Lame Stream Media: ESPN is WorldWide Leader in Hypocritical Hires
The NCAA is not the only organization that should be sensitive to doing what it can to helping modify a culture contributing to the glamorization of untested athletes and suspect characters in college sports. ESPN frequently exploits teenagers beyond reason before they graduate from high school and the Worldwide Leader hypes hoops with endless hours of analysis, promotion and games. The know-it-all network, playing the blame game by a different set of rules, pays obscene amounts of cash to power conferences for TV rights and gives outrageous forums to questionable individuals. By any measure, ESPN is as much, or perhaps more, at fault as the NCAA for entirely abdicating any obligation to protecting the interests of academic and moral integrity.
Shouldn't ESPN be forced to replay all the gushing comments on its network about Joe Paterno since the late 1990s and then offer a retraction for false advertising? As much as many observers abhor Paterno's arrogance and ill-intentioned loyalty to himself and his image, the public should do likewise to other entitled coaches, academic institutions and media outlets with similar warped values.
Jerry Sandusky, previously Paterno's defensive coordinator, was convicted of 45 counts related to sexually assaulting 10 young boys over a period of 15 years. It pales in comparison, but ESPN has sullied its reputation by being Jim Valvano's defense coordinator for an even longer span molesting academic integrity (735 average SAT score for his ACC players in mid-1980s). Do any of its holier-than-thou employees now pillorying Paterno have second thoughts cashing their checks from an Extra Sensitive Pious Network still fawning over a basketball coach who was in charge when two schools were forced to vacate their NCAA playoff participation (Iona and North Carolina State)?
Unlike Paterno's pristine graduation rate, the academic progress of Valvano's players at N.C. State was dismal. In an affront to numbers that never lie, there are times when ESPN sycophants shamelessly enhance Valvano's credentials as a strategist, perpetuating a myth he was a late-game genius. Intense slobbering aside, you can't cover-up the cold hard facts that Valvano posted a modest .500 record in close contests decided by fewer than five points, a mark failing to rank among the top 250 DI coaches in such an illuminating category.
ESPN will have zero credibility in regard to "success with honor" until it quits playing the dutiful role of a son resembling Jay Paterno and takes down its basketball "statue." JoePa raised money for Penn State's library and ESPN raised money for cancer in Valvano's name (V Foundation). But Paterno and ESPN both are outside-the-lines enablers seemingly accountable to no one. They each have a legacy but failed their constituency in regard to providing genuine role models.
Pardon the interruption, but ESPN's sanctimonious indifference to eroding values is further exhibited when they hire disgraced ex-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl as a full-time analyst and part-time interior decorator. How can a viewer trust anything the former Boston College mascot says while winging it when the virtuous Volunteer can't remember what his home looks like inside? ESPN, rather than finding someone with less baggage, feels compelled to "force" Pearl and his highly questionable ethics into the homes of SportsNation. Portraying Seth Greenberg as an expert despite a grand total of one NCAA playoff victory in more than 20 years to possibly replace Digger Phelps is "one" thing. Accepting Bruce-On-the-Loose's pearls of wisdom as the next Valvano variation is quite another.
Going around the horn, ESPN tried to preempt Doug Gottlieb's announcement about him leaving for CBS. But as long as Gottlieb isn't trying to position himself to become coach at UCLA or Southern California, there is no comparison between his veteran TV/radio work and rookie additions Greenberg/Pearl.
Pondering the price of ESPN's unprecedented hero worship, the network continued bringing in the clowns by foisting journalistic jewel Jalen Rose on the College GameDay panel to replace Hubert Davis. Was astute Stephen Bardo considered insofar as he is as savvy a college broadcaster as anyone could find and would also duplicate Davis' dignity? Surely, ESPN didn't put cultural diversity (Rose over Gottlieb) ahead of authoritative knowledge of the college game because Gottlieb dwarfs Rose in that category. Rose's masquerading as a journalist surfaced when he seemed overly protective of UM's 20-year-old moniker when he said he's not a fan of the gold-medal winning U.S. women's gymnastics squad being known as the "Fab Five."
"To use the nickname just points and screams of lazy journalism by the national media," Rose said. Is this the vast expertise we can look forward to from him as a "lazy" central figure in ESPN's college basketball coverage? It seems Rose's amateurish historical knowledge doesn't include him acknowledging "Fabulous Five" basketball squads at Kentucky in the late 1940s and Iowa in the mid-1950s. But give Rose some credit. By mid-season, he apparently was conducting wee-hours-of-the-morning GameDay research on what ex-Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy went through partying with college students while on the road (after his alma mater's defeat at Indiana).
Rose is certainly an expert at adding fuel to a simmering fire. Early in 2012, he expressed his displeasure about Michigan's school president adamantly reaffirming her opposition to retrieving the Wolverines' 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners from storage and rehanging them at Crisler Arena.
