Dear ESPN, F–k You. Sincerely, The Midwest

Earlier today, I engaged in a lively Twitter conversation regarding ESPN’s step-by-step takeover of every local sports market in the country.

To put it bluntly, I think it sucks.

I go to ESPN for news stories that have national scope and appeal, to read national columnists I enjoy, and for the aggregation of basic news like scores, standings, and schedules. I don’t need ESPN to take great writers “out” of their local markets and aggregate them all for me. I know how to use an RSS reader you smug, arrogant, monopoly.

Congratulations on scrubbing the local veneer right off of some terrific local writers them by removing them from their local sites and local papers to place them on ESPN’s generic f’ing article template.

Oh, and one more thing, I think I speak for everyone in the Midwest, and certainly everyone in Cleveland, when I say that we’d all appreciate you keeping your East Coast-biased opinions about LeBron and New York to your f’ing selves. (Or, you know, to the New York papers, where such persistent advocation of such a viewpoint belongs.)

When I got back from lunch today I hopped over to ESPN.com to see if anything major had happened in the world of sports while I was gone. This is the image I was met with:

lebron-espn-new-york

Look everybody! ESPN has a New York section now!

And guess how they chose to introduce it? With their 1 millionth suggestion on one of their 1 million platforms (Worldwide Leader!) that Cleveland cannot possibly be good enough for LeBron and that SURELY he will go to the only city truly worth of a star.

Well here is what I have to say to you ESPN: go f–k yourselves.

(And yeah, I know it’s lame to not just spell the word out, but we try to keep things as clean as possible here. For the kids! (And the search engines…) It’s one of our core values, like ESPN advocating LeBron to New York every five f’ing minutes.)

Look, I realize LeBron could go to New York. I realize he could go to New Jersey. I also realize, unlike ESPN apparently, that he could also choose to stay in *gasp* Cleveland. I’m just so sick and tired of the focus on LeBron-to-New-York being posited as some kind of inevitability that I could scream (or write a pissed off blog post that may or may not actually make a point by the time I hit publish).

And you see, here’s the problem: I would expect to smacked in the face with a front page image like this if I went to a New York website. But I didn’t go to a New York website, I went to ESPN…except that ESPN now has ESPNNewYork.com so it is a New York website, whether I like it or not.

Maybe I’m making too big a deal of this. I realize that LeBron’s ultimate destination is inherently a national story and maybe everyone really does want him to go to New York or just assumes that he will. All I know is that seeing it splashed on the front page of ESPN.com today – on the same day LeBron was quoted as saying that his #1 goal is a bring a championship to the city of Cleveland –  just set me off.

Combine that with my percolating hatred for ESPN’s diabolically brilliant plan to monopolize all local sports reporting and I’ve about had my fill of the WWL.

It’s all good though. Baseball season is about to start, which means ESPN gets bumped on a nightly basis for the MLB Network. The MLBN isn’t perfect by any means, but at least I don’t get the feeling that their execs sit around smugly enjoying their own flatulence or incessantly and unabashedly chasing tail.

That’s all. Back to your regularly scheduled late Friday lighthearted blog browsing.



About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. Well said. The arrogance of the whole thing is absurd. A caption under a picture of LBJ and Jay-Z said that if LeBron plays for the Knicks he can be closer to Jay-Z and spend more time with his good buddy.

    Think about what other New-York area team has ties to a certain rap mogul, and let that sink in. This is why my head exploded this morning.

  2. Great post. Nice work.

  3. Great work J-Rod! You have said what so many think… Leave the whole LeBron, New York thing alone already ESPN… Do a story not based on wrongdoing and speculation once in the while and quit turning yourselves into the TMZ of sports!

    • Thank you. I agree. It’s not that LeBron-to-New-York isn’t a possibility or an important story, it’s just been beaten into the ground and feels to me, and many others, like they are trying to push a particular POV rather than report what’s out there. On a day when he says his goal is to bring a title to Cleveland, how does that get trumped by him in an NY jersey on the front page. Just a little much.

  4. Notice ESPN never had the local websites until after you were on OTL "Jerod Morris from Midwest Sports Fans" and their first venture was ESPN Chicago. Not saying just saying.

    I would like to point out that my man-crush from ESPN Radio Colin Cowherd says almost everyday on his radio show that there is no way LeBron is going to NY. I agree, there is not a chance in Bristol he will.

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  8. Touche.
    Sincerely,
    The South

  9. If you read the article(s), most of the writers think he’ll stay in Cleveland.

    • It’s a good point. But, I’m not all that concerned with what they THINK will happen. Consider what ESPN would rather happen. Can you think of anything that would give ESPNNewYork.com a greater shot in the arm than LeBron going to NY? The NY papers are already fighting for a relatively finite pie. If LeBron goes to New York, the entire sports landscape of the city of changes. And if it changes right when ESPN is trying to gain a foothold, with their power and ability to dictate the national narrative of sports discussion, a LeBron to New York scenario gives ESPN a much better ability to to more quickly establish itself in NY. Do you think it’s a coincidence that they went to Chi, LA, and Dallas first? ESPN is not stupid. Far from it. Their plan to go into the local markets, while I don’t like it personally, is brilliant for their bottom line and future domination. They tested out their gameplan in a few A markets before jumping feet first into THE A+ media market in the world. And how do they announce themselves? An article by a New Yorker about why LeBron should go to New York. It would be the single biggest possible landscape shifting move that any athlete could make in sports right now. And ESPN stands to benefit greatly if he makes it a few months after they’re up and running with ESPNNewYork.com.

      I’m not saying ESPN is evil, but they are powerful and know the sports landscape as well as anyone. And I think it is inarguable that they stand to benefit if LeBron goes to NY. So why wouldn’t they shade their coverage this way? It’s natural. It just doesn’t mean the people in the markets they are slighting need to like it, and that’s the point of my article.

