ESPN — Playing a Game of Chicken

Is the big cable sports network ESPN playing a game of chicken with sports fans, notably those that aren’t liberal?

Over the last year it’s gotten into spats with many of its hosts, mostly over politically correct issues. In an unforced error it inexplicably decided to give an award to Bruce Jenner for his mental problems and transvestitism.

I’ve pretty much given up on the network, with only an occasional relapse. Sports Center, Obama’s favorite program, has been for me unwatchable for a long time. I do like the commercials though. I might slip a little during college football and basketball season when I watch a lot of ESPNU and small conference games. I WILL NOT watch their big ticket products — even if I’m paying for it. ESPN is one of the key problems with major college sports. In fact, ESPN has become like a big conglomerate that has lost its way and might eventually collapse.

Having said that, what brings this up today is this: baseball commentator Curt Schilling getting suspended for a politically incorrect transgression.

He “tweeted” to the effect that the percentage of “Muslim extremists” is equivalent to the percentage of Nazis in Germany in 1940 and that didn’t turn out so well.

Now one could argue that maybe, as a high profile TV sports personality, he should keep his political thoughts to himself. I’d be with that except that TV sports personalities, networks (that’s you ESPN) and athletes are no longer bashful about such things and the only banter we hear is liberalism. Conservatives seem to get punished for speaking out (though ESPN did recently part ways with Keith Olbermann — after giving him numerous second chances).

One could try to argue that what Schilling said was incorrect but that would be a stretch.

ESPN had this to say: “Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective.”

That’s interesting. Is the company arguing that there are no Muslim extremists? Perhaps they quibble with number and percentages of extremists? Is the company saying that it and any employees will not say anything bad about Muslims? Is it suggesting that Muslim extremists aren’t like Nazis? Does it buy Obama’s ludicrous sophistry that terrorists can’t be Muslims and Muslims can’t be terrorists?

I can’t imagine that Muslims make up much of the network’s audience. Some Muslims would exterminate ESPN if they had a chance (and toss Espy Award-winning Bruce Jenner into a dry well filled with scorpions or something like that).

So what motivated them to respond at all. They could have just let it go instead of drawing attention to it. Who squawked?

ESPN is moving to my “mostly” boycott list until it shapes up (that might not be ever). I don’t think I can cut it out because it’s part of the Verizon FiOS sports package I get. If it becomes available as an a la carte selection, I might just pull the ejection seat lever.

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