By: Ashley Conley
ESPN’s self-proclaimed motto as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” just doesn’t seem to fit anymore. The television network yesterday laid off more than 100 employees including a host of easily recognizable on-air and in-print personalities like beloved football analyst Ed Werder, NCAA football analyst and podcast host Danny Kanell, longtime baseball writer Jayson Stark, and former SportsCenter host Jay Crawford, to name a few.
After 17 years reporting on #NFL, I’ve been informed that I’m being laid off by ESPN effective immediately. I have no plans to retire
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) April 26, 2017
Poured my heart and soul into ESPN for last 8 years. Moved my wife and 3 kids to CT to go “all in” 5 years ago. Bummed it ended in 3 minutes
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) April 26, 2017
For 17 yrs I’ve had a dream job covering baseball for ESPN. Today is my last day. Thanks to all the great people at ESPN, MLB & all of you!
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 26, 2017
After 14 wonderful years my time at espn is over. From Cold Pizza to First Take to SC I made more friends than I can name. Forever grateful! pic.twitter.com/WNkUGuXeVl
— Jay Crawford (@jaycrawfordespn) April 26, 2017
Here’s my take on the situation.
ESPN has become the LeBron James and Stephen Curry show, covering the two NBA star’s every move even if it’s something irrelevant like James’ whining over a stupid call; it’s become the 24-hour NFL pre-Draft coverage show, detailing the draft months in advance and broadcasting “mock” draft situations that don’t even end up happening; it’s become the “we don’t care about hockey and neither should you” show, as was proved yesterday when it cut basically the entire hockey staff right in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs; it’s become a laughing stock during the NCAA Tournament when people like LaVar Ball, a top collegiate player’s FATHER got more face time than any of the actual players because of his dramatic demands and on-screen fanatics; and it’s become a fake debate circus that’s lost all its journalistic integrity as TV hosts like Stephen A. Smith (who DID NOT get laid off yesterday) are shown on air arguing over the oddest of topics.
These are just a few of my examples. If you go on Twitter and type “ESPN” into the search bar, you’ll find thousands of tweets from people all around the world describing in 140 characters or less why they agree that the ESPN layoffs make total sense. A lot of viewers tab the network’s “politically correct” descent as the reason why they stopped watching. Others feel as though the reporting has turned into scripted entertainment, and some are baffled at the channel’s lack of interest to cover more than just the NBA and NFL.
ESPN was a sports network back when MTV was a music channel. Now both are just liberal propaganda.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) April 27, 2017
Note to ESPN: Your ratings arent down because you showed 30 seconds of hockey, it’s because you suck off certain players & got too political
— Eichel’s Ego (@CaptainEichel15) April 27, 2017
Lebron, yelling, the NFL, yelling, Lebron, yelling, the NFL, and finally more yelling= ESPN going forward apparently
— Brett Anderson (@BAnderson3737) April 27, 2017
Oddest thing about the ESPN layoffs is that they seem to be getting rid of what people like about ESPN and doubling down on what they don’t.
— Boneyardigans (@UConnFanDotCom) April 26, 2017
— Jake Radke (@AboyRadke) April 26, 2017
The situation has simply spiraled out of control. Viewership has been decreasing for months and even years, according to the numbers. If sports fanatics like me no longer wish to tune in to “The Worldwide Leader” anymore, you know something is wrong. If ESPN wants to survive, the network needs to bring back the coverage that made them popular to begin with — highlights and recaps from a variety of sports and stories pertaining to an assortment of athletes — all brought to you by reporters (like some of the great ones they just let go) that actually cover things in an enjoyable manner.
Cover Image: sportingnews.com