      (Mav, this comment was not entirely directed at you, as your comment was generally correct. It is more of an addendum to my post after a few hours of reflection.)

  10. I live in the Midwest and it is pretty terrible except for Chicago and a few college towns. Its basically white trash land. It feels like we’ve been sliding into the South for the last 20 years in lack of culture and white trashness. I hate it here. Someone kill me or buy me a ticket out. Lebron would be an idiot to stick around this wasteland.

    • Thanks for the comment Nate, even though I vehemently disagree. Although, it’s an interesting juxtaposition that I’m countering your comment having moved from Indianapolis two Aprils ago. So the guy hates the Midwest still lives there and the guy who loves the Midwest had to move away. Such is life, I suppose. I do think the Midwest is a hell of a lot more well rounded and pleasant a place than you describe it.

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      Yeah, Nate, there’s no white trash or ghetto thugs in NY, Mass, CA, etc. Chicago is actually all that’s wrong with the midwest. And the college towns, though fun, are hedonistic yuppie lands. You’re wrong on all you write.

      And the south is the most pleasant, patriotic place in America. Leave the midwest. You belong on the trashy coasts.

      • MSF is a much more entertaining place when AJ is lurking in the comment section.

        • AJ Kaufman says:

          I try to be honest.

          But for someone who’s lived everywhere, especially recently, I know what I like and dislike. There are a lot of great ‘coastal’ locales and horrific parts of the midwest — but all things considered, there’s a reason every year when Money Magazine rates the BEST places to live and raise a family, 8 or 9 of the top 10 towns are in the midwest.

          And Nate, you can move. It’s easy. Don’t talk about it, just do it. It’s a free nation. I left LA when I had had enough. I am happy I did. So is my wife.

  11. I’m from Florida, so this pisses me off, as we are overrun with New Yorkers, and all they talk about is New York, but they won’t leave Florida, hmm. Hoping for a espntampabay.com

  12. bob dole says:

    midwest people are great people. theres no doubt about it that there is a difference between people born in WI compared to those born in NY or CA. its a shame EPSN primarily shows whats going on in LA and NY. when was the last time the blue jays, royals, or brewers were mentioned on the front page? i mean is it that important to EPSN to let us know who the yankees 5th starter is going to be??? sure alot of people might wear yankees hats, but there surely is a comparison in quality of fans between midwest and on the coasts. going to dodgers stadium as a brewers fan compared to going to a packers game as an opposing fan is such a different experience. i was scared of dying in LA, while everyone but vikings fans leave lambaue field having had a great and fun experience. maybe EPSN should push midwest instead of the big city teams. also, colin cowherd sucks. "seriously."

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      Correct…and Bob Dole is a great America (from Kansas)

      Raised on the coasts, I prefer the midwest by far: better people, better sports, better schools, better history, lower cost of living, higher quality of life, less expensive, less traffic….

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    I can’t wait until people, ESPN included, realize that there is really no benefit for Lebron to come to NY. Is he going to have a bigger salary? No.. Is he getting endorsements? He already has more than any single athelete around not named Payton Manning. Will he be coming to a winning franchise? no. Will he be closer to a title? no. I mean, can someone explain to me the incentive for him to goto the Knicks cause I don’t see it.

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      Well said. Lebron would be a fool to go to NY as would the NBA. I’m serious. He has a better chance of winning a title in the great city of C-town than Gotham.

  15. AJ Kaufman says:

    I loathe ESPN. Never watch it, have visited their website 2-3 times in my life. It's awful, cliche, elitist, etc. Most of their guys think the world ends at the Hudson River. Yanks-Red Sox opening night…wow, shocker.
    Thankfully, with MLBN, NBATV, NHLTV and NFLN, we are starting to see sports "localized" and hopefully with that, ESPN will become ETV or some "entertainment" channel — since that's what they've been the past half-decade anyway.

  16. One thing we don’t have to worry about is ESPN taking over the Web…thanks to the Internet there will always be sites like this to provide an alternative viewpoint. Loved the RSS comment – only way to stay informed these days. Adding to my feed now.

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      Correct. And when I want local writers, I go to the sports sections and blogs of the local city, not and never ESPN.

    • I agree with you, and think that the ability and responsibility to question the actions and motives of giants like ESPN is one of the necessary functions of blogs.

      Thanks for the kind words and we look forward to seeing you on MSF in the future.

  17. Of course, you do realize that ESPN stands for Eastern Sports Programming Network, right?

  18. maybe you should include oklahoma, kansas, texas, and both of the dakotas before you call yourselves the ‘midwest sports fans’ and before you start speaking on our behalf

    • I don't know "midwest" Texas is (that's where I live currently) but you are correct about Kansas and even the dakotas and Oklahoma. And believe me, I'd love to cover anyway. In fact, that's my long term goal. But I am only one man and can only write so many posts, but ANYONE can write on MSF. Poke around on the site and you'll see that I'm very open about letting anyone with a passion for sports contribute content. I have yet to be contacted by anyone from the Dakotas or OK, but Kimberly Westphall went to KU and has written about Kansas sports before.

      I don't profess to be THE voice of the Midwest…which makes the title of this post admittedly presumptuous…but I do think we capture some of the Midwest essence here.

      If you'd like to write, you have an open invite. I'd love to have more broad coverage.

  19. Cavalette23 says:

    Nice Article!

  20. Classic Jerod, Midwestsportsfans post Jerod! Draws the traffic, criticism, and love!
    Perfection!….and also backs up my boy sticking around in Cleveland!

  21. ziggy diggy says:

    Agreed, us toronto fans get it soo much from espn

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