We were all given a jolt of reality when many of us got an alert on our phones that TMZ (don’t sleep on their ability to break celebrity news) was reporting that Kobe Bryant was one of five (later to be confirmed as nine) people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.
Since I was at home, I immediately turned my TV on to ESPN. It’s a breaking news story, but it’s also Kobe Bryant, a retired NBA MEGA-STAR. This is in your wheelhouse ESPN. This is your moment to shine. This is what your network prepares for.
Imagine my disappointment to find that the NFL Pro Bowl is being televised, there is no breaking news banner on the TV yet and no one is talking about it. I flip to ESPN 2; I get the X-Games 2020. I flip to ESPN News; some UFC show. I flip over to FOX News and they are all over it as is CNN. About 15 minutes later, I flip back to ESPN and they have broken into their NFL Pro Bowl coverage with an ABC News report about Bryant’s death – not ESPN, but ABC News. And, then they send you back to the game.
As the game continued, the focus was just talking about Kobe Bryant, but these were not the people I wanted Kobe Bryant coverage from. Finally, ESPN 2 went full coverage. Jayson Williams commentary about Kobe was moving, poignant, and well put. Too bad a lot of people don’t get ESPN 2 in their cable packages. I watched their coverage once it came on and it was solid, but knowing how people consume media these days, ESPN probably lost a lot of eye balls because they got caught with their pants down.
Here’s my point, if you haven’t figured it out. Who has to die in the sports world for ESPN to decide to move a pointless exhibition football game that has zero meaning whatsoever to another one of their many channels?
Was this an NFL decision? And if so, Roger Goodell, you have solidified your piece of shit status with me. Additionally, if the NFL was strong arming ESPN, I’ve got two words for Goodell: Fuck Off.
Was this a sponsor/money decision? If so, ESPN made a very poor choice. Money can’t always be the driving force behind everything we do.
Was it ESPN’s choice? If so, you have let down your consumers who expect and deserve better. I don’t want FOX News and CNN commenting on Kobe Bryant’s career just as mush as I don’t want ESPN personalities talking politics.
ESPN, you really should have taken the lead of the 24-hour news networks and broken into coverage on all of your platforms with full Kobe Bryant coverage. If I was Adam Silver, I’d have some serious reservations when it is time to sit down and negotiate your next TV deal.
I not really quite sure I can ever take ESPN as a serious 24-hour sports news cycle platform for the time being. Meanwhile, the rest of this week, we will be inundated with Kobe Bryant news, tributes, and specials, as we should. But I will always have a twinge of doubt lingering about ESPN’s actual intentions and motivations.
This show is sponsored by On The Rox, Ponies & Pints, and Social 52, which are all located in Richmond, Va.
Sports. Life. Zero Fucks. #RobbUnfiltered