If there’s one thing ESPN is better at than losing swathes of subscribers by politicizing sports, it’s creating a news cycle out of nothing. That’s not a compliment.
It’s become all too predictable for the “Worldwide Leader” at this point.
One of ESPN’s employees writes or discusses a topic. That employee then has a take on the topic or a flimsily sourced report about it.
From there, the network thrives off the coverage other networks give this “story.” ESPN also has fodder and a hot new topic for its hours of talk show-type programming.
A classic example of this was when ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski flippantly stated in 2013 that Colin Kaepernick “could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever.” That in turn spawned countless talk show and “SportsCenter” segments and written articles wondering aloud if Kaepernick could be the greatest of all time. That’s hours of programming and content based on nothing more than a bold claim from an employee.
The latest foible isn’t quite as egregious as Jaworski’s claim about Kaepernick, but it’s up there.
ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter put out a story Wednesday titled “Sources: Tom Brady has yet to commit to playing ’18 season for Pats.”
First of all, that title says nothing. It could’ve just as easily said, “Sources: Tom Brady may play for the Patriots in 2018.” It’s a different angle, but offers up the same number of empty calories that Schefter’s story offers.
Second, Schefter’s story may have had more weight had there even been a strong endorsement from an unnamed Brady source about his future. Instead, the story offered the weakest and hollowest of Brady predictions.
“My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don’t know,” one brilliantly illuminating source said. “I don’t know.”
“I believe he’s going to be there,” another enlightened Brady source told Schefter. “However, having said that, we’re dealing with a human being. Things can change. But I do believe he will be playing.”
So … ESPN’s story title tries it’s best to claim that Brady isn’t playing next year, but the evidence it provides are sources who essentially admit that Brady will likely play in 2018? Right.
The sports fans who forced themselves through ESPN’s drivel were not amused with the waste of time.
Perhaps the most damning response came on Twitter from NBC Sports Boston’s Mike Giardi. He reached out to Brady’s teammates who could offer actual insight.
A pair of Tom Brady's teammates tell me they've spoken to the QB this offseason, including discussions about the upcoming season, and he's never indicated he wasn't playing/retiring. Also, Brady continued his normal workout regimen/diet to this point, even while in Qatar.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) April 18, 2018
Ouch. ESPN has to do a better job of making up a news story next time. People are catching on.
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