Do you know who was the best SportsCenter host? Keith Olbermann. That’s right. Olbermann was the best. For those not old enough to remember when Olbermann was a SportsCenter anchor, it was between 1992 and 1997. Those were the best years of SportsCenter. The show would start at 6 am and run on repeat for a few hours, and I’d watch as much as I could. It was entertaining, funny and insightful. Kilborn, Olbermann, Bob Ley, Linda Cohn, Rich Eisen, Charley Steiner, and Dan Patrick were just fun to watch. Olbermann mixed humor and a deep knowledge of sports (especially baseball) that always made it great to watch. Unfortunately, ESPN has fallen so far from grace I don’t watch it unless there is a live sports event being covered. Olbermann’s fall from grace in sports and politics has been so far he’s a step away from being a YouTube “star.”
ESPN has become the MSNBC of sports channels, and if I want left-wing political commentary, I can watch MSNBC. When I watch sports, I want it politics free. Sports is something that should transcend politics. Often it does. I have liberal friends. We barely talk politics, but we can talk sports all the time because politics goes out the window, as it should. Those lines were always blurred when it came to sports, and ESPN ruined it by taking sides. Now, they are suffering.
A piece that is worth reading in its entirely is this one by Clay Travis. Travis is no conservative, but he understands the sports audience and recognizes why ESPN is no longer the juggernaut it once was.
I’m not saying that ESPN should just stick to sports, but I am saying that if you decide to allow political opinions to flourish from your network’s stars that you shouldn’t neuter all conservative opinion and allow liberal political opinion to advance unchecked. That’s not a marketplace of ideas, that’s a totalitarian government. Those with liberal opinions are rewarded and allowed to speak freely, those with conservative opinions are told to keep their mouths shut.
Conservative viewers aren’t stupid, they see exactly what’s happening.
Even crazier, SPORTS VIEWERS ARE, ON AVERAGE, CONSERVATIVE!
He’s right. Check out this graphic he tweeted:
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 24, 2016
The first time I noticed ESPN’s new liberal slant was when the network decided to give an ESPY for courage to Caitlyn Jenner for making the decision to become a woman. Look, I’m all for people pursuing their own individual happiness, but there was nothing courageous about Jenner’s decision. To me true courage requires an individual risk either life or liberty. Jenner risked neither.
And, remarkably, just about everyone in sports media was afraid to point out how transparently about ratings this decision was. Hell, they even moved the ESPYS to ABC SO MORE PEOPLE COULD SEE HOW INCLUSIVE ESPN WAS.
It was a blatant attempt to gain viewers for the network.
And that was the jumping off point, the moment ESPN ceased to be about sports and became a mouthpiece of the farthest left reaches of the Democratic party. I’m all for political discussion, but when you ally yourself with one political party and your business ostensibly is to talk about sports, you lose viewers who see what you’re doing. That’s why I call ESPN MSESPN now, the network is desperate to prop up its ratings and has decided that becoming a shill for the left wing in the country is its best option. Sadly, this is just going to lose more viewers.
Again, go and read the entire article. It’s worth it.
The overall point here is, Travis gets it, and thankfully, he’s speaking out. The problem is, I don’t think ESPN will change. They’ve decided on their course, and it’s to their detriment.
In 1996, Time Warner launched the CNN Sports Illustrated network. It began when ESPN was reaching titan status and didn’t last, closing down in 2002. The market is ripe for an ESPN competitor that focuses on sports and leaves the political crap out of it.