“The patron had heard what he thought was sniffing from inside the stall and told the off-duty officer,” police spokesman Otis Redmond said, according to the newspaper. “The officer went into the restroom, heard the same sniffing and peered over the stall door. He saw Jamal Anderson and Mark Hudson sniffing two lines of powdered cocaine off the back of the toilet.” Hudson, 20, was also arrested at the bar in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, the report said.
Per FOXSports, Anderson was released from jail on $6,000 bond Sunday evening.
Numerous blogs have already dissected this story, so I have nothing new to add to the specifics and no clever jokes to tell. However, the subtle difference in the coverage of the story from two sports media titans did catch my eye.
As you may or may not know, depending on how attentive you are to weekday sports coverage during the morning and midday hours at ESPN, Jamal Anderson was an NFL analyst on ESPN’s First Take this past football season. Something tells me though that if you polled 100 people on the first thing that comes to their mind when they think of Jamal Anderson, “ESPN analyst” would not be at the top of the list. Thoughts like “Ex-Falcons RB”, “former All-Pro”, “dirty bird”, and “horrible knee injury season after carrying the ball 8,000 times” would likely be much more prevalent.
According to FOXSports, however, Anderson’s one-year stint with ESPN is now the defining description of his career. As evidence, I present a screen capture from the FOXSports.com front page:
As you can see, FOXSports.com has decided that in the 60 or so characters they have to entice you to read an article, Anderson’s affiliation with ESPN warrants mention in the same line as “felony drug charge”. The headline of the actual article reads “Ex-Falcons RB, ESPN analyst Anderson out of jail”. It seems curious that FOXSports would choose the ESPN analyst angle for the front page headline.
Thinking that maybe I underestimated the association that sports fans in general made between Jamal Anderson and his brief tenure at ESPN, I poked around to other sites like SI.com and noticed that the headlines read similarly to the one on ESPN.com, which more intuitively describes Anderson as “ex-Falcons RB”:
So, what does this all mean?
I think it is subtle, yet pretty obvious, proof of FOXSports’ disdain for ESPN, or at least of the cutthroat competition between the two media giants.
There is really only one reason for FOXSports to use “ESPN Analyst” in the short headline about the Jamal Anderson story, which is to provide a slap in the face to its primary competition in the world of sports news. We all know that ESPN is the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” (at least according to ESPN anyway), and FOXSports ostensibly would like for you to know that they are also the “Worldwide Leader in Employing Analysts Who Snort Cocaine off Toilet Seats”.
And this, of course, is not the first time that the editorial staff and writers at FOXSports.com have thrown ESPN under the bus. Consider this Jason Whitlock column, for example. While Whitlock does laud The Sports Guy Bill Simmons (who himself has had consistent issues with ESPN, making this not really any kind of compliment towards ESPN), he packs a lot of venom for ESPN into the rest of his article:
- In reference to ESPN bringing in Rick Reilly for $3 million: “By the time ESPN made it rain on Reilly he was more qualified to work the door at Spearmint Rhino than make more money at the Worldwide Leader than Simmons, Wilbon, Van Pelt and countless others.”
- Whitlock explains why ESPN is underutilizing Andre Ware and Chris Spielman as college football analysts.
- In reference to Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann reprising their combo from the early ESPN days on Football Night in America: “I get the jokes and I have no problem with anyone publicly giving ESPN the finger.”
- He blasts ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews.
- In reference to sports blogs and the mainstream media policing itself: “It’s the same pattern that turned ESPN evil. Everyone decided working for ESPN or getting their scoop scrolled across the bottom of ESPN was more important than actually policing the most powerful institution in sports.”
And that is just in one article by one writer.
The moral of the story? First off, of course, if you are a former NFL running back with a nice gig at ESPN, it’s probably not a good idea to snort cocaine off any toilet seats that are not in your house. And secondly, if you are an ESPN sycophant, you probably should not go to FOXSports.com for second opinions on your sports news.
No, just wait for ESPN to report stories after “confirming on its own” a report undoubtedly broken by FOX.
Jamal Anderson’s unfortunate cocaine-toilet seat indiscretions gave FOXSports a perfect opportunity to subtlely insert the knife into ESPN and twist. Your abject hatred of the WWL is duly noted FOXSports. Mission accomplished.