The League

Robert Littal
National Blogger

Robert Littal

CEO of Black Sports Online which brings the truth in sports.

ESPN Is Like Madonna


ESPN is like Madonna. Back in the day they were both hip -- you felt like you were connected to them on a personal level. Thirty years later they are talking with strange accents and disconnected from the general public. The Worldwide Leader in Sports has proven this disconnection once again in their coverage of Ben Roethlisberger's sexual assault case.

The explanation I got was that ESPN does not report on civil cases that don't have criminal complaints. I was told that the policy has been in effect for twenty years and, since the plaintiff did not file a criminal complaint, it was a "non-story." They sent out a memo that stated that no one in the company could talk about the story.

It may have been a good policy twenty years ago, but it doesn't apply now since ESPN is the first to jump on an athlete for almost anything, instead it appears weak.

When the Super Bowl winning QB is charged with sexual assault, even in a civil trial, that's news. As long as it is reported fairly and without bias it should be available to the public.

Are you telling me twelve stories about Brett Favre working out at a high school are bigger than Big Ben being sued for sexual assault?

Floyd Mayweather owes the IRS -- that is reported. T.O. can't find a house in Buffalo because neighbors don't like him -- that is a story. Former athletes going bankrupt -- front page story. If a player sniffs a steroid the Outside the Lines crews are in front of his house. Pacman Jones at a strip club throwing money around in a case that he was never charged -- huge story.

But not Ben Roethlisberger?

I don't care about the technicalities; the woman is alleging, in no uncertain terms, that Ben Roethlisberger raped her and there's not a whisper from the World Wide Leader in Sports? Regardless of the policy only the naive would believe that ESPN would not have reported this story if the name was Terrell Owens and not Ben Roethlisberger.

One of the reasons a lot of people are turned off by ESPN is the perception they protect certain players, coaches and teams. I honestly do not believe it is a racial issue, I just believe they slurp the bath water of certain individuals and it is very annoying.

It makes no sense that every other news/sports organization in the U.S. has this story and the #1 Sports Network does not.

The only person happy about that is Ben Roethlisberger.

By Robert Littal  |  July 22, 2009; 6:50 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: New Jounalism Changed The Story | Next: ESPN Irresponsible


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Completely agree. ESPN's job is to report sports news, or news involving sports figures. Despite the fact that no criminal complaint has been filed, the fact that any allegations have been made at all is news, and therefore it should have been reported.

Its as simple as that.

Posted by: Mister_Jones | July 22, 2009 1:15 PM

rlittal...this article was well done. you are completely on point. good stuff.

Posted by: aamirsyed | July 22, 2009 1:17 PM

This article was well written and to point. Plain and simple ESPN did NOT deliver!!! So many people depend on them for sports news and it's unfortunate. I am a Steelers fan no doubt but this should've been covered.

Posted by: kelleyheartsprts | July 22, 2009 1:39 PM

This was a well written article that was to the point. I'm a very big fan of ESPN and was looking for the story all day yesterday after receiving a text from a from about this. I will have to place Mr Littal into my favorites list because I love well written articles. Thanks for the insight Mr Littal. Will you be writing for the Post in the near future? GREAT JOB!!!

Posted by: msuttonphoto | July 22, 2009 4:05 PM

You are totally right on! One only needs to look back at the rape allegations and legal proceedings against Kobe in Colorado and wonder why Big Ben is getting the special treatment. I like your style, keep up the good work.

Posted by: ddwriter | July 22, 2009 4:58 PM

This article correctly and succinctly points out the myth of ESPN. They view sports reporting as sports promoting. If one is looking for unbiased, objective reporting of sports news DO NOT use ESPN as a source. If one is looking for a constant stream of apology for the so-called stars of their individual sports, especially the ones that are carried live on the network, one should keep ESPN on 24 hours a day.

Posted by: mark1161 | July 23, 2009 7:26 AM

Great article. I like you would love to think that there is no racial bias in not reporting on this story; but the fact of the matter is the name was Kobe Bryant and it did get reported...period!

Posted by: Beingsensible | July 23, 2009 9:05 AM

I went directly to ESPN as soon as this story hit the waves and NOTHING! I knew exactly what was going on....just as you mentioned...this relationship between the NFL and ESPN is like a cheating senator and a high class hooker. I'll give the NFL the senator title because they had to no doubt pay off ESPN NOT to cover this story!

It's a shame. The Modell family is powerful indeed...along with Goddell and the crew trying to cover up Big Ben.

If this was Mike Vick? They'd be throwing him under the bus.

Posted by: cbmuzik | July 23, 2009 10:18 AM

Excellent article. Another network that has been interesting to watch is the NFL network. That network barely covered the Steve Mcnair murder story and they are not touching this one either. I guess ESPN and NFL network are for the promotion of their favorite stories not sports journalism.

Posted by: ekofi | July 23, 2009 4:08 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company