A Tale Of Two Reports Regarding Sean Taylor

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm sick of beating this into the ground and this will be the last post on this, but I still believe ESPN's coverage of this event has been poor at best. Those of you that disagree are entitled to your opinion, and I respect that you feel that way, but there are a few things I wanted to say before sharing these two videos that occurred just 15 minutes apart from one another.

Maybe this is a local story, and maybe National Sports Media isn't prepared for this kind of story because it's so unique. I however don't think my love for the Redskins and for Sean Taylor as a player cloud myself in anyway. As a (self-appointed) critic of Sports Media I honestly try to convey things as unbiased as I possibly can. Sure ESPN gets a lot of flack on these pages, but that's because they air 90% of the content in the Sports World. I also praise them from time to time, but again that's not why this blog exists.

First Take spoke sparingly of Taylor's passing this morning, and while Mike and Mike mentioned it at length I just don't think the coverage was even close to adequate for an entity that dubs themselves "The Leader". The whole morning was a collection of highlights about the field from last night's Monday Night Football game, and how next week the great Patriots were going to be on the network. NFL Live aired and it was obviously taped ahead of time because it spoke of the NFL in a cheery light and nothing could be further from the truth.

Outside the Lines then spoke on the subject with a total of about 4 minutes with original content. They spliced in a previous piece that aired on athletes and guns and a Dana Jacobson piece that was on First Take earlier in the day. ESPN aired the Press Conference at around 4pm, but cut out early to NFL Live for the talking heads to discuss.

To be completely honest, I expected much more from them, and I'm extremely disappointed that they spent so little time on the subject.

The "more" I was looking for came immediately after OTL aired on Comcast Sportsnet, and I wanted to share that video with those of you who don't live in the Metro DC area. Their account below is how things should be done. It's a tough day for Football fans and especially Redskins fans. No matter how the man lived, or once lived his life, he leaves behind a fiancee and an 18-month year old daughter. I think Colin from Bucktown Skins Fan sums it up the best and is making a great effort to help Taylor's family....

"Yesterday, upon hearing about Swoop's serious injury, I created a simple logo with the words "Stay Strong." It was my simple wish for him, and not being a religious man, it was my personal substitute for prayer. I have marked up all of the items, from $1-$5 and as soon as Jason La Canfora passes along the memorial fund/charity information, I will make sure that 100% of the profits from the sale of these items goes to those funds/charities; hopefully to one benefitting his daughter."
Please head to Bucktown Tees and support Colin and his efforts in any way you can.

With that said here are both Outside the Lines and DC Comcast Sportsnet's coverage. OTL aired at 3pm and this piece from CSN aired at 3:15. I'm done trying to make this an issue or convince anyone that this should be of National importance. You can be the judge on which is more informative and which you learned more about the situation from on your own. It's also great to see Leonard Shapiro from the Washington Post in agreeance as well. We'll obviously receive more coverage from ESPN once the entire league pays tribute to Taylor, but I'll still feel it's too late.

ESPN Botches Taylor Coverage (The Washington Post)

If the videos aren't showing up for you then click the links below....

Outside The Lines
Comcast Sportsnet

(P.S.- If someone from Comcast wants me to take the video down please email. I hope you will understand its use is to make sure people around the Country who read this site know what's going on with the unfortunate situation.)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 4:36 PM


What the fuck else is there to say until new information is released? I don't get your gripe, but I guess you have to find something to bitch about.

Anonymous said...
Nov 27, 2007, 9:04:00 PM  

You don't have to get it that's fine. Most people do and should.

Awful said...
Nov 27, 2007, 9:07:00 PM  

This will most likely sound cold and heartless and believe me that's not how I mean it.

While tragic and to some extent a national story I don't think it is what you think it should be. It's unfortunate when a person, any person, dies this way. But lets face it there's a chance in the next hours, days, weeks that some young kid from a DC ghetto or some other large city is going to get capped for no reason. Maybe he is the kid who is the good student, the kid who helped all the elderly with their shoveling or carried their groceries, maybe he reads nursery rhymes to the toddlers at a day care center. What ever his story is he will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tell me where will the outcry be then for his fair air time on the tube?

This man was an athlete and that's why it's getting the play it's gotten. If he was just a homeowner in South Florida, America and most of Florida wouldn't even know he got killed. It doesn't make it any less tragic that not many will know about him as it doesn't make it more tragic because of who Sean Taylor was.

