Saturday, September 16, 2017
"What’s more remarkable is that ESPN’s behavior has been just as dumb as the president’s. The Worldwide Leader’s mealy-mouthed reprimand of Hill and alleged attempt to persuade a black colleague to take her place on the air reveal the network doesn’t understand what it’s dealing with. There is no appeasing the likes of Travis and Trump, and ESPN needs to stop acting as if there are good arguments on both sides of this particular debate.
ESPN’s recent PR strategy calls to mind Homer Simpson’s plan to escape the inky depths of the Springfield Tar Pits: “First, I’ll just reach in and pull my legs out. Now, I’ll pull my arms out with my face.” Last month, Travis reported that ESPN had pulled an announcer named Robert Lee—no relation to the Confederate general—from his assignment to call a University of Virginia football game in the aftermath of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In a memo explaining that decision, ESPN president John Skipper wrote that “there was a question as to whether—in these divisive times—Robert’s assignment might create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling.”
ESPN is letting the conservative trolls win.