Yesterday is a day that will live in infamy for the Entertainment Sports Programming Network commonly known as ESPN. The juggernaut sports network fired over 100 writers, analysts, and popular on air personalities. Some of the familiar names caught in cross fire included Trent Dilfer, Jayson Stark, Jay Crawford, and Ed Werder. While I don’t revel in people losing their jobs the demise of ESPN can only be blamed on themselves. From bad contracts with sports leagues, to dwindling viewership, to politicizing sports, and of course the nonstop cancer stories…it was all recipe for a disaster.
Call me callous or cold hearted but I don’t feel bad for “The Mothership” as Dan Patrick calls them. For years their programming has been a pile of flaming hot garbage. If I have to watch one more cancer story on SportsCenter I swear I’m going to “Aaron Hernandez” myself. I watch sports to forget about cancer and the bad things of this world, not be reminded of them every minute by some sappy story about a cancer stricken kid who got to play in Nebraska’s spring football game. There’s a time and a place for the cancer stories, but it’s not in between highlights of the Cubs vs Brewers game.
When I was a kid I always wanted to an anchor on SportsCenter, but as I got older I realized the personalities that made love ESPN were gone. They no longer had witty anchors like Dan Patrick, Keith Olberman, or Craig Kilborn, who’s one liners would make me laugh while I enjoyed watching highlights. Instead they were replaced with the Buster Olneys, Tim Kurkijian’s, and John Clayton’s – uninteresting guys who probably couldn’t throw or catch a football or baseball. Newsflash – your’e a sports network, I want to watch sports highlights and hear commentary from people who actually excelled at sports. That’s why I’ve abandoned ESPN for the NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, and TNT – all networks who still show highlights, while still managing to provide entertaining, comical, and in depth commentary.
The reason I started the Dirty Sports Podcast over 3 years ago was because I saw this void in the sports entertainment world. There just wasn’t a place for sports discussions, with a mix of comedy and no hold sports talk. I wanted sports talk from guys who enjoyed games and just wanted to shoot the shit, but without some BS filter. Luckily things have changed and the shift is evident with the rise of the likes of Bill Simmons and Barstool Sports. People are sick of the bland boring sports talk and shows driven by click bait. To put it bluntly I don’t feel bad for ESPN, because they did this to themselves. Maybe they should start spending less time debating what Lavar Ball said and more time showing highlights of the NBA Playoffs. Maybe they should stop trying to brand the 6PM SportsCenter with a lame name like “The 6” featuring two uninteresting personalities and get everyone caught up on the baseball scores and latest NFL news from people who actually played the game.
But I know ESPN won’t change. They’ll continue to push hot take personalities and cheddar dick on-air personalities. They’ll be guided by Jim Valvano’s infamous speech “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” Well, ESPN, maybe it is time you gave up. Or maybe it’s time you tried something new, or went back to the foundation of your company, which was “entertaining” sports news and highlights. In the meantime be on the lookout for the Dirty Sports Programming Network. A network that promises to deliver all things sports….And without any cancer stories.