I'm sure pretty sure Sean's little daughter will be well taken care of through her young life and into adulthood and I can surely understand people wanting to reach out in her name but where is this sentiment when the innocent bystander of a drive by gets killed or a drunk plows his car into the dad who works two jobs on his way home after a 16 hour day?

People get too hung up in that he was an athlete or someone else was an actor. There's tragedy in life everyday, somewhere that no one ever hears about.

I guess on one hand though you should expect more from ESPN. After all we had at least 3 solid hours of Joe Torre's press conferences on two coasts, an hour of ARod is MVP, not too mention everything they dream up like "who's now" not to expect more from them in a case like this. But it's not like they gave Darrent Williams any more air time than they're giving Sean Taylor. It's just all in our own perspective of the situations. I'm sure people in Denver probably felt much like you do now.

Steve said...
Nov 27, 2007, 9:19:00 PM  

Also as a media member I will tell you that the "local" media will often times do better stories and give more airtime to stories of "national interest but with local importance" than the some called "national" media.

Steve said...
Nov 27, 2007, 9:22:00 PM  

...so called national...

I wish there was an edit feature.

Steve said...
Nov 27, 2007, 9:23:00 PM  

Of course this hits close to home for me and I wish I had been paying closer attention during the Darrent Williams death. I'm just sick of this he was a parent, a teammate, a friend, but don't forget a thug.

Same thing happened with Williams, and it's just crap. There's nothing you can really do, but to express how you feel, so thanks for sharing Steve.

Awful said...
Nov 27, 2007, 9:26:00 PM  

I agree with Steve but would like to add my own two cents.

When a crime like this occurs with no current suspect, then there is only so much coverage you can give it.

As it is, once you start talking about Taylor's life, the natural national reaction is to talk about the bad, as you put it AA, the "thug" part of his life.

Maybe it's for the best that ESPN didn't spend hours on it, because it might have just made it worse.

Jared said...
Nov 27, 2007, 9:59:00 PM  

my only gripe is that bob ley is fucking smiling throughout the whole report....put a serious face on, you amateur

Anonymous said...
Nov 27, 2007, 10:41:00 PM  

I think the Comcast coverage was more emotional, not necessarily more informative. The Taylor coverage nationally is the way it is for 2 reasons. First, sadly, it's because he was a good player, but not a household name. Had this been a superstar, ESPN would be in crisis mode.
Secondly, even more sadly, we've become desensitized to the fact that young men are too often gunned down for no good reason in the crazy world we live in in 2007.
Finally, perception is too often reality. While by all accounts Taylor was turning his life around, he had an image about him that wasn't great. If that weren't the case, the coverage would be different.
Again, not saying any of this makes the lack of coverage right or wrong, just that that's why it is what it is.

Anonymous said...
Nov 27, 2007, 10:43:00 PM  

You know what struck me about the Sean Taylor coverage by the Worldwide Leader?

We all know Taylor had his share of on-field and off-field problems. Yes. But usually in these circumstances at the very least we have some kind of whitewash for the sake of the dead fellow. But ESPN?

No, their lengthy homage/montage to Sean Taylor on Sportscenter tonight reminded me about the fact that Sean Taylor levelled a punter on the field at the Pro Bowl. Or when Taylor spit on another player. What do I have to compare this to? Darrent Williams. You compare the coverage and it is shocking. You heard all kinds of things about Williams' family. About his kids. About how he was such a good guy.

It's almost as if ESPN collectively shrugged and thought, 'Sean Taylor? Was this really surprising that he ended up like this?' It's not that I'm all for post-mortem canonizing, but the discrepancy in even reporting the /career/ of Sean Taylor in retrospective montage was heavily skewed towards insinuating 'Well, he was a criminal. So...'

sankd said...
Nov 27, 2007, 10:58:00 PM  

The Worldwide Leader has turned the battleship around. As of 11:10pm Eastern time we are now going to be accosted with a JFK-like eulogy, complete with melodramatic music, fade-out montages and everything.

By Sunday it will be a clamor for the Pope to canonize him.

