Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

The Changing of Sports Entertainment

LeBron James’ recent party at Tao in Las Vegas has taken on epic proportions, not just because of the nude women in the bathtub, but because ESPN originally posted an article about the party and then took it down off its website.

The full article was captured in a screen grab and posted on Deadspin, The site also posted ESPN’s explanation for pulling the article:

“The story should have never been published,” an ESPN source told Deadspin. “The draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter.”

Now comes word, via Waiting For Next Year, that Sportscenter was going to discuss the LeBron in Vegas story but, during a commercial break, something happened and suddenly the anchors were no longer interested.

It’s not surprising that a higher-up at ESPN would spike an article or a TV report that portrayed an athlete they are developing a relationship with in a negative light. It wouldn’t be the first time.

ESPN wants to promote itself as the worldwide leader in sports, the place sports fans go to for all their sports news and entertainment. But day by day, ESPN is moving farther away from being able to present itself as a news organization.

Now, if you tune in and there isn’t a game on, you find yourself being yelled at by know-it-all personalities, have to deal with studio hosts bleating non-sensical phrases over and over again (boo yah!), or an over-abundance of promotional spots (Budweiser Hot Seat, etc.)

The network still does some things right – most notably the on-going 30 for 30 film series, which is phenomenal – but more often than not they are trying to be both a sports network and an entertainment network.

And by trying to be both at once, the network ends up not doing either one very well.

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