Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ESPN at it Again

ESPN won't let it go. They got the first word, and now, they definitely want to have the last in the Dana Jacobson saga. During last Friday's press conference, Coach Weis let his thoughts be known to the media about the Mike and Mike Roast in Atlantic City:
"Well, I'll just say three things, okay. I was both personally and professionally offended by her comments. And if the situations were reversed, and that were me saying them, two things would have happened. I would have been the lead story on SportsCenter, and I would have been fired. But other than that, the University has issued an official response, and I think it's best to leave it at that."

Fair enough, end of story, right? Well today, ESPN in their infinite wisdom released this diatribe from their Ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber. The former New York Times sports editor and author will critique decision-making, coverage and presentation of news, issues and events on ESPN television and other media. Here are snippets of her explanation of Mr. Ed's and Jim Kerry's Love Child's remarks.

On Jan. 12, The Press of Atlantic City ran a story that included a description of Jacobson's drunken behavior the previous night, saying she had made "an absolute fool of herself" on stage, "mumbling along and cursing like a sailor as Mike & Mike rested their heads in their hands in embarrassment." In the wake of that report, ESPN issued a statement saying, "Her actions were totally inappropriate and we have dealt with it." Dana Jacobson issued a personal apology.

Then, on Jan. 18, posted a report by an anonymous "tipster" alleging that what the Press of Atlantic City had only called mumblings included a string of crude expletives directed at Notre Dame, its famous "Touchdown Jesus" mural and Jesus. Other Internet sites picked up that report and repeated the tipster's account, but as far as I can determine, there has been no corroboration by anyone who attended the roast that she did more than crudely insult ESPN's Mike Golic, a former Notre Dame Football player, by crudely insulting Notre Dame's football program and its famous mural. On Jan. 24, Scott Cronick, who attended the roast and wrote the article for Press of Atlantic City, told, "I never heard Dana Jacobson say F--- Jesus. That's why I never printed it. I also talked to people who were there who also said that they did not hear her say it either." He reiterated that statement in a Press of Atlantic City story the next day.

Here comes the most interesting part of this situation:
"ESPN has a video of the roast, which I asked to see. My request was denied, but during an extended conversation with ESPN vice president of communications Mike Soltys, who has reviewed Jacobson's remarks on that tape many times, I was repeatedly assured that her obscenity-laced insults to Golic were directed entirely at Notre Dame's football program, not at Golic's religion and not at Jesus."

If she didn't say it, why won't they let their own Ombudsman see the video? Wouldn't you want everyone to know that your TV personality didn't say these things, than rather cover it up and say she didn't say those things? Something does not add up here. But anyway, Ms. Schreiber, gives her bogus answer about why her company won't release the video:

"After meeting with ESPN executives on Jan. 25, Christian Defense Coalition leaders continue to demand that ESPN release the roast video to satisfy doubt about Jacobson's exact words. ESPN believes releasing an obscenity-strewn video, audio or a transcript of Jacobson's remarks, which would doubtlessly find a permanent worldwide home on the Internet would only aggravate and compound the original offense. They deem unsatisfied doubts a lesser offense.

My own thoughts: I share the view that the offense was one of crass language and behavior from a woman under the influence of alcohol, not hate or religious bigotry. I think ESPN personalities would be wise not to speak at roasts, which often become occasions for offensive and crude insults delivered and received under the influence of excessive alcohol. I think we all need to be more cautious about information that comes from a single anonymous source, whether we get the information from ESPN, other outlets of the mainstream media or Internet blogs."

Schreiber then goes on to say,

"I wish I could offer first-hand confirmation of ESPN's characterization of Jacobson's remarks. However, I respect ESPN's right to withhold the video; of what was a private event not intended for wider broadcast, from me as well as others who have requested seeing it. Based on my past and current conversations with Soltys, I personally trust his assurances to me.

Finally, no one at ESPN asked me to issue this or any reply. Viewers and readers did."

I wish you could offer first-hand confirmation too! All we want is the truth. Unfortunately, ESPN can't handle the truth! Duh, Na, Na, Duh Na, Na!

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