Thursday, September 18, 2008
Okay, this Politics thing with ESPN has gotten just a little too weird at this point. In August, Barack Obama sat down for an interview and the network's PR Department stated that it was trying to get a hold of John McCain for a sit down of his own. They followed that up with an interview at the beginning of this week with the Republican candidate and everything seemed to be over and done with in regards to Politics and the "Leader".
Well yesterday, MDS at Fanhouse put up an interesting post in regards to a potential ESPN "Pro-Obama" stance and how multiple employees have made contributions to the Democratic nominee....
A database search of donations to the campaigns of Obama and John McCain reveals that at least six ESPN editorial employees -- Desmond Howard, Scoop Jackson, Kelly Naqi, John Saunders, Bill Walton and Stephen A. Smith -- have given to Obama's campaign. No ESPN editorial employees are listed as donors to McCain's campaign in the records at OpenSecrets.org.While the post was an interesting thought, I really don't think that someone exercising their constitutional right to support and vote for whomever they please is an issue. I think that point was made in the quote from Josh Krulewitz, but an interesting thing happened today potentially in response to the situation above .
I asked ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz what ESPN's policy is on political donations, and he told me:
"For ESPN in general, decisions on political donations are made by employees entirely on their own. For specifically folks with editorial roles, we discourage public participation in matters of political advocacy or controversy."
Without any press releases on the matter, and without warning, John McCain showed up via telephone for an interview on Mike and Mike in the morning. With the way that ESPN promoted both Sports Center interview this was a very odd, but it got even weirder as Greenberg and Golic were hyping the Senator's appearance before he came on. Every time they brought up McCain they made a specific point of saying that they were not being biased and Greenberg even said, "And yes democrats, we are working to bring Barack Obama on the show hopefully as soon as next week," at one point. That's an odd choice of words if you ask me and the way Greenie it put it made it seem almost defensive in nature.
You can hear that and see the interview in the video below, but this whole confusion, skepticism and random appearances are the reason they should have never gone done this road in the first place. Whether they were trying for an angle or not, alliances and conspiracy theories are always going to come into play when Politics are involved. I think the lesson learned is to just keep Sports and the White House separate from here on out....
Update: According to ESPN it was an item in a Mid Week update that ESPN emails out each Wednesday. Not exactly the same as the first go around though and it was a bit buried in that release, after a bunch of NFL items.
Does ESPN Have a Pro-Obama Bias? (Fanhouse)
Video: John McCain's Interview On ESPN (Awful Announcing)
Video: Obama's Sit-Down With Stuart Scott (Awful Announcing)