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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Friday, May 20, 2011

'Don't believe the mascot promos;' life is not what ESPN portrays

The four-letter network is having trouble keeping its talents' misdeeds out of the media, and soon the disarray within the Bristol, Conn., compound will be exposed when "Those Guys Have all the Fun, Inside the World of ESPN" is released Tuesday.
(Just to clarify, The Oakland Press was apparently left off the publisher's distribution list for promo copies.)
Deadspin has been all over this since the promo copies were released for reviews and some sites have even leaked excerpts, detailing some of the legendary in-fighting that has taken place. Reportedly, there's a portion dealing with the debacle that became LeBron's narcissistic exit interview with the Cavaliers known as "The Decision."
My favorite passage comes from former "SportsCenter" anchor Jack Edwards:
"A team is where you have your teammate's back regardless of what happens; you defend them and you sort out any dirty laundry quietly behind closed doors. There was almost none of that at ESPN. There was no encouragement, because the atmosphere was one of stick the knife in his back, climb the corporate ladder. It was a very, very negative place to work. Don't believe the mascot promos. Life is not like that at 'SportsCenter.' "
We also learn Mike Tirico might not be as nice of guy as we've been led to believe by his friendly smile and soft, golf-friendly voice.
Know anybody who watched the Erin Andrews peephole video? Employees at ESPN did. Readers also learn (maybe for the first time) what a tortured-genius, rabble-rouser type Keith Olbermann was during his time with the network. Apparently, nothing has changed for Olbermann.
The book is more than 700 pages and tells the history of the network (can you believe it didn't begin until 1979?), according to former ESPN employee Darren Rovell, now a sports business analyst for CNBC.
"If you want the highlights from the guys who brought you the highlights, all the essentials are there," Rovell said.
For the stories straight from the guy who interviewed a hell of a lot of ESPN personnel current and former, listen to an interview with author James Andrew Miller in a Sports Illustrated podcast.
This has PR nightmare written all over it, and from what I've read, the network has been in crisis control mode since excerpts began leaking. Can't wait.
(Click here to pre-order)


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