Archive for August 26th, 2013

by lizard

On September 5th football returns, with Baltimore playing at Denver. I won’t be watching that game or any other game this year, and if I needed a reminder why (which I kind of did, since the pull of the pigskin is strong) I got two today.

First, there is news out of Buffalo that quarter back Kevin Kolb’s suffered a potentially career-ending concussion. If you look at the tape, it doesn’t appear serious, but the subsequent symptoms exhibited by Kolb’s were apparently pretty serious. I wonder if there isn’t more to this story, like previous injuries.

Second, Dave Zirin at The Nation reports on what ESPN reporters think about Roger Goodell convincing ESPN’s corporate leadership to pull its brand from a Frontline documentary and subsequent book examining the impact of concussions in the NFL.

I spoke to several of the biggest names in journalism at ESPN this weekend and their thoughts on ESPN’s official comments and reasoning for dropping out of the project ranged from “mystifying” to “deeply depressing” to “palpable bullshit.” No one I spoke to believes that ESPN looked up after fifteen months and discovered to their collective shock that they didn’t have final editorial control of the “League of Denial.”

None of the ESPN journalists with whom I spoke wanted to go on the record, with several describing such an action with the same phrase, “career suicide” but the fact that they wanted to talk at all tells a story of its own,. The collective picture they paint is one of a disheartened newsroom that feels disrespected, dismissed and demoralized

One leading columnist and television personality at the network said to me, “Generally, ESPN’s business interests will always be at odds with its journalism. It is not a journalism company. It’s an entertainment company. This is the age of journalism we live in, not just at ESPN but everywhere. Journalism is increasingly more corporate. When you get in bed with the devil, sooner or later you start growing your own horns.”

I declared this February that I was done watching football. It’s not going to be easy, but I can’t in good conscience waste time supporting what football represents.

Football is a perfect reflection of America right now, and it’s ugly.

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