Raoul Duke said...
Nov 27, 2007, 11:14:00 PM  

AWFUL ANNOUNCING I hope your watching the 10 pm sportscenter right now because THERE ARE BACK TO BACK REPORTS FROM nichols and jeaneane edwards. this is the opening od sportcenter and they are giving it time and it is very well organized. WOW and a report from john clayton!!!! they have redeemed themsleves

mike said...
Nov 27, 2007, 11:18:00 PM  

Clayton, as always, was late to get the memo. He is now on board. Only a matter of time now for there to be a clamoring for St. Sean.

Raoul Duke said...
Nov 27, 2007, 11:29:00 PM  

I'm glad you and others were able to see the point I made. I was afraid it'd come across as callous.

A life is a life. I prefer to look at the person as a man who was probably good inside and made a few bad decisions in his life.

Steve said...
Nov 27, 2007, 11:57:00 PM  

I remember last year when Cory Lidle's plane crashed in NYC, it was on ESPN for like 12 hours straight. Why is this different?

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 1:11:00 AM  

Something just occurred to me.

Sean Taylor was NEVER media-friendly. ESPN threw in a minor comment about this in the middle of their coverage, even. It actually makes a big difference in how ESPN treats athlete death or setback. If I recall, Darrent Williams was a lot more affable in terms of press interaction and interviews.

Yeah, it took a long while but it seems like ESPN is finally doing some decent coverage beyond the obvious roster or game issue regarding the death.

I still think ESPN is hedging its bets. Like they think that somehow we'll all find out this was a gangland murder and Sean Taylor was entwined in a world of guns and drugs, so eulogizing him is just wasted breath.

To Steve: I agree with the fact that we need to remember many of the other murders and tragedies going on, but in the context that this is ESPN and this is a Pro Bowl safety on a NFL team, it should be the main news story of the day and wasn't until really late.

sankd said...
Nov 28, 2007, 1:27:00 AM  

On the OTL piece, what the hell does "Athletes with guns" have to do with the Taylor story? Some punk killed him with a gun. Taylor just happened to be an athlete. Beyond that, there is no connection.

And I can pretty much guarandamntee you that if this happened to a bench riding Patriot it would be getting more coverage from "The Leader" than the Taylor story. Double if they bench player was white.

Dave said...
Nov 28, 2007, 1:42:00 AM  

I'd expect more from NFL Live but not anything else. Life goes on.

Morgan Wick said...
Nov 28, 2007, 2:29:00 AM  

"Sean Taylor was NEVER media-friendly."

See, if you help ESPN and are one of the hive, you get treated well and not attacked.

Gotta protect that billion dollar investment, and help ESPN grow and improve. Then you will be thought of as a "real" person.

That's how corporate America works.

hollywood wags said...
Nov 28, 2007, 4:15:00 AM  

Re: Corey Lidle.

He was in a plane.

The plane crashed into a building.

The building was in Manhattan.

That is the difference.

Chris said...
Nov 28, 2007, 7:23:00 AM  

are you gonna go after shaprio's article on sean taylor. he was
100x more worse than wilbon was on taylor and this situation. maybe you won't because he agreed with your point on espn's coverage. i guess you are like espn, only post and care about who agrees with you.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 7:48:00 AM  

In their defense ESPN had the perfect amount of coverage this morning on Taylor, was very impressed.

And people really need to stop saying "if this were some average Joe who had been killed, they wouldn't be covering it". Are you listening to yourselves??? People are murdered every day, it happens, and it's a terrible part of living in THIS country, not the world.

But when someone in the limelight passes, of course the media is going to pay extra attention because they are famous. If you don't like this, then leave the country or just get used to it. Of course ESPN is going to cover the shooting of an athlete more than the shooting of an average joe. This is common sense.

Ron Bermuda said...
Nov 28, 2007, 8:40:00 AM  

I personally prefer to have my news with a little more substance and detail. It seems to me that ESPN waited til they had more info before they aired the meatier coverage of Taylor's death. Had they gone all out right away with less than perfect information, you'd have griped about that and whined that they should have taken their time to be sure the facts were straight. You can't have it both ways. God forbid they waited 24 hours to eulogize a player who was good, but not of the megastar echelon (Obviously not to you, but to the majority of the sports viewing world.) I know this is news to you and many others, but there's a lot of the United States that's not on the east coast. No, really.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 9:12:00 AM  

