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Kirk & Callahan challenge Scott Van Pelt to debate about ESPN

Alex Reimer
November 20, 2017 - 11:30 am

ESPN host Scott Van Pelt is firing back at those who rail against his network and claim it’s a sinking ship. And now, Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane, two of ESPN’s most ardent critics, are challenging Van Pelt to confront them on the air.

In a recent interview on Sports Illustrated’s “Off the Board” podcast, Van Pelt dismissed the notion that ESPN is losing subscribers due to its perceived liberalism. “If you truly wanna boycott the NFL and you wanna boycott ESPN, the notion that some guy sitting out there, or gal, and they decide, ‘You know what, I’m gonna cut my entire cable package because ESPN gave an award on a made-up show in July because there’s no sports to a woman who used to be a man, so I’m now not gonna have any cable TV at all, and I’m gonna sit around at night and read books by candlelight like olden times because of that,’ that’s not happening,” Van Pelt said to host Jimmy Traina.

na, per the New York Post. “And if you did that, then you’re so dumb that I can’t even pray for you because you’re beyond hope. If that was your reaction to this — was to deny yourself the ability to watch television — I mean that just hasn’t happened and didn’t happen, so I boycott them.”

Van Pelt, who hosts the midnight edition of “SportsCenter,” has reportedly inked a contract extension with the network. Ratings for his program are up 20 percent over the last year, per the Hollywood Reporter, bucking the declining viewership trend that’s affecting ESPN’s other studio shows.

“This make-believe world where everyone talks s–t … this s–t-talking, poke-you-in-the-chest, virtual whatever, it’s just there’s nothing more chicken s–t than that because it’s the easiest thing in the world to do, and again, if that’s how people really felt, somewhere along the line, I would’ve intersected with someone that felt that way and came up and said, ‘Hey, I think your show sucks, I think ESPN sucks, and I think you guys are doomed,’” Van Pelt said. “Never. Not once.”

Callahan and Minihane took issue with Van Pelt’s stance that the criticism is artificially amplified online. 

“Since nobody goes up to him and says they hate him, he doesn’t think ESPN is in trouble? What is he –– a lunatic?,” Minihane said.

“I’ve been on the air longer than he has, and I think more people hate me. I’ve never had anybody come up and say, ‘I hate you,’” Callahan added.

Minihane, who often spars with “SC6” host Jemele Hill, challenged Van Pelt to debate him on the air – either on WEEI or at ESPN headquarters in Bristol.

“You can have your podcast with Jimmy Traina who’s going to giggle and agree with you and do your tough guy act,” Minihane said. “Or you can have an actual debate, like we like to have. A conversation. My guess is, that will never happen. But I will go to Bristol any time on my own dime and have a debate. No problem at all. No issue. I hate ESPN.”

K&C - Kirk and Gerry put a challenge out to SVP; ESPN sucks and so does Curtis 11-20-17

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