If you’re the type of person who expects entertainment to validate your worldview, ESPN may not be for you this year. Perhaps finally waking up to popular demand, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro is trying to limit politics on the network.
The sports behemoth has battled the head winds of an all-consuming political climate. Prominent personality Jemele Hill was suspended from the network last year for calling President Trump a white supremacist. The White House responded by calling the tweet “a fireable offense,” which fueled conservative critics of the network.
For those of you playing the home game, ESPN Corespondent Suspended After Continued Political Tweets… and MORON ALERT: ESPN Host Says Standing for Anthem is “Injecting Politics” into Sports… are just two ESPN political examples.
Pitaro said he prioritizes limiting political commentary. “If you ask me is there a false narrative out there, I will tell you ESPN being a political organization is false,” he said. “I will tell you I have been very, very clear with employees here that it is not our jobs to cover politics, purely.”
Pitaro also has told the league that ESPN does not plan to air the national anthem ahead of its Monday night telecasts. The policy is not a change from previous seasons, but the network articulated its plans directly to the league for the first time.
Set aside KneelingForTheAnthemGhaziGatePalooza. That issue gets all sorts of stupid from everyone. ESPN’s problems mainly stem from their on-air personalities, 99.86% of whom all have the exact same ideology. They fire you if you don’t.
Here’s another radical notion. Perhaps a network which promises sports coverage should — and bear with me here — cover just sports. There are plenty of networks devoted to the wall-to-wall coverage of politics which, last I checked, didn’t cover sports. What if, and I know this is crazy so hang onto your butts, a network about sports only covered sports? It’s like there’s an echo in here.
Maybe if a product, like a network, offered exactly what it promised and not what it didn’t, people would like it more. Just a hunch.