Oh, and I forgot to mention: a charity for the man's daughter? Really? We need to raise money for the daughter of a multimillionaire? Are you f-bomb kidding me? This is the most ludicrous suggestion I have ever heard. Educate people about home security, mourn the man, paint his jersey number on the FedEx field, whatever. But please don't insult me by asking me to donate to the child of a MULTI MILLIONAIRE! Unreal.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 9:16:00 AM  

As for how ESPN screwed this up, let me bring up one name, Cory Lidle. I think some of you may remember him. He was in a small plane that crashed into a building in New York city. But apparently more importantly to ESPN, he was a Yankee. I was in a sports bar that night, on a wednesday, when that happened, and everything in the world came to a stop while they talked about Lidle and the Yankees. For hours. After the third or fourth replay of Joe Torre and some of the other players comments, I was ready to watch reality tv.

But apparently Sean Taylor doesn't deserve the same time and effort from ESPN. It just doesn't appear to fit their agenda of promoting certain teams or whatever they are broadcasting on their family of inbred networks.

Jason said...
Nov 28, 2007, 9:33:00 AM  

jason you are a fucking idoit. he crashed into a building. everyone in the media was talking about it.
what did you want them to do talk to taylor's dad and family. let them grieve for thier loved one.

yes, they don't like the redskins or duke. give me a fucking break.

take your inbred ass and a get a common sense and not the one your mama/lover uses.


Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 9:43:00 AM  

Nobody is talking about how much salary cap room this might free up next year.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 10:14:00 AM  

Ah yes, crashing into a building is a tragedy, being murdered in your own home happens every day and isnt worth the time to report on.

It would be nice to see them actually report on the story while it still seems that Santana being fought over between the Yankees and Red Sox is worth more time over a national sports figure being killed.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 10:16:00 AM  

anon 10:16

they did report when they had the facts and could interview people.

crashing into a building in new york or getting killed in your house. what got your attention first.

national sports figure he was not lt, brady, manning, to, or reggie white. he played awesome safety and hit hard.

damn it

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 10:20:00 AM  

lets just put him in the hall of fame, one of the top 10 players ever, and everyone in all sports retire hes jersey.

the was not tillman or ali.

get real people.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 10:23:00 AM  

i dont get videos at work so maybe this is covered there, but this morning i saw a local report (I too live in DC) showing video of ST's girlfriend/fiance lying on the ground in total grief outside of the hospital. I found this tasteless and uncalled for.

Now I know you want 'more' coverage, but the truth is outside of game highlights and a couple negative stories, there really isn't much in the ESPN archive to move on. Now maybe their lack of coverage is not airing as many bad stories about the guy. They could get new material, like this local news network, but would that make you feel better? ESPN exploiting ST's loved ones for a 'good shot' and, in the end, ratings?

Now I hate espn as much as the next guy, but I don't know what else they could really get at here.

I work with a large group of people, only one of them is a skins fan (I live here but have my own team to root for)...now I know this isn't what you want to hear but there really isn't much discussion of this at all outside of a 2 minutes convo the morning of his death. Its just how it is. I think this blog went a little overboard with the espn bashing, know i don't know if that is possible b/c the network is a sham for the most part, but ST was on the cover of the post, cover of the USA Today, headline on the ESPN home page as well as mentioned on every blog i visit.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 10:27:00 AM  

anon 10:14 its terrible of me but i almost laughed at your comment.

mike said...
Nov 28, 2007, 10:29:00 AM  

I think the ball got rolling on Corey Lidle because at first there was a question as to if was linked to a terrorist act being in Manhattan. I think if the media took 3 seconds to realize it was a cessna hitting an apartment building they would have realized that theory was off base unless for some reason Allah now hates rent controlled pads.

The of course once it came out who was flying the plane it just steeamrolled.

Dave: I think the "athletes with guns" thing may refer to the incident he had involving the theft of his SUV. also as for the bench riding Patriot you have to look no further than Marquis Hill who drowned this past summer in Louisiana. He didnt even get this amount of coverage. Sure he got more locally in the regular Patriots media but as for national it was mentioned but not to any large extent.

Ron: I think you missed my point. Its not that no one is covering those other murders it is they are not covered to this extent if under the same circumstances if was someone like you or me.

I just hope in the grand scheme of things people remember the man left behind a daughter, a fiance` and family and friends who loved him. It's a shame when someone's mistakes of the past are brought up at times like this but in today's media that's what happens.

