Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why ESPN Can Be Confused with a Roman Emperor

The ESPYs ran last night on ESPN. I made a point to not even get close to ESPN on my channel surfing to make sure I didn’t accidentally put this abomination of an awards show on my television.

These awards are on par with any awards show on SPIKE TV, the MTV Movie Awards and other meaningless ceremonies. ESPN claims the ESPYs are the biggest night in sports. The Super Bowl, Final Four, BCS Title Game, World Series, Scripps Spelling Bee, Chess, Cricket, and basically anything else that qualifies as a sporting event would beg to differ. The following conversation isn’t taking place at dinner tables around the country:

Dad: “Son, if you decide to play at Alabama you will have the opportunity to win a national title.”

Son: “You might be right, Dad, and that would be great. But will it help me win an ESPY?”

Dad: “Go to your room. It’s no wonder you’re taking Algebra for the third time this year.”

Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers hosted this year’s event. Apparently Chris Kattan wasn’t available – someone needs to close the In-N-Out on Melrose. Meyers writes for the same show that produced John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase (when he was funny), Gilda Radner, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, and a host of others. These all-time great comedians watching the enterprise they helped build being run by someone whose best part of a joke is as soon as it’s over must be what it is like for Dr. J and Charles Barkley to watch the 76ers. Seth Meyers has to have compromising pictures of Lorne Michaels, there’s really no other answer for his current employment.

The ESPYs are nothing more than ESPN displaying its narcissistic self-absorption in front of a live audience. Of course athletes and celebrities attend. If any groups like themselves more than ESPN, it’s these two.

Given how bad ESPN’s rep is these days in light of the LeBron ‘Decision’, one would think they’d be a little more reserve. However, I’m more surprised they didn’t team up with the LeBrontourage and have the self-proclaimed King James announce his decision to destroy an American city at the ESPYs. It should be pointed out that to be a king of something one usually has to be a success in their chosen field. That makes Dwayne Wade the King and LBJ the court jester. Keep making pre-game underhanded shots LeBron, they come in handy when you’re watching Kobe in the Finals on TV.

Over the past decade or so, ESPN has gone from a source of sports news to a creator of sports news. The anchors, with the exception of a few, should be included with political commentators as what not to strive for in journalism school. I’ve never met anyone who tunes in to SportsCenter hoping Stu Scott or Chris Berman is leading the telecast, or even worse both of them on the same show.

Speaking of Berman and Scott, how the hell are these guys still on the air? Berman is a caricature of himself. His shtick of nicknames, whoops, and back back backs has worn thin. However, he has been with ESPN since the beginning so his presence is at least understood. But Bob Ley and John Saunders also have a lot of ESPN miles under their belts and they are relegated to Sunday morning shows that compete with Meet the Press, This Week and others. ESPN is so cruel they make Saunders spend that half hour with Mike Lupica, which must be similar to this. Can’t Ley or Saunders switch roles with Berman? Also, someone needs to explain to me how Stu Scott is on air. I know a lot of sports fans, and not one of them watches ESPN to see him. It seems he is more interested in breaking bread with the athletes he covers than breaking stories. The only thing lower than his Q Rating has to be the number of viewers for 1st Take.

ESPN is not a news source anymore. The only news it seems to break are stories about them. This was never more evident than when SportsCenter’s bottom line ticker said something along the lines of “ESPN reports LeBron James will announce his new team on Thursday night special aired on ESPN.” ESPN reporter Chris Broussard then went on air and said he confirmed with his sources the story was accurate. Confirmed with his sources? What did he do, run upstairs to production?

The Roman ruler Nero is infamous for letting his empire falter due to his own extravagance. Nero has four letters, ESPN has four letters. Coincidence?

I think not.

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