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June 8, 2011 / David Lindner

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Enough is enough

Seriously, it’s like being a parent. As a parent of three, I have learned a few things about parenting. One of those is to not give in to bad behavior. For example, when we were letting our kids “cry it out” for the first few times, it was important to let them cry until they stopped. If we went in there to try to get them to stop crying after they had been crying for a while, all we were doing was teaching them that they had to cry for a certain length of time before we would come in and comfort them.

Likewise, if our older kids throw a fit for a few hours to get something we don’t want them to have,  and we eventually give in, then they have learned the length of time they need to throw a fit in order to get what they want.

Well, that’s what I see is happening with Ohio State and ESPN & Sports Illustrated. Those two have now learned that to get a Head Coach fired, all they have to do is throw a fit for 4 or 5 months. If they drag someone through the mud long enough, they will eventually get him/her fired.

Am I saying that ESPN is biased against Ohio State. Yes.

Just look at the amount of brow beating that former coach Pete Carrol of USC received for the mistakes that were made while he was head coach. They pale in comparison, by enormous amounts. But ESPN always loved Pete Carrol, I know because it drove me nuts. He had created a dynasty at USC, just as Tressel did at Ohio State. You would think that ESPN would just trample Pete Carrol in the same way they are trampling Tressel and Ohio State, but they didn’t.

You’d think, but they didn’t. They didn’t even trample Reggie Bush in the same way they have trampled Terrel Pryor.

This might be a good place to stop and clarify, they made mistakes. Pryor made mistakes, as did the other players. Tressel made a mistake by not turning them in immediately. But seriously, how does getting some tattoos for signed memorabilia compare to getting cars and what not?

Or what about what’s his name from Auburn. I didn’t ever hear that his case was overturned. I heard that the NCAA concluded that he hadn’t personally received the money, but that doesn’t mean his dad didn’t. And sure they talked about that for a while, but not nearly in the same amount as they have talked about Tressel, Pryor and Ohio State.  And receiving thousands of dollars is worse than receiving tattoos.

Of course today, there are new accusations that Pryor was getting checks for signed stuff. And I’m sure they will find the evidence they are looking for. I have no doubt of it.

The big sports news people want Ohio State to be destroyed, and now that they’ve made progress, they aren’t going to stop. Like the quote from Air Force One: “Give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk.”

Ohio State made a huge mistake in letting Tressel go, because now ESPN, Sports Illustrated & Yahoo are going to want their glass of milk too. And if Ohio State doesn’t give it, they’re going to put pressure on the NCAA to get it for them.

College sports programs should never give in to the demands of the media, because they will always ask for a cookie.

Who’s next? Well, it won’t take long before it’s your team.

I could easily propose we flip the coin. Let’s put the writers, researchers and announcers under the same scrutiny they have put Tressel and others through. Ethically speaking. Would it do any good? Of course not. The standards aren’t the same. We hold coaches (especially ones with Christian morals) to standards that are far superior than the standards we hold for the people who call them on the carpet. Do you suppose someone as ESPN has ever taken money inappropriately to write an article that isn’t true? Hmmm.

Instead, I proposed this, get out of the way. Report the news, don’t make the news. If your ratings are slipping in the off-season, don’t create news where there is no news. Just because you’ve created a need for year round news in a sport that isn’t played year round, doesn’t mean you have the right to make news where there was none. Just as we get frustrated with referees who make bad calls and don’t seem to let our teams just play, ESPN and the others should do the same thing. Stay out of the way. Report the news don’t make it.


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