Rose must not have taken a logic class while in college. Resembling an egomaniac extorter, Rose distributed a classless tweet implying he might ask for a $250,000 donation back from his alma mater. But rather than smugly humiliating ESPN colleague Skip Bayless for embellishing his Oklahoma H.S. playing career with "water-Pistol whipping" drive-by ridicule, Cracklin' Rose (a genuine #1 hit at same time frame in early 1970s) should get on board by focusing more on restoring his own credibility after he was pulled from the air briefly by the Worldwide Leader following a knucklehead move failing to disclose a DUI arrest. Right as Rose commenced his college analyst duties this fall, he was immersed in a he-said, he-said war of words with NBA coach Sam Mitchell, who didn't speak highly of him.
Rose could call an authentic "timeout" on his self-absorbed commentary similar to the documentary glorifying Michigan's "Fab Five." While Rose continued to fail to comprehend there are consequences to actions disgracing a revered school, President Mary Sue Coleman was infinitely more concerned with integrity. She told the Michigan Daily: "It was a very difficult time and we were ashamed of what happened because the university has higher standards than that."
Why would grandstanding Rose want to celebrate the lower standards of losing two NCAA title games, anyway? Perhaps UM could appease him by hanging a Big Ten Conference championship banner. Oh, I forgot! The Fraud Five never achieved that feat from 1991-92 through 1994-95.
Why doesn't Rose offer to purchase the meaningless banners for an amount equal to the $616,000-plus money launderer "Uncle Ed" lent to UM players and he can hang them wherever he wants (including temporarily at arenas featuring the gaggle of GameDay gadflys)? Much like overstating Skip Baseless, the "First Take" from this corner is that Jailin' seems to be talking a better game (on and off the court) than he played, too.
The bloom has been off Rose in some quarters since the snarly social commentator affixed the unbecoming "Uncle Tom" tag on Duke's dynasty. Seemingly self-destructive Rose, whose intellectually lazy DUI concealment compromised ESPN's reputation, failed to exhibit any regret for "hating Duke" in the doltish documentary. Through his taunting Rose-colored glasses, the Mike Krzyzewski-coached Blue Devils were blasted by him for preferring to recruit "Uncle Tom" African-American student-athletes.
Despite being Rose-hosed, DI's all-time winningest coach must know more about assembling a non-gangsta winner than certainly Uncle Fester or Uncle Kracker - both definitely requiring baggy shorts. But Coach K, even without any of the fashionable Fab Five on his roster, somehow kayoed six more opponents than Michigan did during rambling Rose's overrated stint with the cultural icon Wooferines from 1991-92 through 1993-94. Duke won each of four meetings with all or part of the Fab Jive; three of them by double digits.
Perhaps Rose would have been attractive to Duke if he had adequately measured up to any of the following ethical situations:
Maybe Rose, ESPN's basketball version of former football flunkey Michael Irvin, would have been recruited by Duke if he wasn't susceptible to finding himself in a thorny situation at a home(y) during a purported crack roundup.
Maybe Rose would have been recruited by Coach K if he wasn't leeching to a hanger-on such as convicted bookmaker/booster Ed "Godfather" Martin for "pocket change."
Maybe Rose would have been recruited by Duke if he assured the Blue Devils' coaching staff he could help his me-generation team keep track of timeouts at critical junctures instead of seemingly being more consumed with donning revolutionary look-at-me black socks.
It would be fab(ulous) if Rose's outrageous trash-talking prowess included divulging his ACT or SAT score for the public to discern whether Uncle Jailin' qualified academically to become a "bitch" or "pussy" for Duke as he and his bush buddies bellowed in the documentary. Rather than hatin' harangues denigrating Duke, he should also "cry uncle" and be a mite more concerned with "polishing" the punk images associated with drab-five character flaws stemming from reports of deadbeat dads, driving under the influence, herpes, marijuana possession and obstructing justice.
ESPN's obfuscation penalty against Rose never will be sufficient until the cable network assigns the documentary's co-executive producer to a pruning in front of the Cameron Crazies and allow them equal time documenting their infinitely more clever comments about stopping and smelling this regaling Rose. Odds are they'll produce a catch-phrase putting "we're bigger than the score of the game" to shame.
If Duke graduate Jay Bilas tries at all in their hoop dialogue, he'll beat Rose one-on-one in mental gymnastics every time Jailin' tries his street-cred "Uncle" Tomfoolery. Rose looks as comfortable on a dais with Bilas and Digger Phelps, let alone Bob Knight, as they would have been with him at the "home" where he was involved in incident caught hanging out with suspect characters while Fab Five member for Michigan. A lively series of Laurel and Hardy debates featuring Bilas vs. Gottlieb would have had more appeal by a mile than listening to jaded Jalen drone on and on with his fake smile. How long could it be before "the sports reporters" not linked to ESPN's payroll emulate Rose and give him a dose of his own pithy posturing by dubbing him Uncle Bomb?