcer, Scott Rasmussen; yes that Scott Rasmussen from Rasmussen political polls that he’s known for today.
So what happened to ESPN, and how did it get so divested from being the leader in sports announcement and all thing sports related to a mouth piece for politics and spewing personal political views? Lets take a look.
If I asked you who’s the most liberal, far left whack job that came from ESPN you’d either know immediately or you’d say “I have no idea.” For those that know, the most far left, what I’d call alt left is Keith Olbermann.
Olbermann worked as a sportscaster for ESPN from 1992-1997. He was kicked off the air for making political contributions to Raul Grijalva (D), AZ, and got dropped from MSNBC in 2011, you know you’re a whack job when MSNBC drops you. He’s now got a YouTube channel aptly named “The Resistance.”
Is there a double standard though at ESPN regarding its reporters who have conservative views or use social media to express those?
Remember Curt Schilling was fired from ESPN for comparing extremism in the Muslim world to Nazi Germany in 1940. In an email statement sent to the Washington Post ESPN said “ESPN is an inclusive company.”
Schilling was discovered to have donated $250 to Ben Carson’s presidential campaign and listed his employer as “ESPN (Not Sure How Much Longer)” and, under “Occupation,” he wrote, “Analyst (For Now Anyway).” Did he know something was brewing or that a certain culture prevailed at ESPN?
Then there’s Sage Steele, a veteran basketball ESPN analyst who ripped NFL players like Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem.
ESPN set up a new set of guidelines “recognize[ing] connection between sports, politics.” We are living in unique political times” ESPN public editor Jim Brady said. OK, then why the double standard for your ultra left employees versus their conservative counterparts?
Steele, who is biracial and married to a white man doesn’t parse words about being Christian and conservative and often spoke about black on black racism. Case in point: The Root, a black publication, posted a story headlined: “Twitter Rejoices After Learning ESPN Analyst Sage Steele Is Out.”
Brit McHenry, a staunch conservative, suggested she was fired from ESPN for that very reason. She was one of approximately 100 employees let go in April of this year.
“I mean I’ve been openly Conservative… look how that ended up…” McHenry wrote in response to a tweet slamming ESPN for arguing it’s not liberal. This coming at a time that has been widely debated, even inside Bristol.
In the week following the layoffs, SportsCenter” anchor Linda Cohn agreed with a radio host who wondered whether ESPN’s politics was hurting its ratings and thus its capacity to pay its employees’ salaries.
Over the past several years ESPN has lost over 13 million cable and satellite subscribers. That’s over a billion dollars in revenue that’ll never be recouped. So why then would they marginalize themselves even further, by alienating conservatives and rewarding its far left leaning correspondents like Olbermann?
He’s not the only one though, ESPN anchor, Jemele Hill went on a Twitter rant just yesterday, calling President Trump a “white supremacist” and saying “Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime,” –forcing the network to issue a statement denouncing the comments.
“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists,” she said at the start of her tirade.
“The height of white privilege is being able to ignore his white supremacy, because it’s of no threat to you,” Hill added. “Well, it’s a threat to me.”
Unlike Schilling, it appears that Hill will be allowed to keep her job — leading many to call ESPN out for what they believe is a massive double standard.
In the words of Michael Jordan “Republicans buy sneakers too.” Maybe ESPN should stop pretending that it’s capitulated to the left and become embroiled in politics instead of sports and applying a double standard to its employees. If the public believed they are fair and impartial maybe they wouldn’t be losing a billion dollars a year.