Steve said...
Nov 28, 2007, 10:51:00 AM  

I agree with you that ESPN's coverage of Sean Taylor's death has been awful, but disagree as to the reason. Frankly, I think they devoted way too much time to it. They trotted out every current player they could find so they could tell the country what a wonderful person Taylor was, and former coaches (Larry Coker) to say the same thing. What else are they going to say? What insight to we get from that?

The only ESPN guys who had anything to say were the PTI guys, especially Wilbon, who has been expanding on his opinions in the Washington Post.

Taylor was a former gang banger who did not have the sense to move his "family" out of a dangerous area and to give them a chance at the life they deserved.

If ESPN or another network has "news" about what happened, fine. But enought of the tributes for tributes' sake.

Ace Duncan said...
Nov 28, 2007, 11:02:00 AM  

I have a TV on my desk at work and watched ESPN almost continuously from 8am to 6pm. I can't imagine ESPN doing more to cover this story. Sorry to be cold but I'm now tired of it. Their coverage was fine. I understand a good portion of your espn gripes in the past, but I just don't get it this time. And summing up, I feel Michael Wilbon put it best: "I'm just not shocked by this."

David said...
Nov 28, 2007, 11:09:00 AM  

I totally agree that ESPN is doing a POOR job on the Sean Taylor story. The strongest example for me is that the first sentence below the title on ESPN.com right now is "Sean Taylor had issues on and off the field." There is no evidence at this point that Taylor had any wrongdoing in the events that led to his death, so why are his (old) issues of importance? The truth is that he had turned his life around and until there is some evidence proving that he had done something wrong, I see no reason to lead this story with Sean Taylor's past. Everyone in DC has spoken highly of him this year. Why can't ESPN do the same??? It's incredibly disappointing and clearly shows that ESPN is just looking for the "sexy" story instead of telling the correct one.

D.Rob said...
Nov 28, 2007, 11:13:00 AM  

the bad and good were making him a good man. no one is perfect, you want the truth or bs.
he was changing his life, he fucked up in the past, and thier is no new info. am i missing somehting. lets call the Pope and tell him to make the perfect taylor a saint.

Anonymous said...
Nov 28, 2007, 11:19:00 AM  

When Josh Hancock died earlier this year, Cardinal fans went through the same thing that Redskins fans are now. Stuff started leaking out, and most of us bowed up against the MSM and blogdome in denial. And then, it became quite clear that Hancock, while he may have been a genuinely nice guy, had some serious issues. The media, and bloggers(I can think of one in particular), ran with it and tore Hancock, Tony La Russa, and the Cardinals new assholes. While it was a bit overboard, some of it was warranted, and the same thing is now happening with Taylor's life, and death.
I'm not saying it's right or wrong; it's just the way it is, and you better get used to it, because it ain't going away any time soon.

Bruce said...
Nov 28, 2007, 11:22:00 AM  

No offense, AA, but you are overracting (to ESPN's coverage, that is). Besides, do you expect ESPN to do anything right?

Any death is horrifying and saddening, but ESPN did the same things with Darrent Williams, Skip Prosser, and Terry Hoeppner. They were awful with Coach Hep, the poor guy would get 3 minutes and then ESPN would move on. The coverage of the Prosser and Hoeppner deaths were 10 times worse because they got a tiny segment and that was it.

Eric said...
Nov 28, 2007, 3:53:00 PM  

I have seen the two clips side-by-side. My take is that the difference in the coverage is clearly more local vs. national. ESPN is attempting to report seasoned, objective journalism, while Comcast SportsNet clearly has a local edge. Chick Hernandez clearly lost it during the clip I saw.

It is also fascinating to see this debate about priorities in news coverage. Clearly, a New York Yankees pitcher whose plane crash produced images similar to the World Trade Center attack is more newsworthy to TPTB than a home invasion murder of a football player with a rap sheet, which occurs in a city perceived as very dangerous. (And Sean's dad is a police chief? How ironic!)

I will not jump into any of the related arguments, such as the amount of coverage, the value of people's lives or even whether America should have more gun control. I just wanted to post my take as to why the event was covered so differently by ESPN and CSN.

Desmond said...
Nov 29, 2007, 7:33:00 PM  

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