On Monday’s Dale & Holley, we were discussing how Patriots fans continue to defend the proverbial wall against the onslaught of negativity and Michael offered the suggestion that I do a weekly power ranking of the forces of darkness who are keeping up their constant harping of the Patriots. A good idea and one that I may just have to make a regular feature since there appears to be no let up in sight.
That has inspiring me to present this piece today about one of the biggest offenders of anti-Patriots cyberbullying: ESPN. This take down comes from a site called Truth Out and it’s called, “Protecting the Shield: Why ESPN Can’t Be Trusted to Cover the NFL.” It will be familiar to most of us, but it is still well worth the read since it is a compendium of practically all of the list of grievances we have against the people of Bristol. In case you can’t get to it right away, here are a few of the best bullet points:
On ESPN’s unwillingness to be critical of the NFL:
The organization that should be the most important watchdog of the league is ESPN, which as the largest sports media company in the world has the resources and reach to truly serve as a check on the league’s power. Unfortunately, ESPN is too compromised to be trusted in this role. Its NFL broadcasts are worth billions, and an examination of its coverage shows that ESPN’s priorities are not investigating the league, but protecting it.
Listing some of the ways the World Wide Leader has pimped themselves out for the NFL:
So it is hard not to raise an eyebrow when ESPN engages in suspicious behavior to the league’s benefit, such as silencing voices who challenge Goodell’s honesty in a domestic abuse scandal; publishing (and never correcting) false information leaked by the NFL; caving to league pressure on concussions; downplaying negative stories about league owners; and running curiously timed attack pieces and reports against Goodell’s adversaries.
How ESPN spiked the news of a huge victory for Tom Brady over Roger Goodell:
The 400-page transcript of Brady’s appeal hearing (where Goodell named himself as arbitrator) was then released to the public, against the NFL’s wishes.
The document exposed a blatant lie in Goodell’s written decision (July 28), confirming Brady’s suspension. Goodell claimed that Brady testified he never spoke to his equipment manager about the allegations, when in fact, the transcript proved the opposite was true.
These revealing transcripts were barely mentioned by ESPN.
The Chris Mortensen story, in brief:
In January 2015, reporter Chris Mortensen helped blow up the “Deflategate” story on what would later be revealed as a false leak. …ESPN, like the NFL, has refused to correct the record.
The ways in which ESPN has ignored real scandals involving NFL owners to focus on (allegedly) deflated footballs:
Consider the case of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his fraud case.
In April 2013, the FBI raided the headquarters of Haslam’s company, Pilot Flying J. In a 120-page affidavit, the FBI accused the company of a five-year-long “conspiracy to scheme and defraud” its customers out of millions in rebates. This scheme “occurred with the knowledge” of Haslam who, according to one informant quoted in the affidavit, “knew it all along [and] loved it.” …
In the first seven months since the story broke, the Flying J scandal was mentioned by ESPN 23 times. Brady’s footballs were covered 844 times in that same time period. …
This disparity is also seen in the case of Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. He was found liable by a judge for “civil state racketeering laws” and “fraudulent bookkeeping practices.” Yet in the seven months following this news, there were only seven mentions on ESPN.com – less than 1 percent of the coverage “Deflategate” got.
The ways in which ESPN’s legal team always sides with the league:
Lester Munson is an almost cartoonish case study. When the NFLPA appealed Adrian Peterson‘s four-game suspension, Munson unsurprisingly predicted an easy NFL triumph. …
The NFLPA won the case, Munson’s hubris notwithstanding. ‘¦ When Brady’s appeal went to court, Munson made an identical argument as he did in the Peterson case. … Not once did he even mention his failed prediction on the Peterson case. Once again, his confidence seemed absolute: “the strength of the NFL position” was “indisputable,” and “obvious.” …
Munson’s unceasing support of the NFL remains strong; he predicts the NFL will easily win on appeal.
Munson is not alone. Legal analyst Roger Cossack continues to argue the NFLPA is foolish to expect fair arbitration, a strange stance for a lawyer.
After being dead wrong about Deflategate, ESPN doubled down on the eight year old Spygate story:
The network points to a recent Outside the Lines (OTL) report about the Deflategate issue as an example of its critical coverage. The report portrayed Goodell as using the Tom Brady case as a way to satiate owners who felt he was too soft on the New England Patriots for a videotaping controversy from 2007 (or Spygate). …
The report, which relied on more than 80 anonymous sources including at least one NFL owner, was devoted mostly to negative coverage of the Patriots – the target of the NFL’s six-month-long investigation. The report was mildly critical of Goodell at times but also advanced the agenda of unnamed NFL sources, including an owner.
The argument that ESPN was showing its independence from the NFL by anonymously quoting an owner’s controversial opinion is the height of irony.
To be clear, this isn’t coming from me. This isn’t some Patriots fan message board, the team’s PR department, some disgruntled former ESPN host or Sully in the car. This is from a neutral watchdog website that doesn’t have a bird in this particular cockfight. They just couldn’t look at the events of the 2015 NFL offseason and not, through their unbiased eyes, see anything other than what I’ve been telling you all along: That the NFL has been out to get the Patriots, make them look ridiculous, paint Tom Brady as a liar and a cheat, and that ESPN is nothing less than their state run media who’ll say and do anything the league wants.
Call Pats fans paranoid if you must. But I defy you to cite me one article as well researched as this from a source as uncompromised as this. Spoiler: You won’t be able to. Yes, New Englander’s are paranoid about ESPN’s coverage. And that’s because they really are out to get the Patriots.
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