Monday, May 04, 2009
I've never thought of the "This Is Sports Center" ads to be biased in any way, but apparently there are a few people out there that do. Namely, Phil Mushnick of the NY Post. The latest and greatest Sports Center commercial, features agent Drew Rosenhaus negotiating meal prices for Scott Van Pelt and Neil Everett. And while most thought the ad was humorous and harmless, Mushnick seems to think there is a deeper issue....
But while cute is one-shot deal, ESPN is left with a large, unsealed can of ESPN Brand worms. ESPN's in the sports news business, Rosenhaus and his long list of pro football clients are newsmakers, and ESPN and Rosenhaus are now forever joined in an advertising cross-promotion, the kind of special relationship that even minimally vigilant journalists avoid.I can sort of see his point, but are we really breaking new ground here? Rosenhaus knows as well as anyone that ESPN is the "leader" in getting information out to the masses, and he has always used them as his first choice. The guy has been doing bits on "First Take" for years, and anytime something goes wrong, ESPN is the first to report it.
The next "scoop" ESPN lands connected to a Rosenhaus client becomes highly suspect, as do the following 100. Rosenhaus, after all, has some funky clients, including Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey, Terrell Owens and Browns WR Donte Stallworth, recently charged with manslaughter.
Is there no one at ESPN with the authority, foresight and fundamental sense of right-from-wrong to have killed this before it advanced beyond a bad idea? Why would ESPN do this to itself? Why would it do this to its anchors? Why would its anchors allow ESPN to do this to them?
But ESPN always wants it both ways. It wants to be America's leader in go-get-'em sports journalism, yet regularly provides proof that it can't distinguish journalism from a box of cookies.
It's certainly a line that ESPN has to straddle careful in regards to Rosenhaus, but they've certainly bashed the agent in the past, and don't always give him a free pass. I think this is much ado about nothing, if you ask me.
ESPN's Cute Ad Raises Questions (NY Post)