Thursday, November 10, 2011

ESPN: The Worldwide Leader in Scandal Coverage

All sports fans right now seem well immersed in the whole Penn State rape scandal, but maybe a little too much. Everyone was tuned into the riots that occurred on Wednesday night resulting from Joe Paterno being fired. The coverage from many news outlets, from the local affiliates in Pennsylvania to ESPN and CNN has been superb, but, has a line been crossed? Ever since the story broke, it has overtaken many other newsworthy stories in sports, and completely shoved them out of the equation. I know how monumental this story is in the sports world, but maybe it's time to move on.

Here are a couple of stories that were either missed or barely covered last night as a result of the Penn State scandal: Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his native Venezuela by gunmen and hasn't been heard from. That is a pretty big story, and it was barely covered last night. The NBA lockout negotiations continue on, and are right now in a precarious situation where they could collapse at any minute. That was barely covered, aside from interviews with Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard which few people heard because they were asleep. The former Rutgers player that was paralyzed on a kickoff return, Eric Legrand, tweeted that he was going to start walking on a treadmill. That is touching, and heartwarming, but you only saw that through twitter. And, UCF got a scathing notice from the NCAA of allegations that are more serious than any of the other scandals seen this year, but no mentions. You see?

There was also an interesting dichotomy in the coverage provided in different countries. The U.S got too much coverage it seems from ESPN, and Canada got next to none with TSN. I know the sports priorities in each country are vastly different, but a little coverage in Canada would be nice, as some people in Canada do care about American College Football. But, this provides a contrast between different places on the coverage that this scandal has garnered, including the hilarity of the British CNN anchor who didn't know when Penn State's next game was.

By the time we get to Saturday, the coverage may get even more inclusive, and take away from a pretty sizable college football Saturday. I know more allegations could be coming, and there is a game to be played, but ESPN has to move on at some point. I understand the gravity of the situation, but things have to change surrounding the coverage of this scandal. We all know pretty much every detail of this scandal available to us right now, and we don't need to hear them constantly batted over our heads. Every ESPN program is at fault here, not just Sportscenter. I doubt the OSU and Miami scandals got nearly half of the coverage combined as this Penn State scandal has gotten. I know that's a bad comparison in terms of the scandals themselves, but it has to be mentioned. ESPN is covering the sports side of it well, but a little more attention could be paid to the legal side of the scandal too.

Maybe this is too scathing towards ESPN, who has covered this story very well, and has had to juggle major stories before. But, maybe they should sit back and look at what they have done in their coverage with a different lens. Their coverage has been great, but too much coverage is still too much. I know it will be hard to move on, but you have to start somewhere.

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