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By Zak Kertesz

Sony Creative Software Inc.


the SportsComplainer presents Close the Gap!

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Dear ESPN, you’re ruining sports

Photo by Jessica Hill

----Plaxico Burress’ hearing is delayed.  Donte’ Stallworth is sentenced to jail time.  Ryan Leaf (Ryan Leaf?) is eluding the police.  courtTV, right?  Uh-uh.  It’s the present day ESPN.


When Bill Rasmussen, the creator of ESPN, developed the idea in 1978, was his idea to televise scofflaws or sports? I cannot state for certain, but I naturally assume the “S” stands for the latter.

ESPN calls themselves the leading destination for American convicts, I mean sports. So where’s the actual sports coverage?

Sports aficionados don’t want to see the amiss in sports. They “witness” (No LeBron, I’m not talking about you) society’s turmoil everyday when they get out of bed. They don’t need more bedlam and they certainly don’t want it either. They want stats. They want scores. They want actual sporting events.

We, as an aching nation, as a wounded world, want to see things like Michael Jordan’s game winner over Bryon Russell in the Finals. We want to see things like Kirk Gibson’s limp-off home run on Dennis Eckersley in the World Series. We want to see things like USA miraculously beating the Soviet’s in the 1980 Winter Olympics. (“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” – Thanks Al Michaels)

We want to see things that make our body succumb to horripilation (goose bumps). The joyous feeling that begins in our thoughts but travels to our hearts; the feeling that makes our eyes water and our speech stutter. That’s why we watch sports. That’s why we love sports:

But what does ESPN give our nation, our world, instead? Scandals. Trials. Convictions. Imprisonments. All resulting in further defamation of our beloved sports.

Understandably, it’s a slow time for sports, the summer, it always is. And I accept the fact that news is news and more significantly, this news does involve athletes. Fine ESPN. Put it out there. Remind us of how atrocious our civilization is. But please, oh please, not under the bleeping headlines of your website and not under the bleeping LEAD of your television station.

Rather, install a section entitled: “we must make money” and place these journalistic necessities under such.

Dear worldwide leader in sports, if you insist in altering the “S” in ESPN from sports to scofflaws, then here are some revisions that may assist in further developing your new image:

Sportscenter to Convictcenter.

Jim Rome is Burning to Jim Rome is in the Courthouse.

Around the Horn to Around the Federal Penitentiary.

Sounds pretty entertaining actually…but not, I repeat, not for a sports network.

Dude, head CEO man (I refuse to waste my efforts in researching your name or title), change it up.

At precisely 12:32 pm on Tuesday, June 16, 2009: ESPN offered courtTV-esque (note: courtTV is now truTV) stories as five of its top six headlines (on their website). And the singular headline that differentiates itself from the rest: Brett Favre (but with all of his deception and betrayal, he fits the bill). At least you’re consistent, ESPN.

Shall we go through the headlines one by one? We shall: (Reminder: This is just in one day. ESPN perpetually does this.)

1. “Stallworth gets 30 days in jail in DUI fatality”

2. (The Lying Wrangler)

3. “Leaf faces Thursday deadline to turn himself in”

4. “NASCAR says Mayfield expert lied about degree”

5. “Phelps gets first endorsement since scandal”

6. “Burress hearing delayed to Sept. 23”

Get it? Got it? Good. Because I don’t get it.

Ryan Leaf? Really? My youngest brother’s JV summer basketball practices are more relevant. At least he plays.

Poor Michael Phelps. ESPN, Do you really need to continue to bring the kid down? So, he smoked pot. George Washington used to grow fields upon fields of it.

Plaxico Burress shot himself. He shot himself. That should be on Comedy Central, not ESPN.

Indeed, as I previously confirmed, ESPN, the supposed worldwide leader in sports, does have the journalistic responsibility to entertain these topics. But not as main headlines.

Italy rallies to defeat U.S. by a score of 3-1 in the FIFA Confederations Cup; As New Jersey-born (traitor) Giuseppe Rossi scores two goals.

Manny Pacquiao (49-3) (the Philippine Elvis, who is single-handedly bringing back the sport of boxing) is set to fight Miguel Cotto (34-1) (who is coming off a split-decision victory over Joshua Clottey (35-3)) on November 14 in Las Vegas.

Now those are headlines. True sports headlines.

And if those are not to your liking, ESPN, then provide MLB scores and MLS scores and NASCAR standings and Tennis rankings as your headlines.

Yes, ESPN does acknowledge such information, although assigns them to purgatory deeply within the confines of the cyber underworld; rather than accrediting them to, oh I don’t know, the headlines!

C’mon, ESPN? Don’t you have anyone, anyone within your staff who could figure all this out? Thanks to the SportsComplainer, you now know this.

People who watch ESPN are sports fans, not court fans. If they were, they’d tune in to Judge Judy.

And granted, some individuals do enjoy the drama, but that’s what E! is for.

ESPN and accompanying suits, you are ruining sports. Please, I’m asking you nicely to stop slaying what our world loves.

Our society watches sports to forget about the disorderly distress that life brings forth. To forget about the pink slips and the shrinking paychecks (economy). To forget about the right-wing crazies and the suicide bombers (terrorism). To forget about the continuously escalating fuel prices (energy crisis). To forget about the insane world leaders with powerful toys (nuclear threats). They tune in to clear their minds of such pandemonium, not to convolute their minds with more brouhaha, especially irrelevant brouhaha.

Open your eyes ESPN, realize this. Realize that this society follows sports with their hearts, with their souls, with an expectation that sports will make them feel better about the world around them. And ESPN, you’re ruining that. You really are.