Forget Bud Selig's PED mess (of his own making)...The big story today in sports television involves ESPN, the NFL and PBS' series "Frontline." ESPN has backed out of a documentary with PBS ("The hidden story of the NFL and brain injuries") that puts the spotlight on the NFL as the league faces cover-up charges regarding player concussions.
The NFL is accused of pressuring the network into severing ties to the PBS films. Per the New York Times, "ESPN's action came a week after the NFL voiced its displeasure with the documentary at a lunch between league and ESPN executives. It was a table for four: Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL; Steve Bornstein, president of the NFL Network; John Skipper, ESPN's president; and John Wildhack, ESPN's executive vice president for production."
"Whatever the case, it looks bad for both parties. The NFL is being sued over its decades of "Don't worry, it's just a bruise" approach to medicine, a personal-injury lawsuit that has expanded to some 4,500 plaintiffs. Reports of the kind broadcast by ESPN and PBS not only damage the league's brand equity, but have the potential to inflict further direct damages in existing and potential lawsuits. That's not the sort of benefits promised by a broadcast partner when it agrees to pay more than a billion dollars in rights fees to the NFL." The Columbia Journalism Review.
All this comes as ESPN faces increased program competition from FOX Sports1 channel and the NBC Sports channels.
Meantime back to baseball...Why is no one writing about the true PED story? Bud Selig, the Darth Vader of baseball, has cleverly had all eyes directed at A-Rod and 13 other players who may or may not have used PEDs, and not on the fact that the MLB drug testing program is a failure. YES's Ken Singleton commented during the first Yankee-Red Sox game last week that since all of these players had never failed a test...."how many players throughout the league have or currently are